You might think a simple “No” would suffice as an answer. But there are features of Kant’s ethics that appear to be strikingly similar to virtue oriented views, so striking that some Kantians themselves have argued that Kant’s ethics in fact shares these features with virtue ethics. In what follows, I will argue against this view, though along the way I will acknowledge the features of Kant’s view that make it appear more like a kind of virtue ethics than it (...) really is. (shrink)
Aristotle's has been the most influential philosophy in the whole history of science. Monte Johnson examines its most controversial aspect: Aristotle's emphasis on the importance of goals and purposes to scientific understanding--his teleology. In some cases this policy has proved deeply flawed, for example in his earth-centric cosmology, or his anthropology purporting to justify slavery and male domination. But in many areas Aristotle's teleology has been successful, and remains influential, for example in adaptationist evolutionary theory, embryology, and genetics. (...) class='Hi'>Johnson's book shows also how Aristotle's theory has profound implications for environmental ethics and for the theory of value in general. (shrink)
The belief that the mind and the body are separate and that the mind is the source of all meaning has been a part of Western culture for centuries. Both philosophers and scientists have questioned this dualism, but their efforts have rarely converged. Many philosophers continue to rely on disembodied models of human thought, while scientists tend to reduce the complex process of thinking to a merely physical phenomenon. In The Meaning of the Body , Mark Johnson continues his (...) pioneering work on the exciting connections between cognitive science, language, and meaning first begun in the classic Metaphors We Live By . Johnson uses recent research into infant psychology to show how the body generates meaning even before self-consciousness has fully developed. From there he turns to cognitive neuroscience to further explore the bodily origins of meaning, thought, and language and examines the many dimensions of meaning—including images, qualities, emotions, and metaphors—that are all rooted in the body’s physical encounters with the world. Drawing on the psychology of art and pragmatist philosophy, Johnson argues that all of these aspects of meaning-making are fundamentally aesthetic. Thus the arts are the culmination of human attempts to find meaning and studying the aesthetic dimensions of our experience is crucial to unlocking the bodily sources of meaning. Brilliantly synthesizing a broad range of scientific research and philosophical inquiry in clear and original writing, Mark Johnson’s The Meaning of the Body puts forth a bold new conception of the mind rooted in the understanding that philosophy will matter to nonphilosophers only if it is built on a visceral connection to the world. (shrink)
During the last few decades, most cultural critics have come to agree that the division between "high" and "low" art is an artificial one, that Beethoven's Ninth and "Blue Suede Shoes" are equally valuable as cultural texts. In Who Needs Classical Music?, Julian Johnson challenges these assumptions about the relativism of cultural judgements. The author maintains that music is more than just "a matter of taste": while some music provides entertainment, or serves as background noise, other music claims to (...) function as art. This book considers the value of classical music in contemporary society, arguing that it remains distinctive because it works in quite different ways to most of the other music that surrounds us. This intellectually sophisticated yet accessible book offers a new and balanced defense of the specific values of classical music in contemporary culture. Who Needs Classical Music? will stimulate readers to reflect on their own investment (or lack of it) in music and art of all kinds. (shrink)
Review of Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Meulen and Guy Kahane eds., Enhancing Human Capacities Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9148-y Authors Thomas Johnson, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490.
