In his "From classical to constructive probability," Weatherson offers a generalization of Kolmogorov's axioms of classical probability that is neutral regarding the logic for the object-language. Weatherson's generalized notion of probability can hardly be regarded as adequate, as the example of supervaluationist logic shows. At least, if we model credences as betting rates, the Dutch-Book argument strategy does not support Weatherson's notion of supervaluationist probability, but various alternatives. Depending on whether supervaluationist bets are specified as (a) conditional bets (Cantwell), (b) (...) unconditional bets with graded payoffs (Milne), or (c) unconditional bets with ungraded payoffs(Dietz), supervaluationist probability amounts to (a) conditional probability of truth given a truth-value, (b) the expected truth-value, or (c) the probability of truth, respectively. It is suggested that for supervaluationist logic, the third option is the most attractive one, for (unlike the other options) it preserves respect for single-premise entailment. (shrink)
The conceptual spaces approach has recently emerged as a novel account of concepts. Its guiding idea is that concepts can be represented geometrically, by means of metrical spaces. While it is generally recognized that many of our concepts are vague, the question of how to model vagueness in the conceptual spaces approach has not been addressed so far, even though the answer is far from straightforward. The present paper aims to fill this lacuna.
According to Stalnaker’s Hypothesis, the probability of an indicative conditional, $\Pr(\varphi \rightarrow \psi),$ equals the probability of the consequent conditional on its antecedent, $\Pr(\psi | \varphi)$ . While the hypothesis is generally taken to have been conclusively refuted by Lewis’ and others’ triviality arguments, its descriptive adequacy has been confirmed in many experimental studies. In this paper, we consider some possible ways of resolving the apparent tension between the analytical and the empirical results relating to Stalnaker’s Hypothesis and we argue (...) that none offer a satisfactory resolution. (shrink)
Adams famously suggested that the acceptability of any indicative conditional whose antecedent and consequent are both factive sentences amounts to the subjective conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent. The received view has it that this thesis offers an adequate partial explication of Ramsey’s test, which characterizes graded acceptability for conditionals in terms of hypothetical updates on the antecedent. Some results in van Fraassen may raise hope that this explicatory approach to Ramsey’s test is extendible to left-nested conditionals, that (...) is, conditionals whose antecedent is itself conditional in form. We argue that this interpretation of van Fraassen’s results is to be rejected. Specifically, we provide an argument from material inadequacy against a generalization of Adams’ thesis for left-nested conditionals. (shrink)
Vagueness is a familiar but deeply puzzling aspect of the relation between language and the world. It is highly controversial what the nature of vagueness is -- a feature of the way we represent reality in language, or rather a feature of reality itself? May even relations like identity or parthood be affected by vagueness? Sorites arguments suggest that vague terms are either inconsistent or have a sharp boundary. The account we give of such paradoxes plays a pivotal role for (...) our understanding of natural languages. If our reasoning involves any vague concepts, is it safe from contradiction? Do vague concepts really lack any sharp boundary? If not, why are we reluctant to accept the existence of any sharp boundary for them? And what rules of inference can we validly apply, if we reason in vague terms? Cuts and Clouds presents the latest work towards a clearer understanding of these old puzzles about the nature and logic of vagueness. The collection offers a stimulating series of original essays on these and related issues by some of the world's leading experts. (shrink)
Comparative concepts such as greener than or higher than are ways of ordering objects. They are fundamental to our grasp of gradable concepts, that is, the type of meanings expressed by gradable general terms, such as "is green" or "is high", which are embeddable in comparative constructions in natural language. Some comparative concepts seem natural, whereas others seem gerrymandered. The aim of this paper is to outline a theoretical approach to comparative concepts that bears both on the account of naturalness (...) for comparative concepts and on the theory of gradable concepts. The approach is novel in that it carries some basic assumptions from Peter Gärdenfors' conceptual spaces account of categorical concepts over to comparative concepts. The offered approach is more general than Gärdenfors' account in that it supplies a framework of graded categorisation that includes his categorisation rule as a limiting case. Importantly, it provides also a new argument for adopting Gärdenfors' particular model of categorisation. (shrink)
John MacFarlane has recently presented a novel argument in support of truth- relativism. According to this, contextualists fail to accommodate retrospective reassessments of propositional contents, when it comes to languages which are rich enough to express actuality. The aim of this note is twofold. First, it is to argue that the argument can be effectively rejected, since it rests on an inadequate conception of actuality. Second, it is to offer a more plausible account of actuality in branching time, along the (...) line of Lewis (1970/1983). (shrink)
Demonstrating Richard Rorty’s breadth of scholarship and his influence on diverse issues across the social sciences and humanities, this comprehensive bibliography contains 1,165 citations. A unique reference work on neo-pragmatism, this bibliography is essential for anyone researching Rorty’s work and its impact on philosophy, literature, the arts, religion, the social sciences, politics, and education.
