I argue that (a) the phenomenon characteristic of pragmatic presupposition, is distinct from (b) the phenomenon characteristic of semantic presupposition, and that there are sentences exhibiting (a) alone. I apply this to Stalnaker's defense of van Fraassen's theory of semantic presupposition against Karttunen. I show that, since Stalmaker fails to distinguish (a) from (b), this defense amounts to an unsuccessful attempt to explain pragmatically the supposed instances of (b) in Karttunen's counter-examples. I observe that, given the distinction between (a) and (...) (b), we can salvage from Stalnaker the strategy of discounting certain of Karttunen's counter-examples which exhibit not (b) but merely (a). (shrink)
I argue that (a) the causal theory of proper names and (b) Kripke's chain of references thesis are logically independent of each other, and that the case for (a) is very weak. I observe that rejecting (a) we lose one powerful reason for treating proper names as rigid designators. I then consider reasons for subscribing to (b), and I argue that (b) is compatible with either a rigid or a non-rigid (descriptive) semantic treatment of proper names.
The current debate over systematicity concerns the formal conditions a scheme of mental representation must satisfy in order to explain the systematicity of thought.1 The systematicity of thought is assumed to be a pervasive property of minds, and can be characterized (roughly) as follows: anyone who can think T can think systematic variants of T, where the systematic variants of T are found by permuting T’s constituents. So, for example, it is an alleged fact that anyone who can think the (...) thought that John loves Mary can think the thought that Mary loves John, where the latter thought is a systematic variant of the former. (shrink)
This is a review of two books, one Stuart Hall’s memoir, the other an edited volume of some of his most significant political writings. The former offers a psychosocial portrait of Hall, from Jamaica’s brown middle class, feeling alienated from the cultural norms and beliefs of his thoroughly colonized family of origin and coming to identify with Jamaica’s black masses and the post-colonial. Crucial to the transition was re-locating to England via a scholarship to Oxford. Despite ongoing disenchantment, this move (...) enabled a new, liberating vantage point for understanding himself, namely, that of the diasporic intellectual. The memoir ends with Hall frenetically engaged politically with the new left and CND, which is where Selected Political Writings begins. Covering key moments and events in a changing political scene over more than 50 years, the essays, conjunctural analyses written contemporaneously, show remarkable consistency in political outlook and analytical approach. (shrink)
Experimental work has revealed causal links between physical cleansing and various psychological variables. Empirically, how robust are they? Theoretically, how do they operate? Major prevailing accounts focus on morality or disgust, capturing a subset of cleansing effects, but cannot easily handle cleansing effects in non-moral, non-disgusting contexts. Building on grounded views on cognitive processes and known properties of mental procedures, we propose grounded procedures of separation as a proximate mechanism underlying cleansing effects. This account differs from prevailing accounts in terms (...) of explanatory kind, interpretive parsimony, and predictive scope. Its unique and falsifiable predictions have received empirical support: Cleansing attenuates or eliminates otherwise observed influences of prior events across domains and across valences. Cleansing manipulations produce stronger effects the more strongly they engage sensorimotor capacities. Reversing the causal arrow, motivation for cleansing is triggered more readily by negative than positive entities. Conceptually similar effects extend to other physical actions of separation. On the flipside, grounded procedures of connection are also observed. Together, separation and connection organize prior findings relevant to multiple perspectives and open up new questions. Their predictions are more generalizable than the specific mappings in conceptual metaphors, but more fine-grained than the broad assumptions of grounded cognition. This intermediate level of analysis sheds light on the interplay between mental and physical processes. (shrink)
Many writers have held that in his later work, David Lewis adopted a theory of predicate meaning such that the meaning of a predicate is the most natural property that is (mostly) consistent with the way the predicate is used. That orthodox interpretation is shared by both supporters and critics of Lewis's theory of meaning, but it has recently been strongly criticised by Wolfgang Schwarz. In this paper, I accept many of Schwarze's criticisms of the orthodox interpretation, and (...) add some more. But I also argue that the orthodox interpretation has a grain of truth in it, and seeing that helps us appreciate the strength of Lewis's late theory of meaning. (shrink)
