[First paragraph:] Part of the point of this article is to support the following claim by Adorno: “Rarely has anyone laid out a theory of philosophical clarity; instead, the concept of clarity has been used as though it were self-evident.” In fact, and again with Adorno, I shall argue for what I call the “loadedness thesis”: the thesis that philosophical conceptions of clarity are pervasively, and perhaps inevitably, philosophically partisan (section one). Yet I shall proceed to argue (...) for a conception of clarity nonetheless (section two). Such clarity I take as “default clarity,” in that, while there could be reason to eschew it, the burden of proof lies on those who would. That thought is not Adornian. But I shall consider Adorno as an attempt to discharge that burden of proof (section three). (shrink)
In this paper we compare different models of vagueness viewed as a specific form of subjective uncertainty in situations of imperfect discrimination. Our focus is on the logic of the operator “clearly” and on the problem of higher-order vagueness. We first examine the consequences of the notion of intransitivity of indiscriminability for higher-order vagueness, and compare several accounts of vagueness as inexact or imprecise knowledge, namely Williamson’s margin for error semantics, Halpern’s two-dimensional semantics, and the system we call Centered semantics. (...) We then propose a semantics of degrees of clarity, inspired from the signal detection theory model, and outline a view of higher-order vagueness in which the notions of subjective clarity and unclarity are handled asymmetrically at higher orders, namely such that the clarity of clarity is compatible with the unclarity of unclarity. (shrink)
Why ever assert clarity? If It is clear that p is true, then saying so should be at best superfluous. Barker and Taranto (2003) and Taranto (2006) suggest that asserting clarity reveals information about the beliefs of the discourse participants, specifically, that they both believe that p . However, mutual belief is not sufficient to guarantee clarity ( It is clear that God exists ). I propose instead that It is clear that p means instead (roughly) 'the (...) publicly available evidence justifies concluding that p '. Then what asserting clarity reveals is information concerning the prevailing epistemic standard that determines whether a body of evidence is sufficient to justify a claim. If so, the semantics of clarity constitutes a grammatical window into the discourse dynamics of inference and skepticism. (shrink)
This article addresses the relationship between the ethics underpinning leadership and change. It examines the developments in leadership and change over the last three decades and their ethical implications. It adopts a consequentialist perspective on ethics and uses this to explore different approaches to leadership and change. In particular, the article focuses on individual (egoistic) consequentialism and utilitarian consequentialism. The article argues that all leadership styles and all approaches to change are rooted in a set of values, some of which (...) are more likely to lead to ethical outcomes than others. It also argues that all stakeholders in an organisation have a role to play in ensuring ethical outcomes. It concludes that in order to achieve sustainable and beneficial change, those who promote and adopt particular approaches to leadership and change must provide greater ethical clarity about the approaches they are championing. (shrink)
This paper is an analysis of the term ming ('clarity, 'illumination') in the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi. I show that though ming does involve the realization of the fundamental unity of opposites, the realization of this unity does not force the Zhuangzi to endorse a 'radical relativist' stance on morality, since the perspective of the Sage through ming is shown to be a privileged perspective. Overall, the Zhuangzi does not endorse any normative stance on morality. Rather, it endorses (...) a way of life that will ensure one's own personal survival and the survival of this fundamental unity of opposites. The stories of the useless tree in Chapter 4, the skillful cook in Chapter 3, and the death of Hundun in Chapter 7 serve as examples for my interpretation. (shrink)
Discussions of conflict of interest (COI) in the university have tended to focus on financial interests in the context of medical research; much less attention has been given to COI in general or to the policies that seek to manage COI. Are university COI policies accessible and understandable? To whom are these policies addressed (faculty, staff, students)? Is COI clearly defined in these policies and are procedures laid out for avoiding or remedying such situations? To begin tackling these important ethical (...) and governance questions, our study examines the COI policies at the Group of Thirteen (G13) leading Canadian research universities. Using automated readability analysis tools and an ethical content analysis, we begin the task of comparing the strengths and weaknesses of these documents, paying particular attention to their clarity, readability, and utility in explaining and managing COI. (shrink)
It is common to think that clarity is an essential ingredient of good teaching, meaning, in part, that good teachers always make it as easy as possible to follow what they say. We disagree. What we argue is that there are cases in which a philosophy teacher needs to forego clarity, making strategic use of obscurity in the undergraduate classroom.
In the Localist Manifesto, Page enumerated several computational advantages that localist representations have over distributed representations, but the most important difference between such networks concerns their theoretical clarity. Distributed representations are normally closed to theoretical interpretation and, for that reason, contribute little to psychology, whereas the meaning of the information processing in networks using localist representations can be transparent.
It is common to think that clarity is an essential ingredient of good teaching, meaning, in part, that good teachers always make it as easy as possible to follow what they say. We disagree. What we argue is that there are cases in which a philosophy teacher needs to forego clarity, making strategic use of obscurity in the undergraduate classroom.
