‘What it is like’ talk (‘WIL-talk’) — the use of phrases such as ‘what it is like’ — is ubiquitous in discussions of phenomenal consciousness. It is used to define, make claims about, and to offer arguments concerning consciousness. But what this talk means is unclear, as is how it means what it does: how, by putting these words in this order, we communicate something about consciousness. Without a good account of WIL-talk, we cannot be sure this talk sheds light, (...) rather than casts shadows, on our investigations of consciousness. The popular technical account of WIL-talk (see e.g. Lewis, 1995, and Kim, 1998) holds that WIL-talk involves technical terms — terms which look like everyday words but have a distinct meaning — introduced by philosophers. I argue that this account is incorrect by showing that the alleged technical terms were not introduced by philosophers, and that these terms do not have a technical meaning. (shrink)
Ambitious higher-order theories of consciousness aim to account for conscious states when these are understood in terms of what-it-is-like-ness. This paper considers two arguments concerning this aim, and concludes that ambitious theories fail. The misrepresentation argument against HO theories aims to show that the possibility of radical misrepresentation—there being a HO state about a state the subject is not in—leads to a contradiction. In contrast, the awareness argument aims to bolster HO theories by showing that subjects are aware of all (...) their conscious states. Both arguments hinge on how we understand two related notions which are ubiquitous in discussions of consciousness: those of what-it-is-like-ness and there being something it is like for a subject to be in a mental state. This paper examines how HO theorists must understand the two crucial notions if they are to reject the misrepresentation argument but assert the awareness argument. It shows that HO theorists can and do adopt an understanding—the HO reading—which seems to give them what they want. But adopting the HO reading changes the two arguments. On this reading, the awareness argument tells us nothing about those states there is something it is like to be in, and so offers no support to ambitious HO theories. And to respond to the misrepresentation understood according to the HO reading is to simply ignore the argument presented, and so to give no response at all. As things stand, we should deny that HO theories can account for what-it-is-like-ness. (shrink)
Aesthetic definitions of art face difficulties in dealing with art that is nonaesthetic. This has led some to suggest that if aesthetic theories of art are to apply to all art, then they must be disjunctive. In such a case, something would be art if and only if it either satisfied certain aesthetic criteria, or satisfied other, nonaesthetic, criteria.Nick Zangwill offers the Aesthetic Creation Theory. He considers ways that his theory could account for nonaesthetic art, and ultimately adopts a disjunctive (...) theory that makes use of the notion of second-order art—art that gains art status by referring to first-order art that satisfies the Aesthetic Creation Theory’s conditions.I will examine Zangwill’s theory and his response to the problem of nonaesthetic art with the aim of showing that the idea of second-order art may be unnecessary. There is hope for a non-disjunctive account of the nature of art, I claim, if we reconsider the attempts to deal with nonaesthetic art that Zangwill himself rejects. (shrink)
There are many differences between the theories of Bentham and StuartMili specially in the ways in which both characterize the concept of pleasure.The concept, in turn, obviously has great influence on the utilitarian calculus. I am concemed in this paper with the issue of which of the two versions is most compatible with the liberal doctrine. In the procesa of establishing the compatibility of both versions with the liberal doctrine serious difficulties cannot be avoided, but this difficulties can be resolved (...) easily in Bentham's theory. This conclusion has been disputed from many quarters. Ronald Dworkin has raised objections to Bentham's theory from the point of view of liberalism while Jonathan Riley has attempted at building a liberal utilitarianism based-precisely- on Mill's theory. I set out to demostrate that Dworkin's objection may be overcome and I introduce, with purpose in mind, the concept of voluntarily accepted extemal reasons. 1 also believe that Riley's intent is doomed to fail, because it introduces elements of perfectionism and patemalism into the theory. (shrink)
Farrell, B. A. The criteria for a psycho-analytic interpretation.--Gardiner, P. Error, faith, and self-deception.--Cohen, G. A. Beliefs and roles.--Deutsch, J. A. The structural basis of behaviour.--Hampshire, S. Feeling and expression.--Putnam, H. The mental life of some machines.--Davidson, D. Psychology as philosophy.--Nagel, T. Brain bisection and the unity of consciousness.--Williams, B. The self and the future.--Parfit, D. Personal identity.
