Belief-credence dualism is the view that we have both beliefs and credences and neither attitude is reducible to the other. Pragmatic encroachment is the view that stakes alone can affect the epistemic rationality of states like knowledge or justified belief. In this paper, I argue that dualism offers a unique explanation of pragmatic encroachment cases. First, I explain pragmatic encroachment and what motivates it. Then, I explain dualism and outline a particular argument for dualism. Finally, I show how dualism can (...) explain the intuitions that underlie pragmatic encroachment. My basic proposal is that in high stakes cases, it is not that one cannot rationally believe that p; instead, one ought not to rely on one’s belief that p. One should rather rely on one’s credence in p. I conclude that we need not commit ourselves to pragmatic encroachment in order to explain the intuitiveness of the cases that motivate it. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the relationship between belief and credence is a central question in epistemology. This is because the belief-credence relationship has significant implications for a number of current epistemological issues. I focus on five controversies: permissivism, disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, doxastic voluntarism, and the relationship between doxastic attitudes and prudential rationality. I argue that each debate is constrained in particular ways, depending on whether the relevant attitude is belief or credence. This means that (i) epistemologists should pay (...) attention to whether they are framing questions in terms of belief or in terms of credence and (ii) the success or failure of a reductionist project in the belief-credence realm has significant implications for epistemology generally. (shrink)
I explore how rational belief and rational credence relate to evidence. I begin by looking at three cases where rational belief and credence seem to respond differently to evidence: cases of naked statistical evidence, lotteries, and hedged assertions. I consider an explanation for these cases, namely, that one ought not form beliefs on the basis of statistical evidence alone, and raise worries for this view. Then, I suggest another view that explains how belief and credence relate to evidence. My view (...) focuses on the possibilities that the evidence makes salient. I argue that this makes better sense of the difference between rational credence and rational belief than other accounts. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that faith’s going beyond the evidence need not compromise faith’s epistemic rationality. First, I explain how some of the recent literature on belief and credence points to a distinction between what I call B-evidence and C-evidence. Then, I apply this distinction to rational faith. I argue that if faith is more sensitive to B-evidence than to C-evidence, faith can go beyond the evidence and still be epistemically rational.
I defend belief-credence dualism, the view that we have both beliefs and credences and both attitudes are equally fundamental. First, I explain belief, credence, and three views on their relationship. Then, I argue for dualism. I do so first by painting a picture of the mind on which belief and credence are two cognitive tools that we use for different purposes. Finally, I respond to two objections to dualism. I conclude that dualism is a promising view, and one that both (...) epistemologists and philosophers of mind should take seriously. (shrink)
J.L. Schellenberg argues that divine hiddenness provides an argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, for if God existed he would not allow non-resistant non-belief to occur, but non-resistant non-belief does occur, so God does not exist. In this paper, I argue that the stakes involved in theistic considerations put pressure on Schellenberg’s premise that non-resistant non-belief occurs. First, I specify conditions for someone’s being a resistant non-believer. Then, I argue that many people fulfill these conditions because, given (...) some plausible assumptions, there is a very good pragmatic reason to be a theist rather than an atheist. I assume it is more likely that theists go to heaven than atheists, and I argue there is a non-zero probability that one can receive infinite utility and a method of comparing outcomes with infinite utilities in which the probability of each outcome affects the final expected values. Then, I show how this argument entails there is no good reason to think that there are very many non-resistant non-believers. (shrink)
A popular objection to theistic commitment involves the idea that faith is irrational. Specifically, some seem to put forth something like the following argument: (P1) Everyone (or almost everyone) who has faith is epistemically irrational, (P2) All theistic believers have faith, thus (C) All (or most) theistic believers are epistemically irrational. In this paper, I argue that this line of reasoning fails. I do so by considering a number of candidates for what faith might be. I argue that, for each (...) candidate, either (P1) is false or (P2) is false. Then, I make two positive suggestions for how faith can be epistemically rational but nonetheless have a unique relationship to evidence: one, that Jamesian self-justifying attitudes describe a distinctive kind of faith in oneself and others, and two, that faith is not solely based on empirical evidence. (shrink)
Aim Genetic research representative of the population is crucial to understanding the underlying causes of many diseases. In a prospective evaluation of informed consent we assessed the willingness of individuals of different ethnicities, gender and drug dependence history to participate in genetic studies in which their genetic sample could be shared with a repository at the National Institutes of Health. Methods Potential subjects were recruited from the general population through the use of flyers and referrals from previous participants and clinicians (...) with knowledge of our study. They could consent to 11 separate choices so that they could specify how and with whom their genetic sample could be shared. Rates of affirmative consent were then analysed by gender, ethnicity and drug dependence history. Results Of 1416 volunteers enrolled, 99.7% gave affirmative informed consent for studies of addiction conducted in our laboratory. No significant difference was found for participation in genetic studies conducted in our laboratory by gender, ethnicity or drug dependence history. Over all 11 questions, individuals with a history of drug use were more likely to agree to consent to participate in our study than were healthy volunteers. Conclusion A high percentage of each category of gender, ethnicity and drug history, gave affirmative consent at all levels. The level of detail in and the amount of time spent reviewing the informed consent, and a relationship of trust with the clinical investigator may contribute to this outcome. (shrink)
In this paper, I analyze epistemic blameworthiness. After presenting Michael Bergmann’s definition of epistemic blameworthiness, I argue that his definition is problematic because it does not have a control condition. I conclude by offering an improved definition of epistemic blameworthiness and defending this definition against potential counterexamples.
