There is a close systematic relationship between panentheism, as a metaphysical theory about the relation between God and the world, and transhumanism, the ethical demand to use the means of the applied sciences to enhance both human nature and the environment. This relationship between panentheism and transhumanism provides a ‘cosmic’ solution to the problem of evil: on panentheistic premises, the history of the world is the one infinite life of God, and we are part of the one infinite divine being. (...) We ourselves are therefore responsible for the future development of the life of the divine being. We should therefore use the means provided by the natural sciences to develop the history of the world in such a way that the existence of evil shall be overcome and shall no longer be part of the divine being in whom we move and live and have our being. The metaphysics of panentheism leads to the ethics of transhumanism. (shrink)
In “‘Population’ is Not a Natural Kind of Kinds,” Jacob Stegenga argues against the claim that the concept of “population” is a natural kind and in favor of conceptual pluralism, ostensibly in response to two papers of mine (Millstein 2009, 2010). Pluralism is often an attractive position in the philosophy of science. It certainly is a live possibility for the concept of population in ecology and evolutionary biology, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss the topic further. However, I argue (...) that the case for conceptual pluralism has not yet been made. In what follows, I ﬁrst clarify the issues at stake before taking up the topic of conceptual pluralism and responding to Stegenga’s criticisms of the causal interactionist population concept. (shrink)
The Importance of How We See Ourselves: Self-Identity and Responsible Agency analyzes the nature of the self and the phenomena of self-awareness and self-identity in an attempt to offer insight into the practical role self-conceptions play in moral development and responsible agency.
Panentheism seems to be an attractive alternative to classical theism. It is not clear, though, what exactly panentheism asserts and how it relates to classical theism. By way of clarifying the thesis of panentheism, I argue that panentheism and classical theism differ only as regards the modal status of the world. According to panentheism, the world is an intrinsic property of God – necessarily there is a world – and according to classical theism the world is an extrinsic property of (...) God – it is only contingently true that there is a world. Therefore, as long as we do not have an argument showing that necessarily there is a world, panentheism is not an attractive alternative to classical theism. (shrink)
The existence of God is once again the focus of vivid philosophical discussion. From the point of view of analytic theology, however, people often talk past each other when they debate about the putative existence or nonexistence of God. In the worst case, for instance, atheists deny the existence of a God, which no theists ever claimed to exist. In order to avoid confusions like this we need to be clear about the function of the term 'God' in its different (...) contexts of use. In what follows, I distinguish between the functions of 'God' in philosophical contexts on the one hand and in theological contexts on the other in order to provide a schema, which helps to avoid confusion in the debate on the existence or non-existence of God. (shrink)
It is customary in current philosophy of time to distinguish between an A- (or tensed) and a B- (or tenseless) theory of time. It is also customary to distinguish between an old B-theory of time, and a new B-theory of time. We may say that the former holds both semantic atensionalism and ontological atensionalism, whereas the latter gives up semantic atensionalism and retains ontological atensionalism. It is typically assumed that the B-theorists have been induced by advances in the philosophy of (...) language and related A-theorists’ criticisms to acknowledge that semantic atensionalism can hardly stand, but have also maintained that what is essential for the B-theory is ontological atensionalism, which can be independently defended. Here it is argued that the B-theorists have been too quick in abandoning semantic atensionalism: they can still cling to it. (shrink)
Those who aim to give an account of modal knowledge face two challenges: the integration challenge of reconciling an account of what is involved in knowing modal truths with a plausible story about how we can come to know them, and the reliability challenge of giving a plausible account of how we could have evolved a reliable capacity to acquire modal knowledge. I argue that recent counterfactual and dispositional accounts of modal knowledge cannot solve these problems regarding specifically metaphysical modal (...) truths—leaving us with the threat of skepticism about large portions of metaphysics, and certain other areas of philosophy. I argue, however, that both of these problems look insuperable only if we assume that metaphysical modal discourse serves a describing or tracking function. If we adopt instead a normativist approach to metaphysical modal discourse, which sees the basic function of modal discourse as giving us perspicuous ways of conveying, reasoning with, and renegotiating semantic rules, the problems show up very differently. The modal normativist can give a plausible response to both of the classic problems of how we can come to know metaphysical modal truths. (shrink)
