A collection of essays by Alexander Rosenberg, the distinguished philosopher of science. The essays cover three broad areas related to Darwinian thought and naturalism: the first deals with the solution of philosophical problems such as reductionism, the second with the development of social theories, and the third with the intersection of evolutionary biology with economics, political philosophy, and public policy. Specific papers deal with naturalistic epistemology, the limits of reductionism, the biological justification of ethics, the so-called 'trolley problem' in moral (...) philosophy, the political philosophy of biological endowments, and the Human Genome Project and its implications for policy. Rosenberg's important writings on a variety of issues are here organized into a coherent philosophical framework which promises to be a significant and controversial contribution to scholarship in many areas. (shrink)
This comprehensive collection, bringing together significant essays by leading philosophers of the twentieth century, represents one prominent school of American thought philosophic naturalism. Naturalism holds that nature is objective and can be studied to gain knowledge that is not determined by methodology, perspective, belief, or theory. For the naturalist, "nature" is an all-encompassing concept; nothing is other than natural and any notion of a supernatural realm is rejected. Naturalism, however, cannot be equated with materialistic reductionism or strict determinism. Certain nonmaterial (...) aspects of human existence thoughts, feelings, meanings, values, beliefs, ideals, and free will are included within the scope of the naturalist's approach. (shrink)
A theory of understanding -- Truth's role in understanding -- Critique of justificationist and evidential accounts -- Do pragmatist views avoid this critique? -- A realistic account -- How evidence and truth are related -- Three grades of involvement of truth in theories of understanding -- Anchoring -- Next steps -- Reference and reasons -- The main thesis and its location -- Exposition and four argument-types -- Significance and consequences of the main thesis -- The first person as a case (...) study -- Fully self-conscious thought -- Immunity to error through misidentification relative to the first person -- Can a use of the first-person concept fail to refer? -- Some conceptual roles are distinctive but not fundamental -- Implicit conceptions -- Implicit conceptions : motivation and examples -- Deflationary readings rejected -- The phenomenon of new principles -- Explanation by implicit conceptions -- Rationalist aspects -- Consequences : rationality, justification, understanding -- Transitional -- Applications to mental concepts -- Conceiving of conscious states -- Understanding and identity in other cases -- Constraints on legitimate explanations in terms of identity -- Why is the subjective case different? -- Attractions of the interlocking account -- Tacit knowledge, and externalism about the internal -- Is this the myth of the given? -- Knowledge of others' conscious states -- Communicability : between Frege and Wittgenstein -- Conclusions and significance -- 'Another I' : representing perception and action -- The core rule -- Modal status and its significance -- Comparisons -- The possession-condition and some empirical phenomena -- The model generalized -- Wider issues -- Mental action -- The distinctive features of action-awareness -- The nature and range of mental actions -- The principal hypothesis and its grounds -- The principal hypothesis : distinctions and consequences -- How do we know about our own mental actions? -- Concepts of mental actions and their epistemological significance -- Is this account open to the same objections as perceptual models of introspection? -- Characterizing and unifying schizophrenic experience -- The first person in the self-ascription of action -- Rational agency and action-awareness -- Representing thoughts -- The puzzle -- A proposal -- How the solution treats the constraints that generate the puzzle -- Relation to single-level treatments -- An application : reconciling externalism with distinctive self-knowledge. (shrink)
Henderson and Horgan set out a broad new approach to epistemology. They defend the roles of the a priori and conceptual analysis, but with an essential empirical dimension. 'Transglobal reliability' is the key to epistemic justification. The question of which cognitive processes are reliable depends on contingent facts about human capacities.
That space and time should be integrated into a single entity, spacetime, is the great insight of Einstein's special theory of relativity, and leads us to regard spacetime as a fundamental context in which to make sense of the world around us. But it is not the only one. Causality is equally important and at least as far as the special theory goes, it cannot be subsumed under a fundamentally geometrical form of explanation. In fact, the agent of propagation of (...) causal influence is electromagnetic radiation. In this examination, the authors find support for a rationalist approach to physics, never neglecting experimentation, but rejecting a simple empiricist or positivist view of science. (shrink)
This volume includes the major works of the British Empiricists, philosophers who sought to derive all knowledge from experience. All essays are complete except that of Locke, which Professor Richard Taylor of Brown University has skillfully abridged.
