Shows that many of our understandings about scientific thought can be corrected once we realise just how unnatural science is. Quoting scientists from Aristotle to Einstein, the book argues that scientific ideas are, with rare exceptions, counter-intuitive and contrary to common sense.
Andrew Youpa offers an original reading of Spinoza's moral philosophy, arguing it is fundamentally an ethics of joy. Unlike approaches to moral philosophy that center on praiseworthiness or blameworthiness, Youpa maintains that Spinoza's moral philosophy is about how to live lovingly and joyously. His reading expands to examinations of the centrality of education and friendship to Spinoza's moral framework, his theory of emotions, and the metaphysical foundation of his moral philosophy.
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)
Andrew Sayer undertakes a fundamental critique of social science's difficulties in acknowledging that people's relation to the world is one of concern. As sentient beings, capable of flourishing and suffering, and particularly vulnerable to how others treat us, our view of the world is substantially evaluative. Yet modernist ways of thinking encourage the common but extraordinary belief that values are beyond reason, and merely subjective or matters of convention, with little or nothing to do with the kind of beings (...) people are, the quality of their social relations, their material circumstances or well-being. The author shows how social theory and philosophy need to change to reflect the complexity of everyday ethical concerns and the importance people attach to dignity. He argues for a robustly critical social science that explains and evaluates social life from the standpoint of human flourishing. (shrink)
Andrews Reath presents a selection of his best essays on various features of Kant's moral psychology and moral theory, with particular emphasis on his conception of rational agency and his conception of autonomy. Together the essays articulate Reath's original approach to Kant's views about human autonomy, which explains Kant's belief that objective moral requirements are based on principles we choose for ourselves. With two new papers, and revised versions of several others, the volume will be of great interest to all (...) students and scholars of Kant and of moral philosophy. (shrink)
This paper looks at the nature of normal-proper functions and the role they play in theories of representational content. More specifically: I lay down two desiderata for a theory which tries to capture what's distinctive of normal-proper functions and discuss two prominent theories which claim to satisfy them. I discuss the advantages of having normal-proper functions ground a theory of representational content. And, I look at both orthodox and heterodox versions of such theories.
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.
Some think that life is worth living not merely because of the goods and the bads within it, but also because life itself is good. I explain how this idea can be formalized by associating each version of the view with a function from length of life to the value generated by life itself. Then I argue that every version of the view that life itself is good faces some version of the following dilemma: either (1) good human lives are (...) worse than very long lives wholly devoid of pleasure, desire-satisfaction, knowledge, or any other goods, or (2) very short lives containing nothing but suffering are worth living. Since neither result is plausible, we ought to reject the view that life itself is good. On the view I favor, any given life may be worth living because of the goods that it contains, but life itself is neutral. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas devoted a substantial proportion of his greatest works to the virtues. Yet, despite the availability of these texts, Aquinas’s virtue ethics remains mysterious, leaving readers with many unanswered questions. In this book, Pinsent argues that the key to understanding Aquinas’s approach is to be found in an association between: a) attributes he appends to the virtues, and b) interpersonal capacities investigated by the science of social cognition, especially in the context of autistic spectrum disorder. The book uses this (...) research to argue that Aquinas’s approach to the virtues is radically non-Aristotelian and founded on the concept of second-person relatedness. To demonstrate the explanatory power of this principle, Pinsent shows how the second-person perspective gives interpretation to Aquinas’s descriptions of the virtues and offers a key to long-standing problems, such as the reconciliation of magnanimity and humility. The principle of second-person relatedness also interprets acts that Aquinas describes as the fruition of the virtues. Pinsent concludes by considering how this approach may shape future developments in virtue ethics. (shrink)
This paper suffers from a disconcerting generality. I need an excuse for wandering from Wittgenstein's Tractatus to Picasso's drawing of a Weeping Woman, via the philosophy of science and the theory of sense data. The thesis of the paper is that I have such an excuse. These are all areas where the concept of representation either exists in its own right, or has been found to be illuminating by philosophers. An important question is whether it could be the same concept (...) in all these cases. I wish to claim that there is an illuminating common concept, even though to find it may require some fairly drastic modifications of some of the philosophical theses that are involved. (shrink)
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)
