While the concept of adaptive preferences is an important tool for criticizing injustice, it is often claimed that using the concept involves showing disrespect for persons judged to have adaptive preferences. In this paper, I propose an account of adaptive preferences that does the relevant political work while still showing persons two centrally important kinds of respect. My account is based in what I call an indirect substantive account of autonomy, which places substantive requirements on the options available to a (...) person, rather than on the option that she ultimately prefers. This allows us to pinpoint cases in which a person's circumstances have rendered her insufficiently autonomous, without saying that any conception of the good must be non-autonomous tout court. (shrink)
Martha Nussbaum grounds her version of the capabilities approach in political liberalism. In this paper, we argue that the capabilities approach, insofar as it genuinely values the things that persons can actually do and be, must be grounded in a hybrid account of liberalism: in order to show respect for adults, its justification must be political; in order to show respect for children, however, its implementation must include a commitment to comprehensive autonomy, one that ensures that children develop the skills (...) necessary to make meaningful choices about whether or not to exercise their basic capabilities. Importantly, in order to show respect for parents who do not necessarily recognize autonomy as a value, we argue that the liberal state, via its system of public education, should take on the role of ensuring that all children within the state develop a sufficient degree of comprehensive autonomy. (shrink)
Political philosophers working on ideal and non-ideal theory sometimes seem to be stuck in a bind: while ideal theory risks being too ideal to be useful in the real world, non-ideal theory risks being so non-ideal that it stops far short of justice. In this paper, I highlight a third – and equally unappealing – possibility: that non-ideal theory, precisely because of its obvious engagement with real-world problems, might fail to recognize the unacceptable ways in which it is itself problematically (...) idealized. I highlight this problem through the case-study of adaptive preferences. Although work in adaptive preferences obviously fits into non-ideal theory, the actual work being done in the literature is idealized in that it takes only the circumstances and needs of adults into account. In the best case, this means that the needs of one of our most vulnerable populations – that is, children – are ignored. In the worst case, where the needs of children and adults conflict, the needs of children will be actively frustrated. In this way, non-ideal theory can fail to approximate justice precisely because it fails to recognize the idealizations that it itself employs. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for the counter-intuitive conclusion that the same adaptive preference can be both prudentially good and prudentially bad for its holder: that is, it can be prudentially objectionable from one temporal perspective, but prudentially unobjectionable from another. Given the possibility of transformative experiences, there is an important sense in which even worrisome adaptive preferences can be prudentially good for us. That is, if transformative experiences lead us to develop adaptive preferences, then their objects can become prudentially (...) better for our actual selves than the objects of their non-adaptive alternatives would now be. I also argue, however, that the same worrisome adaptive preferences might still be prospectively prudentially objectionable: that is, our pre-transformation selves might be prudentially better off undergoing a non-adaptive alternative transformative experience instead. I argue that both claims hold across the range of the most broadly-defended accounts of well-being in the literature. (shrink)
In this paper I show the short-comings of autonomy-based justifications for exemptions from paternalism and appeal to the value of settling to defend an alternative well-being-based justification. My well-being-based justification, unlike autonomy-based justifications, can 1) explain why adults but not children are exempt from paternalism; 2) show which kinds of paternalism are justified for children; 3) explain the value of the capacity of autonomy; 4) offer a plausible relationship between autonomy and exemption from paternalism; and 5) give political philosophers a (...) justification for exempting persons from paternalism even if broad scepticism about the capacity for autonomy is justified. (shrink)
Although the problem of adaptiveness plays an important motivating role in her work on human capabilities, Martha Nussbaum never gives a clear account of the controversial concept of adaptive preferences on which she relies. In this paper, I aim both to reconstruct the most plausible account of the concept that may be attributed to Nussbaum and to provide a critical appraisal of that account. Although her broader work on the capabilities approach moves progressively towards political liberalism as time passes, I (...) aim to show that her account of adaptive preferences continues to maintain her earlier commitment to perfectionism about the good. I then distinguish between two obligatory kinds of respect for persons, which I call, respectively, primary and secondary recognition respect. This distinction allows us to see that her perfectionist account of adaptive preferences allows her to show persons primary but not secondary recognition respect. Ultimately, I claim that an acceptable account of adaptive prefer.. (shrink)
Accounts of adaptive preferences are of two kinds: well-being accounts fully theorized for their own sake and political accounts theorized to facilitate the political project of reducing oppression and marginalization. Given their practical role, the latter are often less fully theorized, and are therefore less robust to theoretical criticism. In this paper, I first draw on well-being accounts to identify the well-theorized elements that political accounts should want to adopt in order to strengthen their project and avoid common criticisms. Second, (...) I appeal to the political project to show the shortcomings of the well-being accounts on which I draw. (shrink)
