I start by reconsidering two familiar arguments against modal realism. The argument from epistemology relates to the issue whether we can infer the existence of concrete objects by a priori means. The argument from pragmatics purports to refute the analogy between the indispensability of possible worlds and the indispensability of unobserved entities in physical science and of numbers in mathematics. Then I present two novel objections. One focusses on the obscurity of the notion of isolation required by modal realism. The (...) other stresses the arbitrary nature of the rules governing the behaviour of Lewisean universes. All four objections attack the reductive analysis of modality that is supposed to be the chief merit of modal realism. (shrink)
A natural view of happiness is based on ‘internalism’. One of its components is the claim about the supervenience of happiness over experiences. A change from one’s happiness to unhappiness is necessarily accompanied by a change in one’s experiences. Another component is the supreme authority of the subject. An agent must be regarded as the best judge of his own happiness. Any third person judgment which may be passed on his happiness depends on how the agent himself values his condition.
A final version of this paper is in press as: Bickhard, M. H. (in press). The Dynamic Emergence of Representation. In H. Clapin, P. Staines, P. Slezak (Eds.) Representation in Mind: New Approaches to Mental Representation. Praeger.
I outline a neo-Fregean strategy in the debate on the existence of possible worlds. The criterion of identity and the criterion of application are formulated. Special attention is paid to the fact that speakers do not possess proper names for worlds. A broadly Quinean solution is proposed in response to this difficulty.
Children learn and come to know things about the world at a very young age through the testimony of their caregivers. The challenge comes in explaining how children acquire such knowledge. Since children indiscriminately receive testimony, their testimony-based beliefs seem unreliable, and, consequently, should fail to qualify as knowledge. In this paper I discuss some attempted explanations by Sandy Goldberg and John Greco and argue that they fail. I go on to suggest that what generates the problem is a (...) hidden assumption that the standards for testimonial knowledge are invariant between children and cognitively mature adults. I propose that in order to adequately explain how children acquire testimonial knowledge we should reject this hidden assumption. I then argue that understanding knowledge in terms of intellectual skills gives us a plausible framework to do so. (shrink)
I address the problem of knowing modal truths. We have two paradigmatic ways of establishing truth. Empirical statements are veriﬁed by experiment, by ‘looking at the world’ in Hume’s phrase. Mathematical statements are veriﬁed by proofs. However, verifying some modal statements, at least on the face of it, does not resemble either of the above ways.
The Ethical Matrix was developed to help decision-makers explore the ethical issues raised by agri-food biotechnologies. Over the decade since its inception the Ethical Matrix has been used by a number of organizations and the philosophical basis of the framework has been discussed and analyzed extensively. The role of tools such as the Ethical Matrix in public policy decision-making has received increasing attention. In order to further develop the methodological aspects of the Ethical Matrix method, work was carried out to (...) study the potential role of the Ethical Matrix as a decision support framework. When considering which frameworks to apply when analyzing the ethical dimensions of the application of agri-food biotechnologies, it is important to clarify the substantive nature of any prospective framework. In order to further investigate this issue, reflections on the neologism “ethical soundness” of an ethical framework are presented here. This concept is introduced in order to provide more structured evaluations of a range of ethical tools, including ethical frameworks such as the Ethical Matrix. As well as examining the philosophical dimensions of the method, theoretical analysis and literature studies were combined with stakeholder engagement exercises and consultations in order to review the Ethical Matrix from a user perspective. This work resulted in the development of an Ethical Matrix Manual, which is intended to act as a guide for potential user groups. (shrink)
An intensification of interest in early childhood by government, parents, and employers, focuses primarily on the provision of private early childhood education services outside of the home. With a focus on New Zealand, the paper argues that the form of early education now promoted is a particular form of care and education that moves children away from family and community narratives embedded in the historical, cultural and humanist intentions of the national curriculum Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996). It argues (...) that current early childhood policy directions, largely driven by global economic agendas, pay scant regard to the lived experiences of children and families. Working with Ricoeur's narrative identity, Ricoeur's ‘capable subject’ is considered in order to examine the emerging purposes and aims of early childhood education, with a particular focus on just institutions for children and families. (shrink)
We propose an "explanation scheme" for why the Gibbs phase average technique in classical equilibrium statistical mechanics works. Our account emphasizes the importance of the Khinchin-Lanford dispersion theorems. We suggest that ergodicity does play a role, but not the one usually assigned to it.
Improvements in production methods over the last two decades have resulted in aquaculture becoming a significant contributor to food production in many countries. Increased efficiency and production levels are off-setting unsustainable capture fishing practices and contributing to food security, particularly in a number of developing countries. The challenge for the rapidly growing aquaculture industry is to develop and apply technologies that ensure sustainable production methods that will reduce environmental damage, increase productivity across the sector, and respect the diverse social and (...) cultural dimensions of fish farming that are observed globally. The aquaculture industry currently faces a number of technology trajectories, which include the option to commercially produce genetically modified (GM) fish. The use of genetic modification in aquaculture has the potential to contribute to increased food security and is claimed to be the next logical step for the industry. However, the potential use of these technologies raises a number of important ethical questions. Using an ethical framework, the Ethical Matrix, this paper explores a number of the ethical issues potentially raised by the use of GM technologies in aquaculture. Several key issues have been identified. These include aspects of distributive justice for producers; use of a precautionary approach in the management of environmental risk and food safety; and impacts on the welfare and intrinsic value of the fish. There is a need to conduct a comparative analysis of the full economic cycle of the use of GM fish in aquaculture production for developing countries. There is also a need to initiate an informed dialogue between stakeholders and strenuous efforts should be made to ensure the participation of producers and their representatives from developing nations. An additional concern is that any national licensing of the first generation of GM fish, i.e., in the USA, may initiate and frame an assessment cycle, mediated by the WTO, which could dominate the conditions under which the technology will be applied and regulated globally. Therefore, an integrated analysis of the technology development trajectories, in terms of international policy, IPR, and operational implications, as well as an analysis of a broader range of ethical concerns, is needed. (shrink)
Libertarianism Today, by Jacob Huebert (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010), is an excellent introduction to libertarianism. In contrast to many other recent books about libertarianism, a consistent non-compromising libertarianism is defended throughout this book.
