This sense of attributability, or internality, is the quarry in many of Frankfurt's articles, and it has proved to be an elusive one. In this paper I want to explore, in a tentative fashion, the question of why we should be interested in finding this quarry. It seems to me that there are at least two quite distinct kinds of reason for this concern, and that when they are distinguished the problem may look less difficult than it has seemed.
[T. M. Scanlon] It is clearly impermissible to kill one person (or refrain from giving him treatment that he needs in order to survive) because his organs can be used to save five others who are in need of transplants. It has seemed to many that the explanation for this lies in the fact that in such cases we would be intending the death of the person whom we killed, or failed to save. What makes these actions impermissible, however, (...) is not the agent's intention but rather the fact that the benefit envisaged does not justify an exception to the prohibition against killing or the requirement to give aid. The difference between this explanation and one appealing to intention is easily overlooked if one fails to distinguish between the prospective use of a moral principle to guide action and its retrospective use to appraise the way an agent governed him or herself. Even if this explanation is accepted, however, it remains an open question whether and how an agent's intention may be relevant to the permissibility of actions in other cases. \\\ [Jonathan Dancy] My first four sections concentrate on the second section of Professor Scanlon's contribution (hereafter IP), where he lays out his conception of moral principles and of the role they play in theory and practice. I will raise questions on the following issues: 1. Scanlon's initial introduction of the notion of a principle. 2. His rejection of the standard view that principles are concerned with the forbidding, permitting and requiring of actions. 3. His rejection of pro tanto conceptions of principles in favour of a conception of them as conclusive. 4. The resulting account of what it is for a principle to face and survive exceptions. Scanlon's discussion of these matters here both appeals to and is in some respects more detailed than the relevant section of his recent What We Owe to Each Other (hereafter WWO). The topic is interesting both for the role played by principles in Scanlon's present discussion of intention and permissibility, and more generally because of his account of wrongness: an act is wrong iff it is ruled out by principles that nobody could reasonably reject. The remainder of my contribution is concerned with the ostensible focus of IP, namely the relevance (if any) of agent-intentions to the permissibility of what is done. (shrink)
Many normative claims are substantive claims about reasons— claims, for example, about the reasons that a person in certain circumstances has to do or to believe something. But not all normative claims are substantive claims about reasons. In particular, some claims about what it would be irrational for someone to do are normative claims but not claims about the reasons that person has. Here are some examples. (I will state these in terms of “reasons for belief” and “reasons for intending,” (...) although I will later raise doubts about whether this is the best way of describing these cases.) If a person believes that p, then it would be irrational for him to refuse to rely on p as a premise in further reasoning, and to reject arguments because they rely on it. To say this is not to say that the person has good reason to accept these arguments. Perhaps what he has most reason to do is to give up his belief that p. The claim is only that as long as he believes that p, it is irrational of him to refuse to accept such arguments. Similar claims hold in regard to practical reasoning: if a person intends to do A at t, and believes that in order to do this she must first do B, then it is irrational for her not to count this as a reason for doing B. This is not to say that she has any reason to do B. Perhaps what she has most reason to do is to abandon her intention to do A, or to change her mind about.. (shrink)
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This essay argues that normative judgments, in general, and moral judgments, in particular, are "truth apt" and can be objects of belief. Other main claims are: judgments about reasons, if interpreted as true, do not have metaphysical implications that are incompatible with a scientific view of the world. Two kinds of normative claims should be distinguished: substantive claims about what reasons people have and structural claims about what attitudes people must have insofar as they are rational. Employing this distinction, the (...) practical significance of substantive normative judgments is explained, and critical analysis of expressivist and Kantian views on this question is offered. (shrink)
It is a particular pleasure to be able to participate in this symposium in honor of Amartya Sen. We agree on a wide range of topics, but I will focus here on an area of relative disagreement. Sen is much more attracted to consequentialism than I am, and the main topic of my paper will be the particular version of consequentialism that he has articulated and the reasons why he is drawn to this view.
Knobe reports that subjects' judgments of whether an agent did something intentionally vary depending on whether the outcome in question was seen by them as good or as bad. He concludes that subjects' moral views affect their judgments about intentional action. This conclusion appears to follow only if different meanings of “intention” are overlooked.
We point out that a certain complex compact manifold constructed by Lieberman has the dimensional order property, and has U-rank different from Morley rank. We also give a sufficient condition for a Kahler manifold to be totally degenerate (that is, to be an indiscernible set, in its canonical language) and point out that there are K3 surfaces which satisfy these conditions.
The notion of a D-ring, generalizing that of a differential or a difference ring, is introduced. Quantifier elimination and a version of the Ax-Kochen-Eršov principle is proven for a theory of valued D-fields of residual characteristic zero.
We recall the notions of weak and strong Euler characteristics on a first order structure and make explicit the notion of a Grothendieck ring of a structure. We define partially ordered Euler characteristic and Grothendieck ring and give a characterization of structures that have non-trivial partially ordered Grothendieck ring. We give a generalization of counting functions to locally finite structures, and use the construction to show that the Grothendieck ring of the complex numbers contains as a subring the ring of (...) integer polynomials in continuum many variables. We prove the existence of a universal strong Euler characteristic on a structure. We investigate the dependence of the Grothendieck ring on the theory of the structure and give a few counter-examples. Finally, we relate some open problems and independence results in bounded arithmetic to properties of particular Grothendieck rings. (shrink)