On the 24th June 2015, Feminist Legal Studies and the London School of Economics Law Department hosted an afternoon event with Professor Wendy Brown, Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science, University of California. Professor Brown kindly agreed to discuss her scholarship on feminist theory, and its relationship to both the law and neoliberalism. The event included an interview by Dr Katie Cruz and a Q&A session, which are presented here in an edited version of the transcript. (...) Sumi Madhock, Professor of Gender Studies, LSE chaired the interview and discussion and introduced Professor Brown’s work. Katie Cruz asked Wendy Brown to reflect upon topics that span her scholarship and activism, including the state of critical, feminist, and Left approaches to rights, neoliberalism, despair and utopianism, and the future of feminist theory and practice in the context of neoliberalism and current debates about intersectionality. Participants in the discussion asked questions on a wide range of issues, including the limits of feminist engagement with law as a tool for social change, the dominance of neoliberalism, imperialist feminism, Islamophobia, secularism, and our attachment to the figure of homo politicus. (shrink)
To 'consequentialise' is to take a putatively non-consequentialist moral theory and show that it is actually just another form of consequentialism. Some have speculated that every moral theory can be consequentialised. If this were so, then consequentialism would be empty; it would have no substantive content. As I argue here, however, this is not so. Beginning with the core consequentialist commitment to 'maximising the good', I formulate a precise definition of consequentialism and demonstrate that, given this definition, several sorts of (...) moral theory resist consequentialisation. My strategy is to decompose consequentialism into three conditions, which I call 'agent neutrality', 'no moral dilemmas', and 'dominance', and then to exhibit some moral theories which violate each of these. (shrink)
One popular approach to theorizing about phenomenal consciousness has been to connect it to representations of a certain kind. Representational theories of consciousness can be further sub-divided into first-order and higher-order theories. Higher-order theories are often interpreted as invoking a special relation between the first-order state and the higher-order state. However there is another way to interpret higher-order theories that rejects this relational requirement. On this alternative view phenomenal consciousness consists in having suitable higher-order representations. I call this ‘HOROR’ (‘Higher-Order (...) Representation Of a Representation’) theory to distinguish it from relational versions of higher- order theory. In this paper I make the case that HOROR theory is a plausible account of the real nature of phenomenal consciousness whatever one’s views are about whether it is physical/reducible or not. I first clarify HOROR theory and compare it to the more traditional same-order and higher-order thought theories. Afterwards I move to presenting some considerations in favor of HOROR theory. (shrink)
I want to see the concert, but I don’t want to take the long drive. Both of these desire ascriptions are true, even though I believe I’ll see the concert if and only if I take the drive.Yet they, and strongly conflicting desire ascriptions more generally, are predicted incompatible by the standard semantics, given two standard constraints. There are two proposed solutions. I argue that both face problems because they misunderstand how what we believe influences what we desire. I then (...) sketch my own solution: a coarse-worlds semantics that captures the extent to which belief influences desire. My semantics models what I call some-things-considered desire. Considering what the concert would be like, but ignoring the drive, I want to see the concert; considering what the drive would be like, but ignoring the concert, I don’t want to take the drive. (shrink)
Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent the same phenomena: our belief-like and desire- and preference-like states. They also purport to do the same work with these representations: explain and predict our actions. But they do so with different sets of concepts. There's much at stake in whether one of these two sets of concepts can be accounted for with the other. Without such an account, we'd have two competing representations and systems of prediction and explanation, a dubious (...) dualism. Folk psychology structures our daily lives and has proven fruitful in the study of mind and ethics, while decision theory is pervasive in various disciplines, including the quantitative social sciences, especially economics, and philosophy. My interest is in accounting for folk psychology with decision theory -- in particular, for believe and wanting, which decision theory omits. Many have attempted this task for belief. (The Lockean Thesis says that there is such an account.) I take up the parallel task for wanting, which has received far less attention. I propose necessary and sufficient conditions, stated in terms of decision theory, for when you're truly said to want; I give an analogue of the Lockean Thesis for wanting. My account is an alternative to orthodox accounts that link wanting to preference (e.g. Stalnaker (1984), Lewis (1986)), which I argue are false. I argue further that want ascriptions are context-sensitive. My account explains this context-sensitivity, makes sense of conflicting desires, and accommodates phenomena that motivate traditional theses on which 'want' has multiple senses (e.g. all-things-considered vs. pro tanto). (shrink)
