WHO suggests mental ill health in terms of depression to be the highest ranking disease problem in the developed world in 2020–2030 and claims a public health approach to be the most appropriate response. But some argue that the alarming reports on mental ill health have their ground in the methods of inquiry themselves and refer to medicalization as an important issue. The aim of this article is to explore and illuminate the issue of what is meant by mental health (...) and mental ill health and what it means that mental ill health is a major public health problem. Basically, two understandings and aspects of public health exist: a ‘reductionist’ and a ‘holistic’ with connections to different theories of health. These diverging understandings may lead to quite different public health responses, and they may have different consequences with regard to medicalization. It is concluded that we need more clearly elaborated ways to think about public health so that the increased attention to mental ill health as a public health problem does not in itself lead to medicalization in terms of just medical treatment. Otherwise, we risk losing the importance of public health as an overarching social and political instrument. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors have detected a new effect in the area of geomagnetism, related to the behavior of a magnetic dipole freely floating on water surface. An experiment is described in the present paper in which a magnetic dipole fixed upon a float placed on non- magnetized water surface undergoes displacement along with reorientation caused by fine structure of the earth's magnetic field. This fact can probably be explained by secular decrease of the earth's major dipole moment. Further, (...) a detailed study of the phenomenon may create interesting premises for its practical use, particularly for the analysis of fine structure of geomagnetic field and its time-dependent anomalies. A strange behavior of some sea fish species prior to strong earthquakes may be explained if the fish are assumed as 'live magnetic dipoles'. (shrink)
Objective reasons are given by the facts. Subjective reasons are given by one’s perspective on the facts. Subjective reasons, not objective reasons, determine what it is rational to do. In this paper, I argue against a prominent account of subjective reasons. The problem with that account, I suggest, is that it makes what one has subjective reason to do, and hence what it is rational to do, turn on matters outside or independent of one’s perspective. After explaining and establishing this (...) point, I offer a novel account of subjective reasons which avoids the problem. (shrink)
This paper proposes a view of time that takes passage to be the most basic temporal notion, instead of the usual A-theoretic and B-theoretic notions, and explores how we should think of a world that exhibits such a genuine temporal passage. It will be argued that an objective passage of time can only be made sense of from an atemporal point of view and only when it is able to constitute a genuine change of objects across time. This requires that (...) passage can flip one fact into a contrary fact, even though neither side of the temporal passage is privileged over the other. We can make sense of this if the world is inherently perspectival. Such an inherently perspectival world is characterized by fragmentalism, a view that has been introduced by Fine in his ‘Tense and Reality’ (2005). Unlike Fine's tense-theoretic fragmentalism though, the proposed view will be a fragmentalist view based in a primitive notion of passage. (shrink)
Controversy continues to attach to the question whether an externalism about mental content is compatible with a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge. By an externalism about mental content, I mean the view that what concepts our thoughts involve may depend not only on facts that are internal to us, but on facts about our environment. It is worth emphasizing, if only because it is still occasionally misperceived, that this thesis is supposed to apply at the level of sense and not (...) merely at that of reference: what concepts we think in terms of -- and not just what they happen to pick out -- is said by the externalist to depend upon environmental facts. By a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge, I mean the view that we are able to know, without the benefit of empirical investigation, what our thoughts are in our own case. Suppose I entertain a thought that I would express with the sentence `Water is wet'. According to the traditional doctrine, I can know without empirical investigation (a) that I am entertaining a thought; (b) that it has a particular conceptual content, and (c) that its content is that water is wet. (shrink)
The philosophical literature on state legitimacy has recently seen a significant conceptual revision. Several philosophers have argued that the state's right to rule is better characterized not as a claim right to obedience, but as a power right. There have been few attempts to show that traditional justifications for the claim right might also be used to justify a power right, and there have been no such attempts involving the principle of fair play, which is widely regarded as the most (...) promising basis for a claim right to obedience. William Edmundson argues that the principle of fair play cannot generate power rights, and so any attempt at a fair play account of legitimacy must fail. I explain how fair play could generate a power right, owing to its stipulation that the rules of a cooperative scheme specify the form of participants' repayment. (shrink)
We consider a natural-language sentence that cannot be formally represented in a first- order language for epistemic two-dimensional semantics. We also prove this claim in the appendix. It turns out, however, that the most natural ways to repair the expressive inadequacy of the first-order language render moot the original philosophical motivation of formalizing a priori knowability as necessity along the diagonal.
