This article will compare and contrast two very different accounts of convention: the game-theoretical account of Lewis in Convention, and the account initially proposed by Margaret Gilbert (the present author) in chapter six of On Social Facts, and further elaborated here. Gilbert’s account is not a variant of Lewis’s. It was arrived at in part as the result of a detailed critique of Lewis’s account in relation to a central everyday concept of a social convention. An account (...) of convention need not be judged by that standard. Perhaps it reveals the nature of an important phenomenon. Looked at in that light, these very different accounts are not incompatible. Indeed, neither should be ignored if one is seeking to understand the way in which human beings arrive at some degree of social order. (shrink)
This paper investigates the epistemic assumptions that David Lewis makes in his account of social conventions. In particular, I focus on the assumption that the agents have common knowledge of the convention to which they are parties. While evolutionary analyses show that the common knowledge assumption is unnecessary in certain classes of games, Lewis’ original account (and, more recently, Cubitt and Sugden’s reconstruction) stresses the importance of including it in the definition of convention. I discuss arguments pro et (...) contra to argue that, although the assumption might be relevant to a descriptively adequate account of social convention, it is not required for its rational reconstruction. I then point out that Lewis’ account, properly speaking, is of common reason to believe, rather than of common knowledge, and argue that, in order to formalize aptly the distinction between reason to believe and belief, standard formal epistemic models need to be supplemented with so-called awareness structures. Finally, I stress that the notion of knowledge implicit in Lewis’ text involves interesting elements that cannot be captured in the standard propositional formalizations, but need the full expressive force of quantified epistemic logic. (shrink)
I will argue that social ontology is constituted as hierarchical and interlocking conventions of multifarious kinds. Convention, in turn, is modeled in a manner derived from that of David K. Lewis. Convention is usually held to be inadequate for models of social ontologies, with one primary reason being that there seems to be no place for normativity. I argue that two related changes are required in the basic modeling framework in order to address this (and other) issue(s): (1) (...) a shift to an intentional model—among other reasons, in order to account for normativity—and (2) moving away from the belief-desire, propositional attitude, framework for understanding the intentional realm toward an interactive, pragmatic model of intentionality. These shifts provide natural approaches to: (1) understanding the normativities of social realities; (2) the sense in which social ontology is often constituted in implicit relations among the participants rather than elaborated and iterated explicit beliefs and desires; (3) and language. (shrink)
Yitzhak Benbaji defends the view that soldiers on both the ‘just’ and the ‘unjust’ side in a war have the same liberty right to kill one another, because soldiers have ‘tacitly accepted’ the egalitarian laws of war and thereby waived their moral rights not to be attacked. I argue that soldiers on the ‘just’ side have not accepted the egalitarian laws of war; even if they had, they would not thereby have waived their moral rights not to be attacked. Moreover, (...) the egalitarian laws of war and ‘the war convention’ are not fair and mutually beneficial, and so would not be accepted. Benbaji does not come to grips with the problem of the killing of civilians in war: his idea that states could waive the moral rights of their citizens is untenable. (shrink)
Although corruption is ubiquitous, attitudes toward it differ among countries. Until the 1997 OECD Convention, the U.S. had been one of the only two countries with an explicit extraterritorial anti-bribery law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977. The FCPA employs a two-pronged approach to control the supply side of corruption: (1) anti-bribery provisions; and (2) accounting (books and record and internal controls) provisions. I offer evidence, albeit indirect, to show that the FCPA had limited success. The OECD (...)Convention adopts the same two-pronged approach, but, since it is a multilateral treaty, is likely to be more successful provided that enforcement is vigorous enough. The signatory nations effectively form a cartel to reduce the cost of doing business. As with any cartel, however, each multinational corporation has an incentive to deviate. Thus, the mutual enforcement of the agreement is crucial for its success. However, the two-pronged approach is not sufficient, since internal control does not adequately monitor decisions made at the top level. I argue that the two lessons drawn from the U.S. experience are: (1) law enforcement must be credible; and (2) internal controls alone are not sufficient. Stronger and more effective corporate governance within an appropriate regulatory framework is needed to ensure that multinational corporations conduct their business in an ethical manner. (shrink)
Corruption is a serious economic, social, political, and moral blight, especially in many emerging countries. It is a problem that affects companies in particular, especially in international commerce, finance, and technology transfer. And it is becoming an international phenomenon in scope, substance, and consequences. That is why, in recent years, there has been a proliferation of international efforts to tackle the problem of corruption. One such international cooperative initiative is the United Nations Convention against Corruption, signed in 2003, which (...) came into force in December 2005. This is the first truly global instrument to prevent and combat corruption, built on a broad international consensus. The purpose of this article is to explain the origin and content of the Convention, what it adds to existing international instruments for combating corruption, and its strengths and weaknesses, mainly from the point of view of companies. (shrink)
It is argued that Convention T and Basic Law V of Frege’s Grungesetze share three striking similarities. First, they are universal generalizations that are intuitively plausible because they have so many obvious instances. Second, both are false because they yield contradictions. Third, neither gives rise to a paradox.
