Preposed negation yes/no (yn)-questions like Doesn''t Johndrink? necessarily carry the implicature that the speaker thinks Johndrinks, whereas non-preposed negation yn-questions like DoesJohn not drink? do not necessarily trigger this implicature. Furthermore,preposed negation yn-questions have a reading ``double-checking'''' pand a reading ``double-checking'''' p, as in Isn''t Jane comingtoo? and in Isn''t Jane coming either? respectively. We present otheryn-questions that raise parallel implicatures and argue that, in allthe cases, the presence of an epistemic conversational operator VERUMderives the existence and content of the (...) implicature as well as thep/ p-ambiguity. (shrink)
It has been a long-standing puzzle that Negative Polarity Items appear to split into two subvarieties when their effect on the interpretation of questions is taken into account: while questions with any and ever can be used as unbiased requests of information, questions with so-called `minimizers', i.e. idioms like lift a finger and the faintest idea, are always biased towards a negative answer (cf. Ladusaw 1979). Focusing on yes/no questions, this paper presents a solution to this puzzle. Specifically it is (...) shown that in virtue of containing even (cf. Heim 1984), minimizers, unlike any, trigger a presupposition, which reduces the set of the possible answers to a question to the singleton containing the negative answer. (shrink)
Certain information-seeking yes/no (yn)-questions –e.g. Did Jorge really bring a present? and Doesn’t John drink?– convey an epistemic bias of the speaker. Two main approaches to biased yn-questions are compared: the VERUM approach and the Decision Theory approach. It is argued that, while Decision Theory can formally characterize the notion of “intent” of a question, VERUM is needed to derive the data.
Although it seems intuitively clear that acts of requesting are different from acts of commanding, it is not very easy to sate their differences precisely in dynamic terms. In this paper we show that it becomes possible to characterize, at least partially, the effects of acts of requesting and compare them with the effects of acts of commanding by combining dynamified deontic logic with epistemic logic. One interesting result is the following: each act of requesting is appropriately differentiated from an (...) act of commanding with the same content, but for each act of requesting, there is another act of commanding with much more complex content which updates models in exactly the same way as it does. We will also consider an application of our characterization of acts of requesting to acts of asking yes-no questions. It yields a straightforward formalization of the view of acts of asking questions as requests for information. (shrink)
There is a long history of using logic to model the interpretation of indirect speech acts. Classical logical inference, however, is unable to deal with the combinations of disparate, conflicting, uncertain evidence that shape such speech acts in discourse. We propose to address this by combining logical inference with probabilistic methods. We focus on responses to polar questions with the following property: they are neither yes nor no, but they convey information that can be used to infer such an answer (...) with some degree of confidence, though often not with enough confidence to count as resolving. We present a novel corpus study and associated typology that aims to situate these responses in the broader class of indirect question–answer pairs (IQAPs). We then model the different types of IQAPs using Markov logic networks, which combine first-order logic with probabilities, emphasizing the ways in which this approach allows us to model inferential uncertainty about both the context of utterance and intended meanings. (shrink)
Many philosophers are impressed by the progress achieved by physical sciences. This has had an especially deep effect on their ontological views: it has made many of them physicalists. Physicalists believe that everything is physical: more precisely, that all entities, properties, relations, and facts are those which are studied by physics or other physical sciences. They may not all agree with the spirit of Rutherford's quoted remark that 'there is physics; and there is stamp-collecting',' but they all grant physical science (...) a unique ontological authority: the authority to tell us what there is. Physicalism is now almost orthodox in much philosophy, notably in much recent philosophy of mind. But although often invoked, it is rarely explicitly defined. It should be. The claim that everything is physical is not as clear as it seems. In this paper, we examine a number of proposed definitions of physicalism and reasons for being a physicalist. We will argue both that physicalism lacks a clear and credible definition, and that in no non-vacuous interpretation is it true. We are concerned here only with physicalism as a doctrine about the empirical world. In particular, it should not be confused with nominalism, the doctrine that there are no universals.2 Nominalism and physicalism are quite independent doctrines. Believers in universals may as consistently assert as deny that the only properties and relations are those studied by physical science. And nominalists may with equal consistency assert or deny that physical science could provide enough predicates to describe the world. That is the question which concerns physicalists, not whether physical predicates name real universals. (We will for brevity write as if they do, but we do not need that assumption.). (shrink)
