Eric Scerri and other authors have acknowledged that the reality of chemical orbitals is not compatible with quantum mechanics. Recently, however, Scerri and Sharon Crasnow have argued that if chemists cannot consider orbitals as real entities, then chemistry is in danger of being reduced to physics. I argue that the question of the existence of orbitals is best viewed as an issue of approximation, not metaphysics: in many chemically important cases orbitals do not make sufficiently accurate predictions, and must be (...) replaced. Chemists and physicists can acknowledge this fact while maintaining the utility of orbitals and the autonomy of chemistry. (shrink)
Philosophers have little to lose in making practical proposals. If the proposals are enacted, the power of ideas to change the world is affirmed. If the proposals are rejected, there is new material for theoretical reflection. During the 1990s, I believed that broad public recognition of mixed race, particularly black and white mixed race, would contribute to an undoing of rigid and racist, socially constructed racial categories. I argued for such recognition in my first book, Race and Mixed Race ( (...) class='Hi'>Zack 1993), a follow-through anthology, American Mixed Race (Zack 1995), and numerous articles, especially the essay, ''Mixed Black and White Race and Public Policy," which appeared first in Hypatia in 1995. I aho delivered scores of public and academic lectures and presentations on this subject, all of which expressed the following in varied forms and formats: Race is an idea that lacks the biological foundation it is commonly assumed to have. There is need for broad education about this absence of foundation; mixed-race identities should be recognized, especially black-white identities. (shrink)
In this concisely argued, short new book, well-known philosopher Naomi Zack explores the scientific and philosophical problems in applying a biological conception of race to human beings. Through the systematic analysis of up-to-date data and conclusions in population genetics, transmission genetics, and biological anthropology, Zack provides a comprehensive conceptual account of how "race" in the ordinary sense has no basis in science. Her book combats our everyday understanding of race as a scientifically supported taxonomy of human beings, and (...) in conclusion challenges us to be clear about what we mean by "race" and what it would require to remedy racism. (shrink)
This book offers a revisionary account of key epistemological concepts and doctrines of St Thomas Aquinas, particularly his concept of scientia (science), and proposes a new interpretation of the purpose and composition of Aquinas's most mature and influential work, the Summa theologiae, which presents the scientia of sacred doctrine, i.e. Christian theology. Contrary to the standard interpretation of it as a work for neophytes in theology, Jenkins argues that it is in fact a pedagogical work intended as the culmination (...) of philosophical and theological studies of very gifted students. Jenkins considers our knowledge of the principles of a science. He argues that rational assent to the principles of sacred doctrine, the articles of faith, is due to the influence of grace on one's cognitive powers, because of which one is able immediately to apprehend these propositions as divinely revealed. His study will be of interest to readers in philosophy, theology and medieval studies. (shrink)
In this engaging sequel to Rethinking History , Keith Jenkins argues for a re-figuration of historical study. At the core of his survey lies the realization that objective and disinterested histories as well as historical 'truth' are unachievable. The past and questions about the nature of history remain interminably open to new and disobedient approaches. Jenkins reassesses conventional history in a bold fashion. His committed and radical study presents new ways of 'thinking history', a new methodology and philosophy (...) and their impact on historical practice. This volume is written for students and teachers of history, illuminating and changing the core of their discipline. (shrink)
Why History? is a compelling introduction to the issue of history and ethics. Designed to provoke discussion, the book asks whether and why a good knowledge and understanding of the past is desirable. In the context of current postmodern thinking, Keith Jenkins suggests that the goal of "learning lessons from the past" actually means learning lessons from stories written by historians and others. If the past as history has no foundation, can anything ethical be gained from history? Daring and (...) controversial, Why History? presents liberating challenges to history and ethics, proposing that we have reached an emancipatory moment which is well beyond the "end of history.". (shrink)
