What happens when an entire group of human beings is excluded from the definition of humanity? How is the power of language used to distort reality? What happens when a comprehensive economic plan is based on theft, brainwashing, slave labor, and murder? These and other philosophical questions about the Holocaust are contemplated in Contemporary Portraits of Auschwitz. In 1988, a group of philosophers who had survived the Holocaust, or had known people at the Auschwitz death camp, decided to found an (...) organization that would examine the philosophical implications of Shoah: the Society for the Philosophic Study of Genocide and the Holocaust. Noting that the history and the personal horror stories had been told and retold, SPSGH's founders Sander Lee, Berel Lang, and Alan Rosenberg argued that too little study had been so far devoted to the philosophy of Hitler's final solution and other genocides. Auschwitz problematized the Enlightenment concept of humanity, and other concepts. The perfection of state-sponsored and -administered mass death issued in new forms of language, moral indifference, and forgetting. Philosophy often even fails to mention the Holocaust in discussions of National Socialism. And the disaster of Auschwitz has been largely neutralized by the normalization of a "ruined" language. This volume includes essays in several areas: Witnesses and Testimonies; Morality and Ethics; Art and Poetry; History and Memory; and The Crisis of Representation. Contributors are Karyn Ball, Eve Bannet, Debra Bergoffen, James Bernauer, Klaus Dorner, Jennifer N. Fink, Roger Fjellstrom, Ruth Liberman, Burkhard Liebsch, Alan Milchman, Raj Sampath, Paul Sars, Hans Seigfried, Thomas W. Simon, Dan Stone, Peter Strasser, Frans van Peperstratten, Erik M. Vogt, Andrew Weinstein, and others. (shrink)
Modern cognitive psychology presents itself as the revolutionary alternative to behaviorism, yet there are blatant continuities between modern cognitivism and the mechanistic kind of behaviorism that cognitivists have in mind, such as their commitment to methodological behaviorism, the stimulus–response schema, and the hypothetico-deductive method. Both mechanistic behaviorism and cognitive behaviorism remain trapped within the dualisms created by the traditional ontology of physical science—dualisms that, one way or another, exclude us from the "physical world." Darwinian theory, however, put us back into (...) nature. The Darwinian emphasis upon the mutuality of animal and environment was further developed by, among others, James, Dewey, and Mead. Although their functionalist approach to psychology was overtaken by Watson 's behaviorism, the principle of animal–environment dualism continued to figure within the work of Skinner and Gibson. For the clearest insights into the mutuality of organism and environment we need to set the clock back quite a few years and return to the work of Darwin and the early functionalist psychologists. (shrink)
This review essay provides a critical discussion of Linda Zagzebski’s Exemplarist Moral Theory. We agree that emt is a book of impressive scope that will be of interest to ethical theorists, as well as epistemologists, philosophers of language, and philosophers of religion. Throughout the critical discussion we argue that exemplarism faces a number of important challenges, firstly, in dealing with the fallibility of admiration, which plays a central role in the theoretical framework, and secondly, in serving as a practical guide (...) for moral development. Despite this, we maintain that emt points the way for significant future theoretical and empirical research into some of the most well-established questions in ethical theory. (shrink)
Central to any understanding of archaic Roman criminal law is the trial, as recorded by Livy, of Horatius for killing his sister. It is not just that the case raises so many legal issues; the jurisdiction of the father and of the king, the institution of a separate state procedure with two judges , the right of appeal to the people, the scope of the crime of perduellio and of parricidium, murder, and the use of sacral punishment. But also, on (...) the ability to determine how accurate for the period of King Tullus Hostilius is this account of law and legal procedure will depend our wider appreciation of the reliability of the sources. It must be admitted that almost all modern scholars regard Livy's account as quite untrustworthy. (shrink)
According to the majority of the textbooks, the history of modern, scientific psychology can be tidily encapsulated in the following three stages. Scientific psychology began with a commitment to the study of mind, but based on the method of introspection. Watson rejected introspectionism as both unreliable and effete, and redefined psychology, instead, as the science of behaviour. The cognitive revolution, in turn, replaced the mind as the subject of study, and rejected both behaviourism and a reliance on introspection. This (...) paper argues that all three stages of this history are largely mythical. Introspectionism was never a dominant movement within modern psychology, and the method of introspection never went away. Furthermore, this version of psychology’s history obscures some deep conceptual problems, not least surrounding the modern conception of “behaviour,” that continues to make the scientific study of consciousness seem so weird. (shrink)