The purpose of this paper is to challenge some widespread assumptions about the role of the modal axiom S4 in a theory of vagueness. In the context of vagueness, S4 usually appears as the principle ‘If it is clear (determinate, definite) that A, then it is clear (determinate, definite) that it is clear (determinate, definite) that A’, or, more formally, CA → CCA. We show how in the debate over S4 two different notions of clarity are in play (Williamson-style (...) "luminosity" or self-revealing clarity and concealeable clarity) and what their respective functions are in accounts of higher-order vagueness. On this basis, we argue first that, contrary to common opinion, higher-order vagueness and S4 are perfectly compatible. This is in response to claims like that by Williamson that, if vagueness is defined with the help of a clarity operator that obeys S4, higher-order vagueness disappears. Second, we argue that, contrary to common opinion, (i) bivalence-preservers (e.g. epistemicists) can without contradiction condone S4, and (ii) bivalence-discarders (e.g. open-texture theorists, supervaluationists) can without contradiction reject S4. Third, we rebut a number of arguments that have been produced by opponents of S4, in particular those by Williamson. (The paper is pitched towards graduate students with basic knowledge of modal logic.). (shrink)
I discuss the statistical mechanics of gravitating systems and in particular its cosmological implications, and argue that many conventional views on this subject in the foundations of statistical mechanics embody significant confusion; I attempt to provide a clearer and more accurate account. In particular, I observe that (i) the role of gravity in entropy calculations must be distinguished from the entropy of gravity, that (ii) although gravitational collapse is entropy-increasing, this is not usually because the collapsing matter itself increases in (...) entropy, and that (iii) the Second Law of thermodynamics does not owe its validity to the statistical mechanics of gravitational collapse. (shrink)
Recently, Dylan Dodd (this Journal ) has tried to clear up what he takes to be some of the many confusions surrounding concessive knowledge attributions (CKAs)—i.e., utterances of the form “S knows that p , but it’s possible that q ” (where q entails not- p ) (Rysiew, Noûs 35(4): 477–514, 2001). Here, we respond to the criticisms Dodd offers of the account of the semantics and the sometime-infelicity of CKAs we have given (Dougherty and Rysiew, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (...) 78(1): 121–132, 2009), showing both how Dodd misunderstands certain central features of that view and how the latter can, pace Dodd, be naturally extended to explain the oddity of those “For all I know” statements to which Dodd draws attention. (shrink)
In both the Tractatus and the Investigations, Wittgenstein claimed that the aim of philosophy is to achieve clarity: to see clearly the logic or grammar of our language. However, his view of clarity underwent an important change, one of many changes that led Wittgenstein to write, in the preface to the Investigations, that his new ideas “could be seen in the right light only by contrast with and against the background of my old way of thinking.” I argue (...) that certain “grave mistakes” of the Tractatus were due to an idealised conception of clarity, and that a revised understanding of clarity is one of the main achievements of the Investigations. In the Tractatus Wittgenstein wrongly assumed that when we see language clearly, what we see will be determinate, exact, and complete. In the Investigations he realised that when we see language clearly we cannot specify in advance whether what we see will be determinate or vague, exact or inexact, complete or incomplete. I characterise this insight as a truism: when we see clearly, what we see might not be clear. Wittgenstein wants the Tractatus to serve as a warning to the reader of the Investigations; his own past mistakes are instructive and this is why we should read the Investigations against the background of his old way of thinking. (shrink)
Philosophy and Mystification is a work of philosophy in and of itself as much as it is a book about philosophy. Its reflections on the nature, methods and resources of philosophic enquiry are carefully grounded in the central problems that have dogged Western philosophy in the modern era: logical necessity, machine intelligence, the relation of science and religion, determinism, skepticism and the question of foundations and origins. Guy Robinson argues that a conception of philosophy was adopted in the 17th (...) century that required us to see the "world upside-down", creating abstract and mystified entities to explain the ordinary and concrete, requiring us to explain the social in terms of the individual, and the human and purposive in terms of the mechanical, and not only to see nature as a vast mechanism but science as a mechanical activity whose rules it was the business of the philosopher to discover. (shrink)
This essay discusses the origins, biases, and effects on contemporary discussions of economics and ethics of the unexamined use of the metaphor an economy is a machine. Both neoliberal economics and many critiques of capitalist systems take this metaphor as their starting point. The belief that economies run according to universal laws of motion, however, is shown to be based on a variety of rationalist thinking that – while widely held – is inadequate for explaining lived human experience. Feminist scholarship (...) in the philosophy of science and economics has brought to light some of the biases that have supported the mechanistic worldview. Possible alternatives to the an economy is a machine include an economy is a creative process and an economy is an organism. Such metaphors are intellectually defensible as guides to scientific inquiry and provide a richer ground for moral imagination. (shrink)
What I call ambiguities of system due to the sheer complexity of Whitehead’s metaphysics and his analysis of process in terms of concrescence and transition threaten its coherence in terms of what we know empirically of the quantum and classical dimensions of nature. Ambiguities of equivocation pertaining to Whitehead’s use of the terms “contemporary” and “objectification,” as the latter is employed in relation to prehension and satisfaction, also threaten its coherence. The article proposes ways to reduce these threats and uncertainty (...) about coherence by clarifying ambiguities and by attending to the way Whitehead’s terms are predicated on the quantum and classical dimensions. (shrink)
