Open theists deny that God knows future contingents. Most open theists justify this denial by adopting the position that there are no future contingent truths to be known. In this paper we examine some of the arguments put forward for this position in two recent articles in this journal, one by Dale Tuggy and one by Alan Rhoda, Gregory Boyd, and Thomas Belt. The arguments concern time, modality, and the semantics of ‘will’ statements. We explain why we find none (...) of these arguments persuasive. This wide road leads only to destruction. (shrink)
Preface Introduction Christopher J. Berry: Adam Smith: Outline of Life, Times, and Legacy Part One: Adam Smith: Heritage and Contemporaries 1: Nicholas Phillipson: Adam Smith: A Biographer's Reflections 2: Leonidas Montes: Newtonianism and Adam Smith 3: Dennis C. Rasmussen: Adam Smith and Rousseau: Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment 4: Christopher J. Berry: Adam Smith and Early Modern Thought Part Two: Adam Smith on Language, Art and Culture 5: Catherine Labio: Adam Smith's Aesthetics 6: James Chandler: Adam Smith as Critic 7: Michael C. (...) Amrozowicz: Adam Smith: History and Poetics 8: C. Jan Swearingen: Adam Smith on Language and Rhetoric: The Ethics of Style, Character, and Propriety Part Three: Adam Smith and Moral Philosophy 9: Christel Fricke: Adam Smith: The Sympathetic Process and the Origin and Function of Conscience 10: Duncan Kelly: Adam Smith and the Limits of Sympathy 11: Ryan Patrick Hanley: Adam Smith and Virtue 12: Eugene Heath: Adam Smith and Self-Interest Part Four: Adam Smith and Economics 13: Tony Aspromourgos: Adam Smith on Labour and Capital 14: Nerio Naldi: Adam Smith on Value and Prices 15: Hugh Rockoff: Adam Smith on Money, Banking, and the Price Level 16: Maria Pia Paganelli: Commercial Relations: from Adam Smith to Field Experiments Part Five: Adam Smith on History and Politics 17: Spiros Tegos: Adam Smith: Theorist of Corruption 18: David M. Levy & Sandra J. Peart: Adam Smith and the State: Language and Reform 19: Fabrizio Simon: Adam Smith and the Law 20: Edwin van de Haar: Adam Smith on Empire and International Relations Part Six: Adam Smith on Social Relations 21: Richard Boyd: Adam Smith, Civility, and Civil Society 22: Gavin Kennedy: Adam Smith on Religion 23: Samuel Fleischacker: Adam Smith and Equality 24: Maureen Harkin: Adam Smith and Women Part Seven; Adam Smith: Legacy and Influence 25: Spencer J. Pack: Adam Smith and Marx 26: Craig Smith: Adam Smith and the New Right 27: Tom Campbell: Adam Smith: Methods, Morals and Markets 28: Amartya Sen: The Contemporary Relevance of Adam Smith. (shrink)
This essay explores the validity of Gregory Boyd’s open theistic account of the nature of the future. In particular, it is an investigation into whether Boyd’s logical square of opposition for future contingents provides a model of reality for free will theists that can preserve both bivalence and a classical conception of omniscience. In what follows, I argue that it can.
