Discourse, Figure signifies an event. I mean this in a variety of ways. There has been a recent event: the publication of an English translation of Jean-François Lyotard’s first major book. Its translation is an event forty years delayed and signifies the closing of a major gap in the translation of Lyotard’s work. Of course, both “signify” and “event” are important words for Lyotard. Discourse, Figure’s goal is to “signify the other of signification” (2011, 13, emphasis his). The question of (...) the representability of events that concerns Lyotard throughout his career originates in Discourse, Figure. I use these two words to guide my review. First I outline the events of the book: its context and its argument. .. (shrink)
This paper argues against the realization principle, which reifies the realization relation between lower-level and higher-level properties. It begins with a review of some principles of naturalistic metaphysics. Then it criticizes some likely reasons for embracing the realization principle, and finally it argues against the principle directly. The most likely reasons for embracing the principle depend on the dubious assumption that special science theories cannot be true unless special science predicates designate properties. The principle itself turns out to be false (...) because the realization relation fails the naturalistic test for reality: it makes no causal difference to the world.1 1This paper resulted from work done at John Heil's 2006 Mind and Metaphysics NEH Summer Seminar at Washington University in St. Louis. An early version of it was presented in a special symposium on realization at the 2007 meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. I owe thanks to all the participants in both events for helpful discussions, and I owe particular thanks to Ken Aizawa, Torin Alter, Jason Ford, Carl Gillett, John Heil, Nicholas Helms, Pete Mandik, John Post, Gene Witmer, Michelle Wrenn, Tad Zawidzki, and two anonymous referees for the AJP. (shrink)
Jason Stanley presents a startling and provocative claim about knowledge: that whether or not someone knows a proposition at a given time is in part determined by his or her practical interests, i.e. by how much is at stake for that person at that time. In defending this thesis, Stanley introduces readers to a number of strategies for resolving philosophical paradox, making the book essential not just for specialists in epistemology but for all philosophers interested in philosophical methodology. Since (...) a number of his strategies appeal to linguistic evidence, it will be of great interest to linguists as well. (shrink)
How can we motivate ourselves to do what we think we ought? How can we deliberate about personal values and priorities? Bennett Helm argues that standard philosophical answers to these questions presuppose a sharp distinction between cognition and conation that undermines an adequate understanding of values and their connection to motivation and deliberation. Rejecting this distinction, Helm argues that emotions are fundamental to any account of value and motivation, and he develops a detailed alternative theory both of emotions, desires and (...) evaluative judgements and of their rational interconnections. The result is an innovative theory of practical rationality and of how we can control not only what we do but also what we value and who we are as persons. (shrink)
Paul Helm presents a new, expanded edition of his much praised 1988 book Eternal God, which defends the view that God exists in timeless eternity. Helm argues that divine timelessness is grounded in the idea of God as creator, and that this alone makes possible a proper account of divine omniscience.
Love, Friendship, and the Self presents a reexamination of our common understanding of ourselves as persons in light of the phenomena of love and friendship. It argues that the individualism that is implicit in that understanding cannot be sustained if we are to understand the kind of distinctively personal intimacy that love and friendship essentially involve. For love is a matter of identifying with someone: sharing for his sake the concerns and values that make up his identity as the person (...) he is. Moreover, in friendship the friends share not only a concern for each other but also their activity, their lives, and even potentially their selves. By providing a detailed analysis of these notions, Bennett Helm argues for an understanding of persons as essentially social. (shrink)
In recent years the doctrine that God exists in a timeless eternity has achieved something of the status of philosophical heterodoxy, if not of downright heresy. The arguments against the idea of God's timeless eternity come from two sources. The first of these is Professor Kneale's paper ‘Time and Eternity in Theology’ in which, alluding to the famous definition of eternity by Boethius as ‘the complete possession of eternal life at once’ Professor Kneale confesses ‘I can attach no meaning to (...) the word “life” unless I am allowed to suppose that what has life acts… life must at least involve some incidents in time and if, like Boethius, we suppose the life in question to be intelligent, then it must involve also awareness of the passage of time’. (shrink)
Peter Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” usefully connected the concepts of freedom and responsibility with the reactive attitudes, but there has been some controversy concerning both the nature of that connection and what the reactive attitudes are. I shall argue—tentatively and speculatively—that we can best understand the reactive attitudes by seeing them as individually presupposing and jointly constituting both our respect for persons and the dignity to which that respect is responsive. Consequently, being both a proper subject and object of the (...) reactive attitudes is to be a member of the normative community of fellow persons within which one both takes responsibility and is held responsible for what one does. This just is to be a responsible agent. (shrink)
Paul Helm looks at how Calvin worked at the interface of theology and philosophy and in particular how he employed medieval ideas to do so. Connections are made between his ideas and contemporary philosophical theology, and there is a careful examination of the appeal that current `Reformed' epistemologists make to Calvin.
