The idea of sustainability is an odd composite of imagination and accounting. Environmental history is a permissive historical subdiscipline, and this essay is about the environmental???economic???intellectual history of an environmental idea, sustainability, which is historical in the sense that it is very old, and historical, too, in the sense that it is an idea about history, or about imagining the future in relation to the past. One of the oddities of the last several decades is that these old ideas have (...) been transformed into the most celebrated of all the dicta of environmental policy, or an aspiration of UN commissions, ???strategy consultancies???, and very large government agencies. (shrink)
The paper is concerned with disputes over sovereignty and global commerce in the 1760s and 1770s. The eighteenth-century revolution in economic science has been identified with agricultural reforms, and with the definition of national economies. The economists of the time, including Turgot, Mirabeau, Dupont de Nemours, Baudeau and Adam Smith, were also intensely interested in the merchant sovereigns of the French, English and Dutch East India companies, and in the new colonial ventures of the post-Seven Years War period. Their writings (...) on global commerce were sometimes extraordinarily detailed (about herrings, for example, or bye-laws) and often untheoretical. Turgot was for a brief period minister of the navy and of the colonies. The older Mirabeau described the as and the cod of the North Atlantic as But the economists’ writings on global connections were the occasion for some of their most profound reflections on the political consequences of laissez-faire, on theories of sovereignty, on the difficulties of transporting information or instructions over very large distances, and on the changing relationships between power, law and commerce. The disputes over long-distance commerce provide an interesting insight, the paper suggests, into ways of thinking which were at the same time scientific and administrative, global and provincial. (shrink)
The article explores early criticisms of Adam Smith, with particular reference to long-distance commerce, the Portuguese empire, and the writings of William Julius Mickle. The changing relationship between merchants and sovereigns, and between economic and political power, was of central importance, the article suggests, to disputes over Smith's ideas of self-interest.
The Philosophy of Adam Smith contains essays by some of the most prominent philosophers and scholars working on Adam Smith today. It is a special issue of The Adam Smith Review, commemorating the 250th anniversary of Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. Introduction Part 1: Moral phenomenology 1. The virtue of TMS 1759 D.D. Raphael 2. The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the inner life EmmaRothschild 3. The standpoint of morality in Adam Smith and Hegel Angelica Nuzzo Part (...) 2: Sympathy and moral judgment 4. Smith and Rousseau in dialogue: sympathy, pitié, spectatorship and narrative Charles L. Griswold 5. Adam Smith’s concept of sympathy and its contemporary interpretations Bence Nanay 6. Smith’s ambivalence about honour Stephen Darwall 7. Sentiments and spectators: Adam Smith’s theory of moral judgment Geoffrey Sayre-McCord 8. Smith’s anti-cosmopolitanism Fonna Forman-Barzilai 9. Resentment and moral judgment in Smith and Butler Alice MacLachlan Part 3: Economics, religion, aesthetics and value theory 10. Adam Smith’s problems: individuality and the paradox of sympathy Robert Urquhart 11. Scepticism and naturalism in Adam Smith Ryan Patrick Hanley 12. Adam Smith’s solution to the paradox of tragedy Arby Ted Siraki 13. Smithian intrinsic value Patrick Frierson Memoir on Adam Smith’s life 14. Adam Smith’s smile: his years at Balliol College, 1740–6, in retrospect Ian Simpson Ross. (shrink)
Rights of Women attracted much UK media attention in late 2014 by bringing a judicial review that challenged the reduced provisions for family law legal aid available for victims of domestic violence: R v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 35. In June 2015, within Rights of Women’s 40th anniversary year, Hannah Camplin interviewed the organisation’s Director Emma Scott about the decision to bring the judicial review, the advantages and challenges of the judicial review (...) process, and the experience of strategic litigation within the context of Rights of Women’s long history of campaigning for women’s rights. What emerged is a portrait of a feminist organisation in 2015, and, in a fast changing political and financial landscape, the dual importance of collaborative working and the need for flexibility in service provision and campaigning tools. (shrink)
Minimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for - if you were to be given a working theory of meaning for a language right now, what would you be able to do with it? Emma Borg sets out to defend a formal approach to semantic theorising from a relatively new type of opponent - advocates of what she call 'dual pragmatics'. According to dual pragmatists, rich pragmatic processes play two distinct roles in linguistic comprehension: as (...) well as operating in a post-semantic capacity to determine the implicatures of an utterance, they also operate prior to the determination of truth-conditional content for a sentence. That is to say, they have an integral role to play within what is usually thought of as the semantic realm. Borg believes dual pragmatic accounts constitute the strongest contemporary challenge to standard formal approaches to semantics since they challenge the formal theorist to show not merely that there is some role for formal processes on route to determination of semantic content, but that such processes are sufficient for determining content. Minimal Semantics provides a detailed examination of this school of thought, introducing readers who are unfamiliar with the topic to key ideas like relevance theory and contextualism, and looking in detail at where these accounts diverge from the formal approach. Borg's defence of formal semantics has two main parts: first, she argues that the formal approach is most naturally compatible with an important and well-grounded psychological theory, namely the Fodorian modular picture of the mind. Then she argues that the main arguments adduced by dual pragmatists against formal semantics - concerning apparent contextual intrusions into semantic content - can in fact be countered by a formal theory. The defence holds, however, only if we are sensitive to the proper conditions of success for a semantic theory. Specifically, we should reject a range of onerous constraints on semantic theorizing (e.g., that it answer epistemic or metaphysical questions, or that it explain our communicative skills) and instead adopt a quite minimal picture of semantics. (shrink)
There is a longstanding debate in the literature about static versus dynamic approaches to meaning and conversation. A formal result due to van Benthem is often thought to be important for understanding what, conceptually speaking, is at issue in the debate. We introduce the concept of a conversation system, and we use it to clarify the import of van Benthem's result. We then distinguish two classes of conversation systems, corresponding to two concepts of staticness. The first class corresponds to a (...) generalization of the class of systems that van Benthem's result concerns. These are the strongly static conversation systems. The second class is broader, and allows for a certain commonly recognized form of context sensitivity. These are the weakly static conversation systems. In the vein of van Benthem's result, we supply representation theorems which independently characterize these two varieties of conversation system. We observe that some canonically dynamic semantic systems correspond to weakly static conversation systems. We close by discussing some hazards that arise in trying to bring our formal results to bear on natural language phenomena, and on the debate about whether the compositional semantics for natural language should take a dynamic shape. (shrink)
Emma Borg examines the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and assesses recent answers to fundamental questions of how and where to draw the divide between the two. She argues for a minimal account of the interrelation between them--a 'minimal semantics'--which holds that only rule-governed appeals to context can influence semantic content.
We distinguish three ways that a theory of linguistic meaning and communication might be considered dynamic in character. We provide some examples of systems which are dynamic in some of these senses but not others. We suggest that separating these notions can help to clarify what is at issue in particular debates about dynamic versus static approaches within natural language semantics and pragmatics.
We discuss the challenge to truth-conditional semantics presented by apparent shifts in extension of predicates such as ‘red’. We propose an explicit indexical semantics for ‘red’ and argue that our account is preferable to the alternatives on conceptual and empirical grounds.
Much linguistic evidence supports the view believing something only requires thinking it likely. I assess and reject a rival view, based on recent work on homogeneity in natural language, according to which belief is a strong, demanding attitude. I discuss the implications of the linguistic considerations about ‘believe’ for our philosophical accounts of belief.
IntroductionThe project of giving an account of meaning in natural languages goes largely by assigning truth-conditional content to sentences. I will call the view that sentences have truth-conditional content propositionalism as it is common to identify the truth-conditional content of a sentence with the proposition it expresses. This content plays an important role in our explanations of the speech-acts, attitude ascriptions, and the meaning of sentences when they appear as parts of longer sentences. Much work in philosophy of language and (...) linguistics semantics over the last half-century has aimed to characterize the truth-conditional content of different aspects of language.There are different kinds of worries one might have about this project. There are general methodological worries about truth-conditional semantics that have had some currency in the philosophical literature. In my view, the enormous progress in semantics made in its brief history suggests these are misplaced. Ho .. (shrink)
Twelve essays by the influential radical include "Marriage and Love," "The Hypocrisy of Puritanism," "The Traffic in Women," Anarchism," and "The Psychology of Political Violence." Other enduringly relevant essays examine patriotism, the failure of the penal system, and drama as a means of conveying political theory.
