Some recent researches in experimental philosophy have posed a problem for philosophers’ appeal to intuition (hereinafter referred to as PAI); the aim of this paper is to offer an answer to this challenge. The thesis against PAI implies that, given some experimental results, intuition does not seem to be a reliable epistemic source, and —more importantly— given the actual state of knowledge about its operation, we do not have sufficient resources to mitigate its errors and thus establish (...) its reliability. That is why PAI is hopeless. Throughout this paper I will defend my own conception of PAI, which I have called the Deliberative Conception, and consequently, I will defend intersubjective agreement as a means to mitigate PAI errors, offering empirical evidence from recent studies on the Argumentative Theory of Reason that favor the conception I defend here. Finally, I will reply to some objections that might arise against the Deliberative Conception, which will lead me to discuss some metaphilosophical issues that are significantly relevant for the future of the dispute about the appeal to intuition. (shrink)
George Bealer argues that intuitions are not only reliable indicators of truth, they are necessary to the philosophical endeavor. Specifically, he thinks that intuitions are essential sources of evidence for epistemic justification. I argue that Bealer's defense of intuitions either (1) is insufficient to show that actual human beings are in a position to use intuitions for epistemic justification, or (2) begs the question. The growing empirical data about our intuitions support the view that humans are not creatures appropriately positioned (...) to use intuitions for epistemic justification in the way Bealer suggests. Without the appropriate empirical evidence that humans are beings so positioned, his view begs the question against those who think that intuitions are not reliable guides to truth. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are strong arguments just in case there is an agreement among the relevant philosophers concerning the intuition in question. Otherwise, appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are weak arguments because intellectual intuition is an unreliable belief-forming process, since it yields incompatible verdicts in response to the same cases, and since the inference from 'It seems to S that p' to 'p' is unreliable. Since the reliability of intellectual intuition is a necessary condition for strong appeals to intuition, it follows that appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
Certain restrictions on public funding for assisted reproductive technology (ART) are articulated and defended by recourse to a distinction between medical infertility and social infertility. We propose that underlying the prioritization of medical infertility is a vision of medicine whose proper role is to restore but not to improve upon nature. We go on to mark moral responses that speak of investments many continue to make in nature as properly an object of reverence and gratitude and therein (sometimes) a source (...) of moral guidance. We draw on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein in arguing for the plausibility of an appeal to nature in opposition to the charge that it must contain a logical fallacy. We also invite consideration of the moral plausibility of some appeal to nature. Finally, we examine what follows in the case of ART. Should medicine respect as natural limits that should not be overcome: the need for a man and a woman in reproduction; menopause; and even declining fertility with age? We must first ask ourselves to what degree we should defer to nature in the conduct of medicine, at least in the particular if not the general case. This will involve also asking ourselves what we think is natural and in what instances and spirit might we defy nature. Divergent opinions and policies concerning who should receive ART treatment and public funding are more easily understood in view of the centrality, complexity and fundamental nature of these questions. (shrink)
The Appeal to Tradition, often considered to be unsound, frequently reflects sophisticated adaptations to the environment. Once developed, these adaptations are often transmitted culturally rather than as reasoned argument, so that people mayor may not be aware of why their traditions are wise. Tradition is more likely to be valid in a stable environment in which a wide range of variations have been available for past testing; however, traditions tend to become obsolete in a rapidly changing environment.
