Among theories of personal identity over time the simpleview has not been popular among philosophers, but it nevertheless remains the default view among non philosophers. It may be construed either as the view that nothing grounds a claim of personal identity over time, or that something quite simple (a soul perhaps) is the ground. If the former construal is accepted, a conspicuous difficulty is that the condition of causal dependence between person-stages is absent. But (...) this leaves such a view open to an objection from the failure to provide a condition of individuation. If, on the other hand something like a soul is said to ground personal identity over time, such an account turns out to be more suited to a kind of continuity view. (shrink)
According to the SimpleView of intentional action, I have intentionally switched on the light only if I intended to switch on the light. The idea that intending to is necessary for intentionally -ing has been challenged by Bratman (1984, 1987) with a counter-example in which a videogame player is trying to hit either of two targets while knowing that she cannot hit both targets. When a target is hit, the game finishes. And if both targets are about (...) to be hit simultaneously, the game shuts down. The player knows that she cannot hit both targets, but still she concludes that, given her skills, the best strategy is to have a go at each target at the same time. Suppose she hits target 1. It seems obvious that she has hit target 1 intentionally. But, Bratman argues, she could not have intended to hit target 1. Since the scenario is perfectly symmetrical, had the player intended to hit target 1, she would have also had to intend to hit target 2. But the player knows that she cannot hit both targets. (shrink)
There have been a number of challenges to the SimpleView—the view that an intention to A is necessary if an agent is to A intentionally. Michael Bratman’s celebrated video game case has convinced many that the view is false. This article presents a novel objection to Bratman’s case. It is argued, first, that the SimpleView is not undermined by the case, and second, that the real import of the case is that it (...) raises the question of how we can rationally intend mutually exclusive ends. I offer a solution to this puzzle that draws on what I call the Self-Evaluation aspect of intention. (shrink)
Accounts of personal identity over time are supposed to fall into two broad categories: 'complex views' saying that our persistence consists in something else, and 'simple views' saying that it doesn' t. But it is impossible to characterize this distinction in any satisfactory way. The debate has been systematically misdescribed. After arguing for this claim, the paper says something about how the debate might be better characterized.
Zuckerberg almost always tells users that change is hard, often referring back to the early days of Facebook when it had barely any of the features people know and love today. He says sharing and a more open and connected world are had barely any of the features people know and love today. He says sharing and a more open and connected world are good, and often he says he appreciates all the feedback.
According to the analysis of intentional action that Michael Bratman has dubbed the 'SimpleView', intending to x is necessary for intentionally x-ing. Despite the plausibility of this view, there is gathering empirical evidence that when people are presented with cases involving moral considerations, they are much more likely to judge that the action (or side effect) in question was brought about intentionally than they are to judge that the agent intended to do it. This suggests that (...) at least as far as the ordinary concept of intentional action is concerned, an agent need not intend to x in order to x intentionally. (shrink)
John Campbell proposed a so-called simpleview of colours according to which colours are categorical properties of the surfaces of objects just as they normally appear to be. I raised an invertion problem for Campbell's view according to which the senses of colour terms fail to match their references, thus rendering those terms meaningless—or so I claimed. Gabriele de Anna defended Campbell's view against my example by contesting two points in particular. Firstly, de Anna claimed that (...) there is no special problem here for the simpleview of colours, a similar invertion story could apply to primary qualities terms for shapes. Secondly, de Anna purported to give an account of the senses and references of colour terms in my invertion story which renders the senses and references of those terms mutually consistent. In this paper I contested both of de Anna's claims. Regarding the first, I argue that his imagined invertion of apparent shapes is not epistemically stable, in contrast to the invertion of apparent shapes is not epistemically stable, in contrast to the invertion of apparent colours. Hence the victims of apparently inverted shapes would be able to discover the mismatch of senses and refences of their shape terms, in contrast to the victims of apparent invertions of colours. Regarding the second, I argue that de Anna's account of the victim's colour terms itself uses and not merely mentions so-called colours terms. Hence de Anna' account of them is itself meaningless due to a mismatch of sense and reference. So I conclude that my objection to Campbell's simpleview of colours stands. (shrink)
