This paper explores the treatment of intelligent agents as innovations. Past writings in the area of intelligent agents focus on the technical merits and internal workings of agent-based solutions. By adopting a perspective on agents from an innovations point of view, a new and novel description of agents is put forth in terms of their degrees of innovativeness, competitive implications, and perceived characteristics. To facilitate this description, a series of innovation-based theoretical models are utilized as a lens of analysis, namely (...) Kleinschmidt and Cooperâs (J Prod Innovation Manage 8:240â251, 1991) market and technological newness map, Abernathy and Clarkâs (Res Policy 14:3â22, 1985) competitive implications framework, and Moore and Benbasatâs (Inf Syst Res 2:192â222, 1991) list of perceived innovating characteristics. Together, these models provide a theoretical foundation by which to describe intelligent agents, yielding new insights and perceptions on this relatively new form of software application. (shrink)
John Searle's Speech Acts made a highly original contribution to work in the philosophy of language. Expression and Meaning is a direct successor, concerned to develop and refine the account presented in Searle's earlier work, and to extend its application to other modes of discourse such as metaphor, fiction, reference, and indirect speech arts. Searle also presents a rational taxonomy of types of speech acts and explores the relation between the meanings of sentences and the contexts of their utterance. The (...) book points forward to a larger theme implicit in these problems - the basis certain features of speech have in the intentionality of mind, and even more generally, the relation of the philosophy of language to the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This paper sets out an organizing framework for the field of social ontology, the study of the nature of the social world. The subject matter of social ontology is clarified, in particular the difference between it and the study of causal relations and the explanation of social phenomena. Two different inquiries are defined and explained: the study of the grounding of social facts, and the study of how social categories are “anchored” or set up. The distinction between these inquiries is (...) used to clarify prominent programs in social theory, particularly theories of practice and varieties of individualism. (shrink)
In the preface to his book God the Problem , Gordon Kaufman writes ‘Although the notion of God as agent seems presupposed by most contemporary theologians … Austin Farrer has been almost alone in trying to specify carefully and consistently just what this might be understood to mean.’.
Over the last two decades, William Lycan’s work on the semantics of conditionals has been distinguished by his careful attention to the connection between syntax and semantics, and more generally by his impeccable methodology. Lycan takes compositionality seriously, so he requires that the meaning of compound expressions like ‘even if’ be a combination of the constituent expressions, here ‘even’ and ‘if’. After reading his work, it’s hard to take seriously work that does not share this methodology.
David DeGrazia’s stated purposes for Taking Animals Seriously are to apply a coherentist methodology to animal ethics, to do the philosophical work necessary for discussing animal minds, and to fill in some of the gaps in the existing literature on animal ethics.
William Hasker replies to my arguments against Social Trinitarianism, offers some criticism of my own view, and begins a sketch of another account of the Trinity. I reply with some defence of my own theory and some questions about his.
Moral Appraisability is not quite such a good book as its confident and lucid introduction leads one to hope, but it is work of both substance and promise. Ishtiyaque Haji’s main project is to determine sufficient conditions for moral appraisability: that is, for the propriety of holding an agent praiseworthy or blameworthy for an action. Identifying three primary conditions—control, autonomy, and epistemic—he refines them with the aid of a meticulous analysis of recent discussions and a range of vivid examples, and (...) applies them in his closing chapters to such vexed questions as the responsibility of addicts for their addictive behavior, the justification of cross-cultural attributions of blame, and our appraisability for our thoughts when dreaming. (shrink)
In teaching jurisprudence, I typically distinguish between two different families of theories of adjudication—theories of how judges do or should decide cases. “Formalist” theories claim that the law is “rationally” determinate, that is, the class of legitimate legal reasons available for a judge to offer in support of his or her decision justifies one and only one outcome either in all cases or in some significant and contested range of cases ; and adjudication is thus “autonomous” from other kinds of (...) reasoning, that is, the judge can reach the required decision without recourse to nonlegal normative considerations of morality or political philosophy. I also note that “formalism” is sometimes associated with the idea that judicial decision-making involves nothing more than mechanical deduction on the model of the syllogism—Beccaria, for example, expresses such a view. I call the latter “Vulgar Formalism” to emphasize that it is not a view to which anyone today cares to subscribe. (shrink)
Claudia Card’s The Unnatural Lottery is a fluently written and intricately argued study of the importance of historical difference for moral thought and action. It moves from theoretical and methodological arguments, in which the philosophical interest of the work largely resides, into a series of applications, mainly in the field of sexual politics, which are always at least thought-provoking.
