ABSTRACT People suffer from a variety of cognitive shortcomings when forming and updating their political beliefs. Three pervasive shortcomings are confirmation bias, disconfirmation bias, and motivated reasoning. The emotional state of anxiety can help us overcome these biases given the open-minded, information-rich, reflective deliberation with diverse people it may promote—although mass and social media may hinder this type of deliberation.
This essay explores the nature of narrative representations of individual lives and the connection between these narratives and personal good. It poses the challenge of determining how thinking of our lives in story form contributes distinctively to our good in a way not reducible to other value-conferring features of our lives. Because we can meaningfully talk about our lives going well for us at particular moments even if they fail to go well overall or over time, the essay maintains that (...) our good must consist in something more than an accumulation of good discrete moments. Since persons have the capacities to reason, remember, and imagine, our good depends on a larger view of our lives that integrates its particular moments in a narrative. That narrative provides shape and texture to our lives. Storytelling serves to connect the events of our lives to each other, and to explain why the meaning and value of past events or features of our lives can shift as the life, and hence the story of the life, continues to unfold. The essay concludes that narrative enables us to see our lives in ways that support, encourage, or promote our self-concept and self-worth as agents who have controlling authority over our own lives. (shrink)
In this engagingly written book, Colin McGinn advances a number of related theses, most prominent among them, that moral philosophy is in need of new methodologies in order to get at neglected questions about moral character. The methodology McGinn urges involves drawing upon literature for its deep and intricate portrayals of ethical themes. This would seem a natural approach given McGinn’s substantive views about ethics. He contends that our ethical knowledge is aesthetically mediated ; he speculates that the “innateness” of (...) ethics may be “a by-product of our innate grasp of folk psychology” which comes into play when we interpret literature; and he defends an “aesthetic theory of virtue” according to which virtue coincides with beauty of soul. (shrink)
Locke claims that we have sensitive knowledge of the external world, in virtue of the fact that simple ideas are real, true, and adequate. However, despite his dismissive remarks about Cartesian external-world skepticism, Locke gives us little to go on as to how knowledge of the external world survives the fact of perceptual error, or even how perceptual error is possible. I argue that Locke has an in-principle problem explaining perceptual error.
You can come to know that you believe that p partly by reflecting on whether p and then judging that p. Call this procedure “the transparency method for belief.” How exactly does the transparency method generate known self-attributions of belief? To answer that question, we cannot interpret the transparency method as involving a transition between the contents p and I believe that p. It is hard to see how some such transition could be warranted. Instead, in this context, one mental (...) action is both a judgment that p and a self-attribution of a belief that p. The notion of embedded mental action is introduced here to explain how this can be so and to provide a full epistemic explanation of the transparency method. That explanation makes sense of first-person authority and immediacy in transparent self-knowledge. In generalized form, it gives sufficient conditions on an attitude’s being known transparently. (shrink)
Context: The current study of emotions is based on theoretical models that limit the emotional experience. The collection of emotional data is through self-report questionnaires, restricting the description of emotional experience to broad concepts or induced preconceived qualities of how an emotion should be felt. Problem: Are the emotional experiences responding exclusively to these concepts and dimensions? Method: Music was used to lead participants into an emotional experience. Then a micro-phenomenological interview, a methodology with a phenomenological approach, was used to (...) guide their descriptions. Results: The descriptions of emotional experiences revealed a temporal structure that could have a linear or circular development. Moreover the qualitative aspects disclosed that these experiences are characterized by corporal sensations and marked variations of emotional intensity. Additionally, the emotional experience was embodied. Implications: The emotional experience is a dynamic process in which bodily sensations take a primary role, allowing the identification of such emotions. The integration of these first-person features of emotional experience with third-person data could lead to a better understanding and interpretation of emotional processes. Constructivist content: This article highlights the need to integrate first-person and third-person methodologies to study and explain human behavior in a comprehensive manner. Key Words: Emotion, experience, micro-phenomenological interview, body, music, affective neuroscience. (shrink)
We study the problem of embedding Halpern and Moses's modal logic of minimal knowledge states into two families of modal formalism for nonmonotonic reasoning, McDermott and Doyle's nonmonotonic modal logics and ground nonmonotonic modal logics. First, we prove that Halpern and Moses's logic can be embedded into all ground logics; moreover, the translation employed allows for establishing a lower bound (3p) for the problem of skeptical reasoning in all ground logics. Then, we show a translation of Halpern and Moses's logic (...) into a significant subset of McDermott and Doyle's formalisms. Such a translation both indicates the ability of Halpern and Moses's logic of expressing minimal knowledge states in a more compact way than McDermott and Doyle's logics, and allows for a comparison of the epistemological properties of such nonmonotonic modal formalisms. (shrink)
As persons, beings with a capacity for autonomy, we face a certain practical task in living out our lives. At any given period we find ourselves with many desires or preferences, yet we have limited resources, and so we cannot satisfy them all. Our limited resources include insufficient economic means, of course; few of us have either the funds or the material provisions to obtain or pursue all that we might like. More significantly, though, we are limited to a single (...) life and one of finite duration. We also age, and pursuits that were possible at earlier points within a life may become impossible at later stages; we thus encounter not only an ultimate time limit but episodic limits as well. Because we must live our lives with limited resources—material and temporal—we are pressed to choose among and to order our preferences. Without some selection and ordering, few if any of them would be satisfied, and we would be unable to live lives that are recognizably good at all. Moreover, we would be unable to function well as the autonomous beings that we are. Our practical task then is to form a coherent, stable, and attractive ordering of aims—to develop a conception of our good. (shrink)
This volume contains thirteen new essays covering various issues in value theory. Eight of the essays were presented at a conference by the same name at Bowling Green State University, five others were commissioned. The essays vary in quality, and some of them cover themes developed in previously published work. But overall, each essay provides a carefully argued point of view on an important issue.
