In The Virtual, Rob Shields puts virtuality in with the key categories of contemporary social theory such as subjectivity, agency, structure, and the spaces and temporalities between the modern and the postmodern. Shields has rescued the term and the idea of the virtual from utopian futurists like Howard Rheingold and Nicholas Negroponte who use it to hype emergent technologies and forms of culture as the magical vehicles and entry points to new worlds and identities. The works of these digerati, ideologues (...) for multimedia technology and culture, now appear ideological, outdated, and no more than huckstering of the new when confronted with the current state of affairs in the technoculture and its attendant war- and terrorism-torn world. (shrink)
Rob Lovering has recently argued that God is not omniscient on the grounds that (1) in order to be omniscient a subject must not only know all truths always but also know what it's like not to know a truth, and (2) God cannot fulfil both of these requirements. I show that Lovering's argument is unsuccessful since he inadequately supports (1) and (2), and since there are several serious doubts about (2). I also show that Lovering does not otherwise indicate (...) that God is not maximally great. (shrink)
In his response to my earlier criticism, Rob Lawlor argues that the benefits I suggest can be derived from teaching moral theories in applied ethics courses can be obtained in other ways. In my reply, I note that because I never claimed the benefits could be obtained only from teaching moral theories, Dr Lawlor’s response fails to refute my earlier argument that some attention to moral theories is an option in applied ethics courses.
Let me begin by signaling my enthusiasm both for the specific case offered by Cummins et al. against teleosemantics and for the overall framework from which this work derives. If the first approximation of the idea is that there will be material implicit in a representation that can be exploited by a cognitive agent that later acquires the right abilities to extract this material, and if this material looks a great deal like content, then the teleosemanticist will find accommodating it (...) challenging. Moreover, the distinction between representation and indication is intriguing and important, and the discussion of structural transformation and isomorphism is illuminating. While Cummins has been urging these themes for some time now, it seems to me that they have not been sufficiently appreciated in the literature. (shrink)
This article seeks to demonstrate a particular application of Foucault's philosophical approach to a particular issue in education: that of personal autonomy. The paper surveys and extends the approach taken by James Marshall in his book Michel Foucault: Personal autonomy and education. After surveying Marshall's writing on the issue I extend Marshall's approach, critically analysing the work of Rob Reich and Meira Levinson, two contemporary philosophers who advocate models of personal autonomy as the basis for a liberal education.
Rob Clifton was one of the most brilliant and productive researchers in the foundations and philosophy of quantum theory, who died tragically at the age of 38. Jeremy Butterfield and Hans Halvorson collect fourteen of his finest papers here, drawn from the latter part of his career (1995-2002), all of which combine exciting philosophical discussion with rigorous mathematical results. Many of these papers break wholly new ground, either conceptually or technically. Others resolve a vague controversy intoa precise technical problem, which (...) is then solved; still others solve an open problem that had been in the air for soem time. All of them show scientific and philosophical creativity of a high order, genuinely among the very best work in the field. The papers are grouped into four Parts. First come four papers about the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics. Part II comprises three papers on the foundations of algebraic quantum field theory, with an emphasis on entanglement and nonlocality. The two papers in Part III concern the concept of a particle in relativistic quantum theories. One paper analyses localization; the other analyses the Unruh effect (Rindler quanta) using the algebraic approach to quantum theory. Finally, Part IV contains striking new results about such central issues as complementarity, Bohr's reply to the EPR argument, and no hidden variables theorems; and ends with a philosophical survey of the field of quantum information. The volume includes a full bibliography of Clifton's publications. Quantum Entanglements offers inspiration and substantial reward to graduates and professionals in the foundations of physics, with a background in philosophy, physics, or mathematics. (shrink)
Lefebvre, Love and Struggle provides the only comprehensive guide to Lefebvre's work. It is an accessible introduction to one of the most significant European thinkers of the twentieth century. Rob Shields draws on the full range of Lefebvre's writings, including many previously untranslated and unpublished works and correspondence. Topics covered include Lefebvre's early relationship with Marxism, his critique of the rise of fascism, as well as his Critique of Everyday Life and the significant work on urban space for which he (...) is best known today. (shrink)
Creativity: Theory, History, Practice offers important new perspectives on creativity in the light of contemporary critical theory and cultural history. Innovative in approach as well as argument, the book crosses disciplinary boundaries and builds new bridges between the critical and the creative. It is organized in four parts: · Why creativity now? offers much-needed alternatives to both the Romantic stereotype of the creator as individual genius and the tendency of the modern creative industries to treat everything as a commodity. · (...) Defining creativity, creating definitions traces the changing meaning of "create" from religious ideas of divine creation from nothing to advertising notions of concept creation. It also examines the complex history and extraordinary versatility of terms such as imagination, invention, inspiration and originality. · Creation as myth, story, metaphor begins with modern re-telling of early African, American and Australian creation myths and -picking up Biblical and evolutionary accounts along the way - works round to scientific visions of the Big Bang, bubble universes and cosmic soup. · Creative practices, cultural processes is a critical anthology of materials, chosen to promote fresh thinking about everything from changing constructions of "literature" and "design" to artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Rob Pope takes significant steps forward in the process of rethinking a vexed yet vital concept, all the while encouraging and equipping readers to continue the process in their own creative or "re-creative" ways. Creativity: Theory, History, Practice is invaluable for anyone with a live interest in exploring what creativity has been, is currently, and yet may be. (shrink)
An Odyssey With Animals: A Veterinarian’s Reflections on the Animal Rights and Welfare Debate Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 379-381 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9327-x Authors Rob Irvine, Sydney Bioethics Program, Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Medical Foundation Building, University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Sydney, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 4.
