A modified version of Michael Gorman's comments on Peter King’s paper at the 2004 Henle Conference. Above all, an account of Augustine’s purposes in discussing Neoplatonism in Confessions VII, showing why Augustine does not tell us certain things we wish he would. In my commentary I will address the following topics: (i) what it means to speak of the philosophically interesting points in Augustine; (ii) whether Confessions VII is really about the Trinity; (iii) Augustine‘s intentions in Confessions VII; (iv) (...) King‘s hypostatic interpretation‖;(v) Christology. (shrink)
Chronicling the emergence of an international society in the 1920s, Daniel Gorman describes how the shock of the First World War gave rise to a broad array of overlapping initiatives in international cooperation. Though national rivalries continued to plague world politics, ordinary citizens and state officials found common causes in politics, religion, culture and sport with peers beyond their borders. The League of Nations, the turn to a less centralized British Empire, the beginning of an international ecumenical movement, international (...) sporting events and audacious plans for the abolition of war all signaled internationalism's growth. State actors played an important role in these developments and were aided by international voluntary organizations, church groups and international networks of academics, athletes, women, pacifists and humanitarian activists. These international networks became the forerunners of international NGOs and global governance. (shrink)
Discusses the old problem of how to characterize apparently intentional states that appear to lack objects. In tandem with critically discussing a recent proposal by Tim Crane, I develop the line of reasoning according to which talking about intentional objects is really a way of talking about intentional states—in particular, it’s a way of talking about their satisfaction-conditions.
The distinction between the essential and the accidental characteristics of a thing should be understood not in modal terms (the received view) nor in definitional terms (Fine’s recent proposal) but as follows: an essential characteristic of a thing is one that is not explained by any other of that thing’s characteristics, and an accidental characteristic of a thing is one that is so explained. Various versions of this proposal can be formulated.
Patrick Toner has recently criticized accounts of substance provided by Kit Fine, E. J. Lowe, and the author, accounts which say (to a first approximation) that substances cannot depend on things other than their own parts. On Toner’s analysis, the inclusion of this parts exception results in a disjunctive definition of substance rather than a unified account. In this paper (speaking only for myself, but in a way that would, I believe, support the other authors that Toner discusses), I first (...) make clear what Toner’s criticism is, and then I respond to it. Including the parts exception is not the adding of a second condition but instead the creation of a new single condition. Since it is not the adding of a condition, the result is not disjunctive. Therefore, the objection fails. (shrink)
The philosophical literature understands ontological priority in two ways, in terms of dependence, and in terms of degrees-of-being. These views are not reconcilable in any straightforward manner. However, they can be reconciled indirectly, if both are seen as instances of higher-level concept that is a modification of John Duns Scotus' notion of essential order. The result is a theory of ontological priority that takes the form of a list of membership criteria for the class of "ontological priority relations", of which (...) dependence and degrees-of-being are just two examples. (shrink)
In his recent "Thomas vs. Thomas: A New Approach to Nagel's Bat Argument", Yujin Nagasawa interprets Thomas Nagel as making a certain argument against physicalism and objects that this argument transgresses a principle, laid down by Thomas Aquinas, according to which inability to perform a pseudo-task does not count against an omnipotence claim. Taking Nagasawa's interpretation of Nagel for granted, I distinguish different kinds of omnipotence claims and different kinds of pseudo-tasks, and on that basis show that Nagasawa's criticism of (...) Nagel is unsuccessful. I also show how his reflections do nonetheless point to a limitation of the approach he means to criticize. (shrink)
Successful application of heuristics depends on how a problem is represented, mentally. Moral imagination is a good technique for reflecting on, and sharing, mental representations of ethical dilemmas, including those involving emerging technologies. Future research on moral heuristics should use more ecologically valid problems and combine quantitative and qualitative methods.
At the heart of the philosophy of John Serale there is found a comprehensive biology of the spirit. But there is a tension in his position. On the one hand, modern biology, such as he understands it, requires a certain conception of normativity. On the other hand, the fashion in which Searle himself understands intentionality requires a very different conception of normativity. To resolve the difficulty, Searle must at the same time modify his understanding of biology and nuance his idea (...) that spirit is a biological phenomenon just like any other. (shrink)
There is no consensus on how to define substance, but one popular view is that substances are entities that are independent in some sense or other. E. J. Lowe’s version of this approach stresses that substances are not dependent on other particulars for their identity. I develop the meaning of this proposal, defend it against some criticisms, and then show that others do require that the theory be modified.
