Many of our most important goals require months or even years of effort to achieve, and some never get achieved at all. As social psychologists have lately emphasized, success in pursuing such goals requires the capacity for perseverance, or "grit." Philosophers have had little to say about grit, however, insofar as it differs from more familiar notions of willpower or continence. This leaves us ill-equipped to assess the social and moral implications of promoting grit. We propose that grit has an (...) important epistemic component, in that failures of perseverance are often caused by a significant loss of confidence that one will succeed if one continues to try. Correspondingly, successful exercises of grit often involve a kind of epistemic resilience in the face of failure, injury, rejection, and other setbacks that constitute genuine evidence that success is not forthcoming. Given this, we discuss whether and to what extent displays of grit can be epistemically as well as practically rational. We conclude that they can be (although many are not), and that the rationality of grit will depend partly on features of the context the agent normally finds herself in. In particular, grit-friendly norms of deliberation might be irrational to use in contexts of severe material scarcity or oppression. (shrink)
It seems natural to choose whether to have a child by reflecting on what it would be like to actually have a child. I argue that this natural approach fails. If you choose to become a parent, and your choice is based on projections about what you think it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. If you choose to remain childless, and your choice is based upon projections about what you think it (...) would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. This suggests we should reject our ordinary conception of how to make this life-changing decision, and raises general questions about how to rationally approach important life choices. (shrink)
How should we make choices when we know so little about our futures? L. A. Paul argues that we must view life decisions as choices to make discoveries about the nature of experience. Her account of transformative experience holds that part of the value of living authentically is to experience our lives and preferences in whatever ways they evolve.
Critics of contemporary metaphysics argue that it attempts to do the hard work of science from the ease of the armchair. Physics, not metaphysics, tells us about the fundamental facts of the world, and empirical psychology is best placed to reveal the content of our concepts about the world. Exploring and understanding the world through metaphysical reflection is obsolete. In this paper, I will show why this critique of metaphysics fails, arguing that metaphysical methods used to make claims about the (...) world are similar to scientific methods used to make claims about the world, but that the subjects of metaphysics are not the subjects of science. Those who argue that metaphysics uses a problematic methodology to make claims about subjects better covered by natural science get the situation exactly the wrong way around: metaphysics has a distinctive subject matter, not a distinctive methodology. The questions metaphysicians address are different from those of scientists, but the methods employed to develop and select theories are similar. In the first section of the paper, I will describe the sort of subject matter that metaphysics tends to engage with. In the second section of the paper, I will show how metaphysical theories are classes of models and discuss the roles of experience, common sense and thought experiments in the construction and evaluation of such models. Finally, in the last section I will discuss the way these methodological points help us to understand the metaphysical project. Getting the right account of the metaphysical method allows us to better understand the relationship between science and metaphysics, to explain why doing metaphysics successfully involves having a range of different theories, to understand the role of thought experiments involving fictional worlds, and to situate metaphysical realism in a scientifically realist context. (shrink)
The question I want to explore is whether experience supports an antireductionist ontology of time, that is, whether we should take it to support an ontology that includes a primitive, monadic property of nowness responsible for the special feel of events in the present, and a relation of passage that events instantiate in virtue of literally passing from the future, to the present, and then into the past.
