This paper was presented at a session on "Three views of experiment: Atomic parity violations," in which Allan Franklin's study of an episode in the recent history of particle physics was discussed and criticized. Franklin argues in favor of what he calls "the evidence model," a general claim to the effect that physicists' theory choices are based on valid experimental evidence. He contrasts his position to that of the social constructivists, who, according to him, insist that social and (...) cognitive interests, and not the evidence, explains physicists' practical and theoretical judgments. My paper argues that Franklin miscasts the debate between experimental realism and social constructivism, because constructivists do not insist that evidence has no role whatsoever in experimental practice. My position draws lessons from Wittgenstein's later philosophy and ethnomethodological studies of scientific practices. The paper does not aim to support social constructivism against Franklin's arguments, so much as to suggest that the terms of the realist-constructivist debate provide a poor context for the examination of the temporal production of experiments and observations. (shrink)
Despite Augustine's reputation as the father of Christian intolerance, one finds in his thought the surprising claim that within non-Christian writings there are 'some truths in regard even to the worship of the One God.' The essays here uncover provocative points of comparison and similarity between Christianity and other religions to further such an Augustinian dialogue.
According to reductionists about agency, an agent’s bringing something about is reducible to states and events involving the agent bringing something about. Many have worried that reductionism cannot accommodate robust forms of agency, such as self-determination. One common reductionist answer to this worry contends that self-determining agents are identified with certain states and events, and so these states and events causing a decision counts as the agent’s self-determining the decision. In this paper, I discuss Michael Bratman’s well-known identification reductionist (...) theory and his general strategy of grounding an agent’s identification at a time in the agent’s identity over time. I develop two constraints that an adequate identification reductionist theory must satisfy, argue that Bratman’s theory cannot satisfy both, and show that his general strategy for grounding an agent’s identification at a time in the agent’s identity over time is without merit. (shrink)
In December’s Quadrant James Franklin asked “Is Jensenism compatible with Christianity?” and claimed of Sydney Anglicans that they “fear the gospels, for the gospel message is inconvenient”. This brand of “narrow” “Bible-based” Christianity pits Paul against Jesus, he says; engages in selective reading of the Bible; and creates “an inwardlooking and recent sect.”.
A collection of articles on the the principles of social justice from an Australian Catholic perspective. Contents: Forward (Archbishop Philip Wilson), Introduction (James Franklin), The right to life (James Franklin), The right to serve and worship God in public and private (John Sharpe), The right to religious formation (Richard Rymarz), The right to personal liberty under just law (Michael Casey), The right to equal protection of just law regardless of sex, nationality, colour or creed (Sam Gregg), The (...) right to freedom of expression (Damian Grace), The right to choose and freely maintain a state of life, married or single, lay or religious (Marita Winters), The right to education (Anthony Cleary), The right to petition government for the redress of grievances (Paul Russell), The right to a nationality (Andrew Hamilton), The right to have access to the means of livelihood, by migration when necessary (Brenda Hubber), The right of association and peaceful assembly (Michael Hogan), The right to work and choose one's occupation (Ian Blandthorn), The right to personal ownership, use and disposal of property subject to the right of others (Brian Coman), The right to a living wage (Garrick Small), The right to collective bargaining (Keith Harvey), The right to associate by industries and professions to obtain economic justice (Henrik Jurisevic), The right to assistance from society, if necessary from the State, in distress of persons and family (Catherine Althaus), Afterword (James Franklin). (shrink)
In various areas of Anglo-American law, legal liability turns on causation. In torts and contracts, we are each liable only for those harms we have caused by the actions that breach our legal duties. Such doctrines explicitly make causation an element of liability. In criminal law, sometimes the causal element for liability is equally explicit, as when a statute makes punishable any act that has “ caused … abuse to the child….” More often, the causal element in criminal liability is (...) more implicit, as when criminal statutes prohibit killings, maimings, rapings, burnings, etc. Such causally complex action verbs are correctly applied only to defendants who have caused death, caused disfigurement, caused penetration, caused fire damage, etc. (shrink)
