It is argued that reliance on the testimony of others cannot be viewed as reliance on a kind of evidence. Speech being essentially voluntary, the speaker cannot see his own choice of words as evidence of their truth, and so cannot honestly offer them to others as such. Rather, in taking responsibility for the truth of what he says, the speaker offers a guarantee or assurance of its truth, and in believing him the hearer accepts this assurance. I argue that, (...) contrary to appearances, this account is compatible with the hearer acquiring knowledge, and in fact throws interesting light on the idea of knowledge. -/- . (shrink)
Ross, Alf Loar, Brian, Editor.Directives and Norms. New York: Humanities Press, . ix, 188 pp. Reprint available April 2009 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-1-58477-961-2. ISBN-10: 1-58477-961-6. Cloth with dust jacket. $65.00 * Reprint of the first American edition. One of the most interesting jurists of the post-World War II era, Ross [1899-1979] was a legal and moral philosopher, scholar of international law and the leading representative of Scandinavian Legal Realism. This book and On Law and Justice (1958) are (...) his principal works. In Directives and Norms Ross asks whether imperatives (or, to use his term, 'directives') are subject to logic in the same way as indicatives. He shows the difference between indicative and directive discourse and explains the concepts 'directive' and 'norm' as they function in the social sciences, especially in the study of law. A contemporary essay in the Modern Law Review (32:544), though critical of this work, was still impressed by its "clear and convincing account" of these processes. (shrink)
The existing literature treats of several investigations with a certain bearing on the question which is roughly indicated by the title “Imperatives and Logic.” Some of those investigations, however, are entirely outside the scope of the present work.Mally sets himself the task of developing a “Logik des Willens” constituting a parallel to the usual logic, the “Logik des Denkens". In order to emphasize its independence, the author also calls this “Logik des Willens” “Deontik”, and he conceives it as being based (...) on the “Wesensgesetze” of will in the same way as the usual logic is conceived as being based on the “Wesensgesetze” of thought. The author develops a formalistic deductive system on the basis of 5 axioms of demands, including the axiom that there is at least one fact which is unconditionally demanded, and through a lengthy series of theorems he arrives at the sentence that what is unconditionally demanded is identical with what is actually the case: “was sein soll, ist Tatsache”. Similarly, the author develops a system of axioms for “right” volition, including the axiom that right volition is non-contradictory. (shrink)
The increasing demand for transparency in AI has recently come under scrutiny. The question is often posted in terms of “epistemic double standards”, and whether the standards for transparency in AI ought to be higher than, or equivalent to, our standards for ordinary human reasoners. I agree that the push for increased transparency in AI deserves closer examination, and that comparing these standards to our standards of transparency for other opaque systems is an appropriate starting point. I suggest that a (...) more fruitful exploration of this question will involve a different comparison class. We routinely treat judgments made by highly trained experts in specialized fields as fair or well-grounded even though—by the nature of expert/layperson division of epistemic labor—an expert will not be able to provide an explanation of the reasoning behind these judgments that makes sense to most other people. Regardless, laypeople are thought to be acting reasonably—and ethically—in deferring to the judgments of experts that concern their areas of specialization. I suggest that we reframe our question regarding the appropriate standards of transparency in AI as one that asks when, why, and to what degree it would be ethical to accept opacity in AI. I argue that our epistemic relation to certain opaque AI technology may be relevantly similar to the layperson’s epistemic relation to the expert in certain respects, such that the successful expert/layperson division of epistemic labor can serve as a blueprint for the ethical use of opaque AI. (shrink)
This book examines the ways that Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy adopt and reconfigure the Kantian understanding of "aesthetic presentation." In Kant, "aesthetic presentation" is understood in a technical sense as a specific mode of experience within a typology of different spheres of experience. This study argues that Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy generalize the elements of this specific mode of experience so that the aesthetic attitude and the vocabulary used by Kant to describe it are brought to bear on things in (...) general. The book goes beyond documenting the well-known influence of Kant's Critique of Judgment , however, to open up a new way of approaching some of the central issues in post-Kantian thought—including why it is that art, the art work, and the aesthetic are still available as a vehicle of critique even, or especially, after Auschwitz. It shows that a genealogy of contemporary theory needs to look at the question of presentation, which has arguably been a question that has worried philosophy from its very beginning. (shrink)
