This introduces the symposium on judgment aggregation. The theory of judgment aggregation asks how several individuals' judgments on some logically connected propositions can be aggregated into consistent collective judgments. The aim of this introduction is to show how ideas from the familiar theory of preference aggregation can be extended to this more general case. We first translate a proof of Arrow's impossibility theorem into the new setting, so as to motivate some of the central concepts and conditions leading to analogous (...) impossibilities, as discussed in the symposium. We then consider each of four possible escape-routes explored in the symposium. (shrink)
We provide necessary and sufficient conditions for a dynamically consistent agent always to prefer more informative signals (in single-agent problems). These conditions do not imply recursivity, reduction or independence. We provide a simple definition of dynamically consistent behavior, and we discuss whether an intrinsic information lover (say, an anxious person) is likely to be dynamically consistent.
Mill's most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other – as in the case of quality and quantity of wine. I argue that Mill is not committed to thinking that there are two distinct kinds of pleasure, or that ‘higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I (...) show how this interpretation not only makes sense of Mill but allows him to respond to famous problems, such as Crisp's Haydn and the oyster and Nozick's experience machine. (shrink)
Consequentialists typically think that the moral quality of one's conduct depends on the difference one makes. But consequentialists may also think that even if one is not making a difference, the moral quality of one's conduct can still be affected by whether one is participating in an endeavour that does make a difference. Derek Parfit discusses this issue – the moral significance of what I call ‘participation’ – in the chapter of Reasons and Persons that he devotes to what he (...) calls ‘moral mathematics’. In my paper, I expose an inconsistency in Parfit's discussion of moral mathematics by showing how it gives conflicting answers to the question of whether participation matters. I conclude by showing how an appreciation of Parfit's error sheds some light on consequentialist thought generally, and on the debate between act- and rule-consequentialists specifically. (shrink)
Well-Being and Death addresses philosophical questions about death and the good life: what makes a life go well? Is death bad for the one who dies? How is this possible if we go out of existence when we die? Is it worse to die as an infant or as a young adult? Is it bad for animals and fetuses to die? Can the dead be harmed? Is there any way to make death less bad for us? Ben Bradley defends the (...) following views: pleasure, rather than achievement or the satisfaction of desire, is what makes life go well; death is generally bad for its victim, in virtue of depriving the victim of more of a good life; death is bad for its victim at times after death, in particular at all those times at which the victim would have been living well; death is worse the earlier it occurs, and hence it is worse to die as an infant than as an adult; death is usually bad for animals and fetuses, in just the same way it is bad for adult humans; things that happen after someone has died cannot harm that person; the only sensible way to make death less bad is to live so long that no more good life is possible. (shrink)
This paper defends the view, put roughly, that to think that p is to guess that p is the answer to the question at hand, and that to think that p rationally is for one’s guess to that question to be in a certain sense non-arbitrary. Some theses that will be argued for along the way include: that thinking is question-sensitive and, correspondingly, that ‘thinks’ is context-sensitive; that it can be rational to think that p while having arbitrarily low credence (...) that p; that, nonetheless, rational thinking is closed under entailment; that thinking does not supervene on credence; and that in many cases what one thinks on certain matters is, in a very literal sense, a choice. Finally, since there are strong reasons to believe that thinking just is believing, there are strong reasons to think that all this goes for belief as well. (shrink)
The distinction between perception and cognition has always had a firm footing in both cognitive science and folk psychology. However, there is little agreement as to how the distinction should be drawn. In fact, a number of theorists have recently argued that, given the ubiquity of top-down influences, we should jettison the distinction altogether. I reject this approach, and defend a pluralist account of the distinction. At the heart of my account is the claim that each legitimate way of marking (...) a border between perception and cognition deploys a notion I call ‘stimulus-control.’ Thus, rather than being a grab bag of unrelated kinds, the various categories of the perceptual are unified into a superordinate natural kind. (shrink)
A plausible principle about the felicitous use of indicative conditionals says that there is something strange about asserting an indicative conditional when you know whether its antecedent is true. But in most contexts there is nothing strange at all about asserting indicative conditionals like ‘If Oswald didn’t shoot Kennedy, then someone else did’. This paper argues that the only compelling explanation of these facts requires the resources of contextualism about knowledge.