Focusing on Truth explores the question of what truth is, balancing historical with issue-orientated discussion. The book offers a comprehensive survey of all the major theories of truth. Lawrence Johnson investigates a number of closely related matters of truth in his inquiry, such as: What sorts of things are true or false? What is attributed to them when they are said to be true or false? What do facts have to do with truth? What can we learn from previous (...) theories? The book opens with an analysis of the coherence theory of truth and then the correspondence theory of truth, as developed by Moore, Russell and Wittgenstein. Through a study of the semantic conceptions of truth, the author reveals that an adequate theory of truth must take account of the pragmatics of person, purpose, and circumstance. A full understanding of facts and truth bearers is considered central to Johnson's criticism of the opposing truth theories of J. L. Austin and P. F. Strawson. Drawing on the merits of these theories and others, while identifying their deficiencies, Johnson presents a new account of truth, based on the correlation of referential foci and the use of linguistic conventions. This account is defended as being adequate to meet the legitimate demands made on a theory of truth. Johnson argues that the account leaves scope for statements of many different sorts to be true in their own widely varying ways, without the existence of a need to posit fundamentally different kinds of truth. (shrink)
Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. But Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative studies of human reason in Metaphors (...) We Live By and The Body in the Mind, Johnson provides the tools for more practical, realistic, and constructive moral reflection. (shrink)
This is an important new critical analysis of Derrida's theory of writing, based on close readings of key texts. It reveals a dimension of Derrida's thinking that has been neglected in favor of those "deconstructionist" cliches favored by much recent literary criticism. Christopher Johnson highlights the special character of Derrida's philosophy that comes from his contact with contemporary natural science and with systems theory. This study casts new light on an exacting set of intellectual issues facing philosophy and critical (...) theory today. (shrink)
Many readers encounter the history and mythology of the Illuminati for the first time in the course of reading Angels & Demons. They typically wonder if the Illuminati is a real organization in history and, if so, how much of Dan Brown’s description is accurate. To help answer that question, we turned to George Johnson, the well-known New York Times science writer. Johnson shares several interests with Dan Brown and fans of Angels & Demons: He has written extensively (...) about the conflicts and confluences of science and religion (including contributing an essay on that topic elsewhere in this volume). He has written about quantum physics and antimatter. And, as it turns out, he has written a book that deals extensively with the Order of Illuminati, its history, and the uses of myths and legends about the strange organization by (mostly right-wing) modern conspiracy theorists. That book, Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics, was published in 1983 and remains a veritable gold mine of hard fact and analysis about the real history of the Illuminati. Even more important than the factual history presented by Johnson is his description of the vast web of myth that has grown.. (shrink)
Although there are many books on SamuelJohnson's moral and religious thought, none have managed to provide a complete analysis of his relationship to the ethics and theology of the eighteenth-century. This major new study examines the background to Johnson's views on a wide range of issues that were debated by the philosophers and divines of the age, emphasizing the ambivalence and contradiction inherent in his orthodoxy, while challenging the assumption that his religious beliefs were unstable and (...) filled with anxiety. (shrink)
Cornel West's reputation as a public and celebrity intellectual has overshadowed his important contributions to philosophy. Professor Clarence Shole Johnson provides a rectification of this situation in this benchmark, thought-provoking book. After a brief biographical sketch, Johnson leads us through a comprehensive examination of West's philosophy from his conceptions of pragmatism, existentialism, Marxism, and Prophetic Christianity to his persuasive writings on black-Jewish relations, affirmative action, and the role of black intellectuals. Special focus is given to West's writings on (...) ethics and social justice, and how these inform his entire theoretical framework. Cornel West and Philosophy is a unique and indispensable guide to West's diverse philosophical writings. (shrink)
Eusebius' magisterial Praeparatio Evangelica (written sometime between AD 313 and 324) offers an apologetic defence of Christianity in the face of Greek accusations of irrationality and impiety. Though brimming with the quotations of other (often lost) Greek authors, the work is dominated by a clear and sustained argument. Against the tendency to see the Praeparatio as merely an anthology of other sources or a defence of monotheistic religion against paganism, Aaron P. Johnson seeks to appreciate Eusebius' contribution to the (...) discourses of Christian identity by investigating the constructions of ethnic identity (especially Greek) at the heart of his work. Analysis of his `ethnic argumentation' exhibits a method of defending Christianity by construing its opponents as historically rooted nations, whose place in the narrative of world history serves to undermine the legitimacy of their claims to ancient wisdom and piety. (shrink)
