Motivational externalists and internalists of various sorts disagree about the circumstances under which it is conceptually possible to have moral opinions but lack moral motivation. Typically, the evidence referred to are intuitions about whether people in certain scenarios who lack moral motivation count as having moral opinions. People’s intuitions about such scenarios diverge, however. I argue that the nature of this diversity is such that, for each of the internalist and externalist theses, there is a strong prima facie reason to (...) reject it. That much might not be very controversial. But I argue further, that it also gives us a strong prima facie reason to reject all of these theses. This is possible since there is an overlooked alternative option to accepting any of them: moral motivation pluralism , the view that different internalist and externalist theses correctly accounts for different people’s concepts of moral opinions, respectively. I end the paper with a discussion of methodological issues relevant to the argument for moral motivation pluralism and of the consequences of this view for theories about the nature of moral opinions, such as cognitivism and non-cognitivism. (shrink)
This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled (...) by these points to explore existing literature on the topic. Despite this literature, pluralism has garnered very little attention from broader cognitive science. We end by briefly considering what it might mean for theoretical cognitive science. (shrink)
Abstract: There is a long tradition of trying to analyze art either by providing a definition (essentialism) or by tracing its contours as an indefinable, open concept (anti-essentialism). Both art essentialists and art anti-essentialists share an implicit assumption of art concept monism. This article argues that this assumption is a mistake. Species concept pluralism—a well-explored position in philosophy of biology—provides a model for art concept pluralism. The article explores the conditions under which concept pluralism is appropriate, and (...) argues that they obtain for art. Art concept pluralism allows us to recognize that different art concepts are useful for different purposes, and what has been feuding definitions can be seen as characterizations of specific art concepts. (shrink)
Pluralism: The Philosophy and Politics of Diversity is the first volume to open the window on philosophical pluralism and link pluralist themes in philosophy and politics. It advances recent debates on political pluralism in a range of essays that challenge or defend the association of liberalism and pluralism. The volume is divided into three parts: an investigation of the philosophical sources of pluralism, including an essay on William James; the value of pluralism and liberalism, (...) discussing the compatibility of these ideas; and an investigation of difference in pluralism, with writing on women, ethnocultural, and the public-private distinction. (shrink)
This paper approaches "multiculturalism" obliquely via conceptions of social and political pluralism in the pragmatist tradition. As a matter of social analysis, the advent of multiculturalism implies some loss of confidence in our prior conceptions of accommodating ethnic, social, and religious diversity: the conversion of traditional American cultural diversity into a war of political interest groups. This, and the corresponding tendency toward cultural relativism and "anything goes," is fundamentally a product of over-centralization and cultural-political exhaustion in the wake of (...) the long ordeal of the Cold War. An over-emphasis on the political, and national centralization, has pressured our cultural variety toward more political forms, and "multiculturalism" is both product and backlash.<br><br> Many issues connected with the general theme of multiculturalism parallel philosophical debates on objectivity and the diversity of cultural perspectives. Successful treatments of these themes, drawing on the pragmatist tradition, need to be developed and applied to contemporary problems. The general approach here emphasizes a relative autonomy of religious, ethnic, and cultural-racial groups, the need to be wary of both exclusion and self-insulation, and the roles of individuals in mediating group differences. In the concluding section, specific issues relating religious pluralism and secularism will be addressed.<br><br>. (shrink)
Functionalists about truth employ Ramsification to produce an implicit definition of the theoretical term _true_, but doing so requires determining that the theory introducing that term is itself true. A variety of putative dissolutions to this problem of epistemic circularity are shown to be unsatisfactory. One solution is offered on functionalists' behalf, though it has the upshot that they must tread on their anti-pluralist commitments.
Although it’s sometimes thought that pluralism about truth is unstable---or, worse, just a non-starter---it’s surprisingly difficult to locate collapsing arguments that conclusively demonstrate either its instability or its inability to get started. This paper exemplifies the point by examining three recent arguments to that effect. However, it ends with a cautionary tale; for pluralism may not be any better off than other traditional theories that face various technical objections, and may be worse off in facing them all.
