This paper introduces constitutivism about practical reason, which is the view that we can justify certain normative claims by showing that agents become committed to these claims simply in virtue of acting. According to this view, action has a certain structural feature – a constitutive aim, principle, or standard – that both constitutes events as actions and generates a standard of assessment for action. We can use this standard of assessment to derive normative claims. In short, the authority of (...) certain normative claims arises from the bare fact that we are agents. This essay explains the constitutivst strategy, surveys the extant attempts to generate constitutivist theories, and considers the problems and prospects for the theory. (shrink)
What is belief? "Beliefs aim at truth" is the commonly accepted starting point for philosophers who want to give an adequate account of this fundamental state of mind, but it raises as many questions as it answers. For example, in what sense can beliefs be said to have an aim of their own? If belief aims at truth, does it mean that reasons to believe must also be based on truth? Must beliefs be formed on the basis of evidence alone? (...) Is truth the constitutive norm of belief? Does aiming at truth bring in a normative dimension to the nature of belief? How can the aim of truth guide the formation of our beliefs? In what ways do partial beliefs aim at truth? Is truth the aim of epistemic justification? Last but not least, is it knowledge rather than truth which is the fundamental aim of belief? -/- In recent years, pursuing these questions has proved extremely fertile for our understanding of a wide range of current issues in philosophy of mind and action, epistemology, and meta-ethics. The Aim of Belief is the first book to be devoted to this fast-growing topic. It brings together eleven newly commissioned essays by leading authors on the aim of belief. -/- Contributors: Jonathan Adler, Krister Bykvist, Timothy Chan, Pascal Engel, Kathrin Glüer, Anandi Hattiangadi, Michael Hicks, Paul Horwich, David Papineau, Andrew Reisner, Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen, Ralph Wedgwood, Åsa Wikforss, Daniel Whiting. (shrink)
This paper has two goals. First, I offer an interpretation of Nietzsche’s puzzling claims about will to power. I argue that the will to power thesis is a version of constitutivism. Constitutivism is the view that we can derive substantive normative conclusions from an account of the nature of agency; in particular, constitutivism rests on the idea that all actions are motivated by a common, higher-order aim, whose presence generates a standard of assessment for actions. Nietzsche’s version of constitutivism is (...) based on a series of subtle claims about the psychology of willing and the nature of satisfaction, which imply that all actions aim at encountering and overcoming resistance (this is what Nietzsche means by “will to power”). Second, I argue that Nietzsche’s theory, thus interpreted, generates a new, a posteriori version of constitutivism that is not vulnerable to certain familiar objections. If this is right, then we can deploy Nietzschean ideas in order to make a substantive contribution to issues that are currently at the forefront of ethics and action theory. (shrink)
In this introductory chapter to the volume The Aim of Belief, the editor surveys the fundamental questions in current debates surrounding the aim of belief, and identifies the major theoretical approaches. The main arguments of the ten contributions to the volume are outlined and located in the context of the existing literature.