Commercial success of big data has led to speculation that big-data-like reasoning could partly replace theory-based approaches in science. Big data typically has been applied to ‘small problems’, which are well-structured cases characterized by repeated evaluation of predictions. Here, we show that in climate research, intermediate categories exist between classical domain science and big data, and that big-data elements have also been applied without the possibility of repeated evaluation. Big-data elements can be useful for climate research beyond small problems if (...) combined with more traditional approaches based on domain-specific knowledge. The biggest potential for big-data elements, we argue, lies in socioeconomic climate research. (shrink)
I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
L.A. Paul has recently argued that, on the standard model of rationality, individuals cannot make rational decisions about whether to have a child or not. In this paper, I show that Paul’s arguments do not plausibly demonstrate that the standard model of rationality precludes rational decisions to have a child. I argue that there are phenomenal and non-phenomenal values that can be used to determine the value that having a child will have for us and, in turn, that can be (...) used to make rational decisions about whether to have a child or not. I also argue that we can have an approximate idea of what it is like for us to have a child, even before we have a child and that, on the standard model, this is sufficient to make rational decisions to have a child. (shrink)
In his article in this issue, " 'How do Mādhyamikas Think?' Revisited," Tom Tillemans reflects on his earlier article "How do Mādhyamikas Think?" (2009), itself a response to earlier work of ours (Deguchi et al. 2008; Garfield and Priest 2003). There is much we agree with in these non-dogmatic and open-minded essays. Still, we have some disagreements. We begin with a response to Tillemans' first thoughts, and then turn to his second thoughts.Tillemans (2009) maintains that it is wrong to attribute (...) to Nāgārjuna or to his Mādhyamika followers a strong dialetheism, according to which some contradictions of the form p ∧ ¬p are to be accepted. He argues that, nonetheless, a weak dialetheism may be implicit in the .. (shrink)
Should or shouldn’t Christians endorse the transhumanist agenda of changing human nature in ways fitting to one’s needs? To answer this question, we first have to be clear on what precisely the thesis of transhumanism entails that we are going to evaluate. Once this point is clarified, I argue that Christians can in principle fully endorse the transhumanist agenda because there is nothing in Christian faith that is in contradiction to it. In fact, given certain plausible moral assumptions, Christians should (...) endorse a moderate enhancement of human nature. I end with a brief case study that analyses the theological implications of the idea of immortal Christian cyborgs. I argue that the existence of Christian cyborgs who know no natural death has no impact on the Christian hope of immortality in the presence of God. (shrink)
In an earlier paper in this journal I argued that deflationism is preferable to fictionalism as an alternative to both traditional realism and eliminativism. Gabriele Contessa questions this conclusion, denying that fictionalist arguments beg the question against easy ontological arguments, presenting a new argument against easy ontology, and suggesting a response to the challenge I raise for fictionalists. Below I respond to these points in turn. In so doing, I hope to clarify the broader theoretic orientation of easy ontology—in particular, (...) its rejection of a Quinean criterion of ontological commitment and its commitment to a form of functional pluralism about language. (shrink)
The distinction between data and phenomena introduced by Bogen and Woodward (Philosophical Review 97(3):303–352, 1988) was meant to help accounting for scientific practice, especially in relation with scientific theory testing. Their article and the subsequent discussion is primarily viewed as internal to philosophy of science. We shall argue that the data/phenomena distinction can be used much more broadly in modelling processes in philosophy.
We argue that mathematical knowledge is context dependent. Our main argument is that on pain of distorting mathematical practice, one must analyse the notion of having available a proof, which supplies justification in mathematics, in a context dependent way.
