The animalist says we are animals. This thesis is commonly understood as the universal generalization that all human persons are human animals. This article proposes an alternative: the thesis is a generic that admits of exceptions. We defend the resulting view, which we call generic animalism, and show its aptitude for diagnosing the limits of eight case-based objections to animalism.
Materialists about human persons think that we are material through and through—wholly material beings. Those who endorse materialism more widely think that everything is material through and through. But what is it to be wholly material? In this article, I answer that question. I identify and defend a definition or analysis of ‘wholly material’.
According to theists, God is an immaterial thinking being. The main question of this article is whether theism supports the view that we are immaterial thinking beings too. I shall argue in the negative. Along the way, I will also explore some implications in the philosophy of mind following from the observation that, on theism, God’s mentality is in a certain respect magical.
We uncover a surprising discovery about the basis of thoughts. We begin by giving some plausible axioms about thoughts and their grounds. We then deduce a theorem, which has dramatic ramifications for the basis of all thoughts. The theorem implies that thoughts cannot come deterministically from any purely “thoughtless” states. We expect this result to be too dramatic for many philosophers. Hence, we proceed to investigate the prospect of giving up the axioms. We show that each axiom’s negation itself has (...) dramatic consequences that should be of interest to philosophers of mind. Our proof of the theorem provides a new guiderail for thinking about the nature and origin of thoughts. (shrink)
Many say that ontological disputes are defective because they are unimportant or without substance. In this paper, we defend ontological disputes from the charge, with a special focus on disputes over the existence of composite objects. Disputes over the existence of composite objects, we argue, have a number of substantive implications across a variety of topics in metaphysics, science, philosophical theology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. Since the disputes over the existence of composite objects have these substantive implications, they are (...) themselves substantive. (shrink)
For good or for ill, we have animal bodies. Through them, we move around, eat and drink, and do many other things besides. We owe much – perhaps our very lives – to these ever-present animals. But how exactly do we relate to our animals? Are we parts of them, or they of us? Do we and these living animals co-inhere or constitute or coincide? Or what? Animalism answers that we are identical to them. There are many objections to animalism, (...) and a dizzying array of rival views. In this article, we do not propose to evaluate those objections and rivals. We will instead present a new argument for that view. The argument begins with the fact that we have emotions. (shrink)
Among your closest associates is a certain human animal – a living, breathing, organism. You see it when you look in the mirror. When it is sick, you don't feel too well. Where it goes, you go. And, one thinks, where you go, it must follow. Indeed, you can make it move through sheer force of will. You bear, in short, an important and intimate relation to this, your animal. So too rest of us with our animals. Animalism says that (...) this relation is nothing short of identity. According to animalists, we do not only coincide with or constitute or inhabit or otherwise hang out with these close associates, our animals: we are them. In this article, I offer an opinionated take on what animalism might be and situate it against contemporary rivals. Then, I outline a simple case for animalism. Finally, I sketch non-standard routes for animalists to take in light of standard challenges. My goal in all of this is to open up some new avenues of animalist thinking. (shrink)
There are predicates and subjects. It is thus tempting to think that there are properties on the one hand, and things that have them on the other. I have no quarrel with this thought; it is a fine place to begin a theory of properties and property-having. But in this paper, I argue that one such theory—bare particularism—is false. I pose a dilemma. Either bare particulars instantiate the properties of their host substances or they do not. If they do not, (...) then bare particularism is both unmotivated and false. If they do, then the view faces a problematic—and, I shall argue, false—crowding consequence. (shrink)
I introduce and argue for a Priority Principle, according to which we exemplify certain of our mental properties in the primary or non-derivative sense. I then apply this principle to several debates in the metaphysics and philosophy of mind.
Animalism is at once a bold metaphysical theory and a pedestrian biological observation. For according to animalists, human persons are organisms; we are members of a certain biological species. In this article, I introduce some heretofore unnoticed data concerning the interlocking interests of human persons and human organisms. I then show that the data support animalism. The result is a novel and powerful argument for animalism. Bold or pedestrian, animalism is true.