‘Value pluralism’ as traditionally understood is the metaphysical thesis that there are many values that cannot be ‘reduced’ to a single supervalue. While it is widely assumed that value pluralism is true, the case for value pluralism depends on resolution of a neglected question in value theory: how are values properly individuated? Value pluralism has been thought to be important in two main ways. If values are plural, any theory that relies on value monism, for example, (...) hedonistic utilitarianism, is mistaken. The plurality of values is also thought to raise problems for rational choice. If two irreducibly distinct values conflict, it seems that there is no common ground that justifies choosing one over the other. The metaphysical plurality of values does not, however, have the implications for rational choice that many have supposed. A charitable interpretation of value pluralist writings suggests a ‘nonreductive’ form of value pluralism. Nonreductive value pluralism maintains that in the context of practical choice, there are differences between values—whether or not those values reduce to a single supervalue—that have important implications for rational choice. This article examines the main arguments for metaphysical value pluralism, argues that metaphysical value pluralism does not have certain implications that it is widely thought to have, and outlines three forms of nonreductive value pluralism. -/- . (shrink)
What is truth? What precisely is it that truths have that falsehoods lack? Pluralists about truth (or “alethic pluralists”) tend to answer these questions by saying that there is more than one way for a proposition, sentence, belief—or any chosen truth-bearer—to be true. In this paper, I argue that two of the most influential formations of alethic pluralism, those of Wright (1992, 2003a) and Lynch (2009), are subject to serious problems. I outline a new formulation, which I call “simple (...) determination pluralism,” that I claim offers better prospects for alethic pluralism, with the potential to have applications for pluralist theories beyond truth. (shrink)
Traditional inflationary approaches that specify the nature of truth are attractive in certain ways; yet, while many of these theories successfully explain why propositions in certain domains of discourse are true, they fail to adequately specify the nature of truth because they run up against counterexamples when attempting to generalize across all domains. One popular consequence is skepticism about the efficaciousness of inﬂationary approaches altogether. Yet, by recognizing that the failure to explain the truth of disparate propositions often stems from (...) inflationary approaches' allegiance to alethic monism, pluralist approaches are able to avoid this explanatory inadequacy and the resulting skepticism, though at the cost of inviting other conceptual difficulties. A novel approach, alethic functionalism, attempts to circumvent the problems faced by pluralist approaches while preserving their main insights. Unfortunately, it too generates additional problems---namely, with its suspect appropriation of the multiple realizability paradigm and its platitude-based strategy---that need to be dissolved before it can constitute an adequate inflationary approach to the nature of truth. (shrink)
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
What at bottom is meant by calling the universe many or by calling it one? -/- Pragmatically interpreted, pluralism or the doctrine that it is many means only that the sundry parts of reality may be externally related. Everything you can think of, however vast or inclusive, has on the pluralistic view a genuinely "external" environment of some sort or amount. Things are "with" one another in many ways, but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything. The word "and" (...) trails along after every sentence. Something always escapes. "Ever not quite" has to be said of the best attempts made anywhere in the universe at attaining all-inclusiveness. The pluralistic world is thus more like a federal republic than like an empire or a kingdom. However much may be collected, however much may report itself as present at any effective centre of consciousness or action, something else is self-governed and absent and unreduced to unity. -/- Monism, on the other hand, insists that when you come down to reality as such, to the reality of realities, everything is present to everything else in one vast instantaneous co-implicated completeness -- nothing can in any sense, functional or substantial, be really absent from anything else, all things interpenetrate and telescope together in the great total conflux. (shrink)
In Liberalism and Pluralism, Richard Bellamy explores the challenges posed by conflicting values, interests and identities to liberal democracy. Conventional liberal thought is no longer suited to the complex, plural societies of today. By analyzing the three major strands of liberal thought as represented by Hayek, Rawls and Walzer, the author reveals how standard liberalism has tried to circumvent unstable settlements. This book establishes a more satisfactory alternative: namely, negotiated compromise.
Table of Contents: Politics, morality, and pluralism -- Liberal morality and political legitimacy -- Political legitimacy and social justice -- Williams's concept of the political -- Legitimacy, stability, and morality -- The politics of morality -- A moral point of view -- Manners and morality -- Morality and conflict -- Moral conflict and political theory -- The morality of politics -- Feminism and multiculturalism -- A defense of culture -- Politics and normative conflict -- The political as moral viewpoint (...) -- Morality and politics: a review -- Political unity and pluralism -- The liberal archipelago -- Loose linkage and political legitimacy -- Political unity and the body politic -- Social justice and political unity -- The bonds of civility -- Nationhood and the liberal polity -- The nature of nationhood -- Pluralism and nationalism -- Nationalism and social justice -- Deliberative democracy and the liberal polity -- Liberalism and democracy -- Democracy and deliberative discourse -- The terms of deliberative discourse -- Normative discourse and political legitimacy -- Deliberative democracy and intragroup politics -- Group autonomy and intergroup discourse -- Politics, history, and reason -- Principle and justice in the liberal polity -- Liberal institutions and liberal ideals -- Stopping history -- Rationalism and politics. (shrink)