When Keats identified truth and beauty, he surely intended mere extensionality. I myself have never had much trouble with either half of the equivalence. Others have considerable difficulty. A case in point is the Watson-Allaire-Cummins interpretation of Berkeley's idealism, which I shall refer to henceforth as the inherence account. That account is put forward to answer an extremely perplexing question in the history of philosophy: Why did Berkeley embrace idealism, i.e., why did he hold that esse est percipi, that (...) to be is to be perceived, indeed that what is perceived must be perceived in order to exist? In essence, the IA answers these questions very simply and elegantly: perceived qualities are, for Berkeley, qualities of the mind in the same sense that, in the tradition of substance metaphysics, blue is a quality of a blue flower; just as the blue of the flower is inseparable from it, so the perceived blue is inseparable from the mind that perceives it. (shrink)
Abstract Philosophical discussion of Alan Turing’s writings on intelligence has mostly revolved around a single point made in a paper published in the journal Mind in 1950. This is unfortunate, for Turing’s reflections on machine (artificial) intelligence, human intelligence, and the relation between them were more extensive and sophisticated. They are seen to be extremely well-considered and sound in retrospect. Recently, IBM developed a question-answering computer (Watson) that could compete against humans on the game show Jeopardy! There are (...) hopes it can be adapted to other contexts besides that game show, in the role of a collaborator of, rather than a competitor to, humans. Another, different, research project --- an artificial intelligence program put into operation in 2010 --- is the machine learning program NELL (Never Ending Language Learning), which continuously ‘learns’ by ‘reading’ massive amounts of material on millions of web pages. Both of these recent endeavors in artificial intelligence rely to some extent on the integration of human guidance and feedback at various points in the machine’s learning process. In this paper, I examine Turing’s remarks on the development of intelligence used in various kinds of search, in light of the experience gained to date on these projects. (shrink)
An explanation is given of why it is in the nature of inquiry into whether or not p that its aim is fully achieved only if one comes to know that p or to know that not-p and, further, comes to know how one knows, either way. In the absence of the latter one is in no position to take the inquiry to be successfully completed or to vouch for the truth of the matter in hand. An upshot is that (...) although knowledge matters because truth matters this should not be understood to mean that knowledge matters because true belief matters. (shrink)
Reviewed Works:Murray G. Bell, J. Streprans, S. Watson, Spaces of Ideals of Partial Functions.Alan Dow, Compact Spaces of Countable Tightness in the Cohen Model.Peter J. Nyikos, Classes of Compact Sequential Spaces.Franklin D. Tall, Topological Problems for Set-Theorists.
A school of idealism: meditatio laici, by J. Cappon.--Beati possidentes, by R. M. Wenley.--Moral validity: a study in Platonism, by R. C. Lodge.--Plato and the poet's eidōla, by A. S. Ferguson.--Some reflections on Aristotle's theory of tragedy, by G. S. Brett.--The function of the phantasm in St. Thomas Aquinas, by H. Carr.--The development of the psychology of Maine de Biran, by N. J. Symons.--A plea for eclecticism, by H. W. Wright.--Some present-day tendencies in philosophy, by J. M. MacEachran.--Evolution and personality, (...) J. G. Hume.--Emergent realism, by J. Muirhead.--Bibliography of publications by Dr. John Watson (p. 343-346). (shrink)
[Alan Weir] This paper addresses the problem of how to account for objective content-for the distinction between how we actually apply terms and the conditions in which we ought to apply them-from within a naturalistic framework. Though behaviourist or dispositionalist approaches are generally held to be unsuccessful in naturalising objective content or 'normativity', I attempt to restore the credibility of such approaches by sketching a behaviouristic programme for explicating objective content. /// [Alexander Miller] Paul Boghossian (1989, 1990) has argued, (...) on grounds concerning the holistic nature of belief fixation, that there are principled reasons for thinking that 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism about content cannot hope to satisfy a condition of extensional accuracy. I discern three separable strands of argument in Boghossian's work-the circularity objection, the open-endedness objection, and the certification objection-and argue that each of these objections fails. My conclusion is that for all that Boghossian has shown, 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
Eighteen obituaries of recently deceased Fellows of the British Academy: John Ackrill; Maurice Beresford; Malcolm Bowie; Peter Brunt; Norman Cohn; John Crook; Robert Davies; David Foxon; Terence Hutchison; Philip Jones; Michael Levey; John Macquarrie; Charles Moule; Anthony Nuttall; Alan Raitt; Joseph Trapp; William Watson; Bryan Wilson.