These works, as the sub-title makes clear, are unfinished sketches for Philosophical Investigations, possibly the most important and influential philosophical work of modern times. The 'Blue Book' is a set of notes dictated to Witgenstein's Cambridge students in 1933-1934: the 'Brown Book' was a draft for what eventually became the growth of the first part of Philosophical Investigations. This book reveals the germination and growth of the ideas which found their final expression in Witgenstein's later work. It is indispensable (...) therefore to students of Witgenstein's thought and to all those who wish to study at first-hand the mental processes of a thinker who fundamentally changed the course of modern philosophy. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to review literature that is relevant to the social scientific study of ethics and leadership, as well as outline areas for future study. We first discuss ethical leadership and then draw from emerging research on “dark side” organizational behavior to widen the boundaries of the review to include unethical leadership. Next, three emerging trends within the organizational behavior literature are proposed for a leadership and ethics research agenda: 1) emotions, 2) fit/congruence, and 3) identity/identification. (...) We believe each shows promise in extending current thinking. The review closes with discussion of important issues that are relevant to the advancement of research on leadership and ethics. (shrink)
We review the dynamical approach to spacetime theories---in particular, its origins in the development of special relativity, its opposition to the contemporary `geometrical' approach, and the manner in which it plays out in general relativity. In addition, we demonstrate that the approach is compatible with the `angle bracket school'.
Peirce nurtured a lifelong interest in the mathematics, metaphysics, and logic of time. For him, time was the primal form of continuum, and he studied it as such. That study is fundamentally connected to Peirce’s semiotic and metaphysical exploration of the continuum of consciousness. In this paper I will use two successive approaches to answer the question “To what extent does the flow of time regulate the flow of signs and the flow of signs influence or determine the flow of (...) time?” I will first examine Peirce’s views concerning the connection between time, the flow of perception, and the emergence of perceptual judgments. I will then apply several resulting distinctions to show how they illuminate the mutual determination of time and semiosis in Peirce’s mature semiotic theory. I will finish with considerations about how Peirce ended up viewing the genealogy of both time and logic in relation to the birth of a semiotic universe. (shrink)
Physical Relativity explores the nature of the distinction at the heart of Einstein's 1905 formulation of his special theory of relativity: that between kinematics and dynamics. Einstein himself became increasingly uncomfortable with this distinction, and with the limitations of what he called the 'principle theory' approach inspired by the logic of thermodynamics. A handful of physicists and philosophers have over the last century likewise expressed doubts about Einstein's treatment of the relativistic behaviour of rigid bodies and clocks in motion in (...) the kinematical part of his great paper, and suggested that the dynamical understanding of length contraction and time dilation intimated by the immediate precursors of Einstein is more fundamental. Harvey Brown both examines and extends these arguments, after giving a careful analysis of key features of the pre-history of relativity theory. He argues furthermore that the geometrization of the theory by Minkowski in 1908 brought illumination, but not a causal explanation of relativistic effects. Finally, Brown tries to show that the dynamical interpretation of special relativity defended in the book is consistent with the role this theory must play as a limiting case of Einstein's 1915 theory of gravity: the general theory of relativity.Appearing in the centennial year of Einstein's celebrated paper on special relativity, Physical Relativity is an unusual, critical examination of the way Einstein formulated his theory. It also examines in detail certain specific historical and conceptual issues that have long given rise to debate in both special and general relativity theory, such as the conventionality of simultaneity, the principle of general covariance, and the consistency or otherwise of the special theory with quantum mechanics. Harvey Brown' s new interpretation of relativity theory will interest anyone working on these central topics in modern physics. (shrink)
