Concepts, not the beliefs employing them, have uses or roles in thought. Most conceptual roles cannot be specified solipsistically, and do not have inner aspects that can be specified solipsistically. (To think otherwise is to confuse function with misfunction.) A theory of truth conditions plays no useful part in any adequate account of conceptual role. Ordinary views about beliefs assign them conceptual structures which figure in explanations of functional relations. Which conceptual structures beliefs have may be relative to an arbitrary (...) choice of "analytical hypothesis" but that does not mean that there is an adequate nonrelative account that dispenses with a system of concepts or language of thought. (shrink)
Do moral properties figure in the best explanatory account of the world? According to a popular realist argument, if they do, then they earn their ontological rights, for only properties that figure in the best explanation of experience are real properties. Although this realist strategy has been widely influential—not just in metaethics, but also in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science—no one has actually made the case that moral realism requires: namely, that moral facts really will figure in the (...) best explanatory picture of the world. This issue may have been neglected in part because the influential dialectic on moral explanations between philosophers Gilbert Harman and Nicholas Sturgeon has focused debate on whether moral facts figure in relevant explanations. Yet as others have noted, explanatory relevance is irrelevant when it comes to realism: after all, according to the popular realist argument, it is inference to the best explanation of experience that is supposed to confer ontological rights. I propose to ask, then, the relevant question about moral explanations: should we think that moral properties will figure in the best explanatory account of the world? (shrink)
This collection of new articles brings together major scholars working at the intersection of traditional Chinese philosophy and mainstream analytic philosophy. For some 2,500 years, China's best minds have pondered the human condition, and yet their ideas are almost entirely ignored by mainstream philosophers and philosophy programs. The proposed volume is intended to take a step in remedying that situation by directing sinological resources to current topics in philosophy and doing so in a manner that speaks to practicing philosophers. Contributions (...) draw on a variety of sources across the Chinese tradition, from early Daoists and Confucians, to mid-imperial Buddhists and Neo-Confucians, right up to 20th Century philosophers. Some of the contemporary or recent philosophers whose works are discussed or challenged in this volume include Susan Wolf, Simon Blackburn, Jesse Prinz, Shaun Gallagher, Nel Noddings, John Rawls, Peter Singer, Stephen Buckle, Elizabeth Anscombe, Bernard Williams, Thomas Nagel, Graham Priest, Gilbert Ryle, W. V. Quine, Ernest Sosa, Harry Frankfurt, and David Velleman. (shrink)
Ontologies, as the term is used in informatics, are structured vocabularies comprised of human- and computer-interpretable terms and relations that represent entities and relationships. Within informatics fields, ontologies play an important role in knowledge and data standardization, representation, integra- tion, sharing and analysis. They have also become a foundation of artificial intelligence (AI) research. In what follows, we outline the Coronavirus Infectious Disease Ontology (CIDO), which covers multiple areas in the domain of coronavirus diseases, including etiology, transmission, epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, (...) prevention, and treatment. We emphasize CIDO development relevant to COVID-19. (shrink)
In _What Animals Teach Us about Politics_, Brian Massumi takes up the question of "the animal." By treating the human as animal, he develops a concept of an animal politics. His is not a human politics of the animal, but an integrally animal politics, freed from connotations of the "primitive" state of nature and the accompanying presuppositions about instinct permeating modern thought. Massumi integrates notions marginalized by the dominant currents in evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and philosophy—notions such as play, (...) sympathy, and creativity—into the concept of nature. As he does so, his inquiry necessarily expands, encompassing not only animal behavior but also animal thought and its distance from, or proximity to, those capacities over which human animals claim a monopoly: language and reflexive consciousness. For Massumi, humans and animals exist on a continuum. Understanding that continuum, while accounting for difference, requires a new logic of "mutual inclusion." Massumi finds the conceptual resources for this logic in the work of thinkers including Gregory Bateson, Henri Bergson, Gilbert Simondon, and Raymond Ruyer. This concise book intervenes in Deleuze studies, posthumanism, and animal studies, as well as areas of study as wide-ranging as affect theory, aesthetics, embodied cognition, political theory, process philosophy, the theory of play, and the thought of Alfred North Whitehead. (shrink)
At the beginning of Sein und Zeit, Martin Heidegger raises the question “What is the meaning of Being?”. In a celebrated review of Heidegger, Gilbert Ryle observes that, though some would quarrel with the assumption “that there is a problem about the Meaning of Being,” he, for the moment, will not. Why not? Because, says Ryle, the “question of the relation between Being qua timeless ‘substance’ and existing qua existing in the world of time and space seems to me (...) a real one.”. (shrink)