Background Informed consent is often cited as the “cornerstone” of research ethics. Its intent is that participants enter research voluntarily, with an understanding of what their participation entails. Despite agreement on the necessity to obtain informed consent in research, opinions vary on the threshold of disclosure necessary and the best method to obtain consent. We aimed to investigate Australian researchers’ views on, and their experiences with, obtaining informed consent. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 researchers from NSW institutions, working (...) in various fields of research. Interviews were analysed and coded to identify themes. Results Researchers reported that consent involved information disclosure, understanding and a voluntary decision. They emphasised the variability of consent interactions, which were dependent on potential participants’ abilities and interests, study complexity and context. All researchers reported providing written information to potential participants, yet questioned the readability and utility of this information. The majority reported using signed consent forms to ‘operationalise’ consent and reported little awareness of, and lack of support in implementing more dynamic informed consent procedures, such as verbal informed consent, that was fit for the purposes of their studies. Views on Human Research Ethics Committees varied. Some reported inconsistent, arduous inputs on the information form and consent process. Others expressed reliance on HRECs for guidance, viewing them as institutional safeguards. Conclusions This study highlights the importance of transparent relationships, both between researchers and participants, and between researchers and HRECs. Where the relationship with study participants was reported as more robust, researchers felt that they were better able to ensure participants made better, more informed decisions. Where the relationship with HRECs was reported as more robust, researchers were more likely to view them as institutional safeguards, rather than as bureaucratic hindrances. Conscientious and mindful researchers are paramount to ensuring the procedure accommodates individual requirements. This study advocates that when designing ethical informed consent practices, researchers should be integrated as autonomous players with a positive input on the process, rather than, in the worst case, predatory recruiters to be curtailed by information forms and oversight. (shrink)
Proponents of numerous recent theories of a person's good hold that a plausible account of the good for a person must satisfy existence internalism. Yet little direct defense has been given for this position. I argue that the principal intuition behind internalism supports a stronger version of the thesis than it might appear--one that effects a "double link" to motivation. I then identify and develop the main arguments that have been or might be given in support of internalism about a (...) person's good, showing how these arguments support this stronger version of internalism. (shrink)
Any contextualist approach to knowledge has to provide a plausible definition of the concept of context and spell out the mechanisms of context changes. Since it is the dynamics of context change that carry the main weight of the contextualist position, not every mechanism will be capable of filling that role. In particular, I argue that one class of mechanisms that is most popularly held to account for context changes, namely those that arise out of shifts of conversational parameters in (...) discourses involving knowledge claims, are not suited to the job because they cannot account for the genuinely epistemic nature of the context shift. A form of epistemic contextualism that defines the context through the structure of our epistemic projects is suggested. Context changes in this account are linked to changes in the background assumptions operative in our epistemic projects and the methods used to carry out our inquiries. (shrink)
In our everyday lives, we confront a host of moral issues. Once we have deliberated and formed judgments about what is right or wrong, good or bad, these judgments tend to have a marked hold on us. Although in the end, we do not always behave as we think we ought, our moral judgments typically motivate us, at least to some degree, to act in accordance with them. When philosophers talk about moral motivation, this is the basic phenomenon they seek (...) to understand. Moral motivation is an instance of a more general phenomenon—what we might call normative motivation—for our other normative judgments also typically have some motivating force. When we make the normative judgment that something is good for us, or that we have a reason to act in a particular way, or that a specific course of action is the rational course, we also tend to be moved. Many philosophers have regarded the motivating force of normative judgments as the key feature that marks them as normative, thereby distinguishing them from the many other judgments we make. In contrast to our normative judgments, our mathematical and empirical judgments, for example, seem to have no intrinsic connection to motivation and action. The belief that an antibiotic will cure a specific infection may move an individual to take the antibiotic, if she also believes that she has the infection, and if she either desires to be cured or judges that she ought to treat the infection for her own good. All on its own, however, an empirical belief like this one appears to carry with it no particular motivational impact; a person can judge that an antibiotic will most effectively cure a specific infection without being moved one way or another. (shrink)