The aim of this paper is to clarify what kind of normativity characterizes a convention. First, we argue that conventions have normative consequences because they always involve a form of trust and reliance. We contend that it is by reference to a moral principle impinging on these aspects (i.e. the principle of Reliability) that interpersonal obligations and rights originate from conventional regularities. Second, we argue that the system of mutual expectations presupposed by conventions is a source of agreements. Agreements (...) stemming from conventions are “tacit” in the sense that they are implicated by what agents do (or forbear from doing) and without that any communication between them is necessary. To justify this conclusion, we assume that: (1) there is a salient interpretation, in some contexts, of everyone’s silence as confirmatory of the others’ expectations (an epistemic assumption), and (2) the participating agents share a value of not being motivated by hostile attitudes (a motivational assumption). By clarifying the relation between conventions and agreements, the peculiar normativity of conventions is analyzed. (shrink)
_ Convention_ was immediately recognized as a major contribution to the subject and its significance has remained undiminished since its first publication in 1969. Lewis analyzes social conventions as regularities in the resolution of recurring coordination problems-situations characterized by interdependent decision processes in which common interests are at stake. Conventions are contrasted with other kinds of regularity, and conventions governing systems of communication are given special attention.
La théorie nietzschéenne du génie, dans la mesure où elle réhabilite positivement la contrainte et la convention dans la création artistique, permet de dépasser la mystérieuse théorie romantique d'inspiration naturaliste. Sur quoi repose cette théorie esthétique nietzschéenne ? Sur l'assimilation de la langue de l'artiste à une convention efficiente, c'est-à-dire lui permettant de communiquer activement avec un public, et donc d'être compris. La véritable convention est celle qui naît du besoin, et qui, – intégrée dans un travail (...) de soi sur soi commandé par la contrainte, le sérieux et la discipline, – se transforme en une nouvelle habitude, et devient une seconde nature, sous l'effet de la répétition acharnée. Elle s'oppose au laisser-aller, et rend possible la constitution d'une véritable culture dépassant l'opposition de la convention et de la nature. Elle définit selon l'auteur le style de l'esprit libre, soit l'artiste capable « de danser dans les chaînes », c'est-à-dire de jouer avec la convention. La véritable liberté artistique ne consiste donc pas à s'affranchir de la tradition, mais à la maîtriser et à jouer avec elle. La théorie de la création artistique élaborée par Nietzsche fournit ainsi le paradigme d'une libération de l'esprit. (shrink)
The article discusses the certain features of the constitutional doctrine of human rights developed by the Constitutional Court of Lithuania which were influenced by the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, the role of the European Convention on Human Rights as a legal source in the system of sources of constitutional law. The intersection of the jurisprudences, which came into being due to different assessments of the legal regulation in cases where the same legal act was recognized (...) by the Constitutional Court being in compliance with the Constitution and the European Court of Human Rights recognized that the application of the said act was a cause of the violation of a certain person’s rights protected by the Convention (or vice versa) is one of the most important questions and raises many theoretical and practical problems. Different assessment of the legal acts made by the European Court of Human Rights with regard to their compliance with the Conventionshould not be regarded as such an essential circumstance which could lead to possible repeated review of such legal act at the Constitutional Court, such intersection of the jurisprudences, should be solved by ordinary courts while following the doctrine that in cases where legal acts contain the legal regulation which competes with that established in the international treaty, the international treaty should be applied. (shrink)
The system of the European Convention on Human Rights created in 1950 is still regarded as the most important and effective regional system for the protection of human rights in the whole world. However, the experience of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has clearly showed that the steady growth in the number of cases brought before the ECHR makes it increasingly difficult to keep the length of proceedings within the acceptable limits and to maintain the effectiveness of (...) the ECHR. This aspect is becoming extremely important due to the fact that the European Union (EU) will join the Convention system in the near future. The legal basis for the EU accession to the Convention system has been made possible after the entering into force of the EU Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, and, from the Convention’s perspective, the new Protocol No. 14 to the Convention, which entered into force on 1 June 2010, and which, in Article 17 (amending Article 59 of the Convention), stipulates that the EU may accede to this Convention. (shrink)
Forced expropriations of immovable property were common during the Communist era in Eastern Europe. Today, many of the former owners or their heirs are interested in regaining legal ownership of such properties, often decades after the ownership has been reallocated to others. Therefore, the conflict between old and new owners is often resolved in favour of the new owners. While this is understandable from a contemporary political perspective, this approach results in a perpetuation of the results of an earlier human (...) rights violation, thereby resulting in a new human rights violation which will have to be measured against the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if the state in question has ratified it prior to deciding how to handle the long-term effects of expropriations. Firstly, in the article we will devote ourselves to the interpretation of the right to property with an emphasis on the problem of expropriation. Above all, we will elaborate on the definition of the term “property” as well as positive and negative obligations of the Member States regarding this right. Finally, we will address the question of expropriations prior to the entry into force of the Convention and just compensation under Article 41 ECHR. Interpretation of the right to property will be supported by the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. (shrink)
