This paper has two main purposes: first to compare Wittgenstein's views to the more traditional views in the philosophy of mathematics; second, to provide a general outline for a Wittgensteinian reply to two objections against Wittgenstein's account of mathematics: the objectivityobjection and the consistency objections, respectively. Two fundamental thesmes of Wittgenstein's account of mathematics title the first two sections: mathematical propositions are rules and not descritpions and mathematics is employed within a form of life. Under each heading, (...) I examine Wittgenstein's rejection of alternative views. My aim is to make clear the differences and to suggest some similarities. As will become clear, Wittgenstein often rejects opposing views for the same or similar reasons. This comparison will provide the necessary background for better understanding Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, for appreciating its many unappreciated advantages and, finally, for defending a conventionalist account of mathematics. (shrink)
Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about being (...) overly alienating. This is so because, unlike objectivist theories, hybrid theories place a pro-attitude constraint on well-being. However, from the point of view of objectivists, hybrid theories are not objectivist enough, and this can be seen clearly in missing-desires cases. For instance, hybrid theories entail that, if someone lacks the desire for health, then health is not a component of her well-being. This, objectivists say, is implausible. It is obvious, objectivists say, that someone’s life goes better for herself inasmuch as she is healthy, and hence that health is a component of her welfare. This paper focuses on the missing-desires objection (as leveled by objectivists) to hybrid theories of well-being. My argument is that the missing-desires objection can be answered in a way that is generally convincing and, in particular, in a way that pays a good deal of respect to objectivist intuitions about well-being. My hope, then, is that this paper will help to persuade objectivists about well-being to become hybrid theorists. (shrink)
Prologue: objectivity shock -- Epistemologies of the eye -- Blind sight -- Collective empiricism -- Objectivity is new -- Histories of the scientific self -- Epistemic virtues -- The argument -- Objectivity in shirtsleeves -- Truth-to-nature -- Before objectivity -- Taming nature's variability -- The idea in the observation -- Four-eyed sight -- Drawing from nature -- Truth-to-nature after objectivity -- Mechanical objectivity -- Seeing clear -- Photography as science and art -- Automatic images (...) and blind sight -- Drawing against photography -- Self-surveillance -- Ethics of objectivity -- The scientific self -- Why objectivity? -- The scientific subject -- Kant among the scientists -- Scientific personas -- Observation and attention -- Knower and knowledge -- Structural objectivity -- Objectivity without images -- The objective science of mind -- The real, the objective, and the communicable -- The color of subjectivity -- What even a god could not say -- Dreams of a neutral language -- The cosmic community -- Trained judgment -- The uneasiness of mechanical reproduction -- Accuracy should not be sacrificed to objectivity -- The art of judgment -- Practices and the scientific self -- Representation to presentation -- Seeing is being : truth, objectivity, and judgment -- Seeing is making : nanofacture -- Right depiction. (shrink)
Consequentialism, many philosophers have claimed, asks too much of us to be a plausible ethical theory. Indeed, the theory's severe demandingness is often claimed to be its chief flaw. My thesis is that as we come to better understand this objection, we see that, even if it signals or tracks the existence of a real problem for Consequentialism, it cannot itself be a fundamental problem with the view. The objection cannot itself provide good reason to break with Consequentialism, (...) because it must presuppose prior and independent breaks with the view. The way the objection measures the demandingness of an ethical theory reflects rather than justifies being in the grip of key anti-Consequentialist conclusions. We should reject Consequentialism independently of the Objection or not at all. Thus, we can reduce by one the list of worrisome fundamental complaints against Consequentialism. (shrink)
I discuss Ingmar Persson’s recent argument that the Levelling Down Objection could be worse for prioritarians than for egalitarians. Persson’s argument depends upon the claim that indifference to changes in the average prioritarian value of benefits implies indifference to changes in the overall prioritarian value of a state of affairs. As I show, however, sensible conceptions of prioritarianism have no such implication. Therefore prioritarians have nothing to fear from the Levelling Down Objection.