The object of the following paper is to examine in detail the relations between the contents of the poem called the Culex and the acknowledged writings of Virgil. The reader will find that these relations are more numerous and far more intimate than has hitherto been pointed out. They seem to warrant an inference as to the authorship of the poem, which in itself may claim high probability, and which when combined with the external evidence appears to the present writer (...) to reach the level of a practical certainty. In what follows, all statements as to the readings of the manuscripts are based upon Professor A. E. Housman's paper on The Apparatus Criticus of the Culex, unless other authorities are expressly cited. I have followed Professor Ellis's text, except where Professor Housman's evidence makes some other reading more probable. (shrink)
Belief is a familiar attitude: taking something to be the case or regarding it as true. But we are more confident in some of our beliefs than in others. For this reason, many epistemologists appeal to a second attitude, called credence, similar to a degree of confidence. This raises the question: how do belief and credence relate to each other? On a belief-first view, beliefs are more fundamental and credences are a species of beliefs, e.g. beliefs about probabilities. On a (...) credence-first view, credences are more fundamental and beliefs are a species of credence, e.g. credence above some threshold. In this thesis, I develop and defend a third view that I call belief-credence dualism. On this view, belief and credence are independent, equally fundamental attitudes, and neither reduces to the other. I begin by motivating the project: why should we care about the relationship between belief and credence? I argue it has broad implications for many debates in epistemology and beyond. Then, I defend dualism, arguing that it can explain features of our mental lives that a credence-first view and a belief-first view cannot. I also argue that dualism has attractive, interesting implications when applied to the pragmatic encroachment debate. Finally, I explore implications of dualism, both for the nature of evidence and how faith might go beyond the evidence but nonetheless be epistemically rational. I conclude that the human mind is, in some ways, complex, but we should be happy with this conclusion also long as each mental state we posit has a clear role to play. (shrink)
Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, (...) assumes that in any case the mere fact of getting nearer the detail of production makes such an explanation intrinsically superior: “a more detailed explanation is also an end in itself”. Michael Taylor agrees: “A good explanation should be, amongst other things, as fine-grained as possible.”. (shrink)
Bentham was an influential thinker with an ‘essentially practical mind’. His influence on British social and political reform, however, was indirect, coming largely after his death and largely through the work of his disciples. Bentham's own attempts to put his ideas directly into practice generally had little effect. He came closest to success in the area of penal policy, winning a contract from Pitt's government in the early 1790s to build and manage a penitentiary that was to be organized on (...) the panopticon principle. Bentham saw the penitentiary as the spearhead of prison reform and as a means of effecting a change from transportation to imprisonment as a punishment for serious crime. While Bentham's use of the panopticon principle itself has attracted most attention in the literature, there was more to his scheme than this. The penitentiary proposals were worked out in great detail, they were a conscious application of his theory of punishment, and they were consistent with and an element of his all-embracing plan of social, political, and constitutional reform. (shrink)
He who has seen everything empty itself is close to knowing what everything is filled with. Emptiness is probably the most important philosophical and religious concept of Mahayana Buddhism. Its precise meaning has been explained differently by different schools and in different Buddhist cultures, but almost all Mahāyāna Buddhists would agree with the following characterization: Philosophically , emptiness is the term that describes the ultimate mode of existence of all phenomena, namely, as naturally ‘empty’ of enduring substance, or self-existence : (...) rather than being independently self-originated, phenomena are dependently originated from causes and conditions. Emptiness, thus, explains how it is that phenomena change and interact as they do, how it is that the world goes on as it does. Religiously , emptiness is the single principle whose direct comprehension is the basis of liberation from samsāra, and ignorance of which, embodied in self-gasping is the basis of continued rebirth – hence suffering – in samsāra. (shrink)
I much appreciated Elizabeth Schier's paper on Frank Jackson's knowledge argument, published in the January 2008 issue of Journal of Consciousness Studies (Schier, 2008) -- in part, I confess, because of resonances with my gestalt argument for free will (Hodgson, 2001; 2002; 2005; 2007a,b). I would like to offer two comments on this paper.