There is an argument according to which there must be something nonrelationally valuable for anything to be of value. The chains of dependence between values must come to an end, and humanity meets the specifications. I explore alternatives to terminating a regress in nonrelational value and give reason to reject the “borrowing” conception of relational value that drives the argument. I doubt that the nonrelational value of humanity can be secured by an argument from the structure of value, but I (...) am optimistic about the prospects for explaining our value relationally and give reason to favor a reflexive relational model. (shrink)
Most people believe that some optimific acts are wrong. Since we are not permitted to perform wrong acts, we are not permitted to carry out optimific wrongs. Does the moral relevance of the distinction between action and omission nonetheless permit us to allow others to carry them out? I show that there exists a plausible argument supporting the conclusion that it does. To resist my argument, we would have to endorse a principle according to which, for any wrong action, there (...) is some reason to prevent that action over and above those reasons associated with preventing harm to its victim. I argue that it would be a mistake to value the prevention of wrong acts in the way required to resist my argument. (shrink)
Can I be free to perform an action if God has decided to ensure that I do not choose that action? I show that Molinists and simple foreknowledge theorists are committed to answering in the affirmative. This is problematic for their status as theological incompatibilists. I suggest that strategies for preserving their theological incompatibilism in light of this result should be based on sourcehood. However, the path is not easy here either, since Leibniz has shown how theological determinists can offer (...) an extremely robust form of sourcehood. Proponents of these views must identify a valuable form of sourcehood their theories allow that Leibniz’s theory doesn’t. (shrink)
We attempt to identify and evaluate the association between key characteristics of not-for-profit hospitals and market concentration, as measured by the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index, using data available from the American Hospital Association, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Our goal is to provide decision support to policy makers on factors that contribute to market competitiveness, which has been linked to improvements in efficiency, costs, and access to health care. We find that contributions are (...) positively associated with market concentration. This could indicate that well-run NP hospitals are rewarded both financially as well as with increased market share. We also find that a higher percentage of Medicare patients is positively correlated with market concentration. This could be explained by the fact that Medicare reimbursement rates are generally lower than those paid by private insurers ; thus, hospitals might not necessarily choose to operate in areas with high Medicare populations. Further, median income is negatively associated with market concentration. One explanation for this effect could be the fact that a population with a higher median income is in a better position to pay for services, making them attractive to hospitals as a potential market. Finally, we find that the presence of managers with voting rights on the boards of directors has no significant impact. (shrink)
We look at bimodal logics interpreted by cartesian products of topological spaces and discuss the validity of certain bimodal formulae in products of so-called cardinal spaces. This solves an open problem of van Benthem et al.
Within intellectual paradigms that privilege mind over matter, dance has long appeared as a marginal, derivative, or primitive art. Drawing support from theorists and artists who embrace matter as dynamic and agential, this book offers a visionary definition of dance that illuminates its constitutive work in the ongoing evolution of human persons. _Why We Dance _introduces a philosophy of bodily becoming that posits bodily movement as the source and telos of human life. Within this philosophy, dance appears as an activity (...) that humans evolved to do as the enabling condition of their best bodily becoming. Weaving theoretical reflection with accounts of lived experience, this book positions dance as a catalyst in the development of human consciousness, compassion, ritual proclivity, and ecological adaptability. Aligning with trends in new materialism, affect theory, and feminist philosophy, as well as advances in dance and religious studies, this work reveals the vital role dance can play in reversing the trajectory of ecological self-destruction along which human civilization is racing. (shrink)
An important task of philosophy is to provide substantial arguments concerning the basic structure of reality and its relation to the ultimate source of everything. Sometimes, philosophers are convinced that there is an absolutely certain starting point within philosophy. More often, however, they suppose that we start with certain intuitions about empirical reality and its source. Based on these intuitions, philosophers try to develop sound arguments with an intelligible logical structure. By this very fact, they place themselves in the realm (...) of public discussion and criticism. There are, though, different kinds of criticism. Good criticism shows that at least one premise in an argument is not true—which is to say that the argument is not sound—or it shows that the premises could be true while the conclusion is false—which is to say that the argument is not valid. Then, there is criticism that is beside the point. It seems to me that the reply to my paper by Latester belongs to the ki .. (shrink)