'Since the middle of the twentieth century,' writes Elizabeth Johnson, 'there has been a renaissance of new insights into God in the Christian tradition. On different continents, under pressure from historical events and social conditions, people of faith have glimpsed the living God in fresh ways. It is not that a wholly different God is discovered from the One believed in by previous generations. Christian faith does not believe in a new God but, finding itself in new situations, seeks (...) the presence of God there. Aspects long-forgotten are brought into new relationships with current events, and the depths of divine compassion are appreciated in ways not previously imagined.' This book sets out the fruit of these discoveries. The first chapter describes Johnson's point of departure and the rules of engagement, with each succeeding chapter distilling a discrete idea of God. Featured are transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, ending with the particular Christian idea of the one God as Trinity. >. (shrink)
Patterned after Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style , this handy reference concisely summarizes the substantial existing research on the delicate balance of professional ethics. Johnson and Ridley reduce the wealth of published material on the topic to the seventy-five most important and pithy truths for supervisors in all fields. These explore questions of integrity, loyalty, justice, respect, and delivering one's best in the business environment. Succinct and comprehensive, this is a must-have for any professional or business (...) leader striving to create an ethical workplace. (shrink)
In The Philosophy of Manners Peter Johnson makes a compelling case for manners as a subject for investigation by modern moral philosophy. He examines manners as 'little virtues', explaining their distinctive conceptual characteristics and charting their intricate detail and relationships with each other. In demonstrating why manners are important to our mutual expectations, Johnson reveals a terrain which modern moral philosophy has left largely unmapped. Through a critical examination of the ethics of John Rawls and Alasdair MacIntyre, (...) class='Hi'>Johnson shows how the nature of manners constitutes a philosophical problem both for liberalism and its critics. Taking the recent revival of virtue ethics as its broad starting point, The Philosophy of Manners discusses the 'little virtues' as they are treated in the Aristotelian and Kantian traditions of writing on ethics. Original features of the book include discussions of nameless virtues, the logical intricacy of the 'little virtues' which compose manners, and the nature of their orchestration by the more substantial virtues and moral concerns. The aim throughout is to give manners a philosophically defensible place in the moral life - a place which neither inflates nor understates their importance. --an examination of why manners are essential to moral literacy and an ethical society --the first work of its kind - no other ethical investigation concentrates on manners --relevant to the recent revival of interest in virtue ethics and any course in contemporary ethics --will provoke argument and disagreement. (shrink)
This article reviews some linguistic and philosophical work in lexical semantics. In Section 1, the general methods of lexical semantics are explored, with particular attention to how semantic features of verbs are associated with grammatical patterns. In Section 2, philosophical consequences and issues arising from this sort of research is reviewed.
The first section of the Groundwork begins “It is impossible to imagine anything at all in the world, or even beyond it, that can be called good without qualification— except a good will.”1 Kant’s explanation and defense of this claim is followed by an explanation and defense of another related claim, that only actions performed out of duty have moral worth. He explains that actions performed out of duty are those done from respect for the moral law, and then culminates (...) the first section with a formulation of that law, “I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law”. Kant dubs this fundamental principle of morality “the Categorical Imperative”. (shrink)
Since Plato wrote of political obligation in his dialogue Crito, obligation in general has been of ongoing interest to philosophers. In that dialogue, Socrates argues that he was under an obligation to obey the laws of Athens and comply with a sentence of death. During the course of the argument, he raises and offers solutions to many of the central issues about obligation that philosophers still puzzle over. For instance, how can obligations have the grip on us that they do—in (...) some cases, so that we are willing to die rather than not fulfill them? What is the nature and justification of moral and legal obligations? Do we have an obligation to obey the state, and if so, why? (shrink)
Although relativism is most often associated with ethics, one can find defenses of relativism in virtually any area of philosophy. In what follows, I will narrow my focus considerably. I first discuss the general structure of relativist positions and arguments. I will then examine several influential ideas concerning relativism in the late 20th century. Finally, I end by considering the rise of relativism in one area outside of ethics, epistemology.
Pseudogapping is no misnomer. Despite the many tempting similarities, Gapping and Pseudogapping are distinct constructions. Pseudogapping is a special instance of VP Ellipsis, while Gapping, I will argue, is a special instance of across-the-board movement. Squeezing Gapping into across-the-board movement has its own discomforts, however, which I will suggest can be remedied by re-tailoring our syntax to include string-based output constraints. I give a sketch of one such alteration that involves apparent Left Branch Condition violations.
In Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, Michael Martin argues that to posit a God that is both omnipotent and omniscient is philosophically incoherent. I challenge this argument by proposing that a God who is necessarily omniscient is more powerful than a God who is contingently omniscient. I then argue that being omnipotent entails being omniscient by showing that for an all-powerful being to be all-powerful in any meaningful way, it must possess complete knowledge about all states of affairs and thus must (...) be understood to be omniscient. (shrink)
We are beings of the flesh. Our sensorimotor motor experience is the basis for the structure of our higher cognitive functions of conceptual cognition and reasoning. Consequently, our subjectivity is intimately tied up with the nature of our embodied experience. This runs directly counter to views of self-identity dominant in contemporary cognitive science. I give an account of how we ought to understand ourselves as incarnates, and how this would change our view of meaning, knowledge, reason, and subjectivity.
There are two main theories about the persistence of objects through time: endurantism and perdurantism. Endurantists hold that objects are three-dimensional, have only spatial parts, and wholly exist at each moment of their existence. Perdurantists hold that objects are four-dimensional, have temporal parts, and only partly exist at each moment of their existence. In this paper we argue that endurantism is poorly suited to describe the persistence of objects in a world governed by Special Relativity, and can accommodate a relativistic (...) world only at a high price, one that we argue is not worth paying. Perdurantism, on the other hand, fits beautifully with our current scientific understanding of the world. Furthermore, we make this argument from implications of the Lorentz transformations, without appeals to geometrical interpretations, dimensional analogies, or auxillary premises like temporal eternalism. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Immorality thus involves a violation of the CI and is thereby irrational. Other philosophers, such as Locke and Hobbes, had also argued that moral requirements are based on standards of rationality. However, these standards were either desirebased instrumental principles of rationality or based on sui generis rational intuitions. Kant agreed with many of his predecessors that an analysis of practical reason (...) will reveal only the requirement that rational agents must conform to instrumental principles. Yet he argued that conformity to the CI (a non-instrumental principle) and hence to moral requirements themselves, can nevertheless be shown to be essential to rational agency. This argument was based on his striking doctrine that a rational will must be regarded as autonomous, or free in the sense of being the author of the law that binds it. The fundamental principle of morality — the CI — is none other than the law of an autonomous will. Thus, at the heart of Kant's moral philosophy is a conception of reason whose reach in practical affairs goes well beyond that of a Humean ‘slave’ to the passions. Moreover, it is the presence of this self-governing reason in each person that Kant thought offered decisive grounds for viewing each as possessed of equal worth and deserving of equal respect. (shrink)
The essay is to be published in the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Lucretius (ed. P. Hardie and S. Gilispie). It provides an overview of the influence of Lucretius on the renaissance, early modern, modern, and twentieth century science, including cosmology, physics, chemistry, and life sciences.
After reviewing portions of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act that call for examination of societal and ethical issues, this essay seeks to understand how nanoethics can play a role in nanotechnology development. What can and should nanoethics aim to achieve? The focus of the essay is on the challenges of examining ethical issues with regard to a technology that is still emerging, still ‘in the making.’ The literature of science and technology studies (STS) is used to understand (...) the nanotechnology endeavor in a way that makes room for influence by nanoethics. The analysis emphasizes: the contingency of technology and the many actors involved in its development; a conception of technology as sociotechnical systems; and, the values infused (in a variety of ways) in technology. Nanoethicists can be among the many actors who shape the meaning and materiality of an emerging technology. Nevertheless, there are dangers that nanoethicists should try to avoid. The possibility of being co-opted from working along side nanotechnology engineers and scientists is one danger that is inseparable from trying to influence. Related but somewhat different is the danger of not asking about the worthiness of the nanotechnology enterprise as a social investment in the future. (shrink)
LeDoux (1996) has identified a sub-cortical neural circuit that mediates fear responses in rats. The existence of this neural circuit has been used to support the claim that emotion is a non-cognitive process. In this paper I argue that this sub-cortical circuit cannot have a role in the explanation of emotions in humans. This worry is raised by looking at the properties of this neural pathway, which does not have the capacity to respond to the types of stimuli that are (...) generally taken to trigger emotion responses. In particular, the neurons in this pathway cannot represent the stimulus as a complete object or event, rather they represent the simple information that is encoded at the periphery. If it is assumed that an object or event in the world is what, even in simple cases, causes an emotion, then this sub-cortical pathway has limited use in a theory of emotion. (shrink)
A variety of inaccurate claims about Gold's Theorem have appeared in the cognitive science literature. I begin by characterizing the logic of this theorem and its proof. I then examine several claims about Gold's Theorem, and I show why they are false. Finally, I assess the significance of Gold's Theorem for cognitive science.