The appeal to pity, orargumentum ad misericordiam, has traditionally been classified by the logic textbooks as an informal fallacy. The particular case studied in this article is a description of a series of events in 1990–91 during the occupation of Kuwait by Iraqi forces. A fifteen-year-old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah had a pivotal effect on the U.S. decision to invade Kuwait by testifying to a senate committee (while crying) that Iraqi soldiers had pulled babies out of incubators in a (...) hospital in Kuwait, and left them to die. Subsequent investigations revealed no basis for this claim, and that it was part of a public relations campaign, financed mainly by Kuwaitis, to get support for the invasion. The normative question studied in this case is whether or not the argument in it can correctly be evaluated as a fallacious appeal to pity. Part of the general issue is what is meant by the key word ‘fallacious.’. (shrink)
Work in Argumentation Studies (AS) and Studies in Expertise and Experience (SEE) has been proceeding on converging trajectories, moving from resistance to expert authority to a cautious acceptance of its legitimacy. The two projects are therefore also converging on the need to account for how, in the course of complex and confused civic deliberations, nonexpert citizens can figure out which statements from purported experts deserve their trust. Both projects recognize that nonexperts cannot assess expertise directly; instead, the nonexpert must judge (...) whether to trust the expert. But how is this social judgment accomplished? A normative pragmatic approach from AS can complement and extend the work from SEE on this question, showing that the expert’s putting forward of his view and “bonding” it with his reputation for expertise works to force or “blackmail” his audience of citizens into heeding what he says. Appeals to authority thus produce the visibility and accountability we want for expert views in civic deliberations. (shrink)
Today, experimental philosophers challenge traditional appeals to intu- ition; they empirically collect folk intuitions and then use their findings to attack philosophers’ intuitions. However this movement is not uniform. Radical experi- mentalists criticize the use of intuitions in philosophy altogether and they have been mostly attacked. Contrariwise, moderate experimentalists imply that laypersons’ in- tuitions are somehow relevant to philosophical problems. Sometimes they even use folk intuitions in order to advance theoretical theses. In this paper I will try to challenge the (...) so-called moderate experimental attempts to rely on intuition in order to promote philosophical theses. (shrink)
The basic aim of Alvin Goldman’s approach to epistemology, and the tradition it represents, is naturalistic; that is, epistemological theories in this tradition aim to identify the naturalistic, nonnormative criteria on which justified belief supervenes (Goldman, 1986; Markie, 1997). The basic method of Goldman’s epistemology, and the tradition it represents, is the reflective equilibrium test; that is, epistemological theories in this tradition are tested against our intuitions about cases of justified and unjustified belief (Goldman, 1986; Markie, 1997). I will argue (...) that the prospect of having to reject their standard methodology is one epistemologists have to take very seriously; and I will do this by arguing that some current rival theories of epistemic justification are in fact in reflective equilibrium with our intuitions about cases of justified and unjustified belief. That is, I will argue that intuition underdetermines theory choice in epistemology, in much the way that observation underdetermines theory choices in empirical sciences. If reflective equilibrium leads to the underdetermination problem I say it leads to, then it cannot satisfy the aims of contemporary epistemology, and so cannot serve as its standard methodology. (shrink)
There has been lively recent debate over the value of appeals to intuitions in philosophy. Some, especially ‘experimental philosophers’, have argued that such appeals can carry little or no evidential weight, and that standard analytic philosophy is consequently methodologically bankrupt. Various defences of intuitions, and analytic philosophy, have also been offered. In this paper I review the case against intuitions, in particular the claims that intuitions vary with culture, and are built by natural selection, and argue that much of their (...) force depends on assuming that the required sense of intuition is of a kind of human universal. In opposition to this view I argue that there is reason to regard intuitions of professional philosophers as parochial developmental achievements (so that cultural variation among non-professionals is irrelevant) and also the product of a training process that warrants ascribing some evidential weight to them. The argument made here is not anti-naturalistic, nor does it grant intuitions any special or trumping evidential status. Unlike some defences of analytic philosophy it does not depend on denying that philosophers appeal to intuitions at all. (shrink)
