Survey data are presented on opinions about agricultural biotechnology and its applications held by agricultural science faculty at highly ranked programs in the United States with and without personal involvement in biotechnology-oriented research. Respondents believed biotech holds much promise, but policy positions vary. These results underscore the relationship between opinion and stakeholder interests in this research, even among scientific experts. Media accounts are often seen as causes, rather than artifacts, of the existence of public controversy; European and now U.S. opposition (...) to food biotechnology is often explained away in terms of such a relationship. The authors argue that where even experts are divided, public opposition cannot reasonably be attributed to poor public understanding or sensationalistic media accounts. Ethical implications for communicating science are explored. (shrink)
In this paper we analyze results from 114 face-to-face qualitative interviews of people who had evacuated from the New Orleans area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, interviews that were completed within weeks of the 2005 storm in most cases. Our goal was to understand the role information and knowledge played in people's decisions to leave the area. Contrary to the conventional wisdom underlying many disaster communication studies, we found that our interviewees almost always had extensive storm-related information from a (...) variety of sources, including media reports and (in many cases) other background knowledge gleaned from experiences with previous storms, often from interpersonal sources. However, consistent with a theme in communication research that has been identifiable since at least the 1940s, interpersonal communication networks were most often what ultimately caused these individuals to act on this information, and therefore those with “weak ties” (a concept borrowed from sociology) to the broader “mainstream” community may have been disadvantaged, slower to leave, and thus more vulnerable to the storm's main effects. From our evidence, the end result was less a function of discrimination as it was one of differential activation of a relevant social network. These results argue for the rejection of a “deficit model” that assumes varied reactions to natural disaster result from some kind of an information deficiency, and remind us that behavior under such circumstances is the result of a process of collective behavior, not only individual cognition. (shrink)
Dialetheism is the view that some contradictions are true. This is a view which runs against orthodoxy in logic and metaphysics since Aristotle, and has implications for many of the core notions of philosophy. Doubt Truth to Be a Liar explores these implications for truth, rationality, negation, and the nature of logic, and develops further the defense of dialetheism first mounted in Priest's In Contradiction, a second edition of which is also available.
Graham Priest presents a ground-breaking account of the semantics of intentional language--verbs such as "believes," "fears," "seeks," or "imagines." Towards Non-Being proceeds in terms of objects that may be either existent or non-existent, at worlds that may be either possible or impossible. The book will be of central interest to anyone who is concerned with intentionality in the philosophy of mind or philosophy of language, the metaphysics of existence and identity, the philosophy of fiction, the philosophy of mathematics, or (...) cognitive representation in AI. (shrink)
This second and extended edition of Priest's classic includes new chapters on Heidegger and Nagarjuna, as well as reflections on reactions to the first edition. Praise for previous edition: "a splendid tour de force, one which should be read by every philosopher..."--Philosophical Quarterly "[H]ighly entertaining and provocative...an engaging and instructive tour through some of the most perplexing features of our own conceptual finitude..."--TLS.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty was the first French thinker to identify phenomenology with philosophy. He is known and celebrated as a renowned phenomenologist and was identified as a key figure in the existential movement. In his wide-ranging and penetrative study, Stephen Priest engages Merleau-Ponty across the full range of his thought. He considers Merleau-Ponty's writings on the problems of the body, perception, space, time, subjectivity. freedom, language, other minds, physical objects, art and being. Priest uses clear and direct language to (...) explain the thoughts and the ensuing importance of one of the greatest contemporary thinkers. Philosophy students and scholars alike will find great pleasure in this fascinating exploration of the writings and ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. (shrink)
In ?Definability and the Structure of Logical Paradoxes? (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, this issue) Haixia Zhong takes issue with an account of the paradoxes of self-reference to be found in Beyond the Limits of Thought [Priest 1995. The point of this note is to explain why the critique does not succeed. The criterion for distinguishing between the set-theoretic and the semantic paradoxes offered does not get the division right; the semantic paradoxes are not given a uniform solution; no reason (...) is provided as to why the naïve denotation relation is ?indefinite? (other than that its definiteness leads to contradiction); and the account of the denotation relation given clearly misses the mark, even by consistent standards. (shrink)