Ben Fine traces the origins of social capital through the work of Becker, Bourdieu and Coleman and comprehensively reviews the literature across the social sciences. The text is uniquely critical of social capital, explaining how it avoids a proper confrontation with political economy and has become chaotic. This highly topical text addresses some major themes, including the shifting relationship between economics and other social sciences, the 'publish or perish' concept currently burdening scholarly integrity, and how a social science interdisciplinarity requires (...) a place for political economy together with cultural and social theory. (shrink)
This paper considers some puzzling knowledge ascriptions and argues that they present prima facie counterexamples to credence, belief, and justification conditions on knowledge, as well as to many of the standard meta-semantic assumptions about the context-sensitivity of ‘know’. It argues that these ascriptions provide new evidence in favor of contextualist theories of knowledge—in particular those that take the interpretation of ‘know’ to be sensitive to the mechanisms of constraint.
Three plausible views—Presentism, Truthmaking, and Independence—form an inconsistent triad. By Presentism, all being is present being. By Truthmaking, all truth supervenes on, and is explained in terms of, being. By Independence, some past truths do not supervene on, or are not explained in terms of, present being. We survey and assess some responses to this.
I examine the origins of ordinary racial thinking. In doing so, I argue against the thesis that it is the byproduct of a unique module (e.g. a folk-biology module). Instead, I defend a pluralistic thesis according to which different forms of racial thinking are driven by distinct mechanisms, each with their own etiology. I begin with the belief that visible features are diagnostic of race. I argue that the mechanisms responsible for face recognition have an important, albeit delimited, role to (...) play in sustaining this belief. I then argue that essentialist beliefs about race are driven by some of the mechanisms responsible for “entitativity perception”: the tendency to perceive some aggregates of people as more genuine groups than others. Finally, I argue that coalitional thinking about race is driven by a distinctive form of entitativity perception. However, I suggest that more data is needed to determine the prevalence of this form of racial thinking. (shrink)
Some healthcare systems are said to be grounded in solidarity because healthcare is funded as a form of mutual support. This article argues that health care systems that are grounded in solidarity have the right to penalise some users who are responsible for their poor health. This derives from the fact that solidary systems involve both rights and obligations and, in some cases, those who avoidably incur health burdens violate obligations of solidarity. Penalties warranted include direct patient contribution to costs, (...) and lower priority treatment, but not typically full exclusion from the healthcare system. We also note two important restrictions on this argument. First, failures of solidary obligations can only be assumed under conditions that are conducive to sufficiently autonomous choice, which occur when patients are given ‘Golden Opportunities’ to improve their health. Second, because poor health does not occur in a social vacuum, an insistence on solidarity as part of healthcare is legitimate only if all members of society are held to similar standards of solidarity. We cannot insist upon, and penalise failures of, solidarity only for those who are unwell, and who cannot afford to evade the terms of public health. (shrink)
If musical works are abstract objects, which cannot enter into causal relations, then how can we refer to musical works or know anything about them? Worse, how can any of our musical experiences be experiences of musical works? It would be nice to be able to sidestep these questions altogether. One way to do that would be to take musical works to be concrete objects. In this paper, we defend a theory according to which musical works are concrete objects. In (...) particular, the theory that we defend takes musical works to be fusions of performances. We defend this view from a series of objections, the first two of which are raised by Julian Dodd in a recent paper and the last of which is suggested by some comments of his in an earlier paper. (shrink)
In Parts of Classes and "Mathematics is Megethology" David Lewis shows how the ideology of set membership can be dispensed with in favor of parthood and plural quantification. Lewis's theory has it that singletons are mereologically simple and leaves the relationship between a thing and its singleton unexplained. We show how, by exploiting Kit Fine's mereology, we can resolve Lewis's mysteries about the singleton relation and vindicate the claim that a thing is a part of its singleton.
