Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes (Chalmers 1996; Jackson 1994, 1998). Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no (Block and Stalnaker 1999).
Why do agent-relative reasons have authority over us, reflective creatures? Reductive accounts base the normativity of agent-relative reasons on agent-neutral considerations like having parents caring especially for their own children serves best the interests of all children. Such accounts, however, beg the question about the source of normativity of agent-relative ways of reason-giving. In this paper, I argue for a non-reductive account of the reflective necessity of agent-relative concerns. Such an account will reveal an important structural complexity of (...) practical reasoning in general. Christine Korsgaard relates the rational binding force of practical reasons to the various identities or self-conceptions under which we value ourselves. The problem is that it is not clear why such self-conceptions would necessitate us rationally, given the fact that most of our identities are simply given. Perhaps, Harry Frankfurt is right in arguing that we are not only necessitated by reason, but also, and predominantly by what we love. I argue, however, that the necessities of love (in Frankfurts phrase) are not to be separated from, but should be seen as belonging to the necessities of reason. Our loves, concerns and related identities provide for a specific and important structure to practical reflection. They function on the background of reasoning, having a specific default role: they would lose their character as concerns, if there was a need for them to be cited on the foreground of deliberation or if there was a need to justify them. This does not mean that our deep concerns cannot be scrutinised. They can only be scrutinised in an indirect way, however, which explains their role in grounding the normativity of agent-relative reasons. It appears that this account can provide for a viable interpretation of Korsgaards argument about the foundational role of practical identities. (shrink)
Lewisian Genuine Realism (GR) about possible worlds is often deemed unable to accommodate impossible worlds and reap the benefits that these bestow to rival theories. This thesis explores two alternative extensions of GR into the terrain of impossible worlds. It is divided in six chapters. Chapter I outlines Lewis’ theory, the motivations for impossible worlds, and the central problem that such worlds present for GR: How can GR even understand the notion of an impossible world, given Lewis’ reductive theoretical (...) framework? Since the desideratum is to incorporate impossible worlds into GR without compromising Lewis’ reductiveanalysis of modality, Chapter II defends that analysis against (old and new) objections. The rest of the thesis is devoted to incorporating impossible worlds into GR. Chapter III explores GR-friendly impossible worlds in the form of set-theoretic constructions out of genuine possibilia. Then, Chapters IV-VI venture into concrete impossible worlds. Chapter IV addresses Lewis’ objection against such worlds, to the effect that contradictions true at impossible worlds amount to true contradictions tout court. I argue that even if so, the relevant contradictions are only ever about the non-actual, and that Lewis’ argument relies on a premise that cannot be nonquestion- beggingly upheld in the face of genuine impossible worlds in any case. Chapter V proposes that Lewis’ reductiveanalysis can be preserved, even in the face of genuine impossibilia, if we differentiate the impossible from the possible by means of accessibility relations, understood non-modally in terms of similarity. Finally, Chapter VI counters objections to the effect that there are certain impossibilities, formulated in Lewis’ theoretical language, which genuine impossibilia should, but cannot, represent. I conclude that Genuine Realism is still very much in the running when the discussion turns to impossible worlds. (shrink)
Sider (2011, 2013) proposes a reductiveanalysis of metaphysical modality —‘(modal) Humeanism’—and goes on to argue that it has interesting epistemological and methodological implications. In particular, Humeanism is supposed to undermine a class of ‘arguments from possibility’, which includes Sider’s (1993) own argument against mereological nihilism and Chalmers’s (1996) argument against physicalism. I argue that Sider’s arguments do not go through, and moreover that we should instead expect Humeanism to be compatible with the practice of arguing from possibility (...) in philosophy. (shrink)