The grandest unification theory of them all got its start in 1948, when two remarkable publications appeared. Claude Shannon's paper ''A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits" and Norbert Wiener's book ''Cybernetics'' brought to the world's attention an idea that had been bubbling beneath the surface for years: information, like matter and energy, can be considered a thing in itself -- a fundamental building block of reality. Ever since, there has been a growing effort to explain the brain, the (...) body, civilization and, most recently, the universe itself as information processors. (shrink)
Metaphysical theories of change incorporate substantive commitments to theories of persistence. The two most prominent classes of such theories are endurantism and perdurantism. Defenders of endurance-style accounts of change, such as Klein, Hinchliff, and Oderberg, do so through appeal to a priori intuitions about change. We argue that this methodology is understandable but mistaken—an adequate metaphysics of change must accommodate all experiences of change, not merely intuitions about a limited variety of cases. Once we examine additional experiences of change, particularly (...) those in (special) relativistic circumstances, it becomes clear that only a perdurance account of change is adequate. (shrink)
The control of action has traditionally been described as "automatic". In particular, movement control may occur without conscious awareness, in contrast to normal visual perception. Studies on rapid visuomotor adjustment of reaching movements following a target shift have played a large part in introducing such distinctions. We suggest that previous studies of the relation between motor performance and perceptual awareness have confounded two separate dissociations. These are: (a) the distinction between motoric and perceptual representations, and (b) an orthogonal distinction between (...) conscious and unconscious processes. To articulate these differences more clearly, we propose a new measure of motor awareness, based on subjects' ability to reproduce the spatial details of reaching movements they have just made. Here we focus on the dissociation between motor awareness and perceptual awareness that may occur when subjects make rapid visuomotor adjustments to reaching movements following a target shift. In experiment 1, motor awareness was dissociated from perceptual awareness of a target shift during reaching movement. Participants' reproduction of movement endpoints following visuomotor adjustment was independent of whether they saw the target shift or not. Experiment 2 replicated this result, and further showed that neither motor awareness nor motor performance were disrupted by TMS over the parietal cortex. The neural mechanisms underlying motor awareness, and the implications for theories of consciousness, are discussed. (shrink)
The structure of words is often thought to provide important evidence regarding the structure of concepts. At the same time, most contemporary linguists posit a great deal of structure in words. Such a trend makes some atomists about concepts uncomfortable. The details of linguistic methodology undermine several strategies for avoiding positing structure in words. I conclude by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to hold that word-structure bears any interesting relation to the structure of concepts.