Militant modern atheism, whose most eloquent champion is Richard Dawkins, provides an effective and necessary critique of fundamentalist forms of religion and their role in political life, both within states and across national boundaries. Because it is also presented as a more general attack on religion (tout court), it has provoked a severe reaction from scholars who regard its conception of religion as shallow and narrow. My aim is to examine this debate, identifying insights and oversights on both sides.Two distinct (...) conceptions of religion are in play. For Dawkins and his allies (most notably Dan Dennett) religions are grounded in doctrines, propositions about supernatural entities, events and processes which the devout believe. Their beliefs prompt them to actions, which they support or rationalize by reference to the doctrines. Dawkins and Dennett view the acceptance of the doctrines as resting on cognitive misfiring — these are delusions to be outgrown or spells to be broken.By contrast, the religious scholars who criticize the militant atheists often view religion as centered in social practices that inform and enrich human lives. To the extent that there are doctrines that atheists might subject to epistemic evaluation, these are to be viewed as pieces of scaffolding, that are, in principle, dispensable.I argue that militant modern atheism is incomplete (and likely counter-productive) so long as it fails to attend systematically to the roles religion fulfills in human lives. Yet it is important to achieve public clarity about the literal falsehood of the doctrines on which fundamentalists rely. The challenge is to develop a well-articulated and convincing version of secular humanism. Meeting that challenge is, I claim, one of the central problems of philosophy today. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that - despite the absence of any clear influence of one theory on the other - the legal theories of Dworkin and Hegel share several similar and, at times, unique positions that join them together within a distinctive school of legal theory, sharing a middle position between natural law and legal positivism. In addition, each theory can help the other in addressing certain internal difficulties. By recognizing both Hegel and Dworkin as proponents of a position (...) lying in between natural law and legal positivist jurisprudence, we can gain clarity in why their general legal theories seem to fit uncomfortably, if indeed they can be said to fit at all, within so many different camps - while fitting comfortably in no particular camp - as well as highlight what has been overlooked. (shrink)
We divide analytic metaphysics into naturalistic and non-naturalistic metaphysics. The latter we define as any philosophical theory that makes some ontological (as opposed to conceptual) claim, where that ontological claim has no observable consequences. We discuss further features of non-naturalistic metaphysics, including its methodology of appealing to intuition, and we explain the way in which we take it to be discontinuous with science. We outline and criticize Ladyman and Ross's 2007 epistemic argument against non-naturalistic metaphysics. We then present our own (...) argument against it. We set out various ways in which intellectual endeavours can be of value, and we argue that, in so far as it claims to be an ontological enterprise, non-naturalistic metaphysics cannot be justified according to the same standards as science or naturalistic metaphysics. The lack of observable consequences explains why non-naturalistic metaphysics has, in general, failed to make progress, beyond increasing the standards of clarity and precision in expressing its theories. We end with a series of objections and replies. (shrink)
Personal identity and social identity are two very different concepts and the idea of getting them together, as Bhikhu Parekh proposes, within an integrated bundle of some `overall identity' raises serious questions of coherence. Personal identity demands the `sameness' of a person (Who is this guy? Am I still the same person that I was ten years ago?). Social identity is focused instead on our social affiliations, such as identifying with others with, say, the same nationality, or the same religion, (...) or same political partnership. We can make reasoned choices about our priorities in social affiliation. Those who want to make our social affiliation a matter of `discovery' rather than of choice may frighten us by saying that we would lose our overall identity if we were to choose to affiliate differently (for example as an Indian and not just as a Hindu, or as British and not just as a Muslim). To understand that there is no threat to personal identity involved in such choices is important both for clarity of analysis and for standing up against the herd behaviour of identity politics. (shrink)
He was not just my teacher and my friend. He was my hero, a man who was quietly but passionately committed to truth, to clarity, to understanding everything under the sun–and to making himself understood. More than anybody else he has made me proud to be a philosopher, so I would like to dedicate my Presidential Address to his memory.
§1 To many in or on the edges of the Academy, ”Relativism” is a word with overtones of sinister iconoclasm, representing a kind of intellectual and ethical free-for-all in which the traditional investigative virtues of clarity, rigour, objectivity, consistency and the unbiased pursuit of truth are dismissed as illusory and the great scientific constructions of the last two hundred years, together with our deepest moral convictions, rated merely as ‘our way of seeing’ the world, more elaborate and organised but (...) otherwise on all fours with the cosmology and customs of primitive tribes. In his short book, Paul Boghossian aims to address, and to expose as bankrupt, the idea that there is even a coherent, let alone defensible philosophical stance about truth and knowledge that can underwrite these ‘pluralist’, or ‘postmodernist’ tendencies. But since it is crucial to his project that his style of discussion make it available to non-specialists, much of the recent more technical, less emotional debate within analytical philosophy about relativism’s renaissance as a particular form of semantic theory is passed over unmentioned. Part of my aim in what follows is to illustrate how Boghossian's discussion connects quite straightforwardly with relativism in its contemporary analytical philosophical livery—what I have elsewhere called New Age relativism1— and how some of his critical arguments may be presented in that setting. My main contentions will be, first, that when relativism about epistemic justification, and about morals, are couched in the currently canonical sort of form, they still remain in range of artillery that Boghossian positions in chapter 6 of his book; second, that there is evasive action that they can.. (shrink)
_This is an account of his present thinking by an excellent philosopher who has been_ _among the two or three foremost defenders of the doctrine that determinism and_ _freedom are incompatible -- that logically we cannot have both. In his 1983 book,_ _An Essay on Free Will_ _, he laid out with unique clarity and force a fundamental_ _argument for this conclusion. What the argument comes to is that if determinism is_ _true, we are not free, since our actions (...) are effects of causal circumstances in the_ _remote past, and those circumstances are certainly not up to us. To that line of_ _thought, in the article below, by way of the supposition of a world of angels, he adds_ _something new. This is a fundamental difficulty with the freedom that we cannot_ _have if determinism is true. The difficulty, indeed a mystery, is one having to do with_ _the opposite of determinism -- indeterminism._. (shrink)
