This paper examines the potential limitations of professional wisdom alongside those of society more generally with respect to upholding the well-being of vulnerable and marginalized people. It presents the dangers, referring to four well-documented illustrations of professional failure, that services and service systems pose when both professionals and society at large do not demonstrate sufficient measures of positive values and ethics to ensure the protection of vulnerable people within care systems. While it argues that reform of service systems and the (...) repair of such breaches are always possible, even such system reform may fail if it is not ultimately guided by wisdom not only from professionals but society itself. Several recent international examples of this wisdom are noted. It sees such wisdom as being located in the inherited values and social ethics of a society and the power of these to guide human conduct in the face of the profound and ongoing limitations of human nature. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies responds to and celebrates the explosion of research in this inter-disciplinary field over recent decades. As a one-volume reference work, it provides an introduction to the academic study of early Christianity (c. 100-600 AD) and examines the vast geographical area impacted by the early church, in Western and Eastern late antiquity. It is thematically arranged to encompass history, literature, thought, practices, and material culture. It contains authoritative and up-to-date surveys of current thinking and (...) research in the various sub-specialties of early Christian studies, written by leading figures in the discipline. The essays orientate readers to a given topic, as well as to the trajectory of research developments over the past 30-50 years within the scholarship itself. Guidance for future research is also given. Each essay points the reader towards relevant forms of extant evidence (texts, documents, or examples of material culture), as well as to the appropriate research tools available for the area. -/- This volume will be useful to advanced undergraduate and post-graduate students, as well as to specialists in any area who wish to consult a brief review of the 'state of the question' in a particular area or sub-specialty of early Christian studies, especially one different from their own. (shrink)
Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories secure rigidity for indexicals by positing special contexts and semantic mechanisms reserved only for indexicals. The result is a deep and unexplained chasm between expressions that depend on the extra-linguistic context and expressions that depend on the discourse context. Theories that treat indexicals as anaphoric, presuppositional expressions (e.g., Zeevat 1999; Roberts 2002; Hunter & Asher 2005; Maier 2006, 2009) have the potential to be more minimal and general than Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories—the mechanism of presupposition, unlike that (...) of Kaplanian character, is useful for the semantics of a great many expressions. Maier (2006, 2009), however, has argued that presuppositional theories of indexicals must be supplemented with a two-dimensional semantics in order to secure rigidity for indexicals. If this is right, then presuppositional theories of indexicals will suffer from the limitations of Kaplan's system. This article argues that Maier is not right on this point: presuppositions can completely replace Kaplanian characters. A presuppositional theory can secure rigidity for indexicals without positing two independent dimensions of meaning that can never interact; in particular, it can do so without positing that indexicals have a special kind of meaning that by its nature can never interact with the kind of meaning that Kaplan called ‘content’. The result is a more general, minimal and flexible theory that better handles the data on indexicals. (shrink)
Critiques of Knowing explores what happens to science and computing when we think of them as texts. Lynette Hunter elegantly weaves together such vast areas of thought as rhetoric, politics, AI, computing, feminism, science studies, aesthetics and epistemology. This book shows us that what we need is a radical shake-up of approaches to the arts if the critiques of science and computing are to come to any fruition.
Rival Enlightenments is a major reinterpretation of early modern German intellectual history. Ian Hunter treats the civil philosophy of Pufendorf and Thomasius and the metaphysical philosophy of Leibniz and Kant as rival intellectual cultures or paideia, thereby challenging all histories premised on Kant's supposed reconciliation and transcendence of the field. This landmark study argues that the marginalization of civil philosophy in post-Kantian philosophical history may itself illustrate the continuing struggle between the rival enlightenments. Combining careful scholarship with vivid polemic, (...)Hunter presents penetrating insights for philosophers and historians alike. (shrink)
I argue that entertaining a proposition is not an action. Such events do not have intentional explanations and cannot be evaluated as rational or not. In these respects they contrast with assertions and compare well with perceptual events. One can control what one thinks by doing something, most familiarly by reciting a sentence. But even then the event of entertaining the proposition is not an action, though it is an event one has caused to happen, much as one might cause (...) oneself to see a book by looking at it. I also discuss how this may support the view that thinking about the world is a source of information about it. (shrink)
In their development of causal decision theory, Allan Gibbard and William Harper advocate a particular method for calculating the expected utility of an action, a method based upon the probabilities of certain counterfactuals. Gibbard and Harper then employ their method to support a two-box solution to Newcomb’s paradox. This paper argues against some of Gibbard and Harper’s key claims concerning the truth-values and probabilities of counterfactuals involved in expected utility calculations, thereby disputing their analysis of Newcomb’s Paradox. If we are (...) right, then Gibbard and Harper’s method of calculating expected utility does not adequately represent rational choice. (shrink)
Widescopism, as I call it, holds that names are synonymous with descriptions that are required to take wide scope over modal adverbs. Scott Soames has recently argued that Widescopism is false. He identifies an argument that is valid but which, he claims, a defender of Widescopism must say has true premises and a false conclusion. I argue, first, that a defender of Widescopism need not in fact say that the target arguments conclusion is false. Soames argument that she must confuses, (...) I claim, modal adverbs and modal predicates. I then argue that even if she did reject the conclusion, she could nonetheless hold that the target arguments first premise is ambiguous as between a true reading, on which the argument is invalid, and a false reading, on which the argument is valid. I conclude that Soames argument against Widescopism fails. (shrink)