It is tempting to posit an intimate relationship between belief and assertion. The speech act of assertion seems like a way of transferring the speaker’s belief to his or her audience. If this is right, then you might think that the evidential warrant required for asserting a proposition is just the same as the warrant for believing it. We call this thesis entitlement equality. We argue here that entitlement equality is false, because our everyday notion of belief is unambiguously a (...) weak one. Believing something is true, we argue, is compatible with having relatively little confidence in it. Asserting something requires something closer to complete confidence. Specifically, we argue that believing a proposition merely requires thinking it likely, but that thinking that a proposition is likely does not entitle one to assert it. This conclusion conflict with a standard view that ‘full belief’ is the central commonsense non-factive attitude. (shrink)
We present a puzzle about knowledge, probability and conditionals. We show that in certain cases some basic and plausible principles governing our reasoning come into conflict. In particular, we show that there is a simple argument that a person may be in a position to know a conditional the consequent of which has a low probability conditional on its antecedent, contra Adams’ Thesis. We suggest that the puzzle motivates a very strong restriction on the inference of a conditional from a (...) disjunction. (shrink)
In Chapter 3 of True Enough, Elgin outlines her view of objectual understanding, focusing largely on its non-factive nature and the extent to which a certain kind of know-how is required for the “grasping” component of understanding. I will explore four central issues that feature in this chapter, concentrating on the role of know-how, the concept of endorsement, Elgin’s critique of the factivity constraint on understanding, and how we might use aspects of Elgin’s framework to inform related debates on the (...) norm of assertion. (shrink)
Derrida’s autobiographical and philosophical text Monolingualism of the Other; or, the Prosthesis of Origin is a partial recounting of his own childhood and upbringing in Algeria at a time when it was a colony of France. It is on one level a reflection on matters related to colonialism, and especially on the effects of the imposition of colonial language upon schooling and wider practices of education and coming into the world. Yet Derrida’s text also opens onto structural questions about estrangement, (...) unsettledness and Unheimlichkeit such as they pertain to and characterise life in language more generally. This paper puts Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other into relation with contemporary discussions of multilingualism and language learning in the context of the global education agenda. The result, as we shall see, is the destabilising of assumptions that underpin multilingualism and the global education agenda and foreclose their democratic and ethical aims. At the same time, as we shall also see, Derrida’s text opens ways in which the education of language subjects can be reconstructed in relation to a new conception of ethics and the humanities. (shrink)
We explore consequences of the view that to know a proposition your rational credence in the proposition must exceed a certain threshold. In other words, to know something you must have evidence that makes rational a high credence in it. We relate such a threshold view to Dorr et al.’s :277–287, 2014) argument against the principle they call fair coins: “If you know a coin won’t land tails, then you know it won’t be flipped.” They argue for rejecting fair coins (...) because it leads to a pervasive skepticism about knowledge of the future. We argue that the threshold view of evidence and knowledge gives independent grounds to reject fair coins. (shrink)
Scientists, philosophers, and policymakers disagree about how to define microaggression. Here, we offer a taxonomy of existing definitions, clustering around (a) the psychological motives of perpetrators, (b) the experience of victims, and (c) the functional role of microaggression in oppressive social structures. We consider conceptual and epistemic challenges to each and suggest that progress may come from developing novel hybrid accounts of microaggression, combining empirically tractable features with sensitivity to the testimony of victims.