There is significant controversy over whether patients have a ‘right not to know’ information relevant to their health. Some arguments for limiting such a right appeal to potential burdens on others that a patient’s avoidable ignorance might generate. This paper develops this argument by extending it to cases where refusal of relevant information may generate greater demands on a publicly funded healthcare system. In such cases, patients may have an ‘obligation to know’. However, we cannot infer from the fact that (...) a patient has an obligation to know that she does not also have a right not to know. The right not to know is held against medical professionals at a formal institutional level. We have reason to protect patients’ control over the information that they receive, even if in individual instances patients exercise this control in ways that violate obligations. (shrink)
Recent debate in metaethics over evolutionary debunking arguments against morality has shown a tendency to abstract away from relevant empirical detail. Here, I engage the debate about Darwinian debunking of morality with relevant empirical issues. I present four conditions that must be met in order for it to be reasonable to expect an evolved cognitive faculty to be reliable: the environment, information, error, and tracking conditions. I then argue that these conditions are not met in the case of our evolved (...) faculty for moral judgement. (shrink)
Adaptive preference formation is the unconscious altering of our preferences in light of the options we have available. Jon Elster has argued that this is bad because it undermines our autonomy. I agree, but think that Elster's explanation of why is lacking. So, I draw on a richer account of autonomy to give the following answer. Preferences formed through adaptation are characterized by covert influence (that is, explanations of which an agent herself is necessarily unaware), and covert influence undermines our (...) autonomy because it undermines the extent to which an agent's preferences are ones that she has decided upon for herself. This answer fills the lacuna in Elster's argument. It also allows us to draw a principled distinction between adaptive preference formation and the closely related phenomenon of character planning. (shrink)
I argue that in addressing worries about the validity and reliability of implicit measures of social cognition, theorists should draw on research concerning “entitativity perception.” In brief, an aggregate of people is perceived as highly “entitative” when its members exhibit a certain sort of unity. For example, think of the difference between the aggregate of people waiting in line at a bank versus a tight-knit group of friends: the latter seems more “groupy” than the former. I start by arguing that (...) entitativity perception modulates the activation of implicit biases and stereotypes. I then argue that recognizing this modulatory role will help researchers to address concerns surrounding the validity and reliability of implicit measures. (shrink)
Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift argue that education is a positional good; this, they hold, implies that there is a qualified case for leveling down educational provision. In this essay, Ben Kotzee discusses Brighouse and Swift's argument for leveling down. He holds that the argument fails in its own terms and that, in presenting the problem of educational justice as one of balancing education's positional and nonpositional benefits, Brighouse and Swift lose sight of what a consideration of the nonpositional benefits (...) by itself can reveal. Instead of focusing on education's positional benefits, Kotzee investigates what emphasizing education's nonpositional benefits would imply for educational justice. Drawing on recent work in social epistemology, Kotzee holds that theories of educational justice would benefit from a consideration of the virtue of epistemic justice, and he outlines solutions to a number of problems in the area from this perspective. (shrink)
Can a musical work be created? Some say ‘no’. But, we argue, there is no handbook of universally accepted metaphysical truths that they can use to justify their answer. Others say ‘yes’. They have to find abstract objects that can plausibly be identified with musical works, show that abstract objects of this sort can be created, and show that such abstract objects can persist. But, we argue, none of the standard views about what a musical work is allows musical works (...) both to be created and to persist. (shrink)
This paper defends the simple view that in asserting that p, one lies iff one knows that p is false. Along the way it draws some morals about deception, knowledge, Gettier cases, belief, assertion, and the relationship between first- and higher-order norms.
The literature on conscientious objection in medicine presents two key problems that remain unresolved: Which conscientious objections in medicine are justified, if it is not feasible for individual medical practitioners to conclusively demonstrate the genuineness or reasonableness of their objections? How does one respect both medical practitioners’ claims of conscience and patients’ interests, without leaving practitioners complicit in perceived or actual wrongdoing? My aim in this paper is to offer a new framework for conscientious objections in medicine, which, by bringing (...) medical professionals’ conscientious objection into the public realm, solves the justification and complicity problems. In particular, I will argue that: an “Uber Conscientious Objection in Medicine Committee” —which includes representatives from the medical community and from other professions, as well as from various religions and from the patient population—should assess various well-known conscientious objections in medicine in terms of public reason and decide which conscientious objections should be permitted, without hearing out individual conscientious objectors; medical practitioners should advertise their conscientious objections, ahead of time, in an online database that would be easily accessible to the public, without being required, in most cases, to refer patients to non-objecting practitioners. (shrink)
_Foucault’s Law_ is the first book in almost fifteen years to address the question of Foucault’s position on law. Many readings of Foucault’s conception of law start from the proposition that he failed to consider the role of law in modernity, or indeed that he deliberately marginalized it. In canvassing a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Ben Golder and Peter Fitzpatrick rebut this argument. They argue that rather than marginalize law, Foucault develops a much more radical, nuanced and coherent (...) theory of law than his critics have acknowledged. For Golder and Fitzpatrick, Foucault’s law is not the contained creature of conventional accounts, but is uncontainable and illimitable. In their radical re-reading of Foucault, they show how Foucault outlines a concept of law which is not tied to any given form or subordinated to a particular source of power, but is critically oriented towards alterity, new possibilities and different ways of being. _Foucault’s Law_ is an important and original contribution to the ongoing debate on Foucault and law, engaging not only with Foucault’s diverse writings on law and legal theory, but also with the extensive interpretive literature on the topic. It will thus be of interest to students and scholars working in the fields of law and social theory, legal theory and law and philosophy, as well as to students of Foucault’s work generally. (shrink)
An overview (about 8,000 words) of act utilitarianism, covering the basic idea of the theory, historical examples, how it differs from rule utilitarianism and motive utilitarianism, supporting arguments, and standard objections. A closing section provides a brief introduction to indirect utilitarianism (i.e., a Hare- or Railton-style view distinguishing between a decision procedure and a criterion of rightness).