In this paper I argue for a priori conjectural scientific knowledge about the world. Physics persistently only accepts unified theories, even though endlessly many empirically more successful disunified rivals are always available. This persistent preference for unified theories, against empirical considerations, means that physics makes a substantial, persistent metaphysical assumption, to the effect that the universe has a (more or less) unified dynamic structure. In order to clarify what this assumption amounts to, I solve the problem of what it means (...) to say of a theory that it is unified. There are, I argue, eight different kinds of unity important in theoretical physics, all varieties of one basic idea. This provides us with a precise way of partially ordering physical theories with respect to their degree of unity. It also leads to a hierarchical view of physics, according to which physics makes a number of increasingly insubstantial metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe. Two of these are identified as constituting a priori conjectures. I conclude by arguing that the view developed in the paper resolves the traditional clash between empiricism and rationalism in the philosophy of science, and has important implications for science, and for academic inquiry more generally. (shrink)
Many expressions intuitively have different epistemic and modal profiles. For example, co-referring proper names are substitutable salva veritate in modal contexts but not in belief-contexts. Two-dimensional semantics, according to which terms have both a so-called primary and a secondary intension, is a framework that promises to accommodate and explain these diverging intuitions. The framework can be applied to indexicals, proper names or predicates. Graeme Forbes argues that the two-dimensional semantics of David Chalmers fails to account for so-called nested contexts. These (...) are linguistic contexts where a sentence is embedded under both epistemic and modal operators. Chalmers and Rabern suggest a two-dimensional solution to the problem. Their semantics solves the nesting-problem, but at the cost of invalidating certain plausible principles. We suggest a solution that is both simpler and avoids this cost. (shrink)
The ethical climate in Turkey is beset by ethical problems. Bribery, environmental pollution, tax frauds, deceptive advertising, production of unsafe products, and the ethical violations that involved politicians and business professionals are just a few examples. The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the ethical beliefs of American and Turkish consumers using the Ethical Position Questionnaire (EPQ) of Forsyth (1980), the Machiavellianism scale, and the Consumer Ethical Practices of Muncy and Vitell questionnaire (MVQ). A sample of 376 (...) subjects that consists of American consumers (n = 188) and Turkish consumers (n = 199) was used to compare the ethical beliefs and practices of the two samples. The MANOVA results for the two nationality groups found that five out of six criterion variables differed between the two groups. The implications of this study are intended to assist marketers to develop strategies that suit a particular market and lessen their risk of entry. (shrink)
In this discussion paper, I seek to challenge Hylarie Kochiras’ recent claims on Newton’s attitude towards action at a distance, which will be presented in Section 1. In doing so, I shall include the positions of Andrew Janiak and John Henry in my discussion and present my own tackle on the matter . Additionally, I seek to strengthen Kochiras’ argument that Newton sought to explain the cause of gravity in terms of secondary causation . I also provide some specification on (...) what Kochiras calls ‘Newton’s substance counting problem’ . In conclusion, I suggest a historical correction .Keywords: Isaac Newton ; Action at a distance; Cause of gravity; Fourth letter to Bentley. (shrink)
In his recent book, The Empirical Stance, Bas van Fraassen forcefully raises the question of what a philosophical position can or should be. He mainly discusses this question with regard to empiricism but his discussion makes it clear that he takes his proposed answer to be generalizable: not only empiricism but philosophical positions in general should be understood as stances rather than dogmata. The first part of this essay is devoted to an examination of van Fraassen’s critique of ‘naïve’ or (...) dogmatic empiricism, which represents an integral part of his argument for ‘stance’ empiricism. It will be argued that, contrary to van Fraassen’s view, not all versions of naïve empiricism run into the problems identified by him. In the second part of the paper the case will be made that, contrary to van Fraassen’s thesis, the stance empiricist is in at least as bad a position as the naïve empiricist with regard to the task of providing a radical critique of metaphysics, which van Fraassen takes to be an essential task that any empiricist should be able to accomplish. The third part of this essay concerns van Fraassen’s general proposal, and examines the question whether a philosophical position can possibly consist in a stance. It will be suggested that this is not the case. With regard to empiricism this has the implication that if one wants to be a philosopher and an empiricist at the same time one needs to subscribe to a form of naïve empiricism. Furthermore, it will be proposed that as a philosopher-empiricist one should want, or, at least, allow some form of metaphysical theorizing to be part of the philosophical enterprise after all. (shrink)
There has been a great deal of philosophical discussion about using people, using people intentionally, using people as a means to some end, and using people merely as a means to some end. In this paper, I defend the following claim about using people: NOT ALWAYS WRONG: using people—even merely as a means—is not always morally objectionable. Having defended that claim, I suggest that the following claim is also correct: NO ONE FEATURE: when it is morally objectionable to use people, (...) this is for many different kinds of reasons—there is no one wrong-making feature that every morally objectionable using has in common. After discussing these claims, I use them to present and motivate what I call the “precaution” theory of norms against using people. I conclude by considering a few cases from the criminal law context—cases that are naturally described as using people—to assess the moral appropriateness of this kind of use in these cases, and to demonstrate how the theory applies to the real world. (shrink)
Review of Desmond M. Clarke. Descartes: A Biography. xi + 507 pp., apps., figs., bibl., index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. $40 (cloth).; Richard Watson, Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of René Descartes. viii + 375 pp., figs., bibl., index. Boston: David R. Godine, 2002. $35 (cloth).
