Nous cherchons ici à étudier la signification du fait qu’un État, chez Spinoza, peut se comprendre intégralement comme étant une « âme » singulière. Nous montrons en quoi cette compréhension de l’État comme « âme » permet d’expliciter les éléments centraux de la théorie de l’obéissance chez Spinoza, et en quoi le succès du projet politique spinoziste n’est envisageable que de cette perspective. Nous soulevons en conclusion un paradoxe : Spinoza écrit (TP 3/8) que nul ne cède de sa faculté (...) de juger ; et à force de tirer sur ce fil, nous montrons que Spinoza y aborde de façon discrète et indirecte la possibilité de la disparition de l’État, dans la mesure même où il aura réussi à encourager l’obéissance et à faire en sorte que « l’âme » de tous devienne un bien commun. (shrink)
Contributors: Steven Barbone, Laurent Bove, Edwin Curley, Valérie Debuiche, Michael Della Rocca, Simon B. Duffy, Daniel Garber, Pascale Gillot, Céline Hervet, Jonathan Israel, Chantal Jaquet, Mogens Lærke, Jacqueline Lagrée, Martin Lin, Yitzhak Y. Melamed, Pierre-François Moreau, Steven Nadler, Knox Peden, Alison Peterman, Charles Ramond, Michael A. Rosenthal, Pascal Sévérac, Hasana Sharp, JackStetter, Ariel Suhamy, Lorenzo Vinciguerra.
Jean-Claude Milner’s Le sage trompeur (2013), a controversial recent piece of French Spinoza literature, remains regrettably understudied in the English-speaking world. Adopting Leo Strauss’ esoteric reading method, Milner alleges that Spinoza dissimulates his genuine analysis of the causes of the persecution and survival of the Jewish people within a brief “manifesto” found at the end of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (TTP), Chapter 3. According to Milner, Spinoza holds that the Jewish people themselves are responsible for the hatred of the Jewish people, (...) and that the engine of their longevity is the hatred they engender. Additionally, claims Milner, Spinoza covertly insinuates that the solution to this persistent state of hatred consists in the mass apostasy of the Jewish people under the leadership of a Sabbatai Zevi-like figure. This article presents the Milner–Spinoza controversy to the English-speaking public along with the larger context of French-language scholarship on Spinoza’s relation to Judaism. While refuting Milner’s reading of Spinoza, I simultaneously clarify relevant elements of Spinoza’s discussions of Judaism in the TTP, such as Spinoza’s examination of Jewish identity and the nature of divine election, Spinoza’s understanding of the causes of national hatred, and Spinoza’s appeals to Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, and Turkish political history. (shrink)
François Lamy, a Benedictine monk and Cartesian philosopher whose extensive relations with Arnauld, Bossuet, Fénélon, and Malebranche put him into contact with the intellectual elite of late-seventeenth-century France, authored the very first detailed and explicit refutation of Spinoza’s Ethics in French, Le nouvel athéisme renversé. Regrettably overlooked in the secondary literature on Spinoza, Lamy is an interesting figure in his own right, and his anti-Spinozist work sheds important light on Cartesian assumptions that inform the earliest phase of Spinoza’s critical reception (...) in the seventeenth-century. I begin by presenting Lamy’s life and the contentious state of Spinoza’s French reception in the 1680 and 1690s. I then discuss a central argument in Lamy’s refutation, namely the Cartesian objection that Spinoza’s account of the conceptual independence of attributes is incompatible with the theory of substance monism. Contrasting Lamy’s objection with questions put to Spinoza by de Vries and Tschirnhaus, I maintain that by exhibiting the direction Spinoza’s views on substance and attribute took in maturing we may accurately assess the strength of Spinoza’s position vis-à-vis his Cartesian objector, and I argue that, in fact, Spinoza’s mature account of God as an expressive ens realissimum is not vulnerable to Lamy’s criticism. In conclusion, I turn to Lamy’s objection that Spinoza’s philosophy is question-begging in view of Spinoza’s account of God, and I exhibit what this point of criticism tells us about the intentions of the first French Cartesian rebuttal of the Ethics. (shrink)
In spite of many claims by people who have had the kind of mystical experiences that I want to discuss, such experiences do not reveal any reality beyond the experience itself; nor does the experience itself constitute a cosmic principle such as the Godhead, Absolute, One or Chaos. These experiences are in the last analysis merely subjective experiences. I say ‘merely’ here only to deny that the experiences have any significance for the cosmologists; not to deny that the experience has (...) significant value for the experiencer. It may be that the experiences are the ultimate goal attainable by human beings. Their value does not depend on their being the ultimate truth. (shrink)
What I wish to do in this paper is to look at a part of John Stuart Mill's ‘one very simple principle’ for determining the limits of state intervention. This principle is, you will remember, that ‘the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.’.
