The Agent-Causal Theory of Action claims that an event counts as an action when, and only when, it is caused by an agent. The central difference between the Causal Theory of Action (CTA) and the Agent-Causal view comes down to a disagreement about what sort of item (or items) occupies the left-hand position in the causal relation. For CTA, the left-hand position is occupied by mental items within the agent, typically construed in terms of mental events (e.g., belief/desire pairs or (...) intentions). For the agent-causal theory, it is the agent herself (that is, a substance) which does the causing. Agent-causal theorists generally concede that some intentional actions involve causal relations that are best understood in eventcausal terms. Such intentional actions are "nonbasic," meaning that the agent does them by doing something else. But for any "basic" intentional action—behavior that, according to the agent-causal theorist, is caused directly by the agent—there is a causal relation between the agent, on the one hand, and the action, on the other, which is (i) primitive (not permitting of analysis) and (ii) irreducible to any other relation (including, importantly, the event-causal relation). -/- . (shrink)
Most philosophers concede that one can properly be held morally responsible for intentionally omitting to do something. If one maintains that omissions are actions (negative actions, perhaps), then assuming the requisite conditions regarding voluntariness are met, one can tell a familiar story about how/why this is. In particular, causal theorists can explain the etiology of an intentional omission in causal terms. However, if one denies that omissions are actions of any kind, then the familiar story is no longer available. Some (...) have suggested that this poses a special problem for causal theorists of action. I argue that it does not and, even more interestingly, that it renders a more nuanced understanding of voluntariness (since it no longer applies strictly to actions) and moral responsibility (since you might be to blame, but not for anything you’ve done). (shrink)
In this essay Suzanne Rice examines Aristotle's ideas about virtue, character, and education as elements in an Aristotelian conception of good listening. Rice begins by surveying of several different contexts in which listening typically occurs, using this information to introduce the argument that what should count as “good listening” must be determined in relation to the situation in which listening actually occurs. On this view, Rice concludes, there are no “essential” listening virtues, but rather ways of listening (...) that may be regarded as virtuous in the context of particular concrete circumstances. (shrink)
Hugh Rice explains why belief in God need not be seen as a strange or irrational kind of belief, but can be a natural extension of our ordinary ways of thinking. First he argues that it is rational to believe that the universe exists just because it is good that it should exist. Then he argues that we should conceive of God in an abstract way; in particular, we should understand God's willing something as consisting in its being good (...) that that thing should be so. Together these arguments give reason to believe that the universe was created by God. -/- This abstract conception of God does justice both to the nature of goodness and to the idea that God is sovereign. In the course of arguing for it, Rice gives clear and non-technical discussions of such fascinating topics as the objectivity of value, the problem of evil, and the evidence for miracles. Anyone interested in the nature of God and the basis of religious belief will enjoy this book. (shrink)
Rice, Robert James William Gleeson was born in Balaklava, a town in the mid-north of South Australia, on 24 December 1920. The son of John Joseph Gleeson and Margaret Mary O'Connell, he was the third born of six children - the elder brother of Thomas, John and Raphael (Ray), and the younger brother of Mary. The first-born child, also Mary, born in Balaklava on 6 May 1918, died one hour after birth. She was baptised during her short life.