We argue that definite noun phrases give rise to uniqueness inferences characterized by a pattern we call definiteness projection. Definiteness projection says that the uniqueness inference of a definite projects out unless there is an indefinite antecedent in a position that filters presuppositions. We argue that definiteness projection poses a serious puzzle for e-type theories of (in)definites; on such theories, indefinites should filter existence presuppositions but not uniqueness presuppositions. We argue that definiteness projection also poses challenges for dynamic approaches, which (...) have trouble generating uniqueness inferences and predicting some filtering behavior, though unlike the challenge for e-type theories, these challenges have mostly been noted in the literature, albeit in a piecemeal way. Our central aim, however, is not to argue for or against a particular view, but rather to formulate and motivate a generalization about definiteness which any adequate theory must account for. (shrink)
There are certain uses of and and or that cannot be explained by their normal meanings as truth-functional connectives, even with sophisticated pragmatic resources. These include examples such as The cops show up, and a fight will break out (‘If the cops show up, a fight will break out’), and I have no friends, or I would throw a party (‘I have no friends. If I did have friends, I would throw a party.’). We argue that these uses are indeed (...) distinct from the more ordinary uses of and and or, but that they are nonetheless related in a principled way. To explain them we give an analysis of what we call the dynamic effects of connectives, which arise in all their uses. The special uses at issue are then argued to be instances where the connectives exhibit their dynamic effects without their truth-conditional meaning. (shrink)
A standard objection to so-called ‘minimal semantics’ is that minimal contents are explanatorily redundant as they play no role in an adequate account of linguistic communication. This paper argues that this standard objection is mistaken. Furthermore, I argue that seeing why the objection is mistaken sheds light both on how we should draw the classic Gricean distinction between saying and implicating, and how we should think about the key philosophical notion of assertion. Specifically, it reveals that these ideas are best (...) understood primarily in socio-linguistic terms. (shrink)
Philosophers often assume that folk hold pain to be a mental state – to be in pain is to have a certain kind of feeling – and they think this state exhibits the classic Cartesian characteristics of privacy, subjectivity, and incorrigibility. However folk also assign pains bodily locations: unlike most other mental states, pains are held to exist in arms, feet, etc. This has led some to talk of the ‘paradox of pain’, whereby the folk notion of pain is inherently (...) conflicted. Recently, several authors have rejected the paradox view, arguing instead that folk hold a univocal, bodily view. This paper presents six objections to the bodily view of the folk concept of pain. We then outline a direction for future research – the ‘polyeidic approach’ – whereby the folk notion of pain is held to encompass various divergent strands and we suggest that certain problems surrounding the treatment and communication of pain might be usefully be viewed through the lens of the polyeidic approach. (shrink)
Yablo’s Aboutness introduces powerful new set of tools for analyzing meaning. I compare his account of subject matter to the related ideas employed in the semantics literature on questions and focus. I then discuss two applications of subject matter: to presupposition triggering and to ascriptions of shared content.
‘Pragmaticist’ positions posit a three-way division within utterance content between: the standing meaning of the sentence, a somewhat pragmatically enhanced meaning which captures what the speaker explicitly conveys, and further indirectly conveyed propositions which the speaker merely implies. Here I re-examine the notion of an explicature, asking how it is defined and what work explicatures are supposed to do. I argue that explicatures get defined in three different ways and that these distinct definitions can and do pull apart. Thus the (...) notion of an explicature turns out to be ill-defined. (shrink)
Understanding in Epistemology Epistemology is often defined as the theory of knowledge, and talk of propositional knowledge has dominated the bulk of modern literature in epistemology. However, epistemologists have recently started to turn more attention to the epistemic state or states of understanding, asking questions about its nature, relationship … Continue reading Understanding in Epistemology →.