The present paper argues that the Venezuelan-Chilean philosopher Andrés Bello constitutes an important but heretofore neglected prefiguration of Richard Rorty. I argue for this thesis by articulating first an Inter-American philosophical narrative (based on previous work by Alex Stehn and Carlos Sanchez) that enables me to highlight certain common characteristics in philosophical projects that flourished across the Americas. Having done this, I show that Rorty’s anti-representationalism and anti-foundationalism are prefigured in Bello’s most important philosophical treatise, Filosofía del Entendimiento, to (...) the extent that Bello recognizes the problems posed by the ocular metaphors that are systematically used by Early modern philosophers such as Descartes or Locke, and suggests their elimination and replacement by other metaphors. Finally, I conclude that, if my arguments are correct, the intellectual geography of neo-pragmatism needs to be expanded beyond traditional geographies such as Europe and the US. (shrink)
Richard Wright gave a series of lectures in Europe from 1950 to 1956, collected in the following year in the volume, White Man, Listen! One dominant theme in all four essays is that expanding the moral imagination is centrally important in repairing our racism-benighted globe. What makes Wright’s version of this claim unique is his forthright admission that expanding the moral imagination necessarily involves pain and suffering. The best place to hear Wright in regard to the necessary pain of (...) expanding the moral imagination, I would argue, is his poetry collection, This Other World: Projections in the Haiku Manner. To wit, for Wright the necessary pain of expanding one’s moral imagination is the loneliness that results from delegating to others—in the etymological sense of “deputizing or committing”—one’s whiteness qua privilege or social capital. In conclusion, lonely delegation constitutes an imperative template from Wright regarding the painful expansion of our own moral imagination, in the service of social justice for economically oppressed communities of color across the globe. (shrink)
This article engages Richard Rorty’s controversial concept of ethnocentrism with the help of Randolf (Randy) S. David’s writings. The first section defines Rorty’s concept of ethnocentrism and responds to the general criticisms of relativism and divisiveness that have been made against it. The second section suggests a conceptual replacement for Rorty’s notion of a vicious ethnocentrism: egotism. Egotism is a kind of cultural ethnocentrism that is resistant to openness, creativity, and social transformation. Inspired by David’s work, the third and (...) final section suggests how the concepts of ethnocentrism and egotism might be of some use as conceptual tools for articulating contemporary social issues in the Philippines. (shrink)
A descriptive polytheist thinks there are at least two gods. John Hick and Richard Swinburne are descriptive polytheists. In this respect, they are like Thomas Aquinas and many other theists. What sets Swinburne and Hick apart from Aquinas, however, is that unlike him they are normative polytheists. That is, Swinburne and Hick think that it is right that we, or at least some of us, worship more than one god. However, the evidence available to me shows that only Swinburne, (...) and not Hick, is a cultic polytheist: he actually worships more than one god. I conclude that only Swinburne is a polytheist par excellence. (shrink)
In 1870, Wilhelm Richard Wagner wrote an essay to celebrate the centennial of Beethoven’s birth. In this essay Wagner made the case that music is, unlike any other object we create or are attentive to in experience, in an immediate analogical relationship with the activity of the Schopenhauerian “will” and is always enlivened. By drawing on this idea, we can not only conceive of music as in an immediate analogical relationship with our personal experience, but as perhaps the only (...) object of cognition that is in a constant state of personal vitality. It is by that very continuous vitality that it can return us to our own personhood with deeper insight and perspective. The essay concludes by exploring how attending to the musical object as a spiritual exercise might reconnect us to our roots in sensus communis, educate us on our common personhood, and play an ethical role in our lives. (shrink)
Abstract: In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce argues there is good reason to think that the “moral sense” is a biological adaptation, and that this provides a genealogy of the moral sense that has a debunking effect, driving us to the conclusion that “our moral beliefs are products of a process that is entirely independent of their truth, … we have no grounds one way or the other for maintaining these beliefs.” I argue that Joyce's skeptical conclusion is (...) not warranted. Even if the moral sense is a biological adaptation, developed moralities (such as Aristotelian eudaimonism) can “co-opt” it into new roles so that the moral judgments it makes possible can come to transcend the evolutionary process that is “entirely independent of their truth.” While evolutionary theory can shed much light on our shared human nature, moral theories must still be vindicated, or debunked, by moral arguments. (shrink)