In this book, Robert Talisse critically examines the moral and political implications of pluralism, the view that our best moral thinking is indeterminate and that moral conflict is an inescapable feature of the human condition. Through a careful engagement with the work of William James, Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls, and their contemporary followers, Talisse distinguishes two broad types of moral pluralism: metaphysical and epistemic. After arguing that metaphysical pluralism does not offer a compelling account of value and (...) thus cannot ground a viable conception of liberal politics, Talisse proposes and defends a distinctive variety of epistemic pluralism. According to this view, certain value conflicts are at present undecidable rather than intrinsic. Consequently, epistemic pluralism countenances the possibility that further argumentation, enhanced reflection, or the acquisition of more information could yield rational resolutions to the kinds of value conflicts that metaphysical pluralists deem irresolvable as such. Talisse’s epistemic pluralism hence prescribes a politics in which deep value conflicts are to be addressed by ongoing argumentation and free engagement among citizens; the epistemic pluralist thus sees liberal democracy is the proper political response to ongoing moral disagreement. While developing his view, Talisse engages central issues in contemporary liberal political theory, including toleration, state neutrality, public justification, and the accommodation of illiberal sub-cultures. This book will be of interest to ethicists, political philosophers, and political scientists. (shrink)
The moral and political philosophy of pluralism has become increasingly influential. To pluralists, when values genuinely conflict we should aim to strike an appropriate balance or trade-off between them, though this means accepting that compromise will be inevitable. Politics, as a result, appears as a thoroughly tragic affair. Drawing on a "hermeneutical" conception of interpretation, the author develops an original account of practical reasoning, one which assumes that, though making compromises in the face of conflicts is indeed often unavoidable, (...) there are times when reconciliation, as distinct from compromise, is feasible. For this to be so, however, citizens must strive to converse--and not just negotiate--with each other, thus fulfilling the good that is at the heart of their shared political community. This is the central message of the patriotic alternative to pluralist politics that the author defends here. (shrink)
In The Crane's Walk, Jeremy Barris seeks to show that we can conceive and live with a pluralism of standpoints with conflicting standards for truth--with the truth of each being entirely unaffected by the truth of the others. He argues that Plato's work expresses this kind of pluralism, and that this pluralism is important in its own right, whether or not we agree about what Plato's standpoint is.The longest tradition of Plato scholarship identifies crucial faults in Plato's (...) theory of Ideas. Barris argues that Plato deliberately displayed those faults, because he wanted to demonstrate that basic kinds of error or illogic have dimensions that are crucial to the establishing of truth. These dimensions legitimate a paradoxical coordination of logically incompatible conceptions of truth. Connecting this idea with emerging currents of Plato scholarship, he emphasizes, in addition to the dialogues' arguments, the importance of their nonargumentative features, including drama, myths, fictions, anecdotes, and humor. These unanalyzed nonargumentative features function rigorously, as a lever with which to examine the enterprise of rational argument itself, without presupposing its standards or illegitimately assimilating any position to the standards of another.Today, communities are torn apart by conflicts within and between a host of different pluralist and absolutist commitments. The possibility developed in this book-a coordination of absolute and relative truth that allows an understanding of some relativist and some absolutist positions as being fully legitimate and as capable of existing in a relation to their opposites-may contribute to perspectives for resolving these conflicts. (shrink)
Nicholas Rescher presents a critical reaction against two currently influential tendencies of thought. On the one hand, he rejects the facile relativism that pervades contemporary social and academic life. On the other hand, he opposes the rationalism inherent in neo-contractarian theory--both in the idealized communicative-contract version promoted in continental European political philosophy by J;urgen Habermas, and in the idealized social contract version of the theory of political justice promoted in the Anglo-American context by John Rawls. Against such tendencies, Rescher's pluralist (...) approach takes a more realistic and pragmatic line, eschewing the convenient recourse of idealization in cognitive and practical matters. Instead of a utopianism that looks to a uniquely perfect order that would prevail under ideal conditions, he advocates incremental improvements within the framework of arrangements that none of us will deem perfect but that all of us "can live with." Such an approach replaces the yearning for an unattainable consensus with the institution of pragmatic arrangements in which the community will acquiesce--not through agreeing on their optimality, but through a shared recognition among the dissonant parties that the available options are even worse. (shrink)
Pluralism is an appealing and now orthodox view of the sources of value. But pluralism has led to well-known difficulties for social-choice theory. Moreover, as Susan Hurley has argued, the difficulties of pluralism go even deeper. In 1954, Kenneth May suggested an intrapersonal analogue to Arrow's Impossibility Theorem. In brief, May showed that an individual's response to a plurality of values will, given certain additional assumptions, lead to intransitive preference orderings. (Daniel Kahneman and others have shown that (...) intransitivity is an empirical feature of preferences.) Hurley challenged May's additional assumptions as implausibly strong; but her work did not exclude the possibility that values may disobey the canon of rationality that insists on transitivity. John Broome has recently extended these canons to the "betterness" relation. This chapter argues that there is no good reason to be confident that values, understood as real features of the world, behave consistently with those canons. (shrink)