Even though it has always seemed to me so evidently erroneous, the view that we must test our normative theories against our intuitions has continued to have many adherents [...]. But now it faces its most serious challenge yet, in the form of Peter Unger's Living High and Letting Die. On one level this book is an attempt to tighten the argument I advanced in 'Famine, affluence and morality'. Unger argues that we do wrong when we fail to send (...) money to overseas aid organizations that will use it to save many lives. But he does much more than that. He makes his argument by presenting a wide variety of examples and telling us about the intuitive responses that he had found most people - especially his students - have to them. The responses are very difficult to reconcile with each other. Unger then offers explanations for them. His explanations are devastating for the view that we should take our intuitive responses to particular cases as the test of a sound theory, because the explanations show that our intuitive judgments are based on things that are obviously of no moral significance at all. Here is an example. Unger uses some variants on the 'trolley problem', much discussed by philosophers during the past thirty years. The problem is posed by a runaway trolley rolling down the railway track, on course to kill several innocent people further down the line. In one version of the problem you can throw a switch that will divert the trolley down another track, where it will kill just one innocent person. In another version, there is no switch, but you could push a very heavy person off a bridge in front of the trolley. The heavy person will be killed, but the trolley will be stopped and the six people will be saved. Most people think that you should throw the switch, thus causing one to die, rather than six; but they think it would be wrong to push the heavy person off the bridge into the path of the trolley. To a consequentialist this difference is puzzling. In both achieve this outcome? A Kantian, however, can claim that the responses show that our intuitions are in line with the Kantian idea that it is wrong to use someone as a means, even if by doing so there is a net saving of innocent human life.. (shrink)
During the last few years a large number of companies have emerged offering DNA testing via the Internet “direct-to-consumer”. In this paper, I analyse the rhetoric appeal to personal identity put forward on the websites of some of these consumer genomics companies. The investigation is limited to non-health-related DNA testing and focuses on individualistic and communitarian—in a descriptive sense—visions of identity. The individualistic visions stress that each individual is unique and suggest that this uniqueness can be supported by, for (...) example, DNA fingerprinting. The communitarian visions emphasise that individuals are members of communities, in this case genetic communities. It is suggested that these visions can be supported by, for example, various types of tests for genetic ancestry tracing. The main part of the paper is devoted to an analysis of these communitarian visions of identity and the DNA tests they refer to. (shrink)
“Arguments from nature” are used, and have historically been used, in popular responses to advances in technology and to environmental issues—there is a widely shared body of ethical intuitions that nature, or perhaps human nature, sets some limits on the kinds of ends that we should seek, the kinds of things that we should do, or the kinds of lives that we should lead. Virtue ethics can provide the context for a defensible form of the argument from nature, and one (...) that makes proper sense of its enduring role in debates concerning our relationship to technology and the environment. However, the notion of an ethics founded upon an account of the essential features of human nature is controversial. On the one hand, contemporary biological science no longer defines species by their essential characteristics, so from a biological point of view there just are no essential characteristics of human beings. On the other hand, it might be argued that humans have, in some sense, “transcended our biology,” so an understanding of humans as a biological species is extraneous to ethical questions. In this article, I examine and defend the argument from nature, as a way to ground an ethic of virtue, from some of the more common criticisms that are made against it. I argue that, properly interpreted as an appeal to an evaluative account of human nature, the argument from nature is defensible with the context of virtue ethics and, in this light, I show how arguments from nature made in popular responses to technological and environmental issues are best understood. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim has argued that unless mental events are reducible to subvening physical events, they are at best overdeterminers of their effects. Recently, nonreductive physicalists have endorsed this consequence claiming that the relationship between mental events and their physical bases is tight enough to render any such overdetermination nonredundant, and hence benign. I focus on instances of this strategy that appeal to the notion of constitution. Ultimately, I argue that there is no way to understand the relationship between irreducible (...) mental events and their physical bases such as to both eliminate causal redundancy and preserve the efficacy of mental events. (shrink)
This paper defends a coherentist approach to moral epistemology. In “The Immorality of Eating Meat” (2000), I offer a coherentist consistency argument to show that our own beliefs rationally commit us to the immorality of eating meat. Elsewhere, I use our own beliefs as premises to argue that we have positive duties to assist the poor (2004) and to argue that biomedical animal experimentation is wrong (2012). The present paper explores whether this consistency-based coherentist approach of grounding particular moral judgments (...) on beliefs we already hold, with no appeal to moral theory, is a legitimate way of doing practical ethics. I argue (i) that grounding particular moral judgments on our core moral convictions and other core nonmoral beliefs is a legitimate way to justify moral judgments, (ii) that these moral judgments possess as much epistemic justification and have as much claim to objectivity as moral judgments grounded on particular ethical theories, and (iii) that this internalistic coherentist method of grounding moral judgments is more likely to result in behavioral guidance than traditional theory-based approaches to practical ethics. By way of illustrating the approach, I briefly recapitulate my consistency-based argument for ethical vegetarianism. I then defend the coherentist approach implicit in the argument against a number of potentially fatal metatheoretical attacks. (shrink)