In this thesis I argue that the tradition of political philosophy which follows in John Rawls's footsteps is obligated to concern itself not only with the realizability, but also with the realization, of justice. Although Rawls himself expresses a commitment only to the former of these, I argue that the roles which he assigns to political philosophy require him to take on the further commitment to realization. This is because these roles are meant to influence not only political philosophers, but (...) the citizens of the wider community as well. The realistically utopian role, which I take to be the central one, requires political philosophy to inspire in that population a hope which I argue that realizability alone cannot provide. Given the deep revisions regarding the political nature of justice as fairness which Rawls made on the basis of realizability concerns, I argue that his theory must in this case be committed to a similar revision. The hope which political philosophy is meant to provide is simply not realizable until the discipline concerns itself centrally with the task of realization. (shrink)
In this paper I deal with epistemological issues that stem from the hypothesis that reasoning is not only a means of transmitting knowledge from premise-beliefs to conclusion-beliefs, but also a primary source of knowledge in its own right. The idea is that one can gain new knowledge on the basis of suppositional reasoning. After making some preliminary distinctions, I argue that there are no good reasons to think that purported examples of knowledge grounded on pure reasoning are just examples of (...) premise-based inferences in disguise. Next, I establish what kinds of true propositions can to a first approximation be known on the basis of pure reasoning. Finally, I argue that beliefs that are competently formed on the basis of suppositional reasoning satisfy both externalist and internalist criteria of justification. (shrink)
Logic arguably plays a role in the normativity of reasoning. In particular, there are plausible norms of belief/disbelief whose antecedents are constituted by claims about what follows from what. But is logic also relevant to the normativity of agnostic attitudes? The question here is whether logical entailment also puts constraints on what kinds of things one can suspend judgment about. In this paper I address that question and I give a positive answer to it. In particular, I advance two logical (...) norms of agnosticism, where the first one allows us to assess situations in which the subject is agnostic about the conclusion of a valid argument, and the second one allows us to assess situations in which the subject is agnostic about one of the premises of a valid argument. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer two counterexamples to the so-called ‘Uniqueness Thesis.’ As one of these examples rely on the thesis that it is possible for a justified belief to be based on an inconsistent body of evidence, I also offer reasons for this further thesis. On the assumption that doxastic justification entails propositional justification, the counterexamples seem to work.
In this paper I explore alternative ways of addressing the infinite regress problem of inference, as it was depicted in Lewis Carroll’s ‘What the Tortoise said to Achilles’. Roughly put, the problem is that if a claim to the effect that one’s premises give support to one’s conclusion must itself be part of one’s premises, then an infinite regress of reasons ensues. I discuss some recent attempts to solve that problem, but I find all of them to be wanting. Those (...) attempts either require the reasoner to believe that her premises give support to her conclusion, or to take her premises to give support to her conclusion, where taking is not a doxastic attitude. I conclude that, on the face of the failure of those attempts to solve the problem, there is a strong prima facie case for allowing inference to be blind. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the received view that the anti-nativist arguments of Book I of Locke's Essay conclusively challenge nativism. I begin by reconstructing the chief argument of Book I and its corollary arguments. I call attention to their dependence on (what I label) "the Awareness Principle", viz., the view that there are no ideas in the mind of which the mind either isn't currently aware or hasn't been aware in the past. I then argue that the arguments' (...) dependence on this principle is question begging on two counts. Unless this principle is defended, Locke's arguments beg the question against Descartes and Leibniz because their nativism implies the denial of the Awareness Principle. And even when Locke defended the principle, his arguments remain question begging because they presuppose the empiricism they aim to prove. The disclosure of the question-begging status of these arguments debunks a seemingly powerful way of attacking nativism. (shrink)
I reinforce my defense of permissivism about the rationality of doxastic attitudes in the face of a certain body of evidence against criticism published in this journal by Anantharaman. After making some conceptual clarifications, I manage to show that at least one of my original arguments pro-permissivism is left unscathed by Anantharaman's points.
Neste artigo trato da questão sobre o que torna uma dedução confiável. Uma resposta satisfatória a tal questão nos ajudaria a entender como dedução pode expandir ou gerar conhecimento. Eu exploro duas respostas a tal questão. A primeira faz uso da noção de acarretamento lógico-formal, enquanto que a segunda faz uso da noção de acarretamento metafísico. A última é superior à primeira, pois nos permite explicar a confiabilidade de uma classe mais ampla de deduções.