In this comment, I first point out some problems in McCauley's defense of the traditional conception of general analytical levels. Then I present certain reductionist arguments against explanatory pluralism that are not based on the New Wave model of intertheoretic reduction, against which McCauley is arguing. Reductionists that are not committed to this model might not have problems incorporating research on long-term diachronic processes in their analyses. In the last part of the paper, I briefly compare Robert N. McCauley's (...) conception of reduction to some other current accounts, highlighting the differences between them. (shrink)
Explanatory pluralism has been defended by several philosophers of history and social science, recently, for example, by Tor Egil Førland in this journal. In this article, we provide a better argument for explanatory pluralism, based on the pragmatist idea of epistemic interests. Second, we show that there are three quite different senses in which one can be an explanatory pluralist: one can be a pluralist about questions, a pluralist about answers to questions, and a pluralist about both. We (...) defend the last position. Finally, our third aim is to argue that pluralism should not be equated with “anything goes”: we will argue for non-relativistic explanatory pluralism. This pluralism will be illustrated by examples from history and social science in which different forms of explanation (for example, structural, functional, and intentional explanations) are discussed, and the fruitfulness of our framework for understanding explanatory pluralism is shown. (shrink)
Culturally diverse liberal democracies on both sides of the Atlantic are currently faced with serious questions about the education of their future citizens. What is the balance between the need for social cohesion, and at the same time dealing justly with the demands for exemptions and accommodations from cultural and religious minorities? In contemporary Britain, the importance of this question has been recently highlighted by the concern to develop political and educational strategies capable of countering the influence of extremist voices, (...) in both the majority and minority communities. Starting from recent debates in North America about possible accommodations to meet the concerns of non-liberal religious groups, the book goes on to examine several issues centered on education in culturally-diverse societies. Neil Burtonwood argues persuasively that the work of Isaiah Berlin, the British philosopher and historian of ideas, has considerable potential for illuminating questions about a properly liberal response to pluralism, and the education of cultural minority children in a liberal democracy. This is the first book to bring his writing to bear on education. Berlin's liberalism is distinctive in attending to the benefits that individuals gain from their memberships of cultural identity groups and religious communities, while remaining committed to Enlightenment values based on individual freedom. Yet his need to find compromises to balance the claims of individuals and groups makes Berlin's version of liberal pluralism so relevant to many vital questions of education policy and practice that concern philosophers of education today. (shrink)
Pluralism is an essential feature of liberal democratic theory and practice and rests upon the fundemental value of tolerance. Today, although there is widespread commitment to various forms of constitutional representative democracy, and although globalization has diminished the political, economic, and cultural significance of borders, at the same time, there has been a marked world-wide increase in conflict, tormoil, and violence based upon ethnic, religious, and regional identities. This latter trend, a sort of 21st century balkanization, is a serious (...) threat to pluralism. -/- This contribution to REGIONAL POLICIES IN EUROPE: SOFT FEATURES FOR INNOVATIVE CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION defines pluralism and argues for its advantages. It also makes an argument against an approach for dealing with identity-based activities and claims which advocates the recognition of special group rights and privileges. The piece concludes by proposing conditions under which pluralism might prosper and expand, and by suggesting the kind of public policies likely to foster such conditions. -/- David T. Risser, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Government & Political Affairs. (shrink)
The Architectonics of Meaning is a lucid demonstration of the purposes, methods, and implications of philosophical semantics that both supports and builds on Richard McKeon's and other noted pluralists' convictions that multiple philosophical approaches are viable. Watson ingeniously explores ways to systematize these approaches, and the result is a well-structured instrument for understanding texts. This book exemplifies both general and particular aspects of systematic pluralism, reorienting our understanding of the realms of knowing, doing, and making.
Recent pleas for more heterodoxy in explaining economic action have been defending a pluralism for economics. In this article, I analyse these defences by scrutinizing the pluralistic qualities in the work of one of the major voices of heterodoxy, Tony Lawson. This scrutiny will focus on Lawson's alternatives concerning ontology and explanation to mainstream economics. Subsequently, I will raise some doubts about Lawson's pluralism, and identify questions that will have to be addressed by heterodox economists in order to (...) maintain the claim of pluralism. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that Sen's defence of liberal democracy suffers from a moralistic and pro-liberal bias that renders it unable to take pluralism as seriously as it professes to do. That is because Sen’s commitment to respecting pluralism is not matched by his account of how to individuate the sorts of preferences that ought to be included in democratic deliberation. Our argument generalises as a critique of the two most common responses to the fact of (...) class='Hi'>pluralism in contemporary (i.e. post-Rawls) liberalism: a broadly procedural understanding of autonomy and the idea of deliberative democracy. That is to say, the difficulties with pluralism we identify can be traced back to the particular version of Kantian deontology prevalent in contemporary liberalism, and to the equally prevalent aspiration to ground political legitimacy in a moralised consensus. (shrink)
Much has been said on the religious pluralism of John Hick but little attention has been given to a key step in his argument for religious pluralism. This key step is the observation that the universe is religiously ambiguous. Hick himself is ambiguous about what he means by ‘religious ambiguity’. In this essay I will attempt to rectify this ambiguity by analysing the notion of ‘religious ambiguity’ and arguing what interpretation of this term Hick must commit himself to.
