Prior studies have shown a general preference among citizens for juries over judges. Researchers, however, have not considered whether race and ethnicity modify this preference. We hypothesized that minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics), who generally express less trust in the legal system, may also express less trust in juries than non-Hispanic whites. We asked a representative sample of 1,465 residents of Texas to state whether they would prefer a jury or a judge to be the decision maker in four hypothetical circumstances. Consistent (...) with expectations, non-Hispanic whites favored juries over judges, particularly if they imagined themselves as a defendant in a criminal trial. By comparison, although African-Americans and some Hispanics generally favored juries, they showed a much weaker set of jury preferences. African Americans had markedly lower support for the civil jury, but support was higher among minorities with prior jury service. Among Hispanics, respondents who took the survey in Spanish typically preferred a judge to make legal decisions. We consider the implications of our findings for trust in the jury system and trust in community members as decision makers. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam has argued against philosophical theories which tie the content of truth-claims closely to the available methods of investigation and verification. Such theories, he argues, threaten our idea of human communication, which we take to be possible between people of different cultures and across periods of time during which methods of investigation change dramatically. Putnam rejects any reading of Wittgenstein which takes him to make a close tie between meaning and method of verification. What strands in Wittgenstein's thought appear (...) to lend support to such a reading? Can we do justice to the role which method of verification does have for Wittgenstein while retaining our hold on the idea that communication between people is possible despite substantial differences in methods of verification and investigation? Thus it is as if the proof did not determine the sense of the proposition proved; and yet as if it did determine it. But isn't it like that with any verification of any proposition? (shrink)
Abstract: There is a famous quip of F.P. Ramsey's, which is my second epigraph. According to a widespread legend, the quip is a criticism of Wittgenstein's treatment in the Tractatus of what cannot be said. The remark is indeed Ramsey's, but he didn't mean what he is taken to mean in the legend. His quip, looked at in context, means something quite different. The legend is sometimes taken to provide support for a reading of the Tractatus according to which the (...) nonsensical propositions of the book were intended to convey what cannot be said. But, since the legend has no basis in reality, it provides no evidence in favor of any such reading of the Tractatus. The quip has great interest if it is read in the context of Ramsey's discussion of generality; it is closely related to issues of importance in the development of Wittgenstein's thought. (shrink)
Wittgenstein gives voice to an aspiration that is central to his later philosophy, well before he becomes later Wittgenstein, when he writes in §4.112 of the Tractatus that philosophy is not a matter of putting forward a doctrine or a theory, but consists rather in the practice of an activity – an activity he goes on to characterize as one of elucidation or clarification – an activity which he says does not result in philosophische Sätze, in propositions of philosophy, but (...) rather in das Klarwerden von Sätzen, in our attaining clarity in our relation to the sentences of our language that we call upon to express our thoughts.1 To say that early Wittgenstein already aspired to such a conception of philosophy is not to gainsay that to aspire to practice philosophy in such a manner and to succeed in doing so are not the same thing. It is therefore not to deny that, by Wittgenstein’s later lights, the Tractatus is to be judged a work that is marked by forms of failure tied to its having failed fully to live up to such an aspiration. But if it is thus to be judged, then it is to some degree a failure even by Wittgenstein’s own earlier lights. This means that if one wants to understand the fundamental turn in Wittgenstein’s thinking as he moves from his earlier to his later philosophy, and why it is that he wanted the Tractatus to be published and read together with Philosophical Investigations, one needs to understand what sort of failure this is – and that requires coming to terms with the Tractatus’s own understanding of what sort of work it was trying to be. We think that readers of the Tractatus – be they admirers or detractors of Wittgenstein – have, on the whole, failed to do this. (shrink)
Wittgensteinian ethics, it may be thought, is committed to detailed examination of realistically described cases, and hence to eschewing the abstract hypothetical cases, many of them quite bizarre, found in much contemporary moral theorizing. I argue that bizarre cases may be helpful in thinking about ethics, and that there is nothing in Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy that would go against this. I examine the case of the ring of Gyges from the Republic; and I consider also some contemporary arguments about (...) thought-experiments in philosophy. (shrink)
This essay seeks to explain a morally important class of psychological incapacity—the class of what Bernard Williams has called “incapacities of character.” I argue for two main claims: (1) Caring is the underlying psychological disposition that gives rise to incapacities of character. (2) In competent, rational adults, caring is, in part, a cognitive and deliberative disposition. Caring is a mental state which disposes an agent to believe certain considerations to be good reasons for deliberation and action. And caring is a (...) mental state which structures an agent’s practical deliberation, by establishing presumptive boundaries on the landscape of possibilities over which her deliberative imagination ranges. Incapacities of character are a consequence of the structure which these presumptive boundaries give to an agent’s deliberation. (shrink)
P.M.S. Hacker has argued that there are numerous misconceptions in James Conant's account of Wittgenstein's views and of those of Carnap. I discuss only Hacker's treatment of Conant on logical syntax in the _Tractatus. I try to show that passages in the _Tractatus which Hacker takes to count strongly against Conant's view do no such thing, and that he himself has not explained how he can account for a significant passage which certainly appears to support Conant's reading.
