The importance of communities in strengthening the ethics of international collaborative research is increasingly highlighted, but there has been much debate about the meaning of the term ‘community’ and its specific normative contribution. We argue that ‘community’ is a contingent concept that plays an important normative role in research through the existence of morally significant interplay between notions of community and individuality. We draw on experience of community engagement in rural Kenya to illustrate two aspects of this interplay: (i) that (...) taking individual informed consent seriously involves understanding and addressing the influence of communities in which individuals’ lives are embedded; (ii) that individual participation can generate risks and benefits for communities as part of the wider implications of research. We further argue that the contingent nature of a community means that defining boundaries is generally a normative process itself, with ethical implications. Community engagement supports the enactment of normative roles; building mutual understanding and trust between researchers and community members have been important goals in Kilifi, requiring a broad range of approaches. Ethical dilemmas are continuously generated as part of these engagement activities, including the risks of perverse outcomes related to existing social relations in communities and conditions of ‘half knowing’ intrinsic to processes of developing new understandings. (shrink)
After more than three centuries, Molyneux's question continues to challenge our understanding of cognition and perceptual systems. Locke, the original recipient of the question, approached it as a theoretical exercise relevant to long-standing philosophical issues, such as nativism, the possibility of common sensibles, and the empiricism-rationalism debate. However, philosophers were quick to adopt the experimentalist's stance as soon as they became aware of recoveries from congenital blindness through ophtalmic surgery. Such recoveries were widely reported to support empiricist positions, suggesting (...) that the question had found its empirical answer. Contrary to this common view, we argue that studies of patients recovering from early blindness through surgery cannot provide an answer. In fact, because of the very nature of such ophtalmological interventions it is impossible to test the question in the empirical conditions outlined by Molyneux. Thus we propose that Molyneux's question be treated as an early thought experiment of a specific kind. Although thought experiments of this kind cannot be turned into actual experimental conditions, they provide a conceptual restructuring of theories. Such restructuring in turn leads to new predictions that can then be tested by normal experiments. In accord with this interpretation, we show that Molyneux's question can be analyzed into a hierarchy of specific questions about vision in its phenomenal and sensory-motor components. Some of these questions do lead to actual experimental conditions that could be studied empirically. (shrink)
There is wide agreement that community engagement is important for many research types and settings, often including interaction with ‘representatives’ of communities. There is relatively little published experience of community engagement in international research settings, with available information focusing on Community Advisory Boards or Groups (CAB/CAGs), or variants of these, where CAB/G members often advise researchers on behalf of the communities they represent. In this paper we describe a network of community members (‘KEMRI Community Representatives’, or ‘KCRs’) linked to a (...) large multi-disciplinary research programme on the Kenyan Coast. Unlike many CAB/Gs, the intention with the KCR network has evolved to be for members to represent the geographical areas in which a diverse range of health studies are conducted through being typical of those communities. We draw on routine reports, self-administered questionnaires and interviews to: 1) document how typical KCR members are of the local communities in terms of basic characteristics, and 2) explore KCR's perceptions of their roles, and of the benefits and challenges of undertaking these roles. We conclude that this evolving network is a potentially valuable way of strengthening interactions between a research institution and a local geographic community, through contributing to meeting intrinsic ethical values such as showing respect, and instrumental values such as improving consent processes. However, there are numerous challenges involved. Other ways of interacting with members of local communities, including community leaders, and the most vulnerable groups least likely to be vocal in representative groups, have always been, and remain, essential. (shrink)
The renaissance of pragmatism in recent decades has stimulated renewed study of the classical pragmatists. Until this volume, F. C. S. Schiller was the only major pragmatist from the classical era whose significant writings remained uncollected for renewed scholarly study. The forty-two pieces in this collection represent Schiller's finest writings. They range across a broad spectrum of specific topics: logic and scientific method, meaning and truth, pluralism and monism, personalism and idealism, metaphysics and values, evolution and religion, and ethics and (...) politics. An introduction to Schiller's life and career, introductory essays to the volume's seven parts, and a bibliography of Schiller's books and essays are also included. (shrink)
If some philosophers had not existed, the history of philosophy would have to invent them. After all, what would the introduction to philosophy teacher do without good old Berkeley, the notorious denier of common sense, or Hume, the infamous sceptic. In some cases, in fact, philosophers have been invented by the history of philosophy. I don't mean to suggest that historians of philosophy have actually altered the past by bringing into being real flesh and blood philosophers. Rather, I mean to (...) say that the textbook caricatures of famous philosophers are often a creation of the tradition, encrusted layers of hoary myths and legends which often hold the actual philosopher prisoner, the myths of Berkeley and Hume which I just alluded to being excellent examples. (shrink)
Are there dispositions which not only do not manifest, but which could not manifest? We argue that there are dispositions to Ф in circumstances C where C is impossible, and some where Ф is impossible. Furthermore, postulating these dispositions does useful theoretical work. This paper describes a number of cases of dispositions had by objects even though those dispositions are not possibly manifest, and argues for the importance of these dispositions.