differences between dreaming and waking consciousness as well. In this chapter, we will argue that these differences mainly concern the subjective quality of the dreaming experience. The interesting question, from a philosophical point of view, is not so much whether or not dreams are conscious experiences at all. Rather, one must ask in what sense dreams can be considered as conscious experiences, and what happens to the experiential subject during the dream state. Finally, in order to arrive at a more (...) differentiated understanding of dream consciousness, we will contrast our analysis of ordinary dreams with lucid dreams, as well as with the varying degrees of lucidity and cognitive clarity seen in semi-lucid and prelucid dreams. (shrink)
Expressivist views of an area of discourse encourage us to ask not about the nature of the relevant kinds of values but rather about the nature of the relevant kind of evaluations. Their answer to the latter question typically claims some interesting disanalogy between those kinds of evaluations and descriptions of the world. It does so in hope of providing traction against naturalism-inspired ontological and epistemological worries threatening more ‘realist’ positions. This is a familiar position regarding ethical discourse; however, some (...) authors (e.g. Field, Heller, Gibbard, Blackburn, Chrisman) have recently defended a similar view regarding epistemic discourse. Others (especially Kvanvig, Cuneo, and Lynch) have argued that epistemic expressivism faces special problems, not necessarily attaching to expressivism about other areas. Their arguments differ in interesting ways, but the common strategy is an attempt to show that the very sort of meta-epistemological theorizing needed to articulate and establish epistemic expressivism involves the epistemic expressivist in some sort of internal incoherence or self-defeat. That is, they think that articulating or defending the position requires implicit commitment to the negation of one of the positions core tenets. This paper responds to those arguments on behalf of epistemic expressivism, suggesting that they each misunderstand what is crucial to epistemic expressivism. By responding to these arguments, we hope to achieve more clarity about what epistemic expressivism is and why one might want to endorse it in a meta-epistemology. (shrink)
Tracing a central theme of Plato's Republic , G. R. F. Ferrari reconsiders in this study the nature and purpose of the comparison between the structure of society and that of the individual soul. In four chapters, Ferrari examines the personalities and social status of the brothers Glaucon and Adeimantus, Plato's notion of justice, coherence in Plato's description of the decline of states, and the tyrant and the philosopher king—a pair who, in their different ways, break with the terms of (...) the city-soul analogy. In addition to acknowledging familiar themes in the interpretation of the Republic —the sincerity of its utopianism, the justice of the philosopher's return to the Cave—Ferrari provocatively engages secondary literature by Leo Strauss, Bernard Williams, and Jonathan Lear. With admirable clarity and insight, Ferrari conveys the relation between the city and the soul and the choice between tyranny and philosophy. City and Soul in Plato's Republic will be of value to students of classics, philosophy, and political theory alike. (shrink)
Wittgenstein gives voice to an aspiration that is central to his later philosophy, well before he becomes later Wittgenstein, when he writes in §4.112 of the Tractatus that philosophy is not a matter of putting forward a doctrine or a theory, but consists rather in the practice of an activity – an activity he goes on to characterize as one of elucidation or clarification – an activity which he says does not result in philosophische Sätze, in propositions of philosophy, but (...) rather in das Klarwerden von Sätzen, in our attaining clarity in our relation to the sentences of our language that we call upon to express our thoughts.1 To say that early Wittgenstein already aspired to such a conception of philosophy is not to gainsay that to aspire to practice philosophy in such a manner and to succeed in doing so are not the same thing. It is therefore not to deny that, by Wittgenstein’s later lights, the Tractatus is to be judged a work that is marked by forms of failure tied to its having failed fully to live up to such an aspiration. But if it is thus to be judged, then it is to some degree a failure even by Wittgenstein’s own earlier lights. This means that if one wants to understand the fundamental turn in Wittgenstein’s thinking as he moves from his earlier to his later philosophy, and why it is that he wanted the Tractatus to be published and read together with Philosophical Investigations, one needs to understand what sort of failure this is – and that requires coming to terms with the Tractatus’s own understanding of what sort of work it was trying to be. We think that readers of the Tractatus – be they admirers or detractors of Wittgenstein – have, on the whole, failed to do this. (shrink)
On a postcard to Franz Overbeck from January 4, 1888, Nietzsche makes some illuminating remarks with respect to the three treatises in his book On the Genealogy of Morality.2 Nietzsche says that, ‘for the sake of clarity, it was necessary artificially to isolate the different roots of that complex structure that is called morality. Each of these three treatises expresses a single primum mobile; a fourth and fifth are missing, as is even the most essential (‘the herd instinct’) – (...) for the time being, the latter had to be ignored, as too comprehensive, and the same holds for the ultimate summation of all those different elements and thus a final account of morality.’ Nietzsche also points out that each treatise makes a contribution to the genesis of Christianity and rejects an explanation of Christianity in terms of only one psychological category. The topics of the treatises are ‘good’ and ‘evil’ (first treatise), the ‘bad conscience’ (second), and the ‘ascetic ideal’ (third). The postcard suggests that Nietzsche discusses these topics separately because a joint treatment is too complicated, but that in reality, these ideas are inextricably intertwined, both with each other and with others that Nietzsche omits. Therefore, the three treatises should be regarded as parts of a unified theory and critique of morality. Nietzsche’s remarks on that postcard are important because in the Genealogy itself, he makes little effort to show the unity among the treatises. We shall return to this postcard repeatedly.3 The first treatise has attracted most scholarly attention, but much less work has been done on the second treatise, ‘ “Debts”, “Bad Conscience”, and Related Matters’. This is unfortunate, since it seems that, in Nietzsche’s own view, the central notion of the second treatise, namely, the bad conscience as a feeling of guilt, is a key element of Christian morality. Therefore, understanding Nietzsche’s treatment of this notion is essential to understanding his views on Christianity and the impact of the Christian heritage on non-religious moral philosophy.. (shrink)
Peter Carruthers, a leading philosopher of mind, provides a comprehensive development and defense of one of the guiding assumptions of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind is composed of a large number of semi-independent modules. Written with unusual clarity and directness, and surveying an extensive range of research in cognitive science, it will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the nature and organization of the mind.