This paper argues that "moral luck", understood as a susceptibility of moral desert to lucky or unlucky outcomes, does not exist. The argument turns on the claim that epistemic inquiry is an indissoluble part of moral responsibility, and that judgment on the moral decision making of others should and can adjust for this fact; test cases which aim to isolate moral dilemmas from epistemic consideration misrepresent our moral experience. If the phenomena believed by some philosophers to exemplify the need to (...) admit moral luck as part of their explanation are analysed in the light of this insight, the case for "moral luck" dissolves. (shrink)
This article discusses contemporary social psychological approaches to the social relations and appraisals associated with specific emotions; other people’s impact on appraisal processes; effects of emotion on other people; and interpersonal emotion regulation. We argue that single-minded cognitive perspectives restrict our understanding of interpersonal and group-related emotional processes, and that new methodologies addressing real-time interpersonal and group processes present promising opportunities for future progress.
In ‘The ethics of belief and Christian faith as commitment to assumptions’, Rik Peels attacks the views that I advanced in ‘Christianity and the ethics of belief’. Here, I rebut his criticisms of the claim that it is wrong to believe without sufficient evidence, of the contention that Christians are committed to that claim, and of the notion of that faith is not belief but commitment to assumptions in the hope of salvation. My original conclusions still stand.
As the author of Justice as Impartiality, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted by the liveliness of the discussion generated by it at the meeting on which this symposium is based. I am likewise grateful to the six authors for finding the book worthy of the careful attention that they have bestowed on it. Between them, the symposiasts take up many more points than I can cover in this response. I shall therefore focus on some themes (...) that cluster round the contractual device that I associate with the notion of justice as impartiality. Is it necessary? If it is not necessary is it nevertheless useful? Within an overall contractual framework is the form of contract that I propose uniquely justifiable? And does the form of contract that I defend generate the implications that I claim for it? (shrink)
Brian Skyrms offers a fascinating demonstration of how fundamental signals are to our world. He uses various scientific tools to investigate how meaning and communication develop. Signals operate in networks of senders and receivers at all levels of life, transmitting and processing information. That is how humans and animals think and interact.
Scientific Essentialism defends the view that the fundamental laws of nature depend on the essential properties of the things on which they are said to operate, and are therefore not independent of them. These laws are not imposed upon the world by God, the forces of nature or anything else, but rather are immanent in the world. Ellis argues that ours is a dynamic world consisting of more or less transient objects which are constantly interacting with each other, and whose (...) identities depend on their roles in these processes. Natural objects must behave as they do, because to do otherwise would be contrary to their natures. The laws of nature are, therefore, metaphysically necessary, and consequently, there are necessary connections between events. Brian Ellis calls for the rejection of the theory of Humean Supervenience and an implementation of a new kind of realism in philosophical analysis. (shrink)
A textbook on modal logic, intended for readers already acquainted with the elements of formal logic, containing nearly 500 exercises. Brian F. Chellas provides a systematic introduction to the principal ideas and results in contemporary treatments of modality, including theorems on completeness and decidability. Illustrative chapters focus on deontic logic and conditionality. Modality is a rapidly expanding branch of logic, and familiarity with the subject is now regarded as a necessary part of every philosopher's technical equipment. Chellas here offers (...) an up-to-date and reliable guide essential for the student. (shrink)
Espen Hammer’s exceptionally fine book explores modern temporality, its problems and prospects. Hammer claims that how people experience time is a cultural/historical phenomenon, and that there is a peculiarly modern way of experiencing time as a series of present moments each indefinitely leading to the next in an ordered way. Time as measured by the clock is the paradigmatic instance of this sense of time. In this perspective time is quantifiable and forward-looking, and the present is dominated by the future. (...) Hammer argues that this manner of experiencing time provides a way of living that brings with it not only the basis for great successes in technology, but also great costs—specifically, what he calls the problems of transience and of meaning. Hammer goes about his task by considering the ways some of the great modern philosophers have characterized present-day temporality and have responded to the problems he has identified. Specifically, he considers what Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas, Bloch, and Adorno provide in response to our peculiarly modern predicaments. The book is remarkable for its clarity and perceptiveness, but in the process in crucial places it simplifies the matters at hand or fails to push its insights as far as it ought, and in the end promises more than it can deliver. In this it betrays a rationalist confidence in the power of reason that founders on what in many ways remains a mystery. (shrink)
