The reward system of science is undergoing significant changes, as traditional indicators compete with initiatives that offer novel means of disseminating and assessing scholarly impact. This article considers a number of aspects of this reward system, including authorship, citations, acknowledgements and the growing use of social media platforms by academics, with an eye towards identifying contemporary issues relating to scholarly communication practices, as understood through the perspectives of Bourdieu’s symbolic capital and Merton’s recognition framework. The article posits that, while scientific (...) capital remains the foundation upon which the reward system of science is built, this system is revealing itself to be more and more multifaceted, extremely complex, and facing increasing tension between its traditional means of evaluation and the potential of new indicators in the digital era. The article presents an extended literature review, as well as recommendations for further consideration and empirical research. A better understanding of the perceptions of academics would be necessary to properly assess the effects of these new indicators on scholarly communication practices and the reward system of science. (shrink)
In psychiatry, pharmacological drugs play an important experimental role in attempts to identify the neurobiological causes of mental disorders. Besides being developed in applied contexts as potential treatments for patients with mental disorders, pharmacological drugs play a crucial role in research contexts as experimental instruments that facilitate the formulation and revision of neurobiological theories of psychopathology. This paper examines the various epistemic functions that pharmacological drugs serve in the discovery, refinement, testing, and elaboration of neurobiological theories of mental disorders. I (...) articulate this thesis with reference to the history of antipsychotic drugs and the evolution of the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia in the second half of the twentieth century. I argue that interventions with psychiatric patients through the medium of antipsychotic drugs provide researchers with information and evidence about the neurobiological causes of schizophrenia. This analysis highlights the importance of pharmacological drugs as research tools in the generation of psychiatric knowledge and the dynamic relationship between practical and theoretical contexts in psychiatry. (shrink)
This paper addresses philosophical issues concerning whether mental disorders are natural kinds and how the DSM should classify mental disorders. I argue that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, depression) are natural kinds in the sense that they are natural classes constituted by a set of stable biological mechanisms. I subsequently argue that a theoretical and causal approach to classification would provide a superior method for classifying natural kinds than the purely descriptive approach adopted by the DSM since DSM-III. My argument (...) suggests that the DSM should classify natural kinds in order to provide predictively useful (i.e., projectable) diagnostic categories and that a causal approach to classification would provide a more promising method for formulating valid diagnostic categories. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that depression and suicide are natural kinds insofar as they are classes of abnormal behavior underwritten by sets of stable biological mechanisms. In particular, depression and suicide are neurobiological kinds characterized by disturbances in serotonin functioning that affect various brain areas (i.e., the amygdala, anterior cingulate, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus). The significance of this argument is that the natural (biological) basis of depression and suicide allows for reliable projectable inferences (i.e., predictions) to be made about (...) individual members of a kind. In the context of assisted suicide, inferences about the decision-making capacity of depressed individuals seeking physician-assisted suicide are of special interest. I examine evidence that depression can hamper the decision-making capacity of individuals seeking assisted suicide and discuss some implications. (shrink)
This paper examines Ian Hacking's analysis of the looping effects of psychiatric classifications, focusing on his recent account of interactive and indifferent kinds. After explicating Hacking's distinction between 'interactive kinds' (human kinds) and 'indifferent kinds' (natural kinds), I argue that Hacking cannot claim that there are 'interactive and indifferent kinds,' given the way that he introduces the interactive-indifferent distinction. Hacking is also ambiguous on whether his notion of interactive and indifferent kinds is supposed to offer an account of classifications or (...) objects of classification. I argue that these conceptual difficulties show that Hacking's account of interactive and indifferent kinds cannot be based on - and should be clearly separated from - his distinction between interactive kinds and indifferent kinds. In clarifying Hacking's account, I argue that interactive and indifferent kinds should be regarded as objects of classification (i.e., kinds of people) that can be identified with reference to a law-like biological regularity and are aware of how they are classified. Schizophrenia and depression are discussed as examples. I subsequently offer reasons for resisting Hacking's claim that the objects of classification in the human sciences - as a result of looping effects - are 'moving targets'. (shrink)