Increasingly, the role of health research in improving the discrepancies in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in developed countries is being recognised. Along with this comes the recognition that health research must be conducted in a manner that is culturally appropriate and ethically sound. Two key documents have been produced in Australia, known as The Road Map and The Guidelines, to provide theoretical and philosophical direction to the ethics of Indigenous health research. These documents identify research themes considered (...) critical to improving the health of the nation’s Indigenous peoples. They also provide values that, from an Indigenous perspective, are foundational to an ethical research process. This paper examines these research themes and values within the context of a current longitudinal birth cohort study of Indigenous infants and children in south-west Sydney: the Gudaga Study. Considerable time and effort have been invested in being true to the values stated in these documents: reciprocity; respect; equality; responsibility; survival and protection; and spirit and integrity. We have learnt that it is vital to be true to these values when conducting Indigenous health research—to quite literally “walk the talk”. (shrink)
Is normative uncertainty like factual uncertainty? Should it have the same effects on our actions? Some have thought not. Those who defend an asymmetry between normative and factual uncertainty typically do so as part of the claim that our moral beliefs in general are irrelevant to both the moral value and the moral worth of our actions (Weatherson 2014; Harman 2015). Here I use the consideration of Jackson cases to challenge this view, arguing that we can explain away the (...) apparent asymmetries between normative and factual uncertainty by considering the particular features of the cases in greater detail. Such consideration shows that, in fact, normative and factual uncertainty are equally relevant to moral assessment. (shrink)
I defend Frank Jackson's knowledge argument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more than (...) her acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant . I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities. (shrink)
Publication date: 27 August 2018 Source: Author: Sayed Mohammad Anoosheh, Mohammed Hussein Oroskhan The beginning of twentieth century experienced significant changes affecting different parts of society. Such considerable changes not only influenced the appearance of the society but also dramatically changed the social bonds gripping different kinds of people together. In this regard, Emile Durkheim as the father modern sociology thoroughly reexamined the previously settled notion of sociology and brought about a new perspective studying the social bonds. With regard to (...) his two main principles namely mechanical solidary and organic solidarity, he justifies the relationships among the individual within the traditional and modern society. Nevertheless, he mentioned that out of few rare situations, the individual may commit a type of suicide which is totally the consequent effect of society on individual. Hence, through this study it is tried to reconsider Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" in the light of Durkheim's theory. In this case, it is revealed that while previously it was believed that the main character of the story is killed mercilessly by his friends and families, she has indeed committed altruistic suicide as the result of being so much integrated within the structure of the society. (shrink)
I begin with a resume ofJ ackson's position. I shall follow this with some counter- examples; and end with a diagnosis of why the problems with Jackson's account arise. In objecting to Jackson's account I am not presupposing the truth of one or other particular account of akrasia. What I am supposing is that unless we recognize some kind of conflict of mind as engaged at the time of action, we are not speaking of akrasia. I hive argued (...) that Jackson, in supposedly giving an account of the akratic conflict between 'reason and desire', turns it into a temporal relation between states of a person which can obtain without a conflict of the relevant kind obtaining at all. The account therefore fails to clarify the nature of the conflict out of which an akratic action may arise. It does in fact seem that a Humean view of the relation between reason and desire is ill-fitted to recognition of the phenomenon of weakness of will. But Humeans have proved themselves most ingenious over two centuries. Perhaps they will yet manage to effect the fit. (shrink)
It has now been over twenty years since Elizabeth Prior, Robert Pargetter, and Frank Jackson (1982) published their classic paper on dispositions, in which they defend the following theses: (1) The Distinctness Thesis: Each disposition is distinct from its base. (2) The Impotence Thesis: Dispositions are causally impotent.1..