Animalism is the view that we are animals: living, breathing, wholly material beings. Despite its considerable appeal, animalism has come under fire. Other philosophers have had much to say about objections to animalism that stem from reflection on personal identity over time. But one promising objection (the `Elimination Argument') has been overlooked. In this paper, I remedy this situation and examine the Elimination Argument in some detail. I contend that the Elimination Argument is both unsound and unmotivated.
Here's an interesting question: what are we? David Barnett has claimed that reflection on consciousness suggests an answer: we are simple. Barnett argues that the mereological simplicity of conscious beings best explains the Datum: that no pair of persons can itself be conscious. In this paper, I offer two alternative explanations of the Datum. If either is correct, Barnett's argument fails. First, there aren't any such things as pairs of persons. Second, consciousness is maximal; no conscious thing is a proper (...) part of another conscious thing. I conclude by showing how both moves comport with materialist theories of what we are and then apply them to another anti-materialist argument. (shrink)
Allthough small business accounts for over 90% of businesses in U.K. and indeed elsewhere, they remain the largely uncharted area of ethics. There has not been any research based on the perspective of small business owners, to define what echical delemmas they face and how, if at all, they resolve them. This paper explores ethics from the perspective of small business owner, using focus groups and reports on four clearly identifiable themes of ethical delemmas; entrepreneurial activity itself, conflicts of personal (...) values with business needs, social responsibility and the impact of owners' personality on business ethics. The mechanisms for resolving ethical dilemmas is not at all clear, as there appears to be a web of filters which are used in an inter-connected way. However a common starting point for resolving an ethical delemma which involves others is based on identifying who it is (e.g., a friend or institution) and the quality of the relationship with that person. The research yielded a rich source of material on business ethics and it is clear that future researchers must focus on this sector if business ethics is to make significant advances. (shrink)
There is a new objection to the Consequence Argument for incompatibilism. I argue that the objection is more wide-ranging than originally thought. In particular: if it tells against the Consequence Argument, it tells against other arguments for incompatibilism too. I survey a few ways of dealing with this objection and show the costs of each. I then present an argument for incompatibilism that is immune to the objection and that enjoys other advantages.
Terence Horgan, George Graham and John Tienson argue that some intentional content is constitutively determined by phenomenology alone. We argue that this would require a certain kind of covariation of phenomenal states and intentional states that is not established by Horgan, Tienson and Graham’s arguments. We make the case that there is inadequate reason to think phenomenology determines perceptual belief, and that there is reason to doubt that phenomenology determines any species of non-perceptual intentionality. We also raise worries about the (...) capacity of phenomenology to map onto intentionality in a way that would be appropriate for any determiner of content/fixer of truth conditions. (shrink)
Many have thought that there is a problem with causal commerce between immaterial souls and material bodies. In Physicalism or Something Near Enough, Jaegwon Kim attempts to spell out that problem. Rather than merely posing a question or raising a mystery for defenders of substance dualism to answer or address, he offers a compelling argument for the conclusion that immaterial souls cannot causally interact with material bodies. We offer a reconstruction of that argument that hinges on two premises: Kim’s Dictum (...) and the Nowhere Man principle. Kim’s Dictum says that causation requires a spatial relation. Nowhere Man says that souls can’t be in space. By our lights, both premises can be called into question. We’ll begin our evaluation of the argument by pointing out some consequences of Kim’s Dictum. For some, these will be costs. We will then present two defeaters for Kim’s Dictum and a critical analysis of Kim’s case for Nowhere Man. The upshot is that Kim’s argument against substance dualism fails. (shrink)
Some strange cases have gripped philosophers of mind. They have been deployed against materialism about human persons, functionalism about mentality, the possibility of artificial intelligence, and more. In this paper, I cry “foul”. It’s not hard to think that there’s something wrong with the cases. But what? My proposal: their proponents ignore questions about composition. And ignoring composition is a mistake. Indeed, materialists about human persons, functionalists about mentality, and believers in the possibility of artificial intelligence can plausibly deploy moderate (...) theories of composition in defense of their views. And as it turns out, these strange cases are an interesting source of evidence for moderate theories of composition. (shrink)
Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this paper, I show that the doctrine is inconsistent with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go.
