It is shown by means of a simple example that a good explanation of an event is not necessarily corroborated by the occurrence of that event. It is also shown that this contention follows symbolically if an explanation having higher "explicativity" than another is regarded as better.
... Press for their editorial perspicacity, to the National Institutes of Health for the partial financial support they gave me while I was writing some of the chapters, and to Donald Michie for suggesting the title Good Thinking.
This paper examines Duhem’s concept of goodsense as an attempt to support a non rule-governed account of rationality in theory choice. Faced with the underdetermination of theory by evidence thesis and the continuity thesis, Duhem tried to account for the ability of scientists to choose theories that continuously grow to a natural classification. I will examine the concept of goodsense and the problems that stem from it. I will also present a recent attempt by (...) David Stump to link goodsense to virtue epistemology. I will argue that even though this approach can be useful for the better comprehension of the concept of goodsense, there are some substantial differences between virtue epistemologists and Duhem. In the light of this reconstruction of goodsense, I will propose a possible way to interpret the concept of goodsense, which overcomes the noted problems and fits better with Duhem’s views on scientific method and motivation in developing the concept of goodsense. (shrink)
There has been a significant interest in the recent literature in developing a solution to the problem of theory choice which is both normative and descriptive, but agent-based rather than rule-based, originating from Pierre Duhem's notion of 'goodsense'. In this paper we present the properties Duhem attributes to goodsense in different contexts, before examining its current reconstructions advanced in the literature and their limitations. We propose an alternative account of goodsense, seen (...) as promoting social consensus in science, and show that it is superior to its rivals in two respects: it is more faithful to Duhemian goodsense, and it cashes out the effect that virtues have on scientific progress. We then defend the social consensus account against objections that highlight the positive role of diversity and division of labour in science. (shrink)
In his essay ‘‘Of the Standard of Taste,’’ Hume argues that artworks with morally flawed outlooks (including Homer's poems) are, to some extent, aesthetically flawed. While Hume's remarks regarding the relationship between art and morality have influenced contemporary aestheticians, Hume's own position has struck many people as incoherent. For Hume appears to entangle himself in two separate contradictions. First, Hume seems to claim both that true judges should not enter into vicious sentiments and that true judges should adopt the standpoint (...) of an artwork's intended audience. But The Iliad, say, was obviously intended for an audience that shared Homer's flawed moral outlook. Second, Hume appears to claim that our moral sentiments are both highly resistant to change and extremely fragile. This essay defends Hume against these two objections by drawing increased attention to the role that Hume's aesthetics assigns to the faculty of goodsense or sound reason. (shrink)
On the question of precisely what role common sense (or related datum like folk psychology, trust in pre-theoretic/intuitive judgments, etc.) should have in reigning in the possible excesses of our philosophical methods, the so-called ‘continental’ answer to this question, for the vast majority, would be “as little as possible”, whereas the analytic answer for the vast majority would be “a reasonably central one”. While this difference at the level of both rhetoric and meta-philosophy is sometimes – perhaps often – (...) problematised by the actual philosophical practices of representative philosophers of either tradition, I will argue that this norm (and its absence) nonetheless continues to play an important justificatory role in relation to the use of some rather different methodological practices. In particular, many analytic philosophers not only explicitly invoke the value of common sense, but they also implicitly value it via techniques like conceptual analysis that want to explicate folk psychology and/or lay bare what is already embedded in the linguistic norms of a given culture, the widespread use of thought experiments and the way they function as ‘intuition pumps’, as well as the general aim to achieve ‘reflective equilibrium’ between our intuitions and reflective judgments in epistemology and political philosophy. Such methods, I will argue, enshrine a conservative, or, more positively, a modest understanding of the philosophical project in that it is invested in cohering with both a given body of knowledge and common sense. These methods are notably less perspicuous in continental philosophy. To bring some of the reasons why this might be so to the fore, this paper considers Deleuze’s sustained attack on both good and common sense, which he argues are fundamental to the prevalence of a dogmatic image of thought. If Deleuze is right about this, and if the analytic tradition distils and perfects certain methods that are closely associated with this image of thought, then we have here a rather stark methodological contrast that calls for elaboration and evaluation. (shrink)
This paper aims to return Wittgenstein's Tractatus to its original stature by showing that it is not the self-repudiating work commentators take it to be, but the consistent masterpiece its author believed it was at the time he wrote it. The Tractatus has been considered self-repudiating for two reasons: it refers to its own propositions as ‘nonsensical’, and it makes what Peter Hacker calls ‘paradoxical ineffability claims’ – that is, its remarks are themselves instances of what it says (...) cannot be said. I address the first problem by showing that, on Wittgenstein's view, nonsense is primarily a technically descriptive, not a defamatory, qualification, and is not indicative of Wittgenstein rejecting or disavowing his own Tractarian ‘propositions’. I then dissolve the paradoxical ineffability claim by making a technical distinction, based on Wittgenstein's own theory and practice, between saying and speaking. (shrink)
The main purpose of the paper is to investigate the relevance and significance of the concept of common good in contemporary society. First, I make a brief historical remark about the philosophical concept of common good. I will argue that the concept is rooted in the ancient Greek philosophical understanding of society, namely as polis, whereby human being is thought to have an end that is not merely individual but also collective. I then discuss how societies have significantly (...) changed over the years and how the current global order resembles the situation during the time of Alexander the Great, whose vision it was to establish a cosmopolis, literally a global city. In the end, I consider whether the notion of common good in itself has lost its relevance in the face of the manifold social changes. I bring my discussion to a close with a note on the universality and naturality of the common good of humankind. (shrink)
Unlike the radical historicist and the radical logicist, the moderate historicist in the philosophy of science adopts the position that neither purely a priori (i.e., logical or philosophical) nor purely historical considerations alone determine the acceptability of a philosophical analysis of science. A dilemma arising from the nature of this position is first described and then it is argued that what is perhaps the most plausible way of avoiding this dilemma is doomed to failure. A particular example of this attempt (...) at escaping the dilemma is considered in some detail, and along the way evidence is amassed in support of the view that no non-trivial statement of moderate historicism will be coherent. (shrink)
I discuss the role played by ordinary or everyday experience in the origin of philosophy. I begin with a discussion of the disappearance of production from the tripartite Aristotelian division of the arts and sciences, and indicate how production reappears as the assimilation of both theory and practice. If knowing is making, then there is no distinction between philosophy and poetry. In particular, the everyday or pre-theoretical world loses its status as the original source and subject-matter of philosophy It becomes (...) an artifact, and in the age of science, an artifact of the "folk-world." The result is the deterioration of human nature, and science is deprived of its human significance. The first step back to clarity is to show that words like "reason" and "good," the core of moral competence, are identical at their root with phronesisor the rationality of common sense. (shrink)
Is it a good time to be alive? Is ours a good society to be alive in? Is it possible to have a good life in our time? And finally, does a good life consist of having a good time? Are happiness and “a good life” interchangeable? These are the questions that Mortimer Adler addresses himself to. The heart of the book lies in its conception of the good life for man, which provides (...) the standard for measuring a century, a society, or a culture: for upon that turns the meaning of each man’s primary moral right – his right to the pursuit of happiness. The moral philosophy that Dr. Adler expounds in terms of this conception he calls “the ethics of common sense,” because it is as a defense and development of the common-sense answer to the question “can I really make a good life for myself?”. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, for Spinoza, the power to produce effects through one's nature alone is the key constituent of the good life. Indeed, to exist in the strict sense is to be the causal source of effects. On this reading, a temporally long life that is entirely governed by causal factors external to one's essence is not a genuine existence.