This paper develops under-recognized connections between moderate historicist methodology and character (or virtue) epistemology, and goes on to argue that their combination supports a “dialectical” conception of objectivity. Considerations stemming from underdetermination problems motivate our claim that historicism requires agent-focused rather than merely belief-focused epistemology; embracing this point helps historicists avoid the charge of relativism. Considerations stemming from the genealogy of epistemic virtue concepts motivate our claim that character epistemologies are strengthened by moderate historicism about the epistemic virtues and (...) values at work in communities of inquiry; embracing this point helps character epistemologists avoid the charge of objectivism. (shrink)
In this paper I consider Saul Kripke’s famous Humphrey objection to David Lewis’s views on de re modality and argue that responses to this objection currently on the market fail to mitigate its force in any significant way.
Rationality (or something similar) is usually given as the relevant difference between all humans and animals; the reason humans do but animals do not deserve moral consideration. But according to the Argument from Marginal Cases not all humans are rational, yet if such (marginal) humans are morally considerable despite lacking rationality it would be arbitrary to deny animals with similar capacities a similar level of moral consideration. The slippery slope objection has it that although marginal humans are not strictly (...) speaking morally considerable, we should give them moral consideration because if we do not we will slide down a slippery slope where we end up by not giving normal humans due consideration. I argue that this objection fails to show that marginal humans have the kind of direct moral status proponents of the slippery slope argument have in mind. (shrink)
In Political Liberalism, Rawls emphasizes the practical character and aims of his conception of justice. Justice as fairness is to provide the basis of a reasoned, informed and willing political agreement by locating grounds for consensus in the fundamental ideas and values of the political culture. Critics urge, however, that such a politically liberal conception of justice will be designed merely to ensure the stability of political institutions by appealing to the currently-held opinions of actual citizens. In order to evaluate (...) this concern, I suggest, it is necessary to focus on the normative character of Rawls's analysis. Rawls argues that justice as fairness is the conception of justice that citizens of modern democratic cultures should choose in reflective equilibrium, after reflecting fully upon their considered judgments regarding justice. Since judgments in reflective equilibrium are grounded in considered judgment, rather than situated opinions, I argue that the criticism fails. Key Words: justification objectivity political liberalism Rawls reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
In recent years, a renascent form of pragmatism has developed which argues that a satisfactory pragmatic position must integrate into itself the concepts of truth and objectivity. This New Pragmatism, as Cheryl Misak calls it, is directed primarily against Rorty's neo-pragmatic dismissal of these concepts. For Rorty, the goal of our epistemic practices should not be to achieve an objective view, one that tries to represent things as they are 'in themselves,' but rather to attain a view of things (...) that can gain as much inter-subjective agreement as possible. In Rorty's language, we need to replace the aim of objectivity with that of solidarity. While the New Pragmatists agree with Rorty's 'humanist' and .. (shrink)
This book develops an explanation for the roles of observation and theory in scientific endeavor that occupies the middle ground between empiricism and rationalism, and captures the strengths of both approaches. Brown argues that philosophical theories have the same epistemological status as scientific theories and constructs an epistemological theory that provides an account of the role that theory and instruments play in scientific observation. His theory of perception yields a new analysis of objectivity that combines the traditional view of (...) observation as the foundation of scientific objectivity with the contemporary recognition that observation is theory-dependent. (shrink)
This volume develops and defends critical realism whilst engaging critically with existentialist philosophy in a number of ways. The work of existentialist thinkers as diverse as Kierkegarrd, R.D. Laing, Heideggar and Sartre is discussed at length and Andrew Collier argues that there is much to be learnt from their work, especially in Heidegger's critique of the technological view of the world. However the book concludes with a defence of objectivity against the various forms of subjectivism advanced by the existentialists.
What is objectivity? What is the rule of law? Are the operations of legal systems objective? If so, in what ways and to what degrees are they objective? Does anything of importance depend on the objectivity of law? These are some of the principal questions addressed by Matthew H. Kramer in this lucid and wide-ranging study that introduces readers to vital areas of philosophical enquiry.