The most basic argument for moral relativism is that different people are (fundamentally) disposed to apply moral terms, such as ‘morally right’ and ‘morally wrong’, and the corresponding concepts, to different (types of) acts. In this paper, I argue that the standard forms of moral relativism fail to account for certain instances of fundamental variation, namely, variation in metaethical intuitions, and I develop a form of relativism—pluralism—that does account for them. I identify two challenges that pluralism faces. To (...) answer the challenges, I first argue that, due to fundamental conceptual variations in ordinary descriptive (nonmoral) discourse, a form of pluralism holds there as well and that this pluralism can answer the corresponding challenges. I then argue that the answers transfer to moral discourse, since the phenomenon of moral variation is structurally identical to that of descrip- tive variation. (shrink)
Pluralism is popular among philosophers of biology. This essay argues that negative judgments about universal biology, while understandable, are very premature. Familiar life on Earth represents a single example of life and, most importantly, there are empirical as well as theoretical reasons for suspecting that it may be unrepresentative. Scientifically compelling generalizations about the unity of life (or lack thereof) must await the discovery of forms of life descended from an alternative origin, the most promising candidate being the discovery (...) of extraterrestrial life. Nonetheless, in the absence of additional examples of life, we are best off exploring the microbial world for promising explanatory concepts, principles, and mechanisms rather than prematurely giving up on universal biology. Unicellular microbes (especially prokaryotes) are by far the oldest, metabolically most diverse, and environmentally tolerant form of life on our planet. Yet somewhat ironically, much of our theorizing about life still implicitly privileges complex multicellular eukaryotes, which are now understood to be highly specialized, fragile latecomers to Earth. The problem with pursuing a pluralist approach to understanding life is that it is likely to blind us to the significance of just those entities and causal processes most likely to shed light on the underlying nature of life. (shrink)
William E. Connolly’s writings have pushed the leading edge of political theory, first in North America and then in Europe as well, for more than two decades now. This book draws on his numerous influential books and articles to provide a coherent and comprehensive overview of his significant contribution to the field of political theory. The book focuses in particular on three key areas of his thinking: Democracy: his work in democratic theory - through his critical challenges to the traditions (...) of Rawlsian theories of justice and Habermasian theories of deliberative democracy - has spurred the creation of a fertile and powerful new literature Pluralism - Connolly's work utterly transformed the terrain of the field by helping to resignify pluralism: from a conservative theory of order based on the status quo into a radical theory of democratic contestation based on a progressive political vision The Terms of Political Theory - Connolly has changed the language in which Anglo-American political theory is spoken, and entirely shuffled the pack with which political theorists work. (shrink)
Pluralism in Theory and Practice not only brings McKeon to the attention of contemporary philosophers and students; it also puts his theories into practice. Some of the essays explicate aspects of McKeon's thought or situate him in the context of American intellectual and practical engagement. Others take the concerns he raised as starting points for inquiries into urgent contemporary problems, or, in some cases, for reexamining McKeon's work as fertile ground for shaping the direction of new investigation.
The relative merits and demerits of historically prominent views such as the correspondence theory, coherentism, pragmatism, verificationism, and instrumentalism have been subject to much attention in the truth literature and have fueled the long-lived debate over which of these views is the most plausible one. While diverging in their specific philosophical commitments, adherents of these historically prominent views agree in at least one fundamental respect. They are all alethic monists. They all endorse the thesis that there is only one property (...) in virtue of which propositions can be true, and so, in this sense, take truth to be one. The truth pluralist, on the other hand, rejects this idea. There are several properties in virtue of which propositions can be true. The literature on truth pluralism has been growing steadily for the past twenty years. This volume, however, is the first of its kind—the first collection of papers focused specifically on pluralism about truth. Part I is dedicated to the development, investigation, and critical discussion of different forms of pluralism. An additional reason to look at truth pluralism with interest is the significant connections it bears to other debates in the truth literature—the debates concerning traditional theories of truth and the deflationism/inflationism divide being cases in hand. Parts II and III of the volume connect truth pluralism to these two debates. (shrink)
Introduction : At a turning point -- Everyday life -- Modes of reflection -- Philosophical problems -- The pluralistic approach -- The meaning of life -- The possibility of free action -- The place of morality in good lives -- The art of life -- The nature of human self-understanding --Conclusion : The human world.
This paper argues that alethic pluralism has not been successfully motivated. The strategy deployed to demonstrating this contention is to claim, first, that a deflationary version of alethic monism is the default position in the theory of truth – the theory that must be accepted unless it is defeated – and, second, that no pluralist arguments offered up to now have been sufficient to defeat it.
When talking about truth, we ordinarily take ourselves to be talking about one-and-the-same thing. Alethic monists suggest that theorizing about truth ought to begin with this default or pre-reflective stance, and, subsequently, parlay it into a set of theoretical principles that are aptly summarized by the thesis that truth is one. Foremost among them is the invariance principle.
The path of religious pluralism starts with the fact that our world contains a number of religious faiths having different ideas of the nature of divinity as the main and fundamental principle of religions and therefore, different and various dogmas, rites, and rituals.Despite the claim that the idea of religious pluralism is a product of modern philosophical schools, specifically new epistemological principles, I have attempted to demonstrate that what I have called "pluralistic religion," as a part of a (...) necessary and substantial distinction that has to be drawn between this hypothesis and John Hick's classic theory of "religious pluralism," is strongly rooted in the principle of "ultimate truth and uniqueness of .. (shrink)
1. Consider the basic outlines of the mind-body debate as it is found in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. The central question is “whether mental phenomena are physical phenomena, and if not, how they relate to physical phenomena.”1 Over the centuries, a wide range of possible solutions to this problem have emerged. These are the various “isms” familiar to any student of the debate: Cartesian dualism, idealism, epiphenomenalism, central state materialism, non- reductive physicalism, anomalous monism, and so forth. Each purports (...) to specify, among other things, the metaphysical relationship between the mental and the physical. They do so by specifying whether, or in what way, mental entities are identical to, reducible to, realized by, supervenient upon, or in causal interaction with physical entities. Thus, a convenient way to survey the range of positions is to enter them in a table (see Table 1). Rows correspond to the major kinds of metaphysical relation which might obtain between mental and physical entities. Each columns corresponds to one of the generic positions available in the debate. The particular theories defended by individual philosophers are usually just specific versions of generic positions. Thus Malebranche’s occasionalism is a version of causal dualism, distinguished by a peculiar account of the way in which causal interaction between mental and physical is actually effected. The central philosophical challenge is to determine which of these positions correctly describes the mental/physical relationship. Positions are evaluated for internal consistency, their fit with “intuitions,” their compatibility with scientific developments, and so forth. The mind-body debate, in this simple form, is set out in any number of.. (shrink)
Unpublished draft. Let me know if you're interested to see it. See also my "Possibility and Permission? Intellectual Character, Inquiry, and the Ethics of Belief," forthcoming in H. Rydenfelt and S. Pihlstrom (eds.) William James on Religion (Palgrave McMillan “Philosophers in Depth” Series, 2012/2013).