This paper discusses Plato’s question from the Meno : Why should we prefer knowledge that p over mere true belief that p? I find I just do prefer knowledge, and not for any further benefit that I am aware of in the particular case. But I should have that preference, because given our practice of approving of testimony only if uttered with knowledge, I could fail to prefer knowledge, when other things seem to me to be equal, only by having (...) the sorts of serious social or psychological defects that would make me unresponsive to the approval of others. Finally, the social practice that produces this particular preference is good for all of us because it improves the average quality of the testimony we receive, which results in greater success in our projects. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that gender is a primary cultural frame for coordinating behavior and organizing social relations. I describe the implications for understanding how gender shapes social behavior and organizational structures. By my analysis, gender typically acts as a background identity that biases, in gendered directions, the performance of behaviors undertaken in the name of organizational roles and identities. I develop an account of how the background effects of the gender frame on behavior vary by the context that (...) different organizational and institutional structures set but can also infuse gendered meanings into organizational practices. Next, I apply this account to two empirical illustrations to demonstrate that we cannot understand the shape that the structure of gender inequality and gender difference takes in particular institutional or societal contexts without taking into account the background effects of the gender frame on behavior in these contexts. (shrink)
In this introduction we discuss the motivation behind the workshop “Towards a New Epistemology of Mathematics” of which this special issue constitutes the proceedings. We elaborate on historical and empirical aspects of the desired new epistemology, connect it to the public image of mathematics, and give a summary and an introduction to the contributions to this issue.
Maddy gave a semi-formal account of restrictiveness by defining a formal notion based on a class of interpretations and explaining how to handle false positives and false negatives. Recently, Hamkins pointed out some structural issues with Maddy's definition. We look at Maddy's formal definitions from the point of view of an abstract interpretation relation. We consider various candidates for this interpretation relation, including one that is close to Maddy's original notion, but fixes the issues raised by Hamkins. Our work brings (...) to light additional structural issues that we also discuss. (shrink)
Thought, according to Hegel, is not only the product of a faculty of a subject, or a means by which a thinking subject tries to grasp a world that is alien to him. It is also the very structure of the world, that is disclosed to a subject through the thinking activity of a subject. The fundamental question that crosses the whole post-Kantian philosophy is that of the relation between thought and reality, i.e. the question of whether reality depends on (...) the categorial requirements imposed by the thinking subject, or whether reality maintains some form of independence from the thinking subject. Seen from this standpoint, Hegel can be read both as an author who radicalizes Kant’s transcendental perspective, and also as a critic of that perspective. In other words, he can be seen as an idealist: according to Hegel, any philosophy is idealist if it claims that something finite, qua finite, is essentially connected with something other. He can also be seen as an anti-idealist: insofar as his philosophy aims to overcome a hyper-transcendentalist perspective, i.e. it is so since it rejects idealism as subjective idealism. Moreover, Hegel’s anti-idealism can be characterized as realism. This is because, if we admit that overcoming transcendentalism without falling back again on a pre-critical conception of thought and of reality involves an idea of thought which is not reducible to a "mentalistic" conception of it, we need to conceive of thought as something that is not alien to reality. Hegel conceives of thought as intimately connected with the world, as its own rational structure. This “realism” of thought is what makes Hegelian idealism, so to speak, anti-idealistic. Through this "realism" of thought Hegel pursues two goals. On the one hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought, according to which a subject talks and relates to a reality that is always only a construction of him, and so it is necessarily the simulacrum of something that remains inaccessible in its truth. On the other hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a conception of reality characterized merely as alien and opposite to thought itself, and which is the counterpart of the subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought. By pursuing these two goals it should be gained a conception of reality which could warrant some form of objectivity, but which cannot be equated with the substantialistic conception of the pre-Kantian metaphysics. (shrink)