Davidson, Rorty, and Rosenberg each reject, for similar reasons, the idea that truth is the aim of belief and the goal of inquiry. Rosenberg provides the most explicit and compelling argument for this provocative view. Here, with a focus on this argument, I suggest that this view is a mistake, but not for the reasons some might think. In my view, we can view truth as a constitutive aim of belief even if not a regulative goal of inquiry, if (...) we adopt a Sellarsian view of the ought-to-be’s of belief. Along the way, I suggest that many aspects of Rosenberg’s (unfortunately under-appreciated) epistemology are in fact defensible and are independent of his strong denial of truth's role in constraining epistemic practices. (shrink)
According to Scott Shapiro’s Moral Aim Thesis, it is an essential feature of the law that it has a moral aim. In short, for Shapiro, this means that the law has the constitutive aim of providing morally good solutions to morally significant social problems in cases where other, less formal ways of guiding the activity of agents won’t work. In this article, I argue that legal positivists should reject the Moral Aim Thesis. In short, I argue that although there (...) are versions of the Moral Aim Thesis that are arguably compatible with legal positivism, all of the different ways of making it compatible face serious philosophical difficulties. Following a discussion of what these difficulties are, I provide an alternative to the Moral Aim Thesis, a thesis that I call the ‘Represented-as-Moral Thesis’. This thesis avoids the problems that I raise for the Moral Aim Thesis and better resonates with some of the core intuitions behind legal positivism. Furthermore, a version of Shapiro’s Planning Theory of Law that is developed with the Represented-as-Moral Thesis (as opposed to the Moral Aim Thesis) can explain all of the things that Shapiro uses the Moral Aim Thesis to explain. (shrink)
Does transparency in doxastic deliberation entail a constitutive norm of correctness governing belief, as Shah and Velleman argue? No, because this presupposes an implausibly strong relation between normative judgements and motivation from such judgements, ignores our interest in truth, and cannot explain why we pay different attention to how much justification we have for our beliefs in different contexts. An alternative account of transparency is available: transparency can be explained by the aim one necessarily adopts in deliberating about whether (...) to believe that p. To show this, I reconsider the role of the concept of belief in doxastic deliberation, and I defuse 'the teleologian's dilemma'. (shrink)
It is often said that belief aims at truth. I argue that if belief has an aim then that aim is knowledge rather than merely truth. My main argument appeals to the impossibility of forming a belief on the basis of evidence that only weakly favours a proposition. This phenomenon, I argue, is a problem for the truth-aim hypothesis. By contrast, it can be given a simple and satisfying explanation on the knowledge-aim hypothesis. Furthermore, the knowledge-aim hypothesis suggests a very (...) plausible account of what it takes for evidence to be sufficiently good to make belief possible. I offer several further considerations in favour of the knowledge-aim hypothesis, and deal with objections. Although the main point of the paper is not to defend the view that belief has an aim, but to adjudicate between accounts of what that aim is, my argument nevertheless requires some attention to the motivation for attributing an aim to belief in the first place. In particular, I will explain an important advantage that this view has over the view that belief is not aim-directed, but only subject to a constitutive norm. (shrink)
Abstract The current view of theoretical statements in science is that they should be literal and precise; ambiguous and metaphorical statements are useful only as pre-theoretical, exegetical, and heuristic devices and as pedagogical tools. In this paper we argue that this view is mistaken. Literal, precise statements apply to those experiential phenomena which can be defined either conventionally by criterial attribution or by internal atomic constitution. Experiential phenomena which are defined relationally and/or functionally, like nursing, in virtue of their nature, (...) require metaphorical description and explanation. In such cases, metaphor is theory-constitutive. Using insights from the philosophies of language and mind, and examples from nursing practice, education, and our own empirical research, we explore the nature of metaphor and its role in theory constitution. We argue that the apparent resistance of certain experiential phenomena to literal description and explanation is not necessarily indicative of pre-theoretic linguistic imprecision. We suggest, rather, that such resistance provides useful insights into the nature of such experiential phenomena. We also suggest that the aim of scientific theory should be methodological or epistemological precision and not merely linguistic precision. (shrink)