Abstract Global climate change will have a strong impact on Nigeria, particularly on agricultural production and associated livelihoods. Although there is a growing scientific consensus about the impact of climate change, efforts so far in Nigeria to deal with these impacts are still rudimentary and not properly coordinated. There is little evidence of any pragmatic approach towards tracking climate change in order to develop an evidence base on which to formulate national adaptation strategies. Although Nigeria is not alone in this (...) regard, the paper asserts that National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy could help address this situation by guiding the integration of climate change adaptation into government policies, strategies, and programs, with particular focus on the most vulnerable groups and the agricultural sectors. There is an urgent need to adopt abatement strategies that will provide economic incentives to reduce the risk from disasters, such as developing agricultural practices that are more resilient to a changing climate. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-11 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9336-0 Authors N. A. Onyekuru, Ecosystems and Society Research Cluster, Department of Environment, University of York, York, UK Rob Marchant, Ecosystems and Society Research Cluster, Department of Environment, University of York, York, UK Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
This paper addresses two worries that might be raised about contextualism in epistemology and that carry over to its moral analogues: that contextualism robs epistemology (and moral theory) of a proper subject-matter, and that contextualism robs knowledge claims (and moral claims) of their objectivity. Two theses are defended: (1) that these worries are appropriately directed at interestdependent theories in general rather than at contextualism in particular, and (2) that the two worries are over-stated in any case. Finally, the paper offers (...) some considerations in favour of attributor contextualism over 'subject-sensitive invariantism', both in epistemology and in moral theory. But here we note an interesting result: the very considerations that support contextualism as a semantic thesis, threaten to rob that position of its anti-sceptical force. (shrink)
There are two distinct views on how to formulate an objective consequentialist account of the deontic status of actions, actualism and possibilism. On an actualist account, what matters to the deontic status of actions is only the value of the outcome an action would have, if performed. By contrast, a possibilist account also takes into account the value of the outcomes that an action could have. These two views come apart in their deontic verdicts when an agent is imperfect in (...) an avoidable way, viz., when agent brings about less good than she could. In this paper, I offer an argument against actualism that draws on the connection between moral obligation and practical reasons. (shrink)
In an essay on performance-enhancing drugs, author Chuck Klosterman (2007) argues that the category of enhancers extends from hallucinogens used to inspire music to steroids used to strengthen athletes—and he criticizes those who would excuse one means of enhancement while railing against the other as a form of cheating: After the summer of 1964, the Beatles started taking serious drugs, and those drugs altered their musical performance. Though it may not have been their overt intent, the Beatles took performance-enhancing drugs. (...) And . . . absolutely no one holds it against them. No one views “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” as “less authentic” albums, despite the fact that they would not (and probably could .. (shrink)
Many theists who identify themselves with the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) maintain that it is perfectly acceptable to have faith that God exists. In this paper, I argue that, when believing that God exists will affect others, it is prima facie wrong to forgo attempting to believe that God exists on the basis of sufficient evidence. Lest there be any confusion: I do not argue that it is always wrong to have faith that God exists, only that, under (...) certain conditions, it can be. (shrink)
In this splendid section from his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding , Hume's first concern is our ordinary belief that the natural world -- the world leaving our own conscious existence aside -- is a world of determinism, all cause and effect. He gives his account of what this ordinary belief can come to, the fact of the matter. Turning to our own conscious existence, he finds the same fact of the matter. Hence our world too is a world of determinism, (...) all cause and effect. That is the story with the man who comes to dinner and does not rob Hume of his silver standish. The story of Indeterminism, and in particular of the kind of freedom that is origination, must be a mistake. (shrink)