This paper attempts to shed light on three sets of issues that bear directly on our understanding of Locke and Kant. The first is whether Kant believes Locke merely anticipates his distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments or also believes Locke anticipates his notion of synthetic a priori cognition. The second is what should we as readers of Kant and Locke should think about Kant’s view whatever it turns out to be, and the third is the nature of Kant’s justification (...) for the comparison he draws between his philosophy and Locke’s. I argue (1) that Kant believes Locke anticipates both the analytic-synthetic distinction and Kant’s notion of synthetic a priori cognition, (2) that the best justification for Kant’s claim draws on Locke’s distinction between trifling and instructive knowledge, (3) that the arguments against this claim developed by Carson, Allison, and Newman fail to undermine it, and (4) that Kant’s own justification for his claim is quite different from what many commentators have thought it was (or should have been). (shrink)
The concept of evil plays a central role in many of Peter French’s publications. He defines evil as “a human action that jeopardizes another person’s (or group’s) aspirations to live a worthwhile life (or lives) by the willful infliction of undeserved harm on that person(s)” (French 2011, 61, 95). Inspired by Harry Frankfurt’s work on the importance of what we care about, French argues that “the life a person leads is worthwhile if what he or she really gives a damn (...) about satisfies some condition(s) of value” (2011, 189). Through an analysis of the concept of “worthwhile”, I endeavor to show that French’s account of evil is correct although his definition of a worthwhile life is too demanding. Defining an evil act as one that willfully imperils another’s aspirations to live a worthwhile life is a welcome addition to the philosophical literature dedicated to the analysis of evil. Much of this literature identifies evil as severe, intolerable, or excessive harm, but these descriptions remain vague. When is harm precisely severe, intolerable, or excessive? French provides an original and plausible interpretation of these kinds of evil harm by explaining them in terms of an impediment to aspirations to live a worthwhile life. However, French’s definition of a worthwhile life is too strong and hence excludes unmistakable instances of evil. It is quite possible that someone who cares about nonvaluable things, or someone lacking cares altogether, or non-human animals (who might fall into either one of these two categories), could be victims of evil. Therefore, if evil is an act that jeopardizes another’s aspirations to live a worthwhile life, then the necessary condition of a worthwhile life cannot be that one gives a damn about something of value; it must be something far less demanding. In order to retain the central insight in French’s account of evil, I offer an alternative suggestion concerning what makes a life worthwhile. To this end, I distinguish a worthwhile life from a meaningful, valuable, significant, or good life. Focusing on the definition and use of the word “worthwhile”, I find that a worthwhile life is one that is worth the time and effort of the individual whose life it is. Jeopardizing another’s ability to make such a determination about her life lies at the hardened heart of evil. (shrink)
In our contribution we will observe phenomenal architecture of a mind and operational architectonics of the brain and will show their intimate connectedness within a single integrated metastable continuum. The notion of operation of different complexity is the fundamental and central one in bridging the gap between brain and mind: it is precisely by means of this notion that it is possible to identify what at the same time belongs to the phenomenal conscious level and to the neurophysiological level of (...) brain activity organization, and what mediates between them. Implications for linguistic semantics, self-organized distributed computing algorithms, artificial machine consciousness, and diagnosis of dynamic brain diseases will be discussed briefly. (shrink)
It is argued that, based on Kant's descriptive metaphysics, one can prescribe the necessary metaphysical underpinnings for the possibility of conscious experience in an artificial system. This project is developed by giving an account of the a priori concepts of the understanding in such a system. A specification and implementation of the nomological conditions for a conscious system allows one to know a priori that any system possessing this structure will be conscious; thus enabling us to avoid possible false-indicators of (...) consciousness like that offered in a behaviouristic analysis. This is an alternative approach to the bottom-up or top-down approaches adopted by, for example CYC (Lenat and Feigenbaum 1992) and COG (Brooks 1994; Brooks and Stein 1993), neither of which, alone, or in some hybrid form, have proved productive. (shrink)
Purpose: Commenting on the transcript of a lecture. Findings: The document reconstructs the development of the original 1973 lecture by Heinz von Foerster into his best-known paper, On Constructing a Reality. Many aspects of that paper can be identified as being shaped through interaction with the audience. Implications: The lecture documented here was a forerunner of a central paper in constructivism.