In this issue we include contributions from the individuals presiding at the panel All in a Jurnal's Work: A BABEL Wayzgoose, convened at the second Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group. Sadly, the contributions of Daniel Remein, chief rogue at the Organism for Poetic Research as well as editor at Whiskey & Fox , were not able to appear in this version of the proceedings. From the program : 2ND BIENNUAL MEETING OF THE BABEL WORKING GROUP CONFERENCE “CRUISING IN (...) THE RUINS: THE QUESTION OF DISCIPLINARITY IN THE POST/MEDIEVAL UNIVERSITY” SEPTEMBER 21ST, 2012: SESSION 13 MCLEOD C.322, CURRY STUDENT CENTER NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY, BOSTON, MA. Traditionally, a wayzgoose was a celebration at the end of a printer’s year, a night off in the late fall before the work began of printing by candlelight. According to the OED, the Master Printer would make for the journeymen “a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own House, but besides, gives them Money to spend at the Ale-house or Tavern at Night.” Following in this line, continent. proposes in its publication(s) a night out and a good Feast, away from the noxious fumes of the Academy and into a night of revelry which begins, but does not end, at the alehouse or Tavern. continent. proposes that the thinking of the Academy be freed to be thought elsewhere, in the alleys and doorways of the village and cities, encountered not in the strictly defined spaces of the classroom and blackboard (now white) but anticipated and found where thinking occurs. Historically, academic journals have served a different purpose than the Academy itself. Journals (from the Anglo-Fr. jurnal , "a day," from O.Fr. jornel , "day, time; day's work," hence the journalist as writer of the news of the day ) have served as privileged sites for the articulation and concretization of specific modes of knowledge and control (insemination of those ideas has been formalized in the classroom, in seminar). In contrast, the academic journal is post-partum and has been an old-boys club, an insider trading network in which truths are (re)circulated against themselves, forming a Maginot Line against whatever is new, or the distinctly challenging. All in a Jurnal’s Work will discuss (in part) the ramifications of cheap start-up publications that are challenging the traditional ensconced-in-ivory academic journals and their supporting infrastructures. The panel will be seeking a questioning (as a challenging) towards the discipline of knowledge production/fabrication (of truth[s]) and the event of the Academy (and its publications) as it has evolved and continues to (d)evolve. Issues to be discussed will revolve around the power of academic publishing and its origins, hierarchical versus horizontal academic modules (is there a place for the General Assembly in academia?) and the evolving idea of the Multiversity as a site(s) of a (BABELing) multivocality in the wake of the University of Disaster. A CONTINUOUS ACT Nico Jenkins In Pierre Hadot’s extraordinary book, Philosophy as a Way of Life , the practices of philosophy—that is the exercise of what we can term pre-institionalized love of wisdom, what Philo of Alexandria described as a training towards wisdom—are described as, following the Stoics, “a continuous act, permanent and identical with life itself, which had to be renewed at each instant.” This renewal of thinking, this coming to be of being itself —meeting itself on its own ground, concerns the way philosophy is practiced, and more often, taught, or rather not taught. Hadot continues his thinking with a description of what happens to the structure of thought in the medieval ages as it becomes adopted—co-opted— by the university, and by extension, by the institution of the church. Philosophy becomes no longer a way of living, no longer a praxis as such but becomes a condition that is locked in a theoretical construct, one which was literally removed from life (and in life we read then love, wisdom, being etc, also the home, the market, the field, the street) and secured behind the high walls of the monastery (which were shortly replaced by the high walls of the Academy) where thinking unfortunately rests for the most part today. Hadot writes further that this dangerous movement of removal reduces thinking to a theoretical practice akin to the mythical Ouroborous; “education was thus no longer directed toward people who were to be educated with a view to becoming fully developed human beings, but to specialists, in order that they might learn how to train other specialists.” Thought then is trapped behind the walls of the academy, and with the exception