This is one of the seminal articles of the pragmatist tradition where C.S. Peirce sets out his doctrine of doubt and belief --and their relationship to inquiry and clarity of our concepts. Originally published in the Popular Science Monthly; and widely available in reprints and collections of Peirce's writings.
The Essay concerning Human Understanding was published at the end of 1689.1 It sold well, and within three years Locke was planning revisions for a second edition. Among those whose “advice and assistance” he sought was the Irish scientist William Molyneux. Locke had begun a correspondence with Molyneux a few months before, after the latter had lavishly praised the Essay and its author in the Epistle Dedicatory of his own Dioptrica Nova, published early in 1692. Here was a (...) man, Locke concluded, whose judgment one could trust. He returned Molyneux’s compliment in the Essay’s new edition, calling him “that very Ingenious and Studious promoter of real Knowledge, ... whom I am proud to call my friend”. (shrink)
Persons think. Bodies, time-slices of persons, and brains might also think. They have the necessary neural equipment. Thus, there seems to be more than one thinker in your chair. Critics assert that this is too many thinkers and that we should reject ontologies that allow more than one thinker in your chair. I argue that cases of multiple thinkers are innocuous and that there is not too much thinking. Rather, the thinking shared between, for example, persons and their bodies is (...) exactly what we should expect at the intersection of part sharing and the supervenience of the mental on the physical. I end by responding to the overcrowding objection, the personhood objection, the personal-pronoun reference problem and the epistemic objection. (shrink)
This paper takes the form of a critical discussion of Crispin Wright’s notion of entitlement of cognitive project. I examine various strategies for defending the claim that entitlement can make acceptance of a proposition epistemically rational, including one which appeals to epistemic consequentialism. Ultimately, I argue, none of these strategies is successful, but the attempt to isolate points of disagreement with Wright issues in some positive proposals as to how an epistemic consequentialist should characterize epistemic rationality.
Under what circumstances if ever ought we to grant that Artificial Intelligences are persons? The question of whether AI could have the high degree of moral status that is attributed to human persons has received little attention. What little work there is employs western conceptions of personhood, while non-western approaches are neglected. In this article, I discuss African conceptions of personhood and their implications for the possibility of AI persons. I focus on an African account of personhood that is prima (...) facie inimical to the idea that AI could ever be ‘persons’ in the sense typically attributed to humans. I argue that despite its apparent anthropocentrism, this African account could admit AI as persons. (shrink)
A repackaged edition of the revered author's classic work that examines the four types of human love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God—part of the C. S. Lewis Signature Classics series. C.S. Lewis—the great British writer, scholar, lay theologian, broadcaster, Christian apologist, and bestselling author of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other beloved classics—contemplates the essence of love and how it works in our daily lives in one of (...) his most famous works of nonfiction. Lewis examines four varieties of human love: affection, the most basic form; friendship, the rarest and perhaps most insightful; Eros, passionate love; charity, the greatest and least selfish. Throughout this compassionate and reasoned study, he encourages readers to open themselves to all forms of love—the key to understanding that brings us closer to God. (shrink)
Philosophers readily talk about merely verbal disputes, usually without much or any explicit reflection on what these are, and a good deal of methodological significance is attached to discovering whether a dispute is merely verbal or not. Currently, metaphilosophical advances are being made towards a clearer understanding of what exactly it takes for something to be a merely verbal dispute. This paper engages with this growing literature, pointing out some problems with existing approaches, and develops a new proposal which builds (...) on their strengths. (shrink)
C. S. Lewis takes us on a profound journey through both heaven and hell in this engaging allegorical tale. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis introduces us to supernatural beings who will change the way we think about good and evil.