When subjects violate epistemic standards or norms, we sometimes judge them blameworthy rather than blameless. For instance, we might judge a subject blameworthy for dogmatically continuing to believe a claim even after receiving evidence which undermines it. Indeed, the idea that one may be blameworthy for belief is appealed to throughout the contemporary epistemic literature. In some cases, a subject seems blameworthy for believing as she does even though it seems prima facie implausible that she is morally blameworthy or professionally (...) blameworthy. Such cases raise the question of whether one can be blameworthy for a belief in a specifically epistemic sense rather than in some already recognised sense, such as being morally or professionally blameworthy. A number of authors have recently argued that there is a moral or social sense in which one ought to conform one’s beliefs to the evidence. In this paper, I argue that even while accepting that there are moral and social norms governing belief, there are cases in which a subject is blameworthy for a belief but isn’t plausibly morally or socially blameworthy. If this latter view is correct, then we may need to develop a new account of blame which can be applied to beliefs which are not morally or socially blameworthy. (shrink)
Thus far, we know much more about the significant outcomes of perceived ethical leadership than we do about its antecedents. In this study, we focus on multiple types of ethical role models as antecedents of perceived ethical leadership. According to social learning theory, role models facilitate the acquisition of moral and other types of behavior. Yet, we do not know whether having had ethical role models influences follower perceptions of one’s ethical leadership and, if so, what kinds of role models (...) are important. We conducted a field study, surveying supervisors and their subordinates to examine the relationship between three types of ethical role models and ethical leadership: the leader’s childhood role models, career mentors, and top managers. We found that having had an ethical role model during the leader’s career was positively related to subordinate-rated ethical leadership. As expected, this effect was moderated by leader age, such that the relationship between career mentoring and ethical leadership was stronger for older leaders. Leader age also moderated the relationship between childhood models and ethical leadership ratings, such that having had childhood ethical role models was more strongly and positively related to ethical leadership for younger leaders. We found no effect for top management ethical role models. Implications for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle examines the nature of happiness, which he defines as a specially good kind of life. He considers the nature of practical reasoning, friendship, and the role and importance of the moral virtues in the best life. This new edition features a revised translation and valuable new introduction and notes.
Tools and technologies expand our capacities, including our cognitive capacities. Microscopes extend our perceptual capacities. Notebooks extend the natural limits of memory. These facts are important, for all that they are obvious. The extended cognition hypothesis wants more. Some external devices and processes are literal parts of cognitive processes themselves. When there is fast and reliable access to external data or processes, then the cognitive processes that occur uncontroversially inside the brain literally and controversially extend out into the world to (...) incorporate external structures or processes. Retrieval of an address from memory and retrieval of the same information from a notebook can both be fully cognitive processes involving fully cognitive representations. So say the proponents of extended cognition.It is an attractive metaphor. But is there any good reason to take it as literal truth? Adams and Aizawa argue that the debate on extended cognition implicates an …. (shrink)
In Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that existence is always a harm. His argument, in brief, is that this follows from a theory of personal good which we ought to accept because it best explains several???asymmetries???. I shall argue here that Benatar's theory suffers from a defect which was already widely known to afflict similar theories, and that the main asymmetry he discusses is better explained in a way which allows that existence is often not a harm.
The quantum theory of de Broglie and Bohm solves the measurement problem, but the hypothetical corpuscles play no role in the argument. The solution ﬁnds a more natural home in the Everett interpretation.