Within the Irish government there is a discussion regarding the possibility of limiting the legal protection afforded to the confessional secret. This paper addresses the question of whether this suggestion, if it were to be implemented by the legislature, would be compatible with the right to religious freedom under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This text will also highlight the role of the confessional secret in canon law and the protection of it under German (...) law. Catholic priests, should this plan that is currently under discussion be implemented, were obliged to disclose the knowledge gained in confession to law enforcement authorities. The canonical consequence of such a breach of the confessional secret would be excommunication. In such cases priests therefore would only have the choice between breaking the law (which would probably also be punishable under criminal law) and excommunication, with all the resulting disadvantages. In this paper, the canonical law rules regarding confession are presented before the provisions relating to the confessional secret in § 53 para. 1 No. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, § 383 para. 1 No. 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure and § 139 para. 2 of the Criminal Code are discussed. Specifically, the question is raised as to whether a duty of priests to co-operate with the law enforcement authorities may be established by law. Here in particular the protection of the confessional secret under the protection of freedom of religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights will be discussed. It has to be noted however that the protection afforded by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights extends far less than the scope of § 53 para. 1 No. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, § 129 para. 2 of the Criminal Code and § 383 para. 1 No. 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as Art. 9 ECHR only protects the confessional secret as far as it is required from a religious point of view, but not a general pastoral secret. The article then includes a discussion on the limitations of Article 9 ECHR. Limitations of Article 9(1) ECHR on religious freedom under Article 9(2) ECHR are only permitted if they are prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society for the protection of public order, health, morals or the rights of others. This is discussed against the background of the legislative goal of more effective law enforcement. As a result, a limitation of the protection of confessional secret through normal (sub-constitutional, domestic) laws, despite the understandable goal of more effective law enforcement, is not compatible with Article 9 of the ECHR. (shrink)
The Convention on Cybercrime (the Convention) adopted in the framework of the Council of Europe is the main international legislative tool in the fight against cybercrime. It is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet and other computer networks, dealing particularly with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security. Lithuania is among its signatory states, therefore, the provisions of the Convention have become binding on its legislator, obliging it to (...) take all necessary measures to harmonize national legal acts with the framework set out therein. The Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania (the CC) in force is the legal act establishing liability for criminal offences known as computer crimes and Internet crimes. Although the legislator of Lithuania had been combating cybercrimes since as early as 1994 by means of the amendments to the Soviet era Criminal Code of 1961, a significant effort was required to transpose the requirements of the Convention into the Lithuanian law, starting from the year 2007. The end result was not always as expected, leaving several serious gaps in the field of criminalization, which are thoroughly addressed in the article. In particular, this article deals with the topic of computer-related crimes and the legal approaches related to substantive criminal law of the Republic of Lithuania. The study is based on a comparative legal analysis of the Lithuanian CC and the Convention. (shrink)
Various special investigative methods are more often applied nowadays; their use is unavoidably induced by today’s reality in combating organised crime in the spheres such as corruption, prostitution, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, money counterfeit and etc. Therefore, special secret investigative methods are more often used and they are very effective in gathering evidence for the purpose of detecting and investigating very well-organised or latent crimes. Both the Convention on the Protection on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms itself, i.e. (...) its Article 6, and other international instruments, such as the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention, the Council of Europe’s Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and others, do not prohibit the use of special investigative methods, provided that their use does not violate human rights. The use of special investigative methods, such as undercover agents or other undercover investigative methods, cannot in itself infringe human rights and the right to a fair trial; however, its use must have clear limits and safeguards. The recent judgements of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the use of undercover agents confirm that the use of undercover agents in certain types of cases is often unavoidable and also very problematic, because the Court imposes on the member states of the Convention increasingly wider obligations. Partly this is determined by the fact that the current jurisprudence of the Court is still in the state of formation, therefore many questions are left unanswered. (shrink)
The article deals with the question whether a state might be held liable for the infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights if its national court of last instance fails to implement the obligation to make a reference for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union under the conditions laid down in Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and developed in the case-law of the Court. Relying on (...) well-established practice that an arbitrary decision not to refer a question for a preliminary ruling theoretically could infringe the right to a fair trial, the author analyses the practical application of the “arbitrariness rule” and discusses whether the European Court of Human Rights has established any specific criteria that national courts are required to bring into play in order to substantiate the decision not to refer. (shrink)
A strong record of human rights protections is an important factor for a state to maintain a positive international reputation. In this article, we suggest that states will use compliance with human rights treaties as a mechanism by which to improve their reputations to help achieve their foreign policy goals. We hypothesize that international human rights compliance is a means to improve a state’s reputation in three specific situations: when the state is facing regional pressures as the result of a (...) desire to join a regional organization; when the state is facing regional pressures not to run afoul of a court within a regional organization; or when a state seeks foreign assistance from an entity with human rights requirements for the receipt of such assistance. We examine our theory by analyzing human rights reports regarding state compliance with specific treaty obligations outlined in the Convention Against Torture (CAT). While the evidence for our hypotheses is mixed, we do find some support for our assertion that state compliance is linked to reputational concerns. In particular, states comply with the CAT when they are part of a regional organization that has a human rights court, and when they are receiving conditional aid from the European Union. (shrink)
Children are not simply molded by the environment; through constant inference and interpretation, they actively shape their own social world. This book is about that process. Elliot Turiel's work focuses on the development of moral judgment in children and adolescents and, more generally, on their evolving understanding of the conventions of social systems. His research suggests that social judgements are ordered, systematic, subtly discriminative, and related to behavior. His theory of the ways in which children generate social knowledge through their (...) social experiences will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and students in child development and education. (shrink)
Since I do not disagree with the line of argument taken by Kramer and the distinctions he draws between the different ways rules can be ‘mind-independent’, my comments focus on some of the complexities involved in the application of his distinctions. I suggest that law, properly understood as a system of rules/conventions is both existentially and observationally weakly mind independent, but nonetheless objective.