Transcendental philosophy has traditionally sought to provide non-contingent grounds for (a 'rational' account of) certain aspects of cognitive, moral, and social life. Further, it has made a claim to being 'ultimately' grounded in the sense that its account of experience should provide a non-dogmatic account of its own possibility. Most current approaches to transcendental philosophy seek to do justice to these twin aspects of the project by making an 'intersubjective turn', taking the structure of dialogue or social practice rather than (...) the 'I think' or consciousness as the locus of ultimate grounds. After examining the recent debate over transcendental arguments in order to illuminate the relations between two important versions of transcendental philosophy- the neo-Kantian version oriented toward justification of principles and the phenomenological version oriented toward clarification of meaning- this paper criticizes internally connected aspects of the intersubjective turn in K. O. Apel, Bernhard Waldenfels, and a recent 'practical' interpretation of Husserl. It is shown that the twin demands of the project can be redeemed only if ultimate grounding is seen first of all not as an epistemological or ontological question but (as Levinas suggests) as an ethical one. This requires modification of the appeal to intersubjectivity and a qualified return to the first-person perspective. (shrink)
In genomic research the ideal standard of free, informed, prior, and explicit consent is believed to restrict important research studies. For certain types of genomic research other forms of consent are therefore proposed which are ethically justified by an appeal to the common good. This notion is often used in a general sense and this forms a weak basis for the use of weaker forms of consent. Here we examine how the notion of the common good can be related (...) to individual health, health care, and genomic research and we use this analysis to propose more precise criteria to justify forms of consent which diverge from the ideal standard. (shrink)
This essay distinguishes three types of appeals to experience in ethics, identifies problems with appealing to experience, and argues that appeals to experience must be open to critical assessment, if experientially-based arguments are to be useful. Unless competing and potentially irreconcilable experiences can be assessed and adjudicated, experientially-based arguments will be problematic. The paper recommends thinking of the appeal to experience as a kind of storytelling to be evaluated as other stories are.
Why should all human beings have certain rights simply by virtue of being human? One justification is an appeal to religious authority. However, in increasingly secular societies this approach has its limits. An alternative answer is that human rights are justified through human dignity. This paper argues that human rights and human dignity are better separated for three reasons. First, the justification paradox: the concept of human dignity does not solve the justification problem for human rights but rather aggravates (...) it in secular societies. Second, the Kantian cul-de-sac: if human rights were based on Kant's concept of dignity rather than theist grounds, such rights would lose their universal validity. Third, hazard by association: human dignity is nowadays more controversial than the concept of human rights, especially given unresolved tensions between aspirational dignity and inviolable dignity. In conclusion, proponents of universal human rights will fare better with alternative frameworks to justify human rights rather than relying on the concept of dignity. (shrink)
It has become common, in both popular and scholarly discourse, to appeal to ‘delayed animation’ as an argument for abortion (DAAA). Augustine and Aquinas seemingly held that the rational soul was infused midway in pregnancy, and therefore did not regard early abortion as homicide. The authority of these thinkers is thus cited by some contemporary Christians as a reason to tolerate or, for proportionate reasons, to promote first-trimester abortion and embryo experimentation. The present essay is an exercise in aetiology. (...) It examines the origins of DAAA. Distinctions are drawn between different forms of DAAA in historical context, premises, and conclusions. Some forms raise important anthropological questions, though these arguments are not indefeasible. The most popular forms of DAAA, which are typically framed as appeals to precedent, are the weakest, in that there is little precedent for DAAA before 1950. The argument is in fact a novelty in the tradition. (shrink)
A persistent challenge for nominally behavioral viewpoints in philosophical psychology is how to make sense of psychological terms that appeal to the mental. Two such viewpoints, logical behaviorism and conceptual analysis, hold that psychological terms appealing to the mental must be taken to mean (i.e., refer to) something that is publicly observable, such as underlying physiological states, publicly observable behavior, or dispositions to engage in publicly observable behavior, rather than mental events per se. However, they do so for slightly (...) different reasons. A third viewpoint, behavior analysis, agrees that (a) some terms are functionally related to (i.e., occasioned by) the link between publicly observable behavior and publicly observable features of the environment, (b) some terms are dispositional, and (c) a purely private language could not arise. However, behavior analysis also recognizes that some psychological terms relate to private behavioral events, such as occur when speakers report internal sensations or engage in covert behavior. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that ad hominem arguments are not always fallacious. More explicitly, in certain cases of practical reasoning, the circumstances of a person are relevant to whether or not the conclusion should be accepted. This occurs, I suggest, when a person gives advice to others or prescribes certain courses of action but fails to follow her own advice or act in accordance with her own prescriptions. This is not an instance of a fallacious tu quoque provided that (...) such circumstantial ad hominem arguments are construed as rebuttals to appeals (administrative) authority (of expertise), or so I argue. (shrink)