What account of evaluative expressions, such as ‘is beautiful’, ‘is generous’ or ‘is good’, should a Fregean adopt? Given Frege’s claim that predicates can have both a sense and a reference in addition to their extension, an interesting range of only partially explored theoretical possibilities opens to Frege and his followers. My intention here is to briefly present these putative possibilities and explore one of them, namely David Wiggins’ claim that evaluative predicates refer to non-natural concepts and have (...) a sense which is sentiment-involving. In order to defend this claim against objections which aim at showing that evaluative concepts do not really exist, I shall suggest that our awareness of evaluative concepts involves affective (or emotive) states. (shrink)
Abstract Kung?sun Lung's thesis on ?White Horse [is] not Horse? has been solved by A. C. Graham on the basis of a part/whole logic and by Chad Hansen on that and a ?mass?noun? hypothesis. We present it as a case of reducing White Horse to its two most telling marks and then, on the basis of the goodSense (instead of Reference) in a Negative Logic?the pragmatics of locating X as the remainder left over when all non?X's have (...) been removed?show how a stable hand, receiving an order for White Horse would scan first for Horse by removing all non?horse shapes and then for White by removing all colours except White. This way we can prove how indeed ?A request for White Horse cannot be satisfied by Black and Brown that fills an order for Horse... (because) to exclude some colour [in the second scan] is not the same as to exclude yet no colour [in the first scan].? No part/whole or mass?sum is presumed. The whole discussion is set in the context of shifting criteria for judging name from Confucius to Hsun?tzu. (shrink)
It is now generally understood that constraints play an important role in commonsense moral thinking and generally accepted that they cannot be accommodated by ordinary, traditional consequentialism. Some have seen this as the most conclusive evidence that consequentialism is hopelessly wrong,1 while others have seen it as the most conclusive evidence that moral common sense is hopelessly paradoxical.2 Fortunately, or so it is widely thought, in the last twenty-five years a new research program, that of Agent-Relative Teleology, has come (...) to the rescue on all sides. While consequentialism says that every agent ought always to do that action that will bring about the most good, according to Agent- Relative Teleology. (shrink)
Medieval views of both divine goodness and the doctrine of hell are examined and shown to be incompatible with our best understandings of goodness. The only manner in which God could be good to those in hell – by permitting their continued existence – is not sufficient to outweigh ‘the dreadful pains of eternal fire’. One might claim that God is good to them in the retributive sense; but I argue that retributive punishment is inadequate justification of (...) eternal torment. The medieval notions of goodness and hell seem to make God more a sadistic torturer than a caring parent. Eleonore Stump, accepting the medievals' axiology, ameliorates the doctrine of hell. However, I argue that her Dantean version of hell fails because not to be in certain circumstances is rationally preferable to continued existence. In addition, life under those conditions would result in frustration, not fulfilment, of one's second nature and would result in a progressive loss of being. Indeed, it seems more reasonable to reject the identity of being and goodness which both the medievals and Stump embrace or to accept being as a prima facie good that is defeasible in the face of eternal damnation. (shrink)
Among Aristotle’s criticisms of the Form of the Good is his claim that the knowledge of such a Good could be of no practical relevance to everyday rational agency, e.g. on the part of craftspeople. This critique turns out to hinge ultimately on the deeply different assumptions made by Plato and Aristotle about the relation of ‘good’ and ‘good for’. Plato insists on the conceptual priority of the former; and Plato wins the argument.
One of the major puzzling themes in the history of Platonism is how theology is integrated with philosophy. In particular, one may well wonder how Plato's superordinate first principle of all, Idea of the Good, comes to be understood by his disciples as a mind or in some way possessing personal attributes. In what sense is the Good supposed to be God? In this paper I explore some Platonic accounts of the first principle of all in order (...) to understand where the integration of the personal into the metaphysical is organic and where it is not. I conclude that the “ontological” and the “henological” construals of the first principle of all differ in their openness to “intellectualizing” that principle. (shrink)
Political philosophers have been concerned for some time with the epistemic caliber of the general public, qua the body that is, ultimately, tasked with political decision-making in democratic societies. Unfortunately, the empirical data paints a pretty dismal picture here, indicating that the public tends to be largely ignorant on the issues relevant to governance. To make matters worse, social psychological research on how ignorance tends to breed overconfidence gives us reason to believe that the public will not only lack knowledge (...) on the relevant issues, but also wisdom, in the Socratic sense of an awareness of your ignorance. It might be thought that an obvious remedy would be to increase the knowledge and wisdom of the public. However, as far as sound political decision-making and action is concerned, there is nothing particularly valuable about knowledge or wisdom per se—irrespective of what account of wisdom available in the literature we opt for. In fact, it might just be that what the public needs is nothing but the most basic epistemic good: true belief. (shrink)
Scientists and laypeople alike use the sense of understanding that an explanation conveys as a cue to good or correct explanation. Although the occurrence of this sense or feeling of understanding is neither necessary nor sufficient for good explanation, it does drive judgments of the plausibility and, ultimately, the acceptability, of an explanation. This paper presents evidence that the sense of understanding is in part the routine consequence of two well-documented biases in cognitive psychology: overconfidence (...) and hindsight. In light of the prevalence of counterfeit understanding in the history of science, I argue that many forms of cognitive achievement do not involve a sense of understanding, and that only the truth or accuracy of an explanation make the sense of understanding a valid cue to genuine understanding. (shrink)
This article tries to make sense of the concept of the highest good (eternal bliss) in Søren Kierkegaard by comparing it to the analysis of the highest good found in Immanuel Kant. The comparison with Kant’s more systematic analysis helps us clarify the meaning and importance of the concept in Kierkegaard as well as to shed new light on the conceptual relation between Kant and Kierkegaard. The article argues that the concept of the highest good is (...) of systematic importance in Kierkegaard, although previous research has tended to overlook this, no doubt due to Kierkegaard’s cryptic use of the concept. It is argued that Kierkegaard’s concept of the highest good is much closer to Kant’s than what previous research has indicated. In particular, Kant and Kierkegaard see the highest good not only as comprising of virtue and happiness (bliss), but also as being the Kingdom of God. (shrink)
People ordinarily make sense of their own behavior and that of others by invoking concepts like belief, desire, and intention. Philosophers refer to this network of concepts and related principles as ‘folk psychology.’ The prevailing view of folk psychology among philosophers of mind and psychologists is that it is a proto-scientific theory whose function is to explain and predict behavior. Recent studies call this view into question by suggesting that moral considerations play an essential role in the application of (...) certain folk-psychological concepts (Knobe 2003a, 2003b, 2004; Knobe & Burra forthcoming; Nadelhoffer forthcoming). If the function of folk psychology were just to predict and explain behavior, moral considerations wouldn’t have any obvious role to play. Since they do play a role, it seems probable that folk psychology has a function other than, or at least in addition to, that of predicting and explaining behavior. It is our assumption—an assumption our interlocutors presumably share—that, since moral considerations play an essential role in the application of certain folk-psychological concepts, getting clear on the nature and extent of this role is indispensable to arriving at a proper understanding of folk psychology. Nadelhoffer’s paper addresses the importance of moral considerations to the application of a specific folk-psychological concept—the concept of intentional action. He is concerned to explain, in particular, why people are more likely to regard a sideeffect of an action as brought about intentionally when that side-effect is harmful than when it is beneficial. His hypothesis is that one’s judgment as to whether a given sideeffect was brought about intentionally is influenced by the amount of praise or blame one assigns. Since people typically blame the agent for bad side-effects but don’t praise the agent for good ones, Nadelhoffer claims, they tend to regard bad side-effects as intentional and good ones as unintentional. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, on Kant's view, the work of genius serves as a sensible exhibition of the Idea of the highest good. In other words, the work of genius serves as a special sign that the world is hospitable to our moral ends and that the realization of our moral vocation in such a world may indeed be possible. In the first part of the paper, I demonstrate that the purpose of the highest good is (...) not to strengthen our motivation to accept the moral law as binding for us but, rather, to strengthen our motivation to persist in our already existent moral dispositions. In the second part, I show that the works of genius exhibit the Idea of the highest good and, consequently, strengthen our hope in its realization. Drawing on the results of the second part, the third part of the paper demonstrates that beauty, of both art and nature, symbolizes morality in a more substantive sense than that suggested by Henry Allison's “formalistic” interpretation. Since, on my view, fine art in Kant serves as a sensible representation of an undetermined conceptual content, or the Idea of the highest good, the fourth part of the paper addresses the vexed question of whether Kant's account of fine art already anticipates the cognitive role later attributed to it by the German Idealists. (shrink)