The similarity approach stands as a significant attempt to defend scientific realism from the attack of the pessimistic meta-induction. The strategy behind the similarity approach is to shift from an absolute notion of truth to the more flexible one of truthlikeness. Nonetheless, some authors are not satisfied with this attempt to defend realism and find that the notion of truthlikeness is not fully convincing. The aim of this paper is to analyze and understand the reasons of this dissatisfaction. Our thesis (...) is that the dissatisfaction with the notion of truthlikeness concerns the double role that this notion plays within the similarity approach: This notion plays both a regulative role in the conception of theories and a constitutive one in their selection. (shrink)
The objective of this work is to formulate stress/strain constitutive relations in terms of material parameters. A secondary aim is to introduce a sequence of independent tests sufficient to evaluate these parameters. A stress constitutive equation in polarizable materials follows from the Helmholtz free energy related to a unit volume of deformed material. Similarly, a strain constitutive equation is obtained from the Gibbs free energy. These two relations explicitly account for the contribution of elastic deformation, electrostatic interactions (...) of surface charges and the electrostriction effect. Both formulations of the constitutive relations are equivalent, yet yield different sets of electrostriction coefficients. For instance, a complete set of electrostriction parameters can be formulated based on either strain or stress dielectric rules. Strain?dielectric or stress?dielectric measurements necessitate monitoring variations in dielectric constants with the applied strains or stresses. Such measurements demand well-defined distribution of strains, stresses and the electric field across the sample. Meeting these requirements by traditional techniques used for dielectric measurements is quite challenging. This article introduces an experimental technique utilizing a rosette of planar dielectric sensors to overcome many of the experimental difficulties. Using both strain and stress definitions, electrostriction parameters are measured for a polycarbonate specimen. The obtained coefficients are in good agreement with the values provided by a microscopic model. The proposed description is valid for arbitrary anisotropic materials, while isotropic materials are considered as an illustrative example. In addition, all necessary relations for materials having cubic symmetry are provided in an appendix. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that aim-oriented empiricism (AOE), a conception of natural science that I have defended at some length elsewhere, is a kind of synthesis of the views of Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos, but is also an improvement over the views of all three. Whereas Popper's falsificationism protects metaphysical assumptions implicitly made by science from criticism, AOE exposes all such assumptions to sustained criticism, and furthermore focuses criticism on those assumptions most likely to need revision if science is (...) to make progress. Even though AOE is, in this way, more Popperian than Popper, it is also, in some respects, more like the views of Kuhn and Lakatos than falsificationism is. AOE is able, however, to solve problems which Kuhn's and Lakatos's views cannot solve. (shrink)
Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically adequate (...) theories; or (4) successive generations of theories of increasing proximity to empirical adequacy. Furthermore, it illustrates that appeals to induction do not appear to help. It concludes that an evolutionary analogy is only sufficient to defend the notion that the aim of science is to isolate a particular class of false theories, namely those that are empirically inadequate. (shrink)
It is common to hear talk of the aim of belief and to find philosophers appealing to that aim for numerous explanatory purposes. What belief's aim explains depends, of course, on what that aim is. Many hold that it is somehow related to truth, but there are various ways in which one might specify belief's aim using the notion of truth. In this article, by considering whether they can account for belief's standard of correctness and the epistemic norms governing belief, (...) I argue against certain prominent specifications of belief's aim given in terms of truth, and advance a neglected alternative. (shrink)
In this paper I show that Einstein made essential use of aim-oriented empiricism in scientific practice in developing special and general relativity. I conclude by considering to what extent Einstein came explicitly to advocate aim-oriented empiricism in his later years.
For three decades I have expounded and defended aim-oriented empiricism, a view of science which, l claim, solves a number of problems in the philosophy of science and has important implications for science itself and, when generalized, for the whole of academic inquiry, and for our capacity to solve our current global problems. Despite these claims, the view has received scant attention from philosophers of science. Recently, however, David Miller has criticized the view. Miller’s criticisms are, however, not valid.