This essay deals with the problem of the status of colours, traditionally considered as the paradigmatic case of secondary qualities: do colours exist only as aspects of experience or are they real properties of objects, existing independently of human and animal perception? Recently, John Campbell has argued in favour of the simpleview of colours, according to which colours are real properties of objects. I discuss the place of Campbell's position in a debated which was started by John (...) Mackie and continued by John McDowell, and defend it from a criticism due to Michael Smith. I conclude that the simpleview is a philosophically credible position. Subsequently, I consider an alleged contradiction between the simpleview and semantic externalism pointed out by Jim Edwards. I suggest that a supporter of the simpleview may consistently maintain semantic externalism, if she also accepts epistemological externalism about the canonical warrant of perceptual judgements. (shrink)
The aim is to defend the starting?point of Marx's theory of class, which is located in a definition of the working class in the Communist Manifesto. It is a definition solely in terms of separation from productive resources and a need to sell one's labour power, and it is closely connected with Marx's thesis that the population in capitalism has a tendency to polarize. That thesis conflicts with the widely?held belief in the growth of a large middle class, unaccounted for (...) by Marx. Moreover, recent critics such as Elster, Roemer, and Cohen have argued that this definition fails even in its own terms. The definition is refurbished so as to withstand these objections. But is there any point in using it? Does it serve to pick out the exploited producers as Marx intended? It does, once due attention is given to the idea of the collective worker, which is central in the volume of Capital which Marx himself published. That idea makes plain that it is an irreducibly corporate entity which is productive and subject to exploitation. The structural conditions for membership of that entity remove Marx's view from any simple identification of working?class membership with manual or lowly labour. (shrink)
In this essay, I defend three Simple Views concerning human beings. First, that the human embryo is, from the one-cell stage onwards, a single unitary organism. Second, that when an embryo twins, it ceases to exist and two new embryos come into existence. And third, that you and I are essentially human organisms. This cluster of views shows that it is not necessary to rely on co-location, or other obscure claims, in understanding human embryogenesis.
Phenomenal intentionality is irreducible. Empirical investigation shows it is internally-dependent. So our usual externalist (causal, etc.) theories do not apply here. Internalist views of phenomenal intentionality (e. g. interpretationism) also fail. The resulting primitivist view avoids Papineau's worry that terms for consciousness are highly indeterminate: since conscious properties are extremely natural (despite having unnatural supervenience bases) they are 'reference magnets'.
Physics tells us what is objectively there. It has no place for the colours of things. So colours are not objectively there. Hence, if there is such a thing at all, colour is mind-dependent. This argument forms the background to disputes over whether common sense makes a mistake about colours. It is assumed that..
Physics tells us what is objectively there. It has no place for the colours of things. So colours are not objectively there. Hence, if there is such a thing at all, colour is mind-dependent. This argument forms the background to disputes over whether common sense makes a mistake about colours. It is assumed that..
According to the SimpleView (SV) of intentional action famously refuted by Bratman (1984 & 1987), A-ing is intentional only if the agent intended to A. In this paper I show that none of five different objections to Bratman's counter-example – McCann's (1991), Garcia's (1990), Sverdlik's (1996), Stout's (2005), and Adams's (1986) – works. Therefore Bratman's contention that SV is false still stands.