Nelkin presents a simple and natural account of freedom and moral responsibility which responds to the great variety of challenges to the idea that we are free and responsible, before ultimately reaffirming our conception of ourselves as agents. Making Sense of Freedom and Responsibility begins with a defense of the rational abilities view, according to which one is responsible for an action if and only if one acts with the ability to recognize and act for good reasons. The (...) view is compatibilist -- that is, on the view defended, responsibility is compatible with determinism -- and one of its striking features is a certain asymmetry: it requires the ability to do otherwise for responsibility when actions are praiseworthy, but not when they are blameworthy. In defending and elaborating the view, Nelkin questions long-held assumptions such as those concerning the relation between fairness and blame and the nature of so-called reactive attitudes such as resentment and forgiveness. Her argument not only fits with a metaphysical picture of causation -- agent-causation -- often assumed to be available only to incompatibilist accounts, but receives positive support from the intuitively appealing Ought Implies Can Principle, and establishes a new interpretation of freedom and moral responsibility that dovetails with a compelling account of our inescapable commitments as rational agents. (shrink)
Understanding value in terms of fitting attitudes is all the rage these days. According to this fitting attitude analysis of value (FA-analysis for short) what is good is what it is fitting to favour in some sense. Many aspects of the FA-analysis have been discussed. In particular, a lot of discussion has been concerned with the wrong-reason objection: it can be fitting to have an attitude towards something for reasons that have nothing to do with the value the (...) thing has in itself. Much less attention has been paid to the problem of identifying the relevant attitudes in virtue of which value is supposed to be defined. An old complaint, however, is that the FA-analysis is bound to be circular, because the fitting attitude is best seen as an evaluative judgement or an evaluative experience. In this paper, I am arguing that the challenge to find a non-circular account is deepened by the fact that on many popular non-evaluative understandings of favouring, there are good states of affairs that it is never fitting to favour, because it is logically impossible or irrational to favour them. I will also show that the remaining candidate of favouring, 'imaginative emotional feeling', will generate a new version of the wrong-reason objection if it is put to use in the FA-account. I shall conclude that the prospects of finding a non-circular FA-analysis look bleak. (shrink)
Many Christian philosophers believe that it is a great good that human beings are free to choose between good and evil – so good, indeed, that God is justiﬁed in putting up with a great many evil choices for the sake of it. But many of the same Christian philosophers also believe that God is essentially good – good in every possible world. Unlike his sinful human creatures, God cannot choose between good and evil. (...) In that sense, he is not ‘morally free’. (shrink)
Sometimes I despair of my philosophical colleagues. They are so conservative. I don’t mean this in a political sense. In conventional party-political terms, most professional philosophers are probably well to the left of centre. As a group, they have a strong sense of fairness and little commitment to the social status quo. But this political openmindedness doesn’t normally carry over to their day jobs. When it comes to philosophical ideas, they are congenitally suspicious of intellectual innovation. In their (...) eyes, a good philosophical theory is one that agrees with the views found on the Clapham omnibus. Few philosophers, in the English-speaking world at least, think of philosophy as a source of radical new ideas. Rather they view it as way of systematising the everyday reactions of ordinary people. (shrink)
Technologies fulfill a social role in the sense that they influence the moral actions of people, often in unintended and unforeseen ways. Scientists and engineers are already accepting much responsibility for the technological, economical and environmental aspects of their work. This article asks them to take an extra step, and now also consider the social role of their products. The aim is to enable engineers to take a prospective responsibility for the future social roles of their technologies by providing (...) them with a matrix that helps to explore in advance how emerging technologies might plausibly affect the reasons behind people’s (moral) actions. On the horizontal axis of the matrix, we distinguished the three basic types of reasons that play a role in practical judgment: what is the case, what can be done and what should be done. On the vertical axis we distinguished the morally relevant classes of issues: stakeholders, consequences and the good life. To illustrate how this matrix may work in practice, the final section applies the matrix to the case of the Google PowerMeter. (shrink)
‘Good’ is nothing specific but is transcendentally or generally applied over specific, and specified, ‘categories’. These ‘categories’ may be seen—at least for the purposes of this note—as under Platonic Forms. The rule that instances under a category or form need a Form to be under is valid. It may be tautological: but this is OK for rules. Not being specific, however, ‘good’ neither needs nor can have a specifying Form. So, on these grounds, the Form of the (...) class='Hi'>Good is otious. Any rule of the kind, ‘Everything needs a Form, so good needs a Form of the Good’ is mistaken, in that good is not a kind, but a transcendental. To give a Form to the transcendental ‘good’ is a mistake: it is a Rylian category mistake. And the Form of the Good either does no work, or works unprofitably in any but an aesthetic sense. (shrink)
The Dalai Lama once wrote that the object of human existence was to be happy. This sounds extremely glib as happiness in the popular imagination is a feeling and in the words of the song 'the greatest gift that we possess'. On the other hand, von Hugel wrote 'Religion has never made me happy;it's no use shutting your eyes to the fact that the deeper you go, the more alone you will find yourself' This small masterpiece by the late Fr (...) Herbert McCabe of the Dominican order steers a steady courss between these two extremes. We feels instinctively that human beings are designed to enjoy themselves and to be happy and yet we are told that suffering is good for the soul. But in the Catholic tradition the true object of human existence is the vision of God and nothing less than this will ever make us truly happy. But Fr McCabe explores much deeper issues. Is Happiness a pleasure or a pain? You hardly know. Certainly it is not a comfort for comfort spells seciurity and hapiness can take you out of yourself to a degree where all secutiry is left behind. Behind a feeling of exultation, you can sense the flame of incandescent terror. This short book is entirely original and will further enhance McCabe's posthumous reputation. (shrink)
What must the world be like, and what must we agents be like, in order to be morally responsible for our actions? In Making Sense of Freedom and Responsibility, Dana Nelkin develops and defends what she dubs the ‘rational abilities’ view (RA) of moral responsibility. On this compatibilist view, an agent is morally responsible for an action, in a sense which makes it appropriate to hold her accountable for that action, if she has ‘the ability to do the (...) right thing for the right reasons, or a good thing for good reasons’ (7). The most distinctive features of Nelkin’s view are that (i) the conditions for moral responsibility are asymmetric, (ii) those conditions are compatibilist, that is, consistent with a deterministic world, (iii) in which causal relations hold between substances (rather than events) some of which are agents. An agent exercises her rational abilities when she is determined by her nature to act for certain reasons. (shrink)
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) raises serious moral questions concerning the parent-child relationship. Good parents accept their children unconditionally: they do not reject/attack them because they do not have the features they want. There is nothing wrong with treating a child as someone who can help promote some other worthwhile end, providing the child is also respected as an end in him or herself. However, if the child's presence is not valued in itself, regardless of any further benefits it brings, (...) the child is not being treated as an end in the full sense of the term. In this paper, I argue that these principles apply to human embryos, as well as to born human offspring: the human moral subject is a bodily being, whose interests and rights begin with the onset of his or her bodily life. The rights of the living, bodily human individual include a right not to be attacked/abandoned because of his or her genetic profile. PGD is harmful to the parent-child relationship, and we give mixed messages to parents by expecting them to show unconditional commitment to offspring after birth, while inviting them to take a very different approach at the prenatal stage. (shrink)
What is happiness? How is it related to morality and virtue? Does living with illusion promote or diminish happiness? Is it better to pursue happiness with a partner than alone? Philosopher Mike W. Martin addresses these and other questions as he connects the meaning of happiness with the philosophical notion of "the good life." Defining happiness as loving one's life and valuing it in ways manifested by ample enjoyment and a deep sense of meaning, Martin explores the ways (...) in which happiness interacts with all other dimensions of good lives--in particular with moral decency and goodness, authenticity, mental health, self-fulfillment, and meaningfulness. He interweaves a variety of examples from memoirs, novels, and films along the way, connecting his discussion of the philosophical issues to related topics that interest all of us: virtue, love, philanthropy, suffering, simplicity, balancing work and leisure, and much more. Drawing on wide-ranging and robust evidence, Martin also makes the case that we need a "politics of happiness" whereby government would apply the results of recent "happiness studies" in psychology to public policy. (shrink)
Edwin Hartman argues that ethical principles should not derive from abstract theory, but from the real world of experience in organizations. He explains how ethical principles derive from what workers learn in their communities (firms), and that an ethical firm is one that creates the good life for the workers who contribute to its mission. His approach is based on the Aristotelian tradition of refined common sense, from recent work on collective action problems in organizations, and from social (...) contract theory. (shrink)