Microaggressions are seemingly negligible slights that can cause significant damage to frequently targeted members of marginalized groups. Recently, Scott O. Lilienfeld challenged a key platform of the microaggression research project: what’s aggressive about microaggressions? To answer this challenge, Derald Wing Sue, the psychologist who has spearheaded the research on microaggressions, needs to theorize a spectrum of aggression that ranges from intentional assault to unintentional microaggressions. I suggest turning to Bonnie Mann’s “Creepers, Flirts, Heroes and Allies” for inspiration. Building from Mann’s (...) richer theoretical framework will allow Sue to answer Lilienfeld’s objection and defend the legitimacy of the concept, ‘microaggression’. (shrink)
After presenting a simple expressivist account of reports of probabilistic judgements, I explore a classic problem for it, namely the Frege-Geach problem. I argue that it is a problem not just for expressivism but for any reasonable account of ascriptions of graded judgements. I suggest that the problem can be resolved by appropriately modelling imprecise credences.
Feminists have long argued that women who offend are judged by who they are, not what they do, with idealised images of femininity and motherhood used as measures of culpability. The ability to meet the expectations of motherhood and femininity are particularly difficult for women who experience a crisis pregnancy, as evident in cases where women have been convicted of concealment of birth. The offence prohibits the secret disposal of the dead body of a child, to conceal knowledge of its (...) birth. Traditionally used to prosecute women suspected of killing their newborn children, analysis of court transcripts suggests the offence is also used to punish women who fail to meet expectations of motherhood. This paper analyses three contemporary cases in light of the historical origins of the offence, illustrating the legacy of prejudice against ‘deviant’ mothers. Finally, it questions the continued existence of this archaic offence. (shrink)
The argument is directed at the view that scientiﬁc knowledge is just knowledge of the structure of the natural world and not knowledge of its intrinsic nature. The origin of the view is the post-Galilean conception of modern science, which views science as yielding a picture of nature stripped of all color, explaining all physical processes purely in terms of space-time, particles, ﬁelds, forces and the like, the intrinsic natures of which are never themselves analyzed. It is safe to say (...) that this conception of the limits of scientiﬁc knowledge, i.e. of its purely mathematical and structural character, is still a dominant one for both philosophers and scientists. (shrink)
In this article, against the background of a notion of ‘assembled’ truth, the evolutionary progressiveness of a theory is suggested as novel and promising explanation for the success of science. A new version of realism in science, referred to as ‘naturalised realism’ is outlined. Naturalised realism is ‘fallibilist’ in the unique sense that it captures and mimics the self-corrective core of scientific knowledge and its progress. It is argued that naturalised realism disarms Kyle Stanford’s anti-realist ‘new induction’ threats by showing (...) that ‘explanationism’ and his ‘epistemic instrumentalism’ are just two positions among many on a constantly evolving continuum of options between instrumentalism and full-blown realism. In particular it is demonstrated that not only can naturalised realism redefine the terms of realist debate in such a way that no talk of miracles need enter the debate, but it also promises interesting defenses against inductive- and under-determination-based anti-realist arguments. (shrink)
In his important recent book, Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis: Why Incompetence is Worse than Greed, Boudewijn de Bruin argues that a key element of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 was a failure of epistemic virtue. To improve matters, then, de Bruin argues we need to focus on the acquisition and exercise of epistemic virtues, rather than to focus on a more ethical culture for banking per se. Whilst this is an interesting suggestion and it is indeed very (...) plausible that an increased focus on proper knowledge-related behaviour will be part of a solution, we are sceptical both about de Bruin’s overarching theoretical claims and about his practical suggestions for change. Instead we argue that change in this sector is best promoted by reconceiving of the relationship between financial institutions and the societies they serve, and that this is fundamentally not an epistemic but a moral issue. (shrink)
In medical practice, the doctrine of informed consent is generally understood to have priority over the medical practitioner’s duty of care to her patient. A common consequentialist argument for the prioritisation of informed consent above the duty of care involves the claim that respect for a patient’s free choice is the best way of protecting that patient’s best interests; since the patient has a special expertise over her values and preferences regarding non-medical goods she is ideally placed to make a (...) decision that will protect her interests. In this paper I argue against two consequentialist justifications for a blanket prioritisation of informed consent over the duty of care by considering cases in which patients have imperfect access to their overall best interests. Furthermore, I argue that there are cases where the mere presentation of choice under the doctrine of informed consent is detrimental to patient best interests. I end the paper by considering more nuanced approaches to resolving the conflict between informed consent and the duty of care and consider the option of permitting patients to waive informed consent. (shrink)