This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet according to Turing, there was no upper bound to the number of mathematical truths provable by intelligent human beings, for they could invent new rules and methods of proof. So, the output of a human mathematician, for (...) Turing, was not a computable sequence (i.e., one that could be generated by a Turing machine). Since computers only contained a finite number of instructions (or programs), one might argue, they could not reproduce human intelligence. Turing called this the “mathematical objection” to his view that machines can think. Logico-mathematical reasons, stemming from his own work, helped to convince Turing that it should be possible to reproduce human intelligence, and eventually compete with it, by developing the appropriate kind of digital computer. He felt it should be possible to program a computer so that it could learn or discover new rules, overcoming the limitations imposed by the incompleteness and undecidability results in the same way that human mathematicians presumably do. (shrink)
This article is a summary of two chapters of a book published in French in 1997, entitled Comment L'esprit vient aux Bêtes, Paris, Gallimard. The core idea is that the crucial distinction between internal and external states, often used uncritically by theorists of intentionality, needs to be made on a non-circular basis. The proposal is that objectivity - the capacity to reidentify individuals as the same across places and times depends on the capacity to extract spatial crossmodal invariants, which (...) in turn presupposes a capacity to (re)calibrate perceptual inputs across modalities in a principled way. (shrink)
An inter-disciplinary philosophical treatise (written as an accredited Ph.D. thesis) that attempts to establish a new approach to moral objectivity. Inspired by the Buddha's Middle Way, but arguing from first premises, it challenges widespread and interlinked assumptions in both analytic and continental philosophy, whilst drawing on both these traditions together with psychological, religious and historical evidence. The first section of the book provides a detailed critique of existing approaches to ethics in the Western tradition. The second half then puts (...) forward positive and practical alternatives, and solutions to long-standing philosophical problems. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Frege, and others who followed him, stressed the role of fallibility as a means to defining ‘objectivity.’ By defining objective judgments as fallible, these philosophers contributed to the consolidation of a theory of objectivity which suggested interpreting epistemological, as well as other judgements, as being objective. An important philosophical implication of this theory lies in its disclosure of the interrelations between truth and objectivity. In light of this insight, and based on an analysis of instances of (...) false (epistemological and other) judgments, I show that truth and objectivity go hand-in-hand, while falsity and objectivity do not. This finding alone indicates the necessity to revise the theory of objectivity. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Three approaches to conscientious objection in health care: conscience absolutism, the incompatibility thesis, and compromise; 3. Ethical limitations on the exercise of conscience; 4. Pharmacies, health care institutions, and conscientious objection; 5. Students, residents, and conscience-based exemptions; 6. Conscience clauses: too little and too much protection; References.
This paper utilizes the theories of metaphor of George Lakoff, Mark Johnson and Julian Jaynes to extend Jaynes' metaphor theory of consciousness by treating consciousness as an operator that works with 'covert behavior' so that humans can integrate temporally discontinuous percepts with concepts based on metaphoric extensions of the embodied schemas of direct and immediate perception and thereby transcend the limitations of direct perception. A theory of first-person expressions and covert behavior to account for self-conscious awareness as language-based is advanced. (...) Subjectivity and objectivity are metaphors based on schemas of perception. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', (...) 'objectivity in political economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
The idea that scientific objectivity requires a method of concept formation according to which concepts are freely created by the mind was famously propagated by Hermann Weyl. I argue that this idea, which he saw as essentially characterizing what physicists do when they do physics, led him to abandon the phenomenological view on objectivity, more particularly the strong connection between objectivity and evidence (understood in a Husserlian sense as a satisfaction of meaning intentions). The free creation of (...) concepts, that is ultimately their introduction via Hilbert-style axiomatizations, is at the heart of Weyl's account of scientific objectivity, for it allows the introduction of hypothetical elements, without which, on his view, objectivity collapses (at best) into mere intersubjectivity. (shrink)