What is it to "value" something, in the semi-technical sense of the term that Gary Watson establishes? I argue that valuing something consists in caring about it. Caring involves not only emotional dispositions of the sort that Agnieszka Jaworska has elaborated, but also a distinctive cognitive disposition – namely, a (defeasible) disposition to believe the object cared about to be a source of agent-relative reasons for action and for emotion. Understood in this way, an agent's carings have a stronger claim (...) to "speak for" her as her values than do other attitudes that have been proposed for this role. In particular, an agent's carings establish more robust psychological continuities and cross-temporal connections than do self-governing policies of the sort that Michael Bratman has described; and they forge diachronic coherence not just in her deliberation and action, as self-governing policies do, but also in her cognitive and emotional life. An agent's carings thus help to constitute her identity as a temporally persisting subject . Self-governing policies are at best ersatz -values, which an agent may choose to adopt when she finds that her proper values – her cares – leave her course underdetermined. (shrink)
I look at a disagreement between Elizabeth Anscombe, on the one hand, and Peter Winch and Ilham Dilman, on the other, about whether it is legitimate to call something an error that counts as knowledge within some alien system of belief; and I look also at the question what Wittgenstein's view was. I try to show that our understanding of what is real cannot be adequately elucidated if we consider only its role within language-games, and I argue that an important (...) element in our thinking about what is and is not real emerges in our response to conflicting modes of thought. (shrink)
One of Iris Murdoch's most characteristic philosophical ideas is that any way of understanding what moral philosophy is and how it may be practised will be shaped by deep-going conceptual attitudes, of which moral philosophers themselves may be unaware. In her own philosophical writings, she tried to bring out the role played by these attitudes, and to unsettle accepted ideas about the subject. I examine some of the elements in her thought which open up different ways of understanding the subject, (...) and I discuss the relevance of these ideas to contemporary moral philosophy. (shrink)
The philosophical image of a “universe of discourse” can be misleading in the suggestions it carries about how to read Wittgenstein and how to approach the topic of the relation between language and reality. That is what I try to show by examining Ilham Dilman's discussion of medieval cosmology. I sketch an alternative account of the relation between medieval beliefs about the heavens and our astronomical beliefs, and I consider in detail the disagreement between the two accounts.
John McDowell argues that for virtuous agents the requirements of virtue do not outweigh competing considerations, but 'silence' them. He explains this claim in two different ways: a virtuous agent (a) will not be tempted to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('motivational silencing'), or (b) will not believe that he has any reason to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('rational silencing'). I identify a small class of cases in which alone McDowell's claims (...) about rational silencing are true. He draws his claims from Aristotle's assertion that a life of virtue is 'self-sufficient'. I offer an alternative reading of Aristotle's assertion, which does not imply the truth of McDowell's. But McDowell's claims about motivational silencing are true. (shrink)
Christine Korsgaard claims that an agent is less than fully rational if she allows some attitude to inform her deliberation even though she cannot justify doing so. I argue that there is a middle way, which Korsgaard misses, between the claim that our attitudes neither need nor admit of rational assessment, on the one hand, and Korsgaard's claim that the attitudes which inform our deliberation always require justification, on the other: an agent needs reasons to opt out of her concerns (...) – not reasons to opt into them or to stay in. As long as an agent has no good reason to abandon some concern of hers, she is reasonable to harbour it, and to allow it to inform her view of what reasons she has. A rational agent must therefore have the capacity to form higher-order attitudes toward her concerns; but rationality only requires that she exercise that capacity when she has some good reason to do so. (shrink)
A survey of the 37 psychology departments offering courses accredited by the Australian Psychological Society yielded a 92% response rate. Sixty-eight percent of departments employed students as research subjects, with larger departments being more likely to do so. Most of these departments drew their student subject pools from introductory courses. Student research participation was strictly voluntary in 57% of these departments, whereas 43% of the departments have failed to comply with normally accepted ethical standards. It is of great concern that (...) institutional ethics committees apparently continue to condone, or fail to act against, unethical research practices. Although these committees have a duty of care to all subjects, the final responsibility for conducting research in an ethical manner lies with the individual researcher. (shrink)
Thelen et al.'s model of A-not-B performance is based on behavioral observations obtained with a paradigm markedly different from A-not-B. Central components of the model are not central to A-not-B performance. All data presented fit a simpler model, which specifies that the key abilities for success on A-not-B are working memory and inhibition. Intention and action can be dissociated in infants and adults.