In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...) exactly as it appears to us, even though spatiotemporal entities are not fundamental, means that a central premise of spatiotemporalism, that we may assume, given ordinary experience, that the world is fundamentally spatiotemporal, is false. (ii) Spatiotemporalism must be seen as a contingent, a posteriori physical truth. Finally, (iii) I argue that a metaphysically deeper conclusion follows from the debate over the nature of the fundamental space. The debate in physics over which sort of space is the fundamental space suggests that physicists have discovered that, even if a spacetime is an actual constituent of the world-space category, there is a world-space category that is more fundamental than the category of spacetime. (shrink)
Suppose some person 'A' sets out to accomplish a difficult, long-term goal such as writing a passable Ph.D. thesis. What should you believe about whether A will succeed? The default answer is that you should believe whatever the total accessible evidence concerning A's abilities, circumstances, capacity for self-discipline, and so forth supports. But could it be that what you should believe depends in part on the relationship you have with A? We argue that it does, in the case where A (...) is yourself. The capacity for "grit" involves a kind of epistemic resilience in the face of evidence suggesting that one might fail, and this makes it rational to respond to the relevant evidence differently when you are the agent in question. We then explore whether similar arguments extend to the case of "believing in" our significant others -- our friends, lovers, family members, colleagues, patients, and students. (shrink)
Causation is at once familiar and mysterious. Neither common sense nor extensive philosophical debate has led us to anything like agreement on the correct analysis of the concept of causation, or an account of the metaphysical nature of the causal relation. Causation: A User's Guide cuts a clear path through this confusing but vital landscape. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of examples (...) as landmarks. They clarify the central themes of the debate about causation, and cover questions about causation involving omissions or absences, preemption and other species of redundant causation, and the possibility that causation is not transitive. Along the way, Paul and Hall examine several contemporary proposals for analyzing the nature of causation and assess their merits and overall methodological cogency.The book is designed to be of value both to trained specialists and those coming to the problem of causation for the first time. It provides the reader with a broad and sophisticated view of the metaphysics of the causal relation. (shrink)
Stakeholder theory provides a framework for investigating the relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and corporate financial performance. This relationship is investigated by examining how change in CSP is related to change in financial accounting measures. The findings provide some support for a tenet in stakeholder theory which asserts that the dominant stakeholder group, shareholders, financially benefit when management meets the demands of multiple stakeholders. Specifically, change in CSP was positively associated with growth in sales for the current and subsequent (...) year. This indicates that there are short-term benefits from improving CSP. Return on sales was significantly positively related to change in CSP for the third financial period, indicating that long-term financial benefits may exist when CSP is improved. (shrink)
When we define something as a crime, we generally thereby criminalize the attempt to commit that crime. However, it is a vexing puzzle to specify what must be the case in order for a criminal attempt to have occurred, given that the results element of the crime fails to come about. I argue that the philosophy of action can assist the criminal law in clarifying what kinds of events are properly categorized as criminal attempts. A natural thought is that this (...) project should take the form of specifying what it is in general to attempt or try to perform an action, and then to define criminal attempts as attempts to commit crimes. Focusing on Gideon Yaffe's resourceful work in Attempts (Oxford University Press, 2010) as an example of this strategy, I argue that it results in a view that is overly inclusive: one will count as trying to commit a crime even in the far remote preparatory stages that we in fact have good reason not to criminalize. I offer an alternative proposal to distinguish between mere preparations and genuine attempts that has its basis not in trying, but doing: a criminal attempt is underway once what the agent is doing is a crime. Working out the details of this schema turns out to have important implications for action theory. A recently burgeoning view known as Naive Action Theory holds that all action can be explained by appeal to some further thing that the agent is doing, and that that the same explanatory nexus is at work even when we appeal to what the agent is intending, trying, or preparing to do -- these notions do explanatory work because they too refer to actions that are in progress, albeit in their infancy. If this is right, than the notion of 'doing' will also be too inclusive for the purposes of the criminal law. I argue that we should draw the reverse conclusion: the distinctions between pure intending, trying, preparing, and doing serve an important purpose in the criminal law, and this fact lends support to the view that they are genuine metaphysical and explanatory distinctions. (shrink)
G.E.M. Anscombe famously claimed that acting intentionally entails knowing "without observation" what one is doing. Among those that have taken her claim seriously, an influential response has been to suppose that in order to explain this fact, we should conclude that intentions are a species of belief. This paper argues that there are good reasons to reject this "cognitivist" view of intention in favor of the view that intentions are distinctively practical attitudes that are not beliefs and do not constitutively (...) involve the belief that one will do what one intends. A theory is then proposed on behalf of Distinctive Practical Attitude views of intention to explain Anscombe's non-observational knowledge phenomenon. It is argued that intentions do not embody non-observational knowledge, but they do provide the evidential basis for it: we know without observation what we are doing by inferring from our intentions. (shrink)
Written over the last 18 months of his life and inspired by his interest in G. E. Moore's defence of common sense, this much discussed volume collects Wittgenstein's reflections on knowledge and certainty, on what it is to know a proposition for sure.