In several early 19th century works, Mary Shepherd articulates a theory of causation that is intended to respond to Humean skepticism. I argue that Shepherd's theory should be read in light of the science of the day and her conception of her place in the British philosophical tradition. Reading Shepherd’s theory in light of her conception of the history of philosophy, including her claim to be the genuine heir of Locke, illuminates the broader significance of her attempt to reinstate reason (...) as the source of scientific knowledge. Reading Shepherd's theory in light of the science of the day helps make plausible her claim that there are robust natural kinds in nature, defined by their causal powers: this is precisely what then-recent advances in chemistry hold. (shrink)
This book offers a comprehensive treatment of the philosophical system of the seventeenth-century philosopher Pierre Gassendi. Gassendi's importance is widely recognized and is essential for understanding early modern philosophers and scientists such as Locke, Leibniz and Newton. Offering a systematic overview of his contributions, LoLordo situates Gassendi's views within the context of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century natural philosophy as represented by a variety of intellectual traditions, including scholastic Aristotelianism, Renaissance Neo-Platonism, and the emerging mechanical philosophy. LoLordo's work will be essential (...) reading for historians of early modern philosophy and science. (shrink)
The idea that normativity and agency are importantly connected goes back at least as far as Kant. But it has recently become associated with a view called “constitutivism.” Perhaps the best-known critique of constitutivism appears in David Enoch’s article, “Agency, Shmagency,” which is the focus of this chapter. His critique of my article, “Agency and the Open Question Argument,” is briefly addressed, explaining why, contrary to his claims, I do not therein defend a form of constitutivism. It is then explained (...) why his “shmagency challenge” does not effectively expose the real challenge faced by those who might wish to develop constitutivist theories. Finally, the chapter considers why we should take seriously the idea that normativity and agency are importantly connected, an idea that neither Enoch’s challenge nor the challenge articulated for constitutivism here does anything to defeat. Enoch has not shown that normativity won’t come from what is constitutive of agency. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas asked the essential philosophical question which continues to resound to the modern day: what constitutes a human being? This volume looks at Aquinas's views on bodily and spiritual identity through a lens of theological concerns, pagan and Arabic authoritative sources, and contemporary polemic with dualist heresy.
Aesthetic value empiricism claims that the aesthetic value of an object is grounded in the value of a certain kind of experience of it. The most popular version of value empiricism, and a dominant view in contemporary philosophical aesthetics more generally, is aesthetic hedonism. Hedonism restricts the grounds of aesthetic value to the pleasure enjoyed in the right kind of experience. But hedonism does not enjoy any clear advantage over a more permissive alternative version of value empiricism. This alternative is (...) aesthetic liberalism. On this view, an object’s aesthetic value is fully grounded in any value—not just the hedonic value—of a correct and complete experience of its sensory features. To demonstrate the advantages of liberalism over hedonism, I apply both views to analyze the aesthetic value of the Spring Temple Buddha and Anselm Kiefer’s Seraphim. I detail four advantages of liberalism over hedonism, and I conclude by defending liberalism from two kinds of objection. (shrink)
In his critique of egoism as a doctrine of ends, G. E. Moore famously challenges the idea that something can be someone. Donald Regan has recently revived and developed the Moorean challenge, making explicit its implications for the very idea of individual welfare. If the Moorean is right, there is no distinct, normative property good for, and so no plausible objectivism about ethics could be welfarist. In this essay, I undertake to address the Moorean challenge, clarifying our theoretical alternatives so (...) that we may better decide what to admit into our moral ontology and better assess what may be at stake in whether objectivists treat good or good for (or neither) as fundamental. I compare the Moorean and welfarist pictures of value, providing an account of the form and function of good for. According to this account expresses a distinct relational value that has its source in the value of persons. Good for value is thus a form of extrinsic value that provides agent-neutral reasons for action, and it plays a pervasive normative role in regulating child rearing, guiding individual life choices, and shaping social policy formation. (shrink)
Upshot: The micro-phenomenological interview is a methodology that enables us to accurately guide subjects in describing an emotional experience. With this guide, it is possible to know the structure of a particular experience, which is helpful to understand the different processes related to it. The incorporation of the micro-phenomenological interview into emotion research can extend the limits set until now by third-person methodologies and give an integral comprehension of emotions.