A large part of the controversy surrounding the publication of DSM-5 stems from the possibility of replacing the purely descriptive approach to classification favored by the DSM since 1980. This paper examines the question of how mental disorders should be classified, focusing on the issue of whether the DSM should adopt a purely descriptive or theoretical approach. I argue that the DSM should replace its purely descriptive approach with a theoretical approach that integrates causal information into the DSM’s descriptive diagnostic (...) categories. The paper proceeds in three sections. In the first section, I examine the goals (viz., guiding treatment, facilitating research, and improving communication) associated with the DSM’s purely descriptive approach. In the second section, I suggest that the DSM’s purely descriptive approach is best suited for improving communication among mental health professionals; however, theoretical approaches would be superior for purposes of treatment and research. In the third section, I outline steps required to move the DSM towards a hybrid system of classification that can accommodate the benefits of descriptive and theoretical approaches, and I discuss how the DSM’s descriptive categories could be revised to incorporate theoretical information regarding the causes of disorders. I argue that the DSM should reconceive of its goals more narrowly such that it functions primarily as an epistemic hub that mediates among various contexts of use in which definitions of mental disorders appear. My analysis emphasizes the importance of pluralism as a methodological means for avoiding theoretical dogmatism and ensuring that the DSM is a reflexive and self-correcting manual. (shrink)
This paper explores Paul Feyerabend's (1924-1994) skeptical arguments for "anarchism" in his early writings between 1960 to 1975. Feyerabend's position is encapsulated by his well-known suggestion that the only principle for scientific method that can be defended under all circumstances is: "anything goes." I present Feyerabend's anarchism as a recommendation for pluralism that assumes a realist view of scientific theories. The aims of this paper are threefold: (1) to present a defensible view of Feyerabend's anarchism and its motivations, (2) to (...) articulate the minimal form of realism that such a view presupposes, and (3) to consider the implications and limitations of such a perspective in contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
Abstract Recently, some philosophers of psychiatry (viz., Rachel Cooper and Dominic Murphy) have analyzed the issue of psychiatric classification. This paper expands upon these analyses and seeks to demonstrate that a consideration of the history of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can provide a rich and informative philosophical perspective for critically examining the issue of psychiatric classification. This case is intended to demonstrate the importance of history for philosophy of psychiatry, and more generally, the potential benefits (...) of historically-informed approaches to philosophy of science. (shrink)
In the 1960s and 1970s, Hilary Putnam articulated a notion of relativized apriority that was motivated to address the problem of scientific change. This paper examines Putnam’s account in its historical context and in relation to contemporary views. I begin by locating Putnam’s analysis in the historical context of Quine’s rejection of apriority, presenting Putnam as a sympathetic commentator on Quine. Subsequently, I explicate Putnam’s positive account of apriority, focusing on his analysis of the history of physics and geometry. In (...) the remainder of the paper, I explore connections between Putnam’s account of relativized a priori principles and contemporary views. In particular, I situate Putnam’s account in relation to analyses advanced by Michael Friedman, David Stump, and William Wimsatt. From this comparison, I address issues concerning whether a priori scientific principles are appropriately characterized as “constitutive” or “entrenched”. I argue that these two features need to be clearly distinguished, and that only the constitutive function is essential to apriority. By way of conclusion, I explore the relationship between the constitutive function of a priori principles and entrenchment. (shrink)
This paper concerns the recent debate on the nature and motivations of the epistemological project advanced in Rudolf Carnap's (1891-1970) Aufbau. Much of this debate has been initiated by Michael Friedman and Alan Richardson who argue (against the received view of the Aufbau as a foundationalist defense of empiricism) that Carnap's epistemological project is located in the tradition of neo-Kantian epistemology. On this revisionist reading of the Aufbau, Carnap's project is not motivated to address traditional empiricist problems regarding the justification (...) of knowledge, but rather to show how objective knowledge is possible. A central aspect of the Aufbau that is neglected in the revisionists' analysis is the role of epistemic justification in Carnap's project. The aim of the present study is to argue that although the general epistemology in the Aufbau can be cast as neo-Kantian, Carnap's method of construction theory (or rational reconstruction) is formulated precisely as an empiricist method for the justification of conceptual knowledge. Construction theory radically redefines `empirical justification' into a formal-conventional notion, and is part of Carnap's more general agenda of redefining epistemology as a purely formal discipline. (shrink)