Arguably the most influential of all contemporary English-speaking philosophers, Richard Rorty has transformed the way many inside and outside philosophy think about the discipline and the traditional ways of practising it. Drawing on a wide range of thinkers from Darwin and James to Quine, Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Derrida, Rorty has injected a bold anti-foundationalist vision into philosophical debate, into discussions in literary theory, communication studies, political theory and education, and, as public intellectual, into national debates about the responsibilities of (...) America in the modern world. The essays in this volume offer a balanced exposition and critique of Rorty's views on knowledge, language, truth, science, morality and politics. The editorial introduction presents a valuable overview of Rorty's philosophical vision. Written by a distinguished team of philosophers, this volume will have an unusual appeal outside philosophy to students in the social sciences, literary studies, cultural studies and political theory. (shrink)
Interview with Richard Rorty, April 1997, Amsterdam. Occasion for the interview was Rorty being the occupant of the Spinoza Chair in 1997. The interview is mostly about Rorty's paper 'The Intellectuals and the Poor', in which he criticises the politics of left-wing academics.
Richard Rorty suggests that we should stop looking for something common to us all, for universal justifi cations and truth. Rorty argues that focusing on a single truth sooner or later serves those who claim that there is a proper, true model of living. In the end, they use violence and cause pain, as they are driven by the idea that everyone should accept their truth. In this article I shall argue that such reasoning is not justifi ed and (...) whether we are universalists or constructivists, our actions may be the same and cause pain. At the same time, having the same beliefs will not stop us from acting differently. What matters is how we use a particular concept in accordance with our interests and not the concept itself. I shall also argue that dialog can help to prevent violence and that while Rorty is right, there are also a number of problems with that proposition. (shrink)
It is curious why a secular pragmatist like Richard Rorty would capitalize on the religiously-laden concept of redemption in his recent writings. But more than being an intriguing idea in his later work, this essay argues that redemption plays a key role in the historical development of Rorty’s thought. It begins by exploring the paradoxical status of redemption in Rorty’s oeuvre. It then investigates an overlooked debate between Rorty, Dreyfus and Taylor that first endorses the concept. It then contrasts (...) Rorty’s notions of essentialism and edification to link redemption to self-transformation. After providing a historical legitimation to the idea of redemption, the essay reconstructs Rorty’s modern version of the concept. Redemption for Rorty centers on human relationships and not religion or philosophy; it is also pluralist and liberal in character. Finally, it concludes that Rorty uses redemption—a primary component of religious language—to capture the salvific force of religion. This power is redirected toward the protection of secular, democratic hopes, which are demanding and fragile by nature. (shrink)
Richard Rorty is one of the most influential and provocative figures in contemporary intellectual life. He argues that many of philosophy's traditional concerns are redundant, and that the goal of inquiry should not be truth but human betterment. In this collection a distinguished team of scholars grapples with the implications of his writings for social and political thought. Avoiding mindless adulation or ritual denunciation, they offer careful but critical investigations of the meaning of Rorty's work for a range of (...) important issues. Topics explored include anti-foundationalism; irony and commitment; justice; liberalism and utopianism; reason and aesthetics; humanism and anti-humanism; the Holocaust; the theory of international relations; social democracy and the pragmatist tradition. Each essay is followed by a reply written for this volume by Rorty. The volume also includes a substantial essay by Rorty on 'Justice as a Larger Loyalty'. This volume is indispensable for any reader interested in Rorty's work, or in contemporary debates in social, political or ethical theory. Contributors: Molly Cochran; Daniel Conway; Matthew Festenstein; Norman Geras; John Horton; David Owen; Richard Rorty; Kate Soper; Simon Thompson. (shrink)
