In 1986, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his victory over “the powers of death and degradation, and to support the struggle of good against evil in the world.” Soon after, he and his wife, Marion, created the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. A project at the heart of the Foundation’s mission is its Ethics Prize—a remarkable essay-writing contest through which thousands of students from colleges across the country are encouraged to confront ethical issues of personal (...) significance. The Ethics Prize has grown exponentially over the past twenty years. “Of all the projects our Foundation has been involved in, none has been more exciting than this opportunity to inspire young students to examine the ethical aspect of what they have learned in their personal lives and from their teachers in the classroom,” writes Elie Wiesel. Readers will find essays on Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, sweatshops and globalization, and the political obligations of the mothers of Argentina’s Disappeared. Other essays tell of a white student who joins a black gospel choir, a young woman who learns to share in Ladakh, and the outsize implications of reporting on something as small as a cracked windshield. Readers will be fascinated by the ways in which essays on conflict, conscience, memory, illness, and God overlap and resonate with one another. These essays reflect those who are “sensitive to the sufferings and defects that confront a society yearning for guidance and eager to hear ethical voices,” writes Elie Wiesel. “And they are a beacon for what our schools must realize as an essential component of a true education.”. (shrink)
The author applies the methodology of scientific research programmes to the origins of relativity, showing how Eddington, Lorentz, Poincare, Planck and Weyl were driven by mathematical heuristics to make their various contributions to Einstein's programme.
While the idea of art as self-expression can sound old-fashioned, it remains widespread—especially if the relevant ‘selves’ can be social collectives, not just individual artists. But self-expression can collapse into individualistic or anthropocentric self-involvement. And compelling successor ideals for artists are not obvious. In this light, I develop a counter-ideal of creative receptivity to basic features of the external world, or artistic objectivity. Objective artists are not trying to express themselves or reach collective self-knowledge. However, they are also not disinterested (...) or emotionless. They can be unmoved by personal feelings and human concerns, but they are still receptive—just attuned to the more elemental forces that creatively inspire them. I elaborate this ideal in dialogue with John Ruskin’s influential critique of the pathetic fallacy. By contextualizing Ruskin’s view vis-à-vis Romantic and Modernist poetics, post-Kantian aesthetics, modern environmental art, and contemporary theories of expressiveness, I show how it indirectly motivates my account. (shrink)
This is a book about the metaphysics of perception and discusses touch, audition, and vision. Though primarily concerned with the nature of perception, it draws heavily from the history of philosophy of perception, and connects the concerns of analytical and continental philosophers.
Philosophers have cataloged a range of genealogical methods by which different sorts of normative conclusions can be established. Although such methods provide diverging ways of pursuing genealogical inquiry, they typically converge in eschewing historiographic methodology, in favor of a uniquely philosophical approach. In contrast, one genealogist who drew on historiographic methodology is Michel Foucault. This article presents the motivations and advantages of Foucault's genealogical use of such a methodology. It advances two mains claims. First, that Foucault's early 1970s work employs (...) a distinct genealogical method, which borrows from contemporary historiographic models of explanation to expand the range of objects that are proper to genealogical accounts of historical change. I demonstrate how Foucault modifies two central commitments of Nietzsche by broadening the dimensions of genealogical inquiry and explanation. Second, that historical method has normative relevance for genealogy, insofar as different historiographic choices can lead to different normative conclusions. I motivate this second claim by explaining how Foucault's multidimensional genealogical method expands both (a) the range of objects that are subject to evaluative assessment, and (b) the set of possible prescriptive recommendations that follow from such assessment. (shrink)
Structural Realism (SSR), as embodied in the Ramsey-sentence H* of a theory H, is defended against the view that H* reduces to a trivial statement about the cardinality of the domain of H, a view which arises from ignoring the central role of observation within science. Putnam’s theses are examined and shown to support rather than undermine SSR. Finally: in view of its synthetic character, applied mathematics must enter into the formulation of H* and hence be shown to be finitely (...) axiomatisable; this is done in the Appendix, which is the most important part of the paper. (shrink)
Scientists often diverge widely when choosing between research programs. This can seem to be rooted in disagreements about which of several theories, competing to address shared questions or phenomena, is currently the most epistemically or explanatorily valuable—i.e. most successful. But many such cases are actually more directly rooted in differing judgments of pursuit-worthiness, concerning which theory will be best down the line, or which addresses the most significant data or questions. Using case studies from 16th-century astronomy and 20th-century geology and (...) biology, I argue that divergent theory choice is thus often driven by considerations of scientific process, even where direct epistemic or explanatory evaluation of its final products appears more relevant. Broadly following Kuhn’s analysis of theoretical virtues, I suggest that widely shared criteria for pursuit-worthiness function as imprecise, mutually-conflicting values. However, even Kuhn and others sensitive to pragmatic dimensions of theory ‘acceptance’, including the virtue of fruitfulness, still commonly understate the role of pursuit-worthiness—especially by exaggerating the impact of more present-oriented virtues, or failing to stress how ‘competing’ theories excel at addressing different questions or data. This framework clarifies the nature of the choice and competition involved in theory choice, and the role of alternative theoretical virtues. (shrink)
A sense of unity -- Basic objects : a reply to Xu -- Objectivity without objects -- The vagueness of identity -- Quantifier variance and realism -- Against revisionary ontology -- Comments on Theodore Sider's four dimensionalism -- Sosa's existential relativism -- Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes, and common sense -- Ontological arguments : interpretive charity and quantifier variance -- Language, ontology, and structure -- Ontology and alternative languages.