The Principle of Procreative Beneficence (PPB) claims that we have a moral obligation, where choice is possible, to choose to create the best child we can. The existence of this moral obligation has been proposed by John Harris and Julian Savulescu and has proved controversial on many levels, not least that it is eugenics, asking us to produce the best children we can, not for the sake of that child's welfare, but in order to make a better society. These are (...) strong claims that require robust justification that can be open to scrutiny and debate. This article argues that robust justifications are currently lacking in the work of Savulescu and Harris. The justifications provided for their conclusions about this obligation to have the best child possible rely heavily on Derek Parfit's Non-Identity Problem and the intuitive response this provokes in many of us. Unfortunately Harris and Savulescu do not embrace the entirety of the Non-Identity Problem and the puzzle that it presents. The Non-Identity Problem actually provides a refutation of PPB. In order to establish PPB as a credible and defendable principle, Harris and Savulescu need to find what has eluded Parfit and many others: a solution to the Non-Identity Problem and thus an overturning of the refutation it provides for PPB. While Harris and Savulescu do hint at possible but highly problematic solutions to the Non-Identity Problem, these are not developed or defended. As a result their controversial is left supported by little more than intuition. (shrink)
According to a widely held view, a Kantian intuition functions like a singular term. I argue that this view is false. Its apparent plausibility, both textual and philosophical, rests on attributing to Kant a Fregean conception of judgment. I show that Kant does not hold a Fregean conception of judgment and argue that, as a consequence, intuition cannot be understood on analogy with singular terms.
This article discusses the alleged anti-corruption effects of procurement reforms by presenting the European Act on Public Procurement and the increasing number of appeals filed by suppliers due to perceived misevaluations of tenders and perceived impairments of transparency. The delays and costs that arise from this right to appeal are studied in the Swedish context with the aim of contributing to the debate on corruption in two ways. First, instead of using the modern definition of corruption, the ancient definition (...) is introduced to explain anti-corruption efforts, focusing on corruption as deviations from a pristine standard as opposed to corruption as the abuse of public power for private gain. Second, it will be argued that the fight against corruption in the practical implementation of the European Act on Public Procurement jeopardizes efficiency and might devaluate competence. However, striving for the total elimination of corruption–an evil that has to be fought disregarding the consequences–is integral in the war against it. (shrink)
Advocates of the use of intuitions in philosophy argue that they are treated as evidence because they are evidential. Their opponents agree that they are treated as evidence, but argue that they should not be so used, since they are the wrong kinds of things. In contrast to both, we argue that, despite appearances, intuitions are not treated as evidence in philosophy whether or not they should be. Our positive account is that intuitions are a subclass of inclinations to believe. (...) Our thesis explains why intuitions play a role in persuasion and inquiry, without conceding that they are evidential. The account also makes predictions about the structure of intuitions that are confirmed by independent arguments. (shrink)
Humans can think about their conscious experiences using a special class of ?phenomenal? concepts. Psychophysical identity statements formulated using phenomenal concepts appear to be contingent. Kripke argued that this intuited contingency could not be explained away, in contrast to ordinary theoretical identities where it can. If the contingency is real, property dualism follows. Physicalists have attempted to answer this challenge by pointing to special features of phenomenal concepts that explain the intuition of contingency. However no physicalist account of their (...) distinguishing features has proven to be satisfactory. Leading accounts rely on there being a phenomenological difference between tokening a physical-functional concept and tokening a phenomenal concept. This paper shows that existing psychological data undermine that claim. The paper goes on to suggest that the recalcitrance of the intuition of contingency may instead by explained by the limited means people typically have for applying their phenomenal concepts. Ways of testing that suggestion empirically are proposed. (shrink)
This essay focuses on some important concepts in Beauvoir's philosophy: ambiguity, desire, and appeal (appel). Ambiguity and appeal, concepts originating in Beauvoir's moral philosophy, are in The Second Sex connected to the female body and feminine desire. This indicates the complexity of Beauvoir's image of femininity. This essay also proposes a comparative reading of Beauvoir's and Sartre's concepts of appeal, a reading that indicates differences in their views of the relationship among ethics, desire, and gender.