Economic theory is built on assumptions about human behavior—assumptions embodied in rational-choice theory. Underlying these assumptions are implicit notions about how we think and learn. These implicit notions are fundamentally important to social explanation. The very plausibility of the explanations that we develop out of rational-choice theory rests crucially on the accuracy of these notions about cognition and rationality. But there is a basic problem: There is often very little relationship between the assumptions that rational-choice theorists make and the way (...) that humans actually act and learn in everyday life. This has significant implications for economic theory and practice. It leads to bad theories and inadequate explanations; it produces bad predictions and, thus, supports ineffective social policies. (shrink)
Is perception cognitively penetrable, and what are the epistemological consequences if it is? I address the latter of these two questions, partly by reference to recent work by Athanassios Raftopoulos and Susanna Seigel. Against the usual, circularity, readings of cognitive penetrability, I argue that cognitive penetration can be epistemically virtuous, when---and only when---it increases the reliability of perception.
The crucial premise of the standard argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's problem, a causal dominance principle, is false. We present some counterexamples. We then offer a metaethical explanation for why the counterexamples arise. Our explanation reveals a new and superior argument for two-boxing, one that eschews the causal dominance principle in favor of a principle linking rational choice to guidance and actual value maximization.
I formulate a principle of preference, which I call the Guaranteed Principle. I argue that the preferences of rational agents satisfy the Guaranteed Principle, that the preferences of agents who embody causal decision theory do not, and hence that causal decision theory is false.
Etiquette and other merely formal normative standards like legality, honor, and rules of games are taken less seriously than they should be. While these standards are not intrinsically reason-providing in the way morality is often taken to be, they also play an important role in our practical lives: we collectively treat them as important for assessing the behavior of ourselves and others and as licensing particular forms of sanction for violations. This chapter develops a novel account of the normativity of (...) formal standards where the role they play in our practical lives explains a distinctive kind of reason to obey them. We have this kind of reason to be polite because etiquette is important to us. We also have this kind of reason to be moral because morality is important to us. This parallel suggests that the importance we assign to morality is insufficient to justify it being substantive. (shrink)
What makes a biological entity an individual? Jack Wilson shows that past philosophers have failed to explicate the conditions an entity must satisfy to be a living individual. He explores the reason for this failure and explains why we should limit ourselves to examples involving real organisms rather than thought experiments. This book explores and resolves paradoxes that arise when one applies past notions of individuality to biological examples beyond the conventional range and presents an analysis of identity and (...) persistence. The book's main purpose is to bring together two lines of research, theoretical biology and metaphysics, which have dealt with the same subject in isolation from one another. Wilson explains an alternative theory about biological individuality which solves problems which cannot be addressed by either field alone. He presents a more fine-grained vocabulary of individuation based on diverse kinds of living things, allowing him to clarify previously muddled disputes about individuality in biology. (shrink)
A natural suggestion and increasingly popular account of how to revise our logical beliefs treats revision of logic analogously to the revision of scientific theories. I investigate this approach and argue that simple applications of abductive methodology to logic result in revision-cycles, developing a detailed case study of an actual dispute with this property. This is problematic if we take abductive methodology to provide justification for revising our logical framework. I then generalize the case study, pointing to similarities with more (...) recent and popular heterodox logics such as naïve logics of truth. I use this discussion to motivate a constraint—logical partisanhood—on the uses of such methodology: roughly: both the proposed alternative and our actual background logic must be able to agree that moving to the alternative logic is no worse than staying put. (shrink)