This study explores the impact of both individual ethics (IE) and organizational ethics (OE) on ethical intention (EI). Ethical intention, or the individual's intention to engage in ethical behavior, is useful as a dependent variable because it relates to behavior which can be an expression of values, but also is influenced by organizational and societal variables. The focus is on EI in international business decision-making, since the international context provides great latitude in making ethical decisions. Results demonstrate that both IE (...) and OE influence EL Ethical congruence is also discussed as a positive influence. Younger managers are more influenced by OE than older managers. The findings call for creating governance mechanisms to enhance ethical congruence, thereby increasing the likelihood of managers making ethical choices in organizational decision-making. (shrink)
I argue that we can understand the de se by employing the subjective mode of presentation or, if one’s ontology permits it, by defending an abundant ontology of perspectival personal properties or facts. I do this in the context of a discussion of Cappelen and Dever’s recent criticisms of the de se. Then, I discuss the distinctive role of the first personal perspective in discussions about empathy, rational deference, and self-understanding, and develop a way to frame the problem of lacking (...) prospective access to your future self as a problem with your capacity to imaginatively empathize with your future selves. (shrink)
One philosophical approach to causation sees counterfactual dependence as the key to the explanation of causal facts: for example, events c (the cause) and e (the effect) both occur, but had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. The counterfactual analysis of causation became a focus of philosophical debate after the 1973 publication of the late David Lewis's groundbreaking paper, "Causation," which argues against the previously accepted "regularity" analysis and in favor of what he called the "promising alternative" (...) of the counterfactual analysis. Thirty years after Lewis's paper, this book brings together some of the most important recent work connecting--or, in some cases, disputing the connection between--counterfactuals and causation, including the complete version of Lewis's Whitehead lectures, "Causation as Influence," a major reworking of his original paper. Also included is a more recent essay by Lewis, "Void and Object," on causation by omission. Several of the essays first appeared in a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy, but most, including the unabridged version of "Causation as Influence," are published for the first time or in updated forms.Other topics considered include the "trumping" of one event over another in determining causation; de facto dependence; challenges to the transitivity of causation; the possibility that entities other than events are the fundamental causal relata; the distinction between dependence and production in accounts of causation; the distinction between causation and causal explanation; the context-dependence of causation; probabilistic analyses of causation; and a singularist theory of causation. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of the ways through which companies gain legitimacy. However, CSR actions themselves are subject to public skepticism because of increased public awareness of greenwashing and scandalous corporate behavior. Legitimacy of CSR actions is indeed influenced by the actions of the company but also is rooted in the basic cultural values of a society and in the ideologies of evaluators. This study examines the legitimacy of CSR actions of publicly traded forest products companies as compared (...) to family-owned forest products companies. Results indicate a lower legitimacy for CSR actions of publicly traded companies than for family-owned companies. The study also examines the effect of social responsibility orientation (SRO) of evaluators on the legitimacy accorded to companies' CSR actions. We found that SRO was negatively associated with legitimacy, especially for women. Perceived profitability of companies was negatively associated with legitimacy of CSR actions for publicly traded but not for family-owned companies. (shrink)
Monists about material constitution typically argue that when Statue is materially constituted by Clay, Statue is just Clay. Pluralists about material constitution deny that constitution is identity: Statue is not just Clay. When Clay materially constitutes Statue, Clay is not identical to Statue. I discuss three familiar puzzles involving grounding, overdetermination and conceptual issues, and develop three new puzzles stemming from the connection between mereological composition and material constitution: a mereological puzzle, an asymmetry puzzle, and a structural puzzle.
In “What you can’t expect when you’re expecting,” I argue that, if you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, you cannot make this decision rationally—at least, not if your decision is based on what you think it would be like for you to become a parent. My argument hinges on the idea that becoming a parent is a transformative experience. This unique type of experience often transforms people in a deep and personal sense, and in the process, (...) changes their preferences. In section 1, I will explain transformative experience in terms of radical first-personal epistemic and self change. In section 2, I’ll explain the notion of subjective value that I use to develop the decision problem. In section 3, I will discuss the way we ordinarily combine our introspective assessments with testimony and evidence. In section 4, I will discuss the problems for rational decision-making. In section 5, I will explore the problem of first-personally transformed future selves. In section 6, I will engage with the main themes and arguments and ideas of the authors of the papers contributed to this volume. (shrink)
Recent work in philosophy could benefit from paying greater attention to empirical results from cognitive science involving judgments about the nature of our ordinary experience. This paper describes the way that experimental and theoretical results about the nature of ordinary judgments could—and should—inform certain sorts of enquiries in contemporary philosophy, using metaphysics as an exemplar, and hence defines a new way for experimental philosophy and cognitive science to contribute to traditional philosophical debates.