The Subject in Question provides a fascinating insight into a debate between two of the twentieth century's most famous philosophers over the key notions of conscious experience and the self. Edmund Husserl, the father of phenomenology, argued that the unity of one's own consciousness depends on the "transcendental ego," an irreducible, essential self not available to ordinary consciousness. But in The Transcendence of the Ego , Jean-Paul Sartre launched a sustained attack on Husserl's doctrine and argued that the self is (...) instead a construct, a product of one's self-image in the eyes of others. In this first book-length commentary on Sartre's influential work, Stephen Priest explores Sartre's hostility to any essentialist conception of the self and sheds new light on the debates over consciousness, the legacy of Descartes and Kant, the nature of selfhood and personal identity, and the development of the phenomenological tradition. (shrink)
Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained (...) in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy. (shrink)
The paper explains how a paraconsistent logician can appropriate all classical reasoning. This is to take consistency as a default assumption, and hence to work within those models of the theory at hand which are minimally inconsistent. The paper spells out the formal application of this strategy to one paraconsistent logic, first-order LP. (See, Ch. 5 of: G. Priest, In Contradiction, Nijhoff, 1987.) The result is a strong non-monotonic paraconsistent logic agreeing with classical logic in consistent situations. It is (...) shown that the logical closure of a theory under this logic is trivial only if its closure under LP is trivial. (shrink)
A motivation behind one kind of logical pluralism is the thought that there are different kinds of objects, and that reasoning about situations involving these different kinds requires different kinds of logics. Given this picture, a natural question arises: what kind of logical apparatus is appropriate for situations which concern more than one kind of objects, such as may arise, for example, when considering the interactions between the different kinds? The paper articulates an answer to this question, deploying the methodology (...) of Chunk and Permeate, developed in a different context by Brown and Priest (J Philos Log 33:379–388, 2004). (shrink)
A dialetheia is a sentence, A, such that both it and its negation, ¬A, are true (we shall talk of sentences throughout this entry; but one could run the definition in terms of propositions, statements, or whatever one takes as her favourite truth-bearer: this would make little difference in the context). Assuming the fairly uncontroversial view that falsity just is the truth of negation, it can equally be claimed that a dialetheia is a sentence which is both true and false.
Anyone who is accustomed to the view that contradictions cannot be true, and cannot be accepted, and who reads texts in the Buddhists traditions will be struck by the fact that they frequently contain contradictions. Just consider, for example.
The argument from fine tuning is supposed to establish the existence of God from the fact that the evolution of carbon-based life requires the laws of physics and the boundary conditions of the universe to be more or less as they are. We demonstrate that this argument fails. In particular, we focus on problems associated with the role probabilities play in the argument. We show that, even granting the fine tuning of the universe, it does not follow that the universe (...) is improbable, thus no explanation of the fine tuning, theistic or otherwise, is required. (shrink)
: Nagarjuna seems willing to embrace contradictions while at the same time making use of classic reductio arguments. He asserts that he rejects all philosophical views including his own-that he asserts nothing-and appears to mean it. It is argued here that he, like many philosophers in the West and, indeed, like many of his Buddhist colleagues, discovers and explores true contradictions arising at the limits of thought. For those who share a dialetheist's comfort with the possibility of true contradictions commanding (...) rational assent, for Nagarjuna to endorse such contradictions would not undermine but instead confirm the impression that he is indeed a highly rational thinker. It is argued that the contradictions he discovers are structurally analogous to many discovered by Western philosophers and mathematicians. (shrink)
Consider this situation: Here are two envelopes. You have one of them. Each envelope contains some quantity of money, which can be of any positive real magnitude. One contains twice the amount of money that the other contains, but you do not know which one. You can keep the money in your envelope, whose numerical value you do not know at this stage, or you can exchange envelopes and have the money in the other. You wish to maximise your money. (...) What should you do?1 Here are three forms of reasoning about this situation, which we shall call.. (shrink)
Kenzo saw a slight movement of his opponent. “Now is the time to strike!” he thought. He started moving. But before he had time to raise his shinai (sword) he was struck on the men (head) by his opponent. “Ippon!” the judge called.