It is extraordinary, when one thinks about it, how little attention has been paid by theorists of the nature and justification of punishment to the idea that punishment is essentially a matter of self-defense. H. L. A. Hart, for example, in his famous “Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment,” is clearly committed to the view that, at bottom, there are just three directions in which a plausible theory of punishment can go: we can try to justify punishment on purely consequentialist (...) grounds, which for Hart, I think, would be to try to construct a purely utilitarian justification of punishment; we can try to justify punishment on purely retributive grounds; or we can try to justify punishment on grounds that are some sort of shrewd combination of consequentialist and retributive considerations. Entirely absent from Hart's discussion is any consideration of the possibility that punishment might be neither a matter of maximizing the good, nor of exacting retribution for a wrongful act, nor of some imaginative combination of these things, but, rather, of something altogether different from either of them: namely, the exercise of a fundamental right of self-protection. Similarly, but much more recently, R. A. Duff, despite the fact that he himself introduces and defends an extremely interesting fourth possibility, begins his discussion by writing as though, apart from his contribution, there are available to us essentially just the options previously sketched by Hart. Again, there is no mention here, any more than in Hart's or any number of other recent discussions, of the possibility that we might be able to justify the institution of punishment on grounds that are indeed forward-looking, to use Hart's famous term, but that are not at all consequentialist in any ordinary sense of the word. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill argued, in his Principles of Political Economy, that existing laws and customs of private property ought to be reformed to promote a far more egalitarian form of capitalism than hitherto observed anywhere. He went on to suggest that such an ideal capitalism might evolve spontaneously into a decentralized socialism involving a market system of competing worker co-operatives. That possibility of market socialism emerged only as the working classes gradually developed the intellectual and moral qualities required for worker (...) co-operatives to succeed against private firms. Workers would tend to reject the hierarchical wage relation as they developed the requisite personal qualities, he believed, and capitalists, facing escalating wages for skilled labour as a result of the diminishing supply of high-quality workers for hire, would tend to lend their capital to the worker co-operatives ‘at a diminishing rate of interest, and at last, perhaps, even to exchange their capital for terminable annuities. In this or some such mode’, he speculated, ‘the existing accumulations of capital might honestly, and by a kind of spontaneous process, become in the end the joint property of all who participate in their productive employment: a transformation which, thus effected, would be the nearest approach to social justice, and the most beneficial ordering of industrial affairs for the universal good, which it is possible at present to foresee.’. (shrink)
Arrhenius and Rabinowicz have argued that Millian qualitative superiorities are possible without assuming that any pleasure, or type of pleasure, is infinitely superior to another. But AR's analysis is fatally flawed in the context of ethical hedonism, where the assumption in question is necessary and sufficient for Millian qualitative superiorities. Marginalist analysis of the sort pressed by AR continues to have a valid role to play within any plausible version of hedonism, provided the fundamental incoherence that infects AR's use of (...) such analysis is removed. But what AR call ‘Millian superiorities’ are never genuine qualitative superiorities in Mill's sense. Mill scholars need to appreciate this point and recognize that the interpretation of qualitative superiorities as infinite superiorities is the only interpretation which is compatible with the text of Mill's Utilitarianism. The continuing failure to appreciate the possibility of infinite superiorities has precluded any adequate understanding of the extraordinary structure of Mill's pluralistic hedonistic utilitarianism. (shrink)
Alan Millar's paper (2011) involves two parts, which I address in order, first taking up the issues concerning the goal of inquiry, and then the issues surrounding the appeal to reflective knowledge. I argue that the upshot of the considerations Millar raises count in favour of a more important role in value-driven epistemology for the notion of understanding and for the notion of epistemic justification, rather than for the notions of knowledge and reflective knowledge.