The question of whether religion is adaptive or not is debated with much vigor and passion, but the question as usually posed is much too simplistic to be answerable. Religions are extremely diverse. What is true of one often will not apply to another. Given religions are complex systems of beliefs, emotions, rituals, moral injunctions, and social institutions and organizations. Some parts may be adaptive and others maladaptive. We know that cultural evolutionary processes can, in theory, lead to (...) adaptations, maladaptations, and neutral variation. Religion is an appreciable fraction of the totality of culture, and any appreciable fraction of culture is virtually certain to exhibit all three. The list of proposed functions and dysfunctions of religions is long. The bulk of the empirical information that bears on the consequences of religions for individuals and groups is largely non-quantitative or evaluates only selected aspects of religious belief. To appreciate some of the complexity we must contend with, consider the role of natural selection on religious variation. Selection might act on religious ideas directly, favoring parasitic religious memes (which would be adaptive in their own terms of course). If a religion increases individual health and well-being or promotes fertility, religious variants that increase ordinary individual or inclusive fitness will be favored by selection, perhaps to the detriment of the collective welfare. If some religious variants promote intra-group cooperation, they may be favored by group selection. But cooperative groups may compete violently or prey upon other groups in ways that are maladaptive judged from either the individual or the meta-group level. The decision-making forces by which human individuals and collectivities influence the evolution of religion can likewise have adaptive and maladaptive outcomes at different levels of organization, all depending upon the details of the situation. Much of the variation between religious is likely to be neutral symbolic variation with no fitness consequences at all.. (shrink)
In what does the sense of a sentential connective consist? Like many others, I hold that its sense lies in rules that govern deductions. In the present paper, however, I argue that a classical logician should take the relevant deductions to be arguments involving affirmative or negative answers to yes-or-no questions that contain the connective. An intuitionistic logician will differ in concentrating exclusively upon affirmative answers. I conclude by arguing that a well known intuitionistic criticism of classical logic fails if (...) the answer 'No' is accorded parity with the answer 'Yes'. (shrink)
: Catholic teaching has no moral difficulties with research on stem cells derived from adult stem cells or fetal cord blood. The ethical problem comes with embryonic stem cells since their genesis involves the destruction of a human embryo. However, there seems to be significant promise of health benefits from such research. Although Catholic teaching does not permit any destruction of human embryos, the question remains whether researchers in a Catholic institution, or any researchers opposed to destruction of human (...) embryos, could participate in research on cultured embryonic stem cells, or whether a Catholic institution could use any therapy that ultimately results from such research. This position paper examines how such research could be conducted legitimately in a Catholic institution by using an ethical analysis involving a narrative context, the nature of the moral act, and the principle of material cooperation, along with references to significant ethical assessments. It also offers tentative guidelines that could be used by a Catholic institution in implementing such research. (shrink)
This article explores and critically assesses the metaxological account of a philosophy of God professed by William Desmond. Postmodern reflection on the philosophy of God has a tendency to focus on the 'signs' of God and urges for a passive acceptance of these signs. Desmond argues, contrary to this tendency, for a mindful togetherness of philosophical activity and religious passivity. After exploring Desmond's thought on this topic, I move to assess his 'metaxological yes' to God as the agapeic origin from (...) an existential point of view. Initially it seems that his 'yes' is somewhat strained as it burdens itself with an excessive task of having faith into something that is beyond determination. I illustrate this insight by referring to Friedrich Nietzsche’s 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra.' Nietzsche's existential 'No' toward transcendence is a consequence of a mindful confrontation with the excesses as play. (shrink)