Uma interpretação corrente do fenômeno social ensina que todos os bens coletivos são bens convergentes. As concepções bem-estarista e utilitarista na economia e na filosofia, respectivamente, são os seus principais expoentes. A tese consiste em aceitar que “totalidades sociais” são inexoravelmente compostas de “partes” e que, por isso, na base de cada bem público ou social se encontrariam sempre os indivíduos, os quais seriam, em última análise, responsáveis pela sua existência. Assim, os bens públicos seriam bens para os quais convergem (...) interesses e escolhas dos agentes sociais. O presente estudo mostra, em primeiro lugar, segundo a compreensão de Taylor, que nem todos os bens coletivos são bens convergentes. Alguns bens sociais podem ser considerados bens irredutivelmente sociais, cuja justificativa se encontra na reflexão sobre o significado. Em segundo lugar, aborda a contribuição que a noção hegeliana de eticidade teve sobre a formulação desse argumento. (shrink)
In the nineteenth century, astronomers thought that a planet between Mercury and the Sun was causing perturbations in the orbit of Mercury, and they introduced ‘Vulcan’ as a name for such a planet. But they were wrong: there was, and is, no intra-Mercurial planet. Still, these astronomers went around saying things like (2) Vulcan is a planet between Mercury and the Sun. Some philosophers think that, when nineteenth-century astronomers were theorizing about an intra-Mercurial planet, they created a hypothetical planet.
In this paper, I consider intellectualist and anti-intellectualist approaches to knowledge-how and propose a third solution: a virtue-based account of knowledge-how. I sketch the advantages of a virtue-based account of knowledge-how and consider whether we should prefer a reliabilist or a responsibilist virtue-account of knowledge-how. I argue that only a responsibilist account will maintain the crucial distinction between knowing how to do something and merely being able to do it. Such an account, I hold, must incorporate ‘learning how to do (...) something’ as an essential part. Drawing on an argument by Craig, I hold that the function of the concept of knowing how is to mark out practical experts whom one can trust either to perform an action on one's behalf, or to teach one how to perform that action oneself. The best way to identify practical experts, I hold, is to discover what they have learned about performing the action in question. In arguing for the importance of the concept ‘learning’ to the field of knowledge-how, I argue for a new connection between the philosophy of education and virtue epistemology. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Millian Descriptivism: that is, the view that, although sentences that contain names express singular propositions, when they use those sentences speakers communicate descriptive propositions. More precisely, I argue that Millian Descriptivism fares no better (or worse) than Fregean Descriptivism: that is, the view that sentences express descriptive propositions. This is bad news for Millian Descriptivists who think that Fregean Descriptivism is dead.
In this essay Ben Kotzee addresses the implications of Bernard Williams's distinction between “thick” and “thin” concepts in ethics for epistemology and for education. Kotzee holds that, as in the case of ethics, one may distinguish between “thick” and “thin” concepts of epistemology and, further, that this distinction points to the importance of the study of the intellectual virtues in epistemology. Following Harvey Siegel, Kotzee contends that “educated” is a thick epistemic concept, and he explores the consequences of this for (...) the subjects of epistemology and philosophy of education. Ultimately, Kotzee argues that its nature as a “thick” concept makes education suited to play an important role in explaining how the intellectual virtues can be acquired. (shrink)
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues, on the relationship between individual emissions and climate change, that “we cannot claim to know that it is morally wrong to drive a gas guzzler just for fun” or engage in other inessential emissions-producing individual activities. His concern is not uncertainty about the phenomenon of climate change, nor about human contribution to it. Rather, on Sinnott-Armstrong’s analysis the claim of individual moral responsibility for emissions must be grounded in a defensible moral principle, yet no principle withstands scrutiny. (...) I argue thatthe moral significance of individual emissions is obscured by this critique. I offer a moral principle, the threshold-contribution principle, capable of withstanding Sinnott-Armstrong’s criticisms while also plausibly explaining what’s wrong with gas-guzzling joyrides and other gratuitous emissions-producing individual acts. (shrink)
This paper first offers a standard modal extension of dialetheic logics that respect the normal semantics for negation and conjunction, in an attempt to adequately model absolutism, the thesis that there are true contradictions at metaphysically possible worlds. It is shown, however, that the modal extension has unsavoury consequences for both absolutism and dialetheism. While the logic commits the absolutist to dialetheism, it commits the dialetheist to the impossibility of the actual world. A new modal logic AV is then proposed (...) which avoids these unsavoury consequences by invalidating the interdefinability rules for the modal operators with the use of two valuation relations. However, while using AV carries no significant cost for the absolutist, the same isn't true for the dialetheist. Although using AV allows her to avoid the consequence that the actual world is an impossible world, it does so only on the condition that the dialetheist admits that she cannot give a dialetheic solution to all self-refe.. (shrink)
In recent work, Peter Hanks and Scott Soames argue that propositions are types whose tokens are acts, states, or events. Let’s call this view the type view. Hanks and Soames think that one of the virtues of the type view is that it allows them to explain why propositions have semantic properties. But, in this paper, we argue that their explanations aren’t satisfactory. In Section 2, we present the type view. In Section 3, we present one explanation—due to Hanks (2007, (...) 2011) and Soames (2010)—of why propositions have semantic properties. We criticize this first explanation in Section 4. In Section 5, we present another explanation—due to Soames (2104)—of why propositions have semantic properties. We criticize this second explanation in Section 6. (shrink)
The historical sciences, such as geology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology, appear to have no means to test hypotheses. However, on closer examination, reasoning in the historical sciences relies upon regularities, regularities that can be tested. I outline the role of regularities in the historical sciences, and in the process, blur the distinction between the historical sciences and the experimental sciences: all sciences deploy theories about the world in their investigations.