This book is a study of the second-edition version of the 'Transcendental Deduction' (the so-called 'B-Deduction'), which is one of the most important and obscure sections of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. By way of a close analysis of the B-Deduction, Adam Dickerson makes the distinctive claim that the Deduction is crucially concerned with the problem of making intelligible the unity possessed by complex representations - a problem that is the representationalist parallel of the semantic problem of the unity of (...) the proposition. Along the way he discusses most of the key themes in Kant's theory of knowledge, including the nature of thought and representation, the notion of objectivity, and the way in which the mind structures our experience of the world. (shrink)
Perceptual experience has the phenomenal character of encountering a mind-independent objective world. What we encounter in perceptual experience is not presented to us as a state of our own mind. Rather, we seem to encounter facts, objects, and properties that are independent from our mind. In short, perceptual experience has phenomenal objectivity. This paper proposes and defends a Kantian account of phenomenal objectivity that grounds it in experiences of lawlike regularities. The paper offers a novel account of the (...) connection between phenomenology and intentionality. It also sheds some light on one of the central themes in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. (shrink)
Abortion is the central issue in the conscientious objection debate. In this article I demonstrate why this is so for two philosophical viewpoints prominent in American culture. One, represented by Patrick Lee and Robert P. George, holds that the fundamental moral value of being human can be found in bare life and the other, represented by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, holds that this fundamental value is found in the life that can choose and determine itself. First, I articulate (...) Lee and George’s philosophical theory and demonstrate how the fundamental moral value of their theory, personhood, is represented in the issue of abortion. Second, I examine Beauchamp and Childress’ theoretical vision and demonstrate how their fundamental moral value, the right to autonomous self-determination, is represented in abortion. Third, I sketch the theoretical and practical dynamics of the conscientious objection debate as well as each author’s understanding of conscience. Fourth, I demonstrate how abortion, which represents their respective fundamental value, shapes each perspectives’ approach to the conscientious objection debate. I conclude that because each theory finds its fundamental value represented in the issue of abortion, each perspective is bound to engage the conscientious objection debate in a way that centers on the issue of abortion. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Aren't all judgements biased in one way or another? -- 3. Don't all judgements involve some assumptions? -- 4. Doesn't science show there is no objectivity? -- 5. Is it possible to represent things objectively? -- 6. Is objectivity a form of honesty? -- 7. Objectivity in numbers? -- 8. Can the study of human behaviour be objective? -- 9. Can there be objectivity in ethics? -- 10. (...) Can there be objectivity in taste? -- References -- Further reading. (shrink)
Abstract: This article considers the conceptual connections between self-consciousness, objectivity, and time. The model of conceptual analysis employed examines the necessary conditions of the meaningfulness of expressions in language. In the course of this analysis two distinct options for the explanation of self-consciousness are identified and examined. According to the first (Strawsonian) view, self-consciousness is based upon the distinction between the self and other subjects of consciousness; according to the second (Kantian) view, self-consciousness is based upon the distinction between (...) the self and the world. The first option is rejected, and a variation of the second option is adopted. According to it, in self-consciousness one is conscious of oneself as a temporally extended point of view (consciousness) over an objective and temporal realm of reality. (shrink)
Dogged resistance to demanding moral views frequently takes the form of The Demandingness Objection. Premise (1): Moral view V demands too much of us. Premise (2): If a moral view demands too much of us, then it is mistaken. Conclusion: Therefore, moral view V is mistaken. Objections of this form harass major theories in normative ethics as well as prominent moral views in applied ethics and political philosophy. The present paper does the following: (i) it clarifies and distinguishes between (...) various demandingness objections in the philosophical literature, (ii) identifies a formidable and interesting form of the demandingness objection that targets a wide scope of moral views, and (iii) defuses this objection by developing a local skeptical argument from unreliability the form of which may, interestingly, be effectively deployed in other areas of philosophy. (shrink)