In Contradiction advocates and defends the view that there are true contradictions (dialetheism), a view that flies in the face of orthodoxy in Western philosophy since Aristotle. The book has been at the center of the controversies surrounding dialetheism ever since its first publication in 1987. This second edition of the book substantially expands upon the original in various ways, and also contains the author's reflections on developments over the last two decades. Further aspects of dialetheism are discussed in the (...) companion volume, Doubt Truth to be a Liar, also published by Oxford University Press in 2006. (shrink)
Kant argued that we have no knowledge of things in themselves, no knowledge of the intrinsic properties of things, a thesis that is not idealism but epistemic humility. David Lewis agrees (in 'Ramseyan Humility'), but for Ramseyan reasons rather than Kantian. I compare the doctrines of Ramseyan and Kantian humility, and argue that Lewis's contextualist strategy for rescuing knowledge from the sceptic (proposed elsewhere) should also rescue knowledge of things in themselves. The rescue would not be complete: for knowledge of (...) things in themselves would remain elusive. (shrink)
The paper discusses where philosophy is going at the moment. Various current trends are singled out for comment. It then moves to the question of where it ought to be going. After a brief discussion of what this question means, it concludes that no guidance can be given except that each philosopher should pursue what they think to be important.
David Lewis's account of intentionality is a version of what he calls 'global descriptivism'. The rough idea is that the correct interpretation of one's total theory is the one (among the admissible interpretations) that come closest to making it true. I give an exposition of this account, as I understand it, and try to bring out some of its consequences. I argue that there is a tension between Lewis's global descriptivism and his rejection of a linguistic account of the intentionality (...) of thought. I distinguish some different senses in which Lewis's theory might permit, or be committed to, a kind of holism about intentional content, and I consider the sense in which Lewis's account might be said to be an internalist account, and the motivation for this kind of internalism. (shrink)
David Lewis [1988; 1996] canvases an anti-Humean thesis about mental states: that the rational agent desires something to the extent that he or she believes it to be good. Lewis offers and refutes a decision-theoretic formulation of it, the 'Desire-as-Belief Thesis'. Other authors have since added further negative results in the spirit of Lewis's. We explore ways of being anti-Humean that evade all these negative results. We begin by providing background on evidential decision theory and on Lewis's negative results. We (...) then introduce what we call the indexicality loophole: if the goodness of a proposition is indexical, partly a function of an agent's mental state, then the negative results have no purchase. Thus we propose a variant of Desire-as-Belief that exploits this loophole. We argue that a number of meta-ethical positions are committed to just such indexicality. Indeed, we show that with one central sort of evaluative belief--the belief that an option is right--the indexicality loophole can be exploited in various interesting ways. Moreover, on some accounts, 'good' is indexical in the same way. Thus, it seems that the anti-Humean can dodge the negative results. (shrink)
A dialetheia is a sentence, A, such that both it and its negation, A, are true (we shall talk of sentences throughout this entry; but one could run the definition in terms of propositions, statements, or whatever one takes as her favourite truth bearer: this would make little difference in the context). Assuming the fairly uncontroversial view that falsity just is the truth of negation, it can equally be claimed that a dialetheia is a sentence which is both true and (...) false. (shrink)
One of the most dominant approaches to semantics for relevant (and many paraconsistent) logics is the Routley–Meyer semantics involving a ternary relation on points. To some (many?), this ternary relation has seemed like a technical trick devoid of an intuitively appealing philosophical story that connects it up with conditionality in general. In this paper, we respond to this worry by providing three different philosophical accounts of the ternary relation that correspond to three conceptions of conditionality. We close by briefly discussing (...) a general conception of conditionality that may unify the three given conceptions. (shrink)
