In this thorough compendium, nineteen accomplished scholars explore, in some manner the values they find inherent in the world, their nature, and revelence through the thought of Frederick FerrZ. These essays, informed by the insights of FerrZ and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
In this thorough compendium, nineteen accomplished scholars explore, in some manner the values they find inherent in the world, their nature, and revelence through the thought of Frederick Ferré. These essays, informed by the insights of Ferré and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
Generic sentences (e.g., bare plural sentences such as “dogs have four legs” and “mosquitoes carry malaria”) are used to talk about kinds of things. Three experiments investigated the conceptual foundations of generics as well as claims within the formal semantic approaches to generics concerning the roles of prevalence, cue validity and normalcy in licensing generics. Two classes of generic sentences that pose challenges to both the conceptually based and formal semantic approaches to generics were investigated. Striking property generics (e.g. “sharks (...) bite swimmers”) are true even though only a tiny minority of instances have the property and thus pose obvious problems for quantificational approaches, and they also do not seem to characterize kinds in terms of the principled or statistical connections investigated in previous research ( Prasada and Dillingham, 2006 ; Prasada and Dillingham, 2009). The second class — minority characteristic generics (e.g. “ducks lay eggs”) — also poses serious problems for quantificational accounts, and appears to involve principled connections even though fewer than half of its instances have the relevant property. The experiments revealed three principal discoveries: first, striking generics involve neither principled nor statistical connections. Instead, they involve a causal connection between a kind and a property. Second, minority characteristic generics exhibit the characteristics of principled connections, which suggests that principled connections license the expectation that most instances will have the property, but do not require it. Finally, the experiments also provided evidence that prevalence and the acceptability of generics may be dissociated and provided data that are problematic for normalcy approaches to generics, and for the idea that cue validity licenses low prevalence generics. As such, the studies provided evidence in favor of a conceptually based approach to the semantics of generics ( Leslie, 2007 ; Leslie, 2008; see also Carlson, 2009). (shrink)
Are we in imminent danger of extinction? Yes, we probably are, argues John Leslie in his chilling account of the dangers facing the human race as we approach the second millenium. The End of the World is a sobering assessment of the many disasters that scientists have predicted and speculated on as leading to apocalypse. In the first comprehensive survey, potential catastrophes - ranging from deadly diseases to high-energy physics experiments - are explored to help us understand the risks. (...) One of the greatest threats facing humankind, however, is the insurmountable fact that we are a relatively young species, a risk which is at the heart of the 'Doomsday Argument'. This argument, if correct, makes the dangers we face more serious than we could have ever imagined. This more than anything makes the arrogance and ignorance of politicians, and indeed philosophers, so disturbing as they continue to ignore the manifest dangers facing future generations. (shrink)
Carter’s anthropic principle reminds us that intelligent life can find itself only in life-permitting times, places or universes. The principle concerns a possible observational selection effect, not a designing deity. It has no special concern with humans, nor does it say that intelligent life is inevitable and common. Barrow and Tipler, who discuss all this, are not biologically ignorant. As argued in "Universes" (Leslie, 1989) they may well be right in thinking that "fine tuning" of force strengths and particle (...) masses, without which life would be impossible, proves the reality of God or else of multiple universes plus observational selection. (shrink)
Young children’s failures in reasoning about beliefs and desires, and especially about false beliefs, have been much studied. However, there are few accounts of successful belief-desire reasoning in older children or adults. An exception to this is a model in which belief attribution is treated as a process wherein an inhibitory system selects the most likely content for the belief to be attributed from amongst several competing contents [Leslie, A. M., & Polizzi, P. (1998). Developmental Science, 1, 247–254]. We (...) tested this model with an ‘avoidance false belief task’ in which subjects predict the behavior of a character, who wants to avoid an object but who is mistaken about which of three locations it is in. The task has two equally correct answers—in seeking to avoid the location where she mistakenly believes the object to be, the character might equally go to the location where the object actually is, or to the remaining empty location. However, the model predicts that subjects will prefer one of these answers, selecting the object’s actual location over the empty location. This bias was confirmed in a series of five experiments with children aged between 4 and 8 years of age. A sixth experiment ruled out two rival explanations for children’s biased responding. Two further experiments found the opposite bias in adults. These findings support one selection model as an account of belief-desire reasoning in children, and suggest that a different model is needed for adults. The process of selecting contents for mental state attributions shows a developmental shift between 8 years of age and adulthood. (shrink)
The cosmos exists just because of the ethical need for it We, and all the intricate structures of our universe, exist as thoughts in a divine mind that knows everything worth knowing. There could also be infinitely many other universes in this mind....It may be hard to believe that the universe is as Leslie says it is--but it is also hard to resist his compelling ideas and arguments.