Michael Friedman’s Dynamics of Reason is a welcome contribution to the ongoing articulation of philosophical perspectives for understanding the sciences in the context of post-positivist philosophy of science. Two perspectives that have gained advocacy since the demise of the “received view” are Quinean naturalism and Kuhnian relativism. In his 1999 Stanford lectures, Friedman articulates and defends a neo-Kantian perspective for philosophy of science that opposes both of these perspectives. His proffered neo-Kantian perspective is presented within the context of the problem (...) of theory change or “scientific revolutions,” and its main feature is a conception of scientific knowledge that requires “relativized constitutive a priori principles.” The lectures make up the first part of the book; the second part of the book, “Fruits of Discussion,” is a further elaboration and defence of the ideas advanced in the lectures. The resulting book serves as a useful sequel to Friedman’s impressive historical studies in Foundations of Space-Time Theories, Kant and the Exact Sciences, and Reconsidering Logical Positivism. In the preface, Friedman tells us that this book represents the philosophical viewpoint that he has arrived at as a result of completing these works. As such, it is not surprising that the prominent themes of the book are ones that have occupied Friedman’s attention in the past, viz., the importance of a priori principles in the exact sciences, the conventionalism of the logical positivists, and, more generally, an articulation of what remains defensible in neo-Kantian philosophy of science. (shrink)
A Physicalist Manifesto is a full treatment of the comprehensive physicalist view that, in some important sense, everything is physical. Andrew Melnyk argues that the view is best formulated by appeal to a carefully worked-out notion of realization, rather than supervenience; that, so formulated, physicalism must be importantly reductionist; that it need not repudiate causal and explanatory claims framed in non-physical language; and that it has the a posteriori epistemic status of a broad-scope scientific hypothesis. Two concluding chapters argue (...) in detail that contemporary science provides no significant empirical evidence against physicalism and some considerable evidence for it. Written in a brisk, candid and exceptionally clear style, this 2003 book should appeal to professionals and students in philosophy of mind, metaphysics and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Science as Practice and Culture explores one of the newest and most controversial developments within the rapidly changing field of science studies: the move toward studying scientific practice--the work of doing science--and the associated move toward studying scientific culture, understood as the field of resources that practice operates in and on. Andrew Pickering has invited leading historians, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists of science to prepare original essays for this volume. The essays range over the physical and biological sciences and (...) mathematics, and are divided into two parts. In part I, the contributors map out a coherent set of perspectives on scientific practice and culture, and relate their analyses to central topics in the philosophy of science such as realism, relativism, and incommensurability. The essays in part II seek to delineate the study of science as practice in arguments across its borders with the sociology of scientific knowledge, social epistemology, and reflexive ethnography. (shrink)
This paper concerns Jean Piaget's (1896–1980) philosophy of science and, in particular, the picture of scientific development suggested by his theory of genetic epistemology. The aims of the paper are threefold: (1) to examine genetic epistemology as a theory concerning the growth of knowledge both in the individual and in science; (2) to explicate Piaget's view of ‘scientific progress’, which is grounded in his theory of equilibration; and (3) to juxtapose Piaget's notion of progress with Thomas Kuhn's (1922–1996). Issues of (...) scientific continuity, scientific realism and scientific rationality are discussed. It is argued that Piaget's view highlights weaknesses in Kuhn's ‘discontinuous’ picture of scientific change. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and defend a novel account of doubt. In Part 1, I make some preliminary observations about the nature of doubt. In Part 2, I introduce a new puzzle about the relationship between three psychological states: doubt, belief, and confidence. I present this puzzle because my account of doubt emerges as a possible solution to it. Lastly, in Part 3, I elaborate on and defend my account of doubt. Roughly, one has doubt if and only if (...) one believes one might be wrong; I argue that this is superior to the account that says that one has doubt if and only if one has less than the highest degree of confidence. (shrink)
Vagueness is the study of concepts that admit borderline cases. The epistemology of vagueness concerns attitudes we should have towards propositions we know to be borderline. On this basis Andrew Bacon develops a new theory of vagueness in which vagueness is fundamentally a property of propositions, explicated in terms of its role in thought.