Constitutive arguments for the principles of practical reason attempt to justify normative requirements by claiming that we already accept them in so far as we are believers or agents. In two constitutive arguments for the requirement that we must will universally, Korsgaard attempts first to arrive at the requirement that we will universally from observations about the causality of the will, and secondly to establish that willing universally is constitutive of having a self. Some rational requirements may (...) be established by some version of this second argument, but the strategy does not seem promising when it comes to establishing the requirement that we will universally. I draw on the discussion of Korsgaard to highlight a challenge facing constitutive arguments in general. (shrink)
Subjects appear to take only evidential considerations to provide reason or justification for believing. That is to say that subjects do not take practical considerations—the kind of considerations which might speak in favour of or justify an action or decision—to speak in favour of or justify believing. This is puzzling; after all, practical considerations often seem far more important than matters of truth and falsity. In this paper, I suggest that one cannot explain this, as many have tried, merely by (...) appeal to the idea that belief aims only at the truth. I appeal instead to the idea that the aim of belief is to provide only practical reasons which might form the basis on which to act and to make decisions, an aim which is in turn dictated by the aim of action. This, I argue, explains why subjects take only evidential considerations to favour of or justify believing. Surprisingly, then, it turns out that it is practical reason itself which demands that there be no practical reasons for belief. (shrink)
For over 30 years I have argued that we need to construe science as accepting a metaphysical proposition concerning the comprehensibility of the universe. In a recent paper, Fred Muller criticizes this argument, and its implication that Bas van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism is untenable. In the present paper I argue that Muller’s criticisms are not valid. The issue is of some importance, for my argument that science accepts a metaphysical proposition is the first step in a broader argument intended to (...) demonstrate that we need to bring about a revolution in science, and ultimately in academic inquiry as a whole so that the basic aim becomes wisdom and not just knowledge. (shrink)
Abstract In the contemporary literature on self-knowledge discussion is framed by and large by two competing models of self-knowledge: the observational (or perceptual) model and the constitutive model. On the observational model self-knowledge is the result of ?cognitively viewing? one's mental states. Constitutive theories of self-knowledge, on the other hand, hold that self-knowledge is constitutive of intentional states. That is, self-ascription is a necessary condition for being in a particular mental state. Akeel Bilgrami is a defender of (...) the constitutive model. I argue that the constitutive model gives rise to a regress problem. This paper will focus on that problem as well as its application to Bilgrami's version of the constitutive model. (shrink)
Can the question "Why do what morality requires?" be answered in such a way that anyone regardless of their desires or interests has reason to be moral? One strategy for answering this question appeals to constitutive arguments. In general, constitutive arguments attempt to establish the normativity of rational requirements by pointing out that we are already committed to them insofar as we are believers or agents. This study is concerned with the general prospects for such arguments. It starts (...) by explaining the general constitutive argument strategy, followed by an examination of constitutive arguments that have been given regarding theoretical reason and the instrumental principle in practical reason, and concluding with a discussion of some challenges to constitutive arguments in moral philosophy and some possible responses to these challenges. (shrink)
This paper proposes an approach to the question of meaning and understanding based on the idea of constitutive rules and their relationship to the social objects they are used to create. This approach implicates mutual attention as an essential aspect of the social processes constitutive of social objects and mutual intelligibility. Social objects as such include the meaning, perception and coherence of things, identities and talk, etc. There is a relatively unexplored but important line of argument in sociology (...) that has, from the beginning, explained the coherence and mutual intelligibility of social objects and associations in terms of constitutive practices and social facts. This line of argument begins with Emile Durkheim (1893) and carries through the work of Harold Garfinkel to current studies of work and interaction, human computer interaction and talk. The argument is that we use constitutive practices (Constitutive rules or constitutive background expectancies) to create social objects and make coherent and shared meanings. To act is in this sense for Garfinkel (2006) to “mean”. Explaining the consistency of social objects and orders in terms of constitutive orders, rules, or practices is an approach that meets the challenges posed to social science and philosophy by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1953), Peter Winch (1958) and Paul Grice (1989). (shrink)
A pervasive and influential argument appeals to trivial truths to demonstrate that the aim of inquiry is not the acquisition of truth. I argue that the argument fails, for it neglects to distinguish between the complexity of the sentence used to express a truth and the complexity of the truth expressed by a sentence.
My aims here are, firstly, to suggest a minor amendment to R. I. G. Hughes’ DDI account of modeling, so that it could be viewed as a plausible epistemological “model” of how scientific models represent and secondly, to distinguish between two epistemological kinds of models that I call “descriptive” and “constitutive”. This aim is achieved by criticizing Michael Weisberg’s distinction between models and abstract direct representations and by following, at the same time, his own methodological approach for such a (...) distinction. (shrink)
The requirements of rationality are fundamental in practical and theoretical philosophy. Nonetheless, there exists no usable account of what constitutes rational requirements. This paper attempts to provide a correct constitutive account of ‘rationality requires’. I argue that rational requirements are grounded in ‘necessary explanations’, as I shall put it. Rationality requires of you to X if and only if your rational capacities, in conjunction with the fact that you not-X, explain necessarily why you have a non-maximal degree of rationality.