of such thinkers as Spinoza, Descartes, and Liebnitz as well as others who think from an outside in, thought remains, in the form of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, a practice reduced or removed from life and restricted to what Schopenhauer will call “mere fencing in front of the mirror.” This is of course the tendency today and philosophy remains, for the most part, a discourse produced and thought inside the academy and disseminated, in seminated through university presses and of course the academic journal. It seems necessary to me that we have to have a place, a return, to a thinking which is closer to the Stoics, closer to the pre-Socratics, to a thinking which is a practice of becoming, a training to think, to live, to die. this is not south romantic than imperative . This thinking is one of a deep ir responsibility because it is not known, it is not figured out. It requires a risk and what Heidegger calls a leap (for there is no bridge to it). I call it irresponsible because for too long sanctioned thought has had as its premise the idea that thinking has a goal, a direction, a telos ; that it is not an activity but a process which gives a product; that the responsibility of thinking in turn demand an answer. In my mind, only freed from that goal can thinking, in contrast, bask in its own thinking, bask in a state in which the unknown can remain unknown, that mystery can rest as mystery. This is not to say that the world needs no answers, or to promote a Whitmanesque “leaning and loafing” as the only valid practice. It is only to say that for too long, thinking has been validated by the academy, by the answerable, by the already decided. To me, this requires—as an answer— the ir responsibility of thought, what Nancy calls, “a world for which all is not already done (played out, finished, enshrined in a destiny), nor entirely still to do (in the future for always future tomorrows).” This is a thinking not sanctified by the academy, made sacred by the church or the palace but rather it takes place on the périphérie , beyond the ring road, in alleyways behind the marketplace, in cafes stained with the syphilitic patina of irresponsible talk, of loose talk, the kind of talk made loose not only by the tankard and the goblet by the practice and training of attuned thinking. continent. was formed as a collective of thinkers coming out of the European Graduate School (also known as the University of Disaster) three years ago, in an effort to combat, or challenge, the dominant paradigm which isolates thinking from the street, from life, from where perhaps wisdom tends to emerge. We feel that not only is the university herself no longer the privileged site of where true thinking takes place—and where only official thought can take place—but that the very artificiality of the academy denies thinking—at times—authentic, thought. Our goal at continent. is to create a media agnostic publication which is rigorous in its intellectual underpinnings but which will remain permanently beyond and out of reach of the academy. Though many of us butter our bread with academic paychecks (maid!) we attempt to keep continent. as a refuge—and a refugee—from the University in ruins, from the University as a site of preformed and institutionalized pre-set dialogues. In concert with other publications-both cyber and print—as well as various blogs we are attempting to re-dialogize the dialogue of thinking. We are attempting both to speak to— as well as with and against —the university as a site of accreted knowledge. We have not been utterly successful and continue to attempt to define what that role of being perpetually beyond is (while still trying to maintain rigorous intellectual standards) but it is just that, a goal, which is perpetually opening, perpetually unanswered, perhaps even by design, perpetually unanswerable. (shrink)
In recent work Timothy Williamson argues that the epistemology of metaphysical modality is a special case of the epistemology of counterfactuals. I argue that Williamson has not provided an adequate argument for this controversial claim, and that it is not obvious how what he says should be supplemented in order to derive such an argument. But I suggest that an important moral of his discussion survives this point. The moral is that experience could play an epistemic role which is more (...) epistemically significant than a mere 'enabling' role but not equivalent to an evidential role. (shrink)
Lewis has argued that quasi-realism is fictionalism. Blackburn denies this, offering reasons which rely on a descriptive reading of quasi-realism. This note offers a different, more general argument against Lewis's claim, available to prescriptive as well as descriptive quasi-realists.