Philosophers commonly say that beliefs come in degrees. Drawing from the literature, I make precise three arguments for this claim: an argument from degrees of confidence, an argument from degrees of firmness, and an argument from natural language. I show that they all fail. I also advance three arguments that beliefs do not come in degrees: an argument from natural language, an argument from intuition, and an argument from the metaphysics of degrees. On the basis of these arguments, I conclude (...) that beliefs do not come in degrees. (shrink)
This highly multidisciplinary collection discusses an increasingly important topic among scholars in science and technology studies: objectivity in science. It features eleven essays on scientific objectivity from a variety of perspectives, including philosophy of science, history of science, and feminist philosophy. Topics addressed in the book include the nature and value of scientific objectivity, the history of objectivity, and objectivity in scientific journals and communities. Taken individually, the essays supply new methodological tools for theorizing what is valuable in the pursuit (...) of objective knowledge and for investigating its history. The essays offer many starting points, while suggesting new avenues of research. Taken collectively, the essays exemplify the very virtues of objectivity that they theorize—in reading them together, the reader can sense various anxieties about the dangerously subjective in our age and locate commonalities of concern as well as differences of approach. As a result, the volume offers an expansive vision of a research community seeking a communal understanding of its own methods and its own epistemic anxieties, struggling to enunciate the key problems of knowledge of our time and offer insight into how to overcome them. -/- (Contributors: Alex Csiszar, Scott Edgar, Peter Galison, Ian Hacking, Sandra Harding, Moira Howes, Paolo Savoia, Judy Segal, Joan Steigerwald, and Alison Wylie). (shrink)
According to David Chalmers, the hard problem of consciousness consists of explaining how and why qualitative experience arises from physical states. Moreover, Chalmers argues that materialist and reductive explanations of mentality are incapable of addressing the hard problem. In this chapter, I suggest that Chalmers’ hard problem can be usefully distinguished into a ‘how question’ and ‘why question,’ and I argue that evolutionary biology has the resources to address the question of why qualitative experience arises from brain states. From this (...) perspective, I discuss the different kinds of evolutionary explanations (e.g., adaptationist, exaptationist, spandrel) that can explain the origins of the qualitative aspects of various conscious states. This argument is intended to clarify which parts of Chalmers’ hard problem are amenable to scientific analysis. (shrink)
In An Essay upon Civil Government, Andrew Michael Ramsay mounted a sustained attack upon the development throughout English history of popular government. According to Ramsay, popular involvement in sovereignty had led to the decline of society and the revolutions of the seventeenth century. In his own time, Parliament had become a despotic instrument of government, riven with faction and driven by a multiplicity of laws that manifested a widespread corruption in the state. Ramsay's solution to this degeneracy was the (...) extirpation of Parliament, and its substitution with a monarchy moderated by an aristocratic senate. Ramsay's adoption of certain “Country” elements, including a return to the first principles of the constitution, claimed to reflect the principles of contemporary French aristocratic theory which called for the reform of government through the nobility. In his desire to exclude popular government, and reverse the decline of the state, however, Ramsay utilised the theory with which Bossuet had defended Louis XIV's absolute France. Intriguingly, traces of the natural law system which fortified Ramsay's theory can be found in Viscount Bolingbroke's subsequent attack on Walpole's Whig ministry and the corruption of the state. (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)
Newton's philosophical views are unique and uniquely difficult to categorise. In the course of a long career from the early 1670s until his death in 1727, he articulated profound responses to Cartesian natural philosophy and to the prevailing mechanical philosophy of his day. Newton as Philosopher presents Newton as an original and sophisticated contributor to natural philosophy, one who engaged with the principal ideas of his most important predecessor, René Descartes, and of his most influential critic, G. W. Leibniz. Unlike (...) Descartes and Leibniz, Newton was systematic and philosophical without presenting a philosophical system, but over the course of his life, he developed a novel picture of nature, our place within it, and its relation to the creator. This rich treatment of his philosophical ideas will be of wide interest to historians of philosophy, science, and ideas. (shrink)
Christian concern about how we treat animals has increased strikingly in recent years. More and more Christians are deciding that our attitudes towards animals must change. Here is a book which presents, for the first time, a comprehensive and well-argued theological case for the rights of animals, and offers a challenging critique of our existing insensitivity toward animal life. Everyone who cares about the rights of animals, particularly clergy and ministers who are constantly being asked for answers on the issue, (...) will welcome this new and important book. (shrink)
Virtue theories have become influential in ethics and epistemology. This paper argues for a similar approach to argumentation. Several potential obstacles to virtue theories in general, and to this new application in particular, are considered and rejected. A first attempt is made at a survey of argumentational virtues, and finally it is argued that the dialectical nature of argumentation makes it particularly suited for virtue theoretic analysis.