Some authors reject what they call the "SimpleView"---i.e., the principle that anyone who A's intentionally intends to A. My purpose here is to defend this principle. Rejecting the SimpleView, I shall claim, forces us to assign to other mental states the functional role of intention: that of providing settled objectives to guide deliberation and action. A likely result is either that entities will be multiplied, or that the resultant account will invite reassertion of reductionist (...) theories. In any case, the account must drive a wedge between intention and practical rationality, by forbidding agents to intend goals it is rational to seek. Worse yet, the states it "substitutes" for intention turn out to be subject to the same constraints that prompted the substitution, and hence are indistinguishable from intention in the very respect in which they are alleged to differ. Thus, I shall argue, there is no evidence to justify such supposed distinctions, and the SimpleView is to be preferred. (shrink)
This paper defends the autonomy thesis, which holds that one can intend to do something even though one believes it to be impossible, against attacks by Fred Adams. Adams denies the autonomy thesis on the grounds that it cannot, but must, explain what makes a particular trying, a trying for the aim it has in view. If the autonomy thesis were true, it seems that I could try to fly across the Atlantic ocean merely by typing out this abstract, (...) a palpable absurdity. If we deny the autonomy thesis, we have an easy explanation: one simply cannot try to do something which one believes to be impossible. In response, I argue, first, by means of examples, that one clearly can try and intend to do what one believes to be impossible; and then l show how we can provide an answer to Adams's challenge even so. (shrink)
Philosophers like Duhem and Cartwright have argued that there is a tension between laws' abilities to explain and to represent. Abstract laws exemplify the first quality, phenomenological laws the second. This view has both metaphysical and methodological aspects: the world is too complex to be represented by simple theories; supplementing simple theories to make them represent reality blocks their confirmation. We argue that both aspects are incompatible with recent developments in nonlinear dynamics. Confirmation procedures and modelling strategies (...) in nonlinear dynamics show that there are simple, abstract theories that can be confirmed without encountering the problems pointed to by Cartwright. (shrink)
How can anyone be rational in a world where knowledge is limited, time is pressing, and deep thought is often an unattainable luxury? Traditional models of unbounded rationality and optimization in cognitive science, economics, and animal behavior have tended to view decision-makers as possessing supernatural powers of reason, limitless knowledge, and endless time. But understanding decisions in the real world requires a more psychologically plausible notion of bounded rationality. In Simple heuristics that make us smart (Gigerenzer et al. (...) 1999), we explore fast and frugal heuristics – simple rules in the mind's adaptive toolbox for making decisions with realistic mental resources. These heuristics can enable both living organisms and artificial systems to make smart choices quickly and with a minimum of information by exploiting the way that information is structured in particular environments. In this précis, we show how simple building blocks that control information search, stop search, and make decisions can be put together to form classes of heuristics, including: ignorance-based and one-reason decision making for choice, elimination models for categorization, and satisficing heuristics for sequential search. These simple heuristics perform comparably to more complex algorithms, particularly when generalizing to new data – that is, simplicity leads to robustness. We present evidence regarding when people use simple heuristics and describe the challenges to be addressed by this research program. Key Words: adaptive toolbox; bounded rationality; decision making; elimination models; environment structure; heuristics; ignorance-based reasoning; limited information search; robustness; satisficing; simplicity. (shrink)
This essay defends an analysis of malapropisms consistent with the Simple Picture of communication, namely the view that speakers communicate that P by employing expressions associated with P by the regularities appropriate for the linguistic community to which they belong. My analysis, grounded on the distinction between traces, shapes, and forms, is consistent with an intuitive assessment of the contents conveyed by instances of malapropisms, and with a standard, ‘fully articulated’ approach to semantic interpretation.