Hegel’s assertion that self-consciousness is desire in general stands at a critical point in the Phenomenology , but the concept of desire employed in this identification is obscure. I examine three ways in which Hegel’s concept of desire might be understood and conclude that this concept is closely related to Fichte’s notions of drive and longing. So understood, the concept plays an essential role in Hegel’s non-foundational, non-genetic account of the awareness that individual rational subjects have of themselves. This account, (...) I argue, is part of a larger concern with demonstrating the relation between theoretical and practical capacities of the subject. I also argue that my reading explains Hegel’s emphasis on the figure of the bondsman in “Lordship and Bondage.” The bondsman’s experience of itself and its world instantiates Hegel’s views on the integration of subjective capacities and the reality of objects of experience. (shrink)
Boghossian claims that we can acquire a priori knowledge by means of a certain form of argument, our grasp of whose premises relies on the existence of implicit definitions. I discuss an objection to his ‘analytic theory of the a priori’. The worry is that in order to employ this kind of argument we must already know its conclusion. Boghossian has responded to this type of objection in recent work, but I argue that his responses are unconvincing. Along the way, (...) I resist Ebert’s reasons for thinking that Boghossian’s argument fails to transmit warrant from its premises to its conclusion. (shrink)
This paper takes the form of a critical discussion of Crispin Wright’s notion of entitlement of cognitive project. I examine various strategies for defending the claim that entitlement can make acceptance of a proposition epistemically rational, including one which appeals to epistemic consequentialism. Ultimately, I argue, none of these strategies is successful, but the attempt to isolate points of disagreement with Wright issues in some positive proposals as to how an epistemic consequentialist should characterize epistemic rationality.
This paper considers Hegel's views on space and his account of Kant's theory of space. I show that Hegel's discussions of space exhibit a deep understanding of Kant's apriority argument in the first Critique , commit him to the central premise of that argument, and separate his concerns from the familiar problem of the neglected alternative. Nevertheless, Hegel makes two objections to Kant's theory of space. First, he argues that the theory is internally inconsistent insofar as Kant's identification of space (...) with an a priori intuition is incompatible with the doctrine of productive imagination in the transcendental deduction of the categories. Second, Hegel argues that the apriority argument is insufficiently critical insofar as it relies upon an unexamined theory of subjectivity as a set of representational capacities. I conclude by outlining Hegel's strategy for undermining the assumptions concerning subjectivity that give form to Kant's transcendental philosophy. Because Hegel's positive views on space depend upon his articulation of an alternate notion of subjectivity, the account of Hegel's position on space offered here remains incomplete. On the other hand, considering Hegel's discussions of space demonstrates both the nature and the importance of his examination of subjectivity in the Phenomenology. (shrink)
I argue that mind-independence realism should be characterised in terms of what I call 'essential', rather than 'modal', independence from our mental lives. I explore the connections between the two kinds of independence, and argue that characterizations in terms of essence respect more intuitions about what realism is, harmonize better with standard characterizations of anti-realism, and avert the threat of subversion from Blackburn's quasi-realist.
In their book 'Corporate Social Opportunity', Grayson and Hodges maintain that 'the driver for business success is entrepreneurialism, a competitive instinct and a willingness to look for innovation from non-traditional areas such as those increasingly found within the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda'. Such opportunities are described as 'commercially viable activities which also advance environmental and social sustainability'. There are three dimensions to corporate social opportunity (CSO) – innovation in products and services, serving unserved markets and building new business models. (...) While small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have traditionally been presented as non-entrepreneurial in this area, this paper demonstrates how SMEs can take advantage of the opportunities presented by CSR. Using data from 24 detailed case studies of UK SMEs from a range of sectors, the paper explores the numerous CSR opportunities that present themselves to SMEs, such as developing innovative products and