The Sovereignty of Law presents Trevor Allan's most recent and fully elaborated defence of common law constitutionalism - an account of the unwritten or non-codified constitution as a complex articulation of legal and moral principles, defining what in the British context are the requirements of the rule of law. The British constitution is conceived as a coherent set of fundamental principles of the rule of law, legislative supremacy, and separation of powers. These principles.
This chapter distinguishes Just Peace from its closest ‘moral’ neighbours — a stable peace and positive peace. Drawing on both consequentialist and deontological considerations, Allan develops an international ethical scale to evaluate different acts from a moral standpoint, with different levels of conflict as the baseline of ethical behavior. The more extreme the discord, the worse it is considered on the scale; the more harmonious, the better. Arguing that absolute unhappiness and absolute happiness are not of this world, (...) class='Hi'>Allan presents eight intermediary moral situations, each being superseded by the next one in ethical terms: genocide, war, non-war, Just War, stable peace, Just Peace, positive peace, and Global Care. He develops an ethic of ‘global care’ based on feminist theories of care, religious and secular declarations on a global ethic, evolutionary theory arguments, and a critique of a liberal human rights approach. (shrink)
In this concluding chapter, Allan and Keller posit that Just Peace should be defined as a process resting on four necessary and sufficient conditions: thin recognition whereby the other is accepted as autonomous; thick recognition whereby identities need to be accounted for; renouncement, requiring significant sacrifices from all parties; and rule, the objectification of a Just Peace by a ‘text’ requiring a common language respecting the identities of each, and defining their rights and duties. This approach, based on a (...) language-oriented process amongst directly concerned parties, goes beyond liberal and culturalist perspectives. By moving beyond the idea of a peace founded on norms claiming universal scope, each side of a conflict has a place at the negotiating table to present their own perspective on what justice might entail. This inclusion into the decision-making process helps create the feeling of personal investment in the final negotiated product. In addition, negotiators need to work towards building a novel shared reality as well as a new common language to help foster an enduring harmony between previously clashing peoples. (shrink)
This essay responds to Lewis Ford’s “Allan’s Atheism,” in which he assesses a recent essay of mine that finds God an unnecessary and indeed coherence-destroying addition to Process and Reality. I clarify my position by showing how Whitehead’s notions of physical purpose and aesthetic determination adequately account for the novelty required for an actual occasion’s concrescence and for increases in achieved value. I then criticize Ford’s claim that genuine novelties must have a divine origin and that in Adventures of (...) Ideas the Eros of the Universe refers to God. (shrink)
This book argues that Whitehead’s introduction of God into his process metaphysics renders it incoherent. Replacing roles assigned to God with the powers inherent in finite entities, George Allan recovers a coherent presentation of the truth of time’s primacy, using Whitehead’s major writings.