Stereotypical images of Appalachians abound in entertainment media. When CBS proposed transplanting a poor Appalachian family to California for a reality television show titled The Real Beverly Hillbillies, Appalachians and advocacy groups were outraged. This article explores ethical issues raised by stereotypical portrayals of Appalachians and potential harm from those stereotypes as well as the reality from which they emerged. Using the theories of Levinas, Kant, and Aristotle, we then examine the ethics of stereotyping Appalachians and other subcultures in entertainment (...) media. Finally, we propose a decision tree to aid producers of entertainment media in creating ethical portrayals of fictional characters and real people. (shrink)
How might the psycho-social effects of chronic skin disease, its treatments (and discontents) be figuratively expressed in writing and painting? Does the art reveal common denominators in experience and representation? If so, how do we understand the cryptic language of these expressions? By examining the works of artists with chronic skin diseases—John Updike, Elizabeth Bishop, and Zelda Fitzgerald—some common features can be noted. Chronically broken skin can fracture the ego or self-perception, resulting in a disturbed body image, which leads (...) to personality disorders and co-morbid affective disorders such as anxiety and depression. The vertiginous feeling that results can be noted in the paradoxical characters, figures, and psyches portrayed in the works of these artists. This essay will examine the more specific ways in which artists disclose and/or conceal their experiences and the particular ways in which these manifest in their works. While certain nuances exist, the common denominators give us a starting point for developing an eczema aesthetic, a code for interpreting the ways in which artists’ experiences with skin disease manifest in their works. (shrink)
Through a series of writings, Frank Jackson has developed a new kind of descriptivism that he argues can resist all of the three major objections raised by the theorists of direct reference. In this article I articulate some doubts about Jackson’s replies to two of these objections, i.e., the modal argument and the semantic argument.
Frank Jackson has abandoned his famous knowledge argument, and has explained why in a brief "Postscript on Qualia" . This explanation consists of a direct argument, and an attempt to explain away the intuition that lies at the heart of the knowledge argument. The direct argument is clarified and found to be subtly question-begging. The attempt to explain away the key intuition is reviewed and found to be inadequate. False memory traces, which Jackson mentions at the beginning of (...) the direct argument, are discussed and found not to materially affect the force of the knowledge argument. (shrink)
Frank Jackson and Robert Pargetter (1987)2 have argued for a version of reductive physicalism about color which they claim can accommodate the basic intuitions that have led others to embrace dispositionalism or subjectivism about color. Jackson (1996) has further developed the view and provided responses to some objections to its original statement. While Jackson and Pargetter do not have much company in endorsing their specific form of color physicalism, elements of their view have shown up in other (...) realist accounts, including the relativized account of color offered by John Spackman (2002), the disjunctivism of color properties endorsed by Peter Ross (2000), and the subjectivist strain present in Sydney Shoemaker’s (1994) discussion of color.3 Additionally, Mark Johnston (1992) has used Jackson and Pargetter’s view as a principal target in his arguments against color physicalism. (shrink)
motion and Psyche is a really exciting book. In just 47 pages, Marc Jackson gets to define what is an emotion, what emotion categories can be established, when an action represents an emotional conflict, why some people tend to keep memories of certain events while others forget them, and so on. Emotion and Psyche is a reflection on the nature of emotions. But it is much more. The author does not only question the meaning of emotions in our affective (...) life, he presents an audacious thesis that describes the intricate and complex relationship between emotional life, cognition, and psyche in a broad sense. (shrink)
As James Chapman has famously put it in National Identity and the British Historical Film, historical films are “as much about the present in which they are made as they are about [the] past in which they are set.” This article discusses Shekhar Kapur’s aesthetically ground-breaking Elizabeth and its sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age focusing on two main aspects, namely national identity issues and the representation of the enemy. Kapur’s Elizabeth films will first be placed within the (...) larger context of Elizabeth’s film and television appearances. Informed by Giroux’s critical methodology guidelines, in an attempt to “historize” the films under scrutiny and so foster “sane historical sense,” a semiotic analysis will then be offered. Largely inspired by the tenets of Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis and Kress and Leeuwen’s visual grammar, this will draw a parallel between the verbal and visual discourses in both films. Data will finally be discussed and the contention will be made that England’s religious heritage has left indelible traces which remain latent in the English imagination, for which historical evidence will be presented. The article’s ultimate aim will be to provide evidence suggesting that, in the English case, religious and national discourses merged from the late 16th century onwards, clearly influencing not only the perception that the English had of themselves but also and crucially the image they may still have of “Other” nations. (shrink)