"Clare O'Farrell is to be congratulated on producing a truly magnificent book on the work of Michel Foucault. There are details, insights and observations that will engage the specialist and there is an extensive documentation of Foucault's output. If there is a more comprehensive book on Foucault's work I have yet to see it. I anticipate those teaching and taking courses on Foucault's work will find Clare O'Farrell's book to be an invaluable resource'" - Barry Smart, University of (...) Portsmouth "Dr. Clare O'Farrell has written a marvelous introduction to this Foucault for that ever growing number of readers who are working in what has come to be designated as cultural studies. This volume captures the penetrating interdisciplinary concerns that have made Foucault a guide to so many beyond the frontiers of philosophy and history, beyond the borders of the academic community itself. O'Farrell is an excellent guide to Foucault's exploration of culture, highlighting, as she does, the characteristic insights of his learning: the instability of cultural forms of order, the subversive potential of historical analyses, the variety of true discourses within history, and his commitment to social justice. O'Farrell reveals Foucault as he is: the engaged moralist who survived the twentieth century's systems of total explanation. This is an excellent introduction for the general reader to a passionate mind that continues to spread its influence'" - James Bernauer, Boston College Michel Foucault's work is one of the most influential sources of ideas in the humanities and social sciences today. Clare O'Farrell offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to Foucault's enormous, diverse and challenging output. Her book provides a range of practical tools and a reference work for readers who wish to understand and apply his ideas at both introductory and advanced levels. This volume includes: - a discussion of Foucault's situation in the contemporary context exploring his role as an iconic thinker, with clear explanations as to why his work is so difficult to come to grips with, and also importantly, why it is of interest to so many people. - the location of Foucault's work within its own historical, social and political setting. - brief summaries in chronological order of all of Foucault's major works, including the more recently published volumes of lectures. - the organization of Foucault's work around five distinct but interrelated series of assumptions which underpin his world view: namely order, history, truth, power and ethics. Ideas for which he is well-known, such as archaeology, genealogy, discourse, discipline, governmentality, the subject and others are defined and discussed within the framework of these five assumptions. - a chronology of Foucault's life, work and times. - a very extensive list of key concepts in Foucault's work with detailed references pointing to where the relevant material can be found in his writings. - a wide-ranging list of resources and a bibliography of Foucault's work for easy consultation. (shrink)
Jonathan Dancy works within almost all fields of philosophy but is best known as the leading proponent of moral particularism. Particularism challenges “traditional” moral theories, such as Contractualism, Kantianism and Utilitarianism, in that it denies that moral thought and judgement relies upon, or is made possible by, a set of more or less well-defined, hierarchical principles. During the summer of 2006, the Philosophy Departments of Lund University (Sweden) and the University of Reading (England) began a series of exchanges to (...) take place every other year, alternating between the departments. Andreas Lind and Johan Brännmark arranged to meet Dancy during the first meeting in Lund to talk about questions regarding particularism, moral theory and the shape of the analytical tradition. The major part of the conversation is printed below. (shrink)
I continue my argument that Millian qualitative superiorities are infinite superiorities: one pleasant feeling, or type of pleasant feeling, is qualitatively superior to another in Mill's sense if and only if even a bit of the superior is more pleasant than any finite quantity of the inferior, however large. This gives rise to a hierarchy of higher and lower pleasures such that a reasonable hedonist always refuses to sacrifice a higher for a lower irrespective of the finite amounts of each. (...) Some indication of why this absolute refusal may be reasonable is provided in the course of outlining the content of the Millian hierarchy. It emerges that Mill's hedonistic utilitarianism has an extraordinary structure because it gives absolute priority over competing considerations to a code of justice that distributes equal rights and correlative duties for all. His utilitarianism also recognizes that certain aesthetic and spiritual pleasures may be qualitatively superior even to the pleasant feeling of security associated with the moral sentiment of justice. Thus, for instance, a noble individual may reasonably choose to waive his own rights so as to perform beautiful supererogatory actions that provide great benefits for others at the sacrifice of the right-holder's own vital interests. (shrink)
I shall attempt something rash in this paper. I shall draw your attention to some past and current work on perception by psychologists and others. I shall concentrate on work in vision and hearing. This outline will occupy the first part of my lecture. I shall then go on, in the second part, to suggest that this scientific work has certain philosophical implications. This whole attempt is a bit rash for obvious reasons. It is not easy to outline fairly and (...) accurately past and current work in any branch of science. I am very liable, therefore, to do an injustice to the efforts of psychologists and others in this field. What makes matters more difficult for me is that I also have to show that this work is of philosophical interest. What has led me to embark on this perilous enterprise is a hunch I have developed in recent years. I have the hunch that philosophers who are interested in perception would do well to pay rather more attention than they have been wont to do in the past to the work and discourse coming out of the scientific laboratory and similar places. (shrink)
On the now dominant Quinean view, metaphysics is about what there is. Metaphysics so conceived is concerned with such questions as whether properties exist, whether meanings exist, and whether numbers exist. I will argue for the revival of a more traditional Aristotelian view, on which metaphysics is about what grounds what. Metaphysics so revived does not bother asking whether properties, meanings, and numbers exist (of course they do!) The question is whether or not they are fundamental.
