The belief in immanent justice is the expectation that the universe is designed to ensure that evil is punished and virtue rewarded. What makes this belief so ‘natural’? Here, we suggest that this intuition of immanent justice derives from our evolved sense of fairness. In cases where a misdeed is followed by a misfortune, our sense of fairness construes the misfortune as a way to compensate for the misdeed. To test this hypothesis, we designed a set of studies in which (...) we show that people who do not believe in immanent justice are nonetheless implicitly influenced by intuitions of immanent justice. Strikingly, this effect disappears when the misfortune is disproportionate compared to the misdeed: In this case, justice is not restored and participants lose the intuition of immanent justice. Following recent theories of religion, we suggest that this intuition contributes to the cultural success of beliefs in immanent justice. (shrink)
If I say “we are now living in England” or “grass is green in summer’ or ‘the cat is on the mat’ what I say will normally be true or false—the statements are true if they correctly report how things are, or correspond to the facts; and if they do not do these things, they are false. Such a statement will only fail to have a truth-value if its referring expressions fail to refer ; or if the statement lies on (...) the border between truth and falsity so that it is as true to say that the statement is true as to say that it is false. Are moral judgments normally true or false in the way in which the above statements are true or false? I will term the view that they are objectivism and the view that they are not subjectivism. The objectivist maintains that it is as much a fact about an action that it is right or wrong as that it causes pain or takes a long time to perform. The subjectivist maintains that saying than an action is right or wrong is not stating a fact about it but merely expressing approval of it or commending it or doing some such similar thing. I wish in this paper, first, to show that all arguments for subjectivism manifestly fail, and secondly to produce a strong argument for objectivism. But, to start with, some preliminaries. (shrink)
We designed a new protocol requiring French adult participants to group a large number of Munsell colour chips into three or four groups. On one, relativist, view, participants would be expected to rely on their colour lexicon in such a task. In this framework, the resulting groups should be more similar to French colour categories than to other languages categories. On another, universalist, view, participants would be expected to rely on universal features of perception. In this second framework, the resulting (...) groups should match colour categories of three and four basic terms languages. In this work, we first collected data to build an accurate map of French colour terms categories. We went on testing how native French speakers spontaneously sorted a set of randomly presented coloured chips and, in line with the relativist prediction, we found that the resulting colour groups were more similar to French colour categories than to three and four basic terms languages. However, the same results were obtained in a verbal interference condition, suggesting that participants rely on language specific and nevertheless perceptual, colour categories. Collectively, these results suggest that the universalist/relativist dichotomy is a too narrow one. (shrink)
If there is room for a substantial conception of the will in contemporary theorizing about human agency, it is most likely to be found in the vicinity of the phenomenon of normativity. Rational agency is distinctively responsive to the agent's acknowledgment of reasons, in the basic sense of considerations that speak for and against the alternatives for action that are available. Furthermore, it is natural to suppose that this kind of responsiveness to reasons is possible only for creatures who possess (...) certain unusual volitional powers, beyond the bare susceptibility to beliefs and desires necessary for the kind of rudimentary agency of which the higher animals are arguably capable. (shrink)
On what grounds will the rational man become a Christian? It is often assumed by many, especially non-Christians, that he will become a Christian if and only if he judges that the evidence available to him shows that it is more likely than not that the Christian theological system is true, that, in mathematical terms, on the evidence available to him, the probability of its truth is greater than half. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate whether or (...) not this is a necessary and sufficient condition for the rational man to adopt Christianity. (shrink)
I propose to begin with some fairly unexciting and uncontroversial remarks about possibility-statements, and then in their light to examine two problems philosophers have raised about certain statements of this kind which might be made in Christian theology where it touches on the doctrine of the Incarnation.
We argue that thoughts are structures of concepts, and that concepts should be individuated by their origins, rather than in terms of their semantic or epistemic properties. Many features of cognition turn on the vehicles of content, thoughts, rather than on the nature of the contents they express. Originalism makes concepts available to explain, with no threat of circularity, puzzling cases concerning thought. In this paper, we mention Hesperus/Phosphorus puzzles, the Evans-Perry example of the ship seen through different windows, and (...) Mates cases, and we believe that there are many additional applications. (shrink)
Mr Olding's recent attack on my exposition of the argument from design gives me an opportunity to defend the central theses of my original article. My article pointed out that there were arguments from design of two types—those which take as their premisses regularities of copresence and those which take as their premisses regularities of succession. I sought to defend an argument of the second type. One merit of such an argument is that there is no doubt about the truth (...) of its premisses. Almost all objects in the world behave in a highly regular way describable by scientific laws. Further, any scientific explanation of such a regularity must invoke some more general regularity. The most general regularities of all are, as such, scientifically inexplicable. The question arises whether there is a possible explanation of another kind which can be provided for them, and whether their occurrence gives any or much support to that explanation. I urged that we do explain some phenomena by explanation of an entirely different kind from the scientific. We explain states of affairs by the action of agents who bring them about intentionally of their own choice. Regularities of succession, as well as other phenomena may be explained in this way. Explanation of this kind I will term intentional explanation. Intentional explanation of some phenomenon E consists in adducing an agent A who brought E about of his own choice and a further end G which, he believed, would be forwarded by the production of E. (shrink)
When designing public policies, decision makers often rely on their own behavioral preferences. Pepper & Nettle's theory suggests that these preferences are unlikely to be appropriate when applied to a different environment. This theory has profound implications for the design and ethics of public policies.
Partant d'une critique d'Adorno sur la conception kierkegaardienne de l'amour d'après Les oeuvres de l'amour , reflet d'un « idéalisme bourgeois, indifférent aux réalités concrètes », cet article s'interroge sur la « doctrine » du maître danois. En fait, il y a là bien d'autres voix que celle d'une subjectivité solitaire. Il y a celle d'une virulente critique de la société du temps qui a perdu toute notion de gratuité où l'individu est abandonné à la masse et où la relation (...) n'est plus qu'information. Si Kierkegaard se fait juge implacable des mouvements révolutionnaires qui agitent alors le Danemark, ce n'est pas seulement en témoin plus ou moins aigri de son époque, mais c'est au nom d'une lucidité à laquelle Adorno ne déniait nullement la pertinence d'une positive modernité.Beginning with Adorno's critic on the Kierkegaardian idea of love, based on Les oeuvres de l'amour , the reflection of a « bourgeois idealism, indifferent to concrete realities », this article investigates the « doctrine » of the Danish master Indeed, there are other voices here than that of a solitary subjectivity. There is the voice of a virulent critic of the society of that time, which lost all notions of gratuity, where the individual was abandoned to the masses, and where relation was no more than information. If Kierkegaard was an unrelenting judge of the revolutionary movements that agitated Denmark at that time, it was not only as a more or less sour witness of his epoch, but was in the name of a lucidity of which Adorno saw the pertinence of a positive modernity. (shrink)
La place qu’occupe le christianisme dans l’œuvre de Michel Foucault est souvent réduite par les commentateurs à la question de l’aveu. Renouvelant les hypothèses formulées dans Les anormaux (1975) et La volonté de savoir (1976), le cours au Collège de France Du gouvernement des vivants (1980) contourne cette question pour remonter à un problème plus fondamental que le christianisme a dû affronter aux premiers siècles de notre ère : celui du rapport entre le salut et la perfection. L’effort du christianisme (...) ancien pour dissocier le salut de la perfection a des conséquences majeures sur sa définition du soi, qui ne peut être conçu comme un principe d’identité. Ainsi posée, l’inconstance essentielle du soi chrétien, qui le rend irréductible au soi moderne, met en question les continuités historiques trop simples. (shrink)