Most objectivist and dispositionalist theories of color have tried to resolve the challenge raised by color variations by drawing a distinction between real and apparent colors. This paper considers such a strategy to be fundamentally erroneous. The high degree of variability of colors constitutes a crucial feature of colors and color perception; it cannot be avoided without leaving aside the real nature of color. The objectivist theory of color defended in this paper holds that objects have locally many different objective (...) colors. Most color variations are then real and result from the extreme richness of color properties. (shrink)
Is it possible to recognize the limits of rationality, and thus to embrace moral pluralism, without embracing moral relativism? My answer is yes; nevertheless, certain anti-foundational positions, both recent and ancient, take a cynical stance toward the possibility of any critical moral judgment, and as such, must be regarded as relativistic.1 It is such cynicism, I argue, whether openly announced or unknowingly implied, that marks the distinction between relativism and pluralism.2 The danger of this cynicism is not so (...) much that it renders the categorical acceptance of a particular moral view unattainable, but that it renders categorical condemnation of any particular position (or action) impossible.3 Two .. (shrink)
Colors are sensible qualities. They are qualities that objects are perceived to have. Thus, when Norm, a normal perceiver, perceives a blue bead, the bead is perceived have a certain quality, perceived blueness. `Quality', here, is no mere synonym for property; rather, a quality is a kind of property a qualitative, as opposed to quan• titative, property. (The quantitative is a way of contrasting with the qualitative perhaps not the only way.).
This review article outlines some of the major contributions made to political theory by Charles Taylor. It focuses on his relationship to liberalism, his contribution to the understanding of democracy and his analysis of the politics of recognition. Several lines of critique of Taylor's thought on these issues are also explored. Some reflections on Taylor's style of theorising about politics are offered, and the question of whether he is a conservative or critical theorist is examined.
The past decade has marked a period of significant development for pluralist theories of truth. This paper utilizes several distinctions to categorize the current theoretical landscape, and then compares the theoretical structure of four pluralist theories—namely, strong alethic pluralism, alethic disjunctivism, second-order functionalism, and manifestation functionalism. We conclude by arguing that it is difficult for adherents of the three other pluralist views to reject the viability of some form of alethic disjunctivism. By this we mean that, by the lights (...) of each of these other views, there is a disjunctive truth property that ought to qualify as a legitimate truth property. (shrink)
In this article I argue that Alston’s recent meta-epistemological approach in terms of epistemic desiderata is not as epistemically plural as he claims it to be. After some preliminary remarks, I briefly recapitulate Alston’s epistemic desiderata approach. Next, I distinguish two ways in which one might consider truth to be an epistemic desideratum. Subsequently, I argue that only one truth-conducive desideratum can count as an epistemic desideratum. After this, I attempt to show that none of the higher-order desiderata that are (...) thought to be favorable to the discrimination and formation of true beliefs are genuinely epistemic desiderata. A strict interpretation of ‘epistemic desideratum’ leads to a rejection of all deontological desiderata as well. Finally, features of systems of beliefs, such as coherence and understanding, cannot count as epistemic desiderata either. In the end only two candidate-desiderata can count as epistemic, one of which is logically trivial. In the epilogue, I offer some suggestions as to how Alston’s epistemic desiderata approach should be amended in order to make it epistemically plural. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of various forms of alethic pluralism. Along the way we will draw a number of distinctions that, hopefully, will be useful in mapping the pluralist landscape. Finally, we will argue that a commitment to alethic disjunctivism, a certain brand of pluralism, might be difficult to avoid for adherents of the other pluralist views to be discussed. We will proceed as follows: Section 1 introduces alethic monism and alethic (...) class='Hi'>pluralism. Section 2 presents a distinction between strong and moderate versions of monism and pluralism, understood as theses about the existence of truth properties. Section 3 introduces four pluralist positions: strong alethic pluralism, alethic disjunctivism, second-order functionalism and manifestation functionalism. These positions are classified using the basic framework from Section 2, and a further distinction between pure and mixed versions of pluralism is drawn. Interestingly, alethic disjunctivism and the two kinds of functionalism—i.e. three out of four positions— have a mixed character. They incorporate a monist thesis. The only pure form of pluralism is strong alethic pluralism. Section 4 adds another distinction to the stock: one-level and two-level views. Each of the mixed positions operates with two levels, locating certain “alethically potent”—or grounding—properties at a lower level and others at a higher level. We briefly discuss the nature of grounding. In Section 5, we answer a question about mixed, two-level views, viz. whether they are as much monist as pluralist in nature, or more. They are not. Section 6 is devoted to the task of arguing that the strong pluralist, the second-order functionalist, and the manifestation functionalist will find it hard to deny a commitment to alethic disjunctivism. (shrink)