In this paper, I will reconstruct Hume's argument for the ontological (in the sense of rigid existential) independence of simple properties in A Treatise of Human Nature , Book 1 (1739). According to my reconstruction, the main premises of the argument are the real distinctness of every perception of a simple property, Hume's Separability Principle and his Conceivability Principle. In my view, Hume grounds the real distinctness of every perception of a simple property in his atomistic (...) theory of sense perception and his Copy Principle. I will also show why Hume's argument should be seen as relevant nowadays. David Lewis and his followers in metaphysics continue Hume's line of thinking in this respect, which is opposed by power ontologists (Brian Ellis, Stephen Mumford), for example. (shrink)
For the last 50 years the dominant stance in experimental biology has been reductionism in general, and genetic reductionism in particular. Philosophers were the first to realize that the belief that the Mendelian genes were reduced to DNA molecules was questionable. Soon, experimental data confirmed these misgivings. The optimism of molecular biologists, fueled by early success in tackling relatively simple problems has now been tempered by the difficulties encountered when applying the same simple ideas to complex problems. We (...) analyze three examples taken from experimental data that illustrate the shortcomings of this sort of reductionism. In the first, alterations in the expression of a large number of genes coexist with normal phenotypes at supra-cellular levels of organization; in the second, the supposed intrinsic specificity of hormonal signals is negated; in the third, the notion that cancer is a cellular problem caused by mutated genes is challenged by data gathered both from the reductionist viewpoint and the alternative view proposing that carcinogenesis is development gone awry. As an alternative to reductionism, we propose that the organicist view is a good starting point from which to explore these phenomena. However, new theoretical concepts are needed to grapple with the apparent circular causality of complex biological phenomena. (shrink)
Recent non-representationalists and metaphysical anti-realists (such as Goodman, Putnam, Rorty, etc.) have argued that the “Enlightenment notion” of a “God’s eye” point of view of the world is unsustainable. Deployment of conceptual schemes and/or intersubjective assent both constitute the world and fix the truth value of our statements about it. Many theists, on the contrary, hold an equally extreme realist position according to which God has a view of the world as it is “in itself" (...) which provides an exhaustive description of the world. Furthermore, on this view, God has access to this exhaustive picture because the world exists and is what it is in virtue of its being the object of divine creative intentions. For these theistic realists, truths about the world must ultimately be able to be cashed out in terms of an ontology consisting only of simple and composite substances—substances which exist in virtue of the ontological structure set out in the world via God's creative activity. As a result, on this view, the world is constituted in a way that is independent of the activity of created cognizers and their conceptualizing activity. The truth of our assertions must ultimately find its grounding in this independently constituted world. (shrink)
The search for a unified and coherent feminine aesthetic theory could not be successful because it relies upon "universals" which do not exist and assumes simple parallels among psychological, social and aesthetic structures. However, with an apparatus of narrative points of view, one can demonstrate that individual narrative texts are organized from a feminine point of view. To this extent, the intuition that there is a feminine aesthetic can be vindicated.
This paper argues that Burley's theory of simple supposition is not as it has usually been presented. The prevailing view is that Burley and other authors agreed that simple supposition was in every case supposition for a universal, and that the disagreement over simple supposition between, say, Ockham and Burley was merely a disagreement over what a universal was (a piece of the ontology? a concept?), combined with a separate disagreement over what terms signify (the speaker's (...) thoughts? the objects the thoughts are about?).In fact, however, Burley explicitly allows that some instances of simple supposition are for an individual, and that in certain cases personal supposition and simple supposition coincide. The present paper explores Burley's theory on this topic, and proposes a way of thinking about the metaphysics and the semantics that makes sense of what he says. (shrink)