The dominant approach to environmental policy endorsed by conservative and libertarian policy thinkers, so-called “free market environmentalism”, is grounded in the recognition and protection of property rights in environmental resources. Despite this normative commitment to property rights, most self-described FME advocates adopt a utilitarian, welfare-maximization approach to climate change policy, arguing that the costs of mitigation measures could outweigh the costs of climate change itself. Yet even if anthropogenic climate change is decidedly less than catastrophic, human-induced climate change is likely (...) to contribute to environmental changes that violate traditional conceptions of property rights. Viewed globally, the actions of some countries—primarily industrialized nations—are likely to increase environmental harms suffered by other countries—less developed nations that have not made any significant contribution to climate change. It may well be that aggregate human welfare would be maximized in a warmer, wealthier world, or that the gains from climate change will offset environmental losses. Yet such claims, even if demonstrated, would not address the normative concern that the consequences of anthropogenic global warming would infringe upon the rights of people in less-developed nations. As a consequence, this paper calls for a rethinking of FME approaches to climate change policy. (shrink)
Robert Nola has argued that anti-rationalist interpretations of science fail to adequately explain the process of science, since objective reasons can be causal factors in belief formation. While I agree with Nola that objective reasons can be a cause of belief, in this paper I present a version of the strong programme in the sociology of knowledge, the Interests Thesis, and argue that the Interests Thesis provides a plausible explanation of an episode in the history of ape-language research. Specifically, I (...) examine Terrace, Petitto, Sandess, & Bever illegitimate comparison of the signing of their chimpanzee, Nim, with data from human early childhood language development, and argue that Terrace et al.’s interests played a causal role in determining their sceptical beliefs concerning ape linguistic abilities. However, I go on to argue that Terrace et al.’s interests are not the only causal factors in determining their beliefs: objective reasons, associated with the institution of new methodologies, were also causally determinative of Terrace et al.’s sceptical beliefs. Consequently, I argue that belief formation in science is a multi-factorial affair wherein both interests and objective reasons have causal roles. I finish the paper with two conjectures concerning the proper locus of scientific rationality. (shrink)
In my Practical Reality I argued that the reasons for which we act are not to be conceived of as psychological states of ourselves, but as real states of the world. The main reason for saying this was that only thus can we make sense of the idea that it is possible to act for a good reason. The good reasons we have for doing this action rather than that one consist mainly of features of the situations in which we (...) find ourselves; they do not consist in our believing certain things about those situations. For instance, the reason for my helping that person is that she is in trouble and I am the only person around. It is not that I believe both that she is in trouble and that I am the only person around. Give that the reason to help is that she is in trouble etc., it must be possible for my reason for helping to be just that, if it is indeed possible for one to act for a good reason. In fact, this sort of thing must be the normal arrangement. The reasons why we act, therefore, that is, our reasons for doing what we do, are not standardly to be conceived as states of ourselves, but as features of our situations. (shrink)
Rhetoric is widely regarded by both its detractors and advocates as a kind of antithesis to reason. In this book Thomas B. Farrell restores rhetoric as an art of practical reason and enlightened civic participation, grounding it in its classical tradition—particularly in the rhetoric of Aristotle. And, because prevailing modernist world views bear principal responsibility for the disparagement of rhetorical tradition, Farrell also offers a critique of the dominant currents of modern humanist thought. Farrell argues that rhetoric (...) is not antithetical to reason but is a manner of posing and answering questions that is distinct from the approaches of analytic and dialectical reason. He develops this position in a number of ways: through a series of bold reinterpretations of Aristotle's _Rhetoric_; through a detailed appraisal of traditional rhetorical concepts as seen in modern texts from the Army-McCarthy hearings to Edward Kennedy's memorial for his brother, Mario Cuomo's address on abortion, Betty Friedan's _Feminine Mystique_, and Vaclav Havel's inaugural address; and through a fresh appraisal of theories on the character of language and discourse found in contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, anthropology, deconstructionism, Marxism, and especially in Habermas's critical theory of communicative action. (shrink)
: The purpose of this paper and its sister paper (Farrell and Hooker, b) is to present, evaluate and elaborate a proposed new model for the process of scientific development: self-directed anticipative learning (SDAL). The vehicle for its evaluation is a new analysis of a well-known historical episode: the development of ape-language research. In this first paper we outline five prominent features of SDAL that will need to be realized in applying SDAL to science: 1) interactive exploration of possibility (...) space; 2) self-directedness; 3) localization of success and error; 4) Synergistic increase in learning capacity; and 5) continuity of SDAL process across scientific change. In this paper we examine the first three features of SDAL in relation to the early history of ape-language research. We show that this history is readily explicated as a self-directed, ever-finer, delineation of possibility space that enables the localization of both success and error. Paper II examines the last two features against this history. (shrink)