I argue that certain species of belief, such as mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, are insulated from a form of Harman-style debunking argument whereas moral beliefs, the primary target of such arguments, are not. Harman-style arguments have been misunderstood as attempts to directly undermine our moral beliefs. They are rather best given as burden-shifting arguments, concluding that we need additional reasons to maintain our moral beliefs. If we understand them this way, then we can see why moral beliefs are vulnerable (...) to such arguments while mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs are not—the very construction of Harman-style skeptical arguments requires the truth of significant fragments of our mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, but requires no such thing of our moral beliefs. Given this property, Harman-style skeptical arguments against logical, mathematical, and normative beliefs are self-effacing; doubting these beliefs on the basis of such arguments results in the loss of our reasons for doubt. But we can cleanly doubt the truth of morality. (shrink)
According to a widely held principle—the poss-ability principle—an agent, S, is able to only if it is metaphysically possible for S to. I argue against the poss-ability principle by developing a novel class of counterexamples. I then argue that the consequences of rejecting the poss-ability principle are interesting and far-reaching.
Der Beitrag versucht, gegen die traditionelle Auffassung der Alphabetschrift als einer Lautschrift, die als Repräsentationsmythos beschrieben wird, Grundlagen für ein logisch angemesseneres Verständnis dieses Schrifttyps zu erarbeiten. Seine Logik wird mit Mitteln des Individuenkalküls als Kombinatorik beschrieben, in der Alphabetschrifttypen als digital organisierte Typen ausgewiesen werden. Mit einer Hierarchie dreier Grundsätze wird dann erstens die Qualität der Alphabetschrift als eines gegenüber der oralen Sprache relativ autonomen Mediums gezeigt, zweitens das Problem der Definition von Sprachen durch Abbildung von Mengen oraler Ausdrücke (...) auf digital organisierte literale Typen gelöst. (shrink)
Main description: The volume brings together papers on new developments in the theory of writing systems, above all from the perspectives of linguistics, philosophy, media theory and language education.The papers in the volume reflect on ...
The New Evil Demon Problem is supposed to show that straightforward versions of reliabilism are false: reliability is not necessary for justification after all. I argue that it does no such thing. The reliabilist can count a number of beliefs as justified even in demon worlds, others as unjustified but having positive epistemic status nonetheless. The remaining beliefs---primarily perceptual beliefs---are not, on further reflection, intuitively justified after all. The reliabilist is right to count these beliefs as unjustified in demon worlds, (...) and it is a challenge for the internalist to be able to do so as well. (shrink)
Professor Jack Goody builds on his own previous work to extend further his highly influential critique of what he sees as the pervasive eurocentric or occidentalist biases of so much western historical writing. Goody also examines the consequent 'theft' by the West of the achievements of other cultures in the invention of (notably) democracy, capitalism, individualism, and love. The Theft of History discusses a number of theorists in detail, including Marx, Weber and Norbert Elias, and engages with critical admiration (...) western historians like Fernand Braudel, Moses Finlay and Perry Anderson. Major questions of method are raised, and Goody proposes a new comparative methodology for cross-cultural analysis, one that gives a much more sophisticated basis for assessing divergent historical outcomes, and replaces outmoded simple differences between East and West. The Theft of History will be read by an unusually wide audience of historians, anthropologists and social theorists. (shrink)