Simple versions of Reliabilism about justification say that S's believing that p is justified if and only if the belief was produced by a belief-forming process that is reliable above some high threshold. Alvin Goldman, in Epistemology and Cognition, argues for a more complex version of the view according to which it is total epistemic systems that are assessed for reliability, rather than individual processes. Why prefer this more complex version of Reliabilism? Two reasons suggest themselves. First, it (...) seems that the interaction of various processes of belief formation is often important. The more complex version appears to account for the interaction of processes. Second, one might doubt whether individual processes will have determinate truth-ratios. If not, the simple version of Reliabilism is a nonstarter. In this paper I argue that, despite these two apparent advantages, the complex version of Reliabilism is untenable. I conclude by arguing that the simple version is actually fine as it is. (shrink)
The traditional view on simple sentences in subjunctive mood regards them as a kind of counterfactual conditional with a missing antecedent. This paper discusses the nature of these unexpressed antecedents by relating such sentences to corresponding sentences in indicative mood and full counterfactual conditionals. Usually it is assumed that context is the main source for retrieving these unexpressed conditions. It is shown here that they can also be considered as presupposition-like entities induced by the semantic content of the (...)simple subjunctive sentence itself. Subjunctive sentences also raise problems for standard assumptions of how the meanings of expressions contribute to sentence meaning. For in simple subjunctive sentences sentential constituents can play a different role from that in indicative sentences: in subjunctives they must be interpreted as contributing to the unexpressed antecedent of the underlying conditional rather than to the consequent. Finally, a representation for simple subjunctive sentences as conditionals in Discourse Representation Theory is proposed together with a mechanism for deriving the antecedents of these conditionals from the content of the sentence. The mechanism accounts for the different roles of the constituents in simple indicative and subjunctive sentences without requiring special syntactic-semantic rules. (shrink)
A simple stationary state is set up by combining the two de Broglie waves from two particles traveling in one direction with equal and opposite velocities. By considering the waves forming this state from the point of view of all possible observers moving in the same direction, it is shown that the basic standing wave pattern does not alter, but that the particle will be confined to a small region stationary relative to this pattern. This region is similar (...) in extent to that confining a free particle, the natural internal frequency of the particle being raised. This agrees with previous suggestions that a particle in a stationary state without angular momentum is stationary. (shrink)
This paper assesses Milton Friedman’s (1962, 1970) strongly negative view of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and his influence among managers and academics. The subtitle reflects the theme of the IABS 2007 conference: advising practitioners, illustrated by Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513). The paper develops two general arguments. The first argument is that Professor Friedman was a highly academic theoretician arguing the general merits of basically simple theoretical ideas. The second argument concerns advising practitioners. While Friedman’s advice is theoretical (i.e., (...) abstract) rather than practical (i.e., pragmatic), this very characteristic may have increased his influence. There are important lessons to study concerning academic influence among practitioners. Simple ideas may facilitate dissemination and persuasiveness. It is thus worth studying Friedman’s approach to controversy. (shrink)
The theory of weak measurements developed by Aharonov and coworkers has been applied by them and others to several interesting problems in which the system of interest is both pre- and post-selected. When the probability of successful post-selection is very small the prediction for the weak value of the measured quantity is often “bizarre” and sometimes controversial, lying outside the range of possibility for a classical system or for a quantum system in the absence of post-selection (e.g. negative kinetic energies (...) associated with particles found immediately after the weak measurement deep inside a classically forbidden region). In Bohmian mechanics a quantum particle is postulated to be a point-like particle which is always accompanied by a wave which probes its environment and guides its motion accordingly. Hence, from the point of view of this theory, it is natural to ask whether the measured weak value under consideration is a property of the point-like particle or of the wave (or of both) and what, if anything, it is that is actually being measured. In this paper, weak measurements of position, momentum and kinetic energy are considered for very simple case studies with these questions in mind. (shrink)
