I argue for the possibility of substantive aesthetic disagreements in which both parties speak truly. The possibility of such disputes undermines an argument mobilized by relativists such as Lasersohn (Linguist Philos 28:643–686, 2005) and MacFarlane (Philos Stud 132:17–31, 2007) against contextualism about aesthetic terminology. In describing the facts of aesthetic disagreement, I distinguish between the intuition of dispute on the one hand and the felicity of denial on the other. Considered separately, neither of those phenomena requires that there be a (...) single proposition asserted by one party to an aesthetic dispute and denied by the other. I suggest instead that many such disputes be analyzed as disputes over the selection or appropriateness of a contextually salient aesthetic standard. (shrink)
Lewisian reference magnetism about linguistic content determination [Lewis 1983 has been defended in recent work by Weatherson  and Sider , among others. Two advantages claimed for the view are its capacity to make sense of systematic error in speakers' use of their words, and its capacity to distinguish between verbal and substantive disagreements. Our understanding of both error and disagreement is linked to the role of usage and first order intuitions in semantics and in linguistic theory more generally. I (...) argue, partially on the basis of these more general considerations, that reference magnetism delivers implausible results. Specifically, I argue that the proponent of reference magnetism maintains her analysis of genuinely systematic error at the cost of an empirically unjustifiable error theory regarding ordinary usage. In response, I describe an alternative view of content determination?MUMPS, or Meaning is Use Minus Pragmatics?which is not committed to such error theories. Despite this advantage, MUMPS has high prima facie costs. On such a view, there is a great deal of variation in linguistic meaning across speakers and times. As a result, a large number of seemingly mistaken claims are analysed as expressing true propositions. Correspondingly, a large number of seemingly substantive disagreements are analysed as terminological. However, I argue that these consequences are not as costly as they seem. Despite appearances, MUMPS is consistent with objective, metaphysically realist adjudication of disagreements, even in cases where meanings are not shared and where both parties to a dispute speak truly. MUMPS thus allows for a more nuanced understanding of linguistic usage, change, and variation, without imposing a commitment to any form of metaphysical anti-realism. (shrink)
Four predictors were posited to affect business student attitudes about the social responsibilities of business, also known as corporate social responsibility (CSR). Applying Forsyth’s ( 1980 , Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39 , 175–184, 1992 , Journal of Business Ethics 11 , 461–470) personal moral philosophy model, we found that ethical idealism had a positive relationship with CSR attitudes, and ethical relativism a negative relationship. We also found materialism to be negatively related to CSR attitudes. Spirituality among business (...) students did not significantly predict CSR attitudes. Understanding the relationship between CSR attitudes and the significant predictors has important implications for researchers and teachers in particular. (shrink)
Though he’s perhaps best known for his work on vagueness, Timothy Williamson also produced a series of outstanding papers in epistemology in the late 1980's and the 1990's. Knowledge and its Limits brings this work together. The result is, in my opinion, the best book in epistemology to come out since 1975.
Timothy Michael Fowler has argued that, as a consequence of their commitment to neutrality in regard to comprehensive doctrines, political liberals face a dilemma. In essence, the dilemma for political liberals is that either they have to give up their commitment to neutrality (which is an indispensible part of their view), or they have to allow harm to children. Fowler’s case for this dilemma depends on ascribing to political liberals a view which grants parents a great degree of freedom (...) in deciding on the education of their children. I show that ascribing this view to political liberals rests upon a misinterpretation of political liberalism. Since political liberals have access to reasons based upon the interests of children, they need not yield to parent’s wishes about the education of their children. A correct understanding of political liberalism thus shows that political liberals do not face the dilemma envisaged by Fowler. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson (2002) has offered an argument for the claim that, necessarily, he exists, that is, that he is a necessary existent.1 Though this argument has attracted a great deal of attention (e.g., Rumfitt 2003 and Wiggins 2003), I present a new argument for the same conclusion which reveals a new way of denying the soundness of Williamson’s argument, one which denies not only that it is necessary that he exists but also that there are any true necessities about (...) Williamson at all. In conclusion, given that it is contingent that Williamson exists, I nevertheless distinguish a sense in which he is, after all, a necessary existent: Williamson necessarily exists, though it is not necessary that he exists. (shrink)
In his essay ‘“Conceptual Truth”’, Timothy Williamson (2006) argues that there are no truths or entailments that are constitutive of understanding the sentences involved. In this reply I provide several examples of entailment patterns that are intuitively constitutive of understanding in just the way that Williamson rejects, and I argue that Williamson’s argument does nothing to show otherwise. Williamson bolsters his conclusion by appeal to a certain theory about the nature of understanding. I argue that his theory fails to (...) consider the role that the structure of a sentence plays in determining its meaning. The cases I present suggest that this role imposes greater cognitive requirements on understanding than Williamson can acknowledge. (shrink)
Among the extensive correspondence of Timothy I, Catholicos of the Church of the East, are two letters which refer to his collobaration in a translation of Aristotle's Topics into Syriac and Arabic, commissioned by the Caliph al-Mahdī. An annotated English translation of both letters is provided.