I distinguish two ways of developing anti-exceptionalist approaches to logical revision. The first emphasizes comparing the theoretical virtuousness of developed bodies of logical theories, such as classical and intuitionistic logic. I'll call this whole theory comparison. The second attempts local repairs to problematic bits of our logical theories, such as dropping excluded middle to deal with intuitions about vagueness. I'll call this the piecemeal approach. I then briefly discuss a problem I've developed elsewhere for comparisons of logical theories. Essentially, the (...) problem is that a pair of logics may each evaluate the alternative as superior to themselves, resulting in oscillation between logical options. The piecemeal approach offers a way out of this problem andthereby might seem a preferable to whole theory comparisons. I go on to show that reflective equilibrium, the best known piecemeal method, has deep problems of its own when applied to logic. (shrink)
Most ?theories of consciousness? are based on vague speculations about the properties of conscious experience. We aim to provide a more solid basis for a science of consciousness. We argue that a theory of consciousness should provide an account of the very processes that allow us to acquire and use information about our own mental states ? the processes underlying introspection. This can be achieved through the construction of information processing models that can account for ?Type-C? processes. Type-C processes can (...) be specified experimentally by identifying paradigms in which awareness of the stimulus is necessary for an intentional action. The Shallice (1988b) framework is put forward as providing an initial account of Type-C processes, which can relate perceptual consciousness to consciously performed actions. Further, we suggest that this framework may be refined through the investigation of the functions of prefrontal cortex. The formulation of our approach requires us to consider fundamental conceptual and methodological issues associated with consciousness. The most significant of these issues concerns the scientific use of introspective evidence. We outline and justify a conservative methodological approach to the use of introspective evidence, with attention to the difficulties historically associated with its use in psychology. (shrink)
In _Phenomenology, Naturalism and Empirical Science_, Jack Reynolds takes the controversial position that phenomenology and naturalism are compatible, and develops a hybrid account of phenomenology and empirical science. Though phenomenology and naturalism are typically understood as philosophically opposed to one another, Reynolds argues that this resistance is based on an understanding of transcendental phenomenology that is ultimately untenable and in need of updating. Phenomenology, as Reynolds reorients it, is compatible with liberal naturalism, as well as with weak forms of (...) methodological naturalism. Chapters explore areas where scientific and phenomenological work overlap and sometimes conflict, contesting standard ways of understanding the relationship between phenomenological philosophy and empirical science. The book outlines the significance of the first-person perspective characteristic of phenomenology—both epistemically and ontologically—while according due respect to the relevant empirical sciences. This book makes a significant contribution to one of the central issues in phenomenology and argues for phenomenology’s ongoing importance for the future of philosophy. (shrink)
Expressivists explain the expression relation which obtains between sincere moral assertion and the conative or affective attitude thereby expressed by appeal to the relation which obtains between sincere assertion and belief. In fact, they often explicitly take the relation between moral assertion and their favored conative or affective attitude to be exactly the same as the relation between assertion and the belief thereby expressed. If this is correct, then we can use the identity of the expression relation in the two (...) cases to test the expressivist account as a descriptive or hermeneutic account of moral discourse. I formulate one such test, drawing on a standard explanation of Moore's paradox. I show that if expressivism is correct as a descriptive account of moral discourse, then we should expect versions of Moore's paradox where we explicitly deny that we possess certain affective or conative attitudes. I then argue that the constructions that mirror Moore's paradox are not incoherent. It follows that expressivism is either incorrect as a hermeneutic account of moral discourse or that the expression relation which holds between sincere moral assertion and affective or conative attitudes is not identical to the relation which holds between sincere non-moral assertion and belief. A number of objections are canvassed and rejected. (shrink)
