In this paper we argue that knowledge is characteristically safe true belief. We argue that an adequate approach to epistemic luck must not be indexed to methods of belief formation, but rather to explanations for belief. This shift is problematic for several prominent approaches to the theory of knowledge, including virtue reliabilism and proper functionalism (as normally conceived). The view that knowledge is characteristically safe true belief is better able to accommodate the shift in question.
Transmission views of testimony hold that a speaker's knowledge or justification can become the audience's knowledge or justification. We argue that transmission views are incompatible with the hypothesis that one's epistemic state, together with one's practical circumstances, determines what actions are rationally permissible for an agent. We argue that there are cases where, if the speaker's epistemic state were transmitted to the audience, then the audience would be warranted in acting in particular ways. Yet, the audience in these cases is (...) not so warranted, as their strength of justification does not come close to the speaker's. (shrink)
Suppose we take a picture containing a full image of a duck and slice it right through, leaving some of the duck image on one slice and some of it on the other. How many duck images will we be left with? Received theories of pictorial representation presuppose that a surface cannot come to contain new images just by changing its physical relations with other surfaces, such as physical continuity. But as it turns out, this is in tension with received (...) theories’ approach to incomplete images. I address three views with respect to the circumstances in which incomplete images of X represent X. 1. A liberal, non-restrictive view: ‘Iff they meet relevant requirements posed by received theory of pictorial representation.’ 2. Moderate restrictions of this view and 3. A fully restrictive view. After investigating challenges for the liberal view, I end up supporting it. The main challenges rest on the fact that only the fully restrictive view can plausibly accommodate some principles that seem inherent to our theory of representation. For instance: only this view accommodates received theories’ presupposition that the representational properties of a surface depend on its configurational properties such that new images may appear on a surface only if its configurational properties have changed. Since the liberal view is overall more plausible than the restrictive view, I reject this presupposition and bear the consequences. (shrink)
Before the semester begins, a teacher tells his students: “There will be exactly one exam this semester. It will not take place on a day that is an immediate-successor of a day that you are currently in a position to know is not the exam-day”. Both the students and the teacher know – it is common knowledge – that no exam can be given on the first day of the semester. Since the teacher is truthful and reliable, it seems that (...) the students can know that what he says is true. However, in that case, assuming the students can know that they know whatever it is they know (KK) and assuming their knowledge is closed under entailment (closure), the students can reason from what they know to the conclusion that no exam will take place during the semester. This conclusion contradicts what they supposedly know: that there will be an exam. This puzzle, we argue, gives rise to a new consideration for the rejection of KK. We discuss unique features of the argument, especially in comparison to Timothy Williamson's rejection of KK in light of other versions of the surprise exam paradox. (shrink)
In 1986, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his victory over “the powers of death and degradation, and to support the struggle of good against evil in the world.” Soon after, he and his wife, Marion, created the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. A project at the heart of the Foundation’s mission is its Ethics Prize—a remarkable essay-writing contest through which thousands of students from colleges across the country are encouraged to confront ethical issues of personal (...) significance. The Ethics Prize has grown exponentially over the past twenty years. “Of all the projects our Foundation has been involved in, none has been more exciting than this opportunity to inspire young students to examine the ethical aspect of what they have learned in their personal lives and from their teachers in the classroom,” writes Elie Wiesel. Readers will find essays on Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, sweatshops and globalization, and the political obligations of the mothers of Argentina’s Disappeared. Other essays tell of a white student who joins a black gospel choir, a young woman who learns to share in Ladakh, and the outsize implications of reporting on something as small as a cracked windshield. Readers will be fascinated by the ways in which essays on conflict, conscience, memory, illness, and God overlap and resonate with one another. These essays reflect those who are “sensitive to the sufferings and defects that confront a society yearning for guidance and eager to hear ethical voices,” writes Elie Wiesel. “And they are a beacon for what our schools must realize as an essential component of a true education.”. (shrink)
A sense of unity -- Basic objects : a reply to Xu -- Objectivity without objects -- The vagueness of identity -- Quantifier variance and realism -- Against revisionary ontology -- Comments on Theodore Sider's four dimensionalism -- Sosa's existential relativism -- Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes, and common sense -- Ontological arguments : interpretive charity and quantifier variance -- Language, ontology, and structure -- Ontology and alternative languages.