services and exploiting niche markets. There are inevitable challenges for SMEs undertaking CSR, but by their very nature they have many characteristics that can aid the adoption of CSR; the paper explores these characteristics and how the utilisation of positive qualities will help SMEs make the most of CSOs. Integrating CSR into the core of a company is crucial to its success. Using the case studies to illustrate key points, the paper suggests how CSR can be built into a company's systems and become 'just the way we do things'. There are a number of factors that characterise the CSO 'mentality' in an organisation, and Grayson and Hodges's book describes seven steps that will move a company in the direction of a 'want to do' CSO mentality. This paper adapts these steps for SMEs, and by transferring and building on knowledge from the 24 detailed case studies, it develops a 'business opportunity' model of CSR for SMEs. (shrink)
While Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has traditionally been the domain of the corporate sector, recognition of the growing significance of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) sector has led to an emphasis on their social and environmental impact, illustrated by an increasing number of initiatives aimed at engaging SMEs in the CSR agenda. CSR has been well researched in large companies, but SMEs have received less attention in this area. This paper presents the findings from a U.K. wide study (...) of socially responsible SMEs. The 24 companies studied were chosen as “exemplars” of␣CSR in SMEs. The aim of this study therefore is to progress understanding of both the limitations on and opportunities for CSR in SMEs through the exploration of exemplary characteristics in the study companies. Key areas of investigation were CSR terminology, the influence of managerial values, the nature of SME CSR activities, motivation for and benefits from engaging in CSR, and the challenges faced. The results of this study demonstrate some of the exemplary goals and principles needed to achieve social responsibility in SMEs, and begin to provide knowledge that could be used to engender learning in other SMEs. In particular, there is evidence that stakeholder theory may provide a framework in which SMEs and CSR can be understood. SMEs prefer to learn through networking and from their peers, so this is a possible avenue for greater SME engagement in CSR. This would require strong leadership or “championing” from individuals such as highly motivated owner–managers and from exemplary companies as a whole. (shrink)
The fields of environmental ethics and of religion and ecology have been shaped by Lynn White Jr.'s thesis that the roots of ecological crisis lie in religious cosmology. Independent critical movements in both fields, however, now question this methodological legacy and argue for alternative ways of inquiry. For religious ethics, the twin controversies cast doubt on prevailing ways of connecting environmental problems to religious deliberations because the criticisms raise questions about what counts as an environmental problem, how religious traditions change, (...) and whether ethicists should approach problems and traditions with reformist commitments. This article examines the critiques of White's legacy and presents a pluralist alternative that focuses religious ethics on the contextual strategies produced by moral communities as they confront environmental problems. (shrink)
in American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3), July 2007, pp. 259-72. Argues that epistemically normative claims are made true by the same facts as, but do not mean the same as, certain natural-sounding claims.
We discuss explanation of an earlier event by a later event, and argue that prima facie cases of backwards event explanation are ubiquitous. Some examples: (1) I am tidying my flat because my brother is coming to visit tomorrow. (2) The scarlet pimpernels are closing because it is about to rain. (3) The volcano is smoking because it is going to erupt soon. We then look at various ways people might attempt to explain away these prima facie cases by arguing (...) that in each case the 'real' explanation is something else. We argue that none of the explaining-away strategies are successful, and so any plausible account of explanation should either make room for backwards explanation, or have a good story to tell about why it doesn't have to. (shrink)
This note concerns a puzzle about probability which has recently caught the attention of a number of philosophers. According to the current philosophical consensus, the solution to the puzzle reveals that one can acquire new information, sufficient to change one's credences in certain events, just by having a certain experience, even though one knew all along that one would have an experience which felt exactly like this. I argue that the philosophical consensus is mistaken.