Thanks to David Kaplan (1989a, 1989b), we all know how to handle indexicals like ‘I’. ‘I’ doesn’t refer to an object simpliciter; rather, it refers to an object only relative to a context. In particular, relative to a context C, ‘I’ refers to the agent of C. Since different contexts can have different agents, ‘I’ can refer to different objects relative to different contexts. For example, relative to a context cwhose agent is Gottlob Frege, ‘I’ refers to Frege; relative to (...) a context 0* whose agent is Alexius.. (shrink)
This paper argues that two widely accepted principles about the indicative conditional jointly presuppose the falsity of one of the most prominent arguments against epistemological iteration principles. The first principle about the indicative conditional, which has close ties both to the Ramsey test and the “or-to-if” inference, says that knowing a material conditional suffices for knowing the corresponding indicative. The second principle says that conditional contradictions cannot be true when their antecedents are epistemically possible. Taken together, these principles entail that (...) it is impossible to be in a certain kind of epistemic state: namely, a state of ignorance about which of two partially overlapping bodies of knowledge corresponds to one’s actual one. However, some of the more popular “margin for error” style arguments against epistemological iteration principles suggest that such states are not only possible, but commonplace. I argue that the tension between these views runs deep, arising just as much for non-factive attitudes like belief, presupposition, and certainty. I also argue that this is worse news for those who accept the principles about the indicative conditional than it is for those who reject epistemological iteration principles. (shrink)
Whole-genome analysis and whole-exome analysis generate many more clinically actionable findings than traditional targeted genetic analysis. These findings may be relevant to research participants themselves as well as for members of their families. Though researchers performing genomic analyses are likely to find medically significant genetic variations for nearly every research participant, what they will find for any given participant is unpredictable. The ubiquity and diversity of these findings complicate questions about disclosing individual genetic test results. We outline an approach for (...) disclosing a select range of genetic results to the relatives of research participants who have died, developed in response to relatives? requests during a pilot study of large-scale medical genetic sequencing. We also argue that studies that disclose individual research results to participants should, at a minimum, passively disclose individual results to deceased participants? relatives. (shrink)
In medical ethics, a large body of work exists on the virtues that enable good medical practice. Medical virtue ethics singles out a number of virtues of the good doctor for attention; among others, these include empathy, care, truthfulness, and justice. According to medical ethicists like Pellegrino and Thomasma, however, phronesis, or “practical wisdom,” occupies a special place among these virtues. For Pellegrino and Thomasma, phronesis is “indispensable” to good medical practice, because it coordinates all the different moral virtues that (...) the doctor must bring to ethical decisions as part of wise moral action.... (shrink)
In a series of recent publications, Jeffrey King (The nature and structure of content, 2007; Proc Aristot Soc 109(3):257–277, 2009; Philos Stud, 2012) argues for a view on which propositions are facts. He also argues against views on which propositions are set-theoretical objects, in part because such views face Benacerraf problems. In this paper, we argue that, when it comes to Benacerraf problems, King’s view doesn’t fare any better than its set-theoretical rivals do. Finally, we argue that his view faces (...) a further Benacerraf problem, one that threatens to undercut his explanation of why propositions have truth-conditions. If correct, our arguments undercut King’s main motivation for accepting his view over its rivals. (shrink)