Richard Rorty (1931–2007) developed a distinctive and controversial brand of pragmatism that expressed itself along two main axes. One is negative—a critical diagnosis of what Rorty takes to be defining projects of modern philosophy. The other is positive—an attempt to show what intellectual culture might look like, once we free ourselves from the governing metaphors of mind and knowledge in which the traditional problems of epistemology and metaphysics (and indeed, in Rorty's view, the self-conception of modern philosophy) are rooted. (...) The centerpiece of Rorty's critique is the provocative account offered in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979, hereafter PMN). In this book, and in the closely related essays collected in Consequences of Pragmatism (1982, hereafter CP), Rorty's principal target is the philosophical idea of knowledge as representation, as a mental mirroring of a mind-external world. Providing a contrasting image of philosophy, Rorty has sought to integrate and apply the milestone achievements of Dewey, Hegel and Darwin in a pragmatist synthesis of historicism and naturalism. Characterizations and illustrations of a post-epistemological intellectual culture, present in both PMN (part III) and CP (xxxvii-xliv), are more richly developed in later works, such as Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989, hereafter CIS), in the popular essays and articles collected in Philosophy and Social Hope (1999), and in the four volumes of philosophical papers, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth (1991, hereafter ORT); Essays on Heidegger and Others (1991, hereafter EHO); Truth and Progress (1998, hereafter TP); and Philosophy as Cultural Politics (2007, hereafter PCP). In these writings, ranging over an unusually wide intellectual territory, Rorty offers a highly integrated, multifaceted view of thought, culture, and politics, a view that has made him one of the most widely discussed philosophers in our time. (shrink)
Richard Goldschmidt was one of the most controversial biologists of the mid-twentieth century. Rather than fade from view, Goldschmidt's work and reputation has persisted in the biological community long after he has. Goldschmidt's longevity is due in large part to how he was represented by Stephen J. Gould. When viewed from the perspective of the biographer, Gould's revival of Goldschmidt as an evolutionary heretic in the 1970s and 1980s represents a selective reinvention of Goldschmidt that provides a contrast to (...) other kinds of biographical commemorations by scientists. (shrink)
Uno de los fenomenólogos de la nueva generación que sigue la línea de Husserl, Heidegger, Marion y Lévinas es Richard Kearney. Este filósofo irlandés, católico, propone una cuarta reducción fenomenológica, esto es, volver al eschaton enraizado en la existencia cotidiana: encontrar la voz y el rostro de lo más alto en lo más bajo. Es como la realización de aquella idea heideggeriana de que “Sólo aquello del mundo que es de poca monta llegará alguna vez a ser cosa.” . (...) En el lenguaje cotidiano, en la vida diaria, se encuentra una posibilidad de superar el escepticismo, la indiferencia y el hastío del mundo vuelto consumo y del hombre convertido en pieza del mercado. En el encuentro cara a cara se da la posibilidad de una revelación que hace de la relación con el otro, y especialmente con el extranjero, un maravillarse y nos implemente una duda, una sospecha y una desconfianza. (shrink)
Many global and national systems of regulation of blood donors and donor compensation rely for intellectual support on Richard Titmuss’s views, represented in The Gift Relationship. Based on selective interpretation of data from the 1960s, Titmuss engineered an ethical view pertaining to donors and, in so doing, created not only ongoing stereotypes, but created a cause for followers to perpetuate misunderstandings about the nature of such donations. In many cases, donors are, in fact compensated, but regulatory systems persevere in (...) using definitional fig leaves in order to perpetuate an ongoing political goal of diminishing private sector participation in health care. However, in more recent works, including new views of critical sociology and evolutionary psychology, the Titmuss worldview has been turned upside-down. Evidence readily available today proves the safety of compensated donation and the lives saved by encouraging policies for both compensated and non-compensated donation. (shrink)
Richard Koch first made his appearance in the 1920s with works published on the foundations of medicine. These publications describe the character of medicine as an action and the status of medicine within the theory of science. One of his conclusions is that medicine is not a science in the original sense of the word, but a practical discipline. It serves a practical purpose: to heal the sick. All medical knowledge is oriented towards this purpose, which also defines the (...) physician’s role. One kind of knowledge is diagnosis, which is strictly understood in relation to therapy, and is at the core of medical thinking. Diagnosis is not the assignment of a term of a species to a patient’s disease: this would not do justice to the individuality of a clinical manifestation