Aristotle famously held that objects are comprised of matter and form. That is the central doctrine of hylomorphism (sometimes rendered “hylemorphism”—hyle, matter; morphe, form), and the view has become a live topic of inquiry today. Contemporary proponents of the doctrine include Jeffrey Brower, Kit Fine, David Hershenov, Mark Johnston, Kathrin Koslicki, Anna Marmodoro, Michael Rea, and Patrick Toner, among others. In the wake of these contemporary hylomorphic theories the doctrine has seen application to various topics within mainstream analytic metaphysics. Here, (...) appeals to form and matter are used to shed light on problems about ontology, personal identity, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion. The current entry documents this resurgence of interest in hylomorphism, the ways it has been applied, and its reception. (shrink)
Substance dualism is on the move. Though the view remains unfashionable, a growing and diverse group of philosophers endorse it on impressive empirical, religious, and purely metaphysical grounds. In this note, I develop and evaluate one conceptual argument for substance dualism. According to that argument, we may derive a conclusion about our nature from the mere fact that we have the concept of a spirit. The argument is intriguing and fruitful; but I shall contend that it is, nonetheless, unsound.
Arguments for substance dualism—the theory that we are at least partly non-material beings—abound. Many such arguments begin with our capacity to engage in conscious thought and end with dualism. Such are familiar. But there is another route to dualism. It begins with our moral value and ends with dualism. In this article, we develop and assess the prospects for this new style of argument. We show that, though one extant version of the argument does not succeed, there may yet be (...) a deep problem for standard physical accounts of our nature. (shrink)
Warrant is what fills the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. But a problem arises. Is there just one condition that satisfies this description? Suppose there isn’t: can anything interesting be said about warrant after all? Call this the uniqueness problem. In this paper, I solve the problem. I examine one plausible argument that there is no one condition filling the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. I then motivate and formulate revisions of the standard analysis of warrant. (...) Given these revisions, I argue that there is, after all, exactly one warrant condition. (shrink)
Discussion of the supervenience relation in the philosophical literature of recent years has become Byzantine in its intricacy and diversity. Subtle modulations of the basic concept have been tooled and retooled with increasing frequency, until supervenience has lost nearly all its original lustre as a simple and powerful tool for cracking open refractory philosophical problems. I present a conceptual model of the supervenience relation that captures all the important extant concepts without ignoring the complexities uncovered during work over the past (...) two decades. I test my analysis by applying it to the problem of defining physicalism, concluding that the thesis of physicalism is best captured by the conjunction of two supervenience relations. (shrink)
It is widely suspected that arguments from conceivability, at least in some of their more notorious instances, are unsound. However, the reasons for the failure of conceivability arguments are less well agreed upon, and it remains unclear how to distinguish between sound and unsound instances of the form. In this paper I provide an analysis of the form of arguments from conceivability, and use this analysis to diagnose a systematic weakness in the argument form which reveals all its instances to (...) be, roughly, either uninformative or unsound. I illustrate this conclusion through a consideration of David Chalmers. (shrink)
One of the aspects of consciousness deserving of study is what might be called its subjective unity - the way in which, though conscious experience moves from object to object, and can be said to have distinct ‘states', it nevertheless in some sense apparently forms a singular flux divided only by periods of unconsciousness. The work of William James provides a valuable, and rather unique, source of analysis of this feature of consciousness; however, in my opinion, this component of James’ (...) theory of the mind has so far gone under-emphasized in the scholarly literature. This paper undertakes some philosophical geography, trying to draw out and elucidate some of the relevant ideas from James’ corpus, and also subjects those ideas to some analysis to try and assist in judgements of their current importance. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ: Cette étude examine la relation entre la demande que les zombies sont logiquement/métaphysiquement possible et de la position que la conscience phénoménal est epiphenomenal. Il est souvent présumé que la première entraîne ce dernier, et que, par conséquent, toute implausibility dans la notion de conscience epiphenomenalism remet en question la possibilité réelle de zombies. Quatre façons dont les zombist pourrait répondre sont examinées, et je soutiens que les deux les plus fréquemment rencontrés sont insuffisantes, mais les autres—dont l’un est (...) rarement formulés et l’autre nouveaux—sont plus persuasif. Le résultat, cependant, est que le zombist pourraient en effet être confronté à un engagement indésirables à l’epiphenomenalism de conscience. (shrink)