My topic is two-fold: a reductive account of expertise as an epistemic phenomenon, and applying the reductive account to the question of whether or not philosophers enjoy expertise. I conclude, on the basis of the reductive account, that even though philosophers enjoy something akin to second-order expertise (i.e. they are often experts on the positions of other philosophers, current trends in the philosophical literature, the history of philosophy, conceptual analysis and so on), they nevertheless lack first-order (...) philosophical expertise (i.e. expertise on philosophical positions themselves such as the nature of mind, causality, normativity and so forth). Throughout the paper, I respond to potential objections. (shrink)
Some argue that Lewisian realism fails as a reduction of modality because in order to meet some criterion of success the account needs to invoke primitive modality. I defend Lewisian realism against this charge; in the process, I hope to shed some light on the conditions of success for a reduction. In §1 I detail the resources the Lewisian modal realist needs. In §2 I argue against Lycan and Shalkowski’s charge that Lewis needs a modal notion of ‘world’ to ensure (...) that worlds correspond to possibilities. In §3 I respond to Divers and Melia’s objection that Lewis needs to invoke primitive modality to give a complete account of what worlds there are. In §4 I ask what it is for a notion to ‘involve’ modality. I conclude that the question is either in bad standing or at best offers little traction on the debate, and propose a different way of assessing when materials are appropriately included in a reductive base. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the claim (advanced in various ways by Joseph Levine, Frank Jackson and David Chalmers) that the successful reduction of qualitative to physical states requires some sort of intelligible connection between our qualitative and physical concepts, which in turn requires a conceptual analysis of our qualitative concepts in causal-functional terms. While I defend this claim against some of its recent critics, I ultimately dispute it, and propose a different way to get the requisite intelligible connection (...) between qualitative and physical concepts. (shrink)
My aim here is threefold: (a) to show that conceptual facts play a more significant role in justifying explanatory reductions than most of the contributors to the current debate realize; (b) to furnish an account of that role, and (c) to trace the consequences of this account for conceivability arguments about the mind.
Although it’s sometimes thought that pluralism about truth is unstable---or, worse, just a non-starter---it’s surprisingly difficult to locate collapsing arguments that conclusively demonstrate either its instability or its inability to get started. This paper exemplifies the point by examining three recent arguments to that effect. However, it ends with a cautionary tale; for pluralism may not be any better off than other traditional theories that face various technical objections, and may be worse off in facing them all.
Some theorists who emphasize the complexity of biological and cognitive systems and who advocate the employment of the tools of dynamical systems theory in explaining them construe complexity and reduction as exclusive alternatives. This paper argues that reduction, an approach to explanation that decomposes complex activities and localizes the components within the complex system, is not only compatible with an emphasis on complexity, but provides the foundation for dynamical analysis. Explanation via decomposition and localization is nonetheless extremely challenging, and (...) an analysis of recent cognitive neuroscience research on memory is used to illustrate what is involved. Memory researchers split between advocating memory systems and advocating memory processes, and I argue that it is the latter approach that provides the critical sort of decomposition and localization for explaining memory. The challenges of linking distinguishable functions with brain processes is illustrated by two examples: competing hypotheses about the contribution of the hippocampus and competing attempts to link areas in frontal cortex with memory processing. (shrink)
I present and defend a unified, non-reductiveanalysis of the a priori and a posteriori. It is a mistake to remove all epistemic conditions from the analysis of the a priori (as, for example, Alvin Goldman has recently suggested doing). We can keep epistemic conditions (like unrevisability) in the analysis as long as we insist that a priori and a posteriori justification admit of degrees. I recommend making the degree to which a beliefâs justification is a (...) priori or a posteriori solely dependent on the revisability relations that obtain among the faculties that deliver the belief and all other faculties. (shrink)
A detailed analysis of Quine's paper on ontologicalreduction shows that the proxy-function requirement, in hischaracterization of the concept of ontological reduction,is superfluous for blocking Pythagoreism and inappropriate for a generalblockade of ontological monism.