In his recent book The Good in the Right Robert Audi presents one of the most complete contemporary arguments for moral intuitionism. By clearing-out of unnecessary and out-of-date posits and commitments of traditional intuitionist accounts he manages to establish a moderate (and in a sense also minimal) version of intuitionism that can be further developed metaethically (e.g. Kantian intuitionism, value-based intuitionism) as well as normatively (e.g. by varying the list of prima facie duties). Central posits of his study (...) of moral intuitionism are various epistemological commitments, as, for instance, the nature of self-evident moral judgments, intuition and moral knowledge. He usefully distinguishes between two uses/notions of intuitionism in moral philosophy, the epistemological one and the overall one. Epistemological intuitionism is a position claiming that the basic moral beliefs and principles could be known non-inferentially and are justified through their understanding or intuitions. Overall moral intuitionism is built upon three basic features: (a) moral pluralism: there is an irreducible plurality of basic moral commitments (principles, prima facie duties); (b) each of the principles aims to a different kind of ground for action that underlies e.g. the prima facie duty in question and is epistemically accessible to ordinary moral agents; and (c) each moral principle is in some sense intuitively known by those who adequately understand it. (Audi 2004, 21) W. D. Ross's ethics is a paradigm case of the latter position, while other prominent representatives of either epistemological or overall intuitionism are H. Sidgwick, G. E. Moore, H. A. Prichard, C. D. Broad, and A. C. Ewing. (shrink)
The language of evolutionary biology and psychology is built on concepts applicable in the first instance to individual strategic rationality but extended to the level of genetic explanation. Current discussions of mental disorders as evolutionary adaptations would apply that extended language back to the individual level, with potentially problematic moral/political implications as well as possibilities of confusion. This paper focuses on one particularly problematic area: the explanation of women's greater tendency to depression. The suggestion that there are "good evolutionary (...) reasons" for depression makes sense, and might be helpful to note in therapy, as implying that the tendency is not a defect. However, evolutionary adaptiveness should not be confused with individual or psychological adaptiveness. Besides making reference to an earlier environment, it presupposes a strategic standpoint that may not accord with the legitimate interests of the individual, as this example makes vivid. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that mental disorder is a valid concept only in so far as it is an extension of or continuous with the concept of physical disorder. A valid extension has to meet two criteria: determination and coherence. Essentialists meet these criteria through necessary and sufficient conditions for being a disorder. Two Wittgensteinian alternatives to essentialism are considered and assessed against the two criteria. These are the family resemblance approach and the secondary sense approach. Where the focus (...) is solely on the characteristics or attributes of things, both these approaches seem to fail to meet the criteria for valid extension. However, this focus on attributes is mistaken. The criteria for valid extension are met in the case of family resemblance by the pattern of characteristics associated with a concept, and by the limits of intelligibility of applying a concept. Secondary sense, though it may have some claims to be a good account of the relation between physical and mental disorder, cannot claim to meet the two criteria of valid extension. (shrink)
We are living in an era when the focus of human relationships with the world is shifting from execution and physical impact to control and cognitive/informational interaction. This emerging, increasingly informational world is our new ecology, an infosphere that presents the grounds for a cognitive revolution based on interactions in networks of biological and artificial, intelligent agents. After the industrial revolution, which extended the human body through mechanical machinery, the cognitive revolution extends the human mind/cognition through information-processing machinery. These novel (...) circumstances come with new qualities and preferences demanding new conceptualizations. We have some work ahead of us to establish value systems and practices extended from the real to the increasingly virtual/info-computational. This paper first presents a current view of the virtual versus the real and then offers an interpretation framework based on an info-computational understanding of cognition in which agency implies computational processing of informational structures of the world as an infosphere. The notion of “good life” is discussed in light of different ideals of well-being in the infosphere, connecting virtuality as a space of potential and alternative worlds for an agent for whom the reality is a space of actual experiences, in the sense of Deleuze. Even though info-computational framework enables us to see both the real world and the diversity of virtual worlds in terms of computational processes on informational structures, based on a distinct layered cognitive architecture of all physical agents, there is clear difference between potential worlds of the virtual and actual agent’s experiences made in the real. Info-computationalism enables insight into the mechanisms of infosphere and elucidates its importance as cognitively predominant environment and communication media. The conclusion is that by cocooning ourselves in an elaborate info-computational infrastructure of the virtual, we may be increasingly isolating ourselves from the reality of direct experience of the world. The biggest challenges of the cognitive revolution may not be technological but ethical. They are about the nature of being human and its values. (shrink)
Democracy is shown to be a non-instrumental good-in-itself (as well as an instrument in securing other goods) by extrapolation from the Aristotelian premise that humans are political animals. Because humans are by nature language-using, as well as sociable and common-end-seeking beings, the capacity to associate in public decisions is constitutive of the human being-kind. Association in decision is necessary (although insufficient) for happiness in the sense of eudaimonia. A benevolent dictator who satisfied all other conditions of justice, harms (...) her subjects by denying them opportunity to associate in the decisions by which their community is governed. (shrink)
In The New Constitutionalism , seven distinguished scholars develop an innovative perspective on the power of institutions to shape politics and political life. Believing that constitutionalism needs to go beyond the classical goal of limiting the arbitrary exercise of political power, the contributors argue that it should--and can--be designed to achieve economic efficiency, informed democratic control, and other valued political ends. More broadly, they believe that political and social theory needs to turn away from the negativism of critical theory to (...) consider how a good society should be "constituted" and to direct the work of designing institutions that can constitute a "good polity," in both the economic and civic senses. Stephen L. Elkin and Karol Edward Soltan begin with an overview of constitutionalist theory and a discussion of the new constitutionalism within the broader intellectual and historical context of political and social thought. Charles Anderson, James Ceaser, and the editors then offer different interpretations of the central issues regarding institutional design in a constitutionalist social science, consider various ways of performing the task, and discuss the inadequacy of recent political science to the job it ought to be doing. The book concludes with essays by Ted Lowi, Cass Sunstein and Edwin Haefele which apply these themes to the American regime. (shrink)
This paper presents a philosophical reading of The Idiot , which perceives its main protagonist, Prince Myshkin, as a literary hero who chooses the path of generosity. The paper exposes Dostoevskyâs generosity-ethics against the background of Christian ethics, virtue ethics, and the Nietzschean notion of generosity; it further analyzes the problematic aspects of Myshkinâs version of generosity-ethics, and discusses several possible explanations of its catastrophic outcomes in the novel. The paper consists of three parts. The first part presents the rich (...) and profound sense that Dostoevsky gives to generosity-ethics in the novel, while showing the good it may bring to oneâs life. The second part exposes the dangers and the limits of generosity-ethics, because of which the Prince may be referred to as an idiot . The third and final part reevaluates generosity-ethics, discusses its relation to reason, and puts forth another version of generosity-ethics that may overcome most of the flaws in Myshkinâs generosity. Offering such a philosophical reading of this great literary work of art, the paper also says some things about the relation between philosophy and literature, and aims at a fruitful dialogue between the two. (shrink)
The concept of tact has so far received only little theoretical attention. The present article suggests three levels on which the idea of tact may be approached: (1) The epistemological problem: the etymology of the term ?tact? is taken seriously, namely its relation to the sense of touch and tactility. An analysis of the position of touch in the ranking of the five senses according to various parameters is shown to be highly relevant to the understanding of the idea (...) of tact. (2) The logical problem: tact is described as a skill which cannot be exhausted in the knowledge of principles or general rules. Like ?judgment? it is concerned with the particular, with sensitivity (analogical to that of the sense of touch) to the uniqueness of a human situation. (3) The ethical problem: tact is shown to lie between ethics and etiquette, that is to say it is more than just a rule of politeness or good manners, but it is ?less? than a fully fledged moral duty or principle. Its position between the obligatory and the merely conventional opens the way to characterize it as supererogatory. (shrink)