This dissertation develops and defends a detailed realist, internalist account of qualia which is consistent with physicalism and which does not resurrect the epistemological 'myth of the Given.' In doing so it stakes out a position in the sparsely populated middle ground between the two major opposing factions on the problem of phenomenal consciousness: between those who think we have a priori reasons to believe that qualia are irreducible to the physical , and those who implicitly or explicitly treat qualia (...) as contentful but non-phenomenal physical properties . ;I present a minimal, non-question-begging definition of "qualia" and then use this definition in a reformulation of the argument from perceiver relativity which shows that qualia must, at least in humans, be properties of states of the central nervous system. That is, brain states do not simply indicate the colours of external objects---they instantiate phenomenal colours. Since brain states are not coloured in the same way as are external objects, I argue that to token phenomenal property F must be to be the first-person phenomenal sensation of F. I build on this position to argue that the phenomenal apprehension of qualia, is "given"---immediate, certain and private---but that qualia nevertheless do not provide an absolutely certain epistemological foundation since they do not constitute a set of indisputable propositions about facts. I then define what it would be for physicalism to be true of qualia, but argue that the main a priori arguments for and against qualia physicalism---including the logical possibility of zombies and the impossibility of epiphenomenalism---fail. Whether qualia are consistent with physicalism, I claim, is still an open question, answerable only when we discover in more detail how qualia depend upon the brain. ;Although strongly in sympathy with many commonsensical intuitions about qualia, this account stands in contrast to most influential extant theories of qualia, such as eliminativism , externalism , or property-dualism : I conclude the dissertation by using its results to argue explicitly against these three positions. (shrink)
This paper deals with the relationship between the embodied cognition paradigm and two sets of its implications: its implications for the ontology of selves, and its implications for the nature and extent of phenomenal consciousness. There has been a recent wave of interest within cognitive science in the paradigm variously called ‘embodied,’ ‘extended,’ ‘situated’ or ‘distributed’ cognition. Although ideas applied in the embodied cognition research program can be traced back to the work of Heidegger, Piaget, Vygotsky, Merleau-Ponty, and Dewey, the (...) current thesis can be seen as a direct response and, in some cases, a proposed alternative to the cognitivist/classicist rule-based, information-processing model of cognition. Embodied cognition, by contrast, arises from real-time, goal-oriented bodily interactions with the world. I lay out three relations: the implications of embodiment for consciousness; the implications of embodiment for the self; and the tension between these two. I argue that the embodiment paradigm introduces a radical split between consciousness and the self, and that it does so by deflating our pre-theoretical instincts about consciousness and self in two different directions; however, I claim, what both these theoretical movements have in common is a scepticism about the notion of a psychological container defining a boundary between ‘inside’ and ‘outside.’ (203 words). (shrink)
Reconstructing reason and representation is a no small ambition. Is Clarke up to it? His basic theoretical postulate is the massive modularity hypothesis, one of the Founding Articles of High Church Evolutionary Psychology . Clarke defends the massive modularity hypothesis against its critics – well, to be precise, against Jerry Fodor. Fodor’s main argument is that cognitive modules cannot do nondemonstrative reasoning in an effective and economical way. The problem is that, given a particular problem and given that we have (...) access to some large library of general knowledge, there seem to be no tractable rules for determining which items in the library are specifically relevant to the process of solving this particular problem. The trick is to know how to select, from the vast sea of irrelevant information in the library, the few bits of information that are relevant here and now. Modules don’t face the problem of selecting relevant information from a large library of accessible information. They solve the relevance problem noncognitively: information encapsulation puts walls around a body of information and gives the modular system free access to everything inside the room. (shrink)
Fully named _Discourse on the Method for Reasoning Well and for Seeking Truth in the Sciences_, this work offers the most complete presentation and defense of René Descartes’ method of intellectual inquiry— a method that greatly influenced both philosophical and scientific reasoning in the early modern world. Descartes’s timeless ideas strike an uncommon balance of novelty and familiarity, offering arguments concerning knowledge, science, and metaphysics that are as compelling in the 21st century as they were in the 17th. Ian Johnston’s (...) new translation of the original French text is modern, clear, and thoroughly annotated, ideal for readers unfamiliar with Descartes’ intellectual context. An approachable introduction engages both the historical and the philosophical aspects of the text, enabling the reader to interpret this easily misunderstood work within Descartes’ larger project. This edition joins Broadview’s growing list of affordable classic texts from the philosophical canon, adapted from Andrew Bailey’s popular anthology series _First Philosophy_. (shrink)