Three distinctly different interpretations of Aristotle?s notion of a sullogismos in Prior Analytics can be traced: (1) a valid or invalid premise-conclusion argument (2) a single, logically true conditional proposition and (3) a cogent argumentation or deduction. Remarkably the three interpretations hold similar notions about the logical relationships among the sullogismoi. This is most apparent in their conflating three processes that Aristotle especially distinguishes: completion (A4-6)reduction(A7) and analysis (A45). Interpretive problems result from not sufficiently recognizing Aristotle?s remarkable degree of (...) metalogical sophistication to distinguish logical syntax from semantics and, thus, also from not grasping him to refine the deduction system of his underlying logic. While it is obvious that Aristotle most often uses ?sullogimos? to denote a valid argument of a certain kind, we show that at Prior Analytics A4-6, 7, 45 Aristotle specifically treats a sullogismos as an elemental argument pattern having only valid instances and that such a pattern then serves as a rule of deduction in his syllogistic logic. By extracting Aristotle?s understanding of three proof-theoretic processes, this paper provides new insight into what Aristotle thinks reasoning syllogistically is and, moreover, it resolves three problems in the most recent interpretation that takes a sullogismos to be a deduction. (shrink)
Russell’s theory of descriptions in “On Denoting” has long been hailed as a paradigm of the sort of analysis that is constitutiue of philosophical understanding. It is not the only model of logical analysis available to us, however. On Frege’s quite different view, analysis provides not a reduction of some problematic notion to other, unproblematic ones -- as Russell’s analysis does -- but instead a deeper, clearer articulation of the very notion with which we began. This (...) difference, I suggest, is grounded in their two very different conceptions of the nature of language / thought; and it grounds in turn two very different conceptions of the nature of philosophical understanding. (shrink)
Contrary to Mendel, who introduced hybridization as a methodology for the study of selected discrete traits, de Vries conceived of organisms to be composed of discrete traits. This introduced into genetic research the dialectics of reductiveanalysis of genes as instrumental variables versus that of genes as the material atoms of heredity. The latter conception gained support with the analysis of mutations and eventually with high resolution analysis at the genetic and biochemical levels, as achieved in (...) fungi and later in bacteria and their viruses. Attempts to reduce "classical" genetics to "molecular" genetics turned out to be futile. However, this did not necessarily imply that these were two distinct theoretical approaches. On the contrary, it is argued that molecular genetics is an extension of phenomenological deduction, rather than being induction from molecular (DNA) causes to effects. Although conceptually systems direct development, methodologically individual inputs must be studied. (shrink)
This paper examines a paradigm case of allegedly successful reductive explanation, viz. the explanation of the fact that water boils at 100°C based on facts about H2O. The case figures prominently in Joseph Levine’s explanatory gap argument against physicalism. The paper studies the way the argument evolved in the writings of Levine, focusing especially on the question how the reductive explanation of boiling water figures in the argument. It will turn out that there are two versions of the (...) explanatory gap argument to be found in Levine’s writings. The earlier version relies heavily on conceptual analysis and construes reductive explanation as a process of deduction. The later version makes do without conceptual analysis and understands reductive explanations as based on theoretic reductions that are justified by explanatory power. Along the way will be shown that the bridge principles — which are being neglected in the explanatory gap literature — play a crucial role in the explanatory gap argument. (shrink)
The inapplicability of variations on theory reduction in the context of genetics and their irrelevance to ongoing research has led to an anti-reductionist consensus in philosophy of biology. One response to this situation is to focus on forms of reductive explanation that better correspond to actual scientific reasoning (e.g. part–whole relations). Working from this perspective, we explore three different aspects (intrinsicality, fundamentality, and temporality) that arise from distinct facets of reductive explanation: composition and causation. Concentrating on these aspects (...) generates new forms of reductive explanation and conditions for their success or failure in biology and other sciences. This analysis is illustrated using the case of protein folding in molecular biology, which demonstrates its applicability and relevance, as well as illuminating the complexity of reductive reasoning in a specific biological context. (shrink)