Maimonides expresses the view that being is goodness; evil is a deprivation of being and goodness. This view is prominent in Neoplatonism but has strong roots in Aristotle as well. While Maimonides problematizes moral language of good and evil, he makes use of an ontological sense of Necessary Existence as the absolute good. Plotinus wrote that beings are the beautiful. Avicenna adds that the pure good is Necessary Existence, which is free of deficiency, as it has (...) no possibility of lacking existence. This notion has a strong Aristotelian core. Despite his strictures on language about the divine, Maimonides allows himself to express this vision—an affective-aesthetic appreciation as well as a purely cognitive one. Being is the absolute good, the source of ontological beauty and value. (shrink)
In this article, using the recent work by Charles Taylor in A Secular Age as my point of departure, I will argue that Jean-Luc Nancy enables us to think past the competing binary of atheistic and religious experience and allows us to surpass the present narratives of secularism. In A Secular Age, Taylor himself seeks a middle ground between atheism and religion, arguing that it is possible to open ourselves to the cross-pressures of modern existence that find us caught between (...) scientific atheism and a need for spiritual and religious guidance. Here, Taylor finds a way of picturing ourselves within a secular age, remaining faithful to scientific rationalism, but still open to religion and a sense of a higher good. However, as I shall demonstrate, in his thesis Taylor misrepresents the Continental philosophical tradition (particularly Nietzsche and post-structuralism) that has itself sought to understand these cross-pressures of existence. Taking this misrepresentation, and specifically his reductive and colloquial analysis of Nietzsche, Camus, and Derrida, as my point of departure, I provide an alternative manner of thinking through the work of these writers, one that leads to a detailed analysis of Jean-Luc Nancy and his project the deconstruction of Christianity. In this analysis I argue that Nancy provides a manner of thinking that remains open and allows an experience of freedom, without seeking to close that sense of openness with explanation, nor maintaining that sense of openness with a conception of the divine. (shrink)
In genomic research the ideal standard of free, informed, prior, and explicit consent is believed to restrict important research studies. For certain types of genomic research other forms of consent are therefore proposed which are ethically justified by an appeal to the common good. This notion is often used in a general sense and this forms a weak basis for the use of weaker forms of consent. Here we examine how the notion of the common good can (...) be related to individual health, health care, and genomic research and we use this analysis to propose more precise criteria to justify forms of consent which diverge from the ideal standard. (shrink)
Moral entrepreneurship is the fine art of recycling evil into good by taking advantage of situations given or constructed as crises. It should be seen as the ultimate generalisation of the entrepreneurial spirit, whose peculiar excesses have always sat uneasily with homo oeconomicus as the constrained utility maximiser, an image that itself has come to be universalised. A task of this essay is to reconcile the two images in terms of what by the end I call ‘superutilitarianism’, which draws (...) on the lore of both superheroes and utilitarianism. After briefly surveying the careers of three exemplars of the moral entrepreneur (Robert McNamara, George Soros and Jeffrey Sachs), I explore the motives of moral entrepreneurs in terms of their standing debt to society for having already caused unnecessary harm but which also now equips him with the skill set needed to do significant good. Such a mindset involves imagining oneself a vehicle of divine will, which would be a scary proposition had it not been long presumed by Christians touched by Calvin. In conclusion, I argue that moral entrepreneurship looks most palatable – and perhaps even attractive – if the world is ‘reversible’, in the sense that every crisis, however clumsily handled by the moral entrepreneur, causes people to distinguish more clearly the necessary from contingent features of their existence. This leads them to reconceptualise past damages as new opportunities to assert what really matters; hence, a ‘superutilitarian’ ethic that treats all suffering as less cost than investment in a greater sense of the good. (shrink)
Adapting a definition introduced by Milgrom (1981) we say that a signal about the environment is good news relative to some initial beliefs if the posterior beliefs dominate the initial beliefs in the sense of first-order stochastic dominance (the assumption being that higher values of the parameter representing the environment mean better environments). We give an example where good news leads to the adoption of a more pessimistic course of action (we say that action a, reveals greater (...) pessimism than action aâ if it gives higher payoff in bad environments and lower payoff in good environments). We then give sufficient conditions for a signal not to induce a more pessimistic choice of action. (shrink)
Traditional Chinese culture, Confucianism, in particular, has a non-individualist conception of what it is to be human. It conceives of people fundamentally as members of social groups—specifically, the family, the clan, the political community and the state—not as atomic individuals as perceived in modern society. The communist ideology since the middle of the last century also emphasizes the significance of ‘the common good’ of the state which describes a specific ‘good’ that is shared and beneficial for all (or (...) most) members of a given community. Nevertheless, marketization and decentralization in China today have significantly challenged the notion of a state-oriented community that directly impacts China's healthcare system, beginning with the dismantling of the rural collectives and state-owned enterprises as part of the reform and opening process. This article will address healthcare challenges in China today, examining the conceptual/ethical issues raised by public healthcare, and contending that public health concerns should go beyond the dichotomy between individualism and collectivism. The article will argue that the family-oriented model of Confucianism offers an alternative way to look at what constitute a community and common goods. The Confucian approach to ethics is relevant to healthcare today. For example, it will be much easier to find a shared idea of common good in terms of complicated issues like healthcare; it would make sense to give a larger role to families via family savings accounts, and not have everything determined by the government. (shrink)
Elio Gianturco said, of De mente heroica (On the Heroic Mind) “it is one of the most inspired ‘invitations to learning’ ever penned. . . . The eros of learning has seldom been expressed in more electrifying terms.”Vico advocates the humanist ideal that the goal of education is the realization of the natural bond between eloquence and wisdom. The educated person has the goal of becoming “wisdom speaking” (la sapienza che parla). The aim of the individual in any system of (...) education should be to grasp all the branches of knowledge in their connections to each other, to see thought as forming a whole.On Vico’s view, the individual should acquire the power of wisdom speaking for the common good. The ideal to instill in students is a sense of heroic mind. This form of heroism is the cultivation of the virtues to seek not just honor and gain but to act for the social good. These are ancient ideals that carry with them their own power. On Vico’s view, they require constant and eloquent restatement by the teacher and should occupy a central place in the educational institution. (shrink)
Part Two, Area A. Resuming the investigation set afoot in Part 1,1 we there proposed that subliminally people do commonly sense moral obligation as a kind of debt (chreos) of shared responsibility ? every person's share in the cost of a good community which is the common cause of all. Testing this ?common understanding? by the facts of human nature and community, this article examines the substratum of my good, good of others, idea of good (...) community, of common cause in it, of shared responsibility for it, of consequent debt of all to whole, and of human freedom and capacity to estimate and pay on a basis to be examined in Area B projected. ?Elementary freedom? depends on capacity for truthful purpose and for independent judgment, ?ultimate freedom? on a determined truthful purpose coupled with adequacy of ideas for interpretation of entire experience. Every human is free in the elementary sense, and accordingly responsible. Ultimate freedom has to be won, and actively affirmed. (shrink)
From political scandals at the highest levels to inflated repair bills at the local garage, we are seemingly surrounded with unethical behavior, so why should we behave any differently? Why should we go through life anchored down by rules no one else seems to follow? Writing with wit and elegance, Simon Blackburn tackles such questions in this lively look at ethics, highlighting the complications and doubts and troubling issues that spring from the very simple question of how we ought to (...) live. Blackburn dissects many common reasons why we are skeptical about ethics. Drawing on all-too-familiar examples from history, politics, religion and everyday personal experience, he shows how cynicism and self-consciousness can paralyze us into considering ethics a hopeless pursuit. But ethics is neither futile nor irrelevant, he assures us, but an intimate part of the nitty gritty issues of living--of birth, death, happiness, desire, freedom, pleasure, justice. Indeed, from moral dilemmas about abortion and euthanasia, to our obsession with personal rights, to our longing for a sense of meaning in life, our everyday struggles are rife with ethical issues, whether we notice it or not. Blackburn distills the arguments of Hume, Kant and Aristotle down to their essences, to underscore the timeless relevance of our voice of conscience, the pitfalls of complacency, and our concerns about truth, knowledge and human progress. Blackburn's rare combination of depth, rigor and sparkling prose, and his distinguished ranking among contemporary philosophers, mark Being Good as an important statement on our current disenchantment with ethics. It challenges us to take a more thoughtful reading of our ethical climate and to ponder more carefully our own standards of behavior. (shrink)