Two very different insights motivate characterizing the brain as a computer. One depends on mathematical theory that defines computability in a highly abstract sense. Here the foundational idea is that of a Turing machine. Not an actual machine, the Turing machine is really a conceptual way of making the point that any well-defined function could be executed, step by step, according to simple 'if-you-are-in-state-P-and-have-input-Q-then-do-R' rules, given enough time (maybe infinite time) [see COMPUTATION]. Insofar as the brain is a device whose (...) input and output can be characterized in terms of some mathematical function -- however complicated -- then in that very abstract sense, it can be mimicked by a Turning machine. Given what is known so far brains do seem to depend on cause-effect operations, and hence brains appear to be, in some formal sense, equivalent to a Turing machine [see CHURCH-TURING THESIS]. On its own, however, this reveals nothing at all of how the mind-brain actually works. The second insight depends on looking at the brain as a biological device that processes information from the environment to build complex representations that enable the brain to make predictions and select advantageous behaviors. Where necessary to avoid ambiguity, we will refer to the first notion of computation as algorithmic computation, and the second as information processing computation. (shrink)
In his paper, “Should the Numbers Count?" John Taurek imagines that we are in a position such that we can either save a group of five people, or we can save one individual, David. We cannot save David and the five. This is because they each require a life-saving drug. However, David needs all of the drug if he is to survive, while the other five need only a fifth each.Typically, people have argued as if there was a choice to (...) be made: either numbers matter, in which case we should save the greater number, or numbers don't matter, but rather there is moral value in giving each person an equal chance of survival, and therefore we should toss a coin. My claim is that we do not have to make a choice in this way. Rather, numbers do matter, but it doesn't follow that we should always save the greater number. And likewise, there is moral value in giving each person an equal chance of survival, but it doesn't follow that we should always toss a coin. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Richard Gale and Alexander Pruss offer a new cosmological proof for the existence of God relying only on the Weak Principle of Sufficient Reason, W-PSR. We argue that their proof relies on applications of W-PSR that cannot be justified, and that our modal intuitions simply do not support W-PSR in the way Gale and Pruss take them to.
Our paper ‘A new cosmological argument’ gave an argument for the existence of God making use of the weak Principle of Sufficient Reason (W-PSR) which states that for every proposition p, if p is true, then it is possible that there is an explanation for p. Recently, Graham Oppy, as well as Kevin Davey and Rob Clifton, have criticized the argument. We reply to these criticisms. The most interesting kind of criticism in both papers alleges that the W-PSR can be (...) justifiably denied by the atheist, and constitutes no improvement on the strong Principle of Sufficient Reason (S-PSR) which claims that every true proposition in fact has an explanation. The criticism is predicated on the fact that it can be shown that the W-PSR entails the S-PSR. We argue that the W-PSR's plausibility remains despite the criticisms. From this it can be seen to follow that the entailment relation between the W-PSR and the S-PSR gives one reason to believe the S-PSR. (shrink)
David Enoch recently defended the idea that there are valid inferences of the form ‘it would be good if p, therefore, p’. I argue that Enoch's proposal allows us to infer the absurd conclusion that ours is the best of all possible worlds.
If culture is defined as variation acquired and maintained by social learning, then culture is common in nature. However, cumulative cultural evolution resulting in behaviors that no individual could invent on their own is limited to humans, song birds, and perhaps chimpanzees. Circumstantial evidence suggests that cumulative cultural evolution requires the capacity for observational learning. Here, we analyze two models the evolution of psychological capacities that allow cumulative cultural evolution. Both models suggest that the conditions which allow the evolution of (...) such capacities when rare are much more stringent than the conditions which allow the maintenance of the capacities when common. This result follows from the fact that the assumed benefit of the capacities, cumulative cultural adaptation, cannot occur when the capacities are rare. These results suggest why such capacities may be rare in nature. (shrink)
Many debates in the philosophy of religion, particularly arguments for and against the existence of God, depend on a claim or set of claims about what God—qua sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being— would do , either directly or indirectly, in particular cases or in general. Accordingly, before these debates can be resolved we must first settle the more fundamental issue of whether we can know, or at least have justified belief about, what God would do. In this paper, (...) I lay out the possible positions on the issue of whether we can know what God would do, positions I refer to as Broad Skeptical Theism, Broad Epistemic Theism, and Narrow Skeptical Theism. I then examine the implications of each of these views and argue that each presents serious problems for theism. (shrink)