It is often said, metaphorically, that belief "aims" at the truth. This paper proposes a normative interpretation of this metaphor. First, the notion of "epistemic norms" is clarified, and reasons are given for the view that epistemic norms articulate essential features of the beliefs that are subject to them. Then it is argued that all epistemic norms--including those that specify when beliefs count as rational, and when they count as knowledge--are explained by a fundamental norm of correct belief, which requires (...) that, if one considers a proposition at all, one should believe it if and only if it is true. (shrink)
The hypothesis that belief aims at the truth has been used to explain three features of belief: (1) the fact that correct beliefs are true beliefs, (2) the fact that rational beliefs are supported by the evidence and (3) the fact that we cannot form beliefs.
One prominent feature of belief is that a belief cannot be formed at will. This paper argues that the best explanation of this fact is that belief formation is a process that takes aim at the truth. Taking aim at the truth is to be understood as causal responsiveness of the processes constituting belief formation to what facilitates achieving true beliefs. The requirement for this responsiveness precludes the possibility of belief formation responding to intentions in a way that would count (...) as forming a belief at will. (shrink)
Deliberation issues in decision, and so might be taken as a paradigmatic volitional activity. Character, on the other hand, may appear pre-volitional: the dispositions that constitute it provide the background against which decisions are made. Bernard Williams offers an intriguing picture of how the two may be connected via the concept of practical necessities, which are at once constitutive of character and deliverances of deliberation. Necessities are thus the glue binding character and the will, allowing us to take responsibility (...) for our characters. Intriguing though the picture may be, it did not receive a thorough elaboration in Williams’s work. My aim here is to work out and defend what I take to be the most valuable aspect of Williams’s view of agency: its model of the way character and the will can jointly determine agency through mutual constitution. However, I argue that Williams’s attempt to use this model to ground his attack on Kantian morality does not succeed, because the primacy Williams accords to character over the will cannot yield the appropriate kind of normative authority, even from the perspective of the agent. I urge that we retain Williams’s model of the interaction between character and the will, modified to allow the will an authority that is not derived from the necessity of character. (shrink)
It is often thought that the correct metaphysics and epistemology of reasons will be broadly unified across different kinds of reason: reasons for belief, and reasons for action. This approach is sometimes thought to be undermined by the contrasting natures of belief and of action: whereas belief appears to have the ‘constitutive aim’ of truth (or knowledge), action does not appear to have any such constitutive aim. I develop this disanalogy into a novel challenge to metanormative approaches by (...) thinking about disagreement. The constitutive aim of belief can play a role in adjudicating epistemic disagreements for which there is no analogue in practical disagreements. Consequently, we have more reason, all else being equal, to expect convergence in epistemic judgment than in practical judgment. This represents a prima facie challenge to the metanormative theorist because the extent of (suitably specified) disagreement in an area of thought is of prima facie significance for the metaphysics of that area of thought. (shrink)
The problem of the other was one of the central problems for the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl. He investigated the other as the alter ego intensively in the Fifth Cartesian Meditation, in which he introduced the conceptions of “analogical apperception'' and “pairing'' as fundamental forms of “passive synthesis.'' Although it is no doubt Husserl who investigated the other most seriously and intensively, there is anaporiain his theory of the other. If the other is an object of ego's intentional consciousness, (...) the other turns out to be no more than a modification of the ego. In the face of such anaporia, some phenomenologists embarked upon inquiry into the other. This paper focuses primarily on Alfred Schutz's discussion of the “other'' in general and about the “stranger'' in particular. (shrink)
This paper argues that certain influential views to the contrary, without an overall aim of education no philosophy of education is neither complete nor intelligible. On this assumption, it intends to show i) that in spite of the absence of the explicit statement, a certain view on the ultimate aim of education implicitly underlies all specific educational views of Professor Scheffler, which should be defined in terms of rationality constituting human dignity, and which the author of the paper is convinced (...) to be the most adquate among other competing views, and ii) that in this respect Professor Scheffler stands on the same line at least with two great philosophers of education: Confucius and Dewey. (shrink)