The practice of clinical medicine is inextricably linked with the need for moral values and ethical principles. The study of medical ethics is, therefore, rightly assuming an increasingly significant place in undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses and in allied health curricula. Making Sense of Medical Ethics offers a no-nonsense introduction to the principles of medical ethics, as applied to the everyday care of patients, the development of novel therapies and the undertaking of pioneering basic medical research. Written from a (...) practical rather than a philosophical perspective, the authors call upon their extensive experience of clinical practice, research and teaching to illustrate how ethical principles can be applied in different "real-life" situations. Making Sense of Medical Ethics encourages readers to understand the principles of medical ethics as they apply to clinical practice; explore and evaluate common misconceptions; consider the ethics underlying any medical decision; and as a result, to realize that a good appreciation of medical ethics will help them to practice more effectively in the future. (shrink)
What is the good life? This question captured the attention of ancient philosophers and it remains with us today, because it compels us to consider what it is to be human. To inquire about the good life is to ask, not about the proper conduct in one specific situation, but about the proper course of an entire life. It is to ask what we ought to make of ourselves as moral beings, what standards we ought to follow, and (...) what goals we ought to aspire to. But does it make sense to talk about the good life or the human good, or are there many human goods and many ways of living a good life? If there are many goods, then ow are they related, and how are we to determine whether one good outweighs another? Does living one's own life well leave room for concern for the well-being of others? Are there other non-moral concerns that may sometimes take precedence over living a good life? These are a few of the questions that will be addressed by the essays in this issue. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss the implications of Hutcheson’s and Hume’s sentimentalist theories for the question of whether and how we can offer reasons to be moral. Hutcheson and Hume agree that reason does not give us ultimate ends. Because of this, on Hutcheson’s line, the possession of affections and of a moral sense makes practical reasons possible. On Hume’s view, that reason does not give us ultimate ends means that reason does not motivate on its own, and this (...) makes practical reasons, strictly speaking, impossible. For Hutcheson, those who are good people (benevolent people) have reasons to continue in that way. While he has nothing to say to those who are thoroughly self-interested, he thinks there are no such persons. Hume’s theory implies that one can have a motive to behave morally when one’s character does not so incline, since he believes that morality is at least sometimes in the interest of the agent. One interesting source of their differences is that Hume subscribes to an internal connection between justification and motivation, while Hutcheson argues that motivating reasons and justifying reasons are logically distinct. -/- . (shrink)
This article proposes a theory of the firm based on the common good. It clarifies the meaning of the term “common good” tracing its historical development. Next, an analogous sense applicable to the firm is derived from its original context in political theory. Put simply, the common good of the firm is the production of goods and services needed for flourishing, in which different members participate through work. This is linked to the political common good (...) through subsidiarity. Lastly, implications and challenges arising from the positing of work as the common good of the firm are explored. (shrink)
In search of good -- A Socratic question -- Flourishing and well-being -- Mind and value -- Utilitarianism -- Rawls and the priority of the right -- Right, wrong, should -- The elimination of moral rightness -- Rules and good -- Categorical imperatives -- Conflicting interests -- Whose good? The egoist's answer -- Whose good? The utilitarian's answer - Self-denial, self-love, universal concern -- Pain, self-love, and altruism -- Agent-neutrality and agent-relativity -- Good, conation, and (...) pleasure -- "Good" and "good for" -- "Good for" and advantage -- "Good that" and "Bad that" -- Pleasure and advantage -- Good for S that P -- The "for" of "good for" -- Plants, animals, humans -- Ross on human nature -- The perspectival reading of "good for" -- The conative approach to well-being -- Abstracting from the content of desires and plans -- The faulty mechanisms of desire formation -- Infants and adults -- The conation of an ideal self -- The appeal of the conative theory -- Conation hybridized -- Strict hedonism -- Hedonism diluted -- Prolegomenon to flourishing -- Development and flourishing: the general theory -- Development and flourishing: the human case -- More examples of what is good -- Appealing to nature -- Sensory un-flourishing -- Affective flourishing and un-flourishing -- Hobbes on tranquility and restlessness -- Flourishing and un-flourishing as a social being -- Cognitive flourishing and un-flourishing -- Sexual flourishing and un-flourishing -- Too much and too little -- Comparing lives and stages of life -- Adding goods: Rawls's principle of inclusiveness -- Art, science, and culture -- Self-sacrifice -- The vanity of fame -- The vanity of wealth -- Making others worse-off -- Virtues and flourishing -- The good of autonomy -- What is good and why -- The sovereignty of good -- The importance of what is good for us -- Good's insufficiency -- Promises -- Retribution -- Cosmic justice -- Social justice -- Pure antipaternalism -- Moral space and giving aid -- Slavery -- Torture -- Moral rightness revisited -- Lying -- Honoring the dead -- Meaningless goals and symbolic value -- Good-independent realms of value -- Good thieves and good human beings -- Final thoughts. (shrink)
Kant’s ethics conceives of rational beings as autonomous–capable of legislating the moral law, and of motivating themselves to act out of respect for that law. Kant’s ethics also includes a notion of the highest good, the union of virtue with happiness proportional to, and consequent on, virtue. According to Kant, morality sets forth the highest good as an object of the totality of all things good as ends. Much about Kant’s conception of the highest good is (...) controversial. This paper focuses on the apparent conflict between Kant’s claim that we are autonomous, and passages in which he seems to suggest that we require belief in the possibility of the highest good to motivate moral action. I distinguish three distinct versions of these problematic claims that seem to be present in Kant’s texts: that the highest good serves as (1) a motivational supplement to respect for the moral law, (2) a fundamental spring of right action, and (3) a condition of the bindingness of moral requirements. I argue that the texts are better interpreted to yield alternatives to (2) and (3) that do not conflict with our autonomy. I also argue that, properly understood, (1) does not conflict with our autonomy. In arguing for the last claim, I explore Kant’s notion of radical evil and its implications for human agency and virtue. (shrink)
Keeley has recently argued that the philosophical issue of how to analyse the concept of a sense can usefully be addressed by considering how scientists, and more specifically neuroethologists, classify the senses. After briefly outlining his proposal, which is based on the application of an ordered set of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for modality differentiation, I argue, by way of two complementary counterexamples, that it fails to account fully for the way the senses are in fact individuated (...) in neuroethology and other relevant sciences. I suggest substantial modifications to Keeley. (shrink)
We challenge Gallagher’s distinction between the sense of ownership (SO) and the sense of agency (SA) as two separable modalities of experience of the minimal self and argue that a careful investigation of the examples provided to promote this distinction in fact reveals that SO and SA are intimately related and modulate each other. We propose a way to differentiate between the various notions of SO and SA that are currently used interchangeably in the debate, and suggest a (...) more gradual reading of the two that allows for various blends of SO and SA. Such an approach not only provides us with a richer phenomenology but also with a more parsimonious view of the minimal self. (shrink)
The now growing literature on the content and sources of the phenomenology of first-person agency highlights the multi-faceted character of the phenomenology of agency and makes it clear that the experience of agency includes many other experiences as components. This paper examines the possible relations between these components of our experience of acting and the processes involved in action specification and action control. After a brief discussion of our awareness of our goals and means of action, it will focus on (...) the sense of agency for a given action, understood as the sense the agent has that he or she is the author of that action. I argue that the sense of agency can be analyzed as a compound of more basic experiences, including the experience of intentional causation, the sense of initiation and the sense of control. I further argue that the sense of control may itself be analysed into a number of more specific, partially dissociable experiences. (shrink)
Scholars have long debated the relationship between Kant’s doctrine of right and his doctrine of virtue (including his moral religion or ethico-theology), which are the two branches of his moral philosophy. This article will examine the intimate connection in his practical philosophy between perpetual peace and the highest good, between political and ethico-religious communities, and between the types of transparency peculiar to each. It will show how domestic and international right provides a framework for the development of ethical communities, (...) including a kingdom of ends and even the noumenal ethical community of an afterlife, and how the transparency and trust achieved in these communities is anticipated in rightful political society by publicity and the mutual confidence among citizens that it engenders. Finally, it will explore the implications of this synthesis of Kant’s political and religious philosophies for contemporary Kantian political theories, especially those of Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls. (shrink)
In Plato’s Apology (29a-b), Socrates agues that he does not fear death; indeed, to fear death is a sign of ignorance. It is to claim to know what one in fact does not know (Ap. 29 a-b). Perhaps, Socrates suggests, death is not a great evil after all, but “the greatest of all goods.” At the end of the dialogue, after the judges have voted on the final verdict and Socrates has received the death penalty, the philosopher considers two common (...) views of death: that death is a long dreamless sleep and that death is a journey to another place - Hades. According to Socrates, either of these views of death would be acceptable to him; the one, because he would receive a wonderful rest with no dreams to disturb him; the other, because he would be able to talk philosophy with those who had gone before with impunity. In this paper, I will examine Socrates’ view of death, and I will argue that, according to Socrates, there could be a third perspective on death that will not only make him truly immortal in a certain way, but will also immortalize the practice of Socratic philosophy. Hence, Socrates embraces his sentence because dying at the right time and dying in the right way provides him the possibility of a good death. <br><br>. (shrink)