Brian Skyrms, author of the successful Evolution of the Social Contract has written a sequel. The book is a study of ideas of cooperation and collective action. The point of departure is a prototypical story found in Rousseau's A Discourse on Inequality. Rousseau contrasts the pay-off of hunting hare where the risk of non-cooperation is small but the reward is equally small, against the pay-off of hunting the stag where maximum cooperation is required but where the reward is so (...) much greater. Thus, rational agents are pulled in one direction by considerations of risk and in another by considerations of mutual benefit. Written with Skyrms's characteristic clarity and verve, this intriguing book will be eagerly sought out by students and professionals in philosophy, political science, economics, sociology and evolutionary biology. (shrink)
We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects — they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein (...) explains and challenges the three prevailing traditions about how the social world is made. One tradition takes the social world to be built out of people, much as traffic is built out of cars. A second tradition also takes people to be the building blocks of the social world, but focuses on thoughts and attitudes we have toward one another. And a third tradition takes the social world to be a collective projection onto the physical world. Epstein shows that these share critical flaws. Most fundamentally, all three traditions overestimate the role of people in building the social world: they are overly anthropocentric. Epstein starts from scratch, bringing the resources of contemporary metaphysics to bear. In the place of traditional theories, he introduces a model based on a new distinction between the grounds and the anchors of social facts. Epstein illustrates the model with a study of the nature of law, and shows how to interpret the prevailing traditions about the social world. Then he turns to social groups, and to what it means for a group to take an action or have an intention. Contrary to the overwhelming consensus, these often depend on more than the actions and intentions of group members. (shrink)
Is linguistic meaning to be accounted for independently of the states of mind of language users, or can it only be explained in terms of them? If the latter, what account of the mental states in question avoids circularity? In this book Brian Loar offers a subtle and comprehensive theory that both preserves the natural priority of the mind in explanations of meaning, and gives an independent characterisation of its features. the nature of meaning and its relation to the (...) mind is probably the area of paramount concern among philosophers. The theory presented here, by its reach and substance and the thoroughness and sophistication of its development, makes a major contribution to the debate. (shrink)
Although the body has been the focus of much contemporary cultural theory, the models that are typically applied neglect the most salient characteristics of embodied existence—movement, affect, and sensation—in favor of concepts derived from linguistic theory. In _Parables for the Virtual_ Brian Massumi views the body and media such as television, film, and the Internet, as cultural formations that operate on multiple registers of sensation beyond the reach of the reading techniques founded on the standard rhetorical and semiotic models. (...) Renewing and assessing William James’s radical empiricism and Henri Bergson’s philosophy of perception through the filter of the post-war French philosophy of Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault, Massumi links a cultural logic of variation to questions of movement, affect, and sensation. If such concepts are as fundamental as signs and significations, he argues, then a new set of theoretical issues appear, and with them potential new paths for the wedding of scientific and cultural theory. Replacing the traditional opposition of literal and figural with new distinctions between stasis and motion and between actual and virtual, _Parables for the Virtual _tackles related theoretical issues by applying them to cultural mediums as diverse as architecture, body art, the digital art of Stelarc, and Ronald Reagan’s acting career. The result is an intriguing combination of cultural theory, science, and philosophy that asserts itself in a crystalline and multi-faceted argument. _Parables for the Virtual_ will interest students and scholars of continental and Anglo-American philosophy, cultural studies, cognitive science, electronic art, digital culture, and chaos theory, as well as those concerned with the “science wars” and the relation between the humanities and the sciences in general. (shrink)