Simone de Beauvoir’s early enthusiasm for the philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941)—denied in her 1958 autobiography, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter—is a surprising discovery in her 1927 handwritten student diary, as I reported in 1999 and explored at more length in 2003 (Simons 1999; Simons 2003). Discovered by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir after Beauvoir’s death in 1986 and now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale, Beauvoir’s student diary first appeared in print in the 2006 volume, Diary of a Philosophy Student: (...) 1926-27, followed in 2008 by the French publication, Cahiers de jeunesse: 1926-1930. Since my 1999 analysis of the 1927 diary, the publication of the 1926 diary and other posthumously discovered texts has deepened and complicated the evidence of Bergson’s influence.1 In this chapter, I propose to take up and expand upon my earlier analyses in the light of this new evidence, arguing that Beauvoir’s methodological turn to the description of immediate experience, especially her method of writing philosophy in literature and her lifelong interest in describing the subjective experience of time, drew upon Bergson’s philosophy before her first encounter with Husserl’s phenomenology which may have come as early as 1927; that her concept of bad faith and interest in exposing distortions in perception and thinking, as in the chapters in The Second Sex on myths about women, drew upon Bergson’s philosophy long before she had read Marx; and that her earliest formulation of the problem of the Other drew upon Bergson’s distinction between the “social self and the deep self,” two years before she met Jean-Paul Sartre and two decades before she first read Hegel’s Phenomenology. (shrink)
A. J. Ayer, who died in 1989, was acknowledged as one of Britain's most distinguished philosophers. In this memorial collection of essays leading Western philosophers reflect on Ayer's place in the history of philosophy and explore aspects of his thought and teaching. The volume also includes a posthumous essay by Ayer himself: 'A defence of empiricism'. These essays are undoubtedly a fitting tribute to a major figure, but the collection is not simply retrospective; rather it looks forward to present and (...) future developments in philosophical thought that Ayer's work has stimulated. (shrink)
On rationalist infallibilism, a wide range of both (i) analytic and (ii) synthetic a priori propositions can be infallibly justified (or absolutely warranted), i.e., justified to a degree that entails their truth and precludes their falsity. Though rationalist infallibilism is indisputably running its course, adherence to at least one of the two species of infallible a priori justification refuses to disappear from mainstream epistemology. Among others, Putnam (1978) still professes the a priori infallibility of some category (i) propositions, while Burge (...) (1986, 1988, 1996) and Lewis (1996) have recently affirmed the a priori infallibility of some category (ii) propositions. In this paper, I take aim at rationalist infallibilism by calling into question the a priori infallibility of both analytic and synthetic propositions. The upshot will be twofold: first, rationalist infallibilism unsurprisingly emerges as a defective epistemological doctrine, and second, more importantly, the case for the a priori infallibility of one or both categories of propositions turns out to lack cogency. (shrink)
Most known technology serves to ingeniously adapt the world to the physical and mental limitations of human beings. Humankind has acquired awesome power with its rather limited means. Nanotechnological capabilities further this power. On some accounts, however, nanotechnological research will contribute to a rather different kind of technological development, namely one that changes human beings so as to remove or reduce their physical and mental limitations. The prospect of this technological development has inspired a fair amount of ethical debate. Here, (...) proponents and opponents of such visions of human enhancement are criticized alike for engaging in speculative ethics. This critique exposes a general pattern that extends to other nano-, bio-, or neuroethical debates. While it does not apply to all discussions of “enhancement technologies” it does apply to all ethical discourse that constructs and validates an incredible future which it only then proceeds to endorse or critique. This discourse violates conditions of intelligibility, squanders the scarce and valuable resource of ethical concern, and misleads by casting remote possibilities or philosophical thought-experiments as foresight about likely technical developments. In effect, it deflects consideration from the transformative technologies of the present. (shrink)