In the recent debate on future contingents and the nature of the future, authors such as G. A. Boyd, W. L. Craig, and E. Hess have made use of various logical notions, such as the Aristotelian relations of contradiction and contrariety, and the ‘open future square of opposition.’ My aim in this paper is not to enter into this philosophical debate itself, but rather to highlight, at a more abstract methodological level, the important role that Aristotelian diagrams can (...) play in organizing and clarifying the debate. After providing a brief survey of the specific ways in which Boyd and Hess make use of Aristotelian relations and diagrams in the debate on the nature of the future, I argue that the position of open theism is best represented by means of a hexagon of opposition. Next, I show that on the classical theist account, this hexagon of opposition ‘collapses’ into a single pair of contradictory statements. This collapse from a hexagon into a pair has several aspects, which can all be seen as different manifestations of a single underlying change. (shrink)
In this discussion with Craig Browne, Luc Boltanski comments on how his recent work reconsiders the questions of agency and the nature of social explanation. Boltanski reflects on the connections between his investigations of grammars of justifications and his later work with Eve Chiapello on the historical transition to a new spirit of capitalism. The significance of politics, conflict and critique to Boltanski’s sociology are highlighted. Bolanski explains why he regards May 1968 as a major disruption of the capitalist (...) social order and how the conservative response to this contestation subsequently prevailed in France. The reorganisation of capitalism in recent decades has increased social division, yet Boltanski believes that the recent recession and existing discontent could lead to unexpected outcomes. (shrink)
Within a year of each other, three one-volume general dictionaries of philosophy have recently appeared; when our future colleagues in philosophy look back on the 1990s they may well think of it as the decade of reference works. But however productive these years may prove to be in this genre, clearly visible somewhere around the top of the heap will be this handy, useful, entertaining, and instructive contribution from Simon Blackburn. Its two immediate competitors are the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, (...) edited by Robert Audi, and the Oxford Companion to Philosophy, edited by Ted Honderich. No detailed comparison will be attempted here, but two points stand out as obviously giving Blackburn’s dictionary a rather different use and flavor from the others: while containing a closely comparable number of entries, it is distinctly shorter and handier in format; and it has all been written by a single author. (shrink)
Drunk drivers and other culpably incapacitated wrongdoers are often taken to pose a problem for reasons-responsiveness accounts of moral responsibility. These accounts predicate moral responsibility upon an agent having the capacities to perceive and act upon moral reasons, and the culpably incapacitated wrongdoers lack exactly those capacities at the time of their wrongdoing. Many reasons-responsiveness advocates thus expand their account of responsibility to include a tracing condition: The culpably incapacitated wrongdoer is blameworthy despite his incapacitation precisely because he is responsible (...) for becoming incapacitated. As some skeptics have suggested, it is not clear that we need tracing. Here, however, I make a stronger case against tracing: I show that tracing gets things wrong. I consider a new sort of case, the case of the Odysseus agent, whose incapacitation is non-culpable (sometimes merely permissible and sometimes praiseworthy). Tracing would have us hold responsible and therefore blame unlucky Odysseus agents, Odysseus agents who commit a wrongdoing in the throes of their non-culpably induced incapacitation. But we should not hold these unlucky Odysseus agents responsible for their incapacitated wrongdoing. Because tracing gets these cases wrong, we should reject tracing. (shrink)
For much of this century, philosophers hoped that Einstein’s general theory of relativity would play the role of physician to philosophy. Its development would positively influence the philosophy of methodology and confirmation, and its ontology would answer many traditional philosophical debates—for example, the issue of spacetime substantivalism. In physics, by contrast, the attitude is increasingly that GTR itself needs a physician. The more we learn about GTR the more we discover how odd are the spacetimes that it allows. Not only (...) does GTR permit singularities, naked and clothed, but it allows time travel, topology change, and event and particle horizons, to name but a few of these oddities. Rather than revel in the riches of the theory, however, many physicists seek to rule out one or more of the above “pathologies” on the grounds that they are “physically unreasonable.” Thus contemporary researchers hawk various “cures” for the “illnesses” of GTR: among them, Chronology Protection to ensure against time travel, Cosmic Censorship for naked singularities, Inflation for horizons, and so on. The physics of these illnesses and cures, and the problems they engender, are the source of much controversy in the physics literature. Philosophers have largely neglected it. But clearly the subject needs philosophers of physics to determine whether the patient is genuinely ailing, and if so, to sift the real antidotes from the snake oil. (shrink)