This paper begins by exploring a subspecies of assertion. Under some circumstances an utterance intuitively counts as an assertion, even though it is Cynical: that is, it is insincere, and made without the reasonable expectation of even appearing sincere to its audience. The paper explores the contextual and cognitive workings of Cynical assertion – directly, in part, but also by comparison with superficially similar but non-assertoric utterances, namely, those made under duress. Finally, the paper examines the broader relevance of Cynical (...) assertion, by considering two philosophical applications of the notion: first, in support of Michael Dummett’s conventionalist account of assertion; and second, in illuminating an aspect of Moore’s paradox. (shrink)
The right to ‘domestic remedies’, which ideally connects ‘subsidiarity’ and ‘embeddedness’ of the ECHR in the legal systems of member States, is deemed to play a crucial role for the Strasbourg machinery survival as well as for an effective protection of human rights, especially in the field of the ‘reasonable-time’ requirement. In this respect the Italian case seems an excellent test. Once a compensatory remedy was introduced in the Italian legal system by Law No. 80 of 2001 (the ‘Pinto Act’), (...) it soon appeared that such a remedy could be considered ‘effective’ in so far as it was implemented in accordance with the ECtHR’s jurisprudence. Therefore a legal tool for the interaction between ECtHR and Italian courts had to be found. Nevertheless, the results of this interaction might suggest that the domestic remedy has neither increased the protection of the reasonable-time requirement in Italy nor is it the final solution to the ECtHR’s overload. (shrink)
The analysis of how social conventions emerge and become established is rightly viewed as a significant study of great relevance to models of legal and social systems. Such conventions, however, do not operate in a monotonic fashion, i.e. the fact that a convention is recognised and complied with at some instant is no guarantee it will continue to be so indefinitely. In total rules and protocols may evolve, with or without the consent of individual members of the society, even (...) to the extent that some cease to be observed or effective. In this paper we examine a framework for examining such changes in behavioural conventions that uses a proposed “taxonomy of social conventions” as the basis of a qualitative model deriving from value-based argument systems. (shrink)
Consider the claim that openmindedness is an epistemic virtue, the claim that true belief is epistemically valuable, and the claim that one epistemically ought to cleave to one’s evidence. These are examples of what I’ll call “epistemic discourse.” In this paper I’ll propose and defend a view called “convention-relativism about epistemic discourse.” In particular, I’ll argue that convention-relativismis superior to its main rival, expressivism about epistemic discourse. Expressivism and conventionalism both jibe with anti-realism about epistemic normativity, which is (...) motivated by appeal to philosophical naturalism (§1). Convention-relativism says that epistemic discourse describes how things stands relative to a conventional set of “epistemic” values; such discourse is akin to normative discourse relative to the conventional rules of a club (§2). I defend conventionalism by appeal to a “reverse open question argument,” which says, pace expressivism, that epistemic discourse leaves the relevant normative questions open (§3). (shrink)
David Lewis is widely credited with the first formulation of common knowledge and the first rigorous analysis of convention. However, common knowledge and convention entered mainstream game theory only when they were formulated, later and independently, by other theorists. As a result, some of the most distinctive and valuable features of Lewis' game theory have been overlooked. We re-examine this theory by reconstructing key parts in a more formal way, extending it, and showing how it differs from more (...) recent game theory. In contrast to current theories of common knowledge, Lewis' theory is based on an explicit analysis of the modes of reasoning that are accessible to rational individuals and so can be used to analyse the genesis of common knowledge. Lewis' analysis of convention emphasises the role of inductive reasoning and of salience in the maintenance of conventions over time. Footnotes Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 13th Amsterdam Colloquium at the University of Amsterdam, at a workshop on social norms at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and at seminars at Tilburg University and the University of Bristol. We are grateful for comments from participants at those meetings, from two anonymous referees, and from Michael Bacharach, Nick Bardsley, Cristina Bicchieri, Luc Bovens, Simon Grant, David McCarthy, Shepley Orr, Brian Skyrms, Peter Vanderschraaf, Peter Wakker and Jörgen Weibull. Robert Sugden's work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust. (shrink)
According to the standard story (a) W. V. Quine’s criticisms of the idea that logic is true by convention are directed against, and completely undermine, Rudolf Carnap’s idea that the logical truths of a language L are the sentences of L that are true-in- L solely in virtue of the linguistic conventions for L , and (b) Quine himself had no interest in or use for any notion of truth by convention. This paper argues that (a) and (b) (...) are both false. Carnap did not endorse any truth-by-convention theses that are undermined by Quine’s technical observations. Quine knew this. Quine’s criticisms of the thesis that logic is true by convention are not directed against a truth-by-convention thesis that Carnap actually held, but are part of Quine’s own project of articulating the consequences of his scientific naturalism. Quine found that logic is not true by convention in any naturalistically acceptable sense. But he also observed that in set theory and other highly abstract parts of science we sometimes deliberately adopt postulates with no justification other than that they are elegant and convenient. For Quine such postulations constitute a naturalistically acceptable and fallible sort of truth by convention. It is only when an act of adopting a postulate is not indispensible to natural science that Quine sees it as affording truth by convention ‘unalloyed’. A naturalist who accepts Quine’s notion of truth by convention is therefore not limited (as naturalists are often thought to be) to accepting only those postulates that she regards as indispensible to natural science. (shrink)