Proponents of physical intentionality argue that the classic hallmarks of intentionality highlighted by Brentano are also found in purely physical powers. Critics worry that this idea is metaphysically obscure at best, and at worst leads to panpsychism or animism. I examine the debate in detail, finding both confusion and illumination in the physical intentionalist thesis. Analysing a number of the canonical features of intentionality, I show that they all point to one overarching phenomenon of which both the mental and the (...) physical are kinds, namely finality. This is the finality of ‘final causes’, the long-discarded idea of universal action for an end to which recent proponents of physical intentionality are in fact pointing whether or not they realise it. I explain finality in terms of the concept of specific indifference, arguing that in the case of the mental, specific indifference is realised by the process of abstraction, which has no correlate in the case of physical powers. This analysis, I conclude, reveals both the strength and weakness of rational creatures such as us, as well as demystifying the way in which powers work. (shrink)
The question whether two things can be in the same place at the same time is an ambiguous one. At least three distinct questions could be meant: Can two things simpliciter be in the same place at the same time? Can two things of the same kind be in the same place at the same time? Can two substances of the same kind be in the same place at the same time? The answers to these questions vary. In what follows, (...) all three will be discussed in the light both of recent and of classic earlier examinations of the matter. The following theses will be defended. (shrink)
We propose a formal framework for interpretable machine learning. Combining elements from statistical learning, causal interventionism, and decision theory, we design an idealised explanation game in which players collaborate to find the best explanation for a given algorithmic prediction. Through an iterative procedure of questions and answers, the players establish a three-dimensional Pareto frontier that describes the optimal trade-offs between explanatory accuracy, simplicity, and relevance. Multiple rounds are played at different levels of abstraction, allowing the players to explore overlapping causal (...) patterns of variable granularity and scope. We characterise the conditions under which such a game is almost surely guaranteed to converge on a optimal explanation surface in polynomial time, and highlight obstacles that will tend to prevent the players from advancing beyond certain explanatory thresholds. The game serves a descriptive and a normative function, establishing a conceptual space in which to analyse and compare existing proposals, as well as design new and improved solutions. (shrink)
abstract This paper re-examines some well-known and commonly accepted arguments for the non-individuality of the embryo, due mainly to the work of John Harris. The first concerns the alleged non-differentiation of the embryoblast from the trophoblast. The second concerns monozygotic twinning and the relevance of the primitive streak. The third concerns the totipotency of the cells of the early embryo. I argue that on a proper analysis of both the empirical facts of embryological development, and the metaphysical importance or otherwise (...) of those facts, all three arguments are found wanting. None of them establishes that the embryo is not an individual human being from the moment of conception. (shrink)
Corruptionism is the view that following physical death, the human being ceases to exist but their soul persists in the afterlife. Survivalism holds that both the human being and their soul persist in the afterlife, as distinct entities, with the soul constituting the human. Each position has its defenders, most of whom appeal both to metaphysical considerations and to the authority of St Thomas Aquinas. Corruptionists claim that survivalism violates a basic principle of any plausible mereology, while survivalists tend to (...) reject the principle, though without as much detail as one would like. In this paper I examine both the key exegetical issues and the mereological question, arguing that Aquinas cannot be shown to have supported the principle in question, and that the principle should be rejected on independent grounds. If correct, some key planks in support of survivalism are established, with others to await further examination. (shrink)
In Australia, as in many countries, the early advertising industry had a poor reputation for honesty. However, in 1920 ?truth in advertising? and raising ethical behavior became the focus of the Second Convention of Advertising Men of Australasia, held in Sydney. This was a major event in Australia's advertising history and was seen as a way to legitimize the industry in the eyes of those who doubted advertising's honesty. This paper will look at the Sydney Advertising Convention, with particular reference (...) to quotes from presenters and the establishment of self-regulatory bodies, to help gain an insight into the beginning of a system to observe ethical behavior in advertising. (shrink)
Political advertising has long been a target for criticism regarding unethical behaviour. This study looks at the attitudes of Australian advertising agency executives and politicians towards ethical issues relating to political advertising. A sample of 101 advertising agency executives and 46 federal politicians were compared and some attitudinal differences were found, which could be areas of tension in the agency-client relationship.
Work on the therapeutic misconception suggests that investigators should ensure that potential research subjects understand the fundamental differences between clinical research and clinical care. Yet, what potential research subjects should understand depends on their circumstances and the study in question. This analysis implies that researchers and review committees should stop attempting to define, measure, and dispel the therapeutic misconception, and instead should focus on what potential subjects should understand to participate in individual studies.