What is the role of practical thought in determining the intentional action that is performed? Donald Davidson’s influential answer to this question is that thought plays an efficient-causal role: intentional actions are those events that have the correct causal pedigree in the agent's beliefs and desires. But the Causal Theory of Action has always been plagued with the problem of “deviant causal chains,” in which the right action is caused by the right mental state but in the wrong way. This (...) paper addresses an alternative approach to understanding intentional action inspired by G.E.M. Anscombe, interpreting that view as casting practical thought in the role of formal rather than efficient cause of action and thereby avoiding the problem of deviant (efficient) causal chains. Specifically, on the neo-Anscombean view, it is the agent’s “practical knowledge” – non-observational, non-inferential knowledge of what one is doing – that confers the form of intentional action on an event and is the contribution of thought to determining what is intentionally done. This paper argues that the Anscombean view is subject to its own problematic type of deviance: deviant formal causation. What we know non-observationally about what we are doing often includes more than what we intend to be doing; we also know that we are bringing about the foreseen side effects of acting in the intended way. It is argued that the neo-Anscombean view faces difficulty in excluding the expected side effects from the specification of what is intentionally done, whereas the Causal Theory has no such difficulty. Thus, the discussion amounts to an argument in favor of the Causal Theory of Action. (shrink)
Many philosophers and jurists believe that individuals should sometimes be granted religiouslygrounded exemptions from laws or rules. To determine whether an exemption is merited in a particular case, the religious claim must be weighed against the countervailing values that favour the uniform application of the law or rule. This paper develops and applies a framework for assessing the weight of religious claims to exemption, across two dimensions. First, the importance of the burdened religious practice, which is determined by its level (...) of obligatoriness and centrality, according to the beliefs of the individual claimant. Second, the extent of the burden on the practice, which depends on the cost the individual bears if she both undertakes the religious practice and obeys the law or rule, where costs are assessed using an impartial account of individual interests. Exemptions should be granted when claims are weighty on either of these dimensions and the countervailing value is relatively weak. The final section of the paper responds to an important objection to this approach, which concerns administrability. (shrink)
There is a puzzle about how to understand the conclusion of a successful instance of practical reasoning. Do the considerations adduced in reasoning rationalize the particular doing of an action, as Aristotle is sometimes interpreted as claiming? Or does reasoning conclude in the formation of an attitude – an intention, say – that has an action-type as its content? This paper attempts to clarify what is at stake in that debate and defends the latter view against some of its critics.
How do we know what our intentions are? It is argued that work on self-knowledge has tended to neglect the attitude of intention, and that an epistemological account is needed that is attuned to the specific features of that state. Richard Moran’s Authorship view, on which we can acquire self-knowledge by making up our minds, offers a promising insight for such an account: we do not normally discover what we intend through introspection. However, his formulation of the Authorship view, developed (...) primarily with the attitude of belief in mind, is found wanting when applied to intention. An alternative account is proposed for knowledge of one’s own intentions that gives a central role to the mental act of deciding what to do. It is argued that we can come to know what we intend by making a decision about what to do and self-ascribing the content of that decision as our intended action. (shrink)
Is there a sense in which we exercise direct volitional control over our beliefs? Most agree that there is not, but discussions tend to focus on control in forming a belief. The focus here is on sustaining a belief over time in the face of ‘epistemic temptation’ to abandon it. It is argued that we do have a capacity for ‘doxastic self-control’ over time that is partly volitional in nature, and that its exercise is rationally permissible.
