Henry Morris (1889-1961), the great educational philosopher, and initiator of the integrated community educational centre - embodied in the Cambridgeshire village college system - was county education officer and had his first 'memorandum' on the concept of community education printed by the Cambridge University Press. 1984 is both the 60th anniversary of his first memorandum and the 400th anniversary of the Press and this commemorative book will be published to coincide with a number of events to celebrate that. The book (...) is a collection of his papers, mainly about community education, edited by Professor Harry Re;e, who is closely associated with the Community Education Development Centre in Coventry. (shrink)
Acquaintance with the Absolute is the first collected volume of essays devoted to the thought of Yves r. Simon, a thinker widely regarded as one of the great teachers and philosophers of our time. Each piece in this collection of essays thoughtfully complements the others to offer a qualifiedly panoramic look at the work and thought of philosopher Yves R. Simon. The six essays presented not only treat some major areas of Simon’s thought, pointing out their lucidity (...) and originality, but also his underpinning metaphysics, so central to his thought. Rather than attempt to present all aspects of this patient, careful, and penetrating thinker, these essays select enough to situate Simon’s philosophical excavations – especially his moral, political and action theory – among contemporary Thomistic philosophy. In defending philosophy as a valid way of knowing, Simon gives us an approach we can use to avoid contemporary dilemmas in the philosophy of science. Simon holds that philosophical truths both justify scientific method as a way of knowing the real and provide a basis for distinguishing what is ontologically significant in a scientific theory from what is not. This view allows us to avoid the apparently irrational conclusions of quantum mechanics without reducing scientific theories to being mere projections of our conceptual systems. Though aspects of some of the essays are suited for students of Simon’s thought, the essays as a whole introduce the less familiar reader to this great thinking and, further, invite him or her to pursue Simon’s own texts. The volume is enhanced by the inclusion of a definitive Yves R. Simon bibliography 1923-1996. The annotated bibliography is cross-reference in detail, revealing the astonishing variety of topics Simon treated. (shrink)
A review of Simon Conway Morris, Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 486 pp., $30, $19.99. Appeared as “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” Books & Culture (Nov/Dec 2004): 42.
In this textbook, Michael Morris offers a critical introduction to the central issues of the philosophy of language. Each chapter focusses on one or two texts which have had a seminal influence on work in the subject, and uses these as a way of approaching both the central topics and the various traditions of dealing with them. Texts include classic writings by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Quine, Davidson, Austin, Grice and Wittgenstein. Theoretical jargon is kept to a minimum and is fully (...) explained whenever it is introduced. The range of topics covered includes sense and reference, definite descriptions, proper names, natural-kind terms, de re and de dicto necessity, propositional attitudes, truth-theoretical approaches to meaning, radical interpretation, indeterminacy of translation, speech acts, intentional theories of meaning, and scepticism about meaning. The book will be invaluable to students and to all readers who are interested in the nature of linguistic meaning. (shrink)
The tradition of natural law is one of the foundations of Western civilization. At its heart is the conviction that there is an objective and universal justice which transcends humanity’s particular expressions of justice. It asserts that there are certain ways of behaving which are appropriate to humanity simply by virtue of the fact that we are all human beings. Recent political debates indicate that it is not a tradition that has gone unchallenged: in fact, the opposition is as old (...) as the tradition itself. By distinguishing between philosophy and ideology, by recalling the historical adventures of natural law, and by reviewing the theoretical problems involved in the doctrine, Simon clarifies much of the confusion surrounding this perennial debate. He tackles the questions raised by the application of natural law with skill and honesty as he faces the difficulties of the subject. Simon warns against undue optimism in a revival of interest in natural law and insists that the study of natural law beings with the analysis of “the law of the land.” He writes not as a polemicist but as a philosopher, and he writes of natural law with the same force, conciseness, lucidity and simplicity which have distinguished all his other works. (shrink)
Anne Conway was an extraordinary figure in a remarkable age. Her mastery of the intricate doctrines of the Lurianic Kabbalah, her authorship of a treatise criticising the philosophy of Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza, and her scandalous conversion to the despised sect of Quakers indicate a strength of character and independence of mind wholly unexpected (and unwanted) in a woman at the time. Translated for the first time into modern English, her Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy is the (...) most interesting and original philosophical work written by a woman in the seventeenth century. Her radical and unorthodox ideas are important not only because they anticipated the more tolerant, ecumenical, and optimistic philosophy of the Enlightenment, but also because of their influence on Leibniz. This fully annotated edition includes an introduction which places Conway in her historical and philosophical contexts, together with a chronology of her life and a bibliography. (shrink)