By defining both depictive and linguistic representation as kinds of symbol system, Nelson Goodman attempts to undermine the platitude that, whereas linguistic representation is mediated by convention, depiction is mediated by resemblance. I argue that Goodman is right to draw a strong analogy between the two kinds of representation, but wrong to draw the counterintuitive conclusion that depiction is not mediated by resemblance.
Following the pioneering work of David Lewis, many philosophers believe that the rationale of following a convention consists in the fact that conventions are solutions to recurrent coordination problems. Margaret Gilbert has criticised this view, offering an alternative account of the nature of conventions and their normative aspect. In this paper I argue that Gilbert's criticism of Lewis and her alternative suggestions rest on serious misunderstandings. As between these two opposed views, Lewis's is closer to the truth, but I (...) argue only with respect to one type of convention. There is another, important type of conventions, whose normativity does not consist in the solution of coordination problems. The validity of conventions constituting (what I call) autonomous practices can only be derived from the values inherent in the practices they constitute and those values cannot be specified independently of the conventions themselves. (shrink)
It is argued that david lewis' account of convention in "convention" required too much self-Consciousness of parties participating in a convention. In particular, It need not be known that there are equally good alternatives to the convention. This point affects other features of the definition, And suggests that the account is too much guided by the "rational assembly" picture of human conventions. (edited).
Recently, several philosophers have recast feminist arguments against pornography in terms of Speech Act Theory. In particular, they have considered the ways in which the illocutionary force of pornographic speech serves to set the conventions of sexual discourse while simultaneously silencing the speech of women, especially during unwanted sexual encounters. Yet, this raises serious questions as to how pornographers could (i) be authorities in the language game of sex, and (ii) set the conventions for sexual discourse - questions which these (...) speech act-theoretic arguments against pornography have thus far failed to adequately answer. I fill in this gap of the argumentation by demonstrating that there are fairly weak standards for who counts as an authority or convention-setter in sexual discourse. With this analysis of the underpinnings of a speech act analysis of pornography in mind, I discuss a range of possible objections. I conclude that (i) the endorsement of censorship by a speech act analysis of pornography competes with its commitment to the conventionality of speech acts, and, more damningly, that (ii), recasting anti-pornography arguments in terms of linguistic conventions risks an unwitting defence of a rapist's lack of mens rea - an intolerable result; and yet resisting this conclusion requires that one back away from the original claim to women's voices being 'silenced'. (shrink)
This paper asks whether persistence can be a matter of convention. It argues that in a rather unexciting de dicto sense persistence is indeed a matter of convention, but it rejects the notion that persistence can be a matter of convention in a more substantial de re sense. However, scenarios can be imagined that appear to involve conventional persistence of the latter kind. Since there are strong reasons for thinking that such conventionality is impossible, it is desirable (...) that our metaphysical-cum-semantic theories of persistence be able to account for such scenarios in terms of conventions of the first kind. Later parts of the article therefore investigate whether three of the currently most influential metaphysical-cum-semantic theories of persistence—the endurance theory, the stage theory, and the perdurance theory—can do this. Fortunately, for them, it turns out that all can, though some philosophers have disputed this. However, when we ask how they account for a typical case of “conventional persistence” some problematic features of the theories—having to do with reference, persistence conditions, how they relate, and the epistemology of persistence—are revealed. (shrink)
This paper offers an interpretation of Poincaré's conventionalism, distinguishing it from the Duhem–Quine thesis, on the one hand, and, on the other, from the logical positivist understanding of conventionalism as a general account of necessary truth. It also confronts Poincaré's conventionalism with some counter-arguments that have been influential: Einstein's (general) relativistic argument, and the linguistic rejoinders of Quine and Davidson. In the first section, the distinct roles played by the inter-translatability of different geometries, the inaccessibility of space to direct observation, (...) and general holistic considerations are identified. Together, they form a constructive argument for conventionalism that underscores the impact of fact on convention. The second section traces Poincaré's influence on the general theory of relativity and Einstein's ensuing ambivalence toward Poincaré. Lastly, it is argued that neither Quine nor Davidson has met the conventionalist challenge. (shrink)