Legal positivism’s multi-faceted insistence on the separability of law and morality includes an insistence on the thoroughly conventional status of legal norms as legal norms. Yet the positivist affirmation of the conventionality of law may initially seem at odds with the mind-independence of the existence and contents and implications of legal norms. Mind-independence, a central aspect of legal objectivity, has been seen by some theorists as incompatible with the mind-dependence of conventions. Such a perception of incompatibility has led some (...) anti-positivist theorists to reject the notion of law’s conventionality, and has led some positivist theorists to query law’s mind-independence. What will be contended here is that both camps are mistaken. (shrink)
There is a “revolving door” between federal agencies and the industries regulated by them. Often, at the end of their industry tenure, key industry personnel seek employment in government regulatory entities and vice versa. The flow of workers between the two sectors could bring about good. Industry veterans might have specialized knowledge that could be useful to regulatory bodies and former government employees could help businesses become and remain compliant with regulations. But the “revolving door” also poses at least three (...) ethical and policy challenges that have to do with public trust and fair representation. First, the presence of former key industry personnel on review boards could adversely impact the public’s confidence in regulatory decisions about new technology products, including agrifood biotechnologies. Second, the ‘‘revolving door’’ may result in policy decisions about technologies that are biased in favor of industry interests. And third, the ‘‘revolving door’’ virtually guarantees industry a voice in the policy-making process, even though other stakeholders have no assurance that their concerns will be addressed by regulatory agencies. We believe these three problems indicate a failure of regulatory review for new technologies. The review process lacks credibility because, at the very least, it is procedurally biased in favor of industry interests. We argue that prohibiting the flow of personnel between regulatory agencies and industry would not be a satisfactory solution to the three problems of public trust and just representation. To address them, regulatory entities must reject the traditional notion of objectivity. Instead they should adopt the conception of objectivity developed by Sandra Harding and re-configure their regulatory review on the basis of it. That will ensure that a heterogeneous group of stakeholders is at the decision-making table. The fair representation of interests of different constituencies in the review process could do much to inspire warranted public confidence in regulatory protocols and decisions. (shrink)
The first two parts of Objectivity and Insight explore the prospects for objectivity on the standard ontological conception, and find that they are not good. In Part I, under the heading of subject-driven scepticism, Sacks addresses the problem of securing epistemic reach that extends beyond subjective content. In so doing, he considers models of mind proposed by Locke, Hume, Kant, James, and Bergson. Part II, under the heading of world-driven scepticism, discusses the scope for universality of normative structure-a (...) problem which survives even after the assumption of an epistemologically significant breach between subject and object has been rejected. In the third part of the book Sacks introduces an alternative conception of objectivity, and shows that there is good reason to accept it. This conception turns on an insight which is taken to be implicit in transcendental idealism, and responsible for its abiding appeal; but Sacks's articulation of that insight is neither idealist nor metaphysical. (shrink)
In a recent broadcast talk it was said that philosophers commonly base arguments and theories on garbled versions of science. Professor Passmore's article in the April number of Philosophy seems to go some way to justifying this complaint. The article discusses the objectivity of history by a series of comparisons with science under various heads representing criteria of objectivity.
In this volume Rorty offers a Deweyan account of objectivity as intersubjectivity, one that drops claims about universal validity and instead focuses on utility for the purposes of a community. The sense in which the natural sciences are exemplary for inquiry is explicated in terms of the moral virtues of scientific communities rather than in terms of a special scientific method. The volume concludes with reflections on the relation of social democratic politics to philosophy.