The notion of common ground is important for the production of referring expressions: In order for a referring expression to be felicitous, it has to be based on shared information. But determining what information is shared and what information is privileged may require gathering information from multiple sources, and constantly coordinating and updating them, which might be computationally too intensive to affect the earliest moments of production. Previous work has found that speakers produce overinformative referring expressions, which include privileged names, (...) violating Grice’s Maxims, and concluded that this is because they do not mark the distinction between shared and privileged information. We demonstrate that speakers are in fact quite effective in marking this distinction in the form of their utterances. Nonetheless, under certain circumstances, speakers choose to overspecify privileged names. (shrink)
Ong and Derrida are concerned with presence—for Ong the presence of the other; for Derrida the presence of the signified. These seemingly disparate epistemological meanings of 'presence' actually share some striking similarities, but differ about how reason should be figured, that is, what metaphors should be used to conceptualize reason. This disagreement is fundamentally about what Ong called 'analogues for intellect.' After describing the history of Ong's and Derrida's concept of presence, we indicate how the ethical and religious implications Ong (...) and Derrida draw from 'presence' proceed logically from the analogues for intellect that each assumes. We will conclude, first, that these implications reveal a conflict of traditions—philosophy and rhetoric—but we also indicate how Ong's own rhetoric may permit dialogue between traditions. (shrink)
Examples of historical writing are analysed in detail, and it is demonstrated that, with respect to the statements which appear in historical accounts, their truth and value-freedom are neither necessary nor sufficient for the relative acceptability of historical accounts. What is both necessary and sufficient is the acceptability of the selection of statements involved, and it is shown that history can be objective only if the acceptability of selection can be made on the basis of a rational criterion of relevance. (...) 'Relevance' and 'significance 1 are distinguished. The conditions of rationality of a criterion of acceptability are examined with special reference to Popper's criterion of 'falsifiability', which is shown to fail to apply to historical writing. General conclusions are drawn about the implications of the argument for the possibility of the 'unity of science', and about the conditions which need to be met if history is to be objective. (shrink)
The lives of persons are valuable, but are all humans persons? Some humans—the immature, the damaged, and the defective—are not capable, here and now, of engaging in the rational activities characteristic of persons, and for this reason, one might call their personhood into question. A standard way of defendingit is by appeal to potentiality: we know they are persons because we know they have the potentiality to engage in rational activities. In this paper I develop acomplementary strategy based on normativity. (...) We know that the humans in question are persons because we know that lacking the here-and-now ability to engage in rational activities is—for them, unlike for tulips or kittens—a falling-short of some norm. Their personhood, in other words, is established on the basis of their being subject to the norm of having those here-and-now capacities. (shrink)
As computating technologies become ubiquitous and at least partly autonomous, they will have increasing impact on societies, both in the developed and developing worlds. This article outlines a framework for guiding emerging technologies in directions that promise social as well as technical progress. Multiple stakeholders will have to be engaged in dialogues over new technological directions, forming trading zones in which knowledge and resources are exchanged. Such discussions will have to incorporate cultural and individual values.
The paper takes up a traditional view that has also been a part of some recent analytic metaphysics, namely, the view that substance is to be understood in terms of independence. Taking as my point of departure some recent remarks by Kit Fine, I propose reviving the Aristotelian-scholastic idea that the sense in which substances are independent is that they are non-inherent, and I do so by developing a broad notion of inherence that is more usable in the context of (...) contemporary analytic metaphysics than the traditional notion is. I end by showing how non-inherence, while necessary for being a substance, cannot be taken as sufficient without some qualifying remarks. (shrink)
The introduction of new medical treatments based on invasive technologies has often been surrounded by both hopes and fears. Hope, since a new intervention can create new opportunities either in terms of providing a cure for the disease or impairment at hand; or as alleviation of symptoms. Fear, since an invasive treatment involving implanting a medical device can result in unknown complications such as hardware failure and undesirable medical consequences. However, hopes and fears may also arise due to the cultural (...) embeddedness of technology, where a therapy due to ethical, social, political and religious concerns could be perceived as either a blessing or a threat. While Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for treatment resistant depression (TRD) is still in its cradle, it is important to be proactive and try to scrutinize both surfacing hopes and fears. Patients will not benefit if a promising treatment is banned or avoided due to unfounded fears, nor will they benefit if DBS is used without scrutinizing the arguments which call for caution. Hence blind optimism is equally troublesome. We suggest that specificity, both in terms of a detailed account of relevant scientific concerns as well as ethical considerations, could be a way to analyse expressed concerns regarding DBS for TRD. This approach is particularly fruitful when applied to hopes and fears evoked by DBS for TRD, since it can reveal if our comprehension of DBS for TRD suffer from various biases which may remain unnoticed at first glance. We suggest that such biases exist, albeit a further analysis is needed to explore this issue in full. (shrink)
Subjectivism about normativity (SN) is the view that norms are never intrinsic to things but are instead always imposed from without. After clarifying what SN is, I argue against it on the basis of its implications concerning intentionality. Intentional states with the mind-to-world direction of fit are essentially norm-subservient, i.e., essentially subject to norms such as truth, coherence, and the like. SN implies that nothing is intrinsically an intentional state of the mind-to-world sort: its being such a state is only (...) a status relative to the imposition of a norm. If one rejects this view of mind-to-world states, then one has grounds for rejecting SN itself. If one accepts it, an infinite regress arises that makes it impossible for norms to be imposed, which means that SN has undermined itself. (shrink)
According to the orthodox Christian belief expressed most famously at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Jesus Christ is one person who is both divine and human. Not surprisingly, many have wondered at this, for it seems impossible for one person to have both divine and human characteristics. There are different versions of this difficulty, which correspond to different human and divine characteristics. In this article, I will defend traditional Christology against an argument that bases itself on one particular difficulty. (...) The argument contends that Christ's omniscience and non-omniscience mean that he cannot be one person; it contends, in short, that Chalcedon is self-undermining. I will begin by making some preliminary remarks. In the second section of the paper, I will show that the anti-Chalcedonian argument cannot simply be avoided or ignored. In the third section, I will examine the argument itself. (shrink)
Cognition in work teams has been predominantly understood and explained in terms of shared cognition with a focus on the similarity of static knowledge structures across individual team members. Inspired by the current zeitgeist in cognitive science, as well as by empirical data and pragmatic concerns, we offer an alternative theory of team cognition. Interactive Team Cognition (ITC) theory posits that (1) team cognition is an activity, not a property or a product; (2) team cognition should be measured and studied (...) at the team level; and (3) team cognition is inextricably tied to context. There are implications of ITC for theory building, modeling, measurement, and applications that make teams more effective performers. (shrink)
The author describes his efforts to become a participant observer while he was a Program Director at the NSF. He describes his plans for keeping track of his reflections and his goals before he arrived at NSF, then includes sections from his reflective diary and comments after he had completed his two-year rotation. The influx of rotators means the NSF has to be an adaptive, learning organization but there are bureaucratic obstacles in the way.