This is the first book-length treatment of the unique nature and development of Nietzsche's post-Zarathustran political philosophy. This later political philosophy is set in the context of the critique of modernity that Nietzsche advances in the years 1885-1888, in such texts as Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo. In this light Nietzsche's own diagnosis of the ills of modernity is subject to the same criticism (...) that he himself levelled against previous philosophies; that it is an involuntary symptom of the age it represents. Nietzsche is seen to be aware of his own decadence and of his complicity with the very tendencies that he dissects and deplores. By relating the political philosophy, the critique of modernity and the theory of decadence Daniel Conway has written a powerful book about Nietzsche's own appreciation of the limitations of both his writing style and of his famous prophetic 'stance'. (shrink)
While many philosophers agree that evolutionary theory has important implications for the study of ethics, there has been no consensus on what these implications are. I argue that we can better understand these implications by examining two related yet distinct issues in evolutionary theory: the evolution of our moral beliefs and the evolution of cooperative behavior. While the prevailing evolutionary account of morality poses a threat to moral realism, a plausible model of how altruism evolved in human beings provides the (...) grounding for a research program that focuses on achieving some of the more practical goals shared by ethicists. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy, College of Staten Island/City University of New York, 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10314; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Contrary to much recent opinion, Daniel Conway argues that Nietzsche's political thinking is fully consistent with his diagnosis of modernity as an exhausted and dying epoch. In addition, he clearly shows how Nietzsche does not recoil from political life in late modernity, but articulates an ethical and political teaching that relocates his notorious "perfectionism" to the political sphere.
Precautionary Criminalisation in an Age of Vulnerable Autonomy Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11572-012-9142-4 Authors Jonathan Simon, Adrian A Kragen Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA Journal Criminal Law and Philosophy Online ISSN 1871-9805 Print ISSN 1871-9791.
Perspectives on global warming Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-29 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9639-9 Authors Steven Yearley, ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AQ UK David Mercer, Science and Technology Studies Program, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia Naomi Oreskes, Department of History, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0104, USA Erik Conway, Caltech, (...) 1200 East California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
The mystery does not always end when the crime has been solved. Indeed, the most insolvable problems of crime and punishment are not so much who committed the crime, but how to see that justice is done. Now, in this illuminating volume, one of America's great legal thinkers, Norval Morris, addresses some of the most perplexing and controversial questions of justice in a highly singular fashion--by examining them in fictional form, in what he calls "parables of the law." The protagonist (...) of these stories, the figure who must see that justice is done, is Eric Blair, a name familiar to most readers: it's the real name of George Orwell. In fact, Morris has set his tales in the time and place of Orwell's famous essay, "Shooting an Elephant," in Moulmein, Burma, in the 1920s. What might seem a curious strategy at first glance--borrowing Orwell's persona to narrate these tales--is actually a brilliant stroke. For in Eric Blair we have an ideal narrator to highlight the complexities of justice: an untrained police lieutenant and junior magistrate, uncertain of judgement--and all the more likely to anguish over judgement, and to examine every facet of a case before deciding. And in 1920s Moulmein we have a neutral time and space in which to consider--free of our own political, religious, or social prejudices--a set of contemporary legal and moral questions that rarely find so calm an arena. And these stories certainly address some highly charged issues--capital punishment, insanity as a murder defense, the "battered wife syndrome" as a murder defense, child custody, "parental neglect" due to religious conviction--to name a few. In each tale, Norval Morris excels at placing Blair at the center of a controversy that has no easy answer, and that he and he alone must decide. In the title story, for instance, a retarded boy, whose only understanding of sex comes from the brothel in which he works, accidentally murders a young girl while raping her, his only defense being "Please sir, I paid her." Blair can see that the boy doesn't realize that he has committed a crime, but both the Burmese and the European community of Moulmein