Abstract Most discussions of risk are developed in broadly consequentialist terms, focusing on the outcomes of risks as such. This paper will provide an alternative account of risk from a virtue ethical perspective, shifting the focus to the decision to take the risk. Making ethical decisions about risk is, we will argue, not fundamentally about the actual chain of events that the decision sets in process, but about the reasonableness of the decision to take the risk in the first place. (...) A virtue ethical account of risk is needed because the notion of the ‘reasonableness’ of the decision to take the risk is affected by the complexity of the moral status of particular instances of risk-taking and the risk-taker’s responsiveness to these contextual features. The very idea of ‘reasonable risk’ welcomes judgments about the nature of the risk itself, raises questions about complicity, culpability and responsibility, while at its heart, involves a judgement about the justification of risk which unavoidably focuses our attention on the character of the individuals involved in risk making decisions. Keywords: Risk; ethics; morality; responsibility; virtue; choice; reasons . (shrink)
Making decisions with an, often significant, element of risk seems to be an integral part of many of the projects of the diverse profession of engineering. Whether it be decisions about the design of products, manufacturing processes, public works, or developing technological solutions to environmental, social and global problems, risk taking seems inherent to the profession. Despite this, little attention has been paid to the topic and specifically to how our understanding of engineering as a distinctive profession might affect how (...) we should make decisions under risk. This paper seeks to remedy this, firstly by offering a nuanced account of risk and then by considering how specific claims about our understanding of engineering as a social profession, with corresponding social values and obligations, should inform how we make decisions about risk in this context. (shrink)
With the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in our lives, the ethical implications of AI have received attention from various communities. Building on previous work on trust in people and technology, we advance a multidimensional, multilevel conceptualization of trust in AI and examine the relationship between trust and ethics using the data from a survey of a national sample in the U.S. This paper offers two key dimensions of trust in AI—human-like trust and functionality trust—and presents a multilevel conceptualization (...) of trust with dispositional, institutional, and experiential trust each significantly correlated with trust dimensions. Along with trust in AI, we examine perceptions of the importance of seven ethics requirements of AI offered by the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group. Then the association between ethics requirements and trust is evaluated through regression analysis. Findings suggest that the ethical requirement of societal and environmental well-being is positively associated with human-like trust in AI. Accountability and technical robustness are two other ethical requirements, which are significantly associated with functionality trust in AI. Further, trust in AI was observed to be higher than trust in other institutions. Drawing from our findings, we offer a multidimensional framework of trust that is inspired by ethical values to ensure the acceptance of AI as a trustworthy technology. (shrink)
BackgroundIn clinical research, obtaining informed consent from participants is an ethical and legal requirement. Conveying the information concerning the study can be done using multiple methods yet this step commonly relies exclusively on the informed consent form alone. While this is legal, it does not ensure the participant’s true comprehension. New effective methods of conveying consent information should be tested. In this study we compared the effect of different methods on the knowledge of caregivers of participants of a clinical trial (...) on Pemba Island, Tanzania.MethodsA total of 254 caregivers were assigned to receive a pamphlet, an oral information session or a pamphlet and an oral information session about the clinical trial procedures, their rights, benefits and potential risks. Their post-intervention knowledge was assessed using a questionnaire. One group of caregivers had not received any information when they were interviewed.ResultsIn contrast to the pamphlet, attending an information session significantly increased caregivers’ knowledge for some of the questions. Most of these questions were either related to the parasite or to the trial design.ConclusionsIn conclusion, within our trial on Pemba Island, a pamphlet was found to not be a good form of conveying clinical trial information while an oral information session improved knowledge. Not all caregivers attending an information session responded correctly to all questions; therefore, better forms of communicating information need to be found to achieve a truly informed consent. (shrink)