What Daniel Hausman has called 'the simple criticism of economic theory' affirms that neoclassical microeconomic models include false statements, and therefore economists cannot rationally accept such models. Hausman considers, but rejects, the modal view of economic models as a defense of neoclassical theory against the simple criticism. I attempt to show that, on the contrary, the modal view can be used to defend neoclassical micro theory. The modal view distinguishes theoretical from applied economic models. Theoretical (...) models afford true descriptions of hypothetical economic agents, whereas applied models contain true or false statements about some real world situation. Relying on the modal view, I argue that the simple criticism is not well-founded, whether it concerns theoretical or applied models. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to clear some philosophical questions about the nature of logic by setting up a mathematical framework. The notion of congruence in logic is defined. A logical structure in which there is no non-trivial congruence relation, like some paraconsistent logics, is called simple. The relations between simplicity, the replacement theorem and algebraization of logic are studied (including MacLane-Curry’s theorem and a discussion about Curry’s algebras). We also examine how these concepts are related to such notions (...) as semantics, truth-functionality and bivalence. We argue that a logic, which is simple, can deserve the name logic and that the opposite view is connected with a reductionist perspective (reduction of logic to algebra). (shrink)
The design of the bronchial tree has largely been proposed as a model of optimal design from a physical-functional perspective. However, the distributive function of the airway may be more related to a geometrical than a physical problem. The bronchial tree must distribute a three dimensional volume of inspired air on a two dimensional alveolar surface, included in a limited volume. It is thus valid to ask whether an optimal bronchial tree from a physical perspective is also optimum from a (...) geometrical point of view. In this paper we generate a simple geometric model for the branching pattern of the bronchial tree, deducing relationships that permit estimation of the departures from the geometrical optimum of each bifurcation. We also, for comparative purposes, estimate the departures from the physical optimum. From the geometrical assumptions: i) a symmetrical dichotomic fractal design, ii) with minimum volume and iii) maximum dispersion of the terminal points; and several simulations we suggest that the optimality is characterized by a bifurcation angle Θ ∼ 60° and a length reduction scale γ = (1/2)1/3 = 0.7937. We propose distances from the physical and geometrical optimality defined as Euclidean distances from the expected optima. We show how the advanced relationships and the distances can be used to estimate departures from the optimality in bronchographs of four species. We found lower physical and geometrical departures in the distal zone than those of the proximal zones, as well as lower physical than geometrical departures from optimality. (shrink)
Tyler Burge's theory of proper names is being revived with the help of Generative Grammar. The complex syntax of DPs appears to encourage the Burgean analysis of proper names which attributes complex semantic structures to the uses of proper names. I will argue, however, that the Millian view of proper names which hypothesizes simple semantics for names is also compatible with the complex syntactic structures. In order to defend this thesis, I will show that Paul Elbourne's implementation of (...) Burge's insight is no better than the Millian semantics of proper names. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne, in his The Existence of God (2004), presents a cosmological argument in defence of theism (Swinburne 1991: 119, 135). God, Swinburne argues, is more likely to bring about an ordered universe than other states (ibid.: 144, 299). To defend this view, Swinburne presents the following arguments: (1) That this ordered universe is a priori improbable (2004: 49, 150, 1991: 304 et seq.), given the stringent requirements for life (cf. also Leslie 2000: 12), and the Second Law of (...) Thermodynamics (Giancoli 1990: 396); (2) That it seems as if this ordered universe can be explained by theism; (3) A theistic explanation for the universe is more probable because it is a simple explanation. To this end, Swinburne makes use of Bayes’ Theorem. Symbolically, this claim can be represented as (e) for the evidence of the existence of a complex universe, and (h) for a hypothesis. Swinburne’s argument is that theism has a higher prior probability, P(htheism) > P(hmaterialism), since theism is simpler than materialism. He concludes that P(e|htheism) > P(e|hmaterialism). In this paper I will address only this argument (3) above, and defend the view that it is false: theism is not simpler than materialism, nor it is more probably true. I conclude that theism is less probable than materialism, expressed by P(htheism) < P(hmaterialism) : 2/N(2n+1) < 1/n, where N is the number of possible universes and n the number of entities in existence. (shrink)
A number of writers have deployed the notion of a point of view as a key to the allegedly theory-resistant subjective aspect of experience. I examine that notion more closely than is usually done and find that it cannot support the anti-objectivist's case. Experience may indeed have an irreducibly subjective aspect, but the notion of a point of view cannot be used to show that it does.