Business relations rely on shared perceptions of what is acceptable/expected norms of behavior. Immense expansion in transnational business made rudimentary consensus on acceptable business practices across cultural boundaries particularly important. Nonetheless, as more and more nations with different cultural and historical experiences interact in the global economy, the potential for misunderstandings based on different expectations is magnified. Such misunderstandings emerge in a growing literature on "improper" business practices – articulated from a narrow cultural perspective. This paper reports an ongoing research (...) on the cultural and contextual aspects of business ethics. The objective is to investigate how the perception/attitudes of business students towards the ethical dimension of doing business varies in different countries; Whether there are socio-cultural factors that influence the perception of ethicality in business practices. Research findings among business students in six countries: China, Egypt, Finland, Korea, Russia, and the U.S.A. are reported. While all groups had basic agreement on what constitutes ethical business practices, differences are found in the respondents'' tolerance to damage resulting from "unethical" behavior. Without underestimating the role of national culture, variations in research results also point to the importance of current socio-political developments in the relevant countries. Implications for business teaching and management development are discussed. (shrink)
Epistemic two-dimensional semantics (E2D), advocated by Chalmers (2006) and Jackson (1998), among others, aims to restore the link between necessity and a priority seemingly broken by Kripke (1972/1980), by showing how armchair access to semantic intensions provides a basis for knowledge of necessary a posteriori truths (among other modal claims). The most compelling objections to E2D are that, for one or other reason, the requisite intensions are not accessible from the armchair (see, e.g., Wilson 1982, Melnyk 2008). As we substantiate (...) here, existing versions of E2D are indeed subject to such access-based objections. But, we moreover argue, the difficulty lies not with E2D but with the typically presupposed conceiving-based epistemology of intensions. Freed from that epistemology, and given the right alternative---one where inference to the best explanation (i.e., abduction) provides the operative guide to intensions---E2D can meet access-based objections, and fulfill its promise of restoring the desirable link between necessity and a priority. This result serves as a central application of Biggs and Wilson 2016 (summarized here), according to which abduction is an a priori mode of inference. (shrink)
This paper presents a new argument against A-theories of time. A-theorists hold that there is an objective now (present moment) and an objective flow of time, the latter constituted by the movement of the objective now through time. A-theorists therefore want to draw different pictures of reality—showing the objective now in different positions—depending upon the time at which the picture is drawn. In this paper it is argued that the times at which the different pictures are drawn may be taken (...) to be normal times or hypertimes. If they are normal times then the A-theory is inconsistent, or else collapses to the B-theory—and appealing to primitive tense operators will not help A-theorists avoid this conclusion. If the times are hypertimes then the A-theory is consistent, but deeply problematic none the less. (shrink)
Our trust in the word of others is often dismissed as unworthy, because the illusory ideal of "autonomous knowledge" has prevailed in the debate about the nature of knowledge. Yet we are profoundly dependent on others for a vast amount of what any of us claim to know. Coady explores the nature of testimony in order to show how it might be justified as a source of knowledge, and uses the insights that he has developed to challenge certain widespread assumptions (...) in the areas of history, law, mathematics, and psychology. (shrink)
Context: Although ethics consultation is commonplace in United States (U.S.) hospitals, descriptive data about this health service are lacking. Objective: To describe the prevalence, practitioners, and processes of ethics consultation in U.S. hospitals. Design: A 56-item phone or questionnaire survey of the "best informant" within each hospital. Participants: Random sample of 600 U.S. general hospitals, stratified by bed size. Results: The response rate was 87.4%. Ethics consultation services (ECSs) were found in 81% of all general hospitals in the U.S., and (...) in 100% of hospitals with more than 400 beds. The median number of consults performed by ECSs in the year prior to survey was 3. Most individuals performing ethics consultation were physicians (34%), nurses (31%), social workers (11%), or chaplains (10%). Only 41% had formal supervised training in ethics consultation. Consultation practices varied widely both within and between ECSs. For example, 65% of ECSs always made recommendations, whereas 6% never did. These findings highlight a need to clarify standards for ethics consultation practices. (shrink)