In this pithy and highly readable book, Brian Skyrms, a recognised authority on game and decision theory, investigates traditional problems of the social contract in terms of evolutionary dynamics. Game theory is skilfully employed to offer new interpretations of a wide variety of social phenomena, including justice, mutual aid, commitment, convention and meaning. The author eschews any grand, unified theory. Rather, he presents the reader with tools drawn from evolutionary game theory for the purpose of analysing and coming to (...) understand the social contract. The book is not technical and requires no special background knowledge. As such, it could be enjoyed by students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines: political science, philosophy, decision theory, economics and biology. (shrink)
All major western countries today contain groups that differ in their religious beliefs, customary practices or ideas about the right way in which to live. How should public policy respond to this diversity? In this important new work, Brian Barry challenges the currently orthodox answer and develops a powerful restatement of an egalitarian liberalism for the twenty-first century. Until recently it was assumed without much question that cultural diversity could best be accommodated by leaving cultural minorities free to associate (...) in pursuit of their distinctive ends within the limits imposed by a common framework of laws. This solution is rejected by an influential school of political theorists, among whom some of the best known are William Galston, Will Kymlicka, Bhikhu Parekh, Charles Taylor and Iris Marion Young. According to them, this 'difference-blind' conception of liberal equality fails to deliver either liberty or equal treatment. In its place, they propose that the state should 'recognize' group identities, by granting groups exemptions from certain laws, publicly 'affirming' their value, and by providing them with special privileges or subsidies. In Culture and Equality, Barry offers an incisive critique of these arguments and suggests that theorists of multiculturism tend to misdiagnose the problems of minority groups. Often, these are not rooted in culture, and multiculturalist policies may actually stand in the way of universalistic measures that would be genuinely beneficial. (shrink)
When causal decision theory was created in the 1970s, access to Howard Sobel’s contribution was available only in a narrowly circulated mimeographed manuscript. After some time, he allowed his ideas to appear in the form of articles. Here we finally have a book length exposition on Sobel’s causal Bayesian point of view consisting of collected, revised, and amplified papers spanning a period of twenty years.
Brian Hedden defends a radical view about the relationship between rationality, personal identity, and time. On the standard view, personal identity over time plays a central role in thinking about rationality, because there are rational norms for how a person's attitudes and actions at one time should fit with her attitudes and actions at other times. But these norms are problematic. They make what you rationally ought to believe or do depend on facts about your past that aren't part (...) of your current perspective on the world, and they make rationality depend on controversial, murky metaphysical facts about what binds different instantaneous snapshots into a single person extended in time. Hedden takes a different approach, treating the relationship between different time-slices of the same person as no different from the relationship between different people. On his account, the locus of rationality is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. This impersonal, time-slice-centric approach to rationality yields a unified approach to the rationality of beliefs, preferences, and actions where what rationality demands of you is solely determined by your evidence, with no special weight given to your past beliefs or actions. (shrink)
"Brian Orend's The Morality of War promises to become the single most comprehensive and important book on just war for this generation. It moves far beyond the review of the standard just war categories to deal comprehensively with the new challenges of the conflict with terrorism. It thoughtfully reviews every major military conflict of the past few decades, mining them for implications of the evolving tradition of just war thinking. It concludes with a critical engagement with the major alternatives (...) to just war thinking: pacifism and 'realism.' It is, in short, the most comprehensive and thoughtful assessment of all aspects of just war since Michael Walzer's classic Just and Unjust Wars." - Martin L. Cook, United States Air Force Academy. (shrink)