A Guide to Plato's Republic provides an integral interpretation of the Republic that is accessible even to readers approaching Plato's masterwork for the first time. Written at a level understandable to undergraduates, it is ideal for students and other readers who have little or no background in philosophy or political theory. Rice anticipates their inevitable reactions to the Republic and treats them seriously, opening the way to an appreciation of the complexities of the text without oversimplifying it. While many (...) books on the Republic never stray far from explicating Plato's text, this work contrasts Plato's responses to perennial issues in philosophy and political theory with those of several key subsequent thinkers. It uses engaging examples to show the continuing relevance of Plato's arguments and introduces some basic vocabulary of philosophy and political theory, going beyond terse dictionary definitions by illustrating what technical terms mean in the context of Plato's work. The author's interpretative posture is appreciative but respectfully critical of Plato's vision. Stressing the relationship between Plato's politics and metaphysics, Rice argues that Plato's reluctance to accept the reality and consequences of finitude accounts for much of what many readers find objectionable in his politics. Lively, relatively brief, and designed to provoke discussion in the classroom, A Guide to Plato's Republic is ideal for political theory and introduction to philosophy courses as well as other courses that assign the Republic as a primary text. (shrink)
As global business operations expand, managers need more knowledge of foreign cultures, in particular, information on the ethics of doing business across borders. The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to share the Islamic perspective on business ethics, little known in the west, which may stimulate further thinking and debate on the relationships between ethics and business, and (2) to provide some knowledge of Islamic philosophy in order to help managers do business in Muslim cultures. The case of Egypt (...) illustrates some divergence between Islamic philosophy and practice in economic life. The paper concludes with managerial implications and suggestions for further research. (shrink)
There is a familiar argument based on the principle that the past is fixed that, if God foreknows what I will do, I do not have the power to act otherwise. So, there is a problem about reconciling divine omniscience with the power to do otherwise. However the problem posed by the argument does not provide a good reason for adopting the view that God is outside time. In particular, arguments for the fixity of the past, if successful, either establish (...) His timelessness independently of the problem, or mean that the problem could not be solved by adopting the view that He is timeless. (Published Online April 7 2006). (shrink)
Concepts are the constituents of thoughts. Therefore, concepts are vital to any theory of cognition. However, despite their widely accepted importance, there is little consensus about the nature and origin of concepts. Thanks to the work of Lawrence Barsalou, Jesse Prinz and others concept empiricism has been gaining momentum within the philosophy and psychology literature. Concept empiricism maintains that all concepts are copies, or combinations of copies, of perceptual representations—that is, all concepts are couched in the codes of perceptual representation (...) systems. It is widely agreed that any satisfactory theory of concepts must account for how concepts semantically compose (the compositionality requirement) and explain how their intentional content is determined (the content determination requirement). In this paper, I argue that concept empiricism has serious problems satisfying these two requirements. Therefore, although stored perceptual representations may facilitate some traditionally conceptual tasks, concepts should not be identified with copies of perceptual representations. (shrink)
A number of thinkers today, including open theists, find reasons to attribute temporality to God. According to Robert W. Jenson, the Trinity is indispensable to a Christian concept of God, and divine temporality is essential to the meaning of the Trinity. Following the lead of early Christian thought, Jenson argues that the persons of the Trinity are relations, and these relations are temporal. Jensonâs insights are obscured, however, by problematic references to time as a sphere to which God is related. (...) Schubert M. Ogden gives the notion of divine temporality coherent content by arguing that Godâs actuality is best understood as an unending succession of experiences. This paper was delivered in the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
Ethical issues in linguistic fieldwork have received surprisingly little direct attention in recent years. This article reviews ethical models for fieldwork and outlines the responsibilities of linguists involved in fieldwork on endangered languages to individuals, communities, and knowledge systems, focusing on fieldwork in a North American context.