Presentazione del curatore italiano (C.Corradetti): È possibile conciliare il pluralismo culturale con la dimensione pubblica della deliberazione? Partendo dall’analisi critica di Rawls e Habermas, James Bohman offre una risposta innovativa alla questione dell’accordo democratico. In tale proposta, parallelamente al rigetto di soluzioni meramente strategiche, viene riabilitata la nozione di compromesso morale nel quadro di un accordo normativo. Mantenendo fede ad una prospettiva composta da elementi normativi e fattuali, l’autore si propone di ampliare le opportunità democratiche nella riconciliazione tra conflitti culturali (...) profondi propri delle società contemporanee. L’elemento civico partecipativo risulta essere dunque una componente essenziale per la produzione di una sfera pubblica vibrante. Ne emerge una ricostruzione convincente volta non solo a respingere le critiche degli scettici sulle reali possibilità d’inclusività democratica, ma diretta soprattutto a suggerire un più efficace modello deliberativo per la garanzia della stabilità sociale. Questo testo è diventato ormai un riferimento internazionale classico nella discussione sul tema della deliberazione pubblica. L’autore ha inoltre sviluppato in ambito post-nazionale il suo modello deliberativo senza tuttavia ridiscutere i fondamenti concettuali della sua proposta teorica qui enunciati.Vista la rilevanza del tema e considerata la centralità del testo proposto, sembrerebbe dunque auspicabile rendere il testo disponibile anche al lettore italiano. (shrink)
It is argued that John Bickle’s Ruthless Reductionism is flawed as an account of the practice of neuroscience. Examples from genetics and linguistics suggest, first, that not every mind-brain link or gene-phenotype link qualifies as a reduction or as a complete explanation, and, second, that the higher (psychological) level of analysis is not likely to disappear as neuroscience progresses. The most plausible picture of the evolving sciences of the mind-brain seems a patchwork of multiple connections and partial explanations, linking anatomy, (...) mechanisms and functions across different domains, levels, and grain sizes. Bickle’s claim that only the molecular level provides genuine explanations, and higher level concepts are just heuristics that will soon be redundant, is thus rejected. In addition, it is argued that Bickle’s recasting of philosophy of science as metascience explicating empirical practices, ignores an essential role for philosophy in reflecting upon criteria for reduction and explanation. Many interesting and complex issues remain to be investigated for the philosophy of science, and in particular the nature of interlevel links found in empirical research requires sophisticated philosophical analysis. (shrink)
The philosophy of religion and theology are related to the culture in which they have developed. These disciplines provide a source of values and vision to the cultures of which they are part, while at the same time they are delimited and defined by their cultures. This book compares the ideas of two contemporary philosophers, John Hick and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, on the issues of religion, religions, the concept of the ultimate reality, and the notion of sacred knowledge. On a (...) broader level, it compares two world-views: the one formed by Western Christian culture, which is religious in intention but secular in essence; the other Islamic, formed through the assimilation of traditional wisdom, which is turned against the norms of secular culture and is thus religious both in intention and essence. (shrink)
Michel Foucault (1926-84) was one of the most renowned of late 20th century social philosophers. He covered an enormous range: from sexuality to prisons; from identity to power; from knowledge to politics. The essays written for this book range over all of Foucault's work, but their main critical focus is upon objectivity, power and knowledge. The very possibility of a critical stance is a recurring theme in all of Foucault's works, and the contributors vary in the ways that they relate (...) to his key views on truth and reason in relation to power and government. (shrink)
An autobiographical account of a formative experience -- Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms -- Art and science as supplementing forms -- The parting of the ways and the divide in organizational theory -- Cassirer in the light of neuroscience -- Bringing Cassirer into organizations -- The institution as a symbolic form.
On behalf of the society for the Advancement of American Philosophy and with pride and pleasure, I offer to the readers of the journal a selection of papers presented at the 37th meeting of the society, sponsored by the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and Queens University of Charlotte and held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 11-13, 2010. This Proceedings Issue represents the first of such issues to be published in The Pluralist, which is now the official journal of (...) our society.The Pluralist and the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy share a similar mission, namely to focus on pluralism and inclusion in philosophical conversation of many different points of view. In carrying out .. (shrink)
René Guénon, metaphysician -- Ananda Coomaraswamy and traditional art -- Rudolf Otto, the East, and religious inclusivism -- Mircea Eliade and C.G. Jung: 'priests without surplices'? -- Allen Ginsberg, a Buddhist beat -- Swami Abhishiktananda, Fr. Jules Monchanin, and the Christian-Hindu encounter -- Frithjof Schuon, a sage for the times.