Metaphor is commonly taken to be an elliptical simile. This article offers a rational reconstruction of two types of simile theories of metaphor: reductive and non-reductive. Careful analysis shows the differences between these theories, but in the end, neither does the explanatory work it sets out to do. In assimilating metaphor to simile and simile to literal comparison, the reductive simile theory obscures what is most important to an account of metaphor: an account of what it (...) is to interpret a bit of discourse metaphorically. The reductive simile theory fails because the reduction to literal comparison fails. The non-reductive simile theory faces most of the same problems that undermine the simile theory, particularly problems generating a corresponding simile when the metaphor contains quantificational terms and other linguistic complexities. Analysis of the non-reductive simile theory highlights the troublesome assumption (inherent in all simile theories) that metaphor and simile play the same linguistic role: making or prompting us to make comparisons. In both guises, the simile theory mistakes the task of explaining what a metaphor means with how metaphor (in general) has meaning; it confuses explanation with explication. In diagnosing and arguing against the simile theory, this article sets out a framework for understanding the difference between literal and metaphorical interpretation. (shrink)
It is often claimed (1) that levels of nature are related by supervenience, and (2) that processes occurring at particular levels of nature should be studied using dynamical systems theory. However, there has been little consideration of how these claims are related. To address the issue, I show how supervenience relations give rise to ‘supervenience functions’, and use these functions to show how dynamical systems at different levels are related to one another. I then use this analysis to describe (...) a graded approach to non-reductive physicalism, and to critically assess Davidson’s arguments for psychological anomaly. I also show how this approach can inform empirical research in cognitive science. (shrink)
This Alfred Schutz Memorial Lecture discusses the relationship between the phenomenological life-world analysis and the methodology of the social sciences, which was the central motive of Schutz’s work. I have set two major goals in this lecture. The first is to scrutinize the postulate of adequacy, as this postulate is the most crucial of Schutz’s methodological postulates. Max Weber devised the postulate ‘adequacy of meaning’ in analogy to the postulate of ‘causal adequacy’ (a concept used in jurisprudence) and regarded (...) both as complementary and, in the context of sociological analysis, critical. Schutz extracted the two postulates from the Neokantian epistemology, dismissed the concept of causality, and reduced Weber’s two postulates of adequacy into one, namely, the adequacy of meaning. I discuss the benefits and shortcomings of this reduction. A major problem, in my view, is that Schutz’s reformulation lost the empirical concern that was inherent in Weber’s ‘causal adequacy’. As a result, the models of economics (which shaped Schutz’s conception of social science) are considered to be adequate if they are ‘understandable’ to an everyday actor, even when they are based on the most unrealistic assumptions. To recapture Weber’s empirical orientation I recommend a more restrictive interpretation of the postulate of adequacy that links it to qualitative research and unfolds the critical potential of Schutz’s phenomenological life-world analysis. My second goal is to report on some current developments in German sociology in which a number of approaches explicitly refer to Schutz’s analysis of the life-world and attempt to pursue ‘adequate’ empirical research. This lecture focuses on three approaches: ethnophenomenology, life-world analytic ethnography, and social scientific hermeneutics. (shrink)
In section 1 I motivate and execute the presentation of a well-defined Lewisian conception of analysis and of what it would be to analyse modality successfully. That conception is then put to two applications. In section 2 various inadequacies are exposed in a (recently popular) separatist approach to the understanding and/or evaluation of Lewis's analysis of modality. Section 3 provides a defence against a resilient argument for the claim that Lewis's analysis of modality cannot be fully (...) class='Hi'>reductive while also dealing adequately with alien possibility. (shrink)
We construct an algebra of generalized functions endowed with a canonical embedding of the space of Schwartz distributions.We offer a solution to the problem of multiplication of Schwartz distributions similar to but different from Colombeau’s solution.We show that the set of scalars of our algebra is an algebraically closed field unlike its counterpart in Colombeau theory, which is a ring with zero divisors. We prove a Hahn–Banach extension principle which does not hold in Colombeau theory. We establish a connection between (...) our theory with non-standard analysis and thus answer, although indirectly, a question raised by Colombeau. This article provides a bridge between Colombeau theory of generalized functions and non-standard analysis. (shrink)
When assessing the cost effectiveness of health care programmes, health economists typically presume that distant events should be given less weight than present events. This article examines the moral reasonableness of arguments advanced for positive discounting in cost-effectiveness analysis both from an intergenerational and an intrapersonal perspective and assesses if arguments are equally applicable to health and monetary outcomes. The article concludes that behavioral effects related to time preferences give little or no reason for why society at large should (...) favour the present over the future when making intergenerational choices regarding health. The strongest argument for discounting stems from the combined argument of diminishing marginal utility in the presence of growth. However, this hinges on the assumption of actual growth in the relevant good. Moreover, current modern democracy may be insufficiently sensitive to the concerns of future generations. The second part of the article categorises preference failures (which justify paternalistic responses) into two distinct groups, myopic and acratic. The existence of these types of preference failures makes elicited time preferences of little normative relevance when making decisions regarding the social discount rate, even in an intrapersonal context. As with intergenerational discounting, the combined arguments of growth and diminishing marginal utility offer the strongest arguments for discounting in the intrapersonal context. However, there is no prima facie reason to assume that this argument should apply equally to health and monetary values. To be sure, selecting an approach towards discounting health is a complex matter. However, the life-or-death implications of any approach require that the discussion not be downplayed to merely a technical matter for economists to settle. (shrink)