: This essay focuses on some important concepts in Beauvoir's philosophy: ambiguity, desire, and appeal (appel). Ambiguity and appeal, concepts originating in Beauvoir's moral philosophy, are in The Second Sex connected to the female body and feminine desire. This indicates the complexity of Beauvoir's image of femininity. This essay also proposes a comparative reading of Beauvoir's and Sartre's concepts of appeal, a reading that indicates differences in their views of the relationship among ethics, desire, and gender.
In this article, I provide a guide to some current thinking in empirical moral psychology on the nature of moral intuitions, focusing on the theories of Haidt and Narvaez. Their debate connects to philosophical discussions of virtue theory and the role of emotions in moral epistemology. After identifying difficulties attending the current debate around the relation between intuitions and reasoning, I focus on the question of the development of intuitions. I discuss how intuitions could be shaped into moral expertise, outlining (...) Haidt’s emphasis on innate factors and Narvaez’s account in terms of a social-cognitive model of personality. After a brief discussion of moral relativism, I consider the implications of the account of moral expertise for our understanding of the relation between moral intuitions and reason. I argue that a strong connection can be made if we adopt a broad conception of reason and a narrow conception of expertise. (shrink)
Using empirical evidence to attack intuitions can be epistemically dangerous, because various of the complaints that one might raise against them (e.g., that they are fallible; that we possess no non-circular defense of their reliability) can be raised just as easily against perception itself. But the opponents of intuition wish to challenge intuitions without at the same time challenging the rest of our epistemic apparatus. How might this be done? Let us use the term “hopefulness” to refer to the (...) extent to which we possess a good capacity for the detection and correction of the errors of any fallible source of evidence. I argue that we should not trust putative sources of evidence that are substantially lacking in hopefulness (even if they are basically reliable), and that we are indeed already operating under such a norm in our ordinary and scientific practices. I argue further that the philosophical practice of the appeal to intuitions is, in these terms, badly hopeless... (shrink)
Jonathan Weinberg (2007) has argued that we should not appeal to intuition as evidence because it cannot be externally corroborated. This paper argues for the normative claim that Weinberg’s demand for external corroboration is misguided. The idea is that Weinberg goes wrong in treating philosophical appeal to intuition analogous to the appeal to evidence in the sciences. Traditional practice is defended against Weinberg’s critique with the argument that some intuitions are true simply in virtue of (...) being intuited by the majority of people. The argument proceeds by way of examining a paradigm case, Putnam’s Twin Earth. (shrink)
Many Christian theodicists believe that God's creating us with the capacity to love Him and each other justifies, in large part, God's permitting evil. For example, after reminding us that, according to Christian doctrine, the supreme good for human beings is to enter into a reciprocal love relationship with God, Vincent Brummer recently wrote: In creating human persons in order to love them, God necessarily assumes vulnerability in relation to them. In fact, in this relation, he becomes even more vulnerable (...) than we do, since he cannot count on the steadfastness of our love the way we can count on his steadfastness.... If God did not grant us the ability to sin and cause affliction to him and to one another, we would not have the kind of free and autonomous existence necessary to enter into a relation of love with God and with one another.... Far from contradicting the value which the free will defence places upon the freedom and responsibility of human persons, the idea of a loving God necessarily entails it. In this way we can see that the free will defence is based on the love of God rather than on the supposed intrinsic value of human freedom and responsibility.1 And Peter van Inwagen recently put the same point this way. (shrink)