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm's mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis's four-dimensionalist (...) assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
Measurement is fundamental to all the sciences, the behavioural and social as well as the physical and in the latter its results provide our paradigms of 'objective fact'. But the basis and justification of measurement is not well understood and is often simply taken for granted. Henry Kyburg Jr proposes here an original, carefully worked out theory of the foundations of measurement, to show how quantities can be defined, why certain mathematical structures are appropriate to them and what meaning attaches (...) to the results generated. Crucial to his approach is the notion of error - it can not be eliminated entirely from its introduction and control, her argues, arises the very possibility of measurement. Professor Kyburg's approach emphasises the empirical process of making measurements. In developing it he discusses vital questions concerning the general connection between a scientific theory and the results which support it. (shrink)
Some argue that time’s causal arrow is grounded in an underlying thermodynamic asymmetry. Often, this is tied to Humean skepticism that causes produce their effects, in any robust sense of ‘produce’. Conversely, those who advocate stronger notions of natural necessity often reject thermodynamic reductions of time’s causal arrow. Against these traditional pairings, I argue that ‘reduction-plus-production’ is coherent. Reductionists looking to invoke robust production can insist that there are metaphysical constraints on the signs of objects’ velocities in any state, given (...) other—including far later—states’ properties. The Past Hypothesis may thus be a metaphysical condition, not a physical law. (shrink)
The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable for the words of our language to divide up the world in ordinary ways rather than other imaginable ways. Hirsch calls this the division problem. His book aims to bring this problem into sharp focus, to distinguish it from various related problems, and to consider the best prospects for solving it. In exploring various possible responses to the division problem, Hirsch examines series of "division principles" which purport to express (...) rational constraints on how our words ought to classify and individuate. The ensuing discussion deals with a wide range of metaphysical and epistemological topics, including projectibility and similarity, alternative analyses of natural properties and things, the inscrutability of reference, and the relevance of such pragmatic notions as salience and economy. The final chapters of the book develop what Hirsch contends is the most promising response to the division problem: a theory in which constraints on classification and individuation are seen to derive from the necessary structure of "fine-grained" propositions and the necessary dependence of some concepts on others. (shrink)
Nietzsche sometimes praises the drive to order—to simplify, organize, and draw clear boundaries—as expressive of a vital "classical" style, or an Apollonian artistic drive to calmly contemplate forms displaying "epic definiteness and clarity." But he also sometimes harshly criticizes order, as in the pathological dialectics or "logical schematism" that he associates paradigmatically with Socrates. I challenge a tradition that interprets Socratism as an especially one-sided expression of, or restricted form of attention to, the Apollonian: they are more radically disparate. Beyond (...) strengthening the case for this basic point, I develop a distinctive account of what, exactly, distinguishes the Apollonian-classical and Socratic forms of order. To this end, I advance interrelated interpretations of Apollonian-classical simplicity and the "cold" calm that it elicits, by contrast to superficially similar Socratic phenomena. This illuminates Nietzsche's broader ambivalence toward science, in part by clarifying the nature and value of an idealized Apollonian science. (shrink)
_Epistemology and Inference _ was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Henry Kyburg has developed an original and important perspective on probabilistic and statistical inference. Unlike much contemporary writing by philosophers on these topics, Kyburg's work is informed by issues that have arisen in statistical theory and practice as well as issues familiar to professional philosophers. In two (...) major books and many articles, Kyberg has elaborated his technical proposals and explained their ramifications for epistemology, decision-making, and scientific inquiry. In this collection of published and unpublished essays, Kyburg presents his novel ideas and their applications in a manner that makes them accessible to philosophers and provides specialists in probability and induction with a concise exposition of his system. (shrink)
The work of the Bohemian chemist Franz Wald seems to be unknown in the history of science. In this paper some of Wald's these concerning the foundation of chemical theory are discussed in connexion with reflexions given in unpublished letters, which Wald wrote to Ernst Mach during the years 1896–1907.