We are essentially a society of cells that come from a single cell, the fertilised egg. Research in cell biology has made major advances that are relevant to medicine and our understanding of life. Our understanding of the role of genes and proteins is impressive. But is this science dangerous? The whole of Western literature has not been kind to cell scientists and is filled with images of scientists meddling with nature, with disastrous results.1 Just consider Shelley’s Frankenstein, Goethe’s Faust (...) and Huxley’s Brave New World. One will search with very little success for a novel in which scientists come out well—the persistent image is that of scientists as a group unconcerned with ethical issues.There is a fear and distrust of cell science, particularly genetic engineering, leading to genetically modified foods, genetic modification of humans, cloning and stem cells. There is something of a revulsion in humankind’s meddling with nature and a longing for a Rousseauish-like return to golden age of innocence. There is anxiety that scientists lack both wisdom and social responsibility and are so motivated by ambition that they will follow their research anywhere, no matter what the consequences. Scientists are repeatedly referred to as “playing God”. Many of these criticisms coexist with the hope, particularly in medicine, that science will provide cures to all major illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and genetic disabilities such as cystic fibrosis. But is cell science dangerous and what are the special social responsibilities of scientists? It is worth noting one irony: although scientists are blamed for making us live in a high-risk society, it is only because of science that we know about these risks, such as those related to health.The media must bear much of the responsibility for the misunderstanding of genetics as genetic pornography is, …. (shrink)
This essay considers Kant’s theory of modality in light of a debate in contemporary modal metaphysics and modal logic concerning the Barcan formulas. The comparison provides a new and fruitful perspective on Kant’s complex and sometimes confusing claims about possibility and necessity. Two central Kantian principles provide the starting point for the comparison: that the possible must be grounded in the actual and that existence is not a real predicate. Both are shown to be intimately connected to the Barcan formulas, (...) and Kant’s views on what he distinguishes as three different kinds of modality are then considered in light of this connection. (shrink)
The notions of purpose, goal, end and function are used in descriptions of a very wide range of human, animal and machine behaviour. Andrew Woodfield provides here a unified account of such teleological descriptions and explanations, their varieties, their logical structure and their proper uses. He concentrates his argument on the concepts of 'goal-directed behaviour' and 'natural function', and combines original philosophical criticism with a meticulous, detailed survey of the main competing theories in this diffuse and difficult field.
By what steps, historically, did morality emerge? Our remote ancestors evolved into social animals. Sociality requires, among other things, restraints on disruptive sexual, hostile, aggressive, vengeful, and acquisitive behavior. Since we are innately social and not social by convention, we can assume the biological evolution of the emotional equipment – numerous predispositions to want, fear, feel anxious or secure – required for social living, just as we can assume cultural evolution of various means to control antisocial behavior and reinforce the (...) prosocial kind. Small clans consisting, say, of several extended families whose members cooperated in hunting, gathering, defense, and child-rearing could not exist without a combination of innate and social restraints on individual behavior. I shall argue for a naturalistic theory of morality, by which I do not mean the definitional claims G.E. Moore sought to refute, but a broader and more complex theory that maintains that a sufficient understanding of human nature, history, and culture can fully explain morality; that nothing is left hanging. A theory that coherently brings together the needed biological, psychological, and cultural facts I shall call a philosophical anthropology; it is a theory that: 1) takes the good for humans – both an ultimate good and other important goods – to depend on human nature; 2) argues that a rudimentary but improving scientific and philosophical theory of human nature now exists, and thus denies that people are “essenceless”; 3) takes this theory to be evolutionary and historical, making the question “How did morality originate?” pivotal for ethical theory, but leaves open the empirical question of the relative importance of biological and cultural evolution; and 4) takes the origin of the moral ideas to be explainable in terms of human nature and history. (shrink)
Ushenko's speculative vision opened on the problem of time and its relation to logic. Profoundly concerned about the theme of time--the theme that intrinsically defines romantic irrationalism--he yet endeavored to vindicate within the bounds of temporality the sovereignty of logic so essential to the continuance of classical philosophy. The dual preoccupation with time and logic urged him into the fields of symbolic logic and relativity physics. From the flux of unrepeatable events he disengaged the laws of logic and the propositions (...) of scientific discourse, while at the same time he sought to keep both orders of entity united without injury to either. He ventured into nature as disclosed by contemporary physics and selected the category of event to supplant substance. He undertook to expound a metaphysics of events, grappled with the problem of the unity not only of nature but of the singular events that make up nature, and fixed upon the overarching structure of the space-time of relativity physics to resolve the problem. But this did not suffice. The metaphysical vision at work in these early books glimpsed at moments a principle beyond time, beyond propositions, beyond events--the principle of power. Power and Events: An Essay on Dynamics in Philosophy focused on the principle of power, integrating the other themes in terms of it. As the mature work of a significant and original thinker, Power and Events posed the principle of power as the central idea for the future course of philosophical investigation. In pursuit of its implications Ushenko embarked upon the philosophy of art in his last book Dynamics of Art and in a consistent yet startling fashion advanced the thesis that the substance of art is in effect a dynamic equilibrium of powers. (shrink)
