According to a familiar objection to Davidson's causal theory of action, reasons are not causes qua reasons unless explanations of actions fit reason and action into a nomic nexus. The focus of this criticism should really be redirected to the issue of whether or not Davidson's theory provides an account of the explanatory force of explanations of actions.
Recent non-representationalists and metaphysical anti-realists (such as Goodman, Putnam, Rorty, etc.) have argued that the “Enlightenment notion” of a “God’s eye” point of view of the world is unsustainable. Deployment of conceptual schemes and/or intersubjective assent both constitute the world and fix the truth value of our statements about it. Many theists, on the contrary, hold an equally extreme realist position according to which God has a view of the world as it is “in itself" which provides (...) an exhaustive description of the world. Furthermore, on this view, God has access to this exhaustive picture because the world exists and is what it is in virtue of its being the object of divine creative intentions. For these theistic realists, truths about the world must ultimately be able to be cashed out in terms of an ontology consisting only of simple and composite substances—substances which exist in virtue of the ontological structure set out in the world via God's creative activity. As a result, on this view, the world is constituted in a way that is independent of the activity of created cognizers and their conceptualizing activity. The truth of our assertions must ultimately find its grounding in this independently constituted world. (shrink)
This paper is based on notes taken during a three day lecture given by Humberto Maturana in St Kilda, Victoria, August 7th - 9th, 1993. It was obvious from the participants that many non biologists have found Maturana's work to be influential in their thinking. The audience included immunologists, family therapists, academics, architects, agriculturalists and information technologists.
Endothelial cells, when cultured on gelled basement membrane matrix exert forces of tension through which they deform the matrix and at the same time they aggregate into clusters. The cells eventually form a network of cord-like structures connecting cell aggregates. In this network, almost all of the matrix has been pulled underneath the cell cords and cell clusters. This phenomenon has been proposed as a possible model for the growth and development of planar vascular systems in vitro. Our hypothesis is (...) that the matrix is reorganized and the cellular networks form as a result of traction forces exerted by the cells on the matrix and the latter's elasticity. We construct and analyze a mathematical model based on this hypothesis and examine conditions necessary for the formation of the pattern. We show cell migration is not necessary for pattern formation and that isotropic, strain-stimulated traction is sufficient to form the observed patterns. (shrink)
Between 1701 and 1705 Leibniz focused on the task of securing theological reunion between Lutherans and Calvinists, the two major Protestant sects at the time. Doing so, he believed, required reconciliation on two key topics, namely, the doctrine of the Eucharist, and the doctrine of election. To bring unity on the second issue, Leibniz composed a lengthy treatise based on a commentary on the Thirty-nine articles of the Church of England. This treatise stakes out a position springing from Leibniz’s own (...) views. In this essay, I examine the views Leibniz defends in this treatise. I show that Leibniz’s views are much friendlier to the Arminian perspective than to the Calvinist one. I also show that this result is surprising since Arminian views seem incompatible with views on freedom and the problem of evil standardly attributed to Leibniz. This lack of fit should compel a re-examination of these standard attributions. (shrink)
Approaches to model evaluation in terms of Occam's razor or principles of parsimony cannot avoid judgements about the relative importance of aspects of the models. Assumptions about “core processing” are usually considered more important than those related to decision components, but when the decision is related to a central feature of the processing, it becomes extremely difficult to tease apart the influences of core and decision components and to draw sensible conclusions about underlying architecture. It is preferable, where possible, to (...) use experimental procedures that avoid the necessity for subject decisions related to critical aspects of the underlying process. (shrink)
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
We propose a model mechanism for the initiation and spatial positioning of teeth primordia in the alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. Detailed embryological studies by Westergaard and Ferguson (1986, 1987, 1990) have shown that jaw growth plays a crucial role in the developmental patterning of the tooth initiation process. Based on biological data we develop a dynamic patterning mechanism, which crucially includes domain growth. The mechanism can reproduce the spatial pattern development of the first seven teeth primordia in each half jaw (...) of A. mississippiensis. The results for the precise spatio-temporal sequence compare well with experiment. Simulation of the model also predicts that certain transplantations can alter the spatial sequence of teeth primordia initiation. (shrink)
E-Z Reader fits key parameters from one corpus of eye movement data, but has not really been tested with new data sets. More critically, it is argued that the key mechanism driving eye movements – a serial process involving a proportion of word recognition time – is implausible on the basis of a broad range of experimental findings.