Cognitive science has wholeheartedly embraced functional brain imaging, but introspective data are still eschewed to the extent that it runs against standard practice to engage in the systematic collection of introspective reports. However, in the case of executive processes associated with prefrontal cortex, imaging has made limited progress, whereas introspective methods have considerable unfulfilled potential. We argue for a re-evaluation of the standard ‘cognitive mapping’ paradigm, emphasizing the use of retrospective reports alongside behavioural and brain imaging techniques. Using all three (...) sources of evidence can compensate for their individual limitations, and so triangulate on higher cognitive processes. (shrink)
Sometimes a fact can play a role in a grounding explanation, but the particular content of that fact make no difference to the explanation—any fact would do in its place. I call these facts vacuous grounds. I show that applying the distinction between-vacuous grounds allows us to give a principled solution to Kit Fine and Stephen Kramer’s paradox of ground. This paradox shows that on minimal assumptions about grounding and minimal assumptions about logic, we can show that grounding is reflexive, (...) contra the intuitive character of grounds. I argue that we should never have accepted that grounding is irreflexive in the first place; the intuitions that support the irreflexive intuition plausibly only require that grounding be non-vacuously irreflexive. Fine and Kramer’s paradox relies, essentially, on a case of vacuous grounding and is thus no problem for this account. (shrink)
Why do promises give rise to reasons? I consider a quadruple of possibilities which I think will not work, then sketch the explanation of the normativity of promising I find more plausible—that it is constitutive of the practice of promising that promise-breaking implies liability for blame and that we take liability for blame to be a bad thing. This effects a reduction of the normativity of promising to conventionalism about liability together with instrumental normativity and desire-based reasons. This is important (...) for a number of reasons, but the most important reason is that this style of account can be extended to account for nearly all normativity—one notable exception being instrumental normativity itself. Success in the case of promises suggests a general reduction of normativity to conventions and instrumental normativity. But success in the cases of promises is already quite interesting and does not depend essentially the general claim about normativity. (shrink)
How things look (or sound, taste, smell, etc.) plays two important roles in the epistemology of perception.1 First, our perceptual beliefs are episte- mically justified, at least in part, in virtue of how things look. Second, whether a given belief is a perceptual belief, as opposed to, say, an infer- ential belief, is also at least partly a matter of how things look. Together, these yield an epistemically significant sense of looks. A standard view is that how things look, in (...) this epistemically significant sense, is a matter of ones present perceptual phenomenology, of what nondoxastic experiential state one is in. On this standard view, these experiential states (a) determine which of my beliefs are perceptual beliefs and (b) are centrally involved in justifying these beliefs. (shrink)
I defend normative subjectivism against the charge that believing in it undermines the functional role of normative judgment. In particular, I defend it against the claim that believing that our reasons change from context to context is problematic for our use of normative judgments. To do so, I distinguish two senses of normative universality and normative reasons---evaluative universality and reasons and ontic universality and reasons. The former captures how even subjectivists can evaluate the actions of those subscribing to other conventions; (...) the latter explicates how their reasons differ from ours. I then show that four aspects of the functional role of normativity---evaluation of our and others actions and reasons, normative communication, hypothetical planning, and evaluating counternromative conditionals---at most requires our normative systems being evaluatively universal. Yet reasonable subjectivist positions need not deny evaluative universality. (shrink)
I investigate syntactic notions of theoretical equivalence between logical theories and a recent objection thereto. I show that this recent criticism of syntactic accounts, as extensionally inadequate, is unwarranted by developing an account which is plausibly extensionally adequate and more philosophically motivated. This is important for recent anti-exceptionalist treatments of logic since syntactic accounts require less theoretical baggage than semantic accounts.