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm's mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis's four-dimensionalist (...) assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable for the words of our language to divide up the world in ordinary ways rather than other imaginable ways. Hirsch calls this the division problem. His book aims to bring this problem into sharp focus, to distinguish it from various related problems, and to consider the best prospects for solving it. In exploring various possible responses to the division problem, Hirsch examines series of "division principles" which purport to express (...) rational constraints on how our words ought to classify and individuate. The ensuing discussion deals with a wide range of metaphysical and epistemological topics, including projectibility and similarity, alternative analyses of natural properties and things, the inscrutability of reference, and the relevance of such pragmatic notions as salience and economy. The final chapters of the book develop what Hirsch contends is the most promising response to the division problem: a theory in which constraints on classification and individuation are seen to derive from the necessary structure of "fine-grained" propositions and the necessary dependence of some concepts on others. (shrink)
This study develops a pedagogy for the teaching of ethical principles in information systems (IS) classes, and reports on an empirical study that supports the efficacy of the approach. The proposed pedagogy involves having management information systems professors lead questioning and discussion on a list of ethical issues as part of their existing IS courses. The rationale for this pedagogy involves (1) the maturational aspects of ethics, and (2) the importance of repetition, challenge, and practice in developing a personal set (...) of ethics. A study of IS ethics using a pre-post test design found that classes receiving such treatment significantly improved their performance on an IS ethics questionnaire. (shrink)
Mark Eli Kalderon argues that morality is a fiction by means of which our emotional attitudes are conveyed. This is an improvement on the standard noncognitivist view, which denies that moral judgement is belief but claims instead that it is the expression of an emotional attitude. Noncognitivists tend to deny that moral sentences even purport to represent moral reality, and so they have developed non-standard semantics for moral discourse. Kalderon's fictionalism shows that noncognitivism can manage without such controversial semantics. His (...) book will be essential reading for anyone working in moral philosophy, and for many others working on meaning and knowledge. (shrink)
Eli Maor examines the role of infinity in mathematics and geometry and its cultural impact on the arts and sciences. He evokes the profound intellectual impact the infinite has exercised on the human mind--from the "horror infiniti" of the Greeks to the works of M. C. Escher from the ornamental designs of the Moslems, to the sage Giordano Bruno, whose belief in an infinite universe led to his death at the hands of the Inquisition. But above all, the book describes (...) the mathematician's fascination with infinity--a fascination mingled with puzzlement. "Maor explores the idea of infinity in mathematics and in art and argues that this is the point of contact between the two, best exemplified by the work of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, six of whose works are shown here in beautiful color plates."--Los Angeles Times "[Eli Maor's] enthusiasm for the topic carries the reader through a rich panorama."--Choice "Fascinating and enjoyable.... places the ideas of infinity in a cultural context and shows how they have been espoused and molded by mathematics."--Science. (shrink)
In the work of both Matti Eklund and John Hawthorne there is an influential semantic argument for a maximally expansive ontology that is thought to undermine even modest forms of quantifier variance. The crucial premise of the argument holds that it is impossible for an ontologically "smaller" language to give a Tarskian semantics for an ontologically "bigger" language. After explaining the Eklund-Hawthorne argument (in section I), we show this crucial premise to be mistaken (in section II) by developing a Tarskian (...) semantics for a mereological universalist language within a mereological nihilist language (a case which we, and Eklund and Hawthorne, take as representative). After developing this semantics we step back (in section III) to discuss the philosophical motivations behind the Eklund- Hawthorne argument’s demand for a semantics. We ultimately conclude that quantifier variantists can meet any demand for a semantics that might reasonably be imposed upon them. (shrink)
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm’s mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis’s four-dimensionalist (...) assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
The author applies the methodology of scientific research programmes to the origins of relativity, showing how Eddington, Lorentz, Poincare, Planck and Weyl were driven by mathematical heuristics to make their various contributions to Einstein's programme.