demand the boy's execution. Does capital punishment make sense in such an instance? Does it ever make sense? To broaden our understanding of these intricate cases, Morris concludes each story with a perceptive and often provocative commentary on each issue. After "Brothel Boy," for instance, Morris points out that no reputable study has ever shown capital punishment to be an effective deterrent to future murders, and more surprisingly, that paroled murderers commit proportionately fewer homicides than paroled felons who used a firearm in the commission of their crime. Norval Morris is one of America's foremost experts on crime and punishment, and the stories collected here represent the culmination of a lifetime of thought on the major criminal law debates of our time. A reader of these tales will come away with a deeper understanding of these debates and with a profound respect for the intricacies of justice and the complexity of the law. (shrink)
Ursula Klein and E. C. Spary (eds): Materials and expertise in early modern Europe: Between market and laboratory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, 408pp, $50 HB Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9462-8 Authors Jonathan Simon, LEPS-LIRDHIST (EA 4148), Université Lyon 1, Université de Lyon, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
This book provides a radical alternative to naturalistic theories of content, and offers a new conception of the place of mind in the world. Confronting the scientific conception of the nature of reality that has dominated the Anglo-American philosophical tradition, Morris presents a detailed analysis of content and propositional attitudes based on the idea that truth is a value. He rejects the causal theory of the explanation of behavior and replaces it with an alternative that depends upon a rich conception (...) of the behavior we explain with references to state of mind. His lucid and detailed exposition of this controversial arguments poses an emphatic challenge to the naturalistic orthodoxy in areas as diverse as metaphysics, ethics, and cognitive science. (shrink)
The term 'episodic memory' refers to our memory for unique, personal experiences, that we can date at some point in our past - our first day at school, the day we got married. It has again become a topic of great importance and interest to psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers. How are such memories stored in the brain, why do certain memories disappear (especially those from early in childhood), what causes false memories (memories of events we erroneously believe have really taken (...) place)? Since Endel Tulving's classic book 'Episodic memory' (OUP, 1983) very few books have been published on this topic. In recent years however, many of the assumptions made about episodic memory have had to be reconsidered as a result of new techniques, which have allowed us a far deeper understanding of episodic memory. In 'Episodic memory: new directions in research' three of the worlds leading researchers in the topic of memory have brought together a stellar team of contributors from the fields of cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and neuroscience, to present an account of what we now know about about this fundamentally important topic. The list of contributors includes, amongst others, Daniel Schacter, Richard Morris, Fareneh Vargha-Khadem, and Endel Tulving. The work presented within this book will have a profound effect on the direction that future research in this topic will take. (shrink)
By reconstructing it and tracing its vicissitudes, David Conway rehabilitates a time-honored conception of philosophy, originating in Plato and Aristotle, which makes theoretical wisdom its aim. Wisdom is equated with possessing a demonstrably correct understanding of why the world exists and has the broad character it does. Adherents of this conception maintained the world to be the demonstrable creation of a divine intelligence in whose contemplation supreme human happiness resides. Their claims are defended against various latter-day skepticisms.
Featuring sixty-seven classic and contemporary selections, Questions of Life and Death: Readings in Practical Ethics is ideal for courses in contemporary moral problems, applied ethics, and introduction to ethics. In contrast with other moral problems anthologies, it deals exclusively with current moral issues concerning life and death, the ethics of killing, and the ethics of saving lives. By focusing on these specific questions--rather than on an unrelated profusion of moral problems--this volume offers a theoretically unified presentation that enables students to (...) see how their conclusions regarding one moral issue can affect their positions on other debates. Questions of Life and Death includes readings on socially and politically relevant controversies including famine, killing in war, terrorism, capital punishment, killing animals, suicide, euthanasia, and abortion. The essays include classic works by Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, and John Locke alongside contemporary selections by Thomas Nagel, James Rachels, Peter Singer, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Michael Walzer, and many others. Rather than presenting students with readings on abstract and complex moral theories, editor Christopher Morris has chosen works that reflect "middle-level moral theory" and inspire everyday questions like "What if everyone did that?" Each reading is preceded by a brief introduction and followed by discussion questions. For additional theoretical background, students can consult the final chapter, a "Moral Theory Primer" (by Mark Timmons), which clearly outlines various theories. (shrink)