We offer a brief characterization of creativity, followed by a review of some of the reasons people have been skeptical about the possibility of explaining creativity. We then survey some of the recent work on creativity that is naturalistic in the sense that it presumes creativity is natural (as opposed to magical, occult, or supernatural) and is therefore amenable to scientific inquiry. This work is divided into two categories. The broader category is empirical philosophy, which draws on empirical research while (...) addressing questions that have traditionally been regarded as philosophical. The second category is experimental philosophy, a special branch of empirical philosophy in which experiments are designed (by philosophers) with the explicit purpose of addressing philosophical questions. All of this highlights the relative theoretical neglect of creativity, while at the same time suggesting ample opportunity for experimentally minded philosophers to break new ground. (shrink)
Aristotle's logical and metaphysical works contain elements of three distinct types of formal theory: an ontology, a theory of consequences, and a theory of reasoning. His formal ontology (unlike that of certain later thinkers) does not require all propositions of a given logical form to be true. His formal syllogistic (unlike medieval theories of consequences) was guided primarily by a conception of logic as a theory of reasoning; and his fragmentary theory of consequences exists merely as an adjunct to the (...) syllogistic. When theories of consequences took centre stage in the Middle Ages, the original motivation for the theory of the syllogism was forgotten. (shrink)
Epigenetic and transcriptional variability contribute to the vast diversity of cellular and organismal phenotypes and are key in human health and disease. In this review, we describe different types, sources, and determinants of epigenetic and transcriptional variability, enabling cells and organisms to adapt and evolve to a changing environment. We highlight the latest research and hypotheses on how chromatin structure and the epigenome influence gene expression variability. Further, we provide an overview of challenges in the analysis of biological variability. An (...) improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying epigenetic and transcriptional variability, at both the intra- and inter-individual level, provides great opportunity for disease prevention, better therapeutic approaches, and personalized medicine. Epigenetic and transcriptional variability mediate phenotypic plasticity, enabling adaptation to changing environments. In this review, we describe the sources of inter- and intra-individual variability and discuss epigenetic regulators of gene expression variability, including DNA methylation and chromatin structure. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will improve therapeutic approaches and personalized medicine. (shrink)
I defend a one category ontology: an ontology that denies that we need more than one fundamental category to support the ontological structure of the world. Categorical fundamentality is understood in terms of the metaphysically prior, as that in which everything else in the world consists. One category ontologies are deeply appealing, because their ontological simplicity gives them an unmatched elegance and spareness. I’m a fan of a one category ontology that collapses the distinction between particular and property, replacing it (...) with a single fundamental category of intrinsic characters or qualities. We may describe the qualities as qualitative charactersor as modes, perhaps on the model of Aristotelian qualitative (nonsubstantial) kinds, and I will use the term “properties” interchangeably with “qualities”. The qualities are repeatable and reasonably sparse, although, as I discuss in section 2.6, there are empirical reasons that may suggest, depending on one’s preferred fundamental physical theory, that they include irreducibly intensive qualities. There are no uninstantiated qualities. I also assume that the fundamental qualitative natures are intrinsic, although physics may ultimately suggest that some of them are extrinsic. On my view, matter, concrete objects, abstract objects, and perhaps even spacetime are constructed from mereological fusions of qualities, so the world is simply a vast mixture of qualities, including polyadic properties (i.e., relations). This means that everything there is, including concrete objects like persons or stars, is a quality, a qualitative fusion, or a portion of the extended qualitative fusion that is the worldwhole. I call my view mereological bundle theory. (shrink)
Among the many philosophers who hold that causal facts1 are to be explained in terms of—or more ambitiously, shown to reduce to—facts about what happens, together with facts about the fundamental laws that govern what happens, the clear favorite is an approach that sees counterfactual dependence as the key to such explanation or reduction. The paradigm examples of causation, so advocates of this approach tell us, are examples in which events c and e— the cause and its effect— both occur, (...) but: had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. From this starting point ideas proliferate in a vast profusion. But the remarkable disparity among these ideas should not obscure their common foundation. Neither should the diversity of opinion about the prospects for a philosophical analysis of causation obscure their importance. For even those philosophers who see these prospects as dim—perhaps because they suffer post-Quinean queasiness at the thought of any analysis of any concept of interest—can often be heard to say such things as that causal relations among events are somehow “a matter of” the patterns of counterfactual dependence to be found in them. (shrink)
This essay examines the recent Planet of the Apes films through the lens of recent research in primatology. The films lend imaginary support to primatologist Frans de Waal’s evolutionary moral sentimentalism; however, the movies also show that truly moral motions outstrip the cognitive capacities of the great apes. The abstract moral principles employed by the ape community in the movie require the ability to understand and apply a common underlying explanation to perceptually disparate situations; in contrast, recent research in comparative (...) psychology demonstrates that the great apes lack this capacity. Since the capacity for abstraction is required on even the most basic version of moral sentimentalism—Shaun Nichols’ sentimental rules account—the lack of the capacity for abstraction reveals a qualitative distinction between primate social behavior and human morality. (shrink)