Recently there has been a resurgence of philosophical interest in love, resulting in a wide variety of accounts. Central to most accounts of love is the notion of caring about your beloved for his sake. Yet such a notion needs to be carefully articulated in the context of providing an account of love, for it is clear that the kind of caring involved in love must be carefully distinguished from impersonal modes of concern for particular others for their sakes, such (...) as moral concern or concern grounded in compassion. That is, we might say, the kind of caring that is central to love must be somehow distinctly intimate. The trouble is to cash out these firm intuitions in a satisfactory way. (shrink)
Jason Stanley's "Knowledge and Practical Interests" is a brilliant book, combining insights about knowledge with a careful examination of how recent views in epistemology fit with the best of recent linguistic semantics. Although I am largely convinced by Stanley's objections to epistemic contextualism, I will try in what follows to formulate a version that might have some prospect of escaping his powerful critique.
An exploration of the consequences of various ideas in the thought of John Calvin, and the influence of his ideas on later theologians. The emphasis is on philosophical ideas within Calvin's theology, dealing in turn with epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues. Helm provides a fresh perspective on Calvin's theological context and legacy.
Peter Goldie’s The Emotions is a fascinating account distinguished by its originality and breadth. Throughout, the account is well grounded in sound common sense, as Goldie lets his careful and sensitive interpretation of the phenomena drive his theory rather than the other way around.
Chapter 1: Ryle on Knowing How Chapter 2: Knowledge-wh Chapter 3: PRO and the Representation of First-Person Thought Chapter 4: Ways of Thinking Chapter 5: Knowledge How Chapter 6: Ascribing Knowledge How Chapter 7: The Cognitive Science of Practical Knowledge Chapter 8: Knowledge Justified Preface A fact, as I shall use the term, is a true proposition. A proposition is the sort of thing that is capable of being believed or asserted. A proposition is also something that is characteristically the (...) kind of thing that is true or false; that snow is white is a true proposition, that Barack Obama is President of the United States as I am writing these words is another. Facts in this sense are not only among the things we believe and assert; they are also the kinds of things we know. The thesis of this book is that knowing how to do something is the same as knowing a fact. It follows that learning how to do something is learning a fact. For example, when you learned how to swim, what happened is that you learned some facts about swimming. Knowledge of these facts is what gave you knowledge of how to swim. Something similar occurred with every other activity that you now know how to do, such as riding a bicycle or cooking a meal. You know how to perform activities solely in virtue of your knowledge of facts about those activities. (shrink)
This essay considers Benjamin Rush's concern with the political organization of sympathy in post-Revolutionary America and how this concern shaped his response to the threat of post-Revolutionary “mobocracy.” Like many of his contemporaries, Rush worried about the contagious volatility of large public assemblies engendered by the Revolution. For Rush, regular gatherings of the people out of doors threatened to corrupt visions both of an orderly and emancipatory public sphere and of the virtuous and independent citizens required by republican government. Rush (...) feared that the unregulated communication of passion between bodies gathered in public might unleash what Michael Meranze has called an “anarchy of reciprocal imitations.” It was in eighteenth-century theories of sympathy that this idea of contagious mimesis was most rigorously developed and most widely disseminated. Rush's medico-political understanding of sympathy, acquired during his years as a medical student in Edinburgh, provides an important framework for understanding his post-Revolutionary reform efforts, particularly those focused on the spatial choreography of the American citizenry. (shrink)
Los teóricos de la democracia dejaron de lado la pregunta de quién legalmente forma parte del "pueblo" autorizado, pregunta que atraviesa a todas las teoría de la democracia y continuamente vivifica la práctica democrática. Determinar quién constituye el pueblo es un dilema inabordable e incluso imposible de responder democráticamente; no es una pregunta que el pueblo mismo pueda decidir procedimentalmente porque la propia premisa subvierte las premisas de su resolución. Esta paradoja del mandato popular revela que el pueblo para ser (...) mejor comprendido como una demanda política, como un proceso de subjetivación, surge y se desarrolla en distintos contextos democráticos. En Estados Unidos el disputado poder para hablar en beneficio del pueblo deriva de un excedente constitutivo heredado de la era revolucionaria, a partir del hecho de que desde la Revolución el pueblo ha sido por vez primera encarnado por la representación y como exceso de cualquier forma de representación. La autoridad posrevolucionaria del vox populi deriva de esa continuamente reiterada pero nunca realizada referencia a la soberanía del pueblo a partir de la representación, legitimidad a partir de la ley, espíritu a partir de la letra, la palabra a través de la palabra. Este ensayo examina la emergencia histórica de este exceso de democracia