This paper draws on the ‘Fitting Attitudes’ analysis of value to argue that we should take the concept of fittingness (rather than value) as our normative primitive. I will argue that the fittingness framework enhances the clarity and expressive power of our normative theorising. Along the way, we will see how the fittingness framework illuminates our understanding of various moral theories, and why it casts doubt on the Global Consequentialist idea that acts and (say) eye colours are normatively on (...) a par. We will see why even consequentialists, in taking rightness to be in some sense determined by goodness, should not think that rightness is conceptually reducible to goodness. Finally, I will use the fittingness framework to explicate the distinction between consequentialist and deontological theories, with particular attention to the contentious case of Rule Consequentialism. (shrink)
Following the research of Liedtka (1989), this paper examines the impact of her values congruence model on managers'' work attitudes and perceptions of ethical practices within their firms. A nationwide cross-section of managers (N=1,059) provides the sample for the study. Consonance or clarity about both personal value systems and organizational value systems were found to be more important and, in the absence of one or the other, clarity of personal values were shown to have a more positive impact (...) than organizational value clarity. (shrink)
Compare two conceptions of validity: under an example of a modal conception, an argument is valid just in case it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false; under an example of a topic-neutral conception, an argument is valid just in case there are no arguments of the same logical form with true premises and a false conclusion. This taxonomy of positions suggests a project in the philosophy of logic: the reductive analysis of the modal conception (...) of logical consequence to the topic-neutral conception. Such a project would dispel the alleged obscurity of the notion of necessity employed in the modal conception in favour of the clarity of an account of logical consequence given in terms of tractable notions of logical form, universal generalization and truth simpliciter. In a series of publications, John Etchemendy has characterized the model-theoretic definition of logical consequence as truth preservation in all models as intended to provide just such an analysis. In this paper, I will argue that Aristotle intends to provide an account of a modal conception of logical consequence in topic-neutral terms and so is engaged in a project comparable to the one described above. That Aristotle would be engaged in this sort of project is controversial. Under the standard reading of the Prior Analytics, Aristotle does not and cannot provide an account of logical consequence. Rather, he must take the validity of the first figure syllogisms (such as the syllogism known by its medieval mnemonic ‘Barbara’: A belongs to all B; B belongs to all C; so A belongs to all C) as obvious and not needing justification; he then establishes the validity of the other syllogisms by showing that they stand in a suitable relation to the first figure syllogisms. I will argue that Aristotle does attempt to provide an account of logical consequence—namely, by appeal to certain mereological theorems. For example, he defends the status of Barbara as a syllogism by appeal to the transitivity of mereological containment. There are, as I will discuss, reasons to doubt the success of this account. But the attempt is not implausible given certain theses Aristotle holds in semantics, mereology and the theory of relations. (shrink)
This is an engaging and accessible introduction to the 'Nicomachean Ethics', Aristotle's great masterpiece of moral philosophy. Michael Pakaluk offers a thorough and lucid examination of the entire work, uncovering Aristotle's motivations and basic views while paying careful attention to his arguments. The chapter on friendship captures Aristotle's doctrine with clarity and insight, and Pakaluk gives original and compelling interpretations of the Function Argument, the Doctrine of the Mean, courage and other character virtues, Akrasia, and the two treatments of (...) pleasure. There is also a useful section on how to read an Aristotelian text. This book will be invaluable for all student readers encountering one of the most important and influential works of Western philosophy. (shrink)
Ever since Chomsky, language has become the paradigmatic example of an innate capacity. Infants of only a few months old are aware of the phonetic structure of their mother tongue, such as stress-patterns and phonemes. They can already discriminate words from non-words and acquire a feel for the grammatical structure months before they voice their first word. Language reliably develops not only in the face of poor linguistic input, but even without it. In recent years, several scholars have extended this (...) uncontroversial view into the stronger claim that natural language is a human-speciﬁc adaptation. As I shall point out, this position is more problematic because of a lack of conceptual clarity over what human-specific cognitive adaptations are, and how they relate to modularity, the notion that mental phenomena arise from several domain-speciﬁc cognitive structures. The main aim of this paper is not to discuss whether or not language is an adaptation, but rather, to examine the concept of modularity with respect to the evolution and development of natural language. . (shrink)
§1 The Disjunctive Conception of Experience Descartes was surely right that while normal waking experience, dreams and hallucinations are characteristically distinguished at a purely phenomenological level, — by contrasts of spatial perspective, coherence, clarity of image, etc., — it is not essential that they be so.1 What is it like for someone who dreams that he is sitting, clothed in his dressing gown, in front of his fire can in principle be subjectively indistinguishable from what it is like to (...) perceive that one is doing so, fully conscious and awake. The same holds for multi-sense hallucination and, it is assumed, would hold of the experience of an envatted brain in the usual postulated scenario. This thought — that normal perceptual experience allows in principle of perfect phenomenological counterfeit — is, to the best of my knowledge, nowhere seriously challenged in John McDowell's writings.2 What he rejects is an idea that builds upon and would be potentially explanatory of it: the Lockean idea that, as far as the states enjoyed by the experiencing subject are concerned, there is actually no generic distinction between dream, hallucination, and wakeful perception: — that one and the same type of state of consciousness is involved in all three cases, and that which (if any) of the three a particular occurrence of the type falls under is a matter of how it is caused. On this model, the distinction between Descartes' notional fully lucid dream and the corresponding raft of perceptions of his dressing-gowned, sedentary state is like that between a certain kind of sunburn and nettle rash. For Disjunctivism, however, the Lockean — as McDowell likes to say, “Highest Common Factor” — conception of perceptual experience and its potential counterfeits is a conceptual error. There is no single type of state of consciousness present in each of dreaming, perceiving and hallucinating, whose instances fall under one or other of those characterisations purely by virtue of their aetiology.. (shrink)