One of the most powerful tools in science is the analytic method, whereby we seek to understand complex systems by studying simpler sub-systems from which the complex is composed. If this method is to be successful, something about the sub-systems must remain invariant as we move from the relatively isolated conditions in which we study them, to the complex conditions in which we want to put our knowledge to use. This paper asks what this invariant could be. The paper shows (...) that the kinds of thing that a Humean might point to – behaviour, laws, and dispositions – cannot play the role required of the invariant in question. Nor, indeed, can non-Humean causal powers of the kind advocated by contemporary metaphysicians such as Ellis and Lierse. The paper suggests that the analytic method presupposes a kind of entity that does not appear in standard ontologies – a metaphysically substantial notion of causal influence. This notion of causal influence is one that Cartwright has also seen the need for, though she does not seem to take the notion as seriously as she should. (shrink)
Health care systems throughout the developed world face ‘crises’ of quality, financing and sustainability. These pressures have led governments to look for more efficient and equitable ways to allocate public resources. Prioritisation of health care services for public funding has been one of the strategies used by decision makers to reconcile growing health care demands with limited resources. Priority setting at the macro level has yet to demonstrate real successes. This paper describes international approaches to explicit prioritisation at the macro-governmental (...) level in the six experiences most published in the English literature; analyzes the ways in which values, principles and other normative concepts were presented in these international priority setting experiences; and identifies key elements of a more robust framework for ethical analysis which could promote meaningful and effective health priority setting. (shrink)
I examine the relationship between complete analysis and clarificatory analysis and explain why Wittgenstein thought he required both in his account of how to solve the problems of philosophy. I first describe Wittgenstein’s view of how philosophical confusions arise, by explaining how it is possible to misunderstand the logic of everyday language. I argue that any method of logical analysis in the Tractatus will inevitably be circular, but explain why this does not threaten the prospect of solving (...) philosophical problems. I distinguish between complete and clarificatory analysis and argue that Wittgenstein’s ‘strictly correct’ philosophical method is clarificatory analysis. Finally I discuss the relationship between the two forms of analysis and claim that, although, at the time of writing the Tractatus, Wittgenstein believed that the possibility of complete analysis underpins clarificatory analysis, in fact this was a mistake. In the Philosophical Investigations complete analysis is rejected and clarificatory analysis is retained. (shrink)
Functional data analysis (FDA) considers the continuity of the curves or functions, and is a topic of increasing interest in the statistics community. FDA is commonly applied to time-series and spatial-series studies. The development of functional brain imaging techniques in recent years made it possible to study the relationship between brain and mind over time. Consequently, an enormous amount of functional data is collected and needs to be analyzed. Functional techniques designed for these data are in strong demand. This (...) paper discusses three statistically challenging problems utilizing FDA techniques in functional brain imaging analysis. These problems are dimension reduction (or feature extraction), spatial classification in fMRI studies, and the inverse problem in MEG studies. The application of FDA to these issues is relatively new but has been shown to be considerably effective. Future efforts can further explore the potential of FDA in functional brain imaging studies. (shrink)
Conceptual analysis is undergoing a revival in philosophy, and much of the credit goes to Frank Jackson. Jackson argues that conceptual analysis is needed as an integral component of so-called serious metaphysics and that it also does explanatory work in accounting for such phenomena as categorization, meaning change, communication, and linguistic understanding. He even goes so far as to argue that opponents of concep- tual analysis are implicitly committed to it in practice. We show that he is (...) wrong on all of these points and that his case for conceptual analysis doesn. (shrink)