Years ago, Michael Dummett defended McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time, arguing that it cannot be dismissed as guilty of an “indexical fallacy.” Recently, E. J. Lowe has disputed Dummett’s claims for the cogency of the argument. I offer an elaboration and defense of Dummett’s interpretation of the argument (though not of its soundness). I bring to bear some work on tense from the philosophy of language, and some recent work on the concept of the past as it occurs (...) in memory, in an effort to support the claim that McTaggart is not guilty of any simple indexical fallacy. Along the way I criticize an account of what is at stake in disputes about the reality of tense due to A. W. Moore, and I argue for the superiority of the conception of tense-realism that is implicit in McTaggart’s work. The paper is intended to prepare the ground for a substantive defense of the reality of tense. (shrink)
Some philosophers believe that when epistemic peers disagree, each has an obligation to accord the other's assessment the same weight as her own. I first make the antecedent of this Equal-Weight View more precise, and then I motivate the View by describing cases in which it gives the intuitively correct verdict. Next I introduce some apparent counterexamples – cases of apparent peer disagreement in which, intuitively, one should not give equal weight to the other party's assessment. To defuse (...) these apparent counterexamples, an advocate of the View might try to explain how they are not genuine cases of peer disagreement. I examine David Christensen's and Adam Elga's explanations and find them wanting. I then offer a novel explanation, which turns on a distinction between knowledge from reports and knowledge from direct acquaintance. Finally, I extend my explanation to provide a handy and satisfying response to the charge of self-defeat. (shrink)
The Subset View of realization, though it has some attractive advantages, also has several problems. In particular, there are five main problems that have emerged in the literature: Double-Counting, The Part/Whole Problem, The “No Addition of Being” Problem, The Problem of Projectibility, and the Problem of Spurious Kinds. Each is reviewed here, along with solutions (or partial solutions) to them. Taking these problems seriously constrains the form that a Subset view can take, and thus limits the kinds of (...) relations that can fulfill the realization relation on this view. (shrink)
According to one influential conception of morality, being moral is a matter of acting from or in accordance with a moral point of view, a point of view which is arrived at by abstracting from a more natural, pre-ethical, personal point of view, and recognizing that each person''s personal point of view has equal standing. The idea that, were it not for morality, rational persons would act from their respectively personal points of view is, however, (...) simplistic and misleading. Because our nonmoral reasons cannot all be adequately captured as falling within any single, unified and coherent point of view, morality cannot be adequately understood as a matter of abstracting from such points of view and taking them all equally into account. After considering several ways of modifying the initial conception of morality in a way that accommodates the variety of nonmoral reasons that do not have their source in a personal point of view, the paper concludes with the suggestion that we free ourselves more thoroughly from the grip of the metaphor that takes morality as a whole to be a matter of acting in accordance with the judgments of a single unified and coherent point of view. (shrink)
True contradictions are taken increasingly seriously by philosophers and logicians. Yet, the belief that contradictions are always false remains deeply intuitive. This paper confronts this belief head-on by explaining in detail how one specific contradiction is true. The contradiction in question derives from Priest's reworking of Berkeley's argument for idealism. However, technical aspects of the explanation offered here differ considerably from Priest's derivation. The explanation uses novel formal and epistemological tools to guide the reader through a valid argument with, not (...) just true, but eminently acceptable premises, to an admittedly unusual conclusion: a true contradiction. The novel formal and epistemological tools concern points of view and changes in points of view. The result is an understanding of why the contradiction is true. (shrink)
Multiply realizable properties are those whose realizers are physically diverse. It is often argued that theories which contain them are ipso facto irreducible. These arguments assume that physical explanations are restricted to the most specific descriptions possible of physical entities. This assumption is descriptively false, and philosophically unmotivated. I argue that it is a holdover from the late positivist axiomatic view of theories. A semantic view of theories, by contrast, correctly allows scientific explanations to be couched in the (...) most perspicuous, powerful language available. On a semantic view, traditional notions of multiple realizability are thus very hard to motivate. At best, one must abandon either the idea that multiple realizability is an interesting scientific notion, or else admit that multiply realizable properties do not automatically block scientific reductions. (shrink)