Molyneux’s question, whether the newly sighted might immediately recognize tactilely familiar shapes by sight alone, has produced an array of answers over three centuries of debate and discussion. I propose the first pluralist response: many different answers, both yes and no, are individually sufficient as an answer to the question as a whole. I argue that this is possible if we take the question to be cluster concept of sub-problems. This response opposes traditional answers that isolate specific (...) perceptual features as uniquely applicable to Molyneux’s question and grant viability to only one reply. Answering Molyneux’s question as a cluster concept may also serve as a methodology for resolving other philosophical problems. (shrink)
The fallacy of many questions or the complex question, popularized by the sophism ‘Have you stopped beating your spouse?’ (when a yes-or-no answer is required), is similar to the fallacy of begging the question orpetitio principii. Douglas N. Walton inBegging the Question has recently argued that the two forms are alike in trying unfairly to elicit an admission from a dialectical opponent without meeting burden of proof, but distinct because of the circularity of question-begging argument and (...) noncircularity of many questions. I offer a reconstruction of the many questions fallacy according to which it is just as circular as begging the question, concluding that many questions begs the question. The same analysis contradicts Walton's claim that questions can beg the question, drawing a distinction between questions as the instruments of question-begging, and as vehicles for categorical noninterrogative presuppositions that beg the question. (shrink)
Skeptical theism is the view that God exists but, given our cognitive limitations, the fact that we cannot see a compensating good for some instance of evil is not a reason to think that there is no such good. Hence, we are not justified in concluding that any actual instance of evil is gratuitous, thus undercutting the evidential argument from evil for atheism. This paper focuses on the epistemic role of context and contrast classes to advance the debate over skeptical (...) theism in two ways. First, considerations of context and contrast can be invoked to offer a novel defense of skeptical theism. Second, considerations of context and contrast can be invoked to undermine the two most serious objections to skeptical theism: the global skepticism objection and the moral objection. The gist of the paper is to defend a connection between context and contrast-driven views in epistemology with skeptical views in philosophy of religion. (shrink)
In this article I develop a theory of political ontology, working to differentiate it from traditional political philosophy and Schmittian political theology. As with political theology, political ontology has its primary grounding not in disinterested contemplation from the standpoint of pure reason, but rather in a confrontation with an existential problem. Yet while for Schmitt this is the problem of how to live and think in obedience to God, the problem for political ontology is the question of being. Thus (...) the political ontologist agrees with the political theologian that the political cannot be thought without an awareness of an irreducible exigency – the fact that one thinks as situated in response to a certain moral or ethical demand – but it takes this demand to consist not in divine revelation, but rather in the fact that the human being is a being for which being is at issue. With this definition in mind I go on to read Giorgio Agamben in resolutely ontological terms, arguing that his concepts of bare life and the exception are largely unintelligible if understood ontically. Instead, these concepts are part of a critique that has as its primary target not the ontic political systems and material institutions of modern states but rather the (negative) metaphysical ground of those systems. Political ontology insists on the intertwining of ontology and politics, claiming that theirs is a relation of mutual determination. (shrink)
The central fact underlying all relations is the question of power and how it can be used to get one's way. When power does not work, we move to compromise. This paper questions the validity of compromise as an effective means of settling differences. My standpoint is that compromise debases relationships, is wrong in principle and does not work in practice either. There is a better strategy: integration, when the contending parties find the wider solution that includes both their (...) interests. Ethically right, integration also works better in practice, for it leads to longer-term, more productive and happier relations. (shrink)
Of all my recollections connected with the H of C that of my having had the honour of being the first to make the claim of women to the suffrage a parliamentary question, is the most gratifying as I believe it to have been the most important public service that circumstances made it in my power to render. This is now a thing accomplished.….