It would be nice if good old a priori conceptual analysis were possible. For many years conceptual analysis was out of fashion, in large part because of the excessive ambitions of verificationist theories of meaning._ _However, those days are over._ _A priori conceptual analysis is once again part of the philosophical mainstream._ _This renewed popularity, moreover, is well-founded. Modern philosophical analysts have exploited developments in philosophical semantics to formulate analyses which avoid the counterintuitive consequences of verificationism, while (...) vindicating our ability to know a priori precisely what it is our words and thoughts represent._ _Despite its apparent promise, however, I. (shrink)
Some claim that Non-reductive Physicalism (NRP) is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism (contra Non-reduction ), or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety (contra Physicalism ). I argue that this claim is unfounded, by attention to the notion of a degree of freedom—roughly, an independent parameter needed to characterize an entity as being in a state functionally relevant to its law-governed properties and behavior. I start by distinguishing three relations (...) that may hold between the degrees of freedom needed to characterize certain special science entities, and those needed to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities; these correspond to what I call ‘reductions’, ‘restrictions’, and ‘eliminations’ in degrees of freedom. I then argue that eliminations in degrees of freedom, in particular—when strictly fewer degrees of freedom are required to characterize certain special science entities than are required to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities—provide a basis for making sense of how certain special science entities can be both physically acceptable and ontologically irreducible to physical entities. (shrink)
Carnap’s quasi-analysis is usually considered as an ingenious but definitively flawed approach in epistemology and philosophy of science. In this paper it is argued that this assessment is mistaken. Quasi-analysis can be reconstructed as a representational theory of constitution of structures that has applications in many realms of epistemology and philosophy of science. First, existence and uniqueness theorems for quasi-analytical representations are proved. These theorems defuse the classical objections against the quasi-analytical approach launched forward by Goodman and others. (...) Secondly, the constitution of various kinds of structures is treated in detail: order structures, comparative similarity structures, mereological, mereotopological, and topological structures are considered. In particular, it is pointed out that there exist interesting relations between quasi-analysis and modern theories of pointless topology. (shrink)
Philosophers expend considerable effort on the analysis of concepts, but the value of such work is not widely appreciated. This paper principally analyses some arguments, beliefs, and presuppositions about the nature of design and the relations between design and science common in the literature to illustrate this point, and to contribute to the foundations of design theory.
It is easy to become battle-weary in metaphysics. In the face of seemingly unresolvable disputes and unanswerable questions, it is tempting to cast aside one’s sword, proclaiming: “there is no fact of the matter who is right!” Sometimes that is the right thing to do. As a case study, consider the search for the criterion of personal identity over time. I say there is no fact of the matter whether the correct criterion is bodily or psychological continuity.1 There exist two (...) candidate meanings for talk of persisting persons, one corresponding to each criterion, and there is simply no fact of the matter which candidate we mean. An argument schema for this sort of “no fact of the matter” thesis will be constructed. An instance of the schema will be defended in the case of personal identity. But scrutiny of this instance will reveal limits of the schema. Questions not settled by conceptual analysis—in particular, some very difficult questions of fundamental ontology—have answers. So do certain questions that can be settled by conceptual analysis, namely those that would be answered definitively by ideal philosophical inquiry. Whether there is a fact of the matter is not easily ascertained merely by looking to see whether disputes seem unresolvable or questions unanswerable: sometimes the truth is out there, however hard (or even impossible) it may be to discover. (shrink)
I start by reconsidering two familiar arguments against modal realism. The argument from epistemology relates to the issue whether we can infer the existence of concrete objects by a priori means. The argument from pragmatics purports to refute the analogy between the indispensability of possible worlds and the indispensability of unobserved entities in physical science and of numbers in mathematics. Then I present two novel objections. One focusses on the obscurity of the notion of isolation required by modal realism. The (...) other stresses the arbitrary nature of the rules governing the behaviour of Lewisean universes. All four objections attack the reductiveanalysis of modality that is supposed to be the chief merit of modal realism. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the implications of recent empirical research on concept representation for the philosophical enterprise of conceptual analysis. I argue that conceptual analysis, as it is commonly practiced, is committed to certain assumptions about the nature of our intuitive categorization judgments. I then try to show how these assumptions clash with contemporary accounts of concept representation in cognitive psychology. After entertaining an objection to my argument, I close by considering ways in which conceptual analysis (...) might be altered to accord better with the empirical work. (shrink)