The article examines the politicization of fear following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Towers. It analyzes the role of mass media imagery in the wide-spread production of fear, focusing on the color-code « Terror Alert System » put in place by the Bush administration. It is argued that the recentering of governmental action on the preemptive response to threat has introduced a new time structure into politics which effectively renders futurity present. Through signs of fear conveyed (...) in mass media imagery this present futurity strikes the body at the level of affect, triggering the unfolding of a process bifurcating onto a number of self-differentiating but interconnected levels of experience. That process is construed in the essay as a « collective individuation » in Gilbert Simondon’s sense. A new vocabulary for the understanding of affective unfolding is proposed involving a four-fold distinction between « vitality affect », « pure affect », « emotion », and « affective tone ». (shrink)
This interdisciplinary and ecumenical collection of essays honors the transformative work of Margaret A. Farley, Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School, using it as a starting point for reflection on the contribution of feminist method to theology and ethics. Through a variety of perspectives, contributors show that by resisting classical oppositions between “interpersonal” and “social” ethics and by insisting that social, economic, and political realities be taken seriously in considerations of justice, feminist concerns challenge (...) the very categories of Christian ethics. With essays ranging from sexual ethics to human rights, medical ethics to freedom, _A Just and True Love_ offers a broad perspective on the last twenty-five years of feminist innovation in Christian ethics and a glimpse of its global future, particularly in continents such as Africa. “This book brings together a number of the most prominent thinkers in Christian theology and ethics today in a justly deserved tribute to the work and influence of Margaret Farley. The essays explicitly acknowledge and engage Farley in various degrees; one comes away appreciating both the integrity of her work and its versatility.” —_Darlene Fozard Weaver, Villanova University _ “Inevitably while listening to or reading Margaret Farley, we find her refrain, ‘I want to ask all over again.’ Reexamining, reframing, and rethinking is Farley’s method of engaging anew human experience and relationality. The authors of these essays capture that method as they reconsider feminism and sexuality, love and freedom, justice and truth, contraception and women’s rights. Like her own work, they reset the ethical agenda to recapture a more loving truth. A very successful collection for a most admired colleague. Ryan and Linnane are to be congratulated!” —_James F. Keenan, S.J., Boston College_ “In_ A Just and True Love,_ a host of distinguished scholars consider fundamental themes of feminist theological ethics and their significance for global justice, the meaning of Christian love, creative casuistry, and truthful life in the Church. I can imagine no higher praise than to affirm that these authors have succeeded marvelously in doing exactly what they set out to do: to produce a volume worthy of the theological work and wisdom of Margaret Farley.” —_William Werpehowski, Villanova University_. (shrink)
The latest offering in the highly successful Oxford Readings in Philosophy series, The Philosophy of Action features contributions from twelve leading figures in the field, including: Robert Audi, Michael Bratman, Donald Davidson, Wayne Davis, Harry Frankfurt, Carl Ginet, Gilbert Harman, Jennifer Hornsby, Jaegwon Kim, Hugh McCann, Paul Moser, and Brian O'Shaughnessy. Alfred Mele provides an introductory essay on the topics chosen and the questions they deal with. Topics addressed include intention, reasons for action, and the nature and explanation (...) of internal action. A selective bibliography is included as a guide to further reading. Comprehensive and up-to-date, this collection provides an accessible and stimulating introduction for readers interested in the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind, and moral philosophy. (shrink)
In 1967, Alvin Goldman proposed that 'X' knows that 'p' only if the fact that 'p' is causally connected with X's belief that 'p'. Brian Skyrms' alleged counterexample, the case of the fiend who beheads a person already deceased, has been widely accepted (by Robert Ackermann, Gilbert Harman, and Marshall Swain) as such. But it is not a counterexample. To see this, we must attend to two distinctions: between a death and being dead, and between causation and causal (...) overdetermination. The most visible objection to Goldman's analysis is then dissolved. a modified version of Skyrms' case fares no better. (shrink)
This now-classic work challenges what Ryle calls philosophy's "official theory," the Cartesians "myth" of the separation of mind and matter. Ryle's linguistic analysis remaps the conceptual geography of mind, not so much solving traditional philosophical problems as dissolving them into the mere consequences of misguided language. His plain language and esstentially simple purpose place him in the traditioin of Locke, Berkeley, Mill, and Russell.
