Suppose some person 'A' sets out to accomplish a difficult, long-term goal such as writing a passable Ph.D. thesis. What should you believe about whether A will succeed? The default answer is that you should believe whatever the total accessible evidence concerning A's abilities, circumstances, capacity for self-discipline, and so forth supports. But could it be that what you should believe depends in part on the relationship you have with A? We argue that it does, in the case where A (...) is yourself. The capacity for "grit" involves a kind of epistemic resilience in the face of evidence suggesting that one might fail, and this makes it rational to respond to the relevant evidence differently when you are the agent in question. We then explore whether similar arguments extend to the case of "believing in" our significant others -- our friends, lovers, family members, colleagues, patients, and students. (shrink)
G.E.M. Anscombe famously claimed that acting intentionally entails knowing "without observation" what one is doing. Among those that have taken her claim seriously, an influential response has been to suppose that in order to explain this fact, we should conclude that intentions are a species of belief. This paper argues that there are good reasons to reject this "cognitivist" view of intention in favor of the view that intentions are distinctively practical attitudes that are not beliefs and do not constitutively (...) involve the belief that one will do what one intends. A theory is then proposed on behalf of Distinctive Practical Attitude views of intention to explain Anscombe's non-observational knowledge phenomenon. It is argued that intentions do not embody non-observational knowledge, but they do provide the evidential basis for it: we know without observation what we are doing by inferring from our intentions. (shrink)
When we define something as a crime, we generally thereby criminalize the attempt to commit that crime. However, it is a vexing puzzle to specify what must be the case in order for a criminal attempt to have occurred, given that the results element of the crime fails to come about. I argue that the philosophy of action can assist the criminal law in clarifying what kinds of events are properly categorized as criminal attempts. A natural thought is that this (...) project should take the form of specifying what it is in general to attempt or try to perform an action, and then to define criminal attempts as attempts to commit crimes. Focusing on Gideon Yaffe's resourceful work in Attempts (Oxford University Press, 2010) as an example of this strategy, I argue that it results in a view that is overly inclusive: one will count as trying to commit a crime even in the far remote preparatory stages that we in fact have good reason not to criminalize. I offer an alternative proposal to distinguish between mere preparations and genuine attempts that has its basis not in trying, but doing: a criminal attempt is underway once what the agent is doing is a crime. Working out the details of this schema turns out to have important implications for action theory. A recently burgeoning view known as Naive Action Theory holds that all action can be explained by appeal to some further thing that the agent is doing, and that that the same explanatory nexus is at work even when we appeal to what the agent is intending, trying, or preparing to do -- these notions do explanatory work because they too refer to actions that are in progress, albeit in their infancy. If this is right, than the notion of 'doing' will also be too inclusive for the purposes of the criminal law. I argue that we should draw the reverse conclusion: the distinctions between pure intending, trying, preparing, and doing serve an important purpose in the criminal law, and this fact lends support to the view that they are genuine metaphysical and explanatory distinctions. (shrink)
Is there a rational requirement enjoining continence over time in the intentions one has formed, such that anyone going in for a certain form of agency has standing reason to conform to such a requirement? This paper suggests that there is not. I argue that Michael Bratman’s defense of such a requirement succeeds in showing that many agents have a reason favoring default intention continence much of the time, but does not establish that all planning agents have such a reason (...) in every case of intending. I then defend an account on which such a reason is grounded in the need to maintain the capacity to commit oneself to a practical option. But although I think this applies more widely than Bratman’s account, it is also not a reason that any planning agent has in every case. I tentatively conclude that although we have many good reasons to stick with our intentions once we have formed them, it is not required by rationality. (shrink)
In her thought-provoking symposium contribution, ‘What Is Impostor Syndrome?’, Katherine Hawley fleshes out our everyday understanding of that concept. This response builds on Hawley’s account to ask the ameliorative question of whether the everyday concept best serves the normative goals of promoting social justice and enhancing well-being. I raise some sceptical worries about the usefulness of the notion, in so far as it is centred on doxastic attitudes that include doubt about one’s own talent or skill. I propose instead that (...) a narrower conception emphasizing the debilitating emotional and behavioural consequences of such beliefs might be preferable, and that the causes of such consequences would be better thought of as unjustified rather than false beliefs about one’s own competence. (shrink)
What is the role of practical thought in determining the intentional action that is performed? Donald Davidson’s influential answer to this question is that thought plays an efficient-causal role: intentional actions are those events that have the correct causal pedigree in the agent's beliefs and desires. But the Causal Theory of Action has always been plagued with the problem of “deviant causal chains,” in which the right action is caused by the right mental state but in the wrong way. This (...) paper addresses an alternative approach to understanding intentional action inspired by G.E.M. Anscombe, interpreting that view as casting practical thought in the role of formal rather than efficient cause of action and thereby avoiding the problem of deviant (efficient) causal chains. Specifically, on the neo-Anscombean view, it is the agent’s “practical knowledge” – non-observational, non-inferential knowledge of what one is doing – that confers the form of intentional action on an event and is the contribution of thought to determining what is intentionally done. This paper argues that the Anscombean view is subject to its own problematic type of deviance: deviant formal causation. What we know non-observationally about what we are doing often includes more than what we intend to be doing; we also know that we are bringing about the foreseen side effects of acting in the intended way. It is argued that the neo-Anscombean view faces difficulty in excluding the expected side effects from the specification of what is intentionally done, whereas the Causal Theory has no such difficulty. Thus, the discussion amounts to an argument in favor of the Causal Theory of Action. (shrink)
How do we know what our intentions are? It is argued that work on self-knowledge has tended to neglect the attitude of intention, and that an epistemological account is needed that is attuned to the specific features of that state. Richard Moran’s Authorship view, on which we can acquire self-knowledge by making up our minds, offers a promising insight for such an account: we do not normally discover what we intend through introspection. However, his formulation of the Authorship view, developed (...) primarily with the attitude of belief in mind, is found wanting when applied to intention. An alternative account is proposed for knowledge of one’s own intentions that gives a central role to the mental act of deciding what to do. It is argued that we can come to know what we intend by making a decision about what to do and self-ascribing the content of that decision as our intended action. (shrink)
There is a puzzle about how to understand the conclusion of a successful instance of practical reasoning. Do the considerations adduced in reasoning rationalize the particular doing of an action, as Aristotle is sometimes interpreted as claiming? Or does reasoning conclude in the formation of an attitude – an intention, say – that has an action-type as its content? This paper attempts to clarify what is at stake in that debate and defends the latter view against some of its critics.