This paper seeks to explore the empirical agenda of business ethics research from a methodological perspective. It is argued that the quality of empirical research in the field remains relatively poor and unconvincing. Drawing on the distinctions between the two main philosophical positions from which methodologies in the social sciences are derived – positivism and interpretism – it is argued that it is business ethics' tradition of positivist, and highly quantitative approaches which may be at the root of these epistemological (...) problems. Six distinct aspects of business ethics research are identified and assessed according to their methodological impact. Accordingly, it is argued that more interpretive approaches may offer substantial liberating potential in the development of a stronger and more theory-rich empirical base. The author concludes by arguing for greater plurality and diversity in empirical research methodologies in the business ethics field. (shrink)
Abstract I propose to support these replies with actual episodes in late nineteenth and twentieth century physics. The historical record reveals that meaning does change but not in the Kuhnian manner which is tied to descriptive theories of meaning. A necessary part of this discussion is commentary on realist versus antirealist conceptions of science.
This article reflects on some ethical dilemmas presented by an ethnographic study of prostitution that I conducted in the 1990s. The study drew one research subject into a long and very close relationship with me, and though she was an active and fully consenting participant in the research, she was also objectified within both the field relationship and the textual products it generated. This kind of contradiction has been recognized and discussed as a more general problem for ethnography by feminist (...) and critical ethnographers. In this article it is considered specifically in relation to informed consent as an ethical issue. If an ethnographer secures the free and informed consent of a research subject, does this necessarily make the intimacy of their subsequent relationship ethical? Is it possible for anyone to genuinely consent to being objectified through the research process? (shrink)
Gesture does not have a fixed position in the Dienes & Perner framework. Its status depends on the way knowledge is expressed. Knowledge reflected in gesture can be fully implicit (neither factuality nor predication is explicit) if the goal is simply to move a pointing hand to a target. Knowledge reflected in gesture can be explicit (both factuality and predication are explicit) if the goal is to indicate an object. However, gesture is not restricted to these two extreme positions. When (...) gestures are unconscious accompaniments to speech and represent information that is distinct from speech, the knowledge they convey is factuality-implicit but predication-explicit. (shrink)
From an ethical standpoint, the goal of clinical research is to benefit patients. While individual investigations may not yield results that directly improve patients’ evaluation or treatment, the corpus of the research should lead in that direction. Without the goal of ultimate benefit to patients, such research fails as a moral enterprise. While this may seem obvious, the need to protect and benefit patients can get lost in the milieu of clinical research. Many advances in emergency medicine have been based (...) upon the results of research studies conducted both within the specialty and by others outside of the field. But has this research benefited patients? Has it followed the Hippocratic commitment “to do good or at least do no harm”? The answer is: yes, and no. This paper attempts to demonstrate this: first by citing advances from applied research that have benefited emergency department patients over the past three decades, and follows with some aspects of emergency medicine research that makes one question both its safety and its efficacy. While enormous gains have been made in patient care as a result of emergency medical research, ethical considerations complicate this rosy picture, and point to future areas of concern for researchers. (shrink)
Although it provides a useful description of elementary movement trajectories, we argue that the delta-lognormal model is deficient as an account of speed/accuracy tradeoffs in aimed movements. It fails in this regard because (1) it is deterministic, (2) its formulation ignores critical task elements, and (3) it fails to account for the corrective role of submovements.
This essay considers P. J. Ivanhoe's critical challenge to Slingerland's analysis of wuwei(?effortless action?). While I agree with Ivanhoe that we should do more work to embody and understand the concept of wuwei, I will defend Slingerland's notion that wuwei involves paradox?particularly in the cases of Zhuangi and Laozi. The present essay is not a defense of the specifics of Slingerland's analysis. Nonetheless, this essay focuses on defending the notion of paradox. Ivanhoe offers an alternative view of wuwei, one that (...) sees the paradox as a riddle. I argue that this kind of formulation would frame the problem of wuwei in an unhelpful manner. I offer several novel ways of overcoming, or at least qualifying, the experience of paradox that seems to be at play in nondoing. (shrink)
Contrary to his own perspective, Rachlin introduces a ghostly inner cost to explain the persistence of behavioral patterns and agency to explain their origins. Both inconsistencies can be set straight by taking account of history and a context larger than the pattern itself. Persistence is explained by stimulus control, if one assumes that defection from a pattern has stimulus properties and is punished. The origins of patterns are understood as an outcome of selection in the larger context of cultural or (...) biological evolution. (shrink)