en el período revolucionario, y cómo este habilita a una subsecuente historia de "momentos constituyentes", momentos cuando subautorizados -radicales, entidades autocreadas-, se apoderan del manto de la autoridad, cambiando las reglas de la autoridad en ese proceso. Estos pequeños dramas de reclamos de autoridad política para hablar en nombre del pueblo son felices, aun cuando explícitamente rompan con los procedimientos o reglas estatuidas para representar la voz popular. -/- Momentos constituyentes: paradojas y poder popular en los Estados Unidos de América posrevolucionarios [traducción], Revista Argentina de Ciencia Política, N°15, EUDEBA, Buenos Aires, Octubre 2012, pp. 49-74. ISSN: 0329-3092. Introducción de “Constituent Moments: Enacting the People in Postrevolutionary America”, de Jason Frank [Ed.: Duke University Press Books, enero de 2010. ISBN-10: 0822346753; ISBN-13: 978-0822346753]. (shrink)
The energetics controversy is understood variously as energy vs. atoms, thermodynamics vs. statistical mechanics, phenomenalism vs. realism, equations vs. pictures, and especially Ostwald vs. Boltzmann. It is generally thought that at Lübeck in 1895 Boltzmann and Planck demolished energetics, but while its momentum was slowed, energetics in one or more of the above senses still retained supporters as late as the great physics conference at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Indeed, after Ostwald himself abandoned it in 1908, Ernst (...) Mach began for the first time to defend it. The main emphasis in this paper, however, is on Georg Helm (1851–1923) who had been invited to Lübeck to be the main speaker on energetics. He had adopted his position earlier than Ostwald and his views avoided many of the errors and oversights in Ostwald’s approach. Indeed, Helm could be called the strongest defender of energetics, even if Ostwald was Boltzmann’s main target. Helm was largely Machist in philosophy at that time and did not reify energy. (shrink)
Ontological Pluralism is the view that there are different modes, ways, or kinds of being. In this paper, I characterize the view more fully (drawing on some recent work by Kris McDaniel) and then defend the view against a number of arguments. (All of the arguments I can think of against it, anyway.).
Philosophers have long been tempted by the idea that objects and properties are abstractions from the facts. But how is this abstraction supposed to go? If the objects and properties aren't 'already' there, how do the facts give rise to them? Jason Turner develops and defends a novel answer to this question: The facts are arranged in a quasi-geometric 'logical space', and objects and properties arise from different quasi-geometric structures in this space.
In Our Best Interest argues that it is permissible to intervene in a person's affairs whenever doing so serves her best interest without wronging others. Jason Hanna makes the case for paternalism, responding to common objections that paternalism is disrespectful or that it violates rights, and arguing that popular anti-paternalist views confront serious problems.
How do we form and modify our beliefs about the world? It is widely accepted that what we believe is determined by evidence, and is therefore not directly under our control; but according to what criteria is the credibility of the evidence established? Professor Helm argues that no theory of knowledge is complete without standards for accepting and rejecting evidence as belief-worthy. These standards, or belief-policies, are not themselves determined by evidence, but determine what counts as credible evidence. Unlike single (...) beliefs, belief-policies are directly subject to the will, and therefore to the possibility of weakness of will and self-deception. Helm sets out to interpret standard epistemological positions in terms of belief-policies, and to illustrate their operation in the history of philosophy. He establishes connections between belief-policies, responsibility for beliefs, and the desirability of toleration, before reassessing fideism in the light of his argument. (shrink)
This article examines two questions about scientists’ search for knowledge. First, which search strategies generate discoveries effectively? Second, is it advantageous to diversify search strategies? We argue pace Weisberg and Muldoon, “Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor”, that, on the first question, a search strategy that deliberately seeks novel research approaches need not be optimal. On the second question, we argue they have not shown epistemic reasons exist for the division of cognitive labor, identifying the errors that led (...) to their conclusions. Furthermore, we generalize the epistemic landscape model, showing that one should be skeptical about the benefits of social learning in epistemically complex environments. (shrink)
Contextualism in epistemology is the doctrine that the proposition expressed by a knowledge attribution relative to a context is determined in part by the standards of justification salient in that context. The (non-skeptical) contextualist allows that in some context c, a speaker may truly attribute knowledge at a time of a proposition p to Hannah, despite her possession of only weak inductive evidence for the truth of that proposition. Relative to another context, someone may make the very same knowledge attribution (...) to Hannah, yet be speaking falsely, because the epistemic standards in that context are higher. The reason this is possible, according to the contextualist, is that the two knowledge attributions express different propositions. (shrink)