The Law of Non-Contradiction - that no contradiction can be true - has been a seemingly unassailable dogma since the work of Aristotle, in Book G of the Metaphysics. It is an assumption challenged from a variety of angles in this collection of original papers. Twenty-three of the world's leading experts investigate the 'law', considering arguments for and against it and discussing methodological issues that arise whenever we question the legitimacy of logical principles. The result is a balanced inquiry into (...) a venerable principle of logic, one that raises questions at the very centre of logic itself. The aim of this volume is to present a comprehensive debate about the Law of Non-Contradiction, from discussions as to how the law is to be understood, to reasons for accepting or re-thinking the law, and to issues that raise challenges to the law, such as the Liar Paradox, and a 'dialetheic' resolution of that paradox. The editors contribute an introduction which surveys the issues and serves to frame the debate, and a useful bibliography offering a guide to further reading. This volume will be of interest to anyone working on philosophical logic, and to anyone who has ever wondered about the status of logical laws and about how one might proceed to mount arguments for or against them. (shrink)
In 'How Many Lives Has Schrödinger's Cat?' David Lewis argues that the Everettian no-collapse interpretation of quantum mechanics is in a tangle when it comes to probabilities. This paper aims to show that the difficulties that Lewis raises are insubstantial. The Everettian metaphysics contains a coherent account of probability. Indeed it accounts for probability rather better than orthodox metaphysics does.
Jaina philosophy provides a very distinctive account of logic, based on the theory of ?sevenfold predication?. This paper provides a modern formalisation of the logic, using the techniques of many-valued and modal logic. The formalisation is applied, in turn, to some of the more problematic aspects of Jaina philosophy, especially its relativism.
I argue that there is nothing about truth as such that prevents contradictions from being true. I argue this by considering the main standard accounts of truth, and showing that they are quite compatible with the existence of true contradictions. Indeed, in many cases, they are actually friendly to the idea.
Of the various accounts of negation that have been offered by logicians in the history of Western logic, that of negation as cancellation is a very distinctive one, quite different from the explosive accounts of modern "classical" and intuitionist logics, and from the accounts offered in standard relevant and paraconsistent logics. Despite its ancient origin, however, a precise understanding of the notion is still wanting. The first half of this paper offers one. Both conceptually and historically, the account of negation (...) as cancellation is intimately connected with connexivist principles such as ¬( ¬). Despite this, standard connexivist logics incorporate quite different accounts of negation. The second half of the paper shows how the cancellation account of negation of the first part gives rise to a semantics for a simple connexivist logic. (shrink)
David Lewis's untimely death on 14 October 2001 deprived the philosophical community of one of the outstanding philosophers of the 20th century. As many obituaries remarked, Lewis has an undeniable place in the history of analytical philosophy. His work defines much of the current agenda in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and the philosophy of mind and language. This volume, an expanded edition of a special issue of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, covers many of the topics for which Lewis was well (...) known, including possible worlds, counterpart theory, vagueness, knowledge, probability, essence, fiction, laws, conditionals, desire and belief, and truth. Many of the papers are by very established philosophers; others are by younger scholars including many he taught. The volume also includes Lewis's Jack Smart Lecture at the Australian National University, "How Many Lives has Schrodinger's Cat?," published here for the first time. Lewisian Themes will be an invaluable resource for anyone studying Lewis's work and a major contribution to the many topics that he mastered. (shrink)
Intentional verbs create three different problems: problems of non-existence, of indeterminacy, and of failure of substitutivity. Meinongians tackle the first problem by recognizing non-existent objects; so too did many medieval logicians. Meinongians and the medievals approach the problem of indeterminacy differently, the former diagnosing an ellipsis for a propositional complement, the latter applying their theory directly to non-propositional complements. The evidence seems to favour the Meinongian approach. Faced with the third problem, Ockham argued bluntly for substitutivity when the intentional complement (...) is non-propositional; Buridan developed a novel way of resisting substitutivity. Ockham's approach is closer to the Meinongian analysis of these cases; Buridan's seems to raise difficulties for a referential semantics. The comparision between the Meinongian and medieval approaches helps to bring out merits and potential pitfalls of each. (shrink)
Backwards induction is an intriguing form of argument. It is used in a number of different contexts. One of these is the surprise exam paradox. Another is game theory. But its use is problematic, at least sometimes. The purpose of this paper is to determine what, exactly, backwards induction is, and hence to evaluate it. Let us start by rehearsing informally some of its problematic applications.