Objective Our objective was to evaluate whether those individuals with previous involvement with formal clinical ethics processes differ in their attitudes towards the resolution of prototypical clinical ethics cases than general health care professionals. We hypothesized that those individuals with previous participation in ethics consultation would have significantly different attitudes on the appropriate role of ethics committees in the assessment and resolution of clinical ethical dilemmas than those who have not. Methods We conducted a case-based survey of health care professionals (...) at six US hospitals. We administered the survey to health care professionals in a variety of clinical roles at each center and further sub-categorized these by respondents reporting or not reporting their membership on an ethics committee or participation as an ethics consultant/requestor of ethics consult services. Using the analysis of variance test, we present the variation in attitudes using a 5-point Likert scale with 95% confidence intervals and significance set at p ≤ 0.05. Results A total of 240 respondents completed the survey from all six surveyed centers. Health care professionals not previously involved with formal clinical ethics processes were less likely to view the ethics committee as having a role in resolving the presented clinical ethical dilemmas. Conclusion In this multi-center survey study, health care providers without previous involvement with formal clinical ethics processes were less likely than those with previous involvement to support a role for ethics committees aiding in ethical case resolution. (shrink)
This paper presents three studies exploring the relationship between emotional responses to classic cognitive developmental moral dilemmas and moral reasoning indices as measured by the Defining Issues Test (DIT). Each study indicated that certain moral dilemmas elicit varying levels of anger and sadness as compared to a neutral baseline. In each study, decreased moral reasoning was observed in those instances where reports in both sadness and anger were high following a dilemma. This did not occur, however, in those instances where (...) only sadness or anger was high following a dilemma. Affective inductions prior to taking the DIT (study 3) did not impact trends beyond that found for individual moral dilemmas in studies 1 and 2. Although certain dilemmas elicited affective states that temporarily influenced reasoning, in general participants? reasoning levels stayed consistent across dilemmas. Results are discussed in terms of the role of affect on the moral judgment process. (shrink)
Onora O'Neill recently argued that environmental ethics could and should be reformulated in terms of a search for the obligations held by moral agents towards each other, with respect to the non-human world. The more popular alternative, which seeks to establish the intrinsic value of the non-human, is plagued with various theoretical difficulties attaching to the concept of value. It is here argued that O'Neill's attempt to determine fundamental obligations of moral agents on the basis of a non-universalisability criterion does (...) not succeed. It is further claimed that such an approach, in spite of the advantages which O'Neill sees it as having, is itself open to serious objection from the viewpoint of environmental ethics, especially as human beings are able in principle to release each other from mutual obligations. It is concluded that, in spite of the difficulties involved, postulations of value to non-human nature do seem to be indispensable to environmental ethics. (shrink)
In "The Philosophy of Nature," Brian Ellis provides a clear and forthright general summation of, and introduction to, the new essentialist position. Although the theory that the laws of nature are immanent in things, rather than imposed on them from without, is an ancient one, much recent work has been done to revive interest in essentialism and "The Philosophy of Nature" is a distinctive contribution to this lively current debate. Brian Ellis exposes the philosophical and scientific credentials of (...) the prevailing Humean metaphysic as less than compelling and makes the case for new essentialism as an alternative metaphysical perspective in lucid and unambiguous terms. This book develops this alternative metaphysic and considers the consequences for philosophy, and for some other areas of investigation, of working with such a metaphysic. Ellis argues that these consequences are profound and that a new essentialism provides a comprehensive new philosophy of nature for a modern scientific understanding of the world. (shrink)
Intuitively, Gettier cases are instances of justified true beliefs that are not cases of knowledge. Should we therefore conclude that knowledge is not justified true belief? Only if we have reason to trust intuition here. But intuitions are unreliable in a wide range of cases. And it can be argued that the Gettier intuitions have a greater resemblance to unreliable intuitions than to reliable intuitions. Whats distinctive about the faulty intuitions, I argue, is that respecting them would mean abandoning a (...) simple, systematic and largely successful theory in favour of a complicated, disjunctive and idiosyncratic theory. So maybe respecting the Gettier intuitions was the wrong reaction, we should instead have been explaining why we are all so easily misled by these kinds of cases. (shrink)