In our paper, ‘Escaping hell: divine motivation and the problem of hell’, we defended a theory of hell that we called ‘escapism’. We argued that, given God's just and loving character, it would be most rational for Him to maintain an open-door policy to those who are in hell, allowing them an unlimited number of chances to be reconciled with God and enjoy communion with Him. In this paper we reply to two recent objections to our original paper. The first (...) is an argument from religious luck offered by Russell Jones. The second is an argument from Kyle Swan that alleges that our commitments about the nature of reasons for action still leaves escapism vulnerable to an objection we labelled the ‘Job objection’ in our original paper. In this paper we argue that escapism has the resources built into it needed to withstand the objections from Jones and Swan. (shrink)
Social conventions are those arbitrary rules and norms governing the countless behaviors all of us engage in every day without necessarily thinking about them, from shaking hands when greeting someone to driving on the right side of the road. In this book, Andrei Marmor offers a pathbreaking and comprehensive philosophical analysis of conventions and the roles they play in social life and practical reason, and in doing so challenges the dominant view of social conventions first laid out by David (...) Lewis. Marmor begins by giving a general account of the nature of conventions, explaining the differences between coordinative and constitutive conventions and between deep and surface conventions. He then applies this analysis to explain how conventions work in language, morality, and law. Marmor clearly demonstrates that many important semantic and pragmatic aspects of language assumed by many theorists to be conventional are in fact not, and that the role of conventions in the moral domain is surprisingly complex, playing mostly an auxiliary and supportive role. Importantly, he casts new light on the conventional foundations of law, arguing that the distinction between deep and surface conventions can be used to answer the prevalent objections to legal conventionalism. Social Conventions is a much-needed reappraisal of the nature of the rules that regulate virtually every aspect of human conduct. (shrink)
According to traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic theism, God is an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect agent. This volume shows that philosophy of religion needs to take seriously alternative concepts of the divine, and demonstrates the considerable philosophical interest that they hold.
Law in the Age of Pluralism contains a collection of essays on the intersection of legal and political philosophy. Written within the analytical tradition in jurisprudence, the collection covers a wide range of topics, such as the nature of law and legal theory, the rule of law, the values of democracy and constitutionalism, moral aspects of legal interpretation, the nature of rights, economic equality, and more. The essays in this volume explore issues where law, morality and politics meet, and discuss (...) some of the key challenges facing liberal democracies. Marmor posits that a liberal state must first and foremost respect people's personal autonomy and their differing, though reasonable, conceptions of the good and the just. This basic respect for pluralism is shown to entail a rather skeptical attitude towards grand theories of law and state, such as contemporary constitutionalism or Dworkin's conception of 'law as integrity'. The values of pluralism and respect for autonomy, however, are also employed to justify some of the main aspects of a liberal state, such as the value of democracy, the rule of law, and certain conceptions of equality. The essays are organized in three groups: the first considers the rule of law, democracy and constitutionalism. The second group consists of several essays on the nature of law, legal theory, and their relations to morality. Finally, the collection concludes with essays on the nature of rights, the limits of rights discourse, and the value of economic equality. (shrink)
We analyze the interrelation of quantum and classical entanglement. The latter notion is widely used in classical optic simulation of some quantum-like features of light. We criticize the common interpretation that “quantum nonlocality” is the basic factor differing quantum and classical realizations of entanglement. Instead, we point to the breakthrough Grangier et al. experiment on coincidence detection which was done in 1986 and played the crucial role in rejection of classical field models in favor of quantum mechanics. Classical entanglement sources (...) produce light beams with the coefficient of second order coherence \} \ge 1.\) This feature of classical entanglement is obscured by using intensities of signals in different channels, instead of counting clicks of photo-detectors. The interplay between intensity and clicks counting is not just a technicality. We elevate this issue to the high foundational level. (shrink)