In this paper, we focus attention on the role of computer system complexity in ascribing responsibility. We begin by introducing the notion of technological moral action (TMA). TMA is carried out by the combination of a computer system user, a system designer (developers, programmers, and testers), and a computer system (hardware and software). We discuss three sometimes overlapping types of responsibility: causal responsibility, moral responsibility, and role responsibility. Our analysis is informed by the well-known accounts provided by Hart and Hart (...) and Honoré. While these accounts are helpful, they have misled philosophers and others by presupposing that responsibility can be ascribed in all cases of action simply by paying attention to the free and intended actions of human beings. Such accounts neglect the part played by technology in ascriptions of responsibility in cases of moral action with technology. For both moral and role responsibility, we argue that ascriptions of both causal and role responsibility depend on seeing action as complex in the sense described by TMA. We conclude by showing how our analysis enriches moral discourse about responsibility for TMA. (shrink)
This volume contains an array of essays that reflect, and reflect upon, the recent revival of scholarly interest in the self and consciousness. Various relevant issues are addressed in conceptually challenging ways, such as how consciousness and different forms of self-relevant experience develop in infancy and childhood and are related to the acquisition of skill; the role of the self in social development; the phenomenology of being conscious and its metapsychological implications; and the cultural foundations of conceptualizations of consciousness. Written (...) by notable scholars in several areas of psychology, philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, and anthropology, the essays are of interest to readers from a variety of disciplines concerned with central, substantive questions in contemporary social science, and the humanities. (shrink)
This paper defends a model of the internalism requirement against Michael Smith's recent criticisms of it. On this "example model", what we have reason to do is what we would be motivated to do were we rational. After criticizing the example model, Smith argues that his "advice model", that what we have reason to do is what we would advise ourselves to do were we rational, is obviously preferable. The author argues that Smith's criticisms can quite easily be accommodated by (...) the example model. Moreover, to the extent that his model connects reasons to advice, it is not a model of the internalism requirement at all. Yet, to the extent that it connects reasons to motivation, his model collapses into the example model. The author ends by arguing that Smith's view simply proposes an unambitious conception of practical rationality, not an alternative construal of the internalism requirement. (shrink)
The extant marketing literature provides little guidance for theory development or practice with regard to questions of ethical conformity and the resulting market response. To begin to bridge this research gap, we advance a theoretical framework of ethical conformity in marketing, appealing to marketing ethics, management strategy, and sociological foundations. We set the stage for our theoretical arguments by considering the role of normative expectations related to marketing practices and behaviors held by societal constituents. Against this backdrop, we propose drivers (...) of conformity in marketing, including practices consistent with both overconformity and underconformity. The framework allows us to advance testable research propositions by which questions of ethical conformity may be explored. We conclude by suggesting additional future research needed to develop the domain, specifically in the form of empirical inquiries uncovering firm strategic decisions with ethical implications. (shrink)
Gareth Evans proposes that there are semantic natural kinds of words. In his development of this theory,he argues for two constraints on the identification of these kinds. I argue that neither of these constraints are justified. Furthermore,my argument against Evans' second constraint constitutes a direct argument for the existence of semantic natural kinds,something Evans himself never offers. I conclude by sketching some positive details of a more plausible theory of semantic natural kinds.
After discussing the distinction between artifacts and natural entities, and the distinction between artifacts and technology, the conditions of the traditional account of moral agency are identified. While computer system behavior meets four of the five conditions, it does not and cannot meet a key condition. Computer systems do not have mental states, and even if they could be construed as having mental states, they do not have intendings to act, which arise from an agent’s freedom. On the other hand, (...) computer systems have intentionality, and because of this, they should not be dismissed from the realm of morality in the same way that natural objects are dismissed. Natural objects behave from necessity; computer systems and other artifacts behave from necessity after they are created and deployed, but, unlike natural objects, they are intentionally created and deployed. Failure to recognize the intentionality of computer systems and their connection to human intentionality and action hides the moral character of computer systems. Computer systems are components in human moral action. When humans act with artifacts, their actions are constituted by the intentionality and efficacy of the artifact which, in turn, has been constituted by the intentionality and efficacy of the artifact designer. All three components – artifact designer, artifact, and artifact user – are at work when there is an action and all three should be the focus of moral evaluation. (shrink)