Sentimental Rules is an ambitious and highly interdisciplinary work, which proposes and defends a new theory about the nature and evolution of moral judgment. In it, philosopher Shaun Nichols develops the theory that emotions play a critical role in both the psychological and the cultural underpinnings of basic moral judgment. Nichols argues that our norms prohibiting the harming of others are fundamentally associated with our emotional responses to those harms, and that such 'sentimental rules' enjoy an advantage in cultural evolution, (...) which partly explains the success of certain moral norms. This has sweeping and exciting implications for philosophical ethics. Nichols builds on an explosion of recent intriguing experimental work in psychology on our capacity for moral judgment and shows how this empirical work has broad import for enduring philosophical problems. The result is an account that illuminates fundamental questions about the character of moral emotions and the role of sentiment and reason in how we make our moral judgments. This work should appeal widely across philosophy and the other disciplines that comprise cognitive science. (shrink)
John Dewey is celebrated for his work in the philosophy of education and acknowledged as a leading proponent of American pragmatism. His philosophy of logic, on the other hand, is largely unheard of. In Dewey's New Logic, Burke analyzes portions of the debate between Dewey and Bertrand Russell that followed the 1938 publication of Dewey's Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. Burke shows how Russell failed to understand Dewey, and how Dewey's philosophy of logic is centrally relevant to contemporary developments in (...) philosophy and cognitive science. Burke demonstrates that Russell misunderstood crucial aspects of Dewey's theory and contends that logic today, having progressed well beyond Russell's early views, is approaching Dewey's broader perspective. -/- "[This] book should be of substantial interest not only to Dewey scholars and other historians of twentieth-century philosophy, but also to devotees of situation theory, formal semantics, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and Artificial Intelligence."--Georges Dicker, Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society "No scholar, thus far, has offered such a sophisticated and detailed version of central themes and contentions in Dewey's Logic . This is a pathbreaking study."--John J. McDermott, editor of The Philosophy of John Dewey. (shrink)
"In this densely imbricated volume Derrida pursues his devoted, relentless dismantling of the philosophical tradition, the tradition of Plato, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger--each dealt with in one or more of the essays. There are essays too on linguistics (Saussure, Benveniste, Austin) and on the nature of metaphor ("White Mythology"), the latter with important implications for literary theory. Derrida is fully in control of a dazzling stylistic register in this book--a source of true illumination for those prepared to follow his (...) arduous path. Bass is a superb translator and annotator. His notes on the multilingual allusions and puns are a great service."--Alexander Gelley, Library Journal. (shrink)
Jesse Prinz argues that recent work in philosophy, neuroscience, and anthropology supports two radical hypotheses about the nature of morality: moral values are based on emotional responses, and these emotional responses are inculcated by culture, not hard-wired through natural selection. In the first half of the book, Jesse Prinz defends the hypothesis that morality has an emotional foundation. Evidence from brain imaging, social psychology, and psychopathology suggest that, when we judge something to be right or wrong, we are merely expressing (...) our emotions. Prinz argues that these emotions do not track objective features of reality; rather, the rightness and wrongness of an act consists in the fact that people are disposed to have certain emotions towards it. In the second half of the book, he turns to a defense of moral relativism. Moral facts depend on emotional responses, and emotional responses vary from culture to culture. Prinz surveys the anthropological record to establish moral variation, and he draws on cultural history to show how attitudes toward practices such as cannibalism and marriage change over time. He also criticizes evidence from animal behavior and child development that has been taken to support the claim that moral attitudes are hard-wired by natural selection. Prinz concludes that there is no single true morality, but he also argues that some moral values are better than others; moral progress is possible. Throughout the book, Prinz relates his views to contemporary and historical work in philosophical ethics. His views echo themes in the writings of David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche, but Prinz supports, extends, and revises these classic theories using the resources of cutting-edge cognitive science. The Emotional Construction of Morals will stimulate and challenge anyone who is curious about the nature and origin of moral values. (shrink)
Nature and Spirit: An Essay in Ecstatic Naturalism develops an enlarged conception of nature that in turn calls for a transformed naturalism. Unline more descriptive naturalisms, such as those by Dewey, Santayana, and Buchler, ecstatic naturalism works out of the fundamental ontological difference between nature naturing(natura naturans) and nature natured (natura naturata). This difference underlies all other variations within a generic conception of nature. The spirit operates within a generic conception of nature. The spirit operates within a fragmented nature and (...) has its own unique locations. Ecstatic naturalism does not eulogize spirit nor impose a process theodicy upon nature as a whole but carefully describes the ways in which spirit emerges from finite locations within the world. Methodologically, the text radically regrounds phenomenology so that it can work more closely with a metaphysics seeking the most generic forms of nature. The move from a transcendental phenomenology, which rests upon a profound misconception of the parcel of a radicalized naturalism, makes it possible to show how all orders of relevance are related to nature and to the spirit. This, in turn relocates the human process, with its dialectical