Modern discussions of natural resources focus on increasing public control over extractive industries proposing measures that range from increasing the public's share of the gain via royalties and taxes to regulating extractive activities to prevent environmental problems to outright expropriation of private investments. This article argues that such efforts are counterproductive because the fundamental economic problem of natural resources is producing the knowledge necessary to locate and extract resource deposits. The public benefit comes from enabling the use of the resources (...) and the increased economic activity their discovery produces rather than from royalties or expropriation. The key question in designing natural resource laws is thus their effects on the incentive to discover and manage resources. Private property rights in natural resources are the best way to provide such incentives. Fortunately, the combination of property rights and tort law principles enables property rights to solve environmental problems related to natural resource extraction as well. (shrink)
The second edition of Andrew Skinner's essays has been updated to take account of his latest thinking on Adam Smith's system of social and moral science and his experience of teaching Smith to a student audience. The material from the first edition has been extensively rewritten in the light of recent scholarship, and four new essays have been included. Each essay can be read as a self-contained unit, supported by a full bibliography and notes; the book as a whole (...) expounds a single coherent argument which demonstrates how Smith's works are inter-related. (shrink)
This dissertation examines psychiatry from a philosophy of science perspective, focusing on issues of realism and classification. Questions addressed in the dissertation include: What evidence is there for the reality of mental disorders? Are any mental disorders natural kinds? When are disease explanations of abnormality warranted? How should mental disorders be classified? -/- In addressing issues concerning the reality of mental disorders, I draw on the accounts of realism defended by Ian Hacking and William Wimsatt, arguing that biological research on (...) mental disorders supports the inference that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) are real theoretical entities, and that the evidence supporting this inference is causal and abductive. In explicating the nature of such entities, I argue that real mental disorders are natural kinds insofar as they are natural classes of abnormal behavior whose members share the same causal structure. I present this position in terms of Richard Boyd’s homeostatic cluster property theory of natural kinds, and argue that this perspective reveals limitations of Hacking’s account on the looping effects of human kinds, which suggests that the objects classified by psychiatrists are unstable entities. I subsequently argue that a subset of mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and Down syndrome) are mental illnesses insofar as they are disorders caused by a dysfunctional biological process that leads to harmful consequences for individuals. I present this analysis against Thomas Szasz’s argument that mental illness is a myth. -/- In addressing issues of psychiatric classification, my analysis focuses on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which has been published regularly by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952, and is currently in its fourth edition. After examining the history of DSM in the twentieth century, and in particular, DSM’s shift to an atheoretical and purely descriptive system in the 1980s, I consider the relative merits of descriptive versus causal systems of classification. Drawing on Carl Hempel’s analysis of taxonomic systems in psychiatry, I argue that a causal classification system would provide a superior approach to psychiatric classification than the descriptive system currently favored by DSM. (shrink)
Nicolas Malebranche is one of the most important philosophers of the 17th Century after Descartes. A pioneer of Rationalism, he was one of the first to champion and to further Cartesian ideas. Andrew Pyle places Malebranche's work in the context of Descartes and other philosophers, and also in its relation to ideas about faith and reason. He examines the entirety of Malebranche's writings, including the famous The Search After Truth , which was admired and criticized by both Leibniz and (...) Locke. Pyle presents an integrated account of Malebranche's central theses, occasionalism and 'vision in God', before exploring and assessing Malebranche's contribution to debates on physics and biology, and his views on the soul, self-knowledge, grace, and the freedom of the will. This penetrating and wide-ranging study will be of interest to not only philosophers, but also to historians of science and philosophy, theologians, and students of the Enlightenment or 17th Century thought. (shrink)
"Equality of opportunity for all" is a fine piece of political rhetoric but the ideal that lies behind it is slippery to say the least. This book defends a particular account of the ideal and its place in a more radical version of what it is to level the playing field.
I argue for an account of the vulnerability of trust, as a product of our need for secure social attachments to individuals and to a group. This account seeks to explain why it is true that, when we trust or distrust someone, we are susceptible to being betrayed by them, rather than merely disappointed or frustrated in our goals. What we are concerned about in matters of trust is, at the basic level, whether we matter, in a non-instrumental way, to (...) that individual, or to the group of which they are a member. We have this concern as a result of a drive to form secure social attachments. This makes us vulnerable in the characteristic way of being susceptible to betrayal, because how the other acts in such matters can demonstrate our lack of worth to them, or to the group, thereby threatening the security of our attachment, and eliciting the reactive attitudes characteristic of betrayal. (shrink)
Attempting to settle various debates from recent literature regarding its precise nature, I offer a detailed conceptual analysis of toleration. I begin by isolating toleration from other notions; this provides us some guidance by introducing the eight definitional conditions of toleration that I then explicate and defend. Together, these eight conditions indicate that toleration is an agent’s intentional and principled refraining from interfering with an opposed other (or their behavior, etc.) in situations of diversity, where the agent believes she has (...) the power to interfere. This non-normative definition can serve as a preliminary to normative discussions of toleration. (shrink)
In his paper, ‘A critique of religious fictionalism’, Benjamin Cordry raises a series of objections to a fictionalist form of religious non-realism that I proposed in my earlier paper, ‘Can an atheist believe in God?’. They fall into two main categories: those alleging that an atheist would be unjustified in adopting fictionalism, and those alleging that fictionalism could not be successfully implemented, or practised communally. I argue that these objections can be met.