Timothy Mahoney discovers and champions an ecologically benign account of Plato in opposition to my own critical analysis of the reason-centeredness, reason-nature dualism, and nature and body devaluation in the Platonic dialogues, in which multiple linked dualisms of reason and nature associated with systems of oppression provide major organizing principles for Platonic philosophy. I show first that Mahoney's criticisms of my interpretation involve some careless and mistaken readings of my own text. Second, I argue that Mahoney* s account of (...) nature is significantly different from Plato's. Mahoney's interpretation of Plato is an overly generous and idealized one which plays on the multiplicity and elasticity of the concept of nature and the notorious vagueness of the concept of participation to conflate, among other things, Plato's attitude to celestial nature with his attitude to biological nature. Mahoney's interpretation involves setting aside Plato's gender politics, playing down some of Plato's most offensive and revealing passages of earth disparagement, and ignoring the network of social meanings from which Plato's philosophy emerges. Finally, I give some reasons why Mahoney's accounts of participation and nature, even considered as a reworking of Plato, would be highly problematic as the foundation for an ecological philosophy. (shrink)
Jean E. Chambers and Timothy F. Murphy responded to my article and extended the debate over human cloning in interesting ways. I had argued that none of the objections to cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer are successful in the context of infertile couples who use cloning to have genetically related children, assuming the issue of safety is overcome by scientific advances.
In his 1993 novel Headhunter, Canadian author Timothy Findley describes the tendency of some medical practitioners to put scientific interests above the therapeutic needs of the individual. As the book's title and name of the main character Dr. Kurtz attest, Findley reflects the colonialist teleology found in Heart of Darkness as an analogue for the therapeutic zeal shown by many of the physicians in Headhunter. In the novel, such zeal is especially problematic when it is combined with so-called enhancement (...) technologies, since enhancement, like colonialism, can be based in the prejudices of the practitioner and/or the dominant society, rather than in the needs of the patient. To counter therapeutic zeal, Findley, like Conrad, proposes an ethics of restraint in which the practitioner's empathy outweighs his or her desire for scientific discovery. (shrink)
What is our epistemic access to metaphysical modality? Timothy Williamson suggests that the epistemology of counterfactuals will provide the answer. This paper challenges Williamson's account and argues that certain elements of the epistemology of counterfactuals that he discusses, namely so called background knowledge and constitutive facts, are already saturated with modal content which his account fails to explain. Williamson's account will first be outlined and the role of background knowledge and constitutive facts analysed. Their key role is to restrict (...) our imagination to rule out irrelevant counterfactual suppositions. However, background knowledge turns out to be problematic in cases where we are dealing with metaphysically possible counterfactual suppositions that violate the actual laws of physics. As we will see, unless Williamson assumes that background knowledge corresponds with the actual, true laws of physics and that these laws are metaphysically necessary, it will be difficult to address this problem. Furthermore, Williamson's account fails to accommodate the distinction between conceivable yet metaphysically impossible scenarios, and conceivable and metaphysically possible scenarios. This is because background knowledge and constitutive facts are based strictly on our knowledge of the actual world. Williamson does attempt to address this concern with regard to metaphysical necessities – as they hold across all possible worlds – but we will see that even in this case the explanation is questionable. These problems, it will be suggested, cannot be addressed in a counterfactual account of the epistemology of modality. The paper finishes with an analysis of Williamson's possible rejoinders and some discussion about the prospects of an alternative account of modal epistemology. (shrink)
Descriptions of Gettier cases can be interpreted in ways that are incompatible with the standard judgment that they are cases of justified true belief without knowledge. Timothy Williamson claims that this problem cannot be avoided by adding further stipulations to the case descriptions. To the contrary, we argue that there is a fairly simple way to amend the Ford case, a standard description of a Gettier case, in such a manner that all deviant interpretations are ruled out. This removes (...) one major objection to interpreting our judgments about Gettier cases as strict conditionals. (shrink)