There are differences in caregivers’ literacy and health literacy levels that may affect their ability to consent to children participating in clinical research trials. This study aimed to explore the effectiveness, and caregivers’ understandings, of the process of informed consent that accompanied their child’s participation in a dental randomized control trial. Telephone interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of ten caregivers who each had a child participating in the RCT. Pre-tested closed and open-ended questions were used, and the findings (...) were produced from an inductive analysis of the latter and a descriptive analysis of the former. Participants had limited understanding of the purpose of the RCT and rated the readability of the consent form more highly than they rated their understanding of the research. All felt that informed consent was vital, but some caregivers had not read the consent documents. Some caregivers enrolled their child in the RCT because they trusted the researchers, and the majority wanted to improve dental care for children. The informed consent process was not always effective despite high readability of the informed consent documents. Researchers must consider the health literacy of the study group, and actively engaging with caregivers to achieve meaningful informed consent may be challenging. Future research could explore participants’ perspectives of informed consent in populations with low health literacy and assess whether an underlying expectation not to comprehend health-related information may be a barrier to informed consent. (shrink)
Published in 2014, the Facebook “emotional contagion” study prompted widespread discussions about the ethics of manipulating social media content. By and large, researchers focused on the lack of corporate institutional review boards and informed consent procedures, missing the crux of what upset people about both the study and Facebook’s underlying practices. This essay examines the reactions that unfolded, arguing the public’s growing discomfort with “big data” fueled the anger. To address these concerns, we need to start imagining a socio-technical approach (...) to ethics that does not differentiate between corporate and research practices. (shrink)
Raymond Van Arragon considers my my suggestion that most of those who never have the opportunity to accept Christ during their earthly lives suffer from transworld damnation, and he offers four different interpretations of that notion. He argues that at least three of these interpretations are such that on them the suggestion becomes implausible. I maintain that once my suggestion is properly understood, then, despite Van Arragon’s misgivings, it ought not to be thought implausible even on the first two, boldest (...) interpretations he offers. (shrink)
While it is widely acknowledged that knowledge can be acquired via testimony, it has been argued that understanding cannot. While there is no consensus about what the epistemic relationship of understanding consists in, I argue here that regardless of how understanding is conceived there are kinds of understanding that can be acquired through testimony: easy understanding and easy-s understanding. I address a number of aspects of understanding that might stand in the way of being able to acquire understanding through testimony, (...) focusing on understanding ’s paradigmatic form and what it means to say that in order to understand something you need to “grasp” some information or the relationship between bits of information. I argue that in cases of both easy and easy-s understanding, no aspect of understanding stands in the way of it being able to acquire it through testimony. As a result, while not all understanding be acquired through testimony in all instances and for all subjects, this failure of acquisition is only a product of the complexity of the relevant information or one’s unfamiliarity with it, and not a product of the epistemic relationship of understanding. (shrink)
(i) Scientific realism is primarily a metaphysical doctrine about the existence and nature of the unobservables of science. (ii) There are good explanationist arguments for realism, most famously that from the success of science, provided abduction is allowed. Abduction seems to be on an equal footing, at least, with other ampliative methods of inference. (iii) We have no reason to believe a doctrine of empirical equivalence that would sustain the underdetermination argument against realism. (iv) The key to defending realism from (...) the pessimistic meta-induction is that we have greatly improved our capacity to understand the unobservable world over recent centuries. (shrink)
The flow of time is a deep, significant and universal aspect of human life. Yet it remains a mystery and many dismiss the flow of time as illusory. Craig Callender explores this puzzle, and offers a fascinating explanation of why creatures experience time as flowing - even if, as physics suggests, it isn't.