What I wish to consider here is how understanding something is related to the justiﬁcation of beliefs about what it means. Suppose, for instance, that S understands the name “Clinton” and has a justiﬁed belief that it names Clinton. How is S’s understanding related to that belief’s justiﬁcation? Or suppose that S understands the sentence “Clinton is President”, or Jones’ assertive utterance of it, and has a justiﬁed belief that that sentence expresses the proposition that Clinton is President, or that (...) Jones said that Clinton is President. How is S’s understanding related to the justiﬁcations of these beliefs? (shrink)
Some philosophical proposals seem to die hard. In a recent paper, Jason Stanley has worked to resurrect the description theory of reference, at least as it might apply to natural kind terms like ‘elm’ (Stanley, 1999). The theory’s founding idea is that to understand ‘elm’ one must know a uniquely identifying truth about elms. Famously, Hilary Putnam showed that ordinary users of ‘elm’ may understand it while lacking such knowledge, and may even be unable to distinguish elms from beeches (Putnam, (...) 1975). In response, Stanley claims that linguistic understanding in the case of natural kind terms comes in levels, and that only those at the top level need have the knowledge in question. The description theory, in Stanley’s hands, applies only to those with top level understanding and it is their understanding that ﬁxes the term’s reference. To use the term successfully, those with inferior understanding need only be defer- ential to those at the top. However, Stanley’s appeal to expert knowledge fails to revive the description theory. (shrink)
The article is an interpretation of about the first half of chapter xi of part ii of "philosophical investigations". Wittgenstein is treated as having the single aim of arguing down the massive temptation to suppose that the expression 'to see...As...', And such similar expressions as 'to recognize', Record the occurrence of an experience distinct from the experience of simply seeing the object seen as or recognized. Ways are suggested of making a kind of sense of most of the very perplexing (...) remarks in this stretch of the "investigations". (shrink)
Coordination problems, problems in which each agent's expected utility depends upon what other agents do, pose a problem for act utilitarianism. When the agents are act utilitarians and know of each other that they are so, they seem unable to achieve optimal outcomes in certain coordination problems. I examine various ways the act utilitarian might attempt to solve this problem, where act utilitarianism is interpreted within the framework of subjective expected utility theory. In particular, a new method for computing expected (...) utility,dynamic deliberation, deserves examination as a possible act utilitarian solution to coordination problems. I argue that even dynamic deliberation fails to give the act utilitarian what he needs in coordination problems, and that the failure of act utilitarianism for such problems suggests the need for an alternative theory of moral choice along rule utilitarian lines. (shrink)
Working retrospectively in an uncertain field of knowledge, physicians are engaged in an interpretive practice that is guided by couterweighted, competing, sometimes paradoxical maxims. When you hear hoofbeats, don't think zebras, is the chief of these, the epitome of medicine's practical wisdom, its hermeneutic rule. The accumulated and contradictory wisdom distilled in clinical maxims arises necessarily from the case-based nature of medical practice and the narrative rationality that good practice requires. That these maxims all have their opposites enforces in students (...) and physicians a practical skepticism that encourages them to question their expectations, interrupt patterns, and adjust to new developments as a case unfolds. Yet medicine resolutely ignores both the maxims and the tension between the practical reasoning they represent and the claim that medicine is a science. Indeed, resolute epistemological naivete is part of medicine's accommodation to uncertainty; counterweighted, competing, apparently paradoxical (but always situational) rules enable physicians simultaneously to express and to ignore the practical reason that characterizes their practice. (shrink)
This paper demolishes the Churchlands' arguments for their Eliminative Materialism and casts doubt on the logical possibility of their thesis. In passing, the paper draws attention to a mistake in history of science made in one of the arguments.
A natural view is that linguistic understanding is a source of justification or evidence: that beliefs about the meaning of a text or speech act are prima facie justified when based on states of understanding. Neglect of this view is largely due to the widely held assumption that understanding a text or speech act consists in knowledge or belief. It is argued that this assumption rests, in part, on confusing occurrent states of understanding and dispositions to understand. It is then (...) argued that occurrent states of understanding are not states of belief of knowledge since a subject may fail to believe that a text or speech act means what she understands it to mean if she doubts the reliability or truth- fulness of that understanding. States of understanding, it is maintained, belong in the same epistemic category as states of perception and memory. (shrink)
forthcoming in Journal of Philosophical Research. This paper argues against David Armstrong’s view that singular beliefs are not dispositions. It also begins to develop the view that self-conscious belief is a matter of belief revision.
In attempting to build intelligent litigation support tools, we have moved beyond first generation, production rule legal expert systems. Our work integrates rule based and case based reasoning with intelligent information retrieval.When using the case based reasoning methodology, or in our case the specialisation of case based retrieval, we need to be aware of how to retrieve relevant experience. Our research, in the legal domain, specifies an approach to the retrieval problem which relies heavily on an extended object oriented/rule based (...) system architecture that is supplemented with causal background information. We use a distributed agent architecture to help support the reasoning process of lawyers. (shrink)
This paper examines the use of connectionism (neural networks) in modelling legal reasoning. I discuss how the implementations of neural networks have failed to account for legal theoretical perspectives on adjudication. I criticise the use of neural networks in law, not because connectionism is inherently unsuitable in law, but rather because it has been done so poorly to date. The paper reviews a number of legal theories which provide a grounding for the use of neural networks in law. It then (...) examines some implementations undertaken in law and criticises their legal theoretical naïvete. It then presents a lessons from the implementations which researchers must bear in mind if they wish to build neural networks which are justified by legal theories. (shrink)