It is commonly supposed that metaphysical modal claims are to be evaluated with respect to a single domain of possible worlds: a claim is metaphysically necessary just in case it is true in every possible world, and metaphysically possible just in case it is true in some possible world. We argue that the standard understanding is incorrect; rather, whether a given claim is metaphysically necessary or possible is relative to which world is indicatively actual. We motivate our view by attention (...) to discussions in Salmon 1989 and Fine 2005, in which various data are taken to support rejecting the transitivity of accessibility (Salmon) and modal monism (Fine); we argue that relativized metaphysical modality can accommodate these data compatible with both standard modal logic(s) and modal monism. Noting an analogy with two-dimensional semantics, we argue that metaphysical modality has a complex structure, reflecting what is counterfactually possible, relative to each indicatively actual world. In arguing for the need for relativization, we are broadly on the same side as Crossley and Humberstone (1977) and Davies and Humberstone (1979); our contribution here is, first, to offer distinctively metaphysical reasons for relativization, and second, to show that relativization can be incorporated in ways minimally departing from standard modal logic(s). (shrink)
The paper distinguishes between two different senses of ‘genius’ found in Kant's Critique of Judgement, and criticizes an argument commonly attributed to Kant. The argument is in support of the conclusion that an agent must possess and employ genius in the ‘productive faculty’ sense in order to produce an artwork. It is shown that Kant did not in fact make this argument. He defended a different claim concerning the need to employ the concept of a productive faculty of genius in (...) order to make pure judgements of taste concerning artworks. I conclude with the suggestion that there are indications in Kant's theory of a significant departure from a tradition of thought according to which there is something essentially mysterious about the possibility of the production of fine art. (shrink)
This paper explores how the Bayesian program benefits from allowing for objective chance as well as subjective degree of belief. It applies David Lewis’s Principal Principle and David Christensen’s principle of informed preference to defend Howard Raiffa’s appeal to preferences between reference lotteries and scaling lotteries to represent degrees of belief. It goes on to outline the role of objective lotteries in an application of rationality axioms equivalent to the existence of a utility assignment to represent preferences in Savage’s famous (...) omelet example of a rational choice problem. An example motivating causal decision theory illustrates the need for representing subjunctive dependencies to do justice to intuitive examples where epistemic and causal independence come apart. We argue to extend Lewis’s account of chance as a guide to epistemic probability to include De Finetti’s convergence results. We explore Diachronic Dutch book arguments as illustrating commitments for treating transitions as learning experiences. Finally, we explore implications for Martingale convergence results for motivating commitment to objective chances. (shrink)
Recent Christian reflection on the relation of religion and ethics has focused a great deal on establishing a conception of ethics in which God plays a central role. The numerous attempts to respond to Plato's "Euthyphro Dilemma" and the various defenses of the divine command theory provide two examples of this phenomenon. But much of this ethical reflection has gone on in a way that is largely “defensive.” That is, those engaged in such discussions typically describe an ethical theory which (...) provides God with a central role, and then seek to deflect potentially fatal objections. While there is surely a place for this sort of defensive reflection, these discussions fail to address a deeper and perhaps more pressing question, namely: what positive reasons are there for preferring a religiously grounded ethical theory to the non-religious competitors. Are there argument or considerations, we might wonder, that can explain just why grounding an ethical theory in theism is superior to grounding it non-theistically? And if there are, what would such arguments or considerations look like? (shrink)
The debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists depends in large part on what ordinary people mean by ‘free will’, a matter on which previous experimental philosophy studies have yielded conflicting results. In Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer, and Turner (2005, 2006), most participants judged that agents in deterministic scenarios could have free will and be morally responsible. Nichols and Knobe (2007), though, suggest that these apparent compatibilist responses are performance errors produced by using concrete scenarios, and that their abstract scenarios reveal the folk (...) theory of free will for what it actually is—incompatibilist. Here, we argue that the results of two new studies suggest just the opposite. Most participants only give apparent incompatibilist judgments when they mistakenly interpret determinism to imply that agents’ mental states are bypassed in the causal chains that lead to their behavior. Determinism does not entail bypassing, so these responses do not reflect genuine incompatibilist intuitions. When participants understand what determinism does mean, the vast majority take it to be compatible with free will. Further results indicate that most people’s concepts of choice and the ability to do otherwise do not commit them to incompatibilism, either, putting pressure on incompatibilist arguments that rely on transfer principles, such as the Consequence Argument. We discuss the implications of these findings for philosophical debates about free will, and suggest that incompatibilism appears to be either false, or else a thesis about something other than what most people mean by ‘free will’. (shrink)
It is argued, on the basis of ideas derived from Wittgenstein's Tractatus and Husserl's Logical Investigations, that the formal comprehends more than the logical. More specifically: that there exist certain formal-ontological constants (part, whole, overlapping, etc.) which do not fall within the province of logic. A two-dimensional directly depicting language is developed for the representation of the constants of formal ontology, and means are provided for the extension of this language to enable the representation of certain materially necessary relations. The (...) paper concludes with a discussion of the relationship between formal logic, formal ontology, and mathematics. (shrink)
The ‘Precautionary Principle’ provides a somewhat ill-defined guide, often of uncertain normative status, for those exercising administrative decision-making power in circumstances where that may create potential risks to human health or the environment. This paper seeks to explore to what extent the precautionary principle should have been and was in fact utilised by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in its decision to approve the marketing of sunscreens containing titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO) in nanoparticulate form. In particular, (...) this article assesses to what extent better application of that principle might have altered the TGA’s decision that TiO2 and ZnO ENPs in sunscreens do not require new safety testing, because they are considered to be functionally equivalent to their bulk counterparts. (shrink)
This study examines early Chinese moral education?its curriculum, objectives and the philosophical assumptions underlying them?in its classical Confucian expression. It analyzes early Confucian debates on moral psychology, the Confucian moral curriculum consisting of model emulation, cultural practices and canonical instruction, and the methods and aims of Confucian statecraft. The study reveals how ancient Confucians integrated these components into a coherent discourse on moral education and its implementation for the related purposes of cultivating virtuous people and benevolent rulers. It explains why (...) different early Confucians argued that ?nature? and ?nurture? must interrelate suitably not only for people to develop morally and prosper collectively, but also to moderate the ruler?s power by subjecting it to alternative sources of authority. This examination demonstrates that, contrary to modern criticisms of traditional Confucian culture and unlike contemporary uses of moral education in China, classical Confucian moral education was understood to serve aims quite different from either bolstering an autocracy or political indoctrination. (shrink)
It is no surprise to discover that few (if any) have found the existence of God to be an obvious fact about the world. At least this is so in the sense in which we normally use the word "obvious," as when we say that it is obvious that the World Trade Center weighs more than a deck of cards or that it is obvious that VanGogh is a better painter than I. Despite St. Paul's claim that God's (...) eternal power and divine nature "have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made" (Romans 1:20), few (if any) think that such is as "clearly seen" as the book you now hold in your hand. (shrink)