A characteristic feature of Wagnerian and post-Wagnerian opera is the tendency to link scenes with numerous and often surprisingly lengthy orchestral interludes, frequently performed with the curtain closed. Often taken for granted or treated as a filler by audiences and critics, these interludes can take on very prominent roles, representing dream sequences, journeys and sexual encounters, and in some cases becoming a highlight of the opera. Christopher Morris investigates the implications of these important but strangely overlooked passages. Combining close readings (...) of individual musical texts with an investigation of the critical discourse surrounding the operas, Morris shows how the interludes shed light not only on the representational and narrative capacities of the orchestra, but also on the supposed 'absolute' realm of instrumental music, a concept to which many critics appealed when they associated the interludes with 'purely musical' and 'symphonic' qualities. (shrink)
This long-awaited book is the first English-language edition of.Simon’s first book, Critique de la connaissance morale (1934). Not only does this work clarify the first stages of Simon’s intellectual career, it is also a major contribution to moral philosophy. A Critique of Moral Knowledge addresses fundamental issues. How does moral knowledge differ from other practical knowledge? What is the relationship between the moral sense, moral philosophy, and cognition in action? Is politics moral philosophy or simply a neutral technique? (...) This elegant translation will be an important contribution to the conversation on philosophy, politics, religion, and ethics. (shrink)
For Yves R. Simon, philosophy has an affinity to science, not in the sense that philosophy is a mere metascience, a commentary on the sciences, but rather because it shares the same aim as science: the search for explanation. The philosophy Simon espouses is philosophical realism which, following Jacques Maritain, he prefers to call critical realism. Against the prejudice that only some version of philosophical idealism, be it critical or absolute, is capable of understanding positive science. Simon, (...) in Foresight and Knowledge, develops a philosophy of science form a realistic perspective. Philosophy of science or the critique of science, as it was known in France, is according to Simon, metahphysics in the exercise of its critical function. Simon selects as the central focus of the treatise the problem of determinism, causality, and chance. Simon shows that the concept “determinism” must be understood in different conceptual systems, such as a philosophy of nature and physics; in the latter, determinism is conceived as a possibility of certain and exact prediction. (shrink)
Yves R. Simon (1903-1961) was one of this century’s greatest students of the virtue of practical wisdom. Simon’s interest in this virtue ranged from ultimate theoretical and foundational concerns, such as the relationship between practical knowledge and science, to the most concrete and immediate questions regarding the role of practical wisdom in personal and social decision-making. These concerns occupied Simon from his earliest published writing to the final notes and correspondence he was working on at the moment (...) of his untimely death. Throughout his life, practical wisdom and its related philosophical ramifications emerge time and again at critical junctures, throwing into bold relief some of the deeper dimensions of questions as diverse as the nature of democracy, the concept of law, and the theory of work. Practical knowledge constitutes a unifying motif of Simon’s entire encyclopedic effort. This volume reconstructs what would have been Simon’s final sustained writing on practical knowledge. It includes reworking of some previously published material, especially the landmark 1961 essay, "Introduction to the Study of Practical Wisdom," possibly the best treatment of the concept of "command" in recent philosophical writing. But it also reproduces, in a form closely corresponding to Simon’s intention, material drawn from notes and schemata, concerning issues such as the relationship between moral science and wisdom, the nature of practical judgment, and the relationship between practical knowledge and Christian moral philosophy. Also included are previously unpublished letters to Jacques Maritain on the controversy surrounding the theoretical-practical and practico-practical syllogisms, as well as Maritain’s responses. The volume concludes with applications of Simon’s general theory to a critique of the concept of a social science and to the notion of Christian humanism. This volume will appeal to moral philosophers interested in a range of normative issues, as well as social scientists and readers concerned with the philosophical foundations of modern culture. Virtue moralist, in particular, will find in Simon one of the profoundest commentators on this tradition in normative ethics. (shrink)
Based on ten years of research, The Touch of the Past considers how historically traumatic events uniquely summon forgetting and remembrance. Within a specific focus on events of systemic mass violence, Roger Simon examines how testimonies of historic events influence learning as communities struggle with "difficult histories." The Touch of the Past is a serious and compelling contribution to research in education, historical consciousness, and memory/trauma studies.