Research on positive psychology demonstrates that specific individual dispositions are associated with more desirable outcomes. The relationship of positive psychological constructs, however, has not been applied to the areas of business ethics and social responsibility. Using four constructs in two independent studies (hope and gratitude in Study 1, spirituality and generativity in Study 2), the relationship of these constructs to sensitivity to corporate social performance (CSCSP) were assessed. Results indicate that all four constructs significantly predicted CSCSP, though only hope and (...) gratitude interacted to impact CSCSP. Discussion focuses upon these findings, limitations of the study, and future avenues for research. (shrink)
G.E.M. Anscombe famously remarked that an adequate philosophy of psychology was needed before we could do ethics. Fifty years have passed, and we should now ask what significance our best theories of the psychology of agency have for moral philosophy. My focus is on non-moral conceptions of autonomy and self-governance that emphasize the limits of deliberation -- the way in which one's cares render certain options unthinkable, one's intentions and policies filter out what is inconsistent with them, and one's resolutions (...) function to block further reflection. I argue that we can expect this deliberative "silencing" to lead to moral failures that occur because the morally correct option was filtered out of the agent's deliberation. I think it follows from these conceptions of self-governance that we should be considered culpable for unwitting acts and omissions, even if they express no ill will, moral indifference, or blameworthy evaluative judgments. The question is whether this consequence is acceptable. Either way, the potential tradeoff between self-governance and moral attentiveness is a source of doubt about recent attempts to ground the normativity of rationality in our concern for self-governance. (shrink)
Contemporary social-scientific research seeks to identify specific causal mechanisms for outcomes of theoretical interest. Experiments that randomize populations to treatment and control conditions are the “gold standard” for causal inference. We identify, describe, and analyze the problem posed by transformative treatments. Such treatments radically change treated individuals in a way that creates a mismatch in populations, but this mismatch is not empirically detectable at the level of counterfactual dependence. In such cases, the identification of causal pathways is underdetermined in a (...) previously unrecognized way. Moreover, if the treatment is indeed transformative it breaks the inferential structure of the experimental design. Transformative treatments are not curiosities or “corner cases,” but are plausible mechanisms in a large class of events of theoretical interest, particularly ones where deliberate randomization is impractical and quasi-experimental designs are sought instead. They cast long-running debates about treatment and selection effects in a new light, and raise new methodological challenges. (shrink)
Neither Karl Popper, nor Frank Knight, nor Max Weber are cited or mentioned in Friedman’s famous 1953 essay “On the methodology of positive economics” (F53). However, they play a crucial role in F53. Making their con-tribution explicit suggests that F53 has been seriously misread in the past. I will first show that there are several irritating statements in F53 that are, taken together, not compatible with any of the usual readings of F53. Sec-ond, I show that an alternative reading of (...) F53 can be achieved if one takes seriously Friedman’s reference to ideal types; “ideal type” is a technical term introduced by Max Weber. Friedman was familiar with Max Weber’s work through Frank Knight, who was his teacher in Chicago. Given that in F53’s view ideal types are fundamen-tal building blocks of economic theory, it becomes clear why both instrumentalist and realist readings of F53 are inadequate. Third, the reading of F53 in terms of ideal types gives the role of elements from Popper’s falsifica-tionist methodology in F53 a somewhat different twist. Finally, I show that the irritating passages of F53 make good sense under the new reading, including the infamous “the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions”. (shrink)
Robust self-deception, in Funkhouser and Barrett’s sense, consists in the strategic pursuit of the goal of misleading oneself with respect to some proposition. Funkhouser and Barrett’s thesis is that an evaluation of the relevant empirical literatures reveals that the unconscious mind engages in robust self-deception. If Funkhouser and Barrett are correct, the psychological evidence vindicates an account of self-deception that challenges the orthodox motivationalist approach and makes clear the distinction between self-deception and other forms of motivated belief formation such as (...) wishful thinking. The aim of this paper is to show that the evidence adduced by Funkhouser and Barrett fails to establish the existence of robust, unconscious self-deception. (shrink)
In philosophical inquiry into the mind, the metaphor of ‘transparency’ has been attractive to many who are otherwise in deep disagreement. It has thereby come to have a variety of different and mutually incompatible connotations. The mind is said to be transparent to itself, our perceptual experiences are said to be transparent to the world, and our beliefs are said to be transparent to – a great many different things. The first goal of this essay is to sort out the (...) different uses of the notion of transparency in the context of the philosophy of mind. The remainder of the essay will then be devoted to examining so-called Transparency theories of self-knowledge, or how we know our own minds. This type of theory has attracted a great deal of interest in recent years, but its prospects hinge on answers to unresolved questions concerning the epistemological details of the account and the scope of its ambitions. (shrink)
I address two related questions: first, what is the best theory of how objects have de re modal properties? Second, what is the best defence of essentialism given the variability of our modal intuitions? I critically discuss several theories of how objects have their de re modal properties and address the most threatening antiessentialist objection to essentialism: the variability of our modal intuitions. Drawing on linguistic treatments of vagueness and ambiguity, I show how essentialists can accommodate the variability of modal (...) intuitions while holding that objects have their modal properties independently of contexts. (shrink)