This book provides a concise overview, with excellent historical and systematic coverage, of the problems of the philosophy of language in the analytic tradition. Howard Callaway explains and explores the relation of language to the philosophy of mind and culture, to the theory of knowledge, and to ontology. He places the question of linguistic meaning at the center of his investigations. The teachings of authors who have become classics in the field, including Frege, Russell, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, and Putnam are (...) critically analyzed. I share completely his conviction that contemporary Anglo-American philosophy follows the spirit of the enlightenment in insisting on intellectual sincerity, clarity, and the willingness to meet scientific doubts or objections openly. --Professor Henri Lauener, Editor of Dialectica. (shrink)
This paper reviews and develops the ethical analysis of human resource management (HRM). Initially, the ethical perspective of HRM is differentiated from the "mainstrea" and critical perspectives of HRM. To date, the ethical analysis of HRM has taken one of two forms: the application Kantian and utilitarian ethical theories to the gestalt of HRM, and the application of theories of justice and fairness to specific HRM practices. This paper is concerned with the former, the ethical analysis of (...) HRM in its entirety. It shows that numerous theoretical shortcomings exist, least of which is the disregard of stakeholder theory. These deficiencies are explored and, as such, the analysis is advanced. It is argued that such ethical analysis is outside the scope of the modern corporation. A third way in which ethics may be applied to HRM is suggested. Ethical concerns are used as a basis to develop minimum standards against which HRM, in its various guises and practice, may be evaluated. Yet, even when judged by these standards, HRM is seriously lacking. This begs the question, not of whether HRM is ethical, but of whether HRM can be ethical. (shrink)
I argue that an adequate account of non-reductive realization must guarantee satisfaction of a certain condition on the token causal powers associated with (instances of) realized and realizing entities---namely, what I call the 'Subset Condition on Causal Powers' (first introduced in Wilson 1999). In terms of states, the condition requires that the token powers had by a realized state on a given occasion be a proper subset of the token powers had by the state that realizes it on that (...) occasion. Accounts of non-reductive realization conforming to this condition are implementing what I call 'the powers-based subset strategy'. I focus on the crucial case involving mental and brain states; the results may be generalized, as appropriate. I ﬁrst situate and motivate the strategy by attention to the problem of mental causation; I make the case, in schematic terms, that implementation of the strategy makes room (contra Kim 1989, 1993, 1998, and elsewhere) for mental states to be ontologically and causally autonomous from their realizing physical states, without inducing problematic causal overdetermination, and compatible with both Physicalism and Non-reduction; and I show that several contemporary accounts of non-reductive realization (in terms of functional realization, parthood, and the determinable/determinate relation) are plausibly seen as implementing the strategy. As I also show, implementation of the powers-based strategy does not require endorsement of any particular accounts of either properties or causation---indeed, a categoricalist contingentist Humean can implement the strategy. The schematic location of the strategy in the space of available responses to the problem of mental (more generally, higher-level) causation, as well as the fact that the schema may be metaphysically instantiated, strongly suggests that the strategy is, appropriately generalized and instantiated, sufficient and moreover necessary for non-reductive realization. I go on to defend the sufficiency and necessity claims against a variety of objections, considering, along the way, how the powers-based subset strategy fares against competing accounts of purportedly non-reductive realization in terms of supervenience, token identity, and constitution. (shrink)
Semantic externalism about a class of expressions is often thought to make conceptual analysis about members of that class impossible. In particular, since externalism about natural kind terms makes the essences of natural kinds empirically discoverable, it seems that mere reflection on one's natural kind concept will not be able to tell one anything substantial about what it is for something to fall under one's natural kind concepts. Many hold the further view that one cannot even know anything substantial (...) about the reference-fixers of one's natural kind concepts by armchair reflection. In this paper I want to question this latter view and claim that, because of the way our standard methodology of doing theories of reference relies on semantic intuitions, typical externalists in fact presuppose that one can know the reference-fixers of one's natural kind concepts by mere armchair reflection. The more interesting question is how substantial such knowledge can be. I also take some steps toward answering this question. (shrink)
The paper argues that existing interpretations of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason as an "analysis of experience" (e.g., those of Kitcher and Strawson) fail because they do not properly appreciate the method of the work. The author argues that the Critique provides an analysis of the faculty of reason, and counts as an analysis of experience only in a derivative sense.