This chapter attempts to give a brief overview of nonclassical (-logic) theories of truth. Due to space limitations, we follow a victory-through-sacrifice policy: sacrifice details in exchange for clarity of big-picture ideas. This policy results in our giving all-too-brief treatment to certain topics that have dominated discussion in the non-classical-logic area of truth studies. (This is particularly so of the ‘suitable conditoinal’ issue: §4.3.) Still, we present enough representative ideas that one may fruitfully turn from this essay to the (...) more-detailed cited works for further study. Throughout – again, due to space – we focus only on the most central motivation for standard non-classical-logic-based truth theories: namely, truth-theoretic paradox (specifically, due to space, the liar paradox). (shrink)
Following hints in the writings of Isaiah Berlin, some political theorists hold that the thesis of value pluralism is true and that this truth provides support for political liberalism of a sort that prescribes wide guarantees of individual liberty.1 There are many different goods, and they are incommensurable. Hence, people should be left free to live their own lives as they choose so long as they don’t harm others in certain ways. In a free society there is a strong presumption (...) in favor of letting individuals act as they choose without interference by others. William A. Galston has developed this argument with exemplary clarity.2 He is wrong. The idea that value incommensurability is a reason for toleration of diverse ways of life and protection of the individual’s freedom to choose among diverse ways of life is a mistake. In his paper for this volume, What Value Pluralism Means for Legal Constitutional Orders, Galston undertakes to resolve a further problem, namely, whether the presumption in favor of individual liberty that value pluralism establishes can be kept within bounds. In his words, “Within the pluralist framework, how is the basis for a viable political <span class='Hi'>community</span> to be secured?”3 On one construal of these words, Galston is seeking the solution to a non-problem. Value pluralism does not establish any normative presumption in favor of liberty, so the worry “does this presumption hold without limit” or, “are there good reasons that constrain it at some point”, is otiose. On another construal, Galston is addressing a different question: if most of the members of society came to believe that given value pluralism, they ought to be left free to live according to their own conception of values, then would a “decently ordered public life” be impossible to sustain?4 On the second construal, the issue being posed is a genuine empirical question, which philosophical arguments cannot answer. (shrink)
One trend in recent work on topic of the multiple realization of psychological properties has been an emphasis on greater sensitivity to actual science and greater clarity regarding the metaphysics of realization and multiple realization. One contribution to this trend is Bechtel and Mundale’s examination of the implications of brain mapping for multiple realization. Where Bechtel and Mundale argue that studies of brain mapping undermine claims about the multiple realization, this paper challenges that argument.
This book provides a concise overview, with excellent historical and systematic coverage, of the problems of the philosophy of language in the analytic tradition. Howard Callaway explains and explores the relation of language to the philosophy of mind and culture, to the theory of knowledge, and to ontology. He places the question of linguistic meaning at the center of his investigations. The teachings of authors who have become classics in the field, including Frege, Russell, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, and Putnam are (...) critically analyzed. I share completely his conviction that contemporary Anglo-American philosophy follows the spirit of the enlightenment in insisting on intellectual sincerity, clarity, and the willingness to meet scientific doubts or objections openly. --Professor Henri Lauener, Editor of Dialectica. (shrink)
Some philosophers think that the challenge of justifying punishment can be met by a theory that emphasizes the expressive character of punishment. A particular type of theories of this sort - call it Expressive Retributivism [ER] - combines retributivist and expressivist considerations. These theories are retributivist since they justify punishment as an intrinsically appropriate response to wrongdoing, as something wrongdoers deserve, but the expressivist element in these theories seeks to correct for the traditional obscurity of retributivism. Retributivists often rely on (...) appeals to controversial intuitions involving obscure concepts. While retributive intuitions can be compelling, some worry that the justificatory challenge cannot be met merely by appealing to them. ER tries to enhance the clarity and justificatory power of these intuitions and the concepts they invoke by appealing to an expressive conception of punishment. I argue that these theories fail to justify punishment and that there is reason to think that they cannot, in principle, justify punishment. (shrink)
Reflective practice is one of the most popular theories of professional knowledge in the last 20 years and has been widely adopted by nursing, health, and social care professions. The term was coined by Donald Schön in his influential books The Reflective Practitioner , and Educating the Reflective Practitioner , and has garnered the unprecedented attention of theorists and practitioners of professional education and practice. Reflective practice has been integrated into professional preparatory programmes, continuing education programmes, and by the regulatory (...) bodies of a wide range of health and social care professions. Yet, despite its popularity and widespread adoption, a problem frequently raised in the literature concerns the lack of conceptual clarity surrounding the term reflective practice. This paper seeks to respond to this problem by offering an analysis of the epistemology of reflective practice as revealed through a critical examination of philosophical influences within the theory. The aim is to discern philosophical underpinnings of reflective practice in order to advance increasingly coherent interpretations, and to consider the implications for conceptions of professional knowledge in professional life. The paper briefly examines major philosophical underpinnings in reflective practice to explicate central themes that inform the epistemological assumptions of the theory. The study draws on the work of Donald Schön, and on texts from four philosophers: John Dewey, Nelson Goodman, Michael Polanyi, and Gilbert Ryle. Five central epistemological themes in reflective practice are illuminated: (1) a broad critique of technical rationality; (2) professional practice knowledge as artistry; (3) constructivist assumptions in the theory; (4) the significance of tacit knowledge for professional practice knowledge; and (5) overcoming mind body dualism to recognize the knowledge revealed in intelligent action. The paper reveals that the theory of reflective practice is concerned with deep epistemological questions of significance to conceptions of knowledge in health and social care professions. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the question of whether the expected consequences of holding a belief can affect the rationality of doing so. Special attention is given to various ways in which one might attempt to exert some measure of control over what one believes and the normative status of the beliefs that result from the successful execution of such projects. I argue that the lessons which emerge from thinking about the case ofbelief have important implications for the way we (...) should think about the rationality of a number of other propositional attitudes,such as regret, desire, and fear. Finally,I suggest that a lack of clarity with respect to the relevant issues has given rise to a number of rather serious philosophical mistakes. (shrink)