Philosophers working in the nascent field of ‘experimental philosophy’ have begun using methods borrowed from psychology to collect data about folk intuitions concerning debates ranging from action theory to ethics to epistemology. In this paper we present the results of our attempts to apply this approach to the free will debate, in which philosophers on opposing sides claim that their view best accounts for and accords with folk intuitions. After discussing the motivation for such research, we describe our methodology of (...) surveying people’s prephilosophical judgments about the freedom and responsibility of agents in deterministic scenarios. In two studies, we found that a majority of participants judged that such agents act of their own free will and are morally responsible for their actions. We then discuss the philosophical implications of our results as well as various difficulties inherent in such research. (shrink)
Incompatibilists believe free will is impossible if determinism is true, and they often claim that this view is supported by ordinary intuitions. We challenge the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive to most laypersons and discuss the significance of this challenge to the free will debate. After explaining why incompatibilists should want their view to accord with pretheoretical intuitions, we suggest that determining whether incompatibilism is in fact intuitive calls for empirical testing. We then present the results of our studies, which (...) put significant pressure on the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive. Finally, we consider and respond to several potential objections to our approach. (shrink)
Philosophers often suggest that their theories of free will are supported by our phenomenology. Just as their theories conflict, their descriptions of the phenomenology of free will often conflict as well. We suggest that this should motivate an effort to study the phenomenology of free will in a more systematic way that goes beyond merely the introspective reports of the philosophers themselves. After presenting three disputes about the phenomenology of free will, we survey the (limited) psychological research on the experiences (...) relevant to the philosophical debates and then describe some pilot studies of our own with the aim of encouraging further research. The data seem to support compatibilist descriptions of the phenomenology more than libertarian descriptions. We conclude that the burden is on libertarians to find empirical support for their more demanding metaphysical theories with their more controversial phenomenological claims. (shrink)
Studies that compare human and animal behaviour suspend prejudices about mind, body and their relation, by approaching thinking in terms of behaviour. Yet comparative approaches typically engage another prejudice, motivated by human social and bodily experience: taking the lone animal as the unit of comparison. This prejudice informs Heidegger’s and Merleau-Ponty’s comparative studies, and conceals something important: that animals moving as a group in an environment can develop new sorts of “sense.” The study of animal group-life suggests a new way (...) of thinking about the creation of sense, about the body, the brain, and the relation between thinking and nature. (shrink)
: The social model of disability gives us the tools not only to challenge the discrimination and prejudice we face, but also to articulate the personal experience of impairment. Recognition of difference is therefore a key part of the assertion of our common humanity and of an ethics of care that promotes our human rights.
A study of shifts in scientific strategies for measuring the living body, especially in dynamic systems theory: (1) sheds light on Hegel's concept of measure in The Science of Logic, and the dialectical transition from categories of being to categories of essence; (2) shows how Hegel's speculative logic anticipates and analyzes key tensions in scientific attempts to measure and conceive the dynamic agency of the body. The study's analysis of the body as having an essentially dynamic identity irreducible (...) to measurement aims to contribute to reconceiving the body, in a way that may be helpful to overcoming dualism. (shrink)
A number of authors have pointed to “convergent evolution” as evidence for the central role of natural selection in shaping predictable trajectories of macroevolution. However, there are numerous conceptual and empirical difficulties that arise in broadly appealing to the frequency of homoplasy as evidence for a non-contingently constrained adaptational design space. Most important is the need to distinguish between convergent (externally constrained) and parallel (internally constrained) evolution, and to consider how the respective frequencies of these significantly different sources of homoplasy (...) affect a strong adaptationist view of life. In this paper, I critically evaluate Simon Conway Morris’s use of the homoplasy literature to support his argument for a non-contingent, counterfactually stable account of macroevolutionary pattern. In so doing, I offer a conception of parallelism which avoids the charge that it differs from convergence merely in degree and not in kind. I argue that although organisms sharing a homoplastic trait will also share varying degrees of homology, it is the underlying developmental homology with respect to the generators directly causally responsible for the homoplastic event that defines parallel evolution and non-arbitrarily distinguishes it from convergence. The notion of “screening-off” is used to distinguish the proximal generators of a homoplastic trait from its more distal genetic causes (such as a master control gene). (shrink)
: Ursula Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" (1973), a staple of short fiction anthologies, was inspired by James's "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life." In Le Guin's moral tale, a devastating bargain causes some citizens of Omelas to reject their apparently utopian community. Although critics have seen this rejection as a Jamesian act of pragmatism and free will, this essay examines the story in the context of "The Moral Philosopher" and other writings by James on (...) pragmatism, its moral consequences, free will, and faith to refute that conclusion. I argue, instead, that James's work suggests responses that reflect his thinking about the limits and meaning of possibility and about sustaining belief in a transcendent force. (shrink)
Fred Dretske's "Knowledge and the Flow of Information" is an extended attempt to develop a philosophically useful theory of information. Dretske adapts central ideas from Shannon and Weaver's mathematical theory of communication, and applies them to some traditional problems in epistemology. In doing so, he succeeds in building for philosophers a much-needed bridge to important work in cognitive science. The pay-off for epistemologists is that Dretske promises a way out of a long-standing impasse -- the Gettier problem. He offers an (...) alternative model of knowledge as information-based belief, which purports to avoid the problems justificatory accounts face. This essay looks closely at Dretske's theory. I argue that while the information-theoretic framework is attractive, it does not provide an adequate account of knowledge. And there seems to be no way of tightening the theory without introducing some version of a theory of justification -- the very notion Dretske's theory was designed to avoid. (shrink)
In his response to my Why There Are No Mental Representations, Robert Cummins accused me of having misinterpreted his views, and attempted to undermine a crucial premise of my argument, which claimed that one could only define a semantic type non-semantically by stipulating which tokens should receive a uniform interpretation. I respond to the charge and defend the premise.
