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)
Towards NonBeing (Priest, 2005) gives a noneist account of the semantics of intentional operators and predicates. The semantics for intentional operators are modelled on those for the , is given and assessed.
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 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)
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)
In his article in this issue, " 'How do Mādhyamikas Think?' Revisited," Tom Tillemans reflects on his earlier article "How do Mādhyamikas Think?" (2009), itself a response to earlier work of ours (Deguchi et al. 2008; Garfield and Priest 2003). There is much we agree with in these non-dogmatic and open-minded essays. Still, we have some disagreements. We begin with a response to Tillemans' first thoughts, and then turn to his second thoughts.Tillemans (2009) maintains that it is wrong to (...) attribute to Nāgārjuna or to his Mādhyamika followers a strong dialetheism, according to which some contradictions of the form p ∧ ¬p are to be accepted. He argues that, nonetheless, a weak dialetheism may be implicit in the .. (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)
Priest (2009) formulates a propositional logic which, by employing the worldsemantics for intuitionist logic, has the same positive part but dualises the negation, to produce a paraconsistent logic which it calls 'Da Costa Logic'. This paper extends matters to the first-order case. The paper establishes various connections between first order da Costa logic, da Costa's own Cω, and classical logic. Tableau and natural deductions systems are provided and proved sound and complete.
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)
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 view that everything is empty (śūnya) is a central metaphysical plank of Mahāyāna Buddhism. It has often been the focus of objections. Perhaps the most important of these is that it in effect entails a nihilism: nothing exists. This objection, in turn, is denied by Mahāyāna theorists, such as Nāgārjuna. One of the things that makes the debate difficult is that the precise import of the view that everything is empty is unclear. The object of this essay is to (...) put the debate in a new light. It does so by proposing a mathematical characterization of Emptiness—that is, the totality of empty things—showing that, whatever it is, it has a definite structure and is not, therefore, to be identified with nothingness. (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)
In this paper, I start by showing that sorites paradoxes are inclosure paradoxes. That is, they fit the Inclosure Scheme which characterizes the paradoxes of self-reference. Given that sorites and self-referential paradoxes are of the same kind, they should have the same kind of solution. The rest of the paper investigates what a dialetheic solution to sorites paradoxes is like, connections with a dialetheic solution to the self-referential paradoxes, and related issues—especially so called "higher order" vagueness.
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.
If, to return to the image with which I started this paper we consider the path of papers written on the logical paradoxes, then there is much to be learnt from the more recent additions, those by Chihara, Dowden and Woodruff included. However, the case for the paraconsistent approach to the paradoxes has not been weakened. In fact, it seems to me to have been strengthened. If we consider the path of papers, not as a signle line, but branching according (...) to the approach to the paradoxes advocated, then the “Logic of Paradox” would, I still submit, be on the right track. (shrink)
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)
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.
The paper argues for two theses: a) there are certain truths which are analytic; b) these are true by convention. Much of the paper deals with quine's arguments against these claims. The paper starts by accepting quine's network theory of belief and arguing that this presupposes a certain concept of rule following. This may be used to define analyticity. The paper then discusses the conventional nature of rule following and argues that this implies the conventional truth of analytic truths. Quine's (...) arguments against truth by convention are then disarmed. Finally, The paper shows that the account of analyticity given gives rise to a modal logic in the order of s4, Disarming another argument against conventionalism. (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)
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)