It is well established that the temporal proximity of two events is a fundamental cue to causality. Recent research with adults has shown that this relation is bidirectional: events that are believed to be causally related are perceived as occurring closer together in time—the so‐called temporal binding effect. Here, we examined the developmental origins of temporal binding. Participants predicted when an event that was either caused by a button press, or preceded by a non‐causal signal, would occur. We demonstrate for (...) the first time that children as young as 4 years are susceptible to temporal binding. Binding occurred both when the button press was executed via intentional action, and when a machine caused it. These results suggest binding is a fundamental, early developing property of perception and grounded in causal knowledge. (shrink)
Epistemic paternalism is the thesis that a paternalistic interference with an individual's inquiry is justified when it is likely to bring about an epistemic improvement in her. In this article I claim that in order to motivate epistemic paternalism we must first account for the value of epistemic improvements. I propose that the epistemic paternalist has two options: either epistemic improvements are valuable because they contribute to wellbeing, or they are epistemically valuable. I will argue that these options constitute the (...) foundations of a dilemma: either epistemic paternalism collapses into general paternalism, or a distinctive project of justified epistemic paternalism is implausible. (shrink)
Linguists often sharply distinguish the different modules that support linguistics competence, e.g., syntax, semantics, pragmatics. However, recent work has identified phenomena in syntax (polarity sensitivity) and pragmatics (implicatures), which seem to rely on semantic properties (monotonicity). We propose to investigate these phenomena and their connections as a window into the modularity of our linguistic knowledge. We conducted a series of experiments to gather the relevant syntactic, semantic and pragmatic judgments within a single paradigm. The comparison between these quantitative data leads (...) us to four main results, (i) Our results support a departure from one element of the classical Gricean approach, thus helping to clarify and settle an empirical debate. This first outcome also confirms the soundness of the methodology, as the results align with standard contemporary accounts of scalar implicature (SI), (ii) We confirm that the formal semantic notion of monotonicity underlies negative polarity item (NPI) syntactic acceptability, but (iii) our results indicate that the notion needed is perceived monotonicity. We see results (ii) and (iii) as the main contribution of this study: (ii) provides an empirical interpretation and confirmation of one of the insights of the model-theoretic approach to semantics, while (iii) calls for an incremental, cognitive implementation of the current generalizations, (iv) Finally, our results do not indicate that the relationship between NPI acceptability and monotonicity is mediated by pragmatic features related to Sis: this tells against elegant attempts to unify polarity sensitivity and Sis (pioneered by Krifka and Chierchia). These results illustrate a new methodology for integrating theoretically rigorous work in formal semantics with an experimentally-grounded cognitively-oriented view of linguistic competence. (shrink)
In this paper I want to explore the arguments for so-called ‘unarticulated constituents’ (UCs). Unarticulated constituents are supposed to be propositional elements, not presented in the surface form of a sentence, nor explicitly represented at the level of its logical form, yet which must be interpreted in order to grasp the (proper) meaning of that sentence or expression. Thus, for example, we might think that a sentence like ‘It is raining’ must contain a UC picking out the place at which (...) the speaker of the sentence asserts it to be raining. In §1 I will explore the nature of UCs a little further, and, in §2, suggest that we can recognise two different forms of argument for them.. (shrink)
"[N]o matter how much of a coalition space this is, it ain't nothing like the coalescing you've got to do tomorrow, and Tuesday and Wednesday."This essay is a critical reflection on the centrality of coalitional politics for decolonial feminist philosophy. Decolonial feminisms emerge from multisited struggles with colonization and, as a result, are rich and heterogeneous.1 Thus, the starting point for decolonial feminists must be one that centers on coalitional politics. Women of color have long emphasized the importance of coalition (...) to collective struggle against a matrix of systems of oppression.2 However, the work of forging coalitions is just that, work. Indeed, the work of coalition building, as Bernice... (shrink)
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