Pickering and Chater (P&C) maintain that folk psychology and cognitive science should neither compete nor cooperate. Each is an independent enterprise, with a distinct subject matter and characteristic modes of explanation. P&C''s case depends upon their characterizations of cognitive science and folk psychology. We question the basis for their characterizations, challenge both the coherence and the individual adequacy of their contrasts between the two, and show that they waver in their views about the scope of each. We conclude that P&C (...) do not so muchdiscover ascreate the gap they find between folk psychology and cognitive science. It is an artifact of their implausible and unmotivated attempt to demarcate the two areas, and of the excessively narrow accounts they give of each. (shrink)
e live on a wonderful planet that not only teems with life but shows a marvellous exuberance of form and variety. In comparison with the size of the Earth its living skin (the so-called biosphere) may be thin, but it is by no means negligible. From high in the atmosphere, where ballooning spiders wafted aloft on their silk-strings have been trapped at heights of more than 4500 m and birds such as condors cross tropical storms at altitudes well above 6000 (...) in, via the oceans and the green continents, to deep within the Earth's crust where bacteria are known to live at depths of at least several kilometres, life is pervasive. (shrink)
Several recent articles in the field of ethics and business have raised questions concerning the viability of professional ethical codes. Are such codes serious, effective tools for promoting and enforcing an ethical standard of behavior? Or do the codes more closely resemble clever, elaborate public-relation ploys? The purpose of this paper is to analyze the content, role and efficacy of one such ethical code, namely, The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors. The paper examines the ethical principles (...) embodied, implicitly or explicitly, in this Code; it tests these principles for coherence, comprehensiveness, clarity and enforce-ability. Furthermore, it seeks to determine whether this Code articulates standards of ethical conduct that are higher than those already required by law and whether the Code successfully translates a general ethical vision down to concrete, everyday real estate practice. (shrink)
Cambridge professor Simon Blackburn is best known to the general public as the author of several books of popular philosophy such as ink, Being Good andTruth: a Guide for the Perplexed. Academic philosophers also know him as the author of one of the most important books of contemporary moral philosophy, Ruling Passions, and as a former editor of the leading journal Mind.