This paper identifies and critiques a theory of mental causation defended by some proponents of nonredutive physicalism that I call “intralevelism.” Intralevelist theories differ in their details. On all versions, the causal outcome of the manifestation of physical properties is physical and the causal outcome of the manifestation of mental properties is mental. Thus, mental causation on this view is intralevel mental to mental causation. This characterization of mental causation as intralevel is taken to insulate nonreductive physicalism from some objections (...) to nonreductive physicalism, including versions of the exclusion argument. This paper examines some features of three recent versions of intralevelism defended by John Gibbons, Markus Schlosser, and Amie Thomasson. This paper shows that the distinctive problems faced by these three representative versions of intralevelism suggest that the intralevelist strategy does not provide a viable solution to the exclusion problem. (shrink)
Generic statements (e.g., “Birds lay eggs”) express generalizations about categories. In this paper, we hypothesized that there is a paradoxical asymmetry at the core of generic meaning, such that these sentences have extremely strong implications but require little evidence to be judged true. Four experiments confirmed the hypothesized asymmetry: Participants interpreted novel generics such as “Lorches have purple feathers” as referring to nearly all lorches, but they judged the same novel generics to be true given a wide range of prevalence (...) levels (e.g., even when only 10% or 30% of lorches had purple feathers). A second hypothesis, also confirmed by the results, was that novel generic sentences about dangerous or distinctive properties would be more acceptable than generic sentences that were similar but did not have these connotations. In addition to clarifying important aspects of generics’ meaning, these findings are applicable to a range of real-world processes such as stereotyping and political discourse. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is twofold: to demystify the ancient concept of courage, making it more palpable for the modern reader, and to suggest the reasonably specific constraints that would restrict the contemporary tendency of indiscriminate attribution of this virtue. The discussion of courage will incorporate both the classical interpretations of this trait of character, and the empirical studies into the complex relation between the emotion of fear and behavior. The Aristotelian thesis that courage consists in overcoming the fear (...) of significant harm for a worthy cause will be further developed by exploring its relevance for military professionals today. Specific criteria will be offered in order to restrict the application of the term?courageous? to a certain type of action, as well as to demarcate this virtue from the related vices, such as recklessness. The normative aspect of our study aims to make sense of what could qualify as a worthy goal of a fearless action in the modern world. It will be argued that a courageous agent aims at alleviating or preventing harm for others in a situation of potential risk for the agent himself, while respecting the factual conditions that determine the probability of success. (shrink)
In her recent paper, “A Defense of Substance Causation,” Ann Whittle makes a case for substance causation. In this paper, assuming that causation is a generative or productive relation, I argue that Whittle’s argument is not successful. While substances are causally relevant in causal processes owing to outcomes being counterfactually dependent upon their role in such occurrences, the real productive work in causal processes is accomplished by the causal powers of substances.
When Aristotle limits the manifestation of true courage to the military context only, his primary target is an overly inclusive conception of courage presented by Plato in the Laches. At the same time, Aristotle explicitly tries to demarcate his ideal of genuine courage from the paradigmatic examples of courageous actions derived from the Homeric epics. It remains questionable, though, whether Aristotle is truly earnest in his efforts to distance himself from Homer. It will be argued that Aristotle's attempt to associate (...) with Homer the two forms of specious courage—courage of the citizen troops and spirit-caused courage—fails to provide sufficient criteria for the demarcation in question. All the essential elements of the Aristotelian account of courage, such as a voluntary choice, a noble goal, and a thumos-driven reaction guided by reason are exemplified by a number of Homeric characters as well. It is thus likely that the philosopher's account of courage largely incorporates the poetic tradition at a new level, rather than supersedes it. (shrink)
This book presents a comprehensive defence of legal positivism on the basis of a novel account of social conventions. Marmor argues that the law is founded on constitutive conventions, and that consequently moral values cannot determine what the law is.