Marx launched a revolution in social thought that has been largely ignored. We locate this revolution in the context of two major reassessments of modern philosophy, Heidegger’s Being and Time and Donald Davidson’s new anti-subjectivism. We argue that the philosophical significance of Marx’s critique of the capitalist mode of production—his critique of the bourgeois horizon—has been overlooked. The paper exposes the bourgeois mindset that runs through political economy, “traditional” Marxism, and much of modern and postmodern philosophy. Bourgeois thinking is marked (...) by a series of “purist splits,” conceptual distinctions that are mishandled as actual separations: conceptual vs. empirical, conceptual scheme vs. thing in itself, individual vs. society, production vs. distribution, preference vs. the preferred object, and subjective vs. objective. Marx shows how capitalist social forms that produce the notion of “value added” inculcate the purist, bifurcating bourgeois horizon. (shrink)
During the spring of 1983 I began my third semester in college giving serious consideration to the thought of becoming a philosophy major. I had taken a few courses and found the subject intriguing. More influential in my own considerations was the fact that I had recently converted to Christianity and had been encouraged by some early mentors in the faith to read the works of various Christian philosophers both contemporary and classical. One evening that semester I was studying for (...) an upcoming exam when a friend, “John,” came to the door. From the look on his face I knew he was after something, what I wasn’t sure. I had known John since arriving at college, having met him at the Christian Fellowship meetings on campus. John had grown up in a devoutly Christian home and had cultivated a deep love for and devotion to his faith. However, he had struggled academically and was especially troubled by the fact that his faith seemed to have little amicable contact with the view of the world set forth by his admittedly unsympathetic professors. John began telling me about his professor for his introductory philosophy class who was, in his estimation, “leaning on” the theists in the class. He felt that every move in the course was calculated to reinforce the confidence of the atheist at the theist’s expense. At the end of the most recent lecture the professor punctuated the class as he had each semester, by offering a challenge to his students: “If you can find anyone who is willing to come to offer a philosophical defense of theism,” he mocked, “I will give them an entire class to do so.” Upon hearing the quote, I feared John was going to ask just what he proceeded to ask: “Would you try it.” Not surprisingly, I thought it unwise for someone with the full experience of one semester of philosophy under his belt to challenge a professor of nearly twenty years. Not to mention the fact that the one I would have to confront would likely be determining my future academic fate as one of my major professors.. (shrink)
Bauer, Taub, and Parsi's review of an international sample of standards on informed consent, confidentiality, commercialization, and quality of research in tissue banking reveals that no clear national or international consensus exists for these issues. The authors' response to the lack of uniformity in the meaning, scope, and ethical significance of the policies they examined is to call for the creation of uniform ethical guidelines. This raises questions about whether harmonization should consist of voluntary international standards or international regulations that (...) include an official oversight mechanism and sanctions for noncompliance, and about who should participate in the harmonization process. Moreover, the normative assumptions and political dynamics that shape global policymaking need to be addressed. This commentary explores the policy implications and normative questions raised by the idea of international ethical guidelines for the use of biotechnologies and biotechnological resources such as stored samples of human tissue. (shrink)
To show that morality is in one's interest, the challenge put forward by Hobbes's Foole, we must first be clear what is meant by something's being in one's interest. Defining self-interest in an external or objective sense (so that claiming morality really satisfies her self-interest, albeit in ways she will never appreciate) will not placate the Foole. Self-interest, for the Foole, must be understood in terms that she will endorse. Are such terms possible? Subjective interpretations of self-interest have been accused (...) of incoherence for two separate reasons. First, calling 'good' that which we desire gets the order backward, since the desirability feature is what causes us to desire it. Second, subjective accounts cannot properly explain the phenomenon of mistaken desires, or accommodate reflection on our desires with the intent on warding off such mistakes. My goal here is to show how a subjective account of self-interest is not self-defeating in these ways. (shrink)
Grodzinsky has argued that the traces deleted in Broca's aphasia are “phonetically silent but syntactically active” (sect. 2.). If we assume such traces to be visuospatial in nature, and adopt the term “overwriting” from the author's partial matching theory (1998), we can account for the errors made by Broca's aphasics in comprehending Grodzinsky's Examples (5a), (5b), and (6).