The paper examines some philosophical aspects of translation as a metaphor for education—a metaphor that avoids the closure of final definitions, in favour of an ongoing and tentative process of interpretation and revision. Translation, it is argued, is a complex process involving language, within and among cultures, and in the exercise of power. Drawing on Foucault's analysis of power, Nietzschean contingency, and the inversion of meaning that characterises the work of Heidegger and Derrida, the paper points towards Ricoeur's notion of (...) linguistic hospitality as the ethical dimension to the inevitably inadequate representation of the ‘other’. In this exploration, translation is posited as a creative and interpretive act—involving neither image nor copy, but poetic transposition.The power of language emerges in the close association between power and knowledge, in which the ability to define what is real generates the realm of future possibilities. From a Foucauldian perspective, language functions as a creative strategic relation—a form of power that structures the field of other possible actions. It is through the mediation of translation, the paper argues, that language communicates, leaving us with a world of difference (i.e. ‘lost in translation’), as both our curse and our blessing as part of the human condition and as part of our ethical endeavour as educators. The contingent and arbitrary nature of language problematises what appears natural and necessary, generating the possibility of creative dialogue. (shrink)
I examine Reichenbach’s theory of relative a priori and Michael Friedman’s interpretation of it. I argue that Reichenbach’s view remains at bottom conventionalist and that one issue which separates Reichenbach’s account from Kant’s apriorism is the problem of mathematical applicability. I then discuss Hermann Weyl’s theory of blank forms which in many ways runs parallel to the theory of relative a priori. I argue that it is capable of dealing with the problem of applicability, but with a cost.
Darwinism does not dismiss the functionalist way of speech. So from the point of view of evolutionary biology, adaptations have certain functions. This is unlike natural science where teleology was dismissed. But we must distinguish, as Aquinas did not, between necessity and probability.
This study drew on three theoretical perspectives – attribution theory, power, and role identity theory – to compare the job-related outcomes of sexual harassment from organizational insiders (i.e., supervisors and co-workers) and organizational outsiders (i.e., offend- ers and members of the public) in a sample ( n = 482) of UK police officers and police support staff. Results showed that sexual harassment from insiders was related (...) to higher intentions to quit, over-performance demands, and lower job satisfaction, whereas sexual harassment from outsiders was not significantly related to any of the outcome variables investigated. We also examined two moderator variables: equal opportunity support and confidence in grievance procedures. Consistent with our hypotheses, equal oppor- tunity support mitigated the effects of sexual harassment from supervisors on intent to quit and over-performance demands. Confidence in grievance procedures moderated the relationship between sexual harassment from supervisors and all outcome variables. Implications for theory and practice are discussed. (shrink)
The course falls roughly into three parts. In the first part (Chapters 1 3) we shall deal with central issues in the theory of reference emanating from Kripke's and Kaplan's work on singular terms. In the second part (Chapters 4 5) we shall discuss issues of meaning and truth, where deflationist approaches will play a central role. In the third part (Chapters 6 8) we touch upon modal semantics and its employment in the analysis of proposition and belief. We then (...) move on to discuss theories of metaphor, one application of which lies in dispelling doubts over ontology of possible worlds. Finally, if time permits, in Chapter 9 we shall prepare transition to the philosophy of logic by discussing problems of logical form. (shrink)
What can nurse scientists learn from Rorty in the development of a philosophical foundation? Indeed, Rorty in his 1989 text entitled Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity tantalizes the reader with debates of reason 'against' philosophizing. Forget truth seeking; move on to what matters. Rorty would rather the 'high brow' thinking go to those that do the work in order to make the effort useful. Nursing as an applied science, has something real that is worth looking at, and that nurse researchers need (...) to think about. And as a profession built upon relationships, we should be thinking of the exchanges we have with those around us, of the contrasts in vocabularies used and of the contingencies involved, letting this launch us into our imaginings and areas of enquiry. The business of nurse researchers is to study what nurses do – how we care; Rorty would have us care. But, not to dismiss the reflective thinker as Rorty advocates for the self-doubting ironist to continue to seek the final vocabulary, the ideal of what 'this' means, accepting this as the best to be offered at the time. As a science struggling to find foundation, we need only to look at what we do and value – as antifoundational as Rorty portrays himself, Rorty 'ironically' may have revealed a foundation for nursing science that is consistent with its path. (shrink)
: Catholic teaching has no moral difficulties with research on stem cells derived from adult stem cells or fetal cord blood. The ethical problem comes with embryonic stem cells since their genesis involves the destruction of a human embryo. However, there seems to be significant promise of health benefits from such research. Although Catholic teaching does not permit any destruction of human embryos, the question remains whether researchers in a Catholic institution, or any researchers opposed to destruction of human embryos, (...) could participate in research on cultured embryonic stem cells, or whether a Catholic institution could use any therapy that ultimately results from such research. This position paper examines how such research could be conducted legitimately in a Catholic institution by using an ethical analysis involving a narrative context, the nature of the moral act, and the principle of material cooperation, along with references to significant ethical assessments. It also offers tentative guidelines that could be used by a Catholic institution in implementing such research. (shrink)