The article starts by arguing that seeing the firm as a mere nexus of contracts or as an abstract entity where different stakeholder interests concur is insufficient for a “humanistic business ethos”, which entails a complete view of the human being. It seems more appropriate to understand the firm as a human community, a concept which can be found in several sources, including managerial literature, business ethics scholars, and Catholic Social Teaching. In addition, there are also philosophical grounds that support (...) the idea of business as a human community. Extending this concept, and drawing from some Phenomenological-Personalist philosophers, we propose that the firm should be seen as a particular “community of persons” oriented to providing goods and services efficiently and profitably. Being a “community of persons” emphasizes both individuals and the whole, and makes explicit the uniqueness, conscience, free will, dignity, and openness to human flourishing. This requires appropriate communication about and participation in matters which affect people’s life, and makes it essential to cooperate for the common good of the business firm and the society. (shrink)
One of Laurence BonJour’s main arguments for the existence of the a priori is an argument that a priori justification is indispensable for making inferences from experience to conclusions that go beyond experience. This argument has recently come under heavy fire from Albert Casullo, who has dubbed BonJour’s argument, “The Generality Argument.” In this paper I (i) defend the Generality Argument against Casullo’s criticisms, and (ii) develop a new, more plausible, version of the Generality Argument in response to some other (...) objections of my own. Two of these objections stem out of BonJour’s failing to fully consider the importance of the distinction between being justified in believing that an inference is good and being justified in making an inference. The final version of the argument that I develop sees the Generality Argument as one part of a cumulative case argument for the existence of a priori justification, rather than as a stand-alone knock-down argument. (shrink)
This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...) at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the ﬂow of time. I argue that ‘no backward branching’ prohibits Belnap’s theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justiﬁcation. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson thinks that every object is a necessary, eternal existent. In defense of his view, Williamson appeals primarily to considerations from modal and tense logic. While I am uncertain about his modal claims, I think there are good metaphysical reasons to believe permanentism: the principle that everything always exists. B-theorists of time and change have long denied that objects change with respect to unqualified existence. But aside from Williamson, nearly all A-theorists defend temporaryism: the principle that there are temporary (...) existents. I think A-theorists are better off without this added commitment, but I will not argue for that in any great detail here. Instead, I will contend that a very tempting A-theoretic argument for temporaryism is unsound. In the first half of the paper, I will develop the Moorean “common sense” argument for temporaryism and dispute its central premise, namely that temporaryism is a valid generalization from highly plausible beliefs about change. I will argue that given the pervasive vagueness in our ordinary beliefs about change and the background commitments of all A-theories, no party can claim to be the common sense view because no party can accommodate most of our common sense beliefs about change in existence. In the second half of the paper, I will propose a permanentist A-theory that explains all change over time as a species of property change. I call it the minimal A-theory, since it dispenses with the change in existence assumption. As we'll see, the permanentist alternative performs well enough in explaining our ordinary beliefs about change, and it has better prospects for answering some objections commonly levied against A-theories. (shrink)
I objected that the defeasibility theory of knowledge prohibits you from knowing that you know that p if your knowledge that p is a posteriori. Rodrigo Borges claims that Peter Klein has already satisfactorily answered a version of my objection. He attempts to defend Klein’s reply and argues that my objection fails because a principle on which it is based is false.I will show that my objection is not a version of the old one that Klein attempts (unsuccessfully) to address, (...) that Borges’ defence of Klein’s reply fails and that his argument against my new objection leaves it untouched. (shrink)
A formal theory of truth, alternative to tarski's 'orthodox' theory, based on truth-value gaps, is presented. the theory is proposed as a fairly plausible model for natural language and as one which allows rigorous definitions to be given for various intuitive concepts, such as those of 'grounded' and 'paradoxical' sentences.