This paper reflects on quality assessment and performance evaluation in higher education, namely by analysing the insufficient link between those two aspects. We start by reviewing the current state of the art regarding different processes and mechanisms of quality assessment and performance evaluation and discuss some of the major issues regarding the implementation of some of them. In particular, we analyse the current limitations regarding data collected, available and publicised on the performance of HEIs and the problems those limitations bring (...) to a fair evaluation of higher education. Through this analysis we intend to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of evaluation in higher education and the way these may lead to the promotion of better quality assessment practices and institutional management. (shrink)
In the course of the history of science, some concepts have forged theoretical foundations, constituting paradigms that hold sway for substantial periods of time. Research on the history of explanations of the action of one body on another is a testament to the periodic revival of one theory in particular, namely, the theory of ether. Even after the foundation of modern Physics, the notion of ether has directly and indirectly withstood the test of time. Through a spontaneous physics philosophical analysis, (...) this article will explore how certain aspects of the concept of ether have appeared in different branches of the history of science. (shrink)
In Section 1, we make some preliminary remarks about the concept of epis‐ temic entitlement, understood in terms of ex ante rationality. In Section 2, we argue that a certain epistemological view – one according to which ex ante rationality is solely a func- tion of available reasons – is inadequate. In Sections 3-4 we will esh out an alternative view about ex ante rationality, one according to which forming a certain belief is rational for a subject S only when (...) S knows how to reason in a certain way. In Section 5 we explore some consequences of our view and we describe the main challenge that we must meet in future work. (shrink)
In this paper, I flesh out an account of the inferential basing relation using a theory about how humans reason: the mental models theory. I critically assess some of the notions that are used by that theory to account for inferential phenomena. To the extent that the mental models theory is well confirmed, that account of basing would be motivated on empirical grounds. This work illustrates how epistemologists could offer explications of the basing relation which are more detailed and less (...) empirically risky. (shrink)
ABSTRACTSerene Khader and RosaTerlazzo have each recently proposed theories of adaptive preferences which purport to both respect persons’ agency and provide an effective political tool. While Khader and Terlazzo thus share a similar goal, they take fundamentally different paths in its pursuit: Khader offers a perfectionist account of APs and Terlazzo an autonomy-based theory. In this paper, I argue first that if it is to adequately respect persons’ agency, a theory of APs should in some (...) way include autonomy considerations. If it is to provide an effective political tool, however, our theory should not be entirely autonomy-based, but include a condition addressing a preference’s compatibility with basic flourishing. The suggestion is thus that it is worth considering the possibility of a ‘mixed,’ rather than exclusively perfectionist or exclusively autonomy-based, theory of APs. I outline two such theories. The first, I argue, does quite well with respect to the political efficacy aim of AP theoriz... (shrink)
HR/AL: Professor Taylor, what are you working on these days? CT: Well, several things. One of the things I am working on is something I was lecturing this fall at the New School University, and that I have called ‘modern social imaginaries’. It is an attempt to understand western modernity in terms of the different ways in which people imagine their social existence. These imaginaries are a condition for new kinds of practices that are characteristic of modernity. This research is (...) an internal part of a larger project to understand modern secular civilization, the modern west as a secular civilization. What does that notion exactly mean? What does it amount to? How did it happen? (shrink)
In this paper, we offer an alternative interpretation for the claim that ‘S is justified in believing that φ’. First, we present what seems to be a common way of interpreting this claim: as an attribution of propositional justification. According to this interpretation, being justified is just a matter of having confirming evidence. We present a type of case that does not fit well with the standard concept, where considerations about cognition are made relevant. The concept of cognitive algorithm is (...) presented and explained. Finally, the new reading of ‘S is justified in believing that φ’ is fleshed out. According to this interpretation, being justified in believing that φ is not just a matter of having evidence in favor of φ, but also of having a cognitive algorithm available such that it allows one to form belief in φ on the basis of the relevant evidence. (shrink)
In this paper, I deal with a version of the epistemic regress problem. After rejecting foundationalism as a solution to it, I consider two versions of infinitism. The first one is found to be unacceptable, for it fails both to cohere with certain attributions of justification and also to maintain its internal coherence. The second one avoids both problems, and it is found to be the best way of addressing the epistemic regress problem. As the successful version of infinitism makes (...) use of the notion of a rational disposition to form and deploy reasons, I also manage to explicate that notion. (shrink)
Este estudo tem por objetivo explicitar a concepção winnicottiana acerca do papel do pai desde as primeiras fases do amadurecimento pessoal até o estágio do complexo de Édipo. Descrevendo as diferentes tarefas paternas, o artigo mostra que Winnicott atribui uma importância específica não apenas à mãe, como em geral sustentam os comentadores, mas também ao pai, e torna claro, em particular, que aquilo que compete a este não se restringe, como afirma a teoria tradicional, a atuar como interditor e representante (...) da lei.The objective of this study is to explain Winnicott’s conception about the role of the father, from the early stages of the process of personal maturation to the stage of the Oedipus complex. This study describes the different tasks assigned to the father in Winnicott’s works, and shows that the father is significantly important - not only the mother, what is normally stated by commentators - and emphasizes the fact that the role of the father is not limited, like in the traditional theory, to the role of interdictor and that of the law representative. (shrink)
The purpose of the present paper is to reply to a misleading paper by M. Sachs entitled “Einstein's later view of the Twin Paradox” (TP) (Found. Phys. 15, 977 (1985)). There, by selecting some passages from Einstein's papers, he tried to convince the reader that Einstein changed his mind regarding the asymmetric aging of the twins on different motions. Also Sachs insinuates that he presented several years ago “convincing mathematical arguments” proving that the theory of relativity does not predict asymmetrical (...) aging in the TP. Here we give a definitive treatment to the clocks problem showing that Sachs' “convincing mathematical arguments” are non sequitur. Also, by properly quoting Einstein, we show that his later view of the TP coincides with the one derived from the rigorous theory of time developed in this paper. (shrink)
I reinforce my defense of permissivism about the rationality of doxastic attitudes on the face of a certain body of evidence against criticism published in this journal by Anantharaman. After making some conceptual clarifications, I manage to show that at least one of my original arguments pro-permissivism is left unscathed by Anantharaman's points.