Ducks lay eggs' is a true sentence, and `ducks are female' is a false one. Similarly, `mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus' is obviously true, whereas `mosquitoes don't carry the West Nile virus' is patently false. This is so despite the egg-laying ducks' being a subset of the female ones and despite the number of mosquitoes that don't carry the virus being ninety-nine times the number that do. Puzzling facts such as these have made generic sentences defy adequate semantic treatment. (...) However complex the truth conditions of generics appear to be, though, young children grasp generics more quickly and readily than seemingly simpler quantifiers such as `all' and `some'. I present an account of generics that not only illuminates the strange truth conditions of generics, but also explains how young children find them so comparatively easy to acquire. I then argue that generics give voice to our most cognitively primitive generalizations and that this hypothesis accounts for a variety of facts ranging from acquisition patterns to cross-linguistic data concerning the phonological articulation of operators. I go on to develop an account of the nature of these cognitively fundamental generalizations and argue that this account explains the strange truth-conditional behavior of generics. (shrink)
Psychologists and philosophers have recently been exploring whether the mechanisms which underlie the acquisition of ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) are best charac- terized as cognitive modules or as developing theories. In this paper, we attempt to clarify what a modular account of ToM entails, and why it is an attractive type of explanation. Intuitions and arguments in this debate often turn on the role of develop- ment: traditional research on ToM focuses on various developmental sequences, whereas cognitive modules are thought (...) to be static and ‘anti-developmental’. We suggest that this mistaken view relies on an overly limited notion of modularity, and we explore how ToM might be grounded in a cognitive module and yet still afford development. Modules must ‘come on-line’, and even fully developed modules may still develop internally, based on their constrained input. We make these points con- crete by focusing on a recent proposal to capture the development of ToM in a module via parameterization. (shrink)
The debate over off-line simulation has largely focussed on the capacity to predict behavior, but the basic idea of off-line simulation can be cast in a much broader framework. The central claim of the off-line account of behavior prediction is that the practical reasoning mechanism is taken off-line and used for predicting behavior. However, there's no reason to suppose that the idea of off-line simulation can't be extended to mechanisms other than the practical reasoning system. In principle, any cognitive component (...) can be taken off-line and used to perform some other function. On this view of off-line simulation, such accounts differ radically from traditional information-based accounts of cognitive capacities. And cognitive penetrability provides a wedge for empirically determining whether a capacity requires an information-based account or an off-line simulation account. Stich and Nichols (1992) argued that the simulation theory of behavior prediction was inadequate because behavior prediction seemed to be cognitively penetrable. We present empirical evidence that supports the claim that the behavior prediction is cognitively penetrable. As a result, the simulation account of behavior prediction still seems unpromising. However, off-line simulation might provide accounts of other cognitive capacities. Indeed, off- line simulation accounts have recently been offered for a strikingly diverse set of capacities including counterfactual reasoning, empathy and mental imagery. Goldman, for instance, maintains that counterfactual reasoning and empathy clearly demand off-line simulation accounts. We argue that there are alternative information-based explanations of these phenomena. Nonetheless, the off-line accounts of these phenomena are interesting and clearly worthy of further exploration. (shrink)
Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — three eminent thinkers, having little or no need for more money in their purses, and nothing particular to interest them in the law reviews and philosophy journals, set out to meet and discuss legal philosophy in a literary part of the world. It is a way these three have of driving off ennui and formulating the next publication. Whenever they find themselves growing stale about the pen; whenever it is adamp, (...) drizzly November in London; whenever they find themselves involuntarily churning out conference papers and bringing up the rear of every symposium on offer; and especially whenever they find their critics getting such an upper hand on them, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent them from deliberately sitting down and methodically knocking off a paper excoriating every stranger they have met — then, they account it high time to gettogether as soon as they can. (shrink)
The growing interest in ethics and ethical behavior has not manifested itself in an ethical analysis of television programming beyond a journalism context. This study examines one social/ethical issue - lying in prime time network television situation comedies. Results show sitcom characters who lie are motivated primarily by self-interest. This egoistic approach raises questions of ethical maturity and provides a model of behavior that may have negative implications for society.