In this article I investigate a neglected form of radical skepticism that questions whether any of our logical, mathematical and other seemingly self-evident beliefs count as knowledge. ‘A priori skepticism,’ as I will call it, challenges our ability to know any of the following sorts of propositions: (1.1) The sum of two and three is five. (1.2) Whatever is square is rectangular. (1.3) Whatever is red is colored. (1.4) No surface can be uniformly red and uniformly blue at the same (...) time. (1.5) If ‘if p then q’ is true and ‘p’ is true, then ‘q’ is true. (1.6) No statement can be both true and false at the same time and in the same respect. (1.7) If A is taller than B, and B is taller than C, then A is taller than C. (1.8) Everything is identical to itself. (1.9) If the conclusion of an inductive argument is contingent, it is possible for the premises of that argument to be true and its conclusion to be false. (1.10) George W. Bush could have been a plumber. (1.11) George W. Bush could not have been a prime number. (1.12) ‘2 + 3 = 5’ is necessarily true. (shrink)
I propose a distinct type of robustness, which I suggest can support a confirmatory role in scientific reasoning, contrary to the usual philosophical claims. In model robustness, repeated production of the empirically successful model prediction or retrodiction against a background of independentlysupported and varying model constructions, within a group of models containing a shared causal factor, may suggest how confident we can be in the causal factor and predictions/retrodictions, especially once supported by a variety of evidence framework. I present climate (...) models of greenhouse gas global warming of the 20th Century as an example, and emphasize climate scientists’ discussions of robust models and causal aspects. The account is intended as applicable to a broad array of sciences that use complex modeling techniques. (shrink)
in his prolegomena to any future metaphysics, Kant states that “[a]ll metaphysicians are … suspended from their occupations until such a time as they will have satisfactorily answered the question: How are synthetic cognitions a priori possible?” (Prolegomena, 4:278).1 In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant describes the issue of the synthetic a priori as “[t]he real problem of pure reason” (B19), and in the Critique of the Power of Judgment as “the general problem of transcendental philosophy” (Judgment, 5:289). Kant (...) attempts to answer this question for certain synthetic a priori cognitions (for example, those of mathematics and of natural science), and argues that no such answer can be found for others (in .. (shrink)
At some point in the future – perhaps within the next few decades – it will be possible for foetuses to develop completely outside the womb. Ectogenesis, as this technology is called, raises substantial issues for the abortion debate. One such issue is that it will become possible for a woman to have an abortion, in the sense of having the foetus removed from her body, but for the foetus to be kept alive. We argue that while there is a (...) right to an abortion, there are reasons to doubt that there is a right to the death of the foetus. Our strategy in this essay is to consider and reject three arguments in favour of this latter right. The first claims that women have a right not to be biological mothers, the second that women have a right to genetic privacy, and the third that a foetus is one's property. Furthermore, we argue that it follows from rejecting the third claim that genetic parents also lack a right to the destruction of cryopreserved embryos used for in vitro fertilization. The conclusion that a woman possesses no right to the death of the foetus builds upon the claims that other pro-choice advocates, such as Judith Jarvis Thomson, have made. (shrink)
The social trust argument asserts that a political community cannot survive without social trust, and that social trust cannot be achieved or maintained without a political community having discretionary control over immigration. Various objections have already been raised against this argument, but because those objections all assume various liberal commitments they leave the heart of the social trust argument untouched. This chapter argues that by looking at the socio-historical circumstances of Latino/as in the United States, an inherent weakness of the (...) social trust argument gets exposed. Giving a political community discretionary control over immigration not only fails to deliver on the promise of social trust, but it actually seems to promote its opposite, social mistrust. This suggests that a far better way of promoting the goal of social trust, and at the same time abating social mistrust, is to actually circumvent a political community’s ability to control immigration by giving priority both to socio-historical circumstances and immigrant rights (at least in a minimalist sense) in determining immigration policy. (shrink)
Sober and Elgin defend the claim that there are a priori causal laws in biology. Lange and Rosenberg take issue with this on Humean grounds, among others. I will argue that Sober and Elgin don’t go far enough – there are a priori causal laws in many sciences. Furthermore, I will argue that this thesis is compatible with a Humean metaphysics and an empiricist epistemology.