In this paper I analyze interpersonal and institutional recognition and discuss the relation of different types of recognition to various principles of social justice (egalitarianism, meritarianism, legitimate favouritism, principles of need and free exchange). Further, I try to characterize contours of good autonomous life, and ask what kind of preconditions it has. I will distinguish between five kinds of preconditions: psychological, material, cultural, intersubjective and institutional. After examining what the role of recognition is among such preconditions, and how they (...) figure in the work of Axel Honneth, Nancy Fraser and Charles Taylor, I suggest a somewhat complex and hopefully rich picture of interpersonal and institutional recognition as a precondition of autonomous good life. (shrink)
The construction and analysis of arguments supposedly are a philosopher's main business, the demonstration of truth or refutation of falsehood his principal aim. In Sense and Sensibilia, J.L. Austin does something entirely different: He discusses the sense-datum doctrine of perception, with the aim not of refuting it but of 'dissolving' the 'philosophical worry' it induces in its champions. To this end, he 'exposes' their 'concealed motives', without addressing their stated reasons. The paper explains where and why this at (...) first sight outrageous aim and approach are perfectly sensible, how exactly Austin proceeds, and how his approach can be taken further. This shows Austin to be a pioneer of the currently much discussed notion of philosophy as therapy, reveals a subtle and unfamiliar use of linguistic analysis that is not open to the standard objections to ordinary language philosophy, and yields a novel and forceful treatment of the sense-datum doctrine. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a version of a sense-data approach to perception, which differs to a certain extent from well-known versions like the one put forward by Jackson. I compare the sense-data view to the currently most popular alternative theories of perception, the so-called Theory of Appearing (a very specific form of disjunctivist approaches) on the one hand and reductive representationalist approaches on the other. I defend the sense-data approach on the basis that it improves substantially (...) on those alternative theories. (shrink)
Two concepts of utmost importance for the analytic philosophy of the twentieth century, “sense-data” and “knowledge by acquaintance”, were introduced by Bertrand Russell under the influence of two idealist philosophers: F. H. Bradley and Alexius Meinong. This paper traces the exact history of their introduction. We shall see that between 1896 and 1898, Russell had a fully-elaborated theory of “sense-data”, which he abandoned after his analytic turn of the summer of 1898. Furthermore, following a subsequent turn of August (...) 1900—-after he became acquainted with the works of Peano and later of Frege—-Russell gradually developed another theory of sense-data. With the collaboration of G. E. Moore, Russell reintroduced the term “sense-data” in 1911. Concomitantly with this move, Russell introduced the epistemological term “knowledge by acquaintance”, which came to designate the grasping of sense-data and universals. (shrink)
The Right and the Good, a classic of twentieth-century philosophy by the eminent scholar Sir David Ross, is now presented in a new edition with a substantial introduction by Philip Stratton-Lake, a leading expert on Ross. Ross's book is the pinnacle of ethical intuitionism, which was the dominant moral theory in British philosophy for much of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Intuitionism is now enjoying a considerable revival, and Stratton-Lake provides the context for a proper understanding of Ross's (...) great work today. (shrink)
Pauline Kleingeld, "What Do the Virtuous Hope For?: Re-reading Kant's Doctrine of the Highest Good." In Proceedings of the Eighth International Kant Congress, Memphis 1995, edited by Hoke Robinson, Vol. I.1, 91-112. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1995.
This book aims to develop certain aspects of Gottlob Frege's theory of meaning, especially those relevant to intentional logic. It offers a new interpretation of the nature of senses, and attempts to devise a logical calculus for the theory of sense and reference that captures as closely as possible the views of the historical Frege.
In this paper I set out to solve the problem of how the world as we experience it, full of colours and other sensory qualities, and our inner experiences, can be reconciled with physics. I discuss and reject the views of J. J. C. Smart and Rom Harré. I argue that physics is concerned only to describe a selected aspect of all that there is – the causal aspect which determines how events evolve. Colours and other sensory qualities, lacking causal (...) efficacy, are ignored by physics and cannot be predicted by physical theory. Even though physics is silent about sensory qualities, they nevertheless exist objectively in the world – in one sense of “objective” at least. (shrink)
Seeing, Doing, and Knowing is an original and comprehensive philosophical treatment of sense perception as it is currently investigated by cognitive neuroscientists. Its central theme is the task-oriented specialization of sensory systems across the biological domain; these systems coevolve with an organism's learning and action systems, providing the latter with classifications of external objects in terms of sensory categories purpose--built for their need. On the basis of this central idea, Matthen presents novel theories of perceptual similarity, content, and realism. (...) His work will be a stimulating resource for a wide range of scholars and students across philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
In this paper we give some formal examples of ideas developed by Penco in two papers on the tension inside Frege's notion of sense (see Penco 2003). The paper attempts to compose the tension between semantic and cognitive aspects of sense, through the idea of sense as proof or procedure – not as an alternative to the idea of sense as truth condition, but as complementary to it (as it happens sometimes in the old tradition of (...) procedural semantics). (shrink)
This paper presents a response to the question of the relationship between science and reality. It rejects the anti-realist claim that we are unable to acquire knowledge of reality in favour of the realist view that science yields knowledge of the external world. But what world is that? Some argue that science leads to the overthrow of our commonsense view of the world. Common sense is “stone-age metaphysics” to be rejected as the false theory of our primitive ancestors. Against (...) such eliminativists about common sense, it is argued that science both preserves and explains commonsense experience of the world. Though science may lead to the overthrow of deeply held beliefs, common sense reflects a more basic and durable level of experience. Commonsense beliefs are well-confirmed beliefs which are vindicated by their role in successful practical action each and every day. Common sense provides a firm basis on which to establish the realist approach to science. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege has exerted an enormous influence on the evolution of twentieth-century philosophy, yet the real significance of that influence is still very much a matter of debate. This book provides a completely new and systematic account of Frege's philosophy by focusing on its cornerstone: the theory of sense and reference. Two features distinguish this study from other books on Frege. First, sense and reference are placed absolutely at the core of Frege's work; the author shows that no (...) adequate account of the theory can avoid analysing the notion of thought that underpins it, or explaining how it has clarified our concept of judgement. Second, the theory is situated within the development of Frege's thought; the author reveals how the theory caused Frege to alter many of his fundamental views. In doing so the author presents a clearer picture of the problems the theory was intended to solve, and delineates more sharply the characteristic features of Frege's philosophy. (shrink)
I compare Frith and colleagues’ influential comparator account of how the sense of agency is elicited to the multifactorial weighting model advocated by Synofzik and colleagues. I defend the comparator model from the common objection that the actual sensory consequences of action are not needed to elicit the sense of agency. I examine the comparator model’s ability to explain the performance of healthy subjects and those suffering from delusions of alien control on various self-attribution tasks. It transpires that (...) the comparator model needs case-by-case adjustment to deal with problematic data. In response to this, the multifactorial weighting model of Synofzik and colleagues is introduced. Although this model is incomplete, it is more naturally constrained by the cases that are problematic for the comparator model. However, this model may be untestable. I conclude that currently the comparator model approach has stronger support than the multifactorial weighting model approach. (shrink)
THE STRUCTURE OF THIS PAPER IS AS FOLLOWS. I begin §1 by dealing with preliminary issues such as the different relations expressed by the “good for” locution. I then (§2) outline the Locative Analysis of good for and explain its main elements before moving on to (§3) outlining and discussing the positive features of the view. In the subsequent sections I show how the Locative Analysis can respond to objections from, or inspired by, Sumner (§4-5), Regan (§6), and (...) Schroeder and Feldman (§7). I then (§8) reply to an imagined objector who claims that the Locative Analysis generates implausible results with respect to punishment, virtue and agent-centered duties. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the circumstances in which it would be right to revise a common-sense psychological categorisation -- such as the common-sense categorisation of emotions -- in the light of the results of empirical investigation. I argue that an answer to that question, familiar from eliminitivist arguments, should be rejected, and suggest that the issue turns on the ontological commitments of the explanations that common-sense psychological states enter into.