According to accuracy-first epistemology, accuracy is the fundamental epistemic good. Epistemic norms — Probabilism, Conditionalization, the Principal Principle, etc. — have their binding force in virtue of helping to secure this good. To make this idea precise, accuracy-firsters invoke Epistemic Decision Theory (EpDT) to determine which epistemic policies are the best means toward the end of accuracy. Hilary Greaves and others have recently challenged the tenability of this programme. Their arguments purport to show that EpDT encourages obviously epistemically irrational behavior. (...) We develop firmer conceptual foundations for EpDT. First, we detail a theory of praxic and epistemic good. Then we show that, in light of their very different good-making features, EpDT will evaluate epistemic states and epistemic acts according to different criteria. So, in general, rational preference over states and acts won’t agree. Finally, we argue that based on direction-of-fit considerations, it’s preferences over the former that matter for normative epistemology, and that EpDT, properly spelt out, arrives at the correct verdicts in a range of putative problem cases. (shrink)
Unspecific evidence calls for imprecise credence. My aim is to vindicate this thought. First, I will pin down what it is that makes one's imprecise credences more or less epistemically valuable. Then I will use this account of epistemic value to delineate a class of reasonable epistemic scoring rules for imprecise credences. Finally, I will show that if we plump for one of these scoring rules as our measure of epistemic value or utility, then a popular family of decision rules (...) recommends imprecise credences. In particular, a range of Hurwicz criteria, which generalise the Maximin decision rule, recommend imprecise credences. If correct, the moral is this: an agent who adopts precise credences, rather than imprecise ones, in the face of unspecific and incomplete evidence, goes wrong by gambling with the epistemic utility of her doxastic state in too risky a fashion. Precise credences represent an overly risky epistemic bet, according to the Hurwicz criteria. (shrink)
Egalitarianism, the view that equality matters, attracts a great deal of attention amongst contemporary political theorists. And yet it has turned out to be surprisingly difficult to provide a fully satisfactory egalitarian theory. The cutting-edge articles in Egalitarianism move the debate forward. They are written by some of the leading political philosophers in the field.
In Part One Paul Helm provides a general discussion of these themes, seeking both to contextualize the debate and to engage with contemporary philosophical discussion of the relation between faith, reason and understanding. Part Two contains five case studies that illustrate the work of seminal figures in the tradition. They include treatments of Augustine on time and creation, Anselm on the ontological argument and the necessity of the atonement, Jonathan Edwards on the nature of personal identity and John Calvin and (...) the ’sensus divinitatis’, focusing on the way in which Calvin has been appealed to by contemporary reformed epistemology. (shrink)
In ‘The Ockhamization of the event sources of sound’ (2013), Roberto Casati, Elvira Di Bona, and Jérôme Dokic argue that ‘ockhamizing’ Casey O’Callaghan’s account of sounds as proper parts of their event sources yields their preferred view: that sounds are identical with their event sources. This article argues that the considerations Casati et al. marshal in favor of their view are actually stronger considerations in favor of a quite different view: a variant on the Lockean conception of sounds as ‘sensible (...) qualities’ that treats sounds as audible properties of their event sources. (shrink)
May you sell your vote? May you sell your kidney? May gay men pay surrogates to bear them children? May spouses pay each other to watch the kids, do the dishes, or have sex? Should we allow the rich to genetically engineer gifted, beautiful children? Should we allow betting markets on terrorist attacks and natural disasters? Most people shudder at the thought. To put some goods and services for sale offends human dignity. If everything is commodified , then nothing is (...) sacred. The market corrodes our character. Or so most people say. In Markets without Limits , Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski give markets a fair hearing. The market does not introduce wrongness where there was not any previously. Thus, the authors claim, the question of what rightfully may be bought and sold has a simple answer: if you may do it for free, you may do it for money. Contrary to the conservative consensus, they claim there are no inherent limits to what can be bought and sold, but only restrictions on how we buy and sell. (shrink)
This volume is the first in English to provide a full, systematic investigation into Aristotle's criticisms of earlier Greek theories of the soul from the perspective of his theory of scientific explanation. Some interpreters of the De Anima have seen Aristotle's criticisms of Presocratic, Platonic, and other views about the soul as unfair or dialectical, but Jason W. Carter argues that Aristotle's criticisms are in fact a justified attempt to test the adequacy of earlier theories in terms of the (...) theory of scientific knowledge he advances in the Posterior Analytics. Carter proposes a new interpretation of Aristotle's confrontations with earlier psychology, showing how his reception of other Greek philosophers shaped his own hylomorphic psychology and led him to adopt a novel dualist theory of the soul–body relation. His book will be important for students and scholars of Aristotle, ancient Greek psychology, and the history of the mind–body problem. (shrink)