ABSTRACTA ‘sceptical’ approach to easy arguments involves reducing our confidence in the supposedly uncontroversial premise with which the arguments begin. Here I address the question: if we accept Yablo's new version of a sceptical proposal, what difference might that make for the relevant meta-ontological debates? I argue that serious difficulties remain for even this ‘best’ version of a sceptical approach. Noting these difficulties might motivate us to look again at the alternative strategy—of reading the uncontroversial premise straightforwardly and thinking that (...) doubts about the conclusion were based on artificial inflation or confusion. (shrink)
Suppose that the ultimate point of ethics is to make the world a better place. If it is, we must face the question: better in what respect? If the good is prior to the right — that is, if the rationale for all requirements of the right is that they serve to further the good in one way or another — then what is this good? Is there a single fundamental value capable of underlying and unifying all of our moral (...) categories? If so, how might it defeat the claims of rival candidates for this role? If not, is there instead a plurality of basic goods, each irreducible to any of the others? In that case, how do they fit together into a unified picture of the moral life? These are the questions I wish to address, in a necessarily limited way. To many the questions will seem hopelessly old-fashioned or misguided. Some deontologists will wish to reverse my ordering of the good and the right, holding that the right constrains acceptable conceptions of the good. For many contractarians, neither the good nor the right will seem normatively basic, since both are to be derived from a prior conception of rationality. Finally, some theorists will reject the classification of moral theories in terms of their basic normative categories, arguing that the whole foundationalist enterprise in ethics should be abandoned. In the face of these challenges to the priority of the good, and in light of the many current varieties of moral skepticism and relativism, I cannot provide a very convincing justification for raising the questions I intend to discuss. (shrink)
We give characterizations for the sentences "Every $\Sigma^1_2$-set is measurable" and "Every $\Delta^1_2$-set is measurable" for various notions of measurability derived from well-known forcing partial orderings.
We do not believe that logic is the sole answer to deep and intriguing questions about human behaviour, but we think that it might be a useful tool in simulating and understanding it to a certain degree and in specifically restricted areas of application. We do not aim to resolve the question of what rational behaviour in games with mistaken and changing beliefs is. Rather, we develop a formal and abstract framework that allows us to reason about behaviour in games (...) with mistaken and changing beliefs leaving aside normative questions concerning whether the agents are behaving “rationally”; we focus on what agents do in a game. In this paper, we are not concerned with the reasoning process of the economic agent; rather, our intended application is artificial agents, e.g., autonomous agents interacting with a human user or with each other as part of a computer game or in a virtual world. We give a story of mistaken beliefs that is a typical example of the situation in which we should want our formal setting to be applied. Then we give the definitions for our formal system and how to use this setting to get a backward induction solution. We then apply our semantics to the story related earlier and give an analysis of it. Our final section contains a discussion of related work and future projects. We discuss the advantages of our approach over existing approaches and indicate how it can be connected to the existing literature. (shrink)
This is a descriptive study which examined the attitudes and perceptions of 273 business students at eight universities across the U.S. towards ethics education. The results indicate that students perceive that the level of discussion of ethics and ethical issues ranges from less than adequate in some marketing courses to adequate in others. Sales/sales management courses received the highest ratings for coverage of ethical issues, while transportation/logistics courses scored the lowest.The study also finds that students believe, quite strongly, that the (...) discussion of ethics and ethical issues is worthwhile and important. Many feel a course in business/marketing ethics should be required and more indicate that they would take such a course, if offered, even if it was not required. (shrink)
Can we accept John McDowell’s Kantian claim that perception is conceptual “all the way out,” thereby denying the more basic perceptual capacities we seem to share with prelinguistic infants and higher animals? More generally, can philosophers successfully describe the conceptual upper floors of the edifice of knowledge while ignoring the embodied coping going on on the ground floor? I argue that we shouldn’t leave the conceptual component of our lives hanging in midair and suggest how philosophers who want to understand (...) knowledge and action can profit from a phenomenological analysis of the nonconceptual embodied coping skills we share with animals and infants, as well as the nonconceptual immediate intuitive understanding exhibited by experts. (shrink)
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