The cognitivist/non-cognitivist debate about the nature and value of literary fiction has witnessed a lot of spilled ink amongst philosophers over the past decade. Gibson characterizes this debate as a conflict between two apparently incompatible intuitions: the ‘humanist’ intuition that works of literary fiction have some sort of cognitive value in telling us about the world, and the ‘sceptical’ anti-humanist intuition that such works, and their proper appreciation, are not essentially concerned with the notions of truth and knowledge. The vast (...) majority of recent writers on this issue have defended various versions of cognitivism, but the novelty of Gibson's cognitivist – or as he calls it ‘humanist’ – position consists in attempting to reconcile the two sides of the debate.Gibson thus takes seriously various sceptical arguments, primarily semantic and epistemological, to the effect that works of fiction qua fiction do not or cannot make reference to or represent the ‘real’ world and insofar as they do refer to it, they provide no evidence in themselves for forming justified beliefs about their claims. These arguments, Gibson holds, place a necessary ‘textual constraint’ on any plausible humanism, …. (shrink)
This Introduction has three sections, on "logical fatalism," "theological fatalism," and the problem of future contingents, respectively. In the first two sections, we focus on the crucial idea of "dependence" and the role it plays it fatalistic arguments. Arguably, the primary response to the problems of logical and theological fatalism invokes the claim that the relevant past truths or divine beliefs depend on what we do, and therefore needn't be held fixed when evaluating what we can do. We call the (...) sort of dependence needed for this response to be successful "dependence with a capital 'd'": Dependence. We consider different accounts of Dependence, especially the account implicit in the so-called "Ockhamist" response to the fatalistic arguments. Finally, we present the problem of future contingents: what could "ground" truths about the undetermined future? On the other hand, how could all such propositions fail to be true? (shrink)
We typically think we have free will. But how could we have free will, if for anything we do, it was already true in the distant past that we would do that thing? Or how could we have free will, if God already knows in advance all the details of our lives? Such issues raise the specter of "fatalism". This book collects sixteen previously published articles on fatalism, truths about the future, and the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, (...) and includes a substantial new introductory essay and bibliography. Many of the pieces collected here build bridges between discussions of human freedom and recent developments in other areas of metaphysics, such as philosophy of time and the nature of metaphysical "dependence". Ideal for courses in free will, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion, Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge will encourage important new directions in thinking about free will, time, and truth. (shrink)
In this paper we critically evaluate Trenton Merricks’s recent attempt to provide a “new” way of defending compatibilism about divine foreknowledge and human freedom. We take issue with Merricks’s claim that his approach is fundamentally different from Ockhamism. We also seek to highlight the implausibility of Merricks’s rejection of the assumption of the fixity of the past, and we also develop a critique of the Merricks’s crucial notion of “dependence.”.
Nelson Pike’s article, “Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action,” is one of the most influential pieces in contemporary Philosophy of Religion. Published over forty years ago, it has elicited many different kinds of replies. We shall set forth some of the main lines of reply to Pike’s article, starting with some of the “early” replies. We then explore some issues that arise from relatively recent work in the philosophy of time; it is fascinating to note that views suggested by recent work (...) in this area and related areas of metaphysics have implications for Pike’s argument - implications perhaps not previously noticed. (shrink)
Humans and many other species selectively attend to stimuli or stimulus dimensions—but why should an animal constrain information input in this way? To investigate the adaptive functions of attention, we used a genetic algorithm to evolve simple connectionist networks that had to make categorization decisions in a variety of environmental structures. The results of these simulations show that while learned attention is not universally adaptive, its benefit is not restricted to the reduction of input complexity in order to keep it (...) within an organism's processing capacity limitations. Instead, being able to shift attention provides adaptive benefit by allowing faster learning with fewer errors in a range of ecologically plausible environments. (shrink)
Is time travel just a confusing plot device deployed by science fiction authors and Hollywood filmmakers to amaze and amuse? Or might empirical data prompt a scientific hypothesis of time travel? Structured on a fascinating dialogue involving ...
Symposium discussion on Todd Moody's `Conversations with Zombies' , by Owen Flanagan, Thomas Polger, Daniel C. Dennett, Guven Guzeldere, Jaron Lanier, John McCarthy, Selmer Bringsjord, Mary Midgley, Avshalom C. Elitzur, Keith Chandler, David Hodgson and Charles T. Tart, with response from Todd C. Moody.