I argue that Nietzsche’s criticism of the Kantian theory of disinterested pleasure in beauty reflects his own commitment to claims that closely resemble certain Kantian aesthetic principles, specifically as reinterpreted by Schiller. I show that Schiller takes the experience of beauty to be disinterested both (1) insofar as it involves impassioned ‘play’ rather than desire-driven ‘work’, and (2) insofar as it involves rational-sensuous (‘aesthetic’) play rather than mere physical play. In figures like Nietzsche, Schiller’s generic notion of play—which is itself (...) influenced by Kant’s claim that aesthetic pleasure is orthogonal to desire-satisfaction—becomes decoupled from his (further) Kantian view that aesthetic play essentially involves a harmony of sensuous receptivity and rational spontaneity. The result, I suggest, is a self-standing opposition between desires and passions. This motivates a recognizably Romantic vision of aesthetic disinterestedness, as freedom from desire realized in a state of creative determination by passion. (shrink)
How do radical religious sects run such deadly terrorist organizations? Hezbollah, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Taliban all began as religious groups dedicated to piety and charity. Yet once they turned to violence, they became horribly potent, executing campaigns of terrorism deadlier than those of their secular rivals. In [title], Eli Berman approaches the question using the economics of organizations. He first dispels some myths: radical religious terrorists are not generally motivated by the promise of rewards in the afterlife or even (...) by religious ideas in general. He argues that these terrorists are best understood as rational altruists seeking to help their own communities. Yet despite the vast pool of potential recruits--young altruists who feel their communities are repressed or endangered--there are less than a dozen highly lethal terrorist organizations in the world capable of sustained and coordinated violence that threatens governments and makes hundreds of millions of civilians hesitate before boarding an airplane. What's special about these organizations, and why are most of their followers religious radicals?Drawing on parallel research on radical religious Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Berman shows that the most lethal terrorist groups have a common characteristic: their leaders have found a way to control defection. Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban, for example, built loyalty and cohesion by means of mutual aid, weeding out "free riders" and producing a cadre of members they could rely on. The secret of their deadly effectiveness lies in their resilience and cohesion when incentives to defect are strong.These insights suggest that provision of basic social services by competent governments adds a critical, nonviolent component to counterterrorism strategies. It undermines the violent potential of radical religious organizations without disturbing free religious practice, being drawn into theological debates with Jihadists, or endangering civilians. (shrink)
Structural Realism (SSR), as embodied in the Ramsey-sentence H* of a theory H, is defended against the view that H* reduces to a trivial statement about the cardinality of the domain of H, a view which arises from ignoring the central role of observation within science. Putnam’s theses are examined and shown to support rather than undermine SSR. Finally: in view of its synthetic character, applied mathematics must enter into the formulation of H* and hence be shown to be finitely (...) axiomatisable; this is done in the Appendix, which is the most important part of the paper. (shrink)
Sensory ecology is a discipline that focuses on how living creatures use information to survive, but not to live. By trans-defining the orthodox concept of sensory ecology, a serious heterodox question arises: how do organisms use their senses to live, i.e. to enjoy or suffer life? To respond to such a query the objective and emotional meaning of symbols must be revealed. Our program is distinct from both the neo-Darwinian and the classical ecological perspective because it does not focus on (...) survival values of phenotypes and their functions, but asks for the aesthetic effect of biological structures and their symbolism. Our message recognizes that sensing apart from having a survival value also has a beauty value. Thus, we offer a provoking and inspiring new view on the sensory relations of ‘living things’ and their surroundings, where the innovating power of feelings have more weight than the privative power of reason. (shrink)
Stoffregen & Bardy's target article is based on the assumption that our senses' ultimate purpose is to provide us with perfect information about the outside world. We argue that it is often more important that information be available quickly than that it be perfect. Consequently our nervous system processes different aspects of information about our surrounding as separately as possible. The separation is not between the senses, but between separate aspects of our surrounding. This results in inconsistencies between judgments: sometimes (...) because different frames of reference are used. Such inconsistencies are fundamental to the way the information is picked up, however, and hence cannot be avoided with clearer instructions to the subjects. (shrink)
Background In February, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the ban on medical assistance in dying. In June, 2016, the federal government passed Bill C-14, permitting MAiD. Current medical students will be the first physician cohort to enter a system permissive of MAiD, and may help to ensure equitable access to care. This study assessed medical student views on MAiD, factors influencing these views, and opportunities for medical education. Methods An exploratory cross-sectional survey was developed and distributed to (...) medical students across all years of a three-year Canadian undergraduate medical program. The investigators administered the survey to participants during academic sessions from November to December, 2015. Analysis of the results included summary descriptive statistics, Pearson’s chi-square test of independence to identify differences between participants by year of study, logistic regression to identify factors that influence students’ stances on MAiD, and Wilcoxon signed rank test to measure changes in student support for MAiD and comfort discussing MAiD. Results There were 405 participants for a response rate of 87%. The majority of students supported the Supreme Court’s decision, 61% would provide the means for a patient to end their life, and 38% would personally administer a lethal medication. Students who were more willing to provide the means for MAiD found medical education/clinical experience and patient autonomy to be important contributors to their stances on MAiD. Those students who were less willing to provide the means for MAiD found religious/spiritual beliefs and teachings, as well as concern about potential negative consequences, to be important contributors to their stances on MAiD. Educational training desired by participants included medicolegal, communication skills, technical skills, and religious. Conclusions Medical students generally supported and would provide the means for MAiD to patients. They also indicated a desire for directed medical education on MAiD. (shrink)
Mark Eli Kalderon presents an original study of perception, taking as its starting point a puzzle in Empedocles' theory of vision: if perception is a mode of material assimilation, how can we perceive colors at a distance? Kalderon argues that the theory of perception offered by Aristotle in answer to the puzzle is both attractive and defensible.