In this paper we introduce a paraconsistent reasoning strategy, Chunk and Permeate. In this, information is broken up into chunks, and a limited amount of information is allowed to flow between chunks. We start by giving an abstract characterisation of the strategy. It is then applied to model the reasoning employed in the original infinitesimal calculus. The paper next establishes some results concerning the legitimacy of reasoning of this kind – specifically concerning the preservation of the consistency of each chunk (...) – and concludes with some other possible applications and technical questions. (shrink)
The paper concerns time, change and contradiction, and is in three parts. The first is an analysis of the problem of the instant of change. It is argued that some changes are such that at the instant of change the system is in both the prior and the posterior state. In particular there are some changes from p being true to p being true where a contradiction is realized. The second part of the paper specifies a formal logic which accommodates (...) this possibility. It is a tense logic based on an underlying paraconsistent prepositional logic, the logic of paradox. (See the author's article of the same name Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1979).) Soundness and completeness are established, the latter by the canonical model construction, and extensions of the basic system briefly considered. The final part of the paper discusses Leibniz's principle of continuity: Whatever holds up to the limit holds at the limit. It argues that in the context of physical changes this is a very plausible principle. When it is built into the logic of the previous part, it allows a rigorous proof that change entails contradictions. Finally the relation of this to remarks on dialectics by Hegel and Engels is briefly discussed. (shrink)
This paper articulates Sylvan's theory of mathematical objects as non-existent, by improving (arguably) his treatment of the Characterisation Postulate. It then defends the theory against a number of natural objections, including one according to which the account is just platonism in disguise.
This paper sketches an analysis of the development of 20th-century philosophy. Starting with the foundational work of Frege and Husserl, the paper traces two parallel strands of philosophy developing from their work. It diagnoses three phases of development: the optimistic phase, the pessimistic phase, and finally the phase of fragmentation. The paper ends with some speculations as to where philosophy will go this century.
The paper discusses the similarity between geometry, arithmetic, and logic, specifically with respect to the question of whether applied theories of each may be revised. It argues that they can - even when the revised logic is a paraconsistent one, or the revised arithmetic is an inconsistent one. Indeed, in the case of logic, it argues that logic is not only revisable, but, during its history, it has been revised. The paper also discusses Quine's well known argument against the possibility (...) of logical deviancy. (shrink)
Relations of transworld similarity play an essential role in Lewis's system. Analysis reveals that they involve the possibility of detailed transworld belief. Such belief is problematic within Lewis's framework. He has an answer to the problems raised, but it relies on a dubious distinction between natural and mere properties. Replacing that distinction with a respectable one undermines an essential part of his case against one of his chief opponents, the linguistic ersatzist.
The Hooded Man Paradox of Eubulides concerns the apparent failure of the substitutivity of identicals in epistemic (and other intentional) contexts. This paper formulates a number of different versions of the paradox and shows how these may be solved using semantics for quantified epistemic logic. In particular, two semantics are given which invalidate substitution, even when rigid designators are involved.
The 'best-system' analysis of lawhood [Lewis 1994] faces the 'zero-fit problem': that many systems of laws say that the chance of history going actually as it goes--the degree to which the theory 'fits' the actual course of history--is zero. Neither an appeal to infinitesimal probabilities nor a patch using standard measure theory avoids the difficulty. But there is a way to avoid it: replace the notion of 'fit' with the notion of a world being typical with respect to a theory.