In recent years, Reichenbach's 1920 conception of the principles of coordination has attracted increased attention after Michael Friedman's attempt to revive Reichenbach's idea of a "relativized a priori". This paper follows the origin and development of this idea in the framework of Reichenbach's distinction between the axioms of coordination and the axioms of connection. It suggests a further differentiation among the coordinating axioms and accordingly proposes a different account of Reichenbach's "relativized a priori".
This paper argues for and explores the implications of the following epistemological principle for knowability a priori (with 'Ka' abbreviating 'it is knowable a priori that'). -/- (AK) For all ϕ, ψ such that ϕ semantically presupposes ψ: if Ka(ϕ), Ka(ψ). -/- Well-known arguments for the contingent a priori and a priori knowledge of logical truth founder when the semantic presuppositions of the putative items of knowledge are made explicit. Likewise, certain kinds of analytic truth turn out to carry semantic (...) presuppositions that make them ineligible as items of a priori knowledge. -/- On a happier note, I argue that (AK) offers an appealing, theory-neutral explanation of the a posteriori character of certain necessary identities, as well as an interesting rationalization for a commonplace linguistic maneuver in philosophical work on the a priori. (shrink)
Here we challenge the orthodoxy according to which abduction is an a posteriori mode of inference. We start by providing a case study illustrating how abduction can justify a philosophical claim not justifiable by empirical evidence alone. While many grant abduction's epistemic value, nearly all assume that abductive justification is a posteriori, on grounds that our belief in abduction's epistemic value depends on empirical evidence about how the world contingently is. Contra this assumption, we argue, first, that our belief in (...) abduction’s epistemic value is not and could not be justified a posteriori, and second, that attention to the roles experience plays in abductive justification supports taking abduction to be an a priori mode of inference. We close by highlighting how our strategy for establishing the a priority of abduction positively contrasts with strategies in Bonjour (1998), Swinburne (2001), and Peacocke (2004) aiming to establish the a priority of certain ampliative modes of inference or abductive principles. (shrink)
According to Kant, it is impermissible to treat humanity as a mere means. If we accept Kant's equation of humanity with rational agency, and are literalists about ascriptions of agency to collectives it appears to follow that we may not treat collectives as mere means. On most standard accounts of what it is to treat something as a means this conclusion seems highly implausible. I conclude that we are faced with a range of options. One would be to rethink the (...) equation of humanity with rationality. Another would be to abandon the prohibition on treating as a means. The last would be to abandon literalist construals of attribution of agency to collectives. (shrink)
Theories of well-being tell us what makes a life good for the one who lives it. But there is more to what makes a life worth living than just well-being. We care about the worth of our lives, and we are right to do so. I defend an objective list theory of the worth of a life: The most worthwhile lives are those high in various objective goods. These principally include welfare and meaning. By distinguishing between worth and welfare, we (...) can capture the intuitive pull of broad theories of welfare without their liabilities. (shrink)
Is socialism morally preferable to free market capitalism? G. A. Cohen (2009) has argued that even when the economic inequalities produced by free markets are not the result of injustice, they nevertheless ought to be avoided because they are community undermining. As free markets inevitably lead to economic inequalities and Socialism does not, Socialism is morally preferable. This argument has been the subject of recent criticism. Chad Van Schoelandt (2014) argues that it depends on a conception of community that is (...) incompatible with pluralism while Richard Miller (2010) argues that it rules out individualistic pursuits. I will show that both of these objections rest upon a misreading of Cohen’s argument. (shrink)
The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge has been the subject of an enormous amount of discussion, but the literature is biased against recognizing the intimate relationship between these forms of knowledge. For instance, it seems to be almost impossible to find a sample of pure a priori or a posteriori knowledge. In this paper, it will be suggested that distinguishing between a priori and a posteriori is more problematic than is often suggested, and that a priori and (...) a posteriori resources are in fact used in parallel. We will define this relationship between a priori and a posteriori knowledge as the bootstrapping relationship. As we will see, this relationship gives us reasons to seek for an altogether novel definition of a priori and a posteriori knowledge. Specifically, we will have to analyse the relationship between a priori knowledge and a priori reasoning , and it will be suggested that the latter serves as a more promising starting point for the analysis of aprioricity. We will also analyse a number of examples from the natural sciences and consider the role of a priori reasoning in these examples. The focus of this paper is the analysis of the concepts of a priori and a posteriori knowledge rather than the epistemic domain of a posteriori and a priori justification. (shrink)