In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge,the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes that (...) external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game.This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation. (shrink)
Leif Wenar, in “The Nature of Rights,” claims to have provided an analytical framework which is not only adequate for explicating all assertions of rights but whose deployment offers a way out of the deadlock he believes to exist between will theories and interest theories regarding the nature of rights.i To have accomplished one, let alone both, of these things would be a significant achievement in the field of rights theory. It is therefore worth showing why, unfortunately, he has not (...) succeeded on either score. Despite the clarity of Wenar’s exposition of his own position, and notwithstanding the incisive insights he brings to bear in the course of it, his revised Hohfeldian analytical framework does not in fact serve better than the original to clarify what is at stake in controversies over rights, and his deployment of it does not provide a cogent alternative to the interest theory. (shrink)
Written over a period of thirty-five years, these essays explore the topics of causation, time, fate, determinism, natural teleology, different conceptions of the human soul, the idea of the highest good, and the human significance of leisure. While most of the essays take as their starting-point some theme in Ancient Greek philosophy, they are meant not as exegesis but as distinctive and independent contributions to live philosophizing. Written with clarity, precision without technicality, and philosophical imagination, they will engage a (...) wide range of readers, including scholars and students of Ancient Greek philosophy and others working on more contemporary analytical concerns. (shrink)
Descartes's lack of clarity about the causal connections between brain states and mental states has led many commentators to conclude that he has no coherent account of body-mind relations in sensation, or that he was simply confused about the issue. In this paper I develop what I take to be a coherent account that was available to Descartes, and argue that there are both textual and systematic reasons to think that it was his considered view. The account has brain (...) states serving as occasions for the mind to produce in itself the sensations that it takes these brain states to signify. The relation between body and mind on this model is thus neither a standard efficient-causal relation, nor an occasionalist one, but rather a semantic-causal relation (i.e. a non-standard efficient causal relation that goes by way of natural signification). At the end of the paper I argue that the model does not undermine Descartes' commitment to the self-transparency of the mind. -/- . (shrink)
Defending or attacking either functionalism or computationalism requires clarity on what they amount to and what evidence counts for or against them. My goal here is not to evaluate their plausibility. My goal is to formulate them and their relationship clearly enough that we can determine which type of evidence is relevant to them. I aim to dispel some sources of confusion that surround functionalism and computationalism, recruit recent philosophical work on mechanisms and computation to shed light on them, (...) and clarify how functionalism and computationalism may or may not legitimately come together. (shrink)
It is often said that some kind of peripheral (or inattentional) conscious awareness accompanies our focal (attentional) consciousness. I agree that this is often the case, but clarity is needed on several fronts. In this paper, I lay out four distinct theses on peripheral awareness and show that three of them are true. However, I then argue that a fourth thesis, commonly associated with the so-called "self-representational approach to consciousness," is false. The claim here is that we have outer (...) focal consciousness accompanied often (or even always) by inner peripheral (self-)awareness. My criticisms stem from both methodological and phenomenological considerations. In doing so, I offer a diagnosis as to why the fourth thesis has seemed true to so many and also show how the so-called "transparency of experience," frequently invoked by representationalists, is importantly relevant to my diagnosis. Finally, I respond to several objections and to further attempts to show that thesis four is true. What emerges is that if one wishes to hold that some form of self-awareness accompanies all outer-directed conscious states, one is better off holding that such self-awareness is itself unconscious, as is held for example by standard higher-order theories of consciousness. (shrink)
A companion volume to Free Will: A Philosophical Study , this new anthology collects influential essays on free will, including both well-known contemporary classics and exciting recent work. Agency and Responsibility: Essays on the Metaphysics of Freedom is divided into three parts. The essays in the first section address metaphysical issues concerning free will and causal determinism. The second section groups papers presenting a positive account of the nature of free action, including competing compatibilist and incompatibilist analyses. The third section (...) concerns free will and moral responsibility, including theories of moral responsibility and the challenge to an alternative possibilities condition posed by Frankurt-type scenarios. Distinguished by its balance and consistently high quality, the volume presents papers selected for their significance, innovation, and clarity of expression. Contributors include Harry Frankfurt, Peter van Inwagen, David Lewis, Elizabeth Anscombe, John Martin Fischer, Michael Bratman, Roderick Chisholm, Robert Kane, Peter Strawson, and Susan Wolf. The anthology serves as an up-to-date resource for scholars as well as a useful text for courses in ethics, philosophy of religion, or metaphysics. In addition, paired with Free Will: A Philosophical Study, it would form an excellent upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level course in free will, responsibility, motivation, or action theory. (shrink)
Logic With Trees is a new and original introduction to modern formal logic. It contains discussions on philosophical issues such as truth, conditionals and modal logic, presenting the formal material with clarity, and preferring informal explanations and arguments to intimidatingly rigorous development. Worked examples and exercises guide beginners through the book, with answers to selected exercises enabling readers to check their progress. Logic With Trees equips students with: a complete and clear account of the truth-tree system for first order (...) logic; the importance of logic and its relevance to many different disciplines; the skills to grasp sophisticated formal reasoning techniques necessary to explore complex metalogic; the ability to contest claims that "ordinary" reasoning is well represented by formal first order logic. (shrink)