The word dignity is frequently used both in clinical and philosophical discourse when referring to and describing the ideal conditions of the patient's treatment, particularly the dying patient. An exploration of the variety of meanings associated with the word dignity will note dignity's ambiguous usage and reveal instrumental concepts needed to better understand the discourse of the dying. When applied to a critique of recent and contemporary criticisms of the medical community's handling of the dying, such concepts might provide a (...) more coherent notion of dignity. Rather than a separate construct, a death with dignity might be viewed as an interactive process among the dying and their caretakers. Together, this interdependent amalgam engages in humanizing communication aimed toward understanding the final needs and wants of the patient. (shrink)
We examine the pros and cons of color realism, exposing some desiderata on a theory of color: the theory should render colors as scientifically legitimate and correctly individuated, and it should explain how we have veridical color experiences. We then show that these desiderata can by met by treating colors as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major disputes in the (...) literature about color -- anti-realism versus dispositionalism versus reductionism -- are not well-founded at this stage of scientific inquiry. Our account of color is designed to be of use in the sciences and as such is driven largely by considerations of what the various sciences need in order to proceed appropriately. We argue that a scientific theory of colors need not regard colors as anything more than high-level statistical constructs built out of correlations between color experiences and other phenomena. (shrink)
Kantian ethics can at times appear to defend the position that there is a unique sort of value that plays a foundational role in morality. For instance, Kant's most well known work in ethics, the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals , begins by trying to establish that a good will is good without qualification' and then ends with a first statement of the fundamental principle that divides right from wrong, the Categorical Imperative.1 This presentation can make it seems as (...) if Kant believes the authority carried by the Categorical Imperative is somehow supposed to be grounded in the value of a good will. Again, the humanity formulation of the Categorical Imperative, the formulation that tell us we must respect the humanity in ourselves and others by treating it as an end in itself, appears to allude to a special value possessed by some feature of persons, their humanity, and then explain the authority of moral obligation by way of that value.2 This extolling of the value of humanity and the dramatic refrain about the unique value of a good will both appear to portray Kant as telling us to notice the peculiar value that they possess and see that this value demands that we adjust our deliberation and actions. We appear to be told that the good will and humanity are bits of metaphysical glitter, jewels carrying their.. (shrink)
Kant famously argued in the Groundwork that our fundamental moral obligation is simply to respect the humanity in persons. However, his fuller view, found in the Metaphysic of Morals, is that the humanity in persons not only demands our respect, but also our love. Neither of these demands, of course, requires that we feel anything for others, and Kant is much more specific here about what constitutes respect between persons. But in elaborating this position he also claims that these (...) demands are somehow opposed, as though love were a sort of moral gravity and respect a sort of moral centrifugal force, which together create a cohesive moral/social bond, but alone would allow “nothingness (immorality)... [to] drink up the whole kingdom of (moral) beings” (MdS 6:449). Marcia Baron, in her illuminating paper, argues that this and related remarks are surely an exaggeration. After all, respect sometimes requires that we come closer and love sometimes imposes limits. And not only does Kant ground all duties in respect, but this is the same philosopher who, early on in the Groundwork, claimed that the Christian command to “love our neighbor” must be understood as commanding, not a feeling, but “beneficence from duty” (G 4:399). Since acting from duty is acting out of respect, “practical” love itself requires respect. So why does he think that they are opposing forces? (shrink)
Exercise psychology encompasses the disciplines of psychiatry, clinical and counseling psychology, health promotion, and the movement sciences. This emerging field involves diverse mental health issues, theories, and general information related to physical activity and exercise. Numerous research investigations across the past 20 years have shown both physical and psychological benefits from physical activity and exercise. Exercise psychology offers many opportunities for growth while positively influencing the mental and physical health of individuals, communities, and society. However, the exercise psychology literature has (...) not addressed ethical issues or dilemmas faced by mental health professionals providing exercise psychology services. This initial discussion of ethical issues in exercise psychology is an important step in continuing to move the field forward. Specifically, this article will address the emergence of exercise psychology and current health behaviors and offer an overview of ethics and ethical issues, education/training and professional competency, cultural and ethnic diversity, multiple-role relationships and conflicts of interest, dependency issues, confidentiality and recording keeping, and advertisement and self-promotion. (shrink)
In an earlier paper I identified two desiderata of a theory of practical reasons which favour internalism, and then argued that forms of this doctrine which are currently on offer lose either one or the other in trying to avoid the conditional fallacy. Michael Brady, Mark van Roojen and Josh Gert have separately attempted to respond to my argument. I set out reasons why all fail.