This book places Benjamin’s writing on revolution in the context of his conception of historical knowledge. The fundamental problem that faces any analysis of Benjamin’s approach to revolution is that he deploys notions that belong to the domain of individual experience. His theory of modernity with its emphasis on the disintegration of collective experience further aggravates the problem. Benjamin himself understood the problem of revolution to be primarily that of the conceptualization of collective experience (its possibility and sites) under the (...) conditions of modern bourgeois society. The novelty of his approach to revolution lies in the fact that he directly connects it with historical experience. Benjamin’s conception of revolution thus constitutes an integral part of his distinctive theory of historical knowledge, which is also essentially a theory of experience. Through a detailed study of Benjamin’s writings on the topics of the child and the dream, and an analysis of his ideas of history, the fulfilled wish, similitude and communist society, this book shows how the conceptual analysis of his corpus can get to the heart of Benjamin’s conception of revolutionary experience and distil its difficulties and mechanisms. (shrink)
Jonathan Quong Ethics, 119, 507–537 has recently argued that the permissibility of killing innocent threats turns on a distinction between eliminative and opportunistic agency. When we kill bystanders we view them under the guise of opportunism by using them as mere survival tools, but when we kill threats we simply eliminate them. According to Quong, the distinction between opportunistic and eliminative agency reveals that there are two different ways of killing someone as a means to save your own life. Call (...) this the Means Distinction. In this note, I argue that although the Means Distinction seems prima facie plausible it is not a sufficient explanation for the permissibility of killing threats. My argument against the Means Distinction is two-fold. Most non-consequentialists accept that the Means Distinction carries some moral significance, but I argue that this is a mistake: we do not have any reason to believe that opportunistic killings are, in general, worse than eliminative killings. Following this, I argue that even if we accept the Means Distinction, there are threat-type scenarios in which there is no intuitive difference between killing a threat opportunistically and killing a threat eliminatively. (shrink)
Reprint of the first American edition. One of the most interesting jurists of the post-World War II era, Ross [1899-1979] was a legal and moral philosopher, scholar of international law and the leading representative of Scandinavian Legal Realism. This book and On Law and Justice (1958) are his principal works. In Directives and Norms Ross asks whether imperatives (or, to use his term, 'directives') are subject to logic in the same way as indicatives. He shows the difference between indicative and (...) directive discourse and explains the concepts 'directive' and 'norm' as they function in the social sciences, especially in the study of law. A contemporary essay in the Modern Law Review (32:544), though critical of this work, was still impressed by its "clear and convincing account" of these processes. (shrink)
This article is a critical examination of the approach to truth in Foucault’s late writing on the topic of ‘parrhesia’. I argue that his 1983 Berkeley seminar on ‘Discourse and Truth’ approaches the topic of truth as a positive value and that this approach presents, at least prima facie, a problem of continuity with his earlier critique of the presumption of an exclusionary relation between truth and power in works such as Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality: An (...) Introduction. Does the ethical notion of ‘parrhesia’ imply a different relation between truth and power than the one developed in the earlier works? And if so, what are we to make of the difference? In particular, 1) what does it mean to say that speaking the truth is dangerous? And 2) Are the two positions on truth compatible? What does it take to reconcile the two perspectives? (shrink)
This article gives a critical account of Agamben's contention that the camp is the paradigm of 'bio-politics' in the west. It analyses the deficiencies of this paradigm by means of comparison with other approaches to juridical topics and political theory (e.g., the treatments of the topics of force and state power in liberalism and Foucault). First, I ask about the features Agamben ascribes to the camp space and in what respects they support his contention that the camp has general significance. (...) Second, I question the reasons he gives for his view that the camp situation discloses the general tendencies of legal codes and practices in the West. In particular, I ask whether, as Agamben contends, his approach allows tendencies in the West that would otherwise be obscure to be identifiable, or whether his approach is too speculative to be useful as political theory. (shrink)
El propósito de este trabajo es presentar una reconstrucción de cómo se articulan las nociones de finalidad y naturaleza en la física de Aristóteles, así como de la relación que guardan estos principios con la substancia eterna e inmóvil que introduce el filósofo griego en _Metaph_. XII. Como es bien sabido, hay un espectro amplio de lecturas acerca de la postura aristotélica sobre el particular, las cuales responden a distintas valoraciones de los argumentos que aparecen en los pasajes que el (...) filósofo griego dedica al estudio de estos temas. La lectura que se defenderá en el presente texto podría describirse como minimalista. (shrink)
This paper critically evaluates Foucault’s relation to Bachelard and Canguilhem. It reconsiders the relevance of the concept of “influence” for treating this relation in order to register the more sceptical position Foucault adopts towards knowledge practices than either of these figures from twentieth-century French epistemology.