The paradox of analysis has been a problem for analytic philosophers at least since Moore’s time, and it is especially significant for those who seek an account of analysis along classical lines. The present paper offers a new solution to the paradox, where a theory of analysis is given where (1) analysandum and analysans are distinct concepts, due to their failing to share the same conceptual form, yet (2) they are related in virtue of satisfying various semantic (...) constraints on the analysis relation. Rather than distinguish between analysandum and analysans by appeal to epistemic considerations, the paper appeals to semantic considerations in giving a candidate account of the identity conditions for concepts. The distinctness of analysandum and analysans then serves to block the paradox in a straightforward way. (shrink)
Philosophers often hold that the aim of conceptual analysis is to discover the representational content of a given concept such as free will , belief , or law . In From Metaphysics to Ethics and other recent work, Frank Jackson has developed a theory of conceptual analysis that is one of the most advanced systematizations of this widespread idea. I argue that this influential way of characterizing conceptual analysis is too narrow. I argue that it is possible (...) that an expressivist account could turn out to be correct as a genuine conceptual analysis of a genuine concept . I claim that since an expressivist analysis does not aim to discover the representational content of a given conceptâ€”and, indeed, might itself be based on the idea that the concept in question is not even representational in natureâ€”the possibility of expressivist conceptual analysis shows that Jacksonâ€™s theory of conceptual analysis is incomplete as it currently stands. I conclude that Jackson needs to either shift his basic understanding of the nature of conceptual analysis or commit to a particular normative reinterpretation of his project. (shrink)
Empirical studies in business ethics often rely on self-reported data, but this reliance is open to criticism. Responses to questionnaires and interviews may be influenced by the subject''s view of what the researcher might want to hear, by a reluctance to talk about sensitive ethical issues, and by imperfect recall. This paper reviews the extent to which published research in business ethics relies on interviews and questionnaires, and then explores the possibilities of using secondary data, such as company documents and (...) newspaper reports, as a source for empirical studies in applied ethics. A specific example is then discussed, describing the source material, the method, the development of the research questions, and the way in which reliability and validity were established. In the example, content analysis was used to examine the extent to which the executive virtue of courage was observed or called for in items published in four international daily newspapers, and to explore the meaning which was attributed to "courage" in the papers. (shrink)
The main purpose of this article is to undertake a conceptual investigation of the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm: a psychological project initiated by Paul Baltes and intended to study the complex phenomenon of wisdom. Firstly, in order to provide a wider perspective for the subsequent analyses, a short historical sketch is given. Secondly, a meta-theoretical issue of the degree to which the subject matter of the Baltesian study can be identified with the traditional philosophical wisdom is addressed. The main result yielded (...) by a careful conceptual analysis is that the philosophical and psychological concepts of wisdom, though not entirely the same, are at least parallel. Finally, one of the revealed aspects of the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm, i.e. its relative neglect of the non-cognitive and personal aspects of wisdom is brought to the fore. This deficiency, it is suggested, can be remedied by the application of the virtue ethics' conceptual framework. (shrink)