continent. 1.2 (2011): 136-140. In early 2011, Cow Heavy Books published The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature , a compendium of catalog 'blurbs' for non-existent desired or ideal texts. Along with Erinrose Mager, I edited the project, in a process that was more like curation as it mainly entailed asking a range of contemporary writers, theorists, and text-makers to send us an entry. What resulted was a creative/critical hybrid anthology, a small book in which each page opens (...) to a new iteration of textual desire. These texts explore the material possibilities of the book. Somewhat parallel to the call of N. Katherine Hayles who, in her book Writing Machines , urges literary theorists to take up the practice of Medium Specific Analysis (to account for the way the medium in which it is presented conditions or at least bears on a literary text). I see in the imagined works of The Official Catalog a call for the innovative writers of today to become Medium-Responsive. This would mean thinking through the specific (materially constrained) possibilities offered by the media in which texts are presented, and in thinking of the literary text as a kind of art in the greater context of other arts and the book as a medium situated within the context of many other media. In doing so, the contemporary writer refutes the chorus of critics who lament the death of the book by consistently reinvigorating literary innovation. The following are selections from The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature that show possible paths for (thinking about) new writing that engages with its medium. —Ben Segal, Editor THE CUBE Even the most radical non-linear texts have tended to exploit or subvert only the sequential possibilities of print—from the continuous loop of Joyce's Finnegans Wake to the shuffled cards of Marc Saporta's Composition No. 1 —but The Cube takes such multiplicities to an entirely new level. Set in a grid, the book's words can be read conventionally, across the page, as well as down each column—with either route making complete grammatical sense. But they can also be read as stacked strata and mined like lexical core samples through the layered pages of the book. Each path tells the same story from a different perspective (the narrative, naturally, hinges on the potential outcomes of a throw of cubed dice). By opening up the z-axis to reading in this way, The Cube recognizes the book as a three-dimensional sculptural space. Taking its lead from Armand Schwerner's (If Personal) and Raymond Queneau's Cent mille milliards de poèmes , The Cube reads like a experiment by Christian Bök precision printed by Emily McVarish. Craig Dworkin is the editor, most recently, of The Consequence of Innovation: 21st Century Poetics (Roof Books, 2008), The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound , with Marjorie Perloff (U. Chicago Press, 2009), and Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing , with Kenneth Goldsmith (Northwestern UP, 2010). He teaches at the University of Utah. HE GOES In He Goes , we read notes, letters and e-mails from a scholar father to his novelist daughter. We read of the father's musings on Beckett, on Pinter, on Anne Frank; his description of a woman hanging laundry from a line. We read about his journey toward dying, followed by a brief, third person account of his death, and his obituary. Then a long series of blank pages that demand to be read in real time, non-sentence by non-sentence, blank page by blank page. Finally—and it is here that this peculiar little book begins to soar—the dead father writes to his as-of-yet-still-living daughter. He does not write from death. He does not write from life. The words unprint, unstamp, unkindle. Still, they require no translation. The father "writes" (for lack of a better word) about the serendipitous, the commonplace; he recommends another book. He jokes. He asks his daughter how her stomach is. He says forget about presence in absence, darling; screw words as memorial and the guys in garbage cans and loss as redemption and I can't go on I must go on. He goes, "Love, Fodder." He goes, "incidentally." He goes, "I thought you might like to know." Elizabeth Graver is the author of a story collection, Have You Seen Me? , and three novels: Unravelling ; The Honey Thief ; and Awake . Her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories , Best American Essays , and Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards . She teaches at Boston College. THE PAPER ARCHIVIST A stunning package and a triumph of imagination, The Paper Archivist at times looks to be less a book than an abstract expressionist painting. Softly bound, its contents unfold to a single sheet of uneven