We examine two different descriptions of the behavioral functions of the hippocampal system. One emphasizes spatially organized behaviors, especially those using cognitive maps. The other emphasizes memory, particularly working memory, a short-term memory that requires iexible stimulus-response associations and is highly susceptible to interference. The predictive value of the spatial and memory descriptions were evaluated by testing rats with damage to the hippocampal system in a series of experiments, independently manipulating the spatial and memory characteristics of a behavioral task. No (...) dissociations were found when the spatial characteristics of the stimuli to be remembered were changed; lesions produced a similar deficit in both spatial and nonspatial test procedures, indicating that the hippocampus was similarly involved regardless of the spatial nature of the task. In contrast, a marked dissociation was found when the memory requirements were altered. Rats with lesions were able to perform accurately in tasks that could be solved exclusively on the basis of reference memory. They performed at chance levels and showed no signs of recovery even with extensive postoperative training in tasks that required working memory. In one experiment all the characteristics of the reference memory and working memory procedures were identical except the type of memory required. Consequently, the behavioral dissociation cannot be explained by differences in attention, motivation, response inhibition, or the type of stimuli to be remembered. As a result of these experiments we propose that the hippocampus is selectively involved in behaviors that require working memory, irrespective of the type of material that is to be processed by that memory. (shrink)
Our commentators explore the operation of grounded procedures across all levels of analysis in the behavioral sciences, from mental to social, developmental, and evolutionary/functional. Building on them, we offer two integrative principles for systematic effects of grounded procedures to occur. We discuss theoretical topics at each level of analysis, address methodological recommendations, and highlight further extensions of grounded procedures.
The distinction between the essence of an object and its properties has been obscured in contemporary discussion of essentialism. Locke held that the properties of an object are exclusively those features that ‘flow’ from its essence. Here he follows the Aristotelian theory, leaving aside Locke’s own scepticism about the knowability of essence. I defend the need to distinguish sharply between essence and properties, arguing that essence must be given by form and that properties flow from form. I give a precise (...) definition of what the term of art ‘flow’ amounts to, and apply the distinction to various kinds of taxonomic issues. (shrink)
This paper describes differences in two perspectives on the idea of virtue as a theoretical foundation for positive organizational ethics (POE). The virtue ethics perspective is grounded in the philosophical tradition, has classical roots, and focuses attention on virtue as a property of character. The positive social science perspective is a recent movement (e.g., positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship) that has implications for POE. The positive social science movement operationalizes virtue through an empirical lens that emphasizes virtuous behaviors. From (...) a virtue ethics perspective, a behaviorally based account of virtue is a weak theory of virtue. Observations are suggested for integrating the two perspectives. First, virtue should always be understood as an excellence and is often an optimal point between extreme dysfunctions on continuum of potential states. Second, an empirical exploration of virtue needs to account for character and context. Finally, the properties of organization-level virtue need to be further specified and explored. Implications and directions for future research are discussed. (shrink)
The Dead Donor Rule holds that removing organs from a living human being without their consent is wrongful killing. The rule still prevails in most countries, and I assume it without argument in order to pose the question: is it possible to have a metaphysically correct, clinically relevant analysis of human death that makes organ donation possible? I argue that the two dominant criteria of death, brain death and circulatory death, are both empirically and metaphysically inadequate as definitions of human (...) death, and therefore of no epistemic value in themselves. I first set out a neo-Aristotelian theory of death as separation of soul and body, which is then fleshed out as loss of organismic integrity. The brain and circulatory criteria are shown to have severe weaknesses as physiological manifestations of loss of integrity. Given the mismatch between what death is metaphysically speaking, and the dominant criteria accepted by clinicians and philosophers, it turns out that only actual bodily decomposition is a sure sign of death. In this I differ from Alan Shewmon, whose important work I discuss in detail. (shrink)
To the extent that dualism is even taken to be a serious option in contemporary discussions of personal identity and the philosophy of mind, it is almost exclusively either Cartesian dualism or property dualism that is considered. The more traditional dualism defended by Aristotelians and Thomists, what I call hylemorphic dualism, has only received scattered attention. In this essay I set out the main lines of the hylemorphic dualist position, with particular reference to personal identity. First I argue that overemphasis (...) of the problem of consciousness has had an unhealthy effect on recent debate, claiming instead that we should emphasize the concept of form. Then I bring in the concept of identity by means of the notion of substantial form. I continue by analyzing the relation between form and matter, defending the traditional theses of prime matter and of the unicity of substantial form. I then argue for the immateriality of the substantial form of the human person, viz. the soul, from an account of the human intellect. From this follows the soul's essential independence of matter. Finally, although the soul is the immaterial bearer of personal identity, that identity is still the identity of an essentially embodied being. I explain how these ideas are to be reconciled. Footnotesa I am grateful to Stephen Braude, John Cottingham, John Haldane, David Jehle, Joel Katzav, Eduardo Ortiz, and Fred Sommers for helpful comments and discussion of a draft of this essay. I would also like to thank Ellen Paul, whose suggestions have helped greatly to improve the essay's style and content. (shrink)