The goal of the research programme I describe in this article is a realist epistemology for arithmetic which respects arithmetic's special epistemic status (the status usually described as a prioricity) yet accommodates naturalistic concerns by remaining fundamentally empiricist. I argue that the central claims which would allow us to develop such an epistemology are (i) that arithmetical truths are known through an examination of our arithmetical concepts; (ii) that (at least our basic) arithmetical concepts are accurate mental representations of elements (...) of the arithmetical structure of the independent world; (iii) that (ii) obtains in virtue of the normal functioning of our sensory apparatus. The first of these claims protects arithmetic's special epistemic status relative, for example, to the laws of physics, the second preserves the independence of arithmetical truth, and the third ensures that we remain empiricists. Preliminaries Justifying and grounding concepts Cameras and filters An epistemology for arithmetic Concluding remarks. (shrink)
I argue that Fitch’s ‘paradox of knowability’ presents no special problem for the epistemic anti-realist who believes that reality is epistemically accessible to us. For the claim which is the target of the argument (If p then it is possible to know p) is not a commitment of anti-realism. The epistemic anti-realist’s commitment is (or should be) to the recognizability of the states of affairs which render true propositions true, not to the knowability of the propositions themselves. A formal apparatus (...) for discussing the recognizability of states of affairs is offered, and other prima facie similar approaches to the paradox argument are reviewed. (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines the kind of epistemic circularity which, according to Ernest Sosa, is unavoidably entailed whenever one has what he calls ?reflective? knowledge (that is, knowledge that p such that the knower reflectively endorses the reliability of the epistemic sources by which she came to her belief that p). I begin by describing the relevant kind of circularity and its role in Sosa's epistemology, en route presenting and resisting Sosa's arguments that this kind of circularity is not vicious. (...) Then I consider the somewhat complex relationship between Sosa's views on epistemic circularity and his response to the Problem of Easy Knowledge, arguing that (on one interpretation of Sosa, at least) a complete solution to that problem cannot be extracted from Sosa's work unless the aforementioned epistemic circularity can be proved non-vicious. (shrink)
Aristotle distinguishes three types of friendship: virtue or character friendship, advantage friendship, and pleasure friendship. He also holds that the civic relation is a friendship, but it is unclear to which of the three types it belongs. There appear to be two candidates. It is either a character friendship, or an advantage friendship. I argue that it cannot be a character friendship, since that would entail that citizens have active goodwill toward one another, and Aristotle claims that such goodwill can (...) exist only among a few relatively rare character friends. However, if the relation is not a character friendship, Aristotle’s claim that the city is more than alliance for security and exchange becomes puzzling. I argue that Aristotle’s view is that the civic friendship is a special type of advantage friendship in that one of its advantages is that it makes character friendships possible. This explains why rulers and citizens should want their fellows not only to act virtuously, but also to be virtuous. (shrink)
David Lewis is associated with the controversial thesis that some properties are more eligible than others to be the referents of our predicates solely in virtue of those properties’ being more natural; independently, that is, of anything to do with our patterns of usage of the relevant predicates. On such a view, the natural properties act as ‘reference magnets’. In this paper I explore (though I do not endorse) a related thesis in epistemology: that some propositions are ‘justification magnets’. According (...) to the doctrine of justification magnetism, we have better justification for some propositions than for others solely in virtue of certain features of those propositions; independently, that is, of anything to do with evidential support or cognitive accomplishment. In the course of discussing an objection to justification magnetism I describe (though I do not endorse) a novel approach to epistemology akin to interpretationism in the theory of reference. (shrink)
In the concluding section of Twilight of the Idols, entitled "What I Owe the Ancients," Nietzsche tells us that his debt to the Greeks has little to do with Greek philosophy. Plato is portrayed as simply a step toward Christian moralism, and Nietzsche states more generally that "the philosophers are the decadents of Greek culture" (TI "Ancients" 3).1 In contrast, he remarks that "my recreation, my preference, my cure from all Platonism has always been Thucydides" (TI "Ancients" 2). This esteem (...) for Thucydides is found throughout Nietzsche's published works and notes, without the counterbalance of even a single critical remark.2But what exactly does Nietzsche owe Thucydides? Some elements of that debt are clear .. (shrink)
The field of environmental ethics hosts a debate between competing strategies of practical reason. Both sides of the debate share a commitment for ethics to address environmental problems, but strategies diverge over notions of what an ethic must accomplish in order to do so effectively. Should ethics critique the cultural worldviews that give rise to environmental problems and propose alternative environmental values, or should it develop practical responses to problems from broadly available cultural values? That initial question of strategy seems (...) to force a practical dilemma: choosing (what I will call) a cosmological strategy allows one to critique the depth of problems, but at the cost of distance from the .. (shrink)
Philosophers readily talk about merely verbal disputes, usually without much or any explicit reflection on what these are, and a good deal of methodological significance is attached to discovering whether a dispute is merely verbal or not. Currently, metaphilosophical advances are being made towards a clearer understanding of what exactly it takes for something to be a merely verbal dispute. This paper engages with this growing literature, pointing out some problems with existing approaches, and develops a new proposal which builds (...) on their strengths. (shrink)