In applied ethics, debates about responsibility have been relentlessly individualistic and synchronic, even as recognition has increased in both philosophy and psychology that agency is distributed across time and individuals. I therefore warmly welcome Brown and Savulescu’s analysis of the conditions under which responsibility can be shared and extended. By carefully delineating how diachronic and dyadic responsibility interact with the long-established control and epistemic conditions, they lay the groundwork needed for identifying how responsibility may be inter-individual and intra-individual. Unsurprisingly, (...) I don’t agree with every aspect of their rich account. I strongly suspect that the privileged place the individual continues to occupy in their taxonomy is a residue of the kind of internalist intuitions which dominate WEIRD thinking.1 2 However, I won’t pursue this line of thought here. Instead, I apply Brown and Savulescu’s analysis. Moving beyond the programmatic level at which they develop their account, I will show how it provides a basis for excusing many individuals, focusing not on the dyadic level but the diachronic. Most of the …. (shrink)
The recent philosophy of Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, represents an attempt to solve the traditional puzzles in the foundations of quantum theory by denying the objective reality of the quantum state. Einstein had hoped to remove the spectre of nonlocality in the theory by also assigning an epistemic status to the quantum state, but his version of this doctrine was recently proved to be inconsistent with the predictions of quantum mechanics. In this essay, I present plausibility arguments, old and new, (...) for the reality of the quantum state, and expose what I think are weaknesses in QBism as a philosophy of science. (shrink)
In her recent book Anti-Individualism and Knowledge, Jessica Brown has presented a novel answer to the self-knowledge achievement problem facing the proponent of anti-individualism. She argues that her answer is to be preferred to the traditional answer (based on Burge, 1988a). Here I present three objections to the claim that her proposed answer is to be preferred. The significance of these objections lies in what they tell us about the nature of the sort of knowledge that is in dispute. (...) Perhaps the most important lesson I draw from this discussion is that, given the nature of knowledge of one's own thoughts, discriminability (from relevant alternatives) is not a condition on knowledge as such. (shrink)
The ‘No Ought From Is’ principle (or ‘NOFI’) states that a valid argument cannot have both an ethical conclusion and non-ethical premises. Arthur Prior proposed several well-known counterexamples, including the following: Tea-drinking is common in England; therefore, either tea-drinking is common in England or all New Zealanders ought to be shot. My aim in this paper is to defend NOFI against Prior’s counterexamples. I propose two novel interpretations of NOFI and prove that both are true.
Campbell Brown has recently argued that G.E. Moore's intrinsic value holism is superior to Jonathan Dancy's. I show that the advantage which Brown claims for Moore's view over Dancy's is illusory, and that Dancy's view may be superior.
Emotional states of consciousness, or what are typically called emotional feelings, are traditionally viewed as being innately programed in subcortical areas of the brain, and are often treated as different from cognitive states of consciousness, such as those related to the perception of external stimuli. We argue that conscious experiences, regardless of their content, arise from one system in the brain. On this view, what differs in emotional and non-emotional states is the kind of inputs that are processed by a (...) general cortical network of cognition, a network essential for conscious experiences. Although subcortical circuits are not directly responsible for conscious feelings, they provide non-conscious inputs that coalesce with other kinds of neural signals in the cognitive assembly of conscious emotional experiences. In building the case for this proposal, we defend a modified version of what is known as the higher-order theory of consciousness. (shrink)
The case of Brown and Brownson can be thought of as an updated version of John Locke’s prince-cobbler example, one that replaces a soul transfer with a brain transplant. Briefly, Brown and Robinson are operated on for the removal of brain tumors by a procedure that involves the temporary removal of the brain from the skull, and by a surgical blunder Brown’s brain ends up in Robinson’s skull; the resulting person, Brownson, has Brown’s brain and Robinson’s (...) body, and his psychological states, including memories, are those one would expect Brown to have. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science After Feminism is an important contribution to philosophy of science, in that it argues for the central relevance of advances from previous work in feminist philosophy of science and articulates a new vision for philosophy of science going in to the future. Kourany’s vision of philosophy of science’s future as “socially engaged and socially responsible” and addressing questions of the social responsibility of science itself has much to recommend it. I focus the book articulation of an ethical-epistemic (...) ideal for science, the Ideal of Socially Responsible Science, compare it to recent work in the same vein by Heather Douglas, and argue for some advantages of Kourany’s approach. I then ask some critical question about the view, particularly with respect to the source of values that are to be integrated into science and the status of values that are to be so integrated. I argue that Kourany is too sanguine about where the values that inquirers will use come from and that these values seem to be accorded too fixed a status in her account. (shrink)