The purpose of this essay is to explore some of the main pragmatic aspects of communication within the legal context. It will be argued that in some crucial respects, the pragmatics of legal language is unique, involving considerations that are not typically present in ordinary conversational contexts. In particular, certain normative considerations that are typically settled in a regular conversational context are unresolved and potentially contentious in the legal case. On the other hand, the essay also argues that a careful (...) distinction between various pragmatic aspects of language use enables us to offer some generalizations about types of pragmatic enrichment that could be taken to form, or not to form, part of what is actually determined by legal expressions. (shrink)
The book builds on recent work in pragmatics and speech-act theory to explain how, and to what extent, legal content is determined by linguistic considerations. At the same time, the analysis shows that some of the unique features of communication in the legal domain - in particular, its strategic nature - can be employed to put pressure on certain assumptions in philosophy of language. This enables a more nuanced picture of how semantic and pragmatic determinants of communication work in complex (...) and large-scale systems such as law. (shrink)
In this note we demonstrate that the results of observations in the EPR–Bohm–Bell experiment can be described within the classical probabilistic framework. However, the “quantum probabilities” have to be interpreted as conditional probabilities, where conditioning is with respect to fixed experimental settings. Our approach is based on the complete account of randomness involved in the experiment. The crucial point is that randomness of selections of experimental settings has to be taken into account within one consistent framework covering all events related (...) to the experiment. This approach can be applied to any complex experiment in which statistical data are collected for various experimental settings. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Defending the distinction between believing and accepting a proposition, I argue that cases where agents allegedly exercise direct voluntary control over their beliefs are instances of agents exercising direct voluntary control over accepting a proposition. The upshot is that any decision to believe a proposition cannot result directly in one’s acquiring the belief. Accepting is an instrumental mental action the agent performs that may trigger belief. A model of the relationship between acceptance and belief is sketched and defended. The (...) consequences of the distinction between belief and acceptance, and the model of belief control sketched are then applied to the recent case made by Carl Ginet in defense of the conceptual and psychological possibility of agents exercising direct voluntary control over their beliefs. n. (shrink)
I take it that the following is a desideratum of our theories in the philosophy of mind. A theory in the philosophy of mind should help us better understand ourselves as agents and aid in our theorizing about the nature of action and agency. In this paper I discuss a strategy adopted by some defenders of nonreductive physicalism in response to the problem of causal exclusion. The strategy, which I refer to as “intralevelism,” relies on treating mental causation as intra (...) level mental to mental causation, rather than as involving any inter level mental to physical causation. I raise problems for intralevelist theories of mental causation that stem from action-theoretic considerations. Specifically, I focus on the failure of intralevelist proposals to account for the problem of basic causal deviance in the etiology of action. To the extent that intralevelism fails to make room for basic causal deviance, the strategy fails to satisfy the aforementioned desideratum, viz ., that our theories in the philosophy of mind should be of use in theorizing about action and agency. The upshot is that intralevelism is a less promising strategy for nonreductive physicalists than it appears at first glance. (shrink)
The ways in which we exercise intentional agency are varied. I take the domain of intentional agency to include all that we intentionally do versus what merely happens to us. So the scope of our intentional agency is not limited to intentional action. One can also exercise some intentional agency in omitting to act and, importantly, in producing the intentional outcome of an intentional action. So, for instance, when an agent is dieting, there is an exercise of agency both with (...) respect to the agent’s actions and omissions that constitute her dieting behavior and in achieving the intended outcome of losing weight. In our mental lives we exercise intentional agency both in performing mental actions and when we intentionally produce certain outcomes at which our mental actions are aimed. The nature and scope of our intentional agency in our mental lives with respect to controlling the acquisition of mental states such as belief, desire, and intention is a topic that is of interest in its own right. In this essay, I will focus solely on our control over coming to believe. Understanding what sort of control we have our beliefs has far-reaching implications. For instance, theorizing about self-deception and wishful thinking is aided by theorizing about what if any intentional agency we can exercise with respect to acquiring beliefs. Another often mentioned concern that motivates thinking about doxastic agency comes from religion (when conversion requires a change of belief). We also hold persons morally and epistemically responsible for beliefs they have or fail to have. Finally, some deontological theories of epistemic justification require that agents be able to exercise a robust form of doxastic control. Fruitful work on any of these problems requires that we have an account of our intentional agency in acquiring beliefs. There are at least three loci of doxastic control. The first is over acquiring beliefs. The second is over maintaining beliefs. The third is over how we use our beliefs. I am chiefly concerned with the first locus of doxastic control in this essay, but I will say something about the second locus along the way. Also, I will only consider one way we might exercise control over acquiring beliefs. Specifically, I will present an argument against direct doxastic voluntarism (DDV). By “DDV” I mean to refer to the thesis that it is conceptually possible for agents to consciously exercise the same sort of direct voluntary control over coming to acquire a doxastic attitude—such as belief, suspension of belief, and disbelief—that they exercise over uncontroversial basic actions. If DDV is correct, then coming to believe can be a basic action-type. DDV, or something very close to it, was Bernard Williams’ target in his 1973 paper, “Deciding to Believe.” Williams’s argument is widely regarded as having been a failure. But I think that Williams was on to something in his paper. Hence, in this paper, while I do not attempt to resurrect Williams’s argument, I develop and defend a revised argument for a thesis that is quite close to Williams’s. I will proceed as follows. First, I will discuss Bernard Williams’ (1973) failed attempt at showing that DDV is conceptually impossible. This will be followed by a discussion of some constraints on our belief-forming activities. I will then clarify my target a bit more than Williams does in his original paper. Finally, I will present my own argument against the conceptual possibility of DDV. (shrink)
In this paper I am concerned with the analysis of fragments of a discourse or text that express arguments suspected of being denials of the antecedent. I first argue that one needs to distinguish between two senses of ‘the argument expressed’. Second, I show that, with respect to one of these senses, given a Gricean account of the pragmatics of conditionals, some such fragments systematically express arguments that are valid.
In Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation,1 William Abraham offers a rich, subtle defense of an epistemology of divine revelation. While I believe there is much about Abraham’s work that is commendable, my remarks in this paper will be primarily critical. But the fact that Abraham’s work is worthy of critical comment should be evidence enough of the importance of Abraham’s book. My focus here will be on a cluster of metaepistemological claims made by Abraham. Specifically, I will argue that (...) Abraham’s remarks about epistemic fit and the epistemic standards we bring to bear in making evaluations of divine revelation claims commit him to a species of epistemic relativism. This may not be a problem. I am not interested in offering an argument against epistemic relativism.2 I suspect, however, that Abraham does not think of himself as an epistemic relativist.3 If this is the case, then I believe Abraham needs to rethink his metaepistemological commitments that imply epistemic relativism. (shrink)
It has become increasingly popular to argue that legal positivism is actually a normative theory, and that it cannot be purely descriptive and morally neutral as H.L.A. Hart has suggested. This article purports to disprove this line of thought. It argues that legal positivism is best understood as a descriptive, morally neutral, theory about the nature of law. The article distinguishes between five possible views about the relations between normative claims and legal positivism, arguing that some of them are not (...) at odds with Hart’s thesis about the nature of jurisprudence, while the others are wrong, both as expositions of legal positivism or as critiques of it. Legal positivism does not necessarily purport to justify any aspect of its subject matter, nor is it committed to any particular moral or political evaluations. (shrink)
We use the system of p-adic numbers for the description of information processes. Basic objects of our models are so-called transformers of information, basic processes are information processes and statistics are information statistics (thus we present a model of information reality). The classical and quantum mechanical formalisms on information p-adic spaces are developed. It seems that classical and quantum mechanical models on p-adic information spaces can be applied for the investigation of flows of information in cognitive and social systems, since (...) a p-adic metric gives a quite natural description of the ability to form associations. (shrink)
Recently I posted a paper entitled “External observer reflections on QBism”. As any external observer, I was not able to reflect all features of QBism properly. The comments I received from one of QBism’s creators, C. A. Fuchs, were very valuable to me in better understanding the views of QBists. Some of QBism’s features are very delicate and extracting them from articles of QBists is not a simple task. Therefore, I hope that the second portion of my reflections on QBism (...) might be interesting and useful for other experts in quantum foundations and quantum information theory. In the present paper I correct some of my earlier posted critical comments on QBism. At the same time, other critical comments gained new validation through my recent deeper understanding of QBists views on a number of problems. (shrink)
We argue that it is most rational for God, given God's character and policies, to adopt an open-door policy towards those in hell – making it possible for those in hell to escape. We argue that such a policy towards the residents of hell should issue from God's character and motivational states. In particular, God's parental love ought to motivate God to extend the provision for reconciliation with Him for an infinite amount of time.