A few pages into the Groundwork Kant claims that only actions from duty have moral worth.ii Even though as an aside he also says that a dutiful action from sympathy or honor, though lacking in moral worth, "deserves praise and encouragement", it is tempting not to take him very seriously. One suspects that he regards this praise as only a poor and morally insignificant cousin of the esteem reserved for actions from duty. In the end, it seems hard to avoid (...) the conclusion that, for him, only dutiful actions from duty deserve any morally significant positive evaluation.iii This conclusion in turn raises a standard objection:iv How can this be squared with the fact that we think highly of actions motivated, not by duty, but by desires to help those we love or those for whom we feel compassion? Of course, if we could ignore our suspicions and take Kant's aside seriously, the conflict would lessen. Contrary to the standard objection, Kant does indeed think that actions motivated by such desires are worthy of praise and encouragement. But the difficulties would not, for then we would then have to answer serious questions about the nature of the "praise" deserved by a dutiful action not performed from duty, what moral significance (if any) a Kantian view can attribute to it, and the relationship it has to moral worth. (shrink)
Reverse Compositionality (RC) is the thesis that one understands a complex expression only if one understands its parts. I argue that this thesis is false for natural languages. I then argue that the phenomenon that motivates the thesis is more likely to be a fact about human sentence-processing than linguistic understanding per se. Finally, I argue that RC is not useful in the debates about prototype-style theories of concepts in which it figures heavily.
The empirical nature of our understanding of language is explored. I first show that there are several important and different distinctions between tacit and accessible awareness. I then present empirical evidence concerning our understanding of language. The data suggests that our awareness of sentence-meanings is sometimes merely tacit according to one of these distinctions, but is accessible according to another. I present and defend an interpretation of this mixed view. The present project is shown to impact on several diverse areas, (...) including inferential role semantics and holism, the nature of learning, and the role of linguistics in the law. (shrink)
Kant held that “an incentive can determine the will [Willkür] to action only so far as the individual has incorporated it into his maxim”,2 a view dubbed the “Incorporation Thesis” by Henry Allison (hereafter, “IT”).3 Although many see IT as basic to Kant’s views on agency, it also seems irreconcilable with the possibility of a kind of weakness, the kind exhibited by a person who acts on incentives that run contrary to principles she holds dear.4 The problem is this: According (...) to IT, if an incentive determines the will of the weak person when she acts contrary to her principles, then it must be the case that she incorporated that incentive into her maxim. But that in turn means that she has made it her principle to act on the wayward incentive, and so is not, after all, exhibiting weakness in failing to follow her own principles, but at best simply dropping one principle in favor of another.5 So either the weak person does not incorporate the wayward incentive into her maxim and IT is false, or she does incorporate it and weakness is impossible. (shrink)
Adults and infants display a robust ability to perceive the unity of a center-occluded object when the visible ends of the object undergo common motion (e.g. Kellman, P.J., Spelke, E.S., 1983. Perception of partly occluded objects in infancy. Cognitive Psychology 15, 483±524). Ecologically oriented accounts of this ability focus on the primacy of motion in the perception of segregated objects, but Gestalt theory suggests a broader possibility: observers may perceive object unity by detecting patterns of synchronous change, of which common (...) motion is a special case. We investigated this possibility with observations of adults and 4-month-old infants. Participants viewed a center-occluded object whose visible surfaces were either misaligned or aligned, stationary or moving, and unchanging or synchronously changing in color or bright- ness in various temporal patterns (e.g. ¯ashing). Both alignment and common motion con- tributed to adults' perception of object unity, but synchronous color changes did not. For infants, motion was an important determinant of object unity, but other synchronous changes and edge alignment were not. When a stationary object with aligned edges underwent syn- chronous changes in color or brightness, infants showed high levels of attention to the object, but their perception of its unity appeared to be indeterminate. An inherent preference for fast over slow ¯ash rates, and a novelty preference elicited by a change in rate, both indicated that infants detected the synchronous changes, although they failed to use them as information for object unity. These ®ndings favor ecologically oriented accounts of object perception in which surface motion plays a privileged role. Ó 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)