Social relations associated with conventional agricultural exports find their origins in long term associations based on business, family, and class alliances. Working outside these boundaries presents a host of challenges, especially where small producers with little economic or political power are concerned. Yet, in many developing countries, alternative trade organizations (ATOs) based on philosophies of social justice and/or environmental well-being are carving out spaces alongside traditional agricultural export sectors by establishing new channels of trade and marketing. Coffee provides a case (...) in point, with the fair trade and certified organic movements making inroads into the market place. In their own ways, these movements represent a type of economic and social restructuring from below, drawing upon and developing linkages beyond the traditional boundaries of how coffee is produced and traded. An examination of the philosophies of the fair trade and organic coffee movements reveal that the philosophical underpinnings of both certified organic and fair-trade coffee run counter to the historical concerns of coffee production and trade. Associations of small producers involved in these coffees face stiff challenges – both internal and external to their groups. More work, especially in situ fieldwork aimed at uncovering the challenges, benefits, tensions, and successes, is needed to understand better the ways these networks operate in the dynamic agro-food complex. (shrink)
Biologists and economists use models to study complex systems. This similarity between these disciplines has led to an interesting development: the borrowing of various components of model-based theorizing between the two domains. A major recent example of this strategy is economists’ utilization of the resources of evolutionary biology in order to construct models of economic systems. This general strategy has come to be called evolutionary economics and has been a source of much debate among economists. Although philosophers have developed literatures (...) on the nature of models and modeling, the unique issues surrounding this kind of interdisciplinary model building have yet to be independently investigated. In this paper, we utilize evolutionary economics as a case study in the investigation of more general issues concerning interdisciplinary modeling. We begin by critiquing the distinctions currently used within the evolutionary economics literature and propose an alternative carving of the conceptual terrain. We then argue that the three types of evolutionary economics we distinguish capture distinctions that will be important whenever resources of model-based theorizing are borrowed across distinct scientific domains. Our analysis of these model-building strategies identifies several of the unique methodological and philosophical issues that confront interdisciplinary modeling. (shrink)
Current critical pedagogical scholarship has theorized the epistemological and social intersection between globalization and educational technology according to two distinct positions. For some, this intersection offers new liberatory knowledges and opportunities that can subvert social homogenization and economic disparity. For others, this relationship is just another phase of neoimperialism that should be politically and ideologically resisted. In contrast, we argue that the intersection between globalization and educational technologies is rather a manifestation of larger economic and logical forces, and that resistance (...) to such circumstances can neither be purely ideological or social. Instead, we contend that such a theoretical and pedagogical foreclosure dialectically actualizes conditions for real change—particularly when it complicates educational research technologies and their impact on epistemological multiplicity. (shrink)
Newell and Shanks (2012) argue that an explanation for blindsight need not appeal to unconscious brain processes, citing research indicating that the condition merely reflects degraded visual experience. We reply that other evidence suggests that blindsighters’ predictive behavior under forced choice reflects cognitive access to low-level visual information that does not correlate with visual consciousness. Thus, while we grant that visual consciousness may be required for full visual experience, we argue that it may not be needed for decision making and (...) judgment. (shrink)
Spinoza semble adopter une position pleinement nominaliste lorsqu'il discue des notions universelles dans l'Ethique, mais on y trouve aussi plusieurs arguments où, semble-t-il, des universaux sont présupposés. La solution avancé par plusieurs commentateurs, y compris Haserot, est que le système spinoziste est d'inspiration platoniste, et qu'il faut réinterpréter les passages d'apparence nominaliste pour les accorder avec le platonisme ou l'essentialisme. J'argumente qu'un tel procédé n'est justifié ni par le texte ni par la structure du système de Spinoza. L'interprétation du spinozisme (...) que je propose le place dans le cadre logique du nominalisme contemporain, à l'instar du système de Nelson Goodman, par exemple. (shrink)
Egypt, a less affluent, predominantly Muslim country, suffers from numerous forms of environmental pollution, some severe. This study investigates pro-environmental behaviors of citizens in Cairo, Egypt’s largest metropolis, and studies the relationship between pro-environmental behavior and demographic variables, beliefs, values, and religiosity. Analysis shows that three types of pro-environmental behavior are present: Public Sphere, Private Sphere, and Activist Behavior, with the latter occurring less frequently. Importantly, the study identifies an ecocentric value among respondents which is correlated with Public Sphere Behavior. (...) It also confirms earlier research that characterized Egyptians’ perceptions of the environment as being set in the context of health and cleanliness. Religious teachings and religiosity are shown to be associated with pro-environmental behavior, thus lending support to the presence of an Islamic environmental ethic. (shrink)