Aconvention is a state in which agents coordinate their activity, not as the result of an explicit agreement, but because their expectations are aligned so that each individual believes that all will act so as to achieve coordination for mutual benefit. Since agents are said to follow a convention if they coordinate without explicit agreement, the notion raises fundamental questions: (1) Why do certain conventions remain stable over time?, and (2) How does a convention emerge in the first (...) place? In a pioneering study, Lewis (1969) addresses these questions by applyingnoncooperative game theory. Lewis defines a convention as aNash coordination equilibrium of a noncooperative game that issalient, that is, it is somehow conspicuous to the agents so that all expect one another to conform with the equilibrium. This paper presents a new game theoretic definition of conventions, which formalizes the notion of salience and which also generalizes the class of conventions Lewis discusses in his work. I define a convention as acorrelated equilibrium (Aumann 1974, 1987) satisfying apublic intentions criterion: Every agent wants his intended action to becommon knowledge. I argue that many conventions correspond to correlated equilibria that are not Nash equilibria, and that this is consistent with Lewis' general viewpoint. Finally, I argue that game theoretic characterizations of convention, such as Lewis' and my own, help to explain a convention's stability, but that a fully satisfactory account of the emergence of convention requires a theory of equilibrium selection beyond the scope of Lewis' work. (shrink)
Partly due to the influence of Tarski's work, it is commonly assumed that any good theory of truth implies biconditionals of the sort mentioned in Convention T: instances of the T-Schema "s is true in L if and only if p" where the sentence substituted for "p" is equivalent in meaning to s. I argue that we must take care to distinguish the claim that implying such instances is sufficient for adequacy in an account of truth from the claim (...) that doing so is necessary. The claim that doing so is sufficient is a common component of deflationary theories of truth, while the claim that it is necessary, though often assumed, must be denied by proponents of rival inflationary theories of truth. I discuss the clarification of the debate between these views of truth that results from distinguishing the necessity and the sufficiency claims, and examine the prospects for its resolution. (shrink)
The central philosophical task posed by conventions is to analyze what they are and how they differ from mere regularities of action and cognition. Subsidiary questions include: How do conventions arise? How are they sustained? How do we select between alternative conventions? Why should one conform to convention? What social good, if any, do conventions serve? How does convention relate to such notions as rule, norm, custom, practice, institution, and social contract? Apart from its intrinsic interest, convention (...) is important because philosophers frequently invoke it when discussing other topics. A favorite philosophical gambit is to argue that, perhaps despite appearances to the contrary, some phenomenon ultimately results from convention. Notable candidates include: property, government, justice, law, morality, linguistic meaning, necessity, ontology, mathematics, and logic. (shrink)
Abstract Benefit sharing as envisaged by the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a relatively new idea in international law. Within the context of non-human biological resources, it aims to guarantee the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use by ensuring that its custodians are adequately rewarded for its preservation. Prior to the adoption of the CBD, access to biological resources was frequently regarded as a free-for-all. Bioprospectors were able to take resources out of their natural habitat and (...) develop commercial products without sharing benefits with states or local communities. This paper asks how CBD-style benefit-sharing fits into debates of justice. It is argued that the CBD is an example of a set of social rules designed to increase social utility. It is also argued that a common heritage of humankind principle with inbuilt benefit-sharing mechanisms would be preferable to assigning bureaucratic property rights to non-human biological resources. However, as long as the international economic order is characterized by serious distributive injustices, as reflected in the enormous poverty-related death toll in developing countries, any morally acceptable means toward redressing the balance in favor of the disadvantaged has to be welcomed. By legislating for a system of justice-in-exchange covering nonhuman biological resources in preference to a free-for-all situation, the CBD provides a small step forward in redressing the distributive justice balance. It therefore presents just legislation sensitive to the international relations context in the 21st century. (shrink)
Tarski’s Convention T is often taken to claim that it is both sufficient and necessary for adequacy in a definition of truth that it imply instances of the T-schema where the embedded sentence translates the mentioned sentence. However, arguments against the necessity claim have recently appeared, and, furthermore, the necessity claim is actually not required for the indefinability results for which Tarski is justly famous; indeed, Tarski’s own presentation of the results in the later Undecidable Theories makes no mention (...) of an assumption to the effect that the definition of truth implies the biconditionals. This raises a question: was Tarski in fact committed to the necessity claim in the important papers of the 1930s and 40s? I argue that he was not. The discussion of this apparently esoteric interpretive issue in fact gets to the heart of many important questions about truth, and in the final sections of the paper I discuss the importance of the T-biconditionals in the theory of meaning and the relation of deflationary and inflationary theories of truth to the semantic paradoxes. (shrink)