In this book, Alison Ross engages in a detailed study of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the image, exploring the significant shifts in Benjamin’s approach to the topic over the course of his career. Using Kant’s treatment of the topic of sensuous form in his aesthetics as a comparative reference, Ross argues that Benjamin’s thinking on the image undergoes a major shift between his 1924 essay on ‘Goethe’s Elective Affinities ,’ and his work on The Arcades Project from 1927 up until (...) his death in 1940 . The two periods of Benjamin’s writing share a conception of the image as a potent sensuous force able to provide a frame of existential meaning. In the earlier period this function attracts Benjamin’s critical attention, whereas in the later he mobilises it for revolutionary outcomes. The book gives a critical treatment of the shifting assumptions in Benjamin’s writing about the image that warrant this altered view. It draws on hermeneutic studies of meaning, scholarship in the history of religions and key texts from the modern history of aesthetics to track the reversals and contradictions in the meaning functions that Benjamin attaches to the image in the different periods of his thinking. Above all, it shows the relevance of a critical consideration of Benjamin’s writing on the image for scholarship in visual culture, critical theory, aesthetics and philosophy more broadly. (shrink)
This paper explores concepts of multiple and nested identities and how these relate to citizenship and rights, and the implications of identities and rights for active citizenship education. Various theoretical conceptions of identity are analysed, and in particular ideas concerning multiple identities that are used contingently, and about identities that do not necessarily include feeling a strong affinity with others in the group. The argument then moves to the relationship between identity and citizenship, and particularly citizenship and rights. Citizenship is (...) treated non-legalistically, as one of the locations of belonging. The paper draws on three successive categorisations of citizenship rights: by T.H. Marshall in the 1950s, Karel Vasak in the late 1970s and John Urry in the 1990s, and is illustrated in part by the development of European citizenship in parallel to national identity. This is then linked to how contemporary citizenship education might use the exploration of contested rights as a way of developing practical enactive skills of citizenship. (shrink)
Illusionism about phenomenal properties has the potential to leave us with all the benefit of taking consciousness seriously and far fewer problems than those accompanying phenomenal realism. The particular problem I explore here is an epistemological puzzle that leaves the phenomenal realist with a dilemma but causes no trouble for the illusionist: how can we account for false beliefs about our own phenomenal properties? If realism is true, facts about our phenomenal properties must hold independent of our beliefs about those (...) properties, so mistaken phenomenal beliefs must always remain an open possibility. But there is no way to identify the phenomenal facts that make these beliefs false other than by mere stipulation. If illusionism is true, then the state of affairs regarding what a subject's experience seems like is just the illusion itself; there are no further facts of the matter about which the subject might have mistaken beliefs, so the problem does not arise. (shrink)
It is argued that to possess the concept of distress is to be able to apply the concept to others, and that this implies a qualified form of altruism, in the sense that to perceive another as being in distress is, other things being equal, to see them as in need of help and be moved to help them.
The roots of cognitivism lie deep in the history of Western thought, and to develop a genuinely post-cognitivist psychology, this investigation goes back to presuppositions descended from Platonic/Cartesian assumptions and beliefs about the nature of thought.
This paper examines the role of formal, aesthetic elements in motivating moral action. It proposes that Blumenberg’s analysis of the existential settings of myth and metaphor provide a useful framework to consider the conception and function of the aesthetic symbol in Kantian moral philosophy. In particular, it explores the hypothesis that Blumenberg’s analysis of ‘pregnance’ and ‘rhetoric’ are useful for identifying and evaluating the processes involved in self-persuasion to the moral perspective.
Nancy's writing on the image may be understood as a critical engagement with the traditions of modern aesthetics and classical theories of art. However, the starting point for his approach to the image indicates that his writing on this topic has much wider ambitions than the treatment of a regional aesthetic topic. Nancy defines the image as a mode of access to sense. Nancy attempts an ontological rehabilitation of the image, which reiterates the precepts of his conception of being as (...) ‘co-presence’. I will argue here that a careful study of the implications of this rehabilitation of the image can be used to clarify the significance of the tacit references that Nancy's ontology makes regarding politics. (shrink)
Mental fictionalism is not the benign view that we may better understand the mind if we think of mental states as something like useful fictions, but the more radical view that mental states just are useful fictions. This paper argues that, if one were to treat mental states as a kind of fiction, the genre of fiction best suited to this purpose would be fantasy make-believe, in which magic is a central feature. After defending a promising fictionalist account of mental (...) discourse as a kind of prop-oriented make believe against recent criticism, the paper ultimately concludes that mental fictionalism faces further, potentially insurmountable, challenges. Most significantly, there is a problematic disanalogy between folk psychology and fiction: our mental state attributions aim to track truth, and this crucial aspect of our mental discourse cannot be captured if we interpret it as a kind of fictional discourse. For this and other reasons, the cost of adopting mental fictionalism likely outweighs its benefits. Whether or not these problems can be resolved, there is still much to be gained from taking mental fictionalism seriously: in doing so we may illuminate several important features of our own folk psychology that often go unnoticed. (shrink)