Viebahn (2018) has recently argued that several tests for ambiguity, such as the conjunction-reduction test, are not reliable as tests for polysemy, but only as tests for homonymy. I look at the more fine-grained distinction between regular and irregular polysemy and I argue for a more nuanced conclusion: the tests under discussion provide systematic evidence for homonymy and irregular polysemy but need to be used with more care to test for regular polysemy. I put this conclusion at work in the (...) context of the debate over the alleged referential-attributive ambiguity of the definite article. In reply to various criticisms, defenders of the ambiguity view argue that this is a case of polysemy. But opponents object that the dual use of the definite article fails tests for ambiguity. The debate seems to have come to stalemate, unless the relevance of the tests is determined for cases of alleged polysemy. I conclude that the balance of considerations incline towards rejecting the ambiguity thesis. (shrink)
"[W]e must focus on what legalism, per se, means, and then ask why is it a good thing to have. Not less importantly, however, we must also realize that legalism can be excessive. Even if the rule of law is a good thing, too much of it may be bad. So the challenge for a theory of the rule of law is to articulate what the rule of law is, why is it good, and to what extent." "[T]he essense of (...) the ideal of the rule of law is that people ought to be governed by law. This general ideal has at least two main components. First, it requires that governments, namely, de facto political authorities, should rule, that is, guide their subjects' conduct, by law. Second, it requires that the law by which governments purport to rule should be such that it can actually guide human conduct." "The idea that governments should rule by law must be premised on the assumption that rule by law, regardless of the laws' specific content, is to be preferred to governance by other means of social control. And this immediately brings us to the second component of the rule of law, namely, that the law must be such that it can actually guide human conduct, and the further assumption that these necessary features of law embody certain virtues. In other words, unless we can first articulate what is unique about legal means of social control, and explain why those features promote certain goods, we cannot ground the idea that governments should rule by law." Discusses ways, following mainly Fuller, one can fail to make law. Notes that these are functional goods for the regulation of human behavior. They may have a connection to other things we value. We should not assume, though, that greater instantiation of these ideals is always better - sometimes ideals conflict such that more of one means less of another and "because such values, on their own grounds, set only a rough standard wherby gross deviations from it would be wrong." "Compliance with the generality-relevance principle is crucially important in safeguarding against such unjustified favoritism since it requires that the norm's subjects be those who qualify as such only on the basis of the reasons for enacting the norm in the first place." Though, we must recognize teh possibility of bad law in the sense of unjust discrimination. "It is part of the concept of law that the law purports to affect human behavior by introducing new norms and changing old ones. The concept of a norm and conduct-guidance by norms is an essential aspect of what the law is. Norms, as such, necessarily purport to provide reasons for action. A norm cannot provide a reason for action, however, unless its subjets are aware of the norm and regard it as a reason for action." Justifies some retroactivity in terms of the need for flexibility in any functioning legal system. "Legal positivism can accept the claim that law is, by its very nature or its essential functions in society, something good that deserves our moral appreciation. Nor is legal positivism forced to deny the plausible claim that wherever law exists, it must have a great many prescriptions which coincide with morality. There is probably a considerable overlap, and perhaps necessarily so, between the actual content of law and morality.". (shrink)
I critique Matthias Steupâs account of exercising direct voluntary control over coming to have doxastic attitudes via doxastic decisions. I show that the sort of agency Steup argues is exercised in doxastic decision-making is not sufficient for agents to exercise direct voluntary control over their doxastic attitudes. This counts against such putative decisions being the locus of direct control in doxastic agency. Finally, I briefly consider what, if any, consequences the failure of Steupâs theory of doxastic agency may have for (...) epistemic deontologism. (shrink)
The efficient markets hypothesis has been the central proposition in finance for nearly thirty years. It states that securities prices in financial markets must equal fundamental values, either because all investors are rational or because arbitrage eliminates pricing anomalies. This book describes an alternative approach to the study of financial markets: behavioral finance. This approach starts with an observation that the assumptions of investor rationality and perfect arbitrage are overwhelmingly contradicted by both psychological and institutional evidence. In actual financial markets, (...) less than fully rational investors trade against arbitrageurs whose resources are limited by risk aversion, short horizons, and agency problems. The book presents and empirically evaluates models of such inefficient markets. Behavioral finance models both explain the available financial data better than does the efficient markets hypothesis and generate new empirical predictions. These models can account for such anomalies as the superior performance of value stocks, the closed end fund puzzle, the high returns on stocks included in market indices, the persistence of stock price bubbles, and even the collapse of several well-known hedge funds in 1998. By summarizing and expanding the research in behavioral finance, the book builds a new theoretical and empirical foundation for the economic analysis of real-world markets. (shrink)