In the work of both Matti Eklund and John Hawthorne there is an influential semantic argument for a maximally expansive ontology that is thought to undermine even modest forms of quantifier variance. The crucial premise of the argument holds that it is impossible for an ontologically "smaller" language to give a Tarskian semantics for an ontologically "bigger" language. After explaining the Eklund-Hawthorne argument (in section I), we show this crucial premise to be mistaken (in section II) by developing a Tarskian (...) semantics for a mereological universalist language within a mereological nihilist language (a case which we, and Eklund and Hawthorne, take as representative). After developing this semantics we step back (in section III) to discuss the philosophical motivations behind the Eklund- Hawthorne argument’s demand for a semantics. We ultimately conclude that quantifier variantists can meet any demand for a semantics that might reasonably be imposed upon them. (shrink)
We argue that the evolutionary function of reasoning is to allow us to secure more accurate beliefs and more effective intentions through collective deliberation. This sets our view apart both from traditional intellectualist accounts, which take the evolutionary function to be individual deliberation, and from interactionist accounts such as the one proposed by Mercier and Sperber, which agrees that the function of reasoning is collective but holds that it aims to disseminate, rather than come up with, accurate beliefs. We argue (...) that our collectivized intellectualism offers the best explanation of the range of biases that human reasoning is prone to, and that it does better than interactionism at offering a function of reasoning that would have been adaptive for our distant ancestors who first evolved this capacity. (shrink)
Eli Maor examines the role of infinity in mathematics and geometry and its cultural impact on the arts and sciences. He evokes the profound intellectual impact the infinite has exercised on the human mind--from the "horror infiniti" of the Greeks to the works of M. C. Escher from the ornamental designs of the Moslems, to the sage Giordano Bruno, whose belief in an infinite universe led to his death at the hands of the Inquisition. But above all, the book describes (...) the mathematician's fascination with infinity--a fascination mingled with puzzlement. "Maor explores the idea of infinity in mathematics and in art and argues that this is the point of contact between the two, best exemplified by the work of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, six of whose works are shown here in beautiful color plates."--Los Angeles Times "[Eli Maor's] enthusiasm for the topic carries the reader through a rich panorama."--Choice "Fascinating and enjoyable.... places the ideas of infinity in a cultural context and shows how they have been espoused and molded by mathematics."--Science. (shrink)
This article reconstructs and defends Theodor Adorno’s social theory by motivating the central role of abstract domination within it. Whereas critics such as Axel Honneth have charged Adorno with adhering to a reductive model of personal domination, I argue that the latter rather understands domination as a structural and de-individualized feature of capitalist society. If Adorno’s social theory is to be explanatory, however, it must account for the source of the abstractions that dominate modern individuals and, in particular, that of (...) value. While such an account remains undeveloped in Adorno, Marx provides resources for its development, in positing the constitution of value neither in production nor exchange alone, but in the social totality. This article argues that Marx’s account is compatible with Adorno’s, and that it may be used to render Adorno’s theory of domination more credible on explanatory grounds. (shrink)
Mark Eli Kalderon argues that morality is a fiction by means of which our emotional attitudes are conveyed. This is an improvement on the standard noncognitivist view, which denies that moral judgement is belief but claims instead that it is the expression of an emotional attitude. Noncognitivists tend to deny that moral sentences even purport to represent moral reality, and so they have developed non-standard semantics for moral discourse. Kalderon's fictionalism shows that noncognitivism can manage without such controversial semantics. His (...) book will be essential reading for anyone working in moral philosophy, and for many others working on meaning and knowledge. (shrink)
Until rather recently, philosophy, when practiced as a way of life, was, for most, a communal enterprise of mutually reinforced personal cultivation. It is time, yet again, to revitalize this lost, but vital, intercultural mode of philosophy.
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm’s mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis’s four-dimensionalist (...) assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
Stoffregen & Bardy's target article is based on the assumption that our senses' ultimate purpose is to provide us with perfect information about the outside world. We argue that it is often more important that information be available quickly than that it be perfect. Consequently our nervous system processes different aspects of information about our surrounding as separately as possible. The separation is not between the senses, but between separate aspects of our surrounding. This results in inconsistencies between judgments: sometimes (...) because different frames of reference are used. Such inconsistencies are fundamental to the way the information is picked up, however, and hence cannot be avoided with clearer instructions to the subjects. (shrink)
This study develops a pedagogy for the teaching of ethical principles in information systems (IS) classes, and reports on an empirical study that supports the efficacy of the approach. The proposed pedagogy involves having management information systems professors lead questioning and discussion on a list of ethical issues as part of their existing IS courses. The rationale for this pedagogy involves (1) the maturational aspects of ethics, and (2) the importance of repetition, challenge, and practice in developing a personal set (...) of ethics. A study of IS ethics using a pre-post test design found that classes receiving such treatment significantly improved their performance on an IS ethics questionnaire. (shrink)
Quantifier variance is a well-known view in contemporary metaontology, but it remains very widely misunderstood by critics. Here we briefly and clearly explain the metasemantics of quantifier variance and distinguish between modest and strong forms of variance (Section I), explain some key applications (Section II), clear up some misunderstandings and address objections (Section III), and point the way toward future directions of quantifier-variance-related research (Section IV).