Is there a sense in which we exercise direct volitional control over our beliefs? Most agree that there is not, but discussions tend to focus on control in forming a belief. The focus here is on sustaining a belief over time in the face of ‘epistemic temptation’ to abandon it. It is argued that we do have a capacity for ‘doxastic self-control’ over time that is partly volitional in nature, and that its exercise is rationally permissible.
G.E.M. Anscombe famously remarked that an adequate philosophy of psychology was needed before we could do ethics. Fifty years have passed, and we should now ask what significance our best theories of the psychology of agency have for moral philosophy. My focus is on non-moral conceptions of autonomy and self-governance that emphasize the limits of deliberation -- the way in which one's cares render certain options unthinkable, one's intentions and policies filter out what is inconsistent with them, and one's resolutions (...) function to block further reflection. I argue that we can expect this deliberative "silencing" to lead to moral failures that occur because the morally correct option was filtered out of the agent's deliberation. I think it follows from these conceptions of self-governance that we should be considered culpable for unwitting acts and omissions, even if they express no ill will, moral indifference, or blameworthy evaluative judgments. The question is whether this consequence is acceptable. Either way, the potential tradeoff between self-governance and moral attentiveness is a source of doubt about recent attempts to ground the normativity of rationality in our concern for self-governance. (shrink)
In philosophical inquiry into the mind, the metaphor of ‘transparency’ has been attractive to many who are otherwise in deep disagreement. It has thereby come to have a variety of different and mutually incompatible connotations. The mind is said to be transparent to itself, our perceptual experiences are said to be transparent to the world, and our beliefs are said to be transparent to – a great many different things. The first goal of this essay is to sort out the (...) different uses of the notion of transparency in the context of the philosophy of mind. The remainder of the essay will then be devoted to examining so-called Transparency theories of self-knowledge, or how we know our own minds. This type of theory has attracted a great deal of interest in recent years, but its prospects hinge on answers to unresolved questions concerning the epistemological details of the account and the scope of its ambitions. (shrink)
The attitude of intention is not usually the primary focus in philosophical work on self-knowledge. A recent exception is the so-called “Transparency” theory of self-knowledge, which attempts to explain how we know our own minds by appeal to reflection on non-mental facts. Transparency theories are attractive in light of their relative psychological economy compared to views that must posit a dedicated mechanism of ‘inner sense’. However, it is argued here, focusing on proposals by Richard Moran and Alex Byrne, that the (...) Transparency approach to explaining knowledge of our intentions fails. Considerations of economy therefore recommend an alternative approach: the Rylean Theory Theory. The particular view defended here is that one way of coming to know what we intend is to self-ascribe an intention on the basis of making a conscious decision about what to do. This view requires that there are such things as conscious decisions, and so the existence of conscious decisions is defended against skeptical worries raised by Peter Carruthers. The conclusion is that we know of our intentions by theorizing about ourselves, but that this knowledge can still be first-personally privileged, authoritative, and non-alienated. (shrink)
This study explores the impact of both individual ethics (IE) and organizational ethics (OE) on ethical intention (EI). Ethical intention, or the individual's intention to engage in ethical behavior, is useful as a dependent variable because it relates to behavior which can be an expression of values, but also is influenced by organizational and societal variables. The focus is on EI in international business decision-making, since the international context provides great latitude in making ethical decisions. Results demonstrate that both IE (...) and OE influence EL Ethical congruence is also discussed as a positive influence. Younger managers are more influenced by OE than older managers. The findings call for creating governance mechanisms to enhance ethical congruence, thereby increasing the likelihood of managers making ethical choices in organizational decision-making. (shrink)
The apolipoprotein E gene plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease , and amyloid plaque comprised mostly of the amyloid-beta peptide ) is one of the major hallmarks of AD. However, the relationship between these two important molecules is poorly understood. We examined how A treatment affects APOE expression in cultured cells and tested the role of the transcription factor NF-B in APOE gene regulation. To delineate NF-B's role, we have characterized a 1098 nucleotide segment containing the (...) 5'-flanking region of the human APOE gene . Sequence analysis of this region suggests the presence of two potential NF-B elements. To demonstrate promoter activity, the region was cloned upstream of a promoterless luciferase gene. This segment was able to drive expression of luciferase in transient transfections of human fetal glial cells. Promoter activity was stimulated twofold by A treatment. Pretreatment with double-stranded DNA decoy oligonucleotides against NF-B reduced A stimulation. Deletion and mutagenetic analyses demonstrated that the distal NF-B element was functional and showed a strong DNA-protein complex band in gel shift analysis, similar to that from control NF-B consensus element. An anti-inflammatory and anti-NF-B drug, sodium salicylate, significantly blocked A-induced APOE promoter function. Our data provide evidence that upregulation of APOE by A in astroglial cells is mediated by an NF-B-element present in the 5'-flanking region of the APOE gene. (shrink)