In this brief note, we respond to Gottlieb and Lasser's (2001/this issue) critical commentary on our work on narrative research ethics. We argue that their concern for privileging voices needs to be balanced against the risk of exploiting some research participants, that conflicts of interest are best resolved through appropriately prioritizing ethical principles and in consultation with others, and that the researcher's ability to protect participants from harm can be enhanced through appropriate clinical training and access to clinical expertise. We (...) welcome Gottlieb and Lasser's specific recommendations for ethical practice in narrative research and encourage further ethical reflection by other researchers in this area. (shrink)
Nathan Glazer's The Limits of Social Policy presents an analysis of recent American social policy that Edmund Burke could applaud. A main cause of the failure of American social programs, Glazer argues, is that government ineluctably supplants and weakens the ?fine structure?; of society?the traditional institutions of family, religion, and community. Sometimes the government is merely clumsy and ignorant, but more often the ill effects are the result of ?the ruling doctrines of our age,?; equality and human rights, which cannot (...) bear to leave the convoluted and sometimes unlovely ways of custom and local mores to play themselves out unimpeded. But the very persuasiveness of Glazer's analysis of the past casts some doubt on his measured optimism about the future. Are moderate reforms going to be good enough? Perhaps things will work out for the middle class and affluent, the reviewer argues, but the underclass increasingly appears to be a casualty of moderate reforms. The reviewer offers some reasons for thinking about a return to Jeffersonian self?government, unpragmatic as that may seem in 1991. (shrink)
This paper is a presentation and an interpretation of Murray Rothbard’s views on the relation between the fiscal necessities brought by war and interventionism in Money and Banking as read from his book A History of Money and Banking in the United States.
Charles Murray's political philosophy is utilitarian, individualist, and communitarian. The basis for his success in making these components cohere is his account of happiness, inspired by the motivation theory of Abraham Maslow. Murray claims that belonging to a community and self?respect (which on his analysis require a certain social commitment) are constituents of happiness. Hence utilitarians should attribute special value to community. He also argues that active national governments are inimical to the formation and functioning of (...) communities, and that communities are fostered by governments that observe the constraints of liberal individualism. (shrink)
This review essay discusses Murray Jardine’s argument in Speech and Political Practice, Recovering the Place of Human Responsibility, showing how the author skillfully draws on the thought of Michael Polanyi, William Poteat and Alaisdair MacIntyre. Jardine offers a sharp critique of contemporary culture and politics as well as political theory. He develops the idea of place, drawing attention to the acritical reliance upon context in human speech acts; this motif he argues can be a component of the new political (...) vocabulary necessary to initiate public conversations about the common good. There are interesting questions about how Jardine’s account “fits” with some of the themes in Michael Polanyi’s political philosophy. (shrink)
Abstract Murray Rothbard's Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought demonstrates his mastery of the literature. But his interpretation of the development of economics reflects, and is therefore severely limited by, his Austrian?libertarian perspective. Indeed, Rothbard appropriates the history of economic thought principally to advance his perspective, as seen in his neglect of social control, his identification of his desired economic system with the natural order of things, and especially in his denigratory treatment of Adam Smith?at bottom (...) for not being an Austrian economist and a true libertarian. A partly informed, partly myopic and sometimes useful interpretation, this is the work of an ideologue. (shrink)
It is proposed that one musically interesting way to characterise and compare different performances or recordings of the same piece is by correlating them with different Schenkerian interpretations through the medium of grouping. This approach is demonstrated through an examination of four 'either/or' passages from the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E Major, Op. 81a, passages in which at least two Schenkerian interpretations are possible. Schenker's own published and unpublished sketches, among others, are considered alongside recordings by Vladimir (...) Ashkenazy, Emil Gilels, Richard Goode, Murray Perahia and Artur Rubinstein. The approach is not meant to be self-sufficient, but rather to contribute a new set of tools to the emerging multidisciplinary field of performance studies. (shrink)