Freud justified his extensive theorizing about dreams by the observation that they were “the royal road” to something much more general: namely, our unconscious mental life. The current preoccupation with the theory of excuse in criminal law scholarship can be given a similar justification, for the excuses are the royal road to theories of responsibility generally. The thought is that if we understand why we excuse in certain situations but not others, we will have also gained a much more general (...) insight into the nature of responsibility itself. Nowhere has this thought been more evident than in the century-old focus of criminal law theoreticians on the excuse of insanity, a focus that could not be justified by the importance of the excuse itself. In this paper I wish to isolate two theories of excuse, each of which instantiates its own distinctive theory of responsibility. One is what I shall call the choice theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because at the moment of such action's performance, one did not have sufficient capacity or opportunity to make the choice to do otherwise. Such a choice theory of excuse instantiates a more general theory of responsibility, according to which we are responsible for wrongs we freely choose to do, and not responsible for wrongs we lacked the freedom to avoid doing. The second I shall call the character theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because such action is not determined by those enduring attributes of ourselves we call our characters. (shrink)
The established view regarding ‘brain death’ in medicine and medical ethics is that patients determined to be dead by neurological criteria are dead in terms of a biological conception of death, not a philosophical conception of personhood, a social construction or a legal fiction. Although such individuals show apparent signs of being alive, in reality they are dead, though this reality is masked by the intervention of medical technology. In this article, we argue that an appeal to the distinction between (...) appearance and reality fails in defending the view that the ‘brain dead’ are dead. Specifically, this view relies on an inaccurate and overly simplistic account of the role of medical technology in the physiology of a ‘brain dead’ patient. We conclude by offering an explanation of why the conventional view on ‘brain death’, though mistaken, continues to be endorsed in light of its connection to organ transplantation and the dead donor rule. (shrink)
• It would be a moral disgrace for God (if he existed) to allow the many evils in the world, in the same way it would be for a parent to allow a nursery to be infested with criminals who abused the children. • There is a contradiction in asserting all three of the propositions: God is perfectly good; God is perfectly powerful; evil exists (since if God wanted to remove the evils and could, he would). • The religious believer (...) has no hope of getting away with excuses that evil is not as bad as it seems, or that it is all a result of free will, and so on. Piper avoids mentioning the best solution so far put forward to the problem of evil. It is Leibniz’s theory that God does not create a better world because there isn’t one — that is, that (contrary to appearances) if one part of the world were improved, the ramifications would result in it being worse elsewhere, and worse overall. It is a “bump in the carpet” theory: push evil down here, and it pops up over there. Leibniz put it by saying this is the “Best of All Possible Worlds”. That phrase was a public relations disaster for his theory, suggesting as it does that everything is perfectly fine as it is. He does not mean that, but only that designing worlds is a lot harder than it looks, and determining the amount of evil in the best one is no easy matter. Though humour is hardly appropriate to the subject matter, the point of Leibniz’s idea is contained in the old joke, “An optimist is someone who thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, and a pessimist thinks.. (shrink)
Michael S. Brady offers a new account of the role of emotions in our lives. He argues that emotional experiences do not give us information in the same way that perceptual experiences do. Instead, they serve our epistemic needs by capturing our attention and facilitating a reappraisal of the evaluative information that emotions themselves provide.
The concept of causation is fundamental to ascribing moral and legal responsibility for events. Yet the precise relationship between causation and responsibility remains unclear. This book clarifies that relationship through an analysis of the best accounts of causation in metaphysics, and a critique of the confusion in legal doctrine.