Hugh Everett III died of a heart attack in July 1982 at the age of 51. Almost 26 years later, a New York Times obituary for his PhD advisor, John Wheeler, mentioned him and Richard Feynman as Wheeler’s most prominent students. Everett’s PhD thesis on the relative state formulation of quantum mechanics, later known as the “Many Worlds Interpretation”, was published (in its edited form) in 1957, and later (in its original, unedited form) in 1973, and since then has given (...) rise to one of the most radical schools of thought in the foundations of quantum theory. Several years ago two conferences held in Oxford and in the Perimeter Institute celebrated the occasion of 50 years to the first publication of Everett’s thesis. The book Many worlds? grew out from contributions to these conferences, but, as its editors emphasize, it is more than mere conference proceedings. Instead, an attempt was made to assemble an impressive collection of papers which together illustrate the promise of the many worlds interpretation and the obstacles it faces. 23 papers divided into six sections follow an introduction by Simon Saunders, one of Oxford’s fiercest Everettians. The first four sections cover two thorny issues that have been flagged by contemporary opponents to the many worlds interpretation, namely, the problem of ontology and the problem of probability, while the fifth discusses alternatives to Everett such as Bohmian mechanics and information–theoretic approaches to quantum theory. The sixth section seems to be a wild card, hosting several papers unrelated to each other, including one of the most interesting contributions to this volume on the history of Everett’s thesis and his (some may say all too) short academic career. Each section concludes with transcripts of the discussion session that took place after the talks, thus giving an additional emphasis to the points of contention. Apart from general comments on the volume, in what follows I would like to concentrate on few papers I found especially illuminating. Start with ontology.. (shrink)
The Morris water maze has been put forward in the philosophy of neuroscience as an example of an experimental arrangement that may be used to delineate the cognitive faculty of spatial memory (e.g., Craver and Darden, Theory and method in the neurosciences, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 2001; Craver, Explaining the brain: Mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007). However, in the experimental and review literature on the water maze throughout the history of its use, (...) we encounter numerous responses to the question of “what” phenomenon it circumscribes ranging from cognitive functions (e.g., “spatial learning”, “spatial navigation”), to representational changes (e.g., “cognitive map formation”) to terms that appear to refer exclusively to observable changes in behavior (e.g., “water maze performance”). To date philosophical analyses of the water maze have not been directed at sorting out what phenomenon the device delineates nor the sources of the different answers to the question of what. I undertake both of these tasks in this paper. I begin with an analysis of Morris’s first published research study using the water maze and demonstrate that he emerged from it with an experimental learning paradigm that at best circumscribed a discrete set of observable changes in behavior. However, it delineated neither a discrete set of representational changes nor a discrete cognitive function. I cite this in combination with a reductionist-oriented research agenda in cellular and molecular neurobiology dating back to the 1980s as two sources of the lack of consistency across the history of the experimental and review literature as to what is under study in the water maze. (shrink)
Abstract: One of the institutional highlights of the encounter between Austrian “wissen¬schaftliche Philosophie” and French “philosophie scientifique” in the first half of the 20th century was the “First International Congress for Unity of Science” that took place 1935 in Paris. In my contribution I deal with an episode of the philosophical mega-event whose protagonist was the American philosopher and semiotician Charles William Morris. At the Paris congress he presented his programme of a comprehensive, practice-oriented scientific philosophy and, in a more (...) elaborated version he published it two years later in Logical Positivism, Pragmatism and Scientific Empiricism (Morris 1937). Morris aimed at a synthesis of formalism, pragmatism, and traditional empiricism that combined the virtues of these accounts while avoided their shortocmings. The core of approach was a comprehensive theory of the concept of meaning. Through an analysis of the concept of meaning he sought to sort out the existing differences and the options for a possible future rapprochment between logical empiricism and pragmatism. Against the overly narrow logical empiricist understanding of philosophy as the syntax of the language of science Morris argued for a “scientific pragmatism” that comprised four levels: (1) Philosophy as Logic of Science, (2) Philosophy as Clarification of Meaning (Peirce), (3) Philosophy as Empirical Axiology (Dewey), and (4) Philosophy as Empirical Cosmology (Whitehead). (shrink)
This paper concerns the issue of whether the so-called left wing of the Vienna Circle (Carnap, Neurath, Frank) can be understood as having provided the blueprint for a bipartite metatheory with a formal-logical part (the “logic of science”) supporting and being supported by a naturalistic-empirical part (the “behavioristics of science”). A claim to this effect was recently met by a counterclaim that there was indeed an attempt made to broaden Carnap’s formalist conception of philosophy by the pragmatist Morris, but that (...) this initiative failed and that Carnap showed no interest in it. To defend the original claim this paper provides an analysis of Carnap and Morris on the subject matter of pragmatics in order to show that and how Carnap adopted Morris’s proposals in so far as they agreed with bipartite metatheory conception. (shrink)
Fifty years ago, Herbert Simon (1955, 1997) complained that the available models of rational choice were not feasible decision procedures for agents like us. These models involved variants on the theme of maximizing expected utility: the rational action for an agent is the one that is most likely to bring about outcomes that the agent prefers. Simon’s complaints about these models included the now-familiar notions that human beings do not manage probabilities well, that we have at (...) best radically incomplete utility functions, and that we lack the cognitive resources to calculate the expected utilities of even a few alternatives. (shrink)