The sense of embodiment is vital for self recognition. An examination of anosognosia for hemiplegia—the inability to recognise that one is paralysed down one side of one’s body—suggests the existence of ‘online’ and ‘offline’ representations of the body. Online representations of the body are representations of the body as it is currently, are newly constructed moment by moment and are directly “plugged into” current perception of the body. In contrast, offline representations of the body are representations of what the (...) body is usually like, are relatively stable and are constructed from online representations. This distinction is supported by an analysis of phantom limb—the feeling that an amputated limb is still present—phenomena. Initially it seems that the sense of embodiment may arise from either of these types of representation; however, an integrated representation of the body seems to be required. It is suggested information from vision and emotions is involved in generating these representations. A lack of access to online representations of the body does not necessarily lead to a loss in the sense of embodiment. An integrated offline representation of the body could account for the sense of embodiment and perform the functions attributed to this sense. (shrink)
Metaphysicians of Meaning is the first book to challenge the accepted understanding of Russell's On Denoting and Frege's On Sense and Reference . Makin compares the work Russell did shortly before his famous essay "On Denoting" with the essay itself and argues that this comparison shows that the traditional view of the problem Russell was trying to solve is untenable. He then examines Frege's classic essay and argues that some of the less well-known views that Frege held have radical (...) implications for our understanding of this essay. (shrink)
De Vignemont argues that the sense of ownership comes from the localization of bodily sensation on a map of the body that is part of the body schema. This model should be taken as a model of the sense of embodiment. I argue that the body schema lacks the theoretical resources needed to explain this phenomenology. Furthermore, there is some reason to think that a deficient sense of embodiment is not associated with a deficient body schema. The (...) data de Vignemont uses to argue that the body image does not underlie the sense of embodiment does not rule out the possibility that part of the body image I call 'offline representations' underlies the sense of embodiment. An alternative model of the sense of embodiment in terms of offline representations of the body is presented. (shrink)
An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense (1728), jointly with Francis Hutcheson’s earlier work Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), presents one of the most original and wide-ranging moral philosophies of the eighteenth century. These two works, each comprising two semi-autonomous treatises, were widely translated and vastly influential throughout the eighteenth century in England, continental Europe, and America. -/- The two works had (...) their greatest impact in Scotland and influenced many well-known Scottish philosophers, particularly those writing after the last Jacobite upheaval, in 1745. This can be seen in the concern of the post-1745 generation with analyzing human nature as the foundation of moral theory, with the “moral sense” and moral epistemology more generally, with the impartial spectator and the calm passions, and with the independence of benevolence from self-interest. In addition to the influence of his writings, Hutcheson was also a famed teacher whose Glasgow students, notably Adam Smith, held sway over generations of Scottish moral philosophers. -/- Despite their impact on Scottish letters, the four treatises were in fact written in Dublin, and the philosophers to whom Hutcheson responded and with whom he debated were in the main not Scottish but English, Irish, French, Roman, and Greek. Consequently, part of Hutcheson’s legacy was a cosmopolitan outlook among enlightened Scots, who learned to turn their eyes far from home. (shrink)
Noah Lemos defends the common sense tradition--the view that permits us to justify the philosophical inquiry of many of the things we ordinarily think we know. He discusses the main features of this tradition as expounded by Thomas Reid, G.E. Moore and Roderick Chisholm in a text that will appeal to students and philosophers in epistemology and ethics.
I review Gabriel Richardson Lear's excellent essay on Aristotle’s conception of the human good. She solves some long-standing problems in the interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics by drawing on resources in his natural philosophy and Plato’s conception of love. Her interpretation is a compelling and, to my mind, largely true account of Aristotle’s view. In this review, I summarize the book's main argument and then explain two fundamental points on which I have concerns.
The contributors to this volume examine current controversies about the importance of common sense psychology for our understanding of the human mind. Common sense provides a familiar and friendly psychological scheme by which to talk about the mind. Its categories (belief, desire, intention, consciousness, emotion, and so on) tend to portray the mind as quite different from the rest of nature, and thus irreducible to physical matters and its laws. In this volume a variety of positions on common (...)sense psychology from critical to supportive, from exegetical to speculative, are represented. Among the questions posed are: Is common sense psychology an empirical theory, a body of analytic knowledge, a practice, or a strategy? If it is a legitimate enterprise can it be naturalized or not? If it is not legitimate can it be eliminated? Is its fate tied to our understanding of consciousness? Should we approach its concepts and generalizations from the standpoint of conceptual analysis or from the philosophy of science? (shrink)
Review of Johanson's book Aristotle on the sense organs. Aristotle seeks to explain the characteristics of the different sense organs by reference to the goal that they serve, that of enabling animals to perceive. A material basis is necessary for sense perception but it is an open question whether the material in question undergoes a physiological change.
Moral philosophy has long been preoccupied by a supposed dichotomy between the "good" and the "right". This dichotomy has been taken to define certain allegedly central issues for ethics. How are the good and the right related to each other? For example, is one of the two (as many philosophers have put it) "prior" to the other? If so, is the good prior to the right, or is the right prior to the good?
Aquinas, Aristotle, and the Promise of the Common Good claims that contemporary theory and practice have much to gain from engaging Aquinas's normative concept of the common good and his way of reconciling religion, philosophy, and politics. Examining the relationship between personal and common goods, and the relation of virtue and law to both, Mary M. Keys shows why Aquinas should be read in addition to Aristotle on these perennial questions. She focuses on Aquinas's Commentaries as mediating statements (...) between Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Politics and Aquinas's own Summa Theologiae, showing how this serves as the missing link for grasping Aquinas's understanding of Aristotle's thought. Keys argues provocatively that Aquinas's Christian faith opens up new panoramas and possibilities for philosophical inquiry and insights into ethics and politics. Her book shows how religious faith can assist sound philosophical inquiry into the foundation and proper purposes of society and politics. (shrink)
'We desire all and only those things we conceive to be good; we avoid what we conceive to be bad.' This slogan was once the standard view of the relationship between desire or motivation and rational evaluation. Many critics have rejected this scholastic formula as either trivial or wrong. It appears to be trivial if we just define the good as 'what we want', and wrong if we consider apparent conflicts between what we seem to want and what (...) we seem to think is good. In Appearances of the Good, Sergio Tenenbaum argues that the old slogan is both significant and right, even in cases of apparent conflict between our desires and our evaluative judgments. Maintaining that the good is the formal end of practical inquiry in much the same way as truth is the formal end of theoretical inquiry, he provides a fully unified account of motivation and evaluation. (shrink)