In this article, I define and then defend the principle of information closure (pic) against a sceptical objection similar to the one discussed by Dretske in relation to the principle of epistemic closure. If I am successful, given that pic is equivalent to the axiom of distribution and that the latter is one of the conditions that discriminate between normal and non-normal modal logics, a main result of such a defence is that one potentially good reason to look for (...) a formalization of the logic of “ $S$ S is informed that $p$ p ” among the non-normal modal logics, which reject the axiom, is also removed. This is not to argue that the logic of “ $S$ S is informed that $p$ p ” should be a normal modal logic, but that it could still be insofar as the objection that it could not be, based on the sceptical objection against pic, has been removed. In other word, I shall argue that the sceptical objection against pic fails, so such an objection provides no ground to abandon the normal modal logic B (also known as KTB) as a formalization of “ $S$ S is informed that $p$ p ”, which remains plausible insofar as this specific obstacle is concerned. (shrink)
This is part of a symposium on conscientious objection and religious freedom inspired by the US Catholic Church's claim that being forced to pay for health insurance that covers abortions (the effect of 'Obamacare')is the equivalent of forcing pacifists to fight. This article takes issue with this claim, and shows that while it would be unjust on democratic principles to force pacifists to fight, given their willingness to serve their country in other ways, there is no democratic objection (...) to forcing those who believe abortion to be murder to pay for health insurance coverage that includes abortion. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that van Fraassen’s “bad lot objection” against Inference to the Best Explanation [IBE] severely misses its mark. First, I show that the objection holds no special relevance to IBE; if the bad lot objection poses a serious problem for IBE, then it poses a serious problem for any inference form whatever. Second, I argue that, thankfully, it does not pose a serious threat to any inference form. Rather, the objection misguidedly blames (...) a form of inference for not achieving what it never set out to achieve in the first place. (shrink)
The first of a planned series of 5 volumes on Middle Way Philosophy. Middle Way Philosophy was originally inspired by the Middle Way of the Buddha but is developed in an entirely Western context. It addresses the questions of objectivity, justification, facts and values, and the relationship of philosophy and psychology. It develops the concept of experiential adequacy to provide a non-metaphysical resolution of the dichotomy between absolutism and relativism in both facts and values.
This paper argues that Donald Davidson''s account ofassertions of evaluative judgments contains ahere-to-fore unappreciated strategy forreconciling the meta-ethical ``inconsistenttriad.'''' The inconsistency is thought to resultbecause within the framework of thebelief-desire theory assertions of moraljudgments must have conceptual connections withboth desires and beliefs. The connection withdesires is necessary to account for theinternal connection between such judgments andmotivation to act, while the connection withbeliefs is necessary to account for theapparent objectivity of such judgments.Arguments abound that no class of utterancescan coherently be (...) understood as having suchconceptual connections to attitudes of bothsorts, hence that an inconsistency results. Buton Davidson''s account assertions of evaluativejudgments have just such connections to boththe relevant desire and a belief concerning anevaluative matter of fact. I argue that thisaccount has the resources to respond tostandard objections, and at least meritsconsideration as one among other plausiblealternatives. (shrink)
An Objectivity Principle (O) and a Locality Principle (L) are considered with respect to two simple, but fundamental Gedanken experiments, namely a “Welcher-Weg” Gedanken experiment and an Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) Gedanken experiment. It is shown that, if both principles (O) and (L) are assumed to be valid, a contradiction, in the EPR case Bell’s inequality, can be derived implying that at least one of the two principles (O) and (L) has to be denied. It is shown that, if (O) is (...) denied, (L) is preserved in the EPR-Gedanken experiment. For a more adequate discussion, in particular of (L), the two experiments are described in Minkowskian space-time of special relativity. (shrink)
The Many Gods Objection (MGO) is widely viewed as a decisive criticism of Pascal’s Wager. By introducing a plurality of hypotheses with infinite expected utility into the decision matrix, the wagerer is left without adequate grounds to decide between them. However, some have attempted to rebut this objection by employing various criteria drawn from the theological tradition. Unfortunately, such defenses do little good for an argument that is supposed to be an apologetic aimed at atheists and agnostics. The (...) purpose of this paper is to offer a defensive strategy of a different sort, one more suited to the Wager’s apologetic aim and status as a decision under ignorance. Instead of turning to criteria independent of the Wager, it will be shown that there are characteristics already built into its decision theoretic structure that can be used to block many categories of theological hypotheses including MGO’s more outrageous “cooked-up” hypotheses and “philosophers’ fictions”. (shrink)