tension between finitude and transendence, and places the self fully within the emergent structures of the community of interpreters as that community lives out of hope. The concept of worldhood is regrounded in pragmatic and semiotic terms, thus putting pressure on Heidegger's formulations. Peirce's pragmatic categorical structure is used to show how worldhood differs from any other order within the world. The correlation of the potencies of nature, which are presemiotic and preordinal, wit the orders of the world itself, is possible only through an ordinal phenomenology that remains attuned to the fundamental difference between nature naturing (the potencies) and nature natured (the orders of the world). Finally, the text redefines the divine natures in the light of an ecstatic naturalism that sees god as an order within the world that experiences the fragmented quality of nature. Process theology is challenged for its inability to grasp the tensions between god and the encompassing. Four divine natures are laid bare as they relate to nature and to each other. The work concludes with a description of the divine life in the face of the encompassing. (shrink)
This book explores the scope and limits of the concept of personDS a vexed question in contemporary philosophy. The author begins by questioning the methodology of thought-experimentation, arguing that it engenders inconclusive and unconvincing results, and that truth is stranger than fiction. She then examines an assortment of real-life conditions, including infancy, insanity andx dementia, dissociated states, and split brains. The popular faith in continuity of consciousness, and the unity of the person is subjected to sustained criticism. The author concludes (...) with a look at different views of the person found in Homer, Aristotle, the post-Cartesians, and contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
I provide a comprehensive metaphysics of causation based on the idea that fundamentally things are governed by the laws of physics, and that derivatively difference-making can be assessed in terms of what fundamental laws of physics imply for hypothesized events. Highlights include a general philosophical methodology, the fundamental/derivative distinction, and my mature account of causal asymmetry.
In this book Gary Gutting offers a powerful account of the nature of human reason in modern times. The fundamental question addressed by the book is what authority human reason can still claim once it is acknowledged that our fundamental metaphysical and religious pictures of the world no longer command allegiance. If ethics and science remain sources of authority what is the basis of that authority? Gutting develops answers to these questions through critical analysis of the work of three dominant (...) philosophical voices in our time: Richard Rorty, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor. His own position is defined as 'pragmatic liberalism'. (shrink)
Carrie Jenkins presents a new account of arithmetical knowledge, which manages to respect three key intuitions: a priorism, mind-independence realism, and empiricism. Jenkins argues that arithmetic can be known through the examination of empirically grounded concepts, non-accidentally accurate representations of the mind-independent world.
Gary Hatfield examines theories of spatial perception from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century and provides a detailed analysis of the works of Kant and Helmholtz, who adopted opposing stances on whether central questions about spatial perception were fully amenable to natural-scientific treatment. At stake were the proper understanding of the relationships among sensation, perception, and experience, and the proper methodological framework for investigating the mental activities of judgment, understanding, and reason issues which remain at the core of philosophical psychology (...) and cognitive science. (shrink)
Is truth objective or relative? What exists independently of our minds? The essays in this book debate these two questions, which are among the oldest of philosophical issues and have vexed almost every major philosopher, from Plato, to Kant, to Wittgenstein. Fifteen eminent contributors bring fresh perspectives, renewed energy, and original answers to debates of great interest both within philosophy and in the culture at large.
Is matter real? Are persons real? Is time real? This Very Short Introduction discusses what, if anything, is "real" by looking at a variety of arguments from philosophy, physics, and cognitive science. The book shows that the question "what is real?" is not some esoteric puzzle that only philosophers ponder. Scientists also ask this question when they investigate whether candidates for the fundamental constituents of matter are actually "out there" or just a mere abstraction from a successful theory and cognitive (...) scientists ask it when trying to find out which set of the bewildering array of data processed by our brain could constitute the basis for the self. -/- Contents: -/- Introduction 1. What is real? Dreams and simulations 2. Is matter real? 3. Are persons real? 4. Is time real? Conclusion. (shrink)
New Waves in Ethics brings together the leading future figures in ethics broadly construed, with essays ranging from meta-ethics and normative ethics to applied ethics and political philosophy. Topics include new work on experimental philosophy, feminism, and global justice, incorporating perspectives informed from historical and contemporary approaches alike. An ideal collection for anyone interested in the most important debates in ethics and political philosophy, as well as those with an interest in the latest significant contributions from the leading new generation (...) of philosophers working in ethics. (shrink)
Say your name aloud to yourself in a quiet room. Imagine peeling an apple in your mind. Take the subway without trying to get anywhere. The simple meditations in this book have the potential to shake us awake from our preconceived certainties: our own identity, the stability of the outside world, the meanings of words. At once entertaining and startling, irreverent and wise, this book will provoke moments of awareness for readers in any situation and in all walks of life. (...) Enter the space of your favorite painting. Watch someone sleeping. The world won't look the same again. (shrink)