Michael Bergmann claims that all versions of epistemic internalism face an irresolvable dilemma. We show that there are many plausible versions of internalism that falsify this claim. First, we demonstrate that there are versions of ‘‘weak awareness internalism’’ that, contra Bergmann, do not succumb to the ‘‘Subject’s Perspective Objection’’ horn of the dilemma. Second, we show that there are versions of ‘‘strong awareness internalism’’ that do not fall prey to the dilemma’s ‘‘vicious regress’’ horn. We note along the way that (...) these versions of internalism do not, in avoiding one horn of the dilemma, succumb to the dilemma’s other horn. The upshot is that internalists have many available strategies for avoiding dilemmatic defeat. (shrink)
US citizens perceive their society to be one of the most diverse and religiously tolerant in the world today. Yet seemingly intractable religious intolerance and moral conflict abound throughout contemporary US public life - from abortion law battles, same-sex marriage, post-9/11 Islamophobia, public school curriculum controversies, to moral and religious dimensions of the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street movements, and Tea Party populism. Healthy Conflict in Contemporary American Society develops an approach to democratic discourse and coalition-building across deep (...) moral and religious divisions. Drawing on conflict transformation in peace studies, recent American pragmatist thought, and models of agonistic democracy, Jason Springs argues that, in circumstances riven with conflict between strong religious identities and deep moral and political commitments, productive engagement may depend on thinking creatively about how to constructively utilize conflict and intolerance. The result is an approach oriented by the recognition of conflict as a constituent and life-giving feature of social and political relationships. (shrink)
When a patient lacks decision-making capacity, then according to standard clinical ethics practice in the United States, the health care team should seek guidance from a surrogate decision-maker, either previously selected by the patient or appointed by the courts. If there are no surrogates willing or able to exercise substituted judgment, then the team is to choose interventions that promote a patient’s best interests. We argue that, even when there is input from a surrogate, patient preferences should be an additional (...) source of guidance for decisions about patients who lack decision-making capacity. (shrink)
Sarah Moss argues that degrees of belief, or credences, can amount to knowledge in much the way that full beliefs can. This essay explores a new kind of objective Bayesianism designed to take us some way toward securing such knowledge-constituting credences, or "probabilistic knowledge." Whatever else it takes for an agent's credences to amount to knowledge, their success, or accuracy, must be the product of _cognitive ability_ or _skill_. The brand of Bayesianism developed here helps ensure this ability condition is (...) satisfied. Cognitive ability, in turn, helps make credences valuable in other ways: it helps mitigate their dependence on epistemic luck, for example. What we end up with, at the end of the day, are credences that are particularly good candidates for constituting probabilistic knowledge. What's more, examining the character of these credences teaches us something important about what the pursuit of probabilistic knowledge demands from us. It does _not_ demand that we give hypotheses equal _treatment_, by affording them equal credence. Rather, it demands that we give them equal _consideration_, by affording them an equal chance of being discovered. (shrink)
Complex demonstrative phrases, in English, are phrases such as ‘that woman in the department’ and ‘that car on the corner’. They are of particular interest to philosophers for two related reasons. The first involves the problem of intentionality. If there are phrases that are candidates for “latching directly onto the world,” they are such phrases, and their “simple” counterparts, as in the occurrences of ‘that’ in ‘that is nice’. As a result, philosophers interested in intentionality, from the sense-data theorists to (...) contemporary philosophers of mind, have devoted considerable attention to the question of how a demonstrative thought links to its object. The second reason involves issues in semantics and the philosophy of language. In the course of investigations into the model theory for modal logic in the 1950s and 1960s, philosophers recognized that the simplest way to treat terms was as modally rigid, namely as designating their actual designations relative to any possible world in which they existed, and nothing else in other worlds. It was soon recognized that this semantic property could be elegantly explained by the assumption that the semantics of singular terms reflects the role of singular terms in linking representations directly to the world. If the semantic contribution of a singular term to a thought is simply the object it denotes, and the thought is the object of modal evaluation, then the modal rigidity of the class of terms falls out as a consequence. Demonstrative phrases, both simple and complex, have always been taken to be among the paradigms for this picture of reference, which has come to be known as “the direct reference” model. (shrink)