Ushenko presented his philosophy of logic in vehement opposition to "the postulationist theory." In the endeavor to amputate logic from philosophy and absorb it within mathematics, the postulationists viewed logic as an isolated object-logic to be discussed in meta-logic and construed its symbolic formulas as a game played according to arbitrarily established rules. The objections Ushenko raised are no longer novel, but twenty years ago the entire controversy was new. Above all, he stressed the numerous difficulties entangling the meta-logic. He (...) scored the menace of an infinite regress of meta-logics, and insisted that the consequences of Gödel's work necessarily frustrate the initial great expectations of the postulationists. No purely formal system can be internally proved to be self-consistent and certainly no formal language can ever become as comprehensive as English, though the price of such comprehensiveness is the inevitable occurrence of contradictory sentences. Moreover, he argued that, despite the postulationists' pretense that rules like the principle of non-contradiction were mere conventions for playing the game of logic, these rules proved ubiquitous by trespassing from the object-logic and intruding into the ultimate reaches of the meta-logic. (shrink)
This important collection of essays by Andrew Feenberg presents his critical theory of technology, an innovative approach to philosophy and sociology of technology based on a synthesis of ideas drawn from STS and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The volume includes chapters on citizenship, modernity, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
_Utilitarianism_ is a classic work of ethical theory, arguably the most persuasive and comprehensible presentation of this widely inﬂuential position. Mill argues that it is pleasure and pain that ought to guide our decision-making&and not the pleasure and pain of any one person or group, but the summative experience of all who are affected by our actions. While he didn’t invent utilitarianism, Mill offered its clearest expression and strongest defense, and expanded the theory to account for the variety in quality (...) that we ﬁnd among speciﬁc pleasures and pains. Today, Mill’s version of the “Greatest Happiness Principle” is a standard premise in many moral arguments within the academy and in practical ethical and political deliberation. The complete text of the 1871 edition of _Utilitarianism_ is presented here, with footnote annotations added to clarify unfamiliar references and terminology for the student reader. A detailed introduction by the editor is divided into brief digestible parts discussing the context of the text and offering guidelines on how to read it accurately and critically. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed _Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought_ and adheres to the anthology’s format and high standard of accuracy and accessibility. (shrink)
_Edusemiotics_ addresses an emerging field of inquiry, educational semiotics, as a philosophy of and for education. Using "sign" as a unit of analysis, educational semiotics amalgamates philosophy, educational theory and semiotics. Edusemiotics draws on the intellectual legacy of such philosophers as John Dewey, Charles Sanders Peirce, Gilles Deleuze and others across Anglo-American and continental traditions. This volume investigates the specifics of semiotic knowledge structures and processes, exploring current dilemmas and debates regarding self-identity, learning, transformative and lifelong education, leadership and policy-making, (...) and interrogating an important premise that still haunts contemporary educational philosophy: Cartesian dualism. In defiance of substance dualism and the fragmentation of knowledge that still inform education, the book offers a unifying paradigm for education as edusemiotics and emphasises ethical education in compliance with the semiotic unity between knowledge and action. Chapters contain accessible discussions in the context of educational philosophy and theory, crossing the borders between logic, art, and science together with a provocative theoretical critique. Recently awarded a PESA book award for its contribution to the philosophy of education, _Edusemiotics_ will appeal to an academic readership in education, philosophy and cultural studies, while also being an inspiring resource for students. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (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)
In 1929 Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Davos, Switzerland, which is widely held to have marked an important division in twentieth-century European thought. Peter E. Gordon’s recent book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate, the issues that distinguished the respective positions of Cassirer and Heidegger, and the legacy of the debate for later decades. Throughout the work, (...) Gordon concisely portrays the source of disagreement between the two adversaries in terms of a difference between Cassirer’s philosophy of spontaneity and Heidegger’s philosophy of receptivity, or of “thrownness” , into a situation that finite human beings can never hope to master. Although it recognizes that this work provides an important contribution to our understanding of the Davos debate and to twentieth-century European thought, this review essay subjects Gordon’s manner of interpreting the distinction between Cassirer and Heidegger to critical scrutiny. Its purpose is to examine the possibility that important aspects of the debate, which do not conform to the grid imposed by Gordon’s interpretation, might have been set aside in the context of his analysis. (shrink)
Mark Johnston (2016, 2017) has raised concerns that a worm-theoretic account of persistence through time is incompatible with ethical singularity: that within the life of any actual person, there is only one morally considerable being, namely that person. To deny ethical singularity is to deny a core feature of our ordinary ethical and prudential thinking. The worm theory, Johnston concludes, proves to be “disastrous … for our ordinary moral outlook”. This paper defends the worm theory from Johnston’s argument. Though I (...) agree that the worm theory must deny ethical singularity, it can nevertheless be squared with our ordinary ethical thinking by adopting a temporal counterpart analysis of temporal predication (‘x will be F’, ‘x was previously F’, etc.) for those morally considerable beings involved in a person’s life that are not the person. (shrink)