In our wakeful conscious lives, the experience of time and dynamic temporal phenomena—such as continuous motion and change—appears to be ubiquitous. How is it that temporality is woven into our conscious experience? Is it through perceptual experience presenting a series of instantaneous states of the world, which combine together—in a sense which would need to be specified—to give us experience of dynamic temporal phenomena? In this paper, I argue that this is not the case. -/- Several authors have recently proposed (...) dynamic snapshot models of temporal experience— such as Prosser and Arstila, building upon Le Poidevin— according to which perceptual experience has no temporal content of a non‐zero extent. I argue that there is an absence of motivation for such a view; I develop and defend the claim that perceptual experience minimally presents something of some non‐zero temporal extent as such. (shrink)
While there have been many essays devoted to comparing the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty with that of Jacques Derrida, there has been no sustained book-length treatment of these two French philosophers. Additionally, many of the essays presuppose an oppositional relationship between them, and between phenomenology and deconstruction more generally. -/- Jack Reynolds systematically explores their relationship by analyzing each philosopher in terms of two important and related issues—embodiment and alterity. Focusing on areas with which they are not commonly associated (...) (e.g., Derrida on the body and Merleau-Ponty on alterity) makes clear that their work cannot be adequately characterized in a strictly oppositional way. Merleau-Ponty and Derrida: Intertwining Embodiment and Alterity proposes the possibility of a Merleau-Ponty-inspired philosophy that does not so avowedly seek to extricate itself from phenomenology, but that also cannot easily be dismissed as simply another instantiation of the metaphysics of presence. Reynolds argues that there are salient ethico-political reasons for choosing an alternative that accords greater attention to our embodied situation. (shrink)
Raftopoulos’s most recent book argues, among other things, for the cognitive impenetrability of early vision. Before we can assess any such claims, we need to know what’s meant by “early vision” and by “cognitive penetration”. In this contribution to this book symposium, I explore several different things that one might mean – indeed, that Raftopoulos might mean – by these terms. I argue that whatever criterion we choose for delineating early vision, we need a single criterion, not a mishmash of (...) distinct criteria. And I argue against defining cognitive penetration in partly epistemological terms, although it is fine to offer epistemological considerations in defending some definitions as capturing something of independent interest. Finally, I raise some questions about how we are to understand the “directness” of certain putative cognitive influences on perception and about whether there’s a decent rationale for restricting directness in the way that Raftopoulos apparently does. -/- Keywords: Perception; Cognitive Penetration; Modularity; Perception/Cognition Distinction; Early Vision -/- L’impenetrabilità cognitiva delle prime fasi della visione: di che si tratta? Riassunto: L’ultimo libro di Raftopoulos argomenta, tra le altre cose, in favore della impenetrabilità cognitiva della visione primaria. Prima di poter vagliare un’affermazione di questo tipo, bisogna sapere cosa si intende con “visione primaria” e con “penetrazione cognitiva”. Nel mio contributo a questo simposio prenderò in considerazione diversi elementi cui ci si può riferire con questi termini – e a cui, nei fatti, Raftopoulos potrebbe riferirsi. Sosterrò che qualsiasi criterio si scelga per descrivere la visione primaria, è necessario che si tratti di un criterio singolo e non di un insieme di criteri differenti. Presenterò quindi un argomento contro la definizione della penetrazione cognitiva in termini parzialmente epistemologici, sebbene sia utile offrire considerazioni epistemologiche nel difendere alcune definizioni come definizioni che colgono qualcosa di indipendente dall’interesse. Solleverò infine alcune questioni relative a come dobbiamo intendere la “direzionalità” di certe presunte influenze cognitive sulla percezione e se ci sia una ragione soddisfacente per restringere la direzionalità nel modo in cui Raftopoulos, a quanto pare, la restringe. Parole chiave: Percezione; Penetrazione cognitiva; Modularità; Distinzione percezione/cognizione; Visione primaria. (shrink)
On September 3, 2015, the Political Epistemology/ideas, Knowledge, and Politics section of the American Political Science Association sponsored a roundtable on epistemic democracy as part of the APSA’s annual meetings. Chairing the roundtable was Daniel Viehoff, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield. The other participants were Jack Knight, Department of Political Science and the Law School, Duke University; Hélène Landemore, Department of Political Science, Yale University; and Nadia Urbinati, Department of Political Science, Columbia University. We thank the participants for (...) permission to republish their remarks, which they edited for clarity after the fact. (shrink)
I argue that we can and should extend Tarski's model-theoretic criterion of logicality to cover indefinite expressions like Hilbert's ɛ operator, Russell's indefinite description operator η, and abstraction operators like 'the number of'. I draw on this extension to discuss the logical status of both abstraction operators and abstraction principles.