thickness and texture—a canvas splattered with colored lines, stickers, broken sentences, and nonsense pictographs. But by following the directions to fold, dip, smell, rub, scratch, and tear the sheet according to the contingencies of the weather and using only the objects at hand, the reader slowly brings the forces hidden in the noise into a glorious sculptural convergence, processing a different story and shape each time. This is the rare book that continues to stir, whirl, and pop on every new reading. Sean Higgins blogs at BOMBlog where he is responsible for the column Volumes and Territories, as well as Ghost Island , a fledgling collaborative intellectual collective. THE SLOW BOOK The Slow Book , written by an anonymous author at the dawn of literacy, on a minor planet (otherwise notable only as the source of that exceptionally hardy, not very tasty grain called “shef” sowed on hostile planets as an early step to colonization), and encoded into a series of punctures on a strip of copper coiled inside a clever device, something between a player piano and an old-fashioned film projector, is being released into print, as was the author’s intention, at a rate of one word per century (local time). Each word is, across the Forty Galaxies, agreed to be uncannily apt for the century in which it appears—even “of,” in a century during which the highest value was attached to fidelity, whether to ideals, worlds, or romantic love; even “the,” which governed two centuries, one extraordinarily materialistic, during which advances in propulsion and navigation accelerated the exchange of exceptional objects between the remotest planets of the Forty, and one in which the central concern, both of philosophers and the common man, was whether, in an age of rapidly proliferating hypothetical worlds, anyone or anything concretely existed at all. Even those words published long before interstellar contact can be seen in retrospect to have transgalactic pertinence. As a result, attempts to abstract the machine from its publishers, Hobson & Hui, in order to “predict the future” for insight or gain by “fast- forwarding” the copper strip have been many and ingenious. While, in centuries of skepticism (“maybe”), or of unrest (“go”) the book has been nearly forgotten, in others it seems to haunt every thought, every deed, despite the fact that the subject of The Slow Book is still unclear. So far only a few sentences exist in print; everyone knows them, can quote them, offer the standard exegeses and assorted heresies; yet certainties are the stuff of adolescence; mature readers are forced to acknowledge that these sentences are probably only a preamble to the main argument. They contain no proper nouns, nor can we identify any definite theme. There is even disagreement about their tone, whether coolly ironic, as some insist, or ardent. The appearance of an unusual grammatical case, sometimes called the future pluperfect continuous, used to describe events that at some future point will have always been true (but are not yet)—hitherto known to appear only in the synthetic dogmas of the Thanatographical Society, and in certain highly circumscribed religious contexts—has suggested to some scholars that the Slow Book was originally intended for ritual use, but the proximity of the usage to a term designating a small hand plow that, as Pott and Mielcke have convincingly shown, would have borne a distinctly obscene double meaning in its culture of origin in the author’s time, argues otherwise. It is likewise unclear whether the situation that seems to be—with teasing incompleteness—sketched out in these few lines is intended as an illustration of general principles, a case study, a dramatic scene, or an extended metaphor. In short, we have no idea what The Slow Book is about. In our own time, we believe that it is almost certainly a work of fiction, but that may be because we live in the century of “if”. In each age, perhaps, we see the book we most need to read. Some have dared to suggest that the metal strip is blank until, with millennial fanfare, it advances into its new position, that no ur-text exists, that the book itself is brought into being—written—by our need. But that is exactly the sort of thing we would believe, in 7645. Shelley Jackson is the author of the story collection The Melancholy of Anatomy , the novel Half Life , and hypertexts including Patchwork Girl . The recipient of a Howard Foundation grant, a Pushcart Prize, and the 2006 James Tiptree Jr Award, she has also written and illustrated several children's books, including The Old Woman and the Wave ; Sophia, the Alchemist's Dog ; and Mimi's Dada Catifesto . Her stories and essays have appeared in Conjunctions , McSweeney's , The Paris Review , and Cabinet Magazine . In 2004 she launched her project SKIN , a story published in tattoos on 2095 volunteers. THE BOOK OF SOUNDS The Book of Sounds is just that: a book of sounds made when letters are construed in new ways to bring forth out of the alphabet new forms of speech. A book meant to be read out loud, The Book of Sounds is not unlike Laurie Anderson's O Superman or Brian Eno's Music for Airports in its attempt to make music out of the most primary and simplest of methods. It breaks language down to its barest bones and makes out of the page a drum that has never before been