The goal of the research programme I describe in this article is a realist epistemology for arithmetic which respects arithmetic's special epistemic status (the status usually described as a prioricity) yet accommodates naturalistic concerns by remaining fundamentally empiricist. I argue that the central claims which would allow us to develop such an epistemology are (i) that arithmetical truths are known through an examination of our arithmetical concepts; (ii) that (at least our basic) arithmetical concepts are accurate mental representations of elements (...) of the arithmetical structure of the independent world; (iii) that (ii) obtains in virtue of the normal functioning of our sensory apparatus. The first of these claims protects arithmetic's special epistemic status relative, for example, to the laws of physics, the second preserves the independence of arithmetical truth, and the third ensures that we remain empiricists. Preliminaries Justifying and grounding concepts Cameras and filters An epistemology for arithmetic Concluding remarks. (shrink)
: While the work of such expositors as Max H. Fisch, James J. Liszka, Lucia Santaella, Anne Friedman, and Mats Bergman has helped bring into sharp focus why Peirce took the third branch of semiotic (speculative rhetoric) to be "the highest and most living branch of logic," more needs to be done to show the extent to which the least developed branch of his theory of signs is, at once, its potentially most fruitful and important. The author of this paper (...) thus begins to trace out even more fully than these scholars have done the unfinished trajectory of Peirce's eventual realization of the importance of speculative rhetoric. In doing so, he is arguing for a shift from the formalist and taxonomic emphasis of so many commentators to a more thoroughly pragmaticist and "rhetorical" approach to interpreting Peirce's theory of signs. (shrink)
There is surely something right about Craig’s view: we are unlikely to succeed in any attempt to analyse away the intricacies in our concept of knowledge. We cannot realistically hope to uncover a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for A knows that p which are in all cases either clearly satisfied or clearly not satisfied. Nor, I suspect, is it possible to offer necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge which are widely accepted as being more securely understood than knowledge (...) itself. (shrink)
This chapter attempts to put structure on some of the different philosophical uses of ‘intuition’. It argues that ‘intuition’-hood is associated with four bundles of symptoms: a commonsensicality bundle; an a prioricity and immediacy bundle, and a metaphilosophical bundle. Tentatively suggesting that the word ‘intuition’ as used by philosophers is best regarded as ambiguous, the chapter offers a much simpler view concerning the meaning of ‘intuition’ in philosophy. With some of the attacks on ‘intuition’ as an epistemic source explored, the (...) chapter concludes that one significant kind of philosophical ‘intuition’, related to a prioricity and conceptual truth, can be defended against a range of typical epistemological challenges. (shrink)
This note concerns a puzzle about probability which has recently caught the attention of a number of philosophers. According to the current philosophical consensus, the solution to the puzzle reveals that one can acquire new information, sufficient to change one's credences in certain events, just by having a certain experience, even though one knew all along that one would have an experience which felt exactly like this. I argue that the philosophical consensus is mistaken.
I argue that mind-independence realism should be characterised in terms of what I call 'essential', rather than 'modal', independence from our mental lives. I explore the connections between the two kinds of independence, and argue that characterizations in terms of essence respect more intuitions about what realism is, harmonize better with standard characterizations of anti-realism, and avert the threat of subversion from Blackburn's quasi-realist.
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a senior tempter in the service of "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters (...) is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written. Now, for the first time, The Screwtape Letters is presented with its full text alongside helpful annotations provided by Lewis enthusiast and dramatist Paul McCusker. The notes include literary, theological, and biographical information to enhance Lewis's core themes and demystify complex ideas. McCusker also guides readers to concepts and references from the beloved author's other treasured volumes to deepen and enrich this timeless classic. The annotated edition is the ultimate guide for understanding the heavenly truths buried in these epistles from below. (shrink)
Are a statue and the lump of clay that constitutes it one object or two? Many philosophers have answered ‘two’ because the lump seems to have properties, such as the property of being able to survive flattening, that the statue lacks. This answer faces a serious problem : it seems that nothing grounds the difference in properties between colocated objects. The statue and lump are in the same environment and inherit properties from the same composing parts. But it seems that (...) differences in properties should be grounded. For this reason, philosophers including Mark Heller, Dean Zimmerman, Theodore Sider, Trenton Merricks, and Eric Olson have rejected the answer ‘two’. -/- I offer a solution to the grounding problem, in order to revive the traditional account. I argue that extrinsic relations contribute to the supervenience base of many kinds or sorts, and these extrinsic relations ground differences between colocated objects, such as statues and lumps of clay, human beings and lumps of tissue, and planets and masses of matter. The same collection of parts can stand in more than one extrinsic relation, with each relation grounding the composition of a distinct kind of object. In cases in which this happens, the properties of each object differ from the properties of other objects that share the same parts. (shrink)
In recent work Timothy Williamson argues that the epistemology of metaphysical modality is a special case of the epistemology of counterfactuals. I argue that Williamson has not provided an adequate argument for this controversial claim, and that it is not obvious how what he says should be supplemented in order to derive such an argument. But I suggest that an important moral of his discussion survives this point. The moral is that experience could play an epistemic role which is more (...) epistemically significant than a mere 'enabling' role but not equivalent to an evidential role. (shrink)
Like Leibniz, C. S. Peirce drew much of the inspiration for his philosophical work from a close study of logical and mathematical reasoning. Now what insights did this study reveal to Peirce? His own answer is formulated as follows: “My first real discovery about mathematical procedure was that there are two kinds of necessary reasoning, which I call the Corollarial and the Theorematic.…” The import of this discovery was lost on philosophers for a long time. The purpose of the present (...) paper is to show what Peirce's insight amounts to, to point out some of its applications, relate it to certain recent developments in the philosophy of logic, and thereby vindicate Peirce's distinction. This undoubtedly will also help to show its present day relevance. (shrink)