and would fail to provide a reason for individual therapy. Nevertheless, the terms assigned to diseases, although fictitious, are not useless, but assist in differentiating various phenomena. These conclusions carry ethical consequences. Because the task of helping the sick constitutes medicine, morals not only set ethical limits: medicine originates in a moral decision. If there are no diseases but only individual sick people, disease can not be defined as an abnormality. The individual benefit to the patient must not necessarily be the complete restoration of health. With its object being incalculable, medicine cannot guarantee its own success. Here the physician has to develop principles that allow for the best possible response to the challenges faced in varying situations of conduct. (shrink)
In a remarkable and utterly original work of philosophical history, Richard Allen revivifies David Hartley's Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations (1749). Though it includes a detailed and richly annotated chronology, this is not a straight intellectual biography, attentive as it might be to the intricacies of Hartley's Cambridge contacts, or the mundane rituals of his medical practice, or the internal development of the doctrine of association of ideas. Instead Allen brings Hartley's book, a psychological (...) epic with a mystical finale, sympathetically to life in a generous and ambitious historical gesture of mutual recognition. Late 20th-century readers "are in a better position to understand Hartley's work" than were earlier sympathizers like Joseph Priestley and John Stuart Mill; and in turn, Allen argues that "Hartley has something to say to us" about just how rich and strange a full mechanistic psychology might be. (shrink)
Quando consideramos a extensão da obra dramática de Richard Wagner, não causa estranheza que seus textos teóricos sejam praticamente desconhecidos. No entanto, um de seus escritos, intitulado Beethoven, influenciou decisivamente a elaboração de um livro famoso, hoje considerado um capítulo importante da história da estética, O nascimento da tragédia. Este artigo pretende analisar este escrito de Wagner na intenção de desvendar o que pode ter sido tão determinante na leitura que Nietzsche fez dele, e que o levou ao ponto (...) de citá-lo de modo efusivo no primeiro prefácio da sua obra de estréia, dedicado àquele que, até então, era seu grande mestre e amigo e, como veremos, uma influência não só musical, mas também teórica. (shrink)
Richard Rorty, with his tendency to shock, to provoke, and to seize on Continental fashions, might be thought an unlikely liberal. Nevertheless, Rorty illustrates very well some of the characteristic weaknesses of contemporary liberalism. To the extent that he draws upon postmodern and deconstructionist sources, he highlights, and radicalizes, the liberal urge to break out of frozen identities and to destabilize static roles and fixed stations in life. His distinctive version of pragmatism yields a (novel) way of drawing liberal (...) boundaries between private and public, culture and justice. And his antifoundationalism helps to legitimize a typical liberal reluctance to engage in any very ambitious social criticism. What distinguishes Rorty's liberalism is its higher degree of candor, which at least acknowledges that a liberal vision of things, far from being “neutral” toward rival ideas of the good, is implicated in the defense of a particular way of life. (shrink)
This article contrasts St. Thomas More's theoretical work on the role of faith and history in biblical exegesis with that of Fr. Richard Simon. I argue that, although Simon's work appears to be a critique of his more skeptical contemporaries like Hobbes and Spinoza, in reality he is carrying their work forward. I argue that More's union of faith and reason, theology and history, is more promising than Simon's for Catholic theological biblical exegesis.
Richard Rorty, a neo-pragmatist well known for his anti-universalist philosophy, applies his anti-universalist approach to feminism in the paper titled “Feminism and Pragmatism” (1991). In this paper, Rorty claims that universalism is not helpful for feminists in making changes to a masculinist society. In contrast, the main point of my paper is to defend universalism as appropriate to feminism. It is not, however, argued in the form of advocacy for all versions of universalism. I will classify universalism into two (...) distinguished types, ahistoricist-essentialist universalism and historicist, anti-essentialist universalism, and I will defend the latter as consonant with feminism and with Rorty’s own pragmatist approach. (shrink)
This volume comprises a number of letters between author Anindita Niyogi Balslev and philosopher Richard Rorty. The letters explore ways to generate a creative and critical crosscultural discourse not only by challenging stereotypes about cultures and subcultures in general and traditions of thought in particular, but by being careful not to abolish the common ground on which stereotypes can be addressed.