What should a virtue theory of argumentation say about fallacious reasoning? If good arguments are virtuous, then fallacies are vicious. Yet fallacies cannot just be identified with vices, since vices are dispositional properties of agents whereas fallacies are types of argument. Rather, if the normativity of good argumentation is explicable in terms of virtues, we should expect the wrongness of bad argumentation to be explicable in terms of vices. This approach is defended through analysis of several fallacies, with particular emphasis (...) on the ad misericordiam. (shrink)
There is an old and powerful argument for the claim that divine foreknowledge is incompatible with the freedom to do otherwise. A recent response to this argument, sometimes called the “dependence response,” centers around the claim that God’s relevant past beliefs depend on the relevant agent’s current or future behavior in a certain way. This paper offers a new argument for the dependence response, one that revolves around different cases of time travel. Somewhat serendipitously, the argument also paves the way (...) for a new reply to a compelling objection to the dependence response, the challenge from prepunishment. But perhaps not so serendipitously, the argument also renders the dependence response incompatible with certain views of providence. (shrink)
Some accounts of moral responsibility hold that an agent's responsibility is completely determined by some aspect of the agent's mental life at the time of action. For example, some hold that an agent is responsible if and only if there is an appropriate mesh among the agent's particular psychological elements. It is often objected that the particular features of the agent's mental life to which these theorists appeal (such as a particular structure or mesh) are not necessary for responsibility. This (...) is because there appear to be cases in which an agent acts at an earlier time which causes her to lack the appropriate psychological features at some later time and yet, intuitively, she is responsible at that later .. (shrink)
This work presents a version of the correspondence theory of truth based on Wittgenstein's Tractatus and Russell's theory of truth and discusses related metaphysical issues such as predication, facts and propositions. Like Russell and one prominent interpretation of the Tractatus it assumes a realist view of universals. Part of the aim is to avoid Platonic propositions, and although sympathy with facts is maintained in the early chapters, the book argues that facts as real entities are not needed. It includes discussion (...) of contemporary philosophers such as David Armstrong, William Alston and Paul Horwich, as well as those who write about propositions and facts, and a number of students of Bertrand Russell. It will interest teachers and advanced students of philosophy who are interested in the realistic conception of truth and in issues in metaphysics related to the correspondence theory of truth, and those interested in Russell and the Tractatus. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper I reconstruct Kant’s proof of the existence of a ‘most real being’ while also highlighting the theory of modality that motivates Kant’s departure from Leibniz’s version of the proof. I go on to argue that it is precisely this departure that makes the being that falls out of the pre-critical proof look more like Spinoza’s extended natura naturans than an independent, personal creator-God. In the critical period, Kant seems to think that transcendental idealism (...) allows him to avoid this conclusion, but in the last section of the paper I argue that there is still one important version of the Spinozistic threat that remains. -/- . (shrink)
The assertion that an experiment by Afshar et al. demonstrates violation of Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity is based on the faulty assumption that which-way information in a double-slit interference experiment can be retroactively determined from a future measurement.
In this essay I describe how contractarianism might approach interspecies welfare conflicts. I start by discussing a contractarian account of the moral status of nonhuman animals. I argue that contractors can agree to norms that would acknowledge the “moral standing” of some animals. I then discuss how the norms emerging from contractarian agreement might constrain any comparison of welfare between humans and animals. Contractarian agreement is likely to express some partiality to humans in a way that discounts the welfare of (...) some or all animals. While the norms emerging from the contract might be silent or inconsistent in some tragic or catastrophic cases, in most ordinary conflicts of welfare, contractors will agree to norms that produce some determinate resolution. What the agreement says can evolve depending upon how the contractors or the circumstances change. I close with some remarks on contractarian indeterminacy. (shrink)