The importance of being ambiguous -- Interlude : ambiguity, order and the deity -- Notation and its limits -- Interlude : the Israelite red heifer and the edge of power in China -- Ritual and the rhythms of ambiguity -- Interlude : crossing the boundaries of empathy -- Shared experience -- Interlude : experience and multiplicity.
Major worldviews on ultimate reality and history -- Major worldviews on external reality -- Major worldviews on the nature and orientation of man -- Major worldviews concerning truth and ethics -- Major worldviews concerning the social location of religion -- The orders and root metaphors of the modern and postmodern condition -- Observations and strategies -- The true and false church.
In 1907 William James was invited to give the Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford. Initially he was reluctant to do so since he feared undertaking them would divert him from developing rigorously and systematically some metaphysical ideas of his own that had preoccupied him for some time. In the end, however, he relented and in the spring of 1908 gave the lectures which were subsequently published as A Pluralistic Universe. As it happened, though, in the course of these lectures (...) James presented some of those metaphysical ideas, though in a popular and informal style appropriate to lecturing. Later on he did get down to working out a systematic metaphysics in proper academic style, but the project was cut short by his untimely death in 1910. The incomplete Some Problems of Philosophy, posthumously published in 1911, recapitulates some major themes of A Pluralistic Universe. (shrink)
Ontological Pluralism is the view that there are different modes, ways, or kinds of being. In this paper, I characterize the view more fully (drawing on some recent work by Kris McDaniel) and then defend the view against a number of arguments. (All of the arguments I can think of against it, anyway.).
There are quite a few theses about logic that are in one way or another pluralist: they hold (i) that there is no uniquely correct logic, and (ii) that because of this, some or all debates about logic are illusory, or need to be somehow reconceived as not straightforwardly factual. Pluralist theses differ markedly over the reasons offered for there being no uniquely correct logic. Some such theses are more interesting than others, because they more radically affect how we are (...) initially inclined to understand debates about logic. Can one find a pluralist thesis that is high on the interest scale, and also true? (shrink)
I argue that Meeker is mistaken in two crucial respects. First, contrary to both myself and Plantinga, he treats exclusivism as a theory about the relation between the religions, and then claims that it is superior to the pluralist theory. But he does not say what his exclusivist theory is. Second, he bases his claim of a fundamental self-contradiction in my pluralist position on a view which I disavow, namely that altruism is the core of religion. He omits the central (...) idea of a profound reorientation in response to the Real, of which altruism is a manifestation. (Published Online April 7 2006). (shrink)
My focus here will be Rudolf Carnap’s views on ontology, as these are presented in the seminal “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” (1950). I will first describe how I think Carnap’s distinction between external and internal questions is best understood. Then I will turn to broader issues regarding Carnap’s views on ontology. With certain reservations, I will ascribe to Carnap an ontological pluralist position roughly similar to the positions of Eli Hirsch and the later Hilary Putnam. Then I turn to some (...) interrelated arguments against the pluralist view. The arguments are not demonstrative. Some possible escape routes for the pluralist are outlined. But I think the arguments constitute a formidable challenge. There should be serious doubt as to whether the pluralist view, as it emerges after discussion of these arguments, will be worth defending. Moreover, there is an alternative ontological view which equally well subserves the motivations underlying ontological pluralism. (shrink)
Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. In this article, I explore what logical pluralism is, and what it entails, by: (i) distinguishing clearly between relativism about a particular domain and pluralism about that domain; (ii) distinguishing between a number of forms logical pluralism might take; (iii) attempting to distinguish between those versions of pluralism that are clearly true and those that are might be controversial; and (iv) surveying three (...) prominent attempts to argue for logical pluralism and evaluating them along the criteria provided by (ii) and (iii). (shrink)
This paper attacks the Implicit Reference Class Theory of gradable adjectives and proposes instead a ?pluralist? approach to the semantics of those terms, according to which they can be governed by a variety of different types of standards, one, but only one, of which is the group-indexed standards utilized by the Implicit Reference Class Theory.
Relativism offers a nifty way of accommodating most of our intuitions about epistemic modals, predicates of personal taste, color expressions, future contingents, and conditionals. But in spite of its manifest merits relativism is squarely at odds with epistemic value monism: the view that truth is the highest epistemic goal. I will call the argument from relativism to epistemic value pluralism the trivial argument for epistemic value pluralism. After formulating the argument, I will look at three possible ways to (...) refute it. I will then argue that two of these are unsuccessful, and defend the third, which involves denying that there are any genuinely relative truths. (shrink)
When making moral judgments, people are typically guided by a plurality of moral rules. These rules owe their existence to human emotions but are not simply equivalent to those emotions. And people’s moral judgments ought to be guided by a plurality of emotion-based rules. The view just stated combines three positions on moral judgment:  moral sentimentalism, which holds that sentiments play an essential role in moral judgment,1  descriptive moral pluralism, which holds that commonsense moral judgment is guided (...) by a plurality of moral rules2, and  prescriptive moral pluralism, which holds that moral judgment ought to be guided by a plurality of moral rules. In what follows, we will argue for all three positions. We will not present a comprehensive case for these positions nor address many of the arguments philosophers have developed against them. What we will try to show is that recent psychological work supports sentimentalist pluralism in both its descriptive and prescriptive forms. (shrink)