This essay explores whether, and how, genealogy might remain critical within anti-foundationalist philosophical contexts. While adherents of genealogy often presume that genealogy simply is inherently critical in any context, adherents of historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy might rightly wonder whether genealogy can continue to serve any critical purpose whatsoever. Is genealogy a form of historical inquiry that can be done away with once a shift has been made towards historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy? Why continue to do genealogies once certain (...) generalizeable insights have been learned from genealogy? This essay argues that there remains a critical role for genealogy, understood as a particular form of historical inquiry, within anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning. By exploring this critical role for genealogy, our understanding of anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning is enriched, and some clarity is gained into the philosophical foundations of genealogical critique. (shrink)
It is common for philosophers and legal theorists to bemoan the proliferation of the language of rights in popular discourse.1 In a wide range of contemporary public political and ethical debates, disputants are quick to appeal to the existence of rights that support their position – the ‘human rights’ of innocent victims of war, animals’ noninterference rights, individuals’ and businesses’ rights to economic freedom. It is often maintained, with some plausibility, that these public disputes involve hasty and undefended reliance on (...) assumptions that certain specific rights exist, and that such profligacy with the language of rights does little to clarify and enhance public debate. By contrast, the two prominent theoretical analyses of the concept ‘a right’ – the Will Theory and the Interest Theory – are both revisionary theories which, if widely adopted, would require people to revise their usage of the term ‘a right’. The Will Theory is an explicitly revisionary theory, according to which rights can be held only by beings capable of waiving their rights (and hence rights cannot be held by animals or young children).2 I shall argue that traditional versions of the Interest Theory would also require revisions of popular usage of the term ‘a right’ (by implying that certain property rights and promissory rights cannot genuinely qualify as rights). Such revisionary analyses of the concept ‘a right’ might be applauded for aiming to enhance the conceptual clarity of public debate. However, my stance in this paper is avowedly non-revisionary. My aims are to seek an analysis of the concept ‘a right’ that accords with the multifarious ways in which this term is used in everyday ethical and political debates, and to argue that philosophers and legal theorists would benefit from adopting such a non-revisionary approach. (shrink)
The question of whether or not God exists is endlessly fascinating and profoundly important. Now two articulate spokesmen--one a Christian, the other an atheist--duel over God's existence in a lively and illuminating battle of ideas. In God?, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. With none of the opaque discourse of academic logicians and divinity-school theologians, the authors (...) make claims and comebacks that cut with precision. Their arguments are sharp and humorous, as each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. From arguments about the nature of infinity and the Big Bang, to religious experience and divine action, to the resurrection of Jesus and the problem of evil, the authors treat us to a remarkable display of intelligence and insight--a truly thought-provoking exploration of a classic issue that remains relevant to contemporary life. (shrink)
This is one of the seminal articles of the pragmatist tradition where C.S. Peirce sets out his doctrine of doubt and belief --and their relationship to inquiry and clarity of our concepts. Originally published in the Popular Science Monthly; and widely available in reprints and collections of Peirce's writings.
The historical origins of the <span class='Hi'>analytic</span> style that was to become dominant within academic philosophy in the English-speaking world are often traced to the work of Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore at the turn of the twentieth century, and portrayed as involving a radical break with the idealist philosophy that had bloomed in Britain at the end of the nineteenth. Congruent with this view, Hegel is typically taken as representing a type of philosophy that <span class='Hi'>analytic</span> philosophy assiduously (...) avoids. Thus, while Hegel’s writings are regarded as indirect, metaphorical and “darkly Teutonic”, <span class='Hi'>analytic</span> philosophers usually think of themselves as prizing the clarity of plain speech, except when making use of the precision of scientific logical notation. This <span class='Hi'>analytic</span> directness, furthermore, is usually seen as consonant with the increasingly “naturalistic” outlook of <span class='Hi'>analytic</span> philosophy, especially as practiced in the United States. In contrast, Hegel is seen as regarding philosophical thought as mysteriously engaging with a content that is somehow generated out of the mind’s (or “spirit’s”) own activities, linking philosophy more to art and religion than natural science. Moreover, it is usually accepted that Russell had shown Hegel’s bizarre metaphysic doctrines to be based on a few fundamental logical mistakes, even if the details of Russell’s criticisms have been largely forgotten. (shrink)
I argue that clarity about essence provides the tools both to isolate a distinct concept of art and to see why anti-essentialism is a plausible, though incomplete, doctrine about it. While this concept is not the only concept currently expressed by our word ‘art’, it is an interesting, and might be an important, one. One of the challenges it poses to conceptual analysis is to explain what it is to be better than being good of a thing's kind, where (...) this extra-goodness is neither a trivial fact nor simply a matter of being a good instance of two different kinds of thing. While anti-essentialism seems to be right about what types of analysis will not work for it, this result only deepens the question of what its proper analysis is. (shrink)
In contemplating any life and death moral dilemma, one is often struck by the possible importance of two distinctions; the distinction between killing and “letting die”, and the distinction between an intentional killing and an action aimed at some other outcome that causes death as a foreseen but unintended “side-effect”. Many feel intuitively that these distinctions are morally significant, but attempts to explain why this might be so have been unconvincing. In this paper, I explore the problem from an explicitly (...) consequentialist point of view. I first review and endorse the arguments that the distinctions cannot be drawn with perfect clarity, and that they do not have the kind of fundamental significance required to defend an absolute prohibition on killing. I go on to argue that the distinctions are nonetheless important. A complete consequentialist account of morality must include a consideration of our need and ability to construct and follow rules; our instincts about these rules; and the consequences (to the agent and to others) that might follow if the agent breaks a good general rule, particularly if this involves acting contrary to moral instinct. With this perspective, I suggest that the distinctions between killing and letting die and between intending and foreseeing do have moral relevance, especially for those involved in the care of the sick and dying. (shrink)