What is the relation between the rules of war covered by the war convention and the source of their normative authority? According to Michael Walzer, these rules have normative authority by virtue of being widely established in theory and practice and conforming to our moral sensibilities. It is striking that his influential account of just war has a conventionalist grounding similar to his more scrutinized general theory of justice. Indeed, we should question whether a shared moral understanding is an (...) adequate basis for morally obligating parties who might challenge the rules under the war convention. I argue that rules of war need the support of moral judgments whose normative authority is ultimately not conventional in nature. Reasonable objections to the war convention exert pressure to revise its standard principles or to admit that these principles lack general moral force. Such objections, inchoate though they may be in international political discourse, seem a source of commonly voiced skepticism of morality in international relations. Debate about the merits of alternative principles of just war has the advantage of engaging with this skepticism. This opens up the possibility that less powerful or more conscientious parties could play a constructive role in a public and more democratic discourse of just war. Key Words: Karl von Clausewitz convention Gilbert Harman just war theory morality normative authority political realism war the war convention Michael Walzer. (shrink)
This paper has three objectives. The first is to show how David Lewis' influential account of how a population is related to its language requires that speakers be 'conceptually autonomous' in a way that is incompatible with content ascriptions following from the assumption that its speakers share a language. The second objective is to sketch an alternate account of the psychological and sociological facts that relate a population to its language. The third is to suggest a modification of Lewis' account (...) of convention that will allow one to preserve the claim that there are conventions of language. (shrink)
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified mental health as a priority for global health promotion and international development to be targeted through promulgation of evidence-based medical practices, health systems reform, and respect for human rights. Yet these overlapping strategies are marked by tensions as the historical primacy of expert-led initiatives is increasingly subject to challenge by new social movements — in particular, disabled persons' organizations (DPOs). These tensions come into focus upon situating the WHO's mental health policy initiatives in (...) light of certain controversies arising under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), particularly as it applies to persons with mental (psychosocial) disabilities. I examine two such controversies — concerning, respectively, the legitimacy of involuntary psychiatric interventions and the legitimacy of regimes of substitute decision-making. These controversies illustrate the radical challenges to global and domestic mental health policy that have gained new momentum through the participation of DPOs in the CRPD process. At the same time, they illustrate the need for ongoing, inclusive forums for deliberation at the nexus of mental health policy and human rights, aimed at enabling human flourishing within a framework of respect for diversity. (shrink)
There are two general classes of social conventions: conventions of coordination, and conventions of partial conflict. In coordination problems, the interests of the agents coincide, while in partial conflict problems, some agents stand to gain only if other agents unilaterally make certain sacrifices. Lewis' (1969) pathbreaking analysis of convention in terms of game theory focuses on coordination problems, and cannot accommodate partial conflict problems. In this paper, I propose a new game-theoretic definition of convention which generalizes previous game-theoretic (...) definitions (Lewis 1969, Vanderschraaf 1995), and which can be used to characterize norms of justice in partial conflict situations. I argue that the key structural property necessary for a social arrangement to be a convention is that it be conditionally self-enforcing, in the sense that: (i) each agent has a decisive reason to follow her end of the arrangement given that she expects all to do likewise, (ii) given a different set of expectations, some agents would have had a decisive reason to deviate, and (iii) these facts are common knowledge. This leads to a definition of convention as a strict correlated equilibrium (Aumann 1974) together with appropriate common knowledge conditions. Examples are given in which it is shown how this more general account of convention can be used to analyze norms of justice as well as coordination problems. It is only a general sense of common interest; which sense all the members of the society express to one another, and which induces them to regulate their conduct by certain rules. I observe, that it will be for my interest to leave another in the possession of his goods, provided he will act in the same manner with regard to me. He is sensible of a like interest in the regulation of his conduct. When this common sense of interest is mutually express'd, and is known to both, it produces a suitable resolution and behavior. And this may properly be call'd a convention or agreement betwixt us,.. (shrink)