In this paper we propose to argue for two claims. The first is that a sizeable group of epistemological projects – a group which includes much of what has been done in epistemology in the analytic tradition – would be seriously undermined if one or more of a cluster of empirical hypotheses about epistemic intuitions turns out to be true. The basis for this claim will be set out in Section 2. The second claim is that, while the jury is (...) still out, there is now a substantial body of evidence suggesting that some of those empirical hypotheses are true. Much of this evidence derives from an ongoing series of experimental studies of epistemic intuitions that we have been conducting. A preliminary report on these studies will be presented in Section 3. In light of these studies, we think it is incumbent on those who pursue the epistemological projects in question to either explain why the truth of the hypotheses does not undermine their projects, or to say why, in light of the evidence we will present, they nonetheless assume that the hypotheses are false. In Section 4, which is devoted to Objections and Replies, we’ll consider some of the ways in which defenders of the projects we are criticizing might reply to our challenge. Our goal, in all of this, is not to offer a conclusive argument demonstrating that the epistemological projects we will be criticizing are untenable. Rather, our aim is to shift the burden of argument. (shrink)
This paper examines the challenge that psychoanalytic theory cannot be refuted. It does so by considering the theory in its orthodox Freudian form, and in the main branches into which it can be divided ? the theory of Instincts, of Development, of Psychic Structure, of Mental Economics or Defence, and of Symptom Formation. The essential character of the generalizations and concepts of these branches will just be indicated; and we shall ask of each branch whether it is possible to refute (...) it. A considerable amount of scientific enquiry has been done into the concepts and generalizations of psychoanalysis. Relevant examples of these enquiries will be noted; and the question asked whether these scientific studies have in fact done anything to refute or support the various branches of psychoanalytic theory. The general upshot will be that the challenge is both important and a mistake. (shrink)
In 1970 Amartya Sen exposed an apparent antinomy that has come to be known as the Paradox of the Paretian Libertarian. Sen introduced his paradox by establishing a simple but startling theorem. Roughly put, what he proved was that if a mechanism for selecting social choice functions satisfies two standard adequacy conditions, there are possible situations in which it will violate either the very weak libertarian precept that every individual has at least some rights or the seemingly innocuous Paretian principle (...) that an option should be judged unacceptable if there is an available alternative that everyone prefers to it. Many economists and philosophers have proposed solutions to Sen's problem, but there is no general consensus on what solution is correct. In the present paper I argue that Sen's original theorem fails to establish the existence of any conflict between libertarianism and Paretianism. Furthermore, I contend that Sen has misinterpreted certain other theorems which he has used to defend the existence of a paradoxical conflict between these two doctrines. In general, I try to show that whenever Sen posits a Paretian-libertarian conflict to explain an apparently troubling result in social choice theory, the difficulty can be better dealt with either by claiming that the theorem in question imposes overly strong background constraints on the form of social choice functions or by claiming that it relies on an unacceptable construal of individual rights. (shrink)
Behind the third ventricle of the human brain a miniscule pedunculate bud, close to the optic thalamus, that is, to the two beds of optic nerves, a gland soft in substance yet containing gritty particles. Function: unknown. Because of its pine-cone shape it is called the conarium or pineal body , even though the recent photographs of it by Nilsson and Lindberg show it to be morphologically reminiscent of nothing so much as the plucked tail of a gamebird, which Simon (...) Dedalus refers to as ‘the pope's nose’. Today it is presumed to be an endocrine gland of some sort, even though there is no doubt that morphogenetically in all vertebrates it is a vestigial unpaired eye. As fossil evidence indicates—and we still find it almost fully developed in some extant amphibians—ancestral vertebrates possessed in addition to the paired bilateral eyes a solitary dorsal eye opening at the top of the skull to the sky. This singular evagination of the brain—something betwixt a visual organ and a gland—seems to hold a special fascination for philosophers. Here we shall consider two of them: René Descartes , the father, as we say, of modern philosophy; and Georges Bataille , the father, as many say, of post-modern philosophy. Three hundred years separate them. Devotion to the pineal body conjoins them. (shrink)
‘‘Thus I believe that there is no part of matter which is not—I do not say divisible—but actually divided; and consequently the least particle ought to be considered as a world full of an infinity of different creatures.’’ (Leibniz, letter to Foucher).