As a preliminary to the justification of equal opportunity, we require a few words on the concept. An opportunity is a chance to attain some goal or obtain some benefit. More precisely, it is the lack of some obstacle or obstacles to the attainment of some goal or benefit. Opportunities are equal in some specified or understood sense when persons face roughly the same obstacles or obstacles of roughly the same difficulty of some specified or understood sort. In different contexts (...) we might have different sorts of benefits or obstacles in mind. But in the current social context, and in the context of this discussion, we refer to educational and occupational opportunities, chances to attain the benefits of higher education and of socially and economically desirable positions, benefits assumed to be desired by many or most individuals, other things being equal. And we generally divide obstacles into two broad classes: those imposed by the social system or by other persons in the society, for example, the hardships of life in the lower economic classes or barriers from prejudices based on race, sex, or ethnic background; and those imposed by natural disabilities, for example, low intelligence or lack of talents. The initial question is whether a moral society is obligated to create equality in opportunities in the senses just defined. I shall assume here initially that there is some such obligation on the part of society or the state, although I shall specify its nature and limits more precisely below. With the exception of certain libertarians, almost everyone, liberal and conservative alike, agrees in this assumption. (shrink)
Alan Bailey offers a clear and vigorous exposition and defence of the philosophy of Sextus Empiricus, one of the most influential of ancient thinkers, the father of philosophical scepticism. The subsequent sceptical tradition in philosophy has not done justice to Sextus: his views stand up today as remarkably insightful, offering a fruitful way to approach issues of knowledge, understanding, belief, and rationality. Bailey's refreshing presentation of Sextus to a modern philosophical readership rescues scepticism from the sceptics.
Economic approaches to both social evaluation and decision-making are typically Paretian or utilitarian in nature and so display commitments to both welfarism and consequentialism. The contrast between the economic approach and any rights-based social philosophy has spawned a large literature that may be divided into two branches. The first is concerned with the compatibility of rights and utilitarianism seen as independent moral forces. This branch of the literature may be characterized as an example of the broader debate between the teleological (...) and deontological approaches. The second is concerned with the possibility that substantial rights may be grounded in utilitarianism with the moral force of rights being derived from more basic commitments to welfarism and consequentialism. This branch of the literature may be characterized as an exploration of the flexibility of the teleological approach, and, in particular, its ability to give rise to views more normally associated with the deontological approach. This essay is concerned with the second branch of the literature. (shrink)
Since the 1970s Gary Watson has published a series of brilliant and highly influential essays on human action, examining such questions as: in what ways are we free and not free, rational and irrational, responsible or not for what we do? Moral philosophers and philosophers of action will welcome this collection, representing one of the most important bodies of work in the field.
Artificial intelligence has historically been conceptualized in anthropomorphic terms. Some algorithms deploy biomimetic designs in a deliberate attempt to effect a sort of digital isomorphism of the human brain. Others leverage more general learning strategies that happen to coincide with popular theories of cognitive science and social epistemology. In this paper, I challenge the anthropomorphic credentials of the neural network algorithm, whose similarities to human cognition I argue are vastly overstated and narrowly construed. I submit that three alternative supervised learning (...) methods—namely lasso penalties, bagging, and boosting—offer subtler, more interesting analogies to human reasoning as both an individual and a social phenomenon. Despite the temptation to fall back on anthropomorphic tropes when discussing AI, however, I conclude that such rhetoric is at best misleading and at worst downright dangerous. The impulse to humanize algorithms is an obstacle to properly conceptualizing the ethical challenges posed by emerging technologies. (shrink)
This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet according to Turing, there was no upper bound to the number of mathematical truths provable by intelligent human beings, for they could invent new rules and methods of proof. So, the output of a human mathematician, (...) for Turing, was not a computable sequence (i.e., one that could be generated by a Turing machine). Since computers only contained a finite number of instructions (or programs), one might argue, they could not reproduce human intelligence. Turing called this the “mathematical objection” to his view that machines can think. Logico-mathematical reasons, stemming from his own work, helped to convince Turing that it should be possible to reproduce human intelligence, and eventually compete with it, by developing the appropriate kind of digital computer. He felt it should be possible to program a computer so that it could learn or discover new rules, overcoming the limitations imposed by the incompleteness and undecidability results in the same way that human mathematicians presumably do. (shrink)
While acknowledging its theory-ladeness, Chalmers (history and philosophy, U. of Sydney) defends the objectivity of scientific knowledge against those critics for whom such knowledge is both subjective and ideological.
In this essay I wish to defend the intuition that God transcends time, of which he is the Creator. To do this, I will develop a new understanding of the term ‘timeless eternity’ as it applies to God. This assumes the inadequacy of the traditional notion of divine eternity, as it is found in Boethius, Anselm and Aquinas. Very briefly, the reasons for this inadequacy are as follows. God sustains the universe, which means in part that he is responsible for (...) the fundamental ontological status of things. Because the universe is an everchanging reality, things do change in their fundamental ontological status at different times – a change we must ascribe to God, and cannot ascribe to the objects themselves, since this has to do with their very existence. God himself, therefore, does different things at different times. This implies change in God. Whenever a change occurs, a duration occurs. Therefore, God is in time. But I do not think it is proper to say that God is in our time. God transcends time, and he is the Creator of our space-time. It is theologically more proper to say that we are in God's time, and I will adopt this language here. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch on (...) consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
A dozen papers by internationally known scholars explore questions largely unthinkable without Richard Watson's classic Downfall of Cartesianism: Descartes in Holland, Descartes and Simon Foucher, and issues raised by Descartes for philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, translation and toleration.
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