This review of Gigerenzer, Todd, and the ABC Research Group's Simple heuristics that make us smart focuses on the role of heuristics in discovery, invention, and hypothesis-testing and concludes with a comment on the role of heuristics in population growth.
Although the idea of intellectual property (IP) rights—proprietary rights to what one invents, writes, paints, composes or creates—is firmlyembedded in Western thinking, these rights are now being challenged across the globe in a number of areas. This paper will focus on one of these challenges: government-sanctioned copying of patented drugs without permission or license of the patent owner in the name of national security, in health emergencies, or life-threatening epidemics. After discussing standard rights-based and utilitarian arguments defending intellectual property we (...) will present another model. IP is almost always a result of a long history of scientific or technological development and numbers of networks of creativity, not the act of a single person or a group of people at one moment in time. Thus thinking about and evaluating IP requires thinking about IP as shared rights. A network approach to IP challenges a traditional model of IP. It follows that the owner of those rights has some obligations to share that information or its outcomes. If that conclusion is applied to the distribution of antiretroviral drugs, what pharmaceutical companies are ethically required to do to increase access to these medicines in the developing world will have to be reanalyzed from a more systemic perspective. (shrink)
Metaphysicians have not always been sufficiently attentive to the problem of dependence. Those who have paid attention to it have disagreed over what depends on what: do minds depend on brains, or vice versa? accidents on substances? creatures on God? Even less attention, however, has been paid to the question of what dependence actually is; usually, some answer to this question is taken for granted, and consideration is given only to the subsequent questions of which things depend on which. The (...) present paper discusses what dependence is, not for its own sake, but, rather, as a case study concerning the question of form in metaphysical inquiry. Distinguishing logical from metaphysical form, one can say that certain difficulties in twentieth-century theories of dependence can be traced to the error of trying to answer a metaphysical question by making use of logical form instead of metaphysical form. The paper will proceed in three steps. First, it will discuss the leading twentieth-century theory of dependence, point out the difficulties with that theory, and make explicit the presuppositions about form that give rise to those difficulties. Second, the paper will show how those difficulties can be avoided by using a properly metaphysical form to understand dependence. Finally, the paper will reflect on the implications for metaphysical inquiry that can be drawn from the difference between the two approaches. (shrink)
The societal and ethical impacts of emerging technological and business systems cannot entirely be foreseen; therefore, management of these innovations will require at least some ethicists to work closely with researchers. This is particularly critical in the development of new systems because the maximum degrees of freedom for changing technological direction occurs at or just after the point of breakthrough; that is also the point where the long-term implications are hardest to visualize. Recent work on shared expertise in Science & (...) Technology Studies (STS) can help create productive collaborations among scientists, engineers, ethicists and other stakeholders as these new systems are designed and implemented. But collaboration across these disciplines will be successful only if scientists, engineers, and ethicists can communicate meaningfully with each other. The establishment of a trading zone coupled with moral imagination present one method for such collaborative communication. (shrink)
A certain theory of substance, one that grows out of Aristotelian philosophy but which has adherents today as well, draws a distinction between the features a substance has by instantiating a universal and the features it has by possessing a trope. An adherent of this theory might say that a certain cat is red because it possesses a redness-trope, but that it is a cat because it instantiates the universal CAT. A problem that must be faced by philosophers who hold (...) this sort of view is the following: Which features are which? In other words, which features are the ones had in virtue of trope-possession, and which are the ones had in virtue of instantiation? In this paper I discuss this problem, consider and reject a competing view, and propose my own Aristotelian solution. I also raise and answer an objection. (shrink)