This book covers all the material typically addressed in first or second-year college courses in Critical Thinking: Chapter 1: Critical Thinking 1.1 What is critical thinking? 1.2 What is critical thinking not? Chapter 2: The Nature of Argument 2.1 Recognizing an Argument 2.2 Circular Arguments 2.3 Counterarguments 2.4 The Burden of Proof 2.5 Facts and Opinions 2.6 Deductive and Inductive Argument Chapter 3: The Structure of Argument 3.1 Convergent, Single 3.2 Convergent, Multiple 3.3 Divergent Chapter 4: Relevance 4.1 Relevance 4.2 (...) Errors of Relevance Chapter 5: Language 5.1 Clarity 5.2 Neutrality 5.3 Definition Chapter 6: Truth and Acceptability 6.1 How do we define truth? 6.2 How do we discover truth? 6.3 How do we evaluate claims of truth? Chapter 7: Generalizations, Analogies, and General Principles 7.1 Sufficiency 7.2 Generalizations 7.3 Analogies 7.4 General Principles Chapter 8: Inductive Argument – Causal Reasoning 8.1 Causation 8.2 Explanations 8.3 Predictions, Plans, and Policies 8.4 Errors in Causal Reasoning (Three additional chapters – categorical logic, propositional logic, thinking critically about ethics – are available on the companion website.) -/- Special Features: -/- - The book takes a practice approach to learning how to think critically, so there are LOTS of exercises (within each chapter, focusing on discrete skills, and at the end of each chapter, focusing on more global skills in a cumulative fashion – thinking critically about what one sees, hears, reads, writes, and discusses). -/- - There is an extensive “Answers, Explanations, and Analyses” section that provides not just ‘the right answer’ but explanations as to why the right answer is right and why wrong answers are wrong; when the exercise is not a matter of providing an answer but of analyzing material, a detailed analysis is provided in this section; this feature is intended to help the student fully understand why some arguments are better than others (and why it’s not ‘just a matter of opinion’!). -/- - The regularly-appearing end-of-chapter “Thinking critically when you discuss” exercise is carefully graduated throughout the text, to gently lead students from sounding like a bad tv talk show to being able to hold an intelligent discussion. -/- - The regularly-appearing end-of-chapter “Thinking critically about what you write” exercise assumes almost no skill at the beginning and leads up to, in the last chapter, writing a 2,000 word position paper. -/- - A critical analysis template (a step-by-step approach to critical analysis) is presented in the first chapter and at the beginning of each subsequent chapter, and specific reference to it is made at the beginning of each end-of-chapter “Thinking critically about what you read” exercise (consisting of ten bits of increasing difficulty); this feature is intended to encourage the development of habitual, thorough analysis of arguments. -/- - Actual questions from standardized reasoning tests like the LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, and GRE are included. -/- - Ancillaries include an instructor’s manual; a test bank; PowerPoint slides; downloadable MP3 study guides; and interactive flash cards. (shrink)
Coherence theorists have universally defined justification as a relation only among (the contents of) belief states, in contradistinction to other theories, such as some versions of foundationalism, which define justification as a relation on belief states and appearance states.
This article is the sequel to 'Intentionality and Modern philosophical psychology, I. The modern reduction of intentionality,' (Philosophical Psychology, 3 (2), 1990) which examined the view of intentionality pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In 'Intentionality and modem philosophical psychology, II. The return to representation' (Philosophical Psychology, 4(1), 1991) I examined the approach to intentionality which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky but which has been given its canonical treatment (...) in the work of Jerry Fodor. In this article, the last in the series, I explore a very recent approach to intentionality which has been associated especially with the work of Ruth Garrett Millikan and Colin McGinn, and might, if the phrase were not so rebarbative, be called “the biologizing of intentionality'. (shrink)
Many philosophers have been attracted by the view that colors are mind- independent properties of object surfaces. A leading, and increasingly popular, version of this view that has been defended in recent years is the so-called physicalist position that identi?es colors with (classes of) spectral re?ectance distributions.1 This view, has, however, come in for a fair bit of criticism for failing to do justice to the facts about perceptual variation.2.