Abstract In the first section of the paper I present Alan Turing?s notion of effective memory, as it appears in his 1936 paper ?On Computable Numbers, With an Application to The Entscheidungsproblem?. This notion stands in surprising contrast with the way memory is usually thought of in the context of contemporary computer science. Turing?s view (in 1936) is that for a computing machine to remember a previously scanned string of symbols is not to store an internal symbolic image of this (...) string. Rather, memory consists in the fact that the past scanning of the string affects the behavior of the computer in the face of potential future inputs. In the second, central section of the paper I begin exploring how this view of Turing?s bears upon contemporary discussions in the philosophy of mind. In particular, I argue that Turing?s approach can be used to lend support to dispositional conceptions of the propositional attitudes, like the one recently presented by Matthews (2007), and that his effective memory manifests some of the characteristics of Millikan?s (1996) pushmepullyou mental states. (shrink)
Fictionalism is the view that a serious intellectual inquiry need not aim at truth. It came to prominence in philosophy in 1980, when Hartry Field argued that mathematics does not have to be true to be good, and Bas van Fraassen argued that the aim of science is not truth but empirical adequacy. Both suggested that the acceptance of a mathematical or scientific theory need not involve belief in its content. Thus the distinctive commitment of fictionalism is that acceptance in (...) a given domain of inquiry need not be truth-normed, and that the acceptance of a sentence from the associated region of discourse need not involve belief in its content. In metaphysics fictionalism is now widely regarded as an option worthy of serious consideration. This volume represents a major benchmark in the debate: it brings together an impressive international team of contributors, whose essays represent the state of the art in various areas of metaphysical controversy, relating to language, mathematics, modality, truth, belief, ontology, and morality. (shrink)
Elie Halévy's later works have made him one of the most renowned French liberal thinkers of the twentieth century. I want to argue, however, that there exists another facet of the man, more republican than liberal, to be found in his pre-Great War papers. Halévy reveals himself as a man with reformist tendencies, concerned with the concrete aspects of freedom, both for individuals and peoples, and therefore holding more qualified views on the project of a political and social control of (...) the economy. My analysis focuses on Halévy's unpublished first series of lectures on the history of European Socialism, delivered in 1902 at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, in which the major features of this early Halévy can be best identified. (shrink)
In Mortal Imitations of Divine Life, Diamond offers an interpretation of De Anima, which explains how and why Aristotle places souls in a hierarchy of value. Aristotle’s central intention in De Anima is to discover the nature and essence of soul—the principle of living beings. He does so by identifying the common structures underlying every living activity, whether it be eating, perceiving, thinking, or moving through space. As Diamond demonstrates through close readings of De Anima, the nature of the soul (...) is most clearly seen in its divine life, while the embodied soul’s other activities are progressively clearer approximations of this principle. This interpretation shows how Aristotle’s psychology and biology cannot be properly understood apart from his theological conception of God as life, and offers a new explanation of De Anima’s unity of purpose and structure. (shrink)
The Ramsey-sentence H* of any hypothesis H is shown to be a synthetic proposition containing mathematics as a finite component. Far from being quasi-tautological, H* proves to have as much physical content as H itself.
Theodore Sider has given us a terrific book, bursting at the seams with new arguments and new takes on old arguments. Whether or not one is convinced by his conclusions, the thoroughness, lucidity, fair-mindedness—and the sheer exuberance—of his discussions make Four Dimensionalism a major contribution to contemporary metaphysics.