Before one can give a fully adequate account of action, one must know where the action is. This amounts to understanding the nature of basic or unmediated action, the performance of which does not require performing any other act as a means. There is little consensus on what sort of act is basic. Volitionists such as H. A. Prichard, Brian O'Shaughnessy, Jennifer Hornsby and Carl Ginet, hold that a special type of mental act is basic and underlies all overt (...) bodily action. They believe that action, in its fundamental form, occurs in the head or mind of the agent that performs it. "Corporealists" like Donald Davidson hold that the basic act is one of bodily movement. Finally, "environmentalists" include events beyond the body as part of the basic act. ;The dissertation is devoted to establishing the viability and exploring the ramifications of the environmentalist conception of basicness. Ideas of various theorists are discussed, including Donald Davidson, G. E. M. Anscombe, George Wilson, Gilbert Harman, John Searle, Alfred Mele, Tyler Burge, and John Perry. I address a number of arguments for volitionism or corporealism which draw upon some aspect of action, such as its individuation , its description , its rationalization , and its intentionality or content--in particular its self-referential content . Discussions of these topics serve to further articulate the environmentalist notion that in acting we can have an unmediated or direct effect upon our surroundings. A defense of environmentalism offers, in turn, a new understanding of these various aspects of action. (shrink)
In the Philosophical Investigations and later writings, Wittenstein views "I know" utterances which embed egocentric psychological clauses as affirming contextually defined authority positions rather than as knowledge claims. This view is consistent with Brian McGuinness's analysis of conscious wants in terms of their subjects. A's knowledge of mental facts about B is a capacity (Gilbert Ryle, John Watling) which is responsible for A's being prepared for B's behaviour (as accounted for by those mental facts); for one and the (...) same person this capacity would be idle except for cases where she plays a double role. (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.’.
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.
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.
Change in View offers an entirely original approach to the philosophical study of reasoning by identifying principles of reasoning with principles for revising one's beliefs and intentions and not with principles of logic. This crucial observation leads to a number of important and interesting consequences that impinge on psychology and artificial intelligence as well as on various branches of philosophy, from epistemology to ethics and action theory. Gilbert Harman is Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. A Bradford Book.
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.
This book offers original accounts of a number of central social phenomena, many of which have received little if any prior philosophical attention. These phenomena include social groups, group languages, acting together, collective belief, mutual recognition, and social convention. In the course of developing her analyses Gilbert discusses the work of Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, David Lewis, among others.
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)
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)
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)
First published in 1949, Gilbert Ryle ’s The Concept of Mind is one of the classics of twentieth-century philosophy. Described by Ryle as a ‘sustained piece of analytical hatchet-work’ on Cartesian dualism, The Concept of Mind is a radical and controversial attempt to jettison once and for all what Ryle called ‘the ghost in the machine’: Descartes’ argument that mind and body are two separate entities. This sixtieth anniversary edition includes a substantial commentary by Julia Tanney and is essential (...) reading for new readers interested not only in the history of analytic philosophy but in its power to challenge major currents in philosophy of mind and language today. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert offers an incisive new approach to a classic problem of political philosophy: when and why should I do what the law tells me to do? Do I have special obligations to conform to the laws of my own country and if so, why? In what sense, if any, must I fight in wars in which my country is engaged, if ordered to do so, or suffer the penalty for law-breaking the law imposes - including the death penalty? (...)Gilbert's accessible book offers a provocative and compelling case in favour of citizens' obligations to the state, while examining how these can be squared with self-interest and other competing considerations. (shrink)
Gilbert harman has recently proposed a version of moral relativism which is markedly clearer than any earlier statement of that position. Besides consistency and clarity, Harman claims for his thesis a number of positive virtues. The thesis, He argues, "helps explain otherwise puzzling aspects of our moral views"; it accounts for "a previously unnoticed distinction between inner and non-Inner judgments"' and it allows us to meet traditional objections to related theories. In this paper, I argue that none of these (...) alleged virtues is adequately documented by harman's arguments. (shrink)
This new essay collection by distinguished philosopher Margaret Gilbert provides a richly textured argument for the importance of joint commitment in our personal and public lives. Topics covered by this diverse range of essays range from marital love to patriotism, from promissory obligation to the unity of the European Union.
Margaret Gilbert presents the first full-length treatment of a central class of rights: demand-rights. To have such a right is to have the standing or authority to demand a particular action of another person. Gilbert argues that joint commitment is a ground of demand-rights, and gives joint commitment accounts of both agreements and promises.