La opera flotante de John Barth tiene varias puertas de acceso para el análisis. Una de ellas nos lleva a indagar sobre el tema que circunda la obra: el suicidio. Para ello, en el presente trabajo vamos a contrastar las posibles características apocalípticas del personaje principal, Todd Andrews, con determinados postulados de la filosofía existencialista de Jean Paul Sartre. La propuesta estará centrada en revisar puntos de divergencia y de afinidad en ambas cosmovisiones.
From the AI point of view, consciousness must be regarded as a collection of interacting processes rather than the unitary object of much philosophical speculation. We ask what kinds of propositions and other entities need to be designed for consciousness to be useful to an animal or a machine. We thereby assert that human consciousness is useful to human functioning and not just and epiphenomenon. Zombies in the sense of Todd Moody's article are merely the victims of Moody's prejudices. (...) To behave like humans, zombies will need what Moody might call pseudo-consciousness, but useful pseudo-consciousness will share all the observable qualities of human consciousness including what the zombie will be able to report. Robots will require a pseudo-consciousness with many of the intellectual qualities of human consciousness but will function successfully with few if any human emotional conscious qualities if that is how we choose to build them. (shrink)
Efforts to retrieve John Courtney Murray's thought must address two questions: What has changed in the quarter-century since Murray's death? What resources does his oeuvre offer for the present situation? In examining Murray's contribution to current policy debates about church-state relations, I will first review the historically conscious methodology he drew upon and the details of his argument in favor of religious liberty. However, in the years since Murray wrote, American religious communities have been severely eroded, with the consequence (...) that Murray's argument no longer has the same force. I therefore propose a reformulation of the basis for religious freedom in order to take into account the need to maintain the social conditions necessary for the exercise of religious freedom. Such a reformulation has significant implications with regard to the question of public funding for religiously affiliated private schools. (shrink)
In August 2006, after twenty years of armed conflict, the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army came to a ceasefire agreement. While the LRA has moved its activity into neighboring countries, there has been peace—or at least the absence of overt conflict—in Uganda. The ecumenical Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative was critical in mediating between the two parties in the months leading up to the talks. Archbishop John Baptist Odama has been Chairperson of ARLPI since 2002. Previous (...) interviews with him have been short and focused on only his external actions—the negotiations with the LRA, the acts of solidarity with displaced people, children in particular. In the present interview, however, Archbishop Odama discusses the spiritual formation, the devotional practices, and the deep theology that inform his actions on behalf of peace and justice. (shrink)
Obstacles to achieving a global climate treaty include disagreements about questions of justice raised by the UNFCCC's principle that countries should respond to climate change by taking cooperative action "in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and their social and economic conditions". Aiming to circumvent such disagreements, Climate Change Justice authors Eric Posner and David Weisbach argue against shaping treaty proposals according to requirements of either distributive or corrective justice. The USA's climate envoy, Todd Stern, (...) takes a similar position. In this article I explain the practical and theoretical drawbacks of Posner & Weisbach's welfarist perspective and propose an alternative. I show that their arguments fail to rule out John Rawls' non-utilitarian, political conception of international justice and human rights, the Law of Peoples. On this basis I develop a conception of climate justice that highlights implications of some of Rawls' principles and adds a principle for determining fair shares of climate -treaty-related benefits and burdens. I propose this conception as a moral framework for negotiating a treaty that would promote human welfare consistently with requirements of justice, and I argue that a treaty proposal satisfying these requirements could best satisfy Posner & Weisbach's own feasibility criteria. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that political philosophers like Rawls and Habermas that characterize their methods as non-metaphysical or postmetaphysical depend on constitutions in order to provide a positive and public reference point for democratic participants. Michelman shows how this dependency is problematic, by contending that disagreement about the meaning of constitutional rights and the indeterminacy of their application undermines the rationality of consensus. I argue that his concerns raise serious problems for Rawls’ theory. Habermas, on the other hand, has (...) some tools to deal with Michelman’s critique — namely, his distinction between discourses of justification and application, and his idea of constitutional patriotism — but he must concede that much of the substance of constitutional democracy is basically up for grabs. I conclude by suggesting why these consequences are less threatening than they may seem. (shrink)