We examine to what extent an adequate ontology of technical artefacts can be based on existing general accounts of the relation between higher-order objects and their material basis. We consider two of these accounts: supervenience and constitution. We take as our starting point the thesis that artefacts have a ‘dual nature’, that is, that they are both material bodies and functional objects. We present two criteria for an adequate ontology of artefacts, ‘Underdetermination’ and ‘Realizability Constraints’ , which address aspects of (...) the dual nature thesis. Assessing supervenience accounts, we find them either wanting with respect to these criteria or insufficiently informative. Next, we argue that a recent application of Lynne Rudder Baker’s constitution view to artefacts cannot meet our criteria, although the broader view leaves room for improvement. Based on our evaluation of the most promising candidates, we conclude that so far general metaphysical views fail to address the most salient features of artefacts. Although they can account for the fact that artefacts have a ‘dual nature’, they do not offer the conceptual resources needed to describe the relation between these natures; this relation raises a hard problem in metaphysics.Keywords: Metaphysics; Artefact; Supervenience; Constitution; Underdetermination. (shrink)
Propositional attitudes, such as beliefs, desires, and intentions, can be attributed to collective agents. In my paper I focus on cognitive attitudes, and I explore the various types of collective beliefs. I argue that there is a whole spectrum of collective beliefs, and I distinguish between two extremes: the weak opinion poll conception and the strong agreement-based conception. Strong collective beliefs should be understood in terms of the acceptance of a proposition rather than of belief proper. They are not purely (...) epistemic and involve practical considerations. To believe that p collectively in the strong sense is to adopt a policy to use that proposition in the group's deliberations about future actions. (shrink)
This paper systematically compares two frameworks for analysing technical artefacts: the Dual-Nature approach, exemplified by the contributions to Kroes and Meijers , and the collectivist approach advocated by Schyfter , following Kusch . After describing the main tenets of both approaches, we show that there is significant overlap between them: both frameworks analyse the most typical cases of artefact use, albeit in different terms, but to largely the same extent. Then, we describe several kinds of cases for which the frameworks (...) yield different analyses. For these cases, which include one-of-a-kind artefacts and defect types, the Dual-Nature framework leads to a more attractive analysis. Our comparison also gives us the opportunity to respond to Vaesen’s critical paper. We do so by distinguishing two readings of the Dual-Nature framework and pointing out that on the sustainable, weaker reading, Vaesen’s considerations supplement the framework rather than offering an alternative to it.Keywords: Technical artefact; Dual Nature framework; Collectivist framework; Artefact use. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert has recently argued in ProtoSociology against what she called my rejectionist’s view according to which we have to make a distinction between the intentional states of believing and accepting and genuine group beliefs, i.e. group beliefs that cannot be reduced to the beliefs of the individual members of a group, should be understood in terms of the acceptance of a view rather than of beliefs proper. In this reply I discuss Gilbert’s objections.
As part of the conference commemorating Theoria's 75th anniversary, a round table discussion on philosophy publishing was held in Bergendal, Sollentuna, Sweden, on 1 October 2010. Bengt Hansson was the chair, and the other participants were eight editors-in-chief of philosophy journals: Hans van Ditmarsch (Journal of Philosophical Logic), Pascal Engel (Dialectica), Sven Ove Hansson (Theoria), Vincent Hendricks (Synthese), Søren Holm (Journal of Medical Ethics), Pauline Jacobson (Linguistics and Philosophy), Anthonie Meijers (Philosophical Explorations), Henry S. Richardson (Ethics) and Hans Rott (Erkenntnis).
The philosophy of mind has long been dominated by the view that mental states are identical with, constituted by, or grounded in brain states. Lynne Rudder Baker has been a persistent critic of this view, developing instead a theory grounded in a larger metaphysical outlook called Practical Realism. This volume is the first critical book-length evaluation of her views and criticism; leading philosophers answer her challenges and explore the consequences of Practical Realism, and Baker herself provides thoughtful replies to elaborate (...) her own position. (shrink)
In my reply I focus on three topics: the usefulness of Searle's physical analogies for understanding the relationship between higher-level mental properties and lower-level physical properties, the question of overdetermination and the causal efficacy of unconscious intentional states. I argue that Searle's reply does not refute my arguments against his analogies, while concerns about overdetermination are only taken away because his reply shows that there is no genuine unconscious mental causation in his view. That makes it hard to understand how (...) he can maintain at the same time that we follow rules unconsciously. (shrink)
In my article I evaluate Searle's account of mental causation, in particular his account of the causal efficacy of unconscious intentional states. I argue that top-down causation and overdetermination are unsolved problems in Searle's philosophy of mind, despite his assurances to the contrary. I also argue that there are conflicting claims involved in his account of mental causation and his account of the unconscious. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand how unconscious intentional states can be causally efficacious. My (...) conclusion will be that if Searle's conception of unconscious intentionality is to play a genuine role in the causal explanation of human action, it needs to be rethought. (shrink)
The relation between Church and state is nowadays at stake. This article concerns the relation between Church and state from an ecclesiastical and canonical point of view. It makes clear, how the ecclesiastical doctrine reacts to social developments in relation to the national state in order to safeguard the independence of the Church. The 19th century ecclesiastical doctrine on the Church as a societas perfecta reacts on doctrines on the national states, which claimed absolute sovereignty and by that subordinated the (...) Church to the civil government and civil law. With societas perfecta doctrine the Church defends its sovereignty in the domain of the spiritual good of men. In this way the Church defines and protects its divine origin and independence from the national state. In the first half of the 20th century the democratic and constitutional national states were developed, which acknowledges religious freedom on a constitutional level as a human and a civil right. Because of this progress the Second Vatican Council could formulate its doctrine on religious freedom based on the traditional ecclesiastical teaching of the freedom of the religious act. By then, the independence of the Church is founded and defended on the freedom of the Church, which is guaranteed in national states, which acknowledge religious freedom as a human and civil right. Although one can say that there is discontinuity in the ecclesiastical teaching on the Church as a societas perfecta and the ecclesiastical doctrine on religious freedom, there exists also continuity, because both ecclesiastical doctrines intend to safeguard the independence of the Church in human society. (shrink)