beaten upon. Peter Markus is the author of a novel, Bob, or Man on Boat (Dzanc Books) as well as two books of short fiction, Good, Brother and The Singing Fish , both of which were published by Calamari Press. A new collection of stories, We Make Mud , is now available from Dzanc Books. PARADISE OF THE BLIND by Celan Solen Although the reclusive Celan Solen published his first and only book in 1963—paying out-of-pocket for a limited edition of the slim collection No One May Have the Same Knowledge Again —he remained in American obscurity for almost three decades. In 1992 a micro-press in Istanbul brought out No One in Turkish. A German translation followed in 1995. Soon it became clear in literary circles Solen was a world-class (if highly unclassifiable) artist—lyrical, dense, enigmatic—who could undo the conventional short story in 397 words by inventing impossible worlds housed in impossible whirls (in “Small Sadnesses,” a single chartreuse tree frog in Borneo unknowingly holds time together by its very presence in the universe, while each letter of its tale refers, not to itself, but to the one preceding it in the alphabet). By his disappearance last year, Solen was considered master by a generation of writers and critics (except, alas, for those gentlemen in the Swedish Academy). Imagine, then, that generation’s delight at the discovery, locked away in the author’s safe-deposit box, of his second and final composition. Had Lynch’s Lost Highway been book instead of film, and had it been penned by Beckett at his least certain, revised by Barthelme at his most formally deranged, and typeset by Derrida at his most semiotically catastrophic, the result might have been something like Paradise of the Blind : interlacing narratives of a man composed of borrowed organs (whose most cheerless and difficult to locate, god, could only have been invented by an empty heart), a nonexistent medieval painting blamed for the ruin of future hope, and the spread of a philosophy that holds earth a mistake constantly recurring in the dream of a fish lying on the floor of the Atlantic (if the fish wakes, our world winks off)—all contained in a text packed with typed-over passages, torn postcards, poems that can be deciphered only when held up to a mirror, pages ornamented with trompe-l'œil paperclips and coffee stains and buzzing houseflies, some busy with illegible runes that dissolve when exposed to light, three that smell like roses or lemons (depending on whether a man or woman is reading), two that stain with the bloody fingerprints of the those who handle them, one that ignites when brushed with breath, thirteen sewn from baby skin, one that moans when touched, and one that screams—yet all without mass, unimaginable, and invisible. Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books of and about innovative fiction, including, most recently, the novels Calendar of Regrets (2010) and Head in Flames (2009). He teaches experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah. SUPERSTRUCTURE! by Barbara D'Albi As soon as I opened the third drawer of Barbara D'Albi's wooden novel, everything became hopeless. Now in Ithaca, there was no going back. And it wasn't just the intricate series of shelves, hinged doors and locked drawers which D'Albi layered into the book, no, lo, I was constructed anew by the story. Who else but D'Albi to imagine a God who becomes a carpenter and gets killed?! And makes it good! You want stories? D'Albi is a skyscraper, built with planes and levers. Momentarily I wondered where I could shelve this book, and then I thought: no matter; I couldn't put it down. Adam Robinson lives in Baltimore, where he runs Publishing Genius. He is the author of Adam Robison and Other Poems and Say, Poem. 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Frank Jackson claims that consequentialists should hold the view that Derek Parfit labels the second ‘mistake in moral mathematics’, which is the view that “If some act is right or wrong because of . . . effects, the only relevant effects are the effects of this particular act.” But each of the three arguments that Jackson offers is unsound. The root of the problem is that in order to argue for the conclusion Jackson aims to establish (that (...) consequentialists should not regard the second “mistake” as a mistake), one must presuppose an overly narrow, and hence distorted, understanding of what consequentialism is. (shrink)
Frank Jackson often writes as if his descriptivist account of public language meanings were just plain common sense. How else are we to explain how different speakers manage to communicate using a public language? And how else can we explain how individuals arrive at confident judgments about the reference of their words in hypothetical scenarios? Our aim in this paper is to show just how controversial the psychological assumptions behind in Jackson’s semantic theory really are. First, we explain (...) how Jackson’s theory goes well beyond the commonsense platitudes he cites in its defence. Second, we sketch an alternative explanation of those platitudes, the jazz model of meaning, which we argue is more psychologically realistic. We conclude that the psychological picture presupposed by Jackson’s semantic theory stands in need of a much more substantial defence than he has so far offered. (shrink)