Alfred Schutz formulated his phenomenology with the aim of circumventing what he perceived to be the idealistic character of Husserl’s theory of meaning constitution. Schutz contended that constitution for Husserl was idealistically creationistic in the sense that the meanings and very being of phenomena were merely the created products of the constitutive acts of consciousness itself. This article argues, however, that Schutz’s theory of constitution is not without an idealistic character in that the meanings which consciousness constitutes and predicates (...) to phenomena are simply created by consciousness itself. This argument is articulated through 1) a delineation of the basic principles of Schutz’s phenomenology, 2) an explication of his theory of constitution, and finally, 3) an exposition of its idealistic character with, by way of contrast, a brief account of how and why Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s existential phenomenology expunged all features of idealistic constitution. (shrink)
Lively current debates about narratives of historical progress, the conditions for international justice, and the implications of globalisation have prompted a renewed interest in Kant's Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim. The essays in this volume, written by distinguished contributors, discuss the questions that are at the core of Kant's investigations. Does the study of history convey any philosophical insight? Can it provide political guidance? How are we to understand the destructive and bloody upheavals that constitute so (...) much of human experience? What connections, if any, can be traced between politics, economics, and morality? What is the relation between the rule of law in the nation state and the advancement of a cosmopolitan political order? These questions and others are examined and discussed in a book that will be of interest to philosophers, social and political theorists, and intellectual and cultural historians. (shrink)
Victor Tadros claims that punishment must be justified either instrumentally or on the grounds that deserved punishment is intrinisically good. However, if we have deontic reasons to punish wrongdoers then these reasons could justify punishment non-instrumentally. Morever, even if the punishment of wrongdoers is intrinsically good this fact cannot contribute to the justication of punishment because goodness is not a reason-giving property. It follows that retributivism is both true and important only if we have deontic reasons to punish. Tadros also (...) claims that the constitutive aim of punishment is to inflict harm or suffering on offenders. On the contrary, the constitutive aim of retributive punishment is to inflict (justified) wrongs on offenders that are proportionate to the (unjustified) wrongs they commit. Indeed, punishment should involve the least harmful wrong that is proportionate to the wrongfulness of the offense, adequate to facilitate recognition, and (perhaps) conducive to deterrence. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose a new way of understanding the space of possibilities in the field of mental content. The resulting map assigns separate locations to theories of content that have generally been lumped together on the more traditional map. Conversely, it clusters together some theories of content that have typically been regarded as occupying opposite poles. I make my points concrete by developing a taxonomy of theories of mental content, but the main points of the paper concern not (...) merely how to classify, but how to understand, the theories. Also, though the paper takes theories of mental content as a case study, much of the discussion is applicable to theories of other phenomena. To a first approximation, the difference between the traditional and the proposed taxonomies turns on whether we classify theories of content by, on the one hand, their implications for a non-redundant supervenience base for content facts (i.e., for facts about what contents thoughts have) or, on the other, by their constitutive accounts of content. By a "constitutive account," I mean the kind of elucidation of the nature of a phenomenon that theorists have tried to give for, for example, knowledge, justice, personal identity, consciousness, convention, heat, and limit. The tendency to taxonomize by supervenience base is encouraged, I suggest, by a failure to keep clearly in view a distinction between constitutive and modal determination. Many philosophers would accept that a constitutive account cannot be captured in purely modal terms. Giving a constitutive account is not the same as specifying modally necessary and sufficient conditions. Nevertheless, philosophers often try to cash constitutive claims in modal terms. A case in point is that theories of content tend to be conceptualized in terms of the theories' implications for a supervenience base for content facts. My thesis goes beyond the by-now somewhat familiar proposition that not all modal determinants of a