Medium- and high-spin states of Pr-134 were populated using the Cd-116(Na-23, 5n) reaction and studied with the GAMMASPHERE spectrometer. Several new bands have been found in this nucleus, one of them being linked to the previously observed chiral-candidate twin-band structure. The ground state of Pr-134 could be determined through establishing a level structure that connects the two previously known long-lived isomeric states. Unambiguous spin-parity assignments for the excited states could be performed based on the known 2(-) spin-parity of the ground (...) state combined with the present experimental data. Intrinsic single-particle configurations have been assigned to the newly observed bands on the basis of the measured B(M1)/B(E2) ratios, alignments, band-crossing frequencies, bandhead spins, the observed single-particle configurations in the neighboring nuclei, and taking into account the predictions of total Routhian surface and tilted-axis cranking calculations. (shrink)
High-spin states have been studied in Pr-135(59), populated through the Cd-116(Na-23,4n) reaction at 115 MeV, using the Gammasphere gamma-ray spectrometer. The negative-parity yrast band has been significantly extended to spin similar to 45 (h) over bar and excitation energy 21.5 MeV, showing evidence for several rotational alignments. The positive-parity yrast band of Ce-135(58), populated through the p4n channel of this reaction, was also populated to spin similar to 38 (h) over bar and excitation energy 18 MeV. Cranking calculations indicate that (...) these nuclei are soft with respect to the triaxiality parameter gamma and that several competing nuclear shapes occur at high spin. (shrink)
Through a case study, this paper addresses ethical issues and dilemmas faced by a Family Therapist working in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in the National Health Service. When there are legal and societal obligations on parents/carers to ensure that the needs of children and young people are met within a family context, working with a young person in a health care setting oriented to the individual raises ethical dilemmas around consent. When the values of young people (...) and their parents conflict, legal, ethical and political issues can be raised. These have implications for the duties of health care professionals and the rights, interests and autonomy of the individual young people and their parents. The importance of justice to CAMHS practitioners' ethical decision-making about when to prioritize the individual over the family, or vice versa, is emphasized. (shrink)
Paul K. Moser, The elusive God: reorienting religious epistemology Content Type Journal Article Pages 227-232 DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9278-x Authors J. L. Schellenberg, Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Hwy., Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3M2J6 Canada Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047 Journal Volume Volume 69 Journal Issue Volume 69, Number 3.
This article addresses shared themes in the writing of Saint Paul and the work of the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Much recent philosophical interest in Saint Paul focuses on his contemporary significance as a radical political thinker, following Jacob Taubes' influential late work, The Political Theology of Paul. Assessments of Paul's writing in this context highlight the various ways in which he uses fictionalizing, for example in setting up the tension between the present world (...) and a messianic future, in the role he assigns to faith, and in the importance he assigns to the counter-factuality of resurrection. Yet the common thread of fictionalizing running through these themes has not been explicitly discussed. Meanwhile, the supposed `religious turn' in Dick's late writing has often been taken to have less political significance than his earlier science fiction. Considering Paul alongside Philip K. Dick, this article will attempt to bring out this central role of fictionalizing in the religious experiences of both. Like Paul, Dick experienced a visionary encounter with a God-like entity that shaped his interests and writing for the remainder of his life, and developed his own soteriology in response to what he perceived as the continued existence of Empire in modernity. Bringing out the mutual complementarity of Dick and Paul is facilitated by a framework derived from Henri Bergson's Two Sources of Religion, which theorizes the relation between mechanization as a human tendency characterizing both imperialism and industrialization, and fabulation as a human faculty for using fiction for the jointly immanent-transcendent purposes of survival/salvation. In this context, the diverse modes of fictionalizing employed by both Dick and Paul, including their unconsciously produced visions, may be understood as part of an ongoing, continually renewed strategy of revolutionary transformation of both self and world. (shrink)