The objective list theory of well-being holds that a plurality of basic objective goods directly benefit people. These can include goods such as loving relationships, meaningful knowledge, autonomy, achievement, and pleasure. The objective list theory is pluralistic (it does not identify an underlying feature shared by these goods) and objective (the basic goods benefit people independently of their reactive attitudes toward them). In this paper, I discuss the structure of this theory and show how it is supported by people's considered (...) judgments. I then respond to three objections. First, I argue that there is no conceptual reason to favor a monistic theory of well-being over a pluralistic one (such as the objective list theory). Second, I argue that states of affairs can benefit people even though they hold no positive reactive attitudes toward them. And, third, I argue that objective list theorists can identify a fairly-determinate list of basic goods. (shrink)
A prominent approach to scientific explanation and modeling claims that for a model to provide an explanation it must accurately represent at least some of the actual causes in the event's causal history. In this paper, I argue that many optimality explanations present a serious challenge to this causal approach. I contend that many optimality models provide highly idealized equilibrium explanations that do not accurately represent the causes of their target system(s). Furthermore, in many contexts, it is in virtue of (...) their independence of causes that optimality models are able to provide a better explanation than competing causal models. Consequently, our account of explanation and modeling must expand beyond the causal approach. (shrink)
I argue that Spinoza’s account of appetition, and its application to human sexuality, is more original than many commentators suggest; and that it offers resolutions to several puzzles in the philosophy of sex. The paper first situates these puzzles in contemporary debates, offers a detailed analysis of Spinoza’s remarks on love in general and sexual love in particular, and concludes with some of the normative consequences which Spinoza attempts to derive from these.
The phenomenon of synesthesia has undergone an invigoration of research interest and empirical progress over the past decade. Studies investigating the cognitive mechanisms underlying synesthesia have yielded insight into neural processes behind such cognitive operations as attention, memory, spatial phenomenology and inter-modal processes. However, the structural and functional mechanisms underlying synesthesia still remain contentious and hypothetical. The first section of the present paper reviews recent research on grapheme-color synesthesia, one of the most common forms of synesthesia, and addresses the ongoing (...) debate concerning the role of selective attention in eliciting synesthetic experience. Drawing on conclusions of the first half, the paper’s second half examines the various models proposed to explain the cognitive mechanisms behind grapheme-color synesthesia, and discusses the explanatory virtues of a new model suggesting that grapheme-color synesthesia is grounded in memory. The last section offers an examination of some of the broader philosophical implications of synesthesia. (shrink)
Whitehead's metaphysics contains an accurate portrayal of concrete human existence - one which can serve as a ground for criticizing the abstractions into which liberalism has fallen. His critical individualism, his insistence both on the individual as the seat of all value and on our essential connectedness to one another in modern society, is a call for liberalism to restore concrete meaning to its fundamental notions of individuality and freedom. However, his suggestions that the core values of liberalism can be (...) actualized if we but reaffirm Plato's ancient equation of knowledge with virtue rests on an optimism that is difficult to sustain apart from a compensatory metaphysical dogma. We can appropriate Whitehead's criticism of liberalism, but if we can no longer convince ourselves of a metaphysical vision that supports faith in Plato's equation, we must look elsewhere for suggestions as to how liberalism can be revitalized. (shrink)
It is shown that any hidden variable model that reproduces quantum mechanics for a single particle must either be nonlocal or violate conservation of momentum. This is established by deriving an inequality which must hold in any local, momentum-conserving hidden variable model for a modified form of the double-slit experiment. It is then shown that any hidden variable model that reproduces quantum mechanics must violate the inequality. The inconsistency between the classical and quantum views of the world is therefore demonstrated (...) in a new way. (shrink)
Biomedical research today can be generally classified as human-based or nonhuman animal-based, each with separate and distinct review boards that must approve research protocols. Researchers wishing to work with humans or human tissues have become frustrated by the required burdensome approval panel, the Institutional Review Board. However, scientists have found it is much easier to work with the animal-based research review board, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Consequently, animals are used for investigations even when scientists believe these studies (...) should be performed with humans or human tissue. This situation deserves attention from society and more specifically the animal protection and patient advocate communities, as neither patients nor animals are well served by the present situation. (shrink)