phenomenon are constitutive determinants. One who has taken that point on board might nevertheless conceive of a philosophical account as an attempt to specify constitutive determinants of the target phenomenon that make up a non-redundant supervenience base for the phenomenon. Shoehorning a philosophical account into this form leaves out elements that are modally redundant, but may be explanatorily or ontologically significant. For example, when a constitutive account has multiple levels, the different levels will typically be modally redundant. Formulating the account as a specification of a supervenience base of constitutive determinants will therefore flatten the account into a single level. Many of my arguments can be illustrated by considering the place of normativity in the theory of content. The new taxonomy gives a distinct niche to normative theories of content - theories that explain a thought's having a certain content at least in part in terms of the obtaining of normative facts. By contrast, on a traditional map, normative theories are invisible as such because normative facts supervene on non-normative ones. (shrink)
The theory of belief, according to which believing that p essentially involves having as an aim or purpose to believe that p truly, has recently been criticised on the grounds that the putative aim of belief does not interact with the wider aims of believers in the ways we should expect of genuine aims. I argue that this objection to the aim theory fails. When we consider a wider range of deliberative contexts concerning beliefs, it becomes obvious that the aim (...) of belief can interact with and be weighed against the wider aims of agents in the ways required for it to be a genuine aim. (shrink)
This chapter outlines improvements and developments made to aim-oriented empiricism since "From Knowledge to Wisdom" was first published in 1984. It argues that aim-oriented empiricism enables us to solve three fundamental problems in the philosophy of science: the problems of induction and verisimilitude, and the problem of what it means to say of a physical theory that it is unified.
This contribution aims to explain how European Criminal Law can be understood as constitutive of European identity. Instead of starting from European identity as a given, it provides a philosophical analysis of the construction of self-identity in relation to criminal law and legal tradition. The argument will be that the self-identity of those that share jurisdiction depends on and nourishes the legal tradition they adhere to and develop, while criminal jurisdiction is of crucial importance in this process of mutual (...) constitution. This analysis will be complemented with a discussion of the integration of the first and the third pillar as aimed for by the Constitutional Treaty (TE), which would bring criminal law under majority rule and European democratic control. Attention will be paid to two ground breaking judgements of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that seem to boil down to the fact that the Court actually manages to achieve some of the objectives of the CT even if this is not in force. This gives rise to a discussion of how the CT (and related judgements of the ECJ) may transform European criminal law in the Union to EU criminal law of the Union, thus producing an identity of the Union next to the identities prevalent in the Union. The contribution concludes with some normative questions about the kind of European identity we should aim to establish, given the fact that such identity will arise with further integration of criminal law into the first pillar. (shrink)
A popular account of epistemic justification holds that justification, in essence, aims at truth. An influential objection against this account points out that it is committed to holding that only true beliefs could be justified, which most epistemologists regard as sufficient reason to reject the account. In this paper I defend the view that epistemic justification aims at truth, not by denying that it is committed to epistemic justification being factive, but by showing that, when we focus on the relevant (...) sense of ‘justification’, it isn’t in fact possible for a belief to be at once justified and false. To this end, I consider and reject three popular intuitions speaking in favor of the possibility of justified false beliefs, and show that a factive account of epistemic justification is less detrimental to our normal belief forming practices than often supposed. (shrink)