From the comparative framework of writing on the meaning of ritual in the field of the history of religions, this essay argues that one of the major problems in Benjamin’s thinking is how to make certain forms of materiality stand out against other forms. In his early work, the way that Benjamin deals with this problem is to call degraded forms “symbolic”, and those forms of materiality with positive value, “allegorical”. The article shows how there is more than an incidental (...) connection with the recent approach to ritual in the field of history of religions, seeing that Benjamin too wants to set out the significance of certain material forms against those that are “ritualistic” and hence false. It is argued that he treats the latter in his essay on Elective Affinities and the former in his Trauerspiel. The key claim is that the way material forms stand out as meaningful is akin to the Kantian description of the aesthetic attitude, which identifies how certain formations warrant and attract reflective attention and underpin moral orientation. The point is significant since Kantian aesthetics is an object of polemical attention across Benjamin’s heterogeneous corpus. Moreover, the approach shows the main difficulty in Benjamin’s treatment of sensible forms: what are the criteria he uses to distinguish the “bad” way a sensible form has of being meaningful from the “good”? (shrink)
Several of the most compelling anti-materialist arguments are motivated by the supposed existence of an unbridgeable epistemic gap between first-person subjective knowledge about one’s own conscious experience and third-personally acquired knowledge. The two with which this paper is concerned are Frank Jackson’s ‘knowledge argument’ and David Chalmers’s ‘modal argument’. The knowledge argument and the modal argument are often taken to function as ‘two sides of the same coin … in principle each succeeds on its own, but in practice they work (...) best in tandem’. This paper disagrees with the above claim, and argues that when considered together the knowledge argument and modal arguments illuminate each other’s weaknesses. These weaknesses become apparent when we acknowledge the epistemic richness of the cognitive aspect of perceptual experience, and question the epistemic role that any non-cognitive aspect might play. Closer examination of judgments about what it’s like to have a perceptual experience reveals fundamental problems with the knowledge argument, and when these problems are exposed, the two arguments can no longer ‘buttress each other where help is needed’. It becomes clear that neither is likely to succeed on its own, and when taken together both are destabilized. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical analysis of the use of the idea of distance in philosophical anthropology. Distance is generally presented in works of philosophical anthropology as the ideal coping strategy, which rests in turn on the thesis of the instinct deficiency of the human species. Some of the features of species life, such as its sophisticated use of symbolic forms, come to be seen as necessary parts of this general coping strategy, rather than a merely expressive outlet, incidental to (...) the ultimate goal of life preservation. The paper analyses the arguments used in support of the thesis of instinct deficiency in Hans Blumenberg and considers their implications for the status of symbolic expression in species life. It contrasts the approach this thesis involves with one that proceeds by presenting and arguing from biological evolutionary evidence. The contrast is used to examine the questions: in what sense instinct deficiency is specifically anthropological, and in what precise sense philosophical anthropology is ‘philosophical’. (shrink)
This is the editors' Introduction to a special issue of the journal, Multisensory Research. European philosophers of the modern period found multisensory perception to be impossible because they thought that perceptual ideas are defined by how they are experienced. Under this conception, the individual modalities are determinables of ideas—just as colour is a determinable that embraces red and blue, so also the visual is a determinable that embraces colour and (visually experienced) shape. Since no idea is experienced as, for example, (...) both visual and auditory, there can be no such thing as audiovisual perception. This conception of modality is not directly contested, but a variety of perceptual phenomena are listed that could raise interesting questions if treated as multimodal in origin. (shrink)
Jacques Rancière relies on references to theatre and literature to articulate the modes in which meanings are communicated. It is because they are displaceable from bodies and dis-incorporable from things that these patterns of meaning are available to being picked up. But this also means that meaning occurs as a pattern of communication that is not entirely rational. Meaning, we might say, moulds as it communicates. Such references to theatre and literature are more than allegorical. The general orientation of Rancière’s (...) thought pivots on the claim that politics is aesthetic; and that theatrical and literary fields of displacement and disincorporation are modes in which politics occurs as an alteration of ordered patterns of meaning, what he describes as ‘ways of being, doing and saying’. Although it would be possible to pursue cases of such alteration in film, in general Rancière’s writing on film does not do so. Rather, his critique of modernism is the framework he uses to examine the aesthetic settings and technical possibilities of film. From this perspective, he argues that the cinematic apparatus is indifferent to its material and that its technical arsenal does not determine cinematic forms. Further, because the ‘critical’ profile of cinema is in fact indistinguishable from the role it plays in the poetic depiction of the minutaie of life, claims regarding the political significance of film need radical qualification. The implications of this position on cinema are double: first, it may be argued that there is no reason that the prospects for dis-incorporation of meaning and the political significance he attaches to such modes of aesthetic communication in the cases of theatre and literature cannot be extended to cinema; a second set of implications bring into question the aesthetic settings he gives to politics. There is a clear fissure in Rancière’s thinking between the topic of film as an aesthetic form and its critical force for remoulding the conditions of communicability of meaning. It is because of the way this fissure occurs in the case of film that we can distinguish the strands that Rancière, on account of his position on aesthetic politics, would elsewhere like to consider fused. For this reason, I argue that Rancière’s discussion of cinema tends to undermine the general perspective he defends in which meaning-forming processes in the arts are taken to be political. (shrink)