Suffering, in one form or another, is present in all of our lives. But why do we suffer? On one reading, this is a question about the causes of physical and emotional suffering. But on another, it is a question about whether suffering has a point or purpose or value. In this ground-breaking book, Michael Brady argues that suffering is vital for the development of virtue, and hence for us to live happy or flourishing lives. After presenting a distinctive (...) account of suffering, and a novel account of its core element, unpleasantness, Brady proceeds to focus on three claims that are central to his picture. The first is that forms of suffering, like pain and remorse, can themselves constitute virtuous responses. The second is that suffering is essential for four important classes of virtue - virtues of strength, such as fortitude and courage; virtues of vulnerability, such as adaptability and humility; moral virtues, such as compassion; and the practical and epistemic excellences that make up wisdom. His final claim third is that suffering is vital for the social virtues of justice, love, and trust, and hence for the flourishing of social groups. (shrink)
John Martin Fischer's The Metaphysics of Free Will is devoted to two major projects. First, Fischer defends the thesis that determinism is incompatible with a person's control over alternatives to the actual future. Second, Fischer defends the striking thesis that such control is not necessary for moral responsibility. This review essay examines Fischer's arguments for each thesis. Fischer's defense of the incompatibilist thesis is the most innovative to date, and I argue that his formulation restructures the free will debate. To (...) defend his second thesis Fischer relies upon examples designed to show that an agent is responsible for an unavoidable action. I criticize Fischer's account of these examples, but I also maintain that my criticisms do not compromise his theory of responsibility. I raise several other difficulties for Fischer's theory of responsibility, and I close by offering some suggestions about how he might further defend it. (shrink)
September 11, 2001 brought to legal awareness an issue that has long puzzled metaphysicians. The general issue is that of event-identity, drawing the boundaries of events so that we can tell when there is one event and when there are two. The September 11th version of that issue is: how many occurrences of insured events were there on September 11, 2001 in New York? Was the collapse of the two World Trade Center Towers one event, despite the two separate airliners (...) crashing into each tower? Or were these two separate insured events? (shrink)
The concept of causation is fundamental to ascribing moral and legal responsibility for events. Yet the precise relationship between causation and responsibility remains unclear. This book clarifies that relationship through an analysis of the best accounts of causation in metaphysics, and a critique of the confusion in legal doctrine. The result is a powerful argument in favour of reforming the moral and legal understanding of how and why we attribute responsibility to agents.
A recalcitrant emotion is one which conflicts with evaluative judgement. (A standard example is where someone is afraid of flying despite believing that it poses little or no danger.) The phenomenon of emotional recalcitrance raises an important problem for theories of emotion, namely to explain the sense in which recalcitrant emotions involve rational conflict. In this paper I argue that existing ‘neojudgementalist’ accounts of emotions fail to provide plausible explanations of the irrationality of recalcitrant emotions, and develop and defend my (...) own neojudgementalist account. On my view, recalcitrant emotions are irrational insofar as they incline the subject to accept an evaluative construal that the subject has already rejected. (shrink)
This article aims to highlight why R. S. Peters' conceptual analysis of ‘education’ was such an important contribution to the normative field of philosophy of education. In the article, I do the following: 1) explicate Peters' conception of philosophy of education as a field of philosophy and explain his approach to the philosophical analysis of concepts; 2) emphasize several (normative) features of Peters' conception of education, while pointing to a couple of oversights; and 3) suggest how Peters' analysis might be (...) used to reinvigorate a conversation on one central educational aim—that of how we might educate citizens for the 21st century. (shrink)
The traditional desire view of painfulness maintains that pain sensations are painful because the subject desires that they not be occurring. A significant criticism of this view is that it apparently succumbs to a version of the Euthyphro Dilemma: the desire view, it is argued, is committed to an implausible answer to the question of why pain sensations are painful. In this paper, I explain and defend a new desire view, and one which can avoid the Euthyphro Dilemma. This new (...) view maintains that painfulness is a property, not of pain sensations, but of a pain experience, understood as a relational state constituted by a pain sensation and a desire that the sensation not be occurring. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the question of whether true belief can have final value because it answers our ‘intellectual interest’ or ‘natural curiosity’. The idea is that sometimes we are interested in the truth on some issue not for any ulterior purpose, but simply because we are curious about that issue. It is argued that this approach fails to provide an adequate explanation of the final value of true belief, since there is an unbridgeable gap between our valuing the truth (...) on some issue for its own sake, and that truth's being valuable for its own sake. (shrink)
Starting from Marr's ideas about levels of explanation, a theory of the data structures and access processes in human memory is demonstrated on 10 tasks. Functional characteristics of human memory are captured implementation-independently. Our theory generates a multidimensional task classification subsuming existing classifications such as the distinction between tasks that are implicit versus explicit, data driven versus conceptually driven, and simple associative versus higher order, providing a broad basis for new experiments. The formal language clarifies the binding problem in episodic (...) memory, the role of input pathways in both episodic and semantic memory, the importance of the input set in episodic memory, and the ubiquitous calculation of an intersection in theories of episodic and lexical access. (shrink)
This work provides, for the first time, a unified account of the theory of action presupposed by both British and American criminal law and its underlying morality. It defends the view that human actions are volitionally caused body movements. This theory illuminates three major problems in drafting and implementing criminal law--what the voluntary act requirement does and should require, what complex descriptions of actions prohibited by criminal codes both do and should require, and when the two actions are the "same" (...) for purposes of assessing whether multiple prosecutions and multiple punishments are warranted. The book contributes to the development of a coherent theory of action in philosophy. It provides a grounding in three of the most basic elements of criminal liability for legislators, judges, and the lawyers who argue to them. (shrink)
A reconsideration of mill's theory of "higher pleasures," construed as a way of evaluating changes in preferences or character that result from changes in social environment. mill's account is criticized and partly reconstructed in light of modern preference theory, but viewed favorably as an illuminating attempt to address a fundamental problem in moral evaluation of social institutions. mill's advocacy of the higher pleasures is defended in particular against the charge that it is incompatible with his commitment to liberty.