I criticize Sacks' ambitious work on objectivity and its history in modern philosophy in three main regards: First, Sacks tends to oversimplify the different views of Descartes, Locke, and Hume, which are not all haunted in the same sense by a "subject-driven skepticism". Second, Kant's conception of objectivity isn't directed (primarily) at refuting external world skepticism. Third, Sacks assumes that it is clear what transcendental idealism is: a doctrine that asserts an ontological distinction between "appearances" and "things in (...) themselves". This ignores the deep interpretive and systematical discussions about this doctrine. In sum, the book lacks a proper historical diagnosis of where current notions of objectivity come from, or how our agenda has changed from those of early modern philosophers. (shrink)
How should we understand the familiar demand that journalists ‘be objective’? One possibility is that journalists are under an obligation to report only the facts of the matter. However, facts need to be interpreted, selected, and communicated. How can this be done objectively? This paper aims to explain the concept of journalistic objectivity in methodological terms. Specifically, I will argue that the ideal of journalistic objectivity should be recast as a commitment to John Rawls’s conception of public reason. (...) Journalism plays a vital role in the operation of all modern liberal democracies, functioning as the public watchdog, the fourth estate, or the conduit through which vital information flows to the citizenry. Journalism is, therefore, an institution that is best understood as part of the basic structure of society. In Political Liberalism, Rawls explicitly excludes media of any kind from the demands of public reason because he doesn’t think that they play a political role that is important enough to bring them under the official auspices of public reason. I will argue that overlooking the political significance of journalism is a mistake, but one that can be corrected while keeping within the spirit and most important elements of his theory. This revision will widen the scope for what counts as journalism beyond traditional outlets and forms of media but will impose the demands of public reason on anyone who intends to participate in the institution. (shrink)
Climate change assessments rely upon scenarios of socioeconomic developments to conceptualize alternative outcomes for global greenhouse gas emissions. These are used in conjunction with climate models to make projections of future climate. Specifically, the estimations of greenhouse gas emissions based on socioeconomic scenarios constrain climate models in their outcomes of temperatures, precipitation, etc. Traditionally, the fundamental logic of the socioeconomic scenarios—that is, the logic that makes them plausible—is developed and prioritized using methods that are very subjective. This introduces a fundamental (...) challenge for climate change assessment: The veracity of projections of future climate currently rests on subjective ground. We elaborate on these subjective aspects of scenarios in climate change research. We then consider an alternative method for developing scenarios, a systems dynamics approach called ‘Cross-Impact Balance’ (CIB) analysis. We discuss notions of ‘objective’ and ‘objectivity’ as criteria for distinguishing appropriate scenario methods for climate change research. We distinguish seven distinct meanings of ‘objective,’ and demonstrate that CIB analysis is more objective than traditional subjective approaches. However, we also consider criticisms concerning which of the seven meanings of ‘objective’ are appropriate for scenario work. Finally, we arrive at conclusions regarding which meanings of ‘objective’ and ‘objectivity’ are relevant for climate change research. Because scientific assessments uncover knowledge relevant to the responses of a real, independently existing climate system, this requires scenario methodologies employed in such studies to also uphold the seven meanings of ‘objective’ and ‘objectivity.’. (shrink)
Considerations of virtue and character appear from time to time in the agricultural biotechnology literature. Critics of the technologies often suggest that they are contrary to some virtue (usually humility) or do not fit with the image of ourselves and the human place in the world that we ought to embrace. In this article, I consider the aretaic or virtue-based objection that to engage in agricultural biotechnology is to exhibit arrogance, hubris, and disaffection. In section one, I discuss Gary (...) Comstock's treatment of this objection. In section two, I provide an alternative interpretation of the objection that more accurately reflects the concerns of those who offer the criticism than does Comstock's standard interpretation. In sections three and four, I assess the objection. I argue that despite its merits, the objection does not justify global opposition to agricultural biotechnology. Instead, it favors a limited endorsement position not unlike the one defended by Comstock. (shrink)