Constitutivism is the view that it is possible to derive contentful, normatively binding demands of practical reason and morality from the constitutive features of agency. Whereas much of the debate has focused on the constitutivist's ability to derive content, David Enoch has challenged her ability to generate normativity. Even if one can derive content from the constitutive aims of agency, one could simply demur: ?Bah! Agency, shmagency?. The ?Why be moral?? question would be replaced by the ?Why be (...) an agent?? question. It is the aim of this paper to show that the shmagency objection is essentially correct, though not as originally defended by Enoch. Since Enoch posed his argument as ruling out the normative authority of agency under any conception of the constitutive features of agency, constitutivists have responded by arguing for the inescapability of certain minimal features of agency. I argue that this amounts to equivocation: the constitutivist appeals to a minimal conception of agency in answering the normative question but to a richer understanding in answering the content question. The key to the shmagency objection, as I shall defend it, is to insist that the same sense of agency must be employed in answering both questions. A shmagent can concede that there may be inescapable ways of understanding agency, but insist that any such understanding would have to be too minimal to generate substantive content. (shrink)
There is a fairly widespread—and very infl uential—hope among philosophers interested in the status of normativity that the solution to our metaethical and, more generally, metanormative problems will emerge from the philosophy of action. In this essay, I will argue that these hopes are groundless. I will focus on the metanormative hope, but—as will become clear—showing that the solution to our metanormative problems will not come from what is constitutive of action will also devastate the hope of gaining significant (...) insight into first-order, normative truths by focusing (only) on what is constitutive of action. (shrink)
Does epistemic justification aim at truth? The vast majority of epistemologists instinctively answer 'Yes'; it's the textbook response. Joseph Cruz and John Pollock surprisingly say no. In 'The Chimerical Appeal of Epistemic Externalism' they argue that justification bears no interesting connection to truth; justification does not even aim at truth. 'Truth is not a very interesting part of our best understanding' of justification (C&P 2004, 137); it has no 'connection to the truth.' A 'truth-aimed ... epistemology is not entitled to (...) carry the day' (C&P 2004, 138, emphasis added).Pollock and Cruz's argument for this surprising conclusion is of general interest for it is 'out of step with a very common view on the .. (shrink)
In his seminal essay “Freedom and Resentment,” Strawson drew attention to the role of such emotions as resentment, moral indignation, and guilt in our moral and personal lives. According to Strawson, these reactive attitudes are at once constitutive of moral blame and inseparable from ordinary interpersonal relationships. On this basis, he concluded that relinquishing moral blame isn’t a real possibility for us, given our commitment to personal relationships. If well founded, this conclusion puts the traditional free-will debate in a (...) new light. In particular, in so far as incompatibilists believe that we can or should forgo moral blame if determinism is true, their stance may seem out of touch with our emotional reality. Here I examine Strawson’s claim that the reactive attitudes are inseparable from ordinary interpersonal relationships. Strawson says surprisingly little to support this intriguing claim, and thus far no argument for it has emerged in the literature. My aim is to remedy this. Specifically, I set out an argument for a suitably formulated version of the inseparability claim, an argument that appeals to the relationship between the reactive attitudes and other elements of our emotional lives. I then show how this argument helps to answer an important recent challenge to Strawson’s position. If I am right, there is good reason to doubt that the reforms envisaged by some incompatibilists, reforms to our blame-related practices, are a real possibility for us. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that aim-oriented empiricism provides decisive grounds for accepting scientific realism and rejecting instrumentalism. But it goes further than this. Aim-oriented empiricism implies that physicalism is a central part of current (conjectural) scientific knowledge. Furthermore, we can and need, I argue, to interpret fundamental physical theories as attributing necessitating physical properties to fundamental physical entities.
We face severe global problems, many that we have inadvertently created ourselves. It is clear that there is an urgent need for more wisdom. One response is to improve knowledge about wisdom. This, I argue, is an inadequate response to the problems we face. Our global problems arise, in part, from a damagingly irrational kind of academic enterprise, devoted as it is to the pursuit of knowledge. We need to bring about a revolution in academic inquiry so that its basic (...) aim becomes to seek and promote wisdom. (shrink)
This paper argues that both a limited doxastic voluntarism and anti-evidentialism are consistent with the views that the aim of belief is truth or knowledge and that this aim plays an important role in norm-setting for beliefs. More cautiously, it argues that limited doxastic voluntarism is (or would be) a useful capacity for agents concerned with truth tracking to possess, and that having it would confer some straightforward benefits of both an epistemic and non-epistemic variety to an agent concerned with (...) truth tracking. (shrink)