Self-executing treaties like the Salvage Convention 1989 automatically become "the supreme law of the land" in the United States under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.They require no legislation to make them operative but they have the same force and effect as an Article I legislative enactment.The fact that no implementing legislation is needed often leads to the paradoxical result that a self-executing treaty is more easily forgotten, perhaps for the simple reason that such treaties do not always (...) appear in the U.S. Code and so are not always easy to find. Perhaps that is the explanation of the curious fate of the Salvage Convention 1989, which does not appear anywhere in the U.S. Code. There can be no doubt, however, that when the provisions of a treaty prescribe a rule by which private rights may be determined, as the Salvage Convention 1989 does, a court must resort to the treaty for rules of decision, just as it would to a statute. A court may only refer to the law that would govern in the absence of the treaty - in the present context, general maritime law - when the treaty leaves an issue unresolved. In short, it is not acceptable for courts to continue to apply the general maritime law of salvage simply because it is broadly equivalent to the Salvage Convention 1989. Even when the general maritime law and the Salvage Convention 1989 would produce identical results, courts should apply the Salvage Convention 1989 and not the general maritime law. When the general maritime law and the Salvage Convention 1989 would (or even might) produce different results, which may occur quite often, there is no justification for applying the general maritime law. (shrink)
This paper develops Lewis’ notion of convention within a framework that mixes cognitive science with some more social theories of activity like distributed cognition and activity theory. The close examination of everyday situations of convention-based activity will produce some interesting issues for a cognitive theory of behavior. Uncertainty, dynamics, and the complexities of the performance of convention-based activities that are distributed over time and/or place, are driving factors in the analysis that is presented. How the actors reason (...) and manage their collaboration is characterized as pragmatic action. During the course of recurrent activities, the participants adapt previously learned convention-based activities to new circumstances. The coordinating representations that are a part of the design of the context mediate parts of the activity. As they act, the participants learn. (shrink)
This article reviews the contributions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the progressive development of both international human rights law and global health law and governance. It provides a summary of the global situation of persons with disabilities and outlines the progressive development of international disability standards, noting the salience of the shift from a medical model of disability to a rights-based social model reflected in the CRPD. Thereafter, the article considers the (...)Convention's structure and substantive content, and then analyzes in specific detail the particular contributions of the Convention to health and human rights law and global health governance. It concludes with an exploration of the potential implications of the CRPD's innovations for some of the most pressing issues in global health governance, including the Convention's contributions to the principle of participation in decision-making. (shrink)
In this paper I show that the definition of convention offered by david lewis in his book "convention: a philosophical study" fails to shed much light on "our common, Established concept of convention." first I set out lewis' definition of convention. I then show, Via counterexample, That satisfaction of lewis' definition is not a necessary condition for something to be a convention. I also show via counterexample that it is doubtful that satisfaction of lewis' definition (...) is a sufficient condition for something to be a convention. I conclude that lewis has invented a new concept of convention that is seriously at odds with the established concept of convention. (shrink)
[First Paragraph] In his recent book, Implicature: Intention, Convention, and Principle in the Failure of Gricean Theory (1998), Wayne Davis argues that the Gricean approach to conversational implicature is bankrupt and offers a new approach of his own. Although I disagree with Davis both in general and in detail, I think nonetheless that the problems he raises'or close relatives of them-- are serious and important problems which should give any Gricean pause. This is an extremely worthwhile book, even (...) for those who disagree with it. (shrink)
This article argues from a South African perspective that national experience in attempting to fulfil the right to health supports the need for an international framework. Secondly, we suggest that this framework is not just a matter of good choice or even of justice but of a direct legal duty that falls on those states that have consented to operate within the international human rights framework by ratifying key treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (...) (ICESCR), the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). States can either accept this duty or face with growing pressure from those who believe in global social justice to find lasting solutions to the terrible inequities in global health standards. (shrink)
In the course of its preparation, the 1997 convention on human rights and biomedicine adopted by the Council of Europe instigated a widespread debate. This article examines one of the core issues: the notion of the human being as depicted in the convention. It is argued that according to the convention, this being may exist in three different legal categories, namely 'human life', 'embryo', and 'personhood', each furnished with an inherent set of somewhat different rights, yet none (...) of them clearly defined, thus leaving it to domestic law to regulate at what point a human being belongs to which category. While this approach is understandable from a political point of view, it creates a vicious circle, since law thereby has to define its own foundation and, in the case of the convention, to protect a being that it cannot define. It appears that this form of life is seen rather as a given entity, taking precedence over the interests of society and science, and its dignity and identity forming criteria for the subsequent systems of culture, simply because this life is human and nothing else. Thus, the convention approaches a natural law position. (shrink)
The authors analyze deficiencies and perils of the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine , in particular the concept of human rights as given by natural law and the Conventions stand on germline therapy and its refutation of therapeutic enhancement.