Judith Jarvis Thomson recently argued that it is impermissible for a bystander to turn a runaway trolley from five onto one. But she also argues that a trolley driver is required to do just that. We believe that her argument is flawed in three important ways. She fails to give proper weight to (a) an agent¹s claims not to be required to act in ways he does not want to, (b) impartiality in the weighing of competing patient-claims, and (c) the (...) role of patient-claims in determining agent-duties. All three of these failures can be understood in terms of what we call the Mechanics of Claims, an approach we develop for identifying and balancing competing claims in determining rights. Using that framework, one can see both why Thomson's most recent argument is mistaken, and how to think more clearly about deontological choices generally. (shrink)
Bioethics as an academic discipline comes into public discourse when real life “hard cases” receive media attention. Since cases of this sort increasingly often become the subject of litigation, the forum for debate can be a court of law, with judges as the final arbiters. Judges (unlike philosophers) are obliged to give final and definitive rulings in a constrained time period. Their training is in a type of discourse very different from moral philosophy, though still concerned with right and wrong. (...) This paper explores the differences between the tools and methods used in public legal debate and private academic discourse, and the different nature of the answers they produce. It attempts to suggest some ways in which bioethicists can better understand lawyers’ reasoning in cases of this sort, and how communication between bioethics and law might be improved. (shrink)
This paper argues that Locke and contemporary Lockeans underestimate the problems involved in their frequent, implicit assumption that when we apply the proviso we use the latest scientific knowledge of natural resources, technology and the economy’s operations. Problematic for these theories is that much of the pertinent knowledge used is obtained through particular persons’ labour. If the knowledge obtained through individuals’ labour must be made available to everyone and if particular persons’ new knowledge affects the proviso’s proper application, then some (...) end up without freedom to pursue their own ends and some find their freedom subject to others’ arbitrary will. (shrink)
We need not accommodate facts about meaning if Quine is right about the indeterminacy of subsentential expressions; there can be no such facts to accommodate. Evans argued that Quine’s approach overlooks the ways speakers use predication to endow their use of subsentential expressions with the necessary determinacy. This paper offers a critical assessment of the debate in relation to current arguments about naturalism and shows how Evans’s response depends on a basic claim that turns out to be false.
We asked college students to make judgments about realistic moral situations presented as dilemmas (which asked for an either/or decision) vs. problems (which did not ask for such a decision) as well as when the situation explicitly included affectively salient language vs. non-affectively salient language. We report two main findings. The first is that there are four different types of cognitive strategy that subjects use in their responses: simple reasoning, intuitive judging, cautious reasoning, and empathic reasoning. We give operational definitions (...) of these types in terms of our observed data. In addition, the four types characterized strategies not only in the whole sample, but also in all of the subsamples in our study. The second finding is that the intuitive judging type comprised approximately 26% of our respondents, while about 74% of our respondents employed one of the three styles of reasoning named above. We think that these findings present an interesting challenge to models of moral cognition which predict that there is either a single, or a single most common, strategy – especially a strategy of relying upon one’s intuitions – that people use to think about moral situations. (shrink)
Intuitions play an important role in contemporary epistemology. Over the last decade, however, experimental philosophers have published a number of studies suggesting that epistemic intuitions may vary in ways that challenge the widespread reliance on intuitions in epistemology. In a recent paper, Jennifer Nagel offers a pair of arguments aimed at showing that epistemic intuitions do not, in fact, vary in problematic ways. One of these arguments relies on a number of claims defended by appeal to the psychological literature (...) on intuitive judgment and on mental state attribution (also known as “theory of mind”, “mindreading” and “folk psychology”). I call this the "theoretical argument". The other argument relies on recent experimental work carried out by Nagel and her collaborators. It is my contention that in setting out her theoretical argument, Nagel offers an account of the relevant scientific literature that is, in crucial respects, flawed and misleading. My main goal in this paper is to rectify these errors and to make it clear that, once this is done, Nagel’s theoretical argument collapses. Since Nagel’s experimental work has not yet been published, and available details are very sketchy, I do not discuss this work in detail. However, in the final section of the paper I offer some critical observations about Nagel’s strategy for dealing with empirical data that does not support her view – both other people’s and her own. (shrink)
The major part of this paper is devoted to the task of showing that Husserl's account of knowledge and truth in terms of a synthesis of fulfilment falls prey neither to a form of “metaphysics of presence” nor to a “myth of interiority” or mentalism. Husserl's presentation of the desire to know, his awareness of irreducible forms of absence at the heart of the intuitive presence of the object of knowledge and his formulation of general rules concerning the possible accomplishment (...) of a synthesis of fulfilment are therefore carefully examined. Special attention is also given to the fact that the determination of knowledge and truth provided by the Sixth Logical Investigation rests on an account of an original interweaving between the thing, consciousness, and language. Unlike in Husserl's earlier and later works, no attempt is thereby made to subordinate any of these three elements involved in all knowledge to one of the others. (shrink)