Scientific knowledge should not only be true, it should be as objective as possible. It should refer to a reality independent of any subject. What can we use as a criterion of objectivity? Intersubjectivity (i.e., intersubjective understandability and intersubjective testability) is necessary, but not sufficient. Other criteria are: independence of reference system, independence of method, non-conventionality. Is there some common trait? Yes, there is: invariance under some specified transformations. Thus, we say: A proposition is objective only if its truth (...) is invariant against a change in the conditions under which it was formulated. We give illustrations from geometry, perception, neurobiology, relativity theory, and quantum theory. Such an objectivist position has many advantages. (shrink)
This essay argues that to understand Dewey's vision of democracy as “epistemic” requires consideration of how experiential and communal aspects of inquiry together produce what is named here “pragmatic objectivity.” Such pragmatic objectivity provides an alternative to absolutism and self-interested relativism by appealing to certain norms of empirical experimentation. Pragmatic objectivity, it is then argued, can be justified by appeal to Dewey's conception of primary experience. This justification, however, is not without its own complications, which are highlighted (...) with objections regarding “radical pluralism” in political life, and some logical problems that arise due to the supposedly “ineffable” nature of primary experience. The essay concludes by admitting that while Dewey's theory of democracy based on experience cannot answer all of the objections argumentatively, it nevertheless provides potent suggestions for how consensus building can proceed without such philosophical arguments. (shrink)
Whilst there have been serious attempts to locate the practice of male circumcision for religious motives in the context of the (respective) religion's narrative and community, the debate, when referring to a clinical context, is often more nuanced. This article will contribute further to the debate by contextualising the Islamic practice of male circumcision within the clinical setting typical of a contemporary hospital. It specifically develops an additional complication; namely, the child has a pre-existing blood disorder. As an approach to (...) contributing to the circumcision debate further, the ethics of a conscientious objection for secular motives towards a religiously-motivated clinical intervention will be explored. Overall, the discussion will provide relevance for such debates within the value-systems of a multi-cultural society. This article replicates several approaches to deconstructing a request for conscientious refusal of non-therapeutic circumcision by a Clinical Ethics Committee (CEC), bringing to light certain contradictions that occur in normatively categorizing motives for performing the circumcision. (shrink)
This article defends a pragmatic conception of objectivity for the moral domain. I begin contextualizing pragmatic approaches to objectivity and discuss at some length one of the most interesting proposals in this area, Cheryl Misak’s conception of pragmatic objectivity. My general argument is that in order to defend a pragmatic approach to objectivity the pragmatic stance should be interpreted in more radical terms than most contemporary proposals do. I propose notably to disentangle the connection between (...) class='Hi'>objectivity and truth, claiming that moral inquiry is in most of the cases responsive to a discursive norm that is closer to warranted assertibility than to truth. Using an argument that relies partly on Huw Price's account of forms of normative assertion, I will show that a practice-based account of warranted assertibility does the epistemic work required to defend objectivity while not being exposed to the criticisms that are usually addressed against this notion. The first section sets the general argument within its pragmatic context. The second section outlines Misak's conception of pragmatic objectivity, and highlights the sense in which she makes moral objectivity depend upon truth. The third and the fourth sections provide two critical arguments against Misak's thesis. Finally, with the critical work done, in the last section I present my constructive account of pragmatic objectivity for the moral domain. (shrink)
In Canada, as in many developed countries, healthcare conscientious objection is growing in visibility, if not in incidence. Yet the country's health professional policies on conscientious objection are in disarray. The article reports the results of a comprehensive review of policies relevant to conscientious objection for four Canadian health professions: medicine, nursing, pharmacy and dentistry. Where relevant policies exist in many Canadian provinces, there is much controversy and potential for confusion, due to policy inconsistencies and terminological vagueness. (...) Meanwhile, in Canada's three most northerly territories with significant Aboriginal populations, whose already precarious health is influenced by funding and practitioner shortages, there are major policy gaps applicable to conscientious objection. In many parts of the country, as a result of health professionals' conscientious refusals, access to some legal health services – including but not limited to reproductive health services such as abortion – has been seriously impeded. Although policy reform on conscientious conflicts may be difficult, and may generate strenuous opposition from some professional groups, for the sake of both patients and providers, such policy change must become an urgent priority. (shrink)