Physicalism is frequently understood as the thesis that everything depends upon a fundamental physical level. This standard formulation of physicalism has a rarely noted and arguably unacceptable consequence—it makes physicalism come out false in worlds which have no fundamental level, for instance worlds containing things which can infinitely decompose into smaller and smaller parts. If physicalism is false, it should not be for this reason. Thus far, there is only one proposed solution to this problem, and it comes from the (...) so-called via negativa account of physicalism. Via negativa physicalism identifies the physical with the non-mental, such that if everything in the world ultimately depends only on non-mental things, then physicalism is true. To deal with the possibility of worlds without a fundamental level, this account says that physicalism is false in worlds with either a fundamental mental level or an infinite descent of mental levels. Here I argue that there could be a world with an infinite descent of all-mental levels, yet in which physicalism might plausibly be true—thus contradicting the sufficient-for-false condition meant to save physicalism from the threat of infinitely decomposable worlds. This leaves the need for a new dependence-based account of physicalism. (shrink)
Health promotion efforts are commonly directed towards encouraging people to discard ‘unhealthy’ and adopt ‘healthy’ behaviours in order to tackle chronic disease. Typical targets for behaviour change interventions include diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption, sometimes described as ‘lifestyle behaviours.’ In this paper, I discuss how efforts to raise awareness of the impact of lifestyles on health, in seeking to communicate the need for people to change their behaviour, can contribute to a climate of ‘healthism’ and promote the moralisation (...) of people’s lifestyles. I begin by summarising recent trends in health promotion and introducing the notion of healthism, as described by Robert Crawford in the 1980s. One aspect of healthism is moralisation, which I outline and suggest is facilitated by efforts to promote health via information provision and educational strategies. I propose that perceived responsibility plays a role in mediating the tendency to moralise about health and behaviour. Since I argue that states ought to avoid direct and indirect moralisation of people’s health-related behaviour, this suggests states must be cautious with regard to the use of responsibility-indicating interventions to promote health. (shrink)
Debates over the politicization of science have led some to claim that scientists have or should have a “right to research.” This article examines the political meaning and implications of the right to research with respect to different historical conceptions of rights. The more common “liberal” view sees rights as protections against social and political interference. The “republican” view, in contrast, conceives rights as claims to civic membership. Building on the republican view of rights, this article conceives the right to (...) research as embedding science more firmly and explicitly within society, rather than sheltering science from society. From this perspective, all citizens should enjoy a general right to free inquiry, but this right to inquiry does not necessarily encompass all scientific research. Because rights are most reliably protected when embedded within democratic culture and institutions, claims for a right to research should be considered in light of how the research in question contributes to democracy. By putting both research and rights in a social context, this article shows that the claim for a right to research is best understood, not as a guarantee for public support of science, but as a way to initiate public deliberation and debate about which sorts of inquiry deserve public support. (shrink)
Who were the true forerunners of the seventeenth-century theorists of innate ideas? Credit should go, not to Plato, despite the common label Platonist, but to the Stoics—or so this challenging new study claims. Plato’s celebrated doctrine of knowledge as recollection differed from these others’ theories not merely in its extravagant postulate of a prenatal knowing state but in many hitherto unrecognized ways, Scott argues. Among those who shared the belief that all men are endowed at birth with considerable epistemological resources, (...) Plato alone is a pessimist both about how few of us make any use of these—only those who make philosophical progress—and about the difficulty of unearthing these resources. Contrary to a prevalent view, Scott holds that Plato invokes recollection to explain not “ordinary learning,” the acquisition or application of everyday concepts such as equality or beauty, but “higher learning”—the province of the philosopher. (shrink)
This essay argues that Plato in the Republic needs an account of why and how the three distinct parts of the soul are parts of one soul, and it draws on the Phaedrus and Gorgias to develop an account of compositional unity that fits what is said in the Republic.
This volume is about the notion of 'defeat' in philosophy. The idea is that someone who has some knowledge, or a justified belief, can lose this knowledge or justified belief if they acquire a 'defeater' - evidence that undermines it. The contributors examine the role of defeat not just in epistemology but in practical reasoning and ethics.