The research into the typical behavioral pattern, motivational structure, and the value system of psychopaths can shed light on at least three aspects related to the analysis of the moral agency. First, it can help elucidating the emotive and cognitive conditions necessary for moral performance. Secondly, it can provide empirical evidence supporting the externalist theories of moral motivation. Finally, it can bring into greater focus our intuitive notion of the limits of moral responsibility. In this paper I shall concentrate on (...) the last one—the question of responsibility of the amoralists, but the discussion will have an indirect bearing on the other two themes as well. My main reason for holding psychopaths morally responsible breaks down into two claims: the assumption that most ordinary people are morally responsible for their intentional actions and the denial that the psychopaths are qualitatively different from the non-psychopaths. This thesis is further defended against two objections. First, I am arguing that the genetically based emotive deficiency of the psychopaths cannot be seen the factor condemning them to amoral existence, and thus cannot be cited as an exempting condition. Secondly, my position is defended against the claim that psychopaths are partly responsible for their actions. It is argued that the notion of partial responsibility is either incoherent or else rests on a false empirical premise. My conclusion is in agreement with, and provides a theoretical justification for, the position of most classifications of the persons with antisocial personality disorder in the DSM IV. (shrink)
Research on the nature of dispositionality or causal power has flourished in recent years in metaphysics. This trend has slowly begun to influence debates in the philosophy of agency, especially in the literature on free will. Both sophisticated versions of agent-‐causalism and the new varieties of dispositionalist compatibilism exploit recently developed accounts of dispositionality in their defense. In this paper, I examine recent work on agent-‐causal power, focusing primarily on the account of agent-‐causalism developed and defended by Timothy O’Connor’s in (...) his work on free will. Assuming the existence of irreducible causal powers, I offer an. (shrink)
We presented a contextual statistical model of the probabilistic description of physical reality. Here contexts are considered as basic elements of reality. There is discussed the relation with QM. We propose a realistic analogue of Bohr’s principle of complementarity. In the opposite to the Bohr’s principle, our principle has no direct relation with mutual exclusivity for observables. To distinguish our principle from the Bohr’s principle and to give better characterization, we change the terminology and speak about supplementarity, instead of complementarity. (...) Supplementarity is based on the interference of probabilities. It has quantitative expression trough a coefficient which can be easily calculated from experimental statistical data. We need not appeal to the Hilbert space formalism and noncommutativity of operators representing observables. Moreover, in our model there exists pairs of supplementary observables which cannot be represented in the complex Hilbert space. There are discussed applications of the principle of supplementarity outside quantum physics. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- 1. The Value of Vagueness, Timothy Endicott -- 2. Vagueness and the Guidance of Action, Jeremy Waldron -- 3. What Vagueness and Inconsistency tell us about Interpretation, Scott Soames -- 4. Textualism and the Discovery of Rights, John Perry -- 5. The Intentionalism of Textualism, Stephen Neale -- 6. Can the Law Imply More than It Says? On some pragmatic aspects of Strategic Speech, Andrei Marmor -- 7. Modeling Legal Rules, Richard Holton -- 8. (...) Trying to Kill the Dead: De Dicto and De Re Intention in Attempted Crimes, Gideon Yaffe -- 9. Philosophy of Language and the Law of Contracts, Gideon Rosen -- 10. Language and Law: Who's in Charge?, Mark Greenberg -- 11. Meaning and Impact, Nicos Stavropoulos. (shrink)
Following the pioneering work of David Lewis, many philosophers believe that the rationale of following a convention consists in the fact that conventions are solutions to recurrent coordination problems. Margaret Gilbert has criticised this view, offering an alternative account of the nature of conventions and their normative aspect. In this paper I argue that Gilbert's criticism of Lewis and her alternative suggestions rest on serious misunderstandings. As between these two opposed views, Lewis's is closer to the truth, but I argue (...) only with respect to one type of convention. There is another, important type of conventions, whose normativity does not consist in the solution of coordination problems. The validity of conventions constituting (what I call) autonomous practices can only be derived from the values inherent in the practices they constitute and those values cannot be specified independently of the conventions themselves. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, John Bishop argues in defence of conceiving of Christian faith as a ‘doxastic venture’. That is, he defends the claim that, in exercising faith, agents believe beyond ‘what can be established rationally on the basis of evidence and argument’. Careful examination reveals that Bishop fails adequately to show that faith in the face of inadequate epistemic reasons for believing is, or can even be, a uniquely doxastic venture. I argue that faith is best (...) conceived of as a sub-doxastic venture that involves pragmatically assuming that God exists. (shrink)
I examine Galen Strawson's recent work on mental action in his paper, 'Mental Ballistics or The Involuntariness of Spontaneity'. I argue that his account of mental action is too restrictive. I offer a means of testing tokens of mental activity types to determine if they are actional. The upshot is that a good deal more mental activity than Strawson admits is actional.
The normal way to establish that a person has authority over another requires a rule-governed institutional setting. To have authority is to have power, in the juridical sense of the term, and power can only be conferred by norms constituting it. Power-conferring norms are essentially institutional, and the obligation to comply with a legitimate authority's decree is, first and foremost, institutional in nature. The main argument presented in this essay is that an explanation of practical authorities is a two-stage affair: (...) the special, practical import of an authority can only be explained against the background of an institutional setting which constitutes the authority's power and the corresponding obligation to comply. However, this obligation is not an all things considered obligation, it is conditioned on reasons to participate in the relevant institution or practice. (shrink)