This volume provides new translations of René Descartes’s two most important philosophical works. The _Discourse_ offers a concise presentation and defense of Descartes’s method of intellectual inquiry—a method that greatly influenced both philosophical and scientific reasoning in the early modern world. Considered a foundational text in modern philosophy, the _Meditations_ presents numerous powerful arguments that to this day influence debates in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of religion. Descartes’s timeless writing strikes an uncommon balance of novelty and (...) familiarity, offering arguments concerning knowledge, science, and metaphysics that are as compelling in the twenty-first century as they were in the seventeenth. Ian Johnston’s translations are modern, clear, and thoroughly annotated, ideal for readers unfamiliar with Descartes’s intellectual context. An approachable introduction engages both the historical and the philosophical aspects of the text, helping the reader to understand the concepts and arguments contained therein. (shrink)
This concise edition of the acclaimed introductory anthology First Philosophy brings together thirty readings on six topics central to philosophy. Mindful of the intrinsic difficulty of much of the material, the editor has provided comprehensive introductions both to the six topics and to each individual selection. By providing a detailed discussion of the historical and intellectual background to each piece, he aims to enable readers to approach the material without unnecessary barriers to understanding. The topics——from "Does God exist?" to "Do (...) we have free will?" and "What is justice?"——have been chosen with a view both to their philosophical importance and to their interest to the first -year student. In an introductory chapter, the editor provides a brief introduction to the nature of philosophical enquiry, to the nature of argument, and to the process of reading and writing within the academic discipline of philosophy. (shrink)
Andrew Bailey’s highly-regarded introductory anthology has been revised and updated in this new concise edition. Mindful of the intrinsic difficulty of the material, the editors provide comprehensive introductions both to each topic and to each individual selection. By presenting a detailed discussion of the historical and intellectual background to each piece, the editors enable readers to approach the material without unnecessary barriers to understanding. Helpful explanatory footnotes are provided throughout, and new sections on philosophical puzzles and paradoxes and philosophical terminology (...) have been added. (shrink)
This introductory anthology brings together forty-eight readings on eight topics central to philosophy. Mindful of the intrinsic difficulty of much of the material, the editor has provided comprehensive introductions both to the eight topics and to each individual selection. By providing a detailed discussion of the historical and intellectual background to each piece, he aims to enable readers to approach the material without unnecessary barriers to understanding. The topics—from "Does God exist?" to "Do we have free will?" and "What is (...) justice?"—have been chosen with a view both to their philosophical importance and to their interest to the first-year student. In an introductory chapter, the editor provides a brief introduction to the nature of philosophical enquiry, to the nature of argument, and to the process of reading and writing within the academic discipline of philosophy. (shrink)
First Philosophy : God, Mind, and Freedom brings together classic and ground-breaking readings on metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of religion. Mindful of the intrinsic difficulty of much of the material, the editor has provided comprehensive introductions both to the central topics and to each individual selection. By providing a detailed discussion of the historical and intellectual background to each piece, he aims to enable readers to approach the material without unnecessary barriers to understanding. In an introductory (...) chapter, the editor provides a brief introduction to the nature of philosophical enquiry, to the nature of argument, and to the process of reading and writing within the academic discipline of philosophy. (shrink)
_First Philosophy: God, Mind, and Freedom_ brings together classic and ground-breaking readings on metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of religion. Andrew Bailey's highly regarded introductory anthology has been revised and updated in this new edition. The comprehensive introductory material for each chapter and selection remains, and new sections on philosophical puzzles and paradoxes and philosophical terminology have been added. New to this edition are readings from Alvin Plantinga, Frank Jackson, David Chalmers, A.J. Ayer, Bernard Williams, and Thomas (...) Nagel. (shrink)