While citizens often use non-instrumental arguments to support environmental protection, most governmental policies are justified by instrumental arguments. This paper explores some of the reasons. We interviewed senior policy advisors to four European governments active in global climate change negotiations and the UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) process. In response to our questions, a majority of these advisors articulated deeply held personal environmental values. They told us that they normally keep these values separate from their professional environmental (...) policy activities. We interpret these findings within the context of the literature on environmental ethics and values. We suggest that environmental policy could be improved if widely held environmental values were articulated, validated, and admitted into the process of policy analysis and deliberation. (shrink)
My paper argues that Luc Boltanski’s pragmatic sociology makes an important contribution to two central concerns of critical theory: the empirical analysis of the contradictions and conflicts of capitalist societies and the reflexive clarification of the epistemological and normative grounds of critique. I show how Boltanski’s assessment of the limitations of Bourdieu’s critical sociology significantly influenced his pragmatic sociology of critique and explication of the political philosophies present in actors’ practices of dispute and justification. Although pragmatism has revealed how social (...) life involves considerable uncertainty, Boltanski contends that critique needs to take into account how institutions generate semantic security, as well as symbolic violence. Boltanski’s endeavour to reformulate critique is compared with influential alternative conceptions, notably those of Habermas, Castoriadis, and Honneth. Despite its potential deficiencies and weaknesses, Boltanski’s reformulation of critique is found to be of considerable theoretical significance. In particular, Boltanski’s analysis of the role critique has played in the reorganization of capitalism can be extended, and his work is suggestive of how some of the intentions of critical theory can be pursued in new ways. (shrink)
In this illuminating study Craig argues that the standard practice of analyzing the concept of knowledge has radical defects--arbitrary restriction of the subject matter and risky theoretical presuppositions. He proposes a new approach similar to the "state-of-nature" method found in political theory, building the concept up from a hypothesis about its social function and the needs it fulfills. Shedding light on much that philosophers have written about knowledge, its analysis and the obstacles to its analysis, and the debate over (...) skepticism, this compelling work will be of interest to students and scholars of epistemology and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
A realistic and dialectical conception of the epistemology of science is advanced according to which the acquisition of instrumental knowledge is parasitic upon the acquisition, by successive approximation, of theoretical knowledge. This conception is extended to provide an epistemological characterization of reference and of natural kinds, and it is integrated into recent naturalistic treatments of knowledge. Implications for several current issues in the philosophy of science are explored.
SummaryThis paper addresses the question of what scientific realism implies and what it does not when it is articulated so as to provide the best defense against plausible philosophical alternatives. A summary is presented of “abductive” arguments for scientific realism, and of the epistemological and semantic conceptions upon which they depend. Taking these arguments to be the best current defense of realism, it is inquired what, in the sense just mentioned, realism implies and what it does not. It is concluded (...) that realism implies the strong rejection of epistemological foundationalism, a non‐Humean conception of causation and of explanation, and a causal rather than conceptual account of the unity of natural definitions. It is denied that realism implies bivalence or the existence of one true theory, one preferred vocabulary or one distinctly privileged science. It is further denied that realism implies that there are no unrecognized conventional aspects to scientific theorizing and it is denied that realism implies that scientists routinely do good experimental metaphysics. (shrink)
In the last 60,000 years humans have expanded across the globe and now occupy a wider range than any other terrestrial species. Our ability to successfully adapt to such a diverse range of habitats is often explained in terms of our cognitive ability. Humans have relatively bigger brains and more computing power than other animals and this allows us to figure out how to live in a wide range of environments. Here we argue that humans may be smarter than other (...) creatures, but none of us is nearly smart enough to acquire all of the information necessary to survive in any single habitat. In even the simplest foraging societies, people depend on a vast array of tools, detailed bodies of local knowledge, and complex social arrangements, and often do not understand why these tools, beliefs, and behaviors are adaptive. We owe our success to our uniquely-developed ability to learn from others. This capacity enables humans to gradually accumulate information across generations, and develop well-adapted tools, beliefs, and practices that are too complex for any single individual to invent during their lifetime. (shrink)
If culture is defined as variation acquired and maintained by social learning, then culture is common in nature. However, cumulative cultural evolution resulting in behaviors that no individual could invent on their own is limited to humans, song birds, and perhaps chimpanzees. Circumstantial evidence suggests that cumulative cultural evolution requires the capacity for observational learning. Here, we analyze two models the evolution of psychological capacities that allow cumulative cultural evolution. Both models suggest that the conditions which allow the evolution of (...) such capacities when rare are much more stringent than the conditions which allow the maintenance of the capacities when common. This result follows from the fact that the assumed benefit of the capacities, cumulative cultural adaptation, cannot occur when the capacities are rare. These results suggest why such capacities may be rare in nature. (shrink)