Groups engage in epistemic activity all the time--whether it be the active collective inquiry of scientific research groups or crime detection units, or the evidential deliberations of tribunals and juries, or the informational efforts of the voting population in general--and yet in philosophy there is still relatively little epistemology of groups to help explore these epistemic practices and their various dimensions of social and philosophical significance. The aim of this book is to address this lack, by presenting original essays in (...) the field of collective epistemology, exploring these regions of epistemic practice and their significance for Epistemology, Political Philosophy, Ethics, and the Philosophy of Science. (shrink)
The perceptual model of emotions maintains that emotions involve, or are at least analogous to, perceptions of value. On this account, emotions purport to tell us about the evaluative realm, in much the same way that sensory perceptions inform us about the sensible world. An important development of this position, prominent in recent work by Peter Goldie amongst others, concerns the essential role that virtuous habits of attention play in enabling us to gain perceptual and evaluative knowledge. I think that (...) there are good reasons to be sceptical about this picture of virtue. In this essay I set out these reasons, and explain the consequences this scepticism has for our understanding of the relation between virtue, emotion, and attention. In particular, I argue that our primary capacity for recognizing value is in fact a non-emotional capacity. (shrink)
In this response to the review of Moore, Causation and Responsibility, by Larry Alexander and Kimberly Ferzan, previously published in this journal, two issues are discussed. The first is whether causation, counterfactual dependence, moral blame, and culpability, are all scalar properties or relations, that is, matters of more-or-less rather than either-or. The second issue discussed is whether deontological moral obligation is best described as a prohibition against using another as a means, or rather, as a prohibition on an agent strongly (...) causing a prohibited result that was not about to happen anyway while intending to do so. (shrink)
To understand the history of Advaita Vedānta and its rise to prominence, we need to devote more attention to what might be termed “Greater Advaita Vedānta,” or Advaita Vedānta as expressed outside the standard canon of Sanskrit philosophical works. Elsewhere I have examined the works of Niścaldās, whose Hindi-language Vicār-sāgar was once referred to by Swami Vivekananda as the most influential book of its day. In this paper, I look back to one of Niścaldās’s major influences: Sundardās, a well-known Hindi (...) poet and a direct disciple of Dādū Dayāl. Sundardās is typically classified as a bhakti poet rather than an Advaita Vedāntin; certainly he is not included in existing surveys or histories of Vedānta. In his youth, however, he studied Sanskrit and Vedānta in Banaras, and his poems present us with a mind that found no contradiction in claiming Dādū as his master and at the same time embracing the teachings of Advaita Vedānta. I argue that not only should Sundardās be included in histories of Advaita Vedānta, he should be credited for his originality: not only did he “Vedānticize” the Dādū Panth, he “Dādūized” Vedānta. I conclude by comparing Sundardās to two Sanskrit intellectuals from roughly the same period: Mahādeva Sarasvatī Vedāntin and Annambhaṭṭa, both of whom, like Sundardās, had commitments to Advaita Vedānta as well as to other intellectual traditions. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article defends the importance of epistemic safety for legal evidence. Drawing on discussions of sensitivity and safety in epistemology, the article explores how similar considerations apply to legal proof. In the legal context, sensitivity concerns whether a factual finding would be made if it were false, and safety concerns how easily a factual finding could be false. The article critiques recent claims about the importance of sensitivity for the law of evidence. In particular, this critique argues that sensitivity does (...) not have much of an effect on the value of legal evidence and that it fails to explain legal doctrine. By contrast, safety affects the quality of legal evidence, and safety better explains central features of the law of evidence, including probative value, admissibility rules, and standards of proof. (shrink)