An ethical theory is alienating if accepting the theory inhibits the agent from fitting participation in some normative ideal, such as some ideal of integrity, friendship, or community. Many normative ideals involve non-consequentialist behavior of some form or another. If such ideals are normatively authoritative, they constitute counterexamples to consequentialism unless their authority can be explained or explained away. We address a range of attempts to avoid such counterexamples and argue that consequentialism cannot by itself account for the normative authority (...) of all plausible such ideals. At best, consequentialism can find a more modest place in an ethical theory that includes non-consequentialist principles with their own normative authority. (shrink)
That’s Bill Calvin, whose brain is worthy of study in its own right. Technically, he’s a theoretical neurophysiologist and affiliate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington. But he’s also known as a scientist with a wide-ranging intellect and a prolific (and accessible) writer who constantly offers remarkable insights about the world around him. As I sat down to interview Calvin in his book-lined Seattle home last Fall, I recalled the comments of someone who (...) had come to GBN to hear Calvin speak. He said that he didn’t know—or care—what Calvin was going to talk about because everything that Bill Calvin said was not only interesting, but worth learning about. After more than three hours of conversation with Calvin, I couldn’t agree more. (shrink)
Psychology's fascination with memory and its imperfections dates back further than we can remember. The first careful experimental studies of memory were published in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and tens of thousands of memory studies have been conducted since. What has been learned, and what might the future of memory be?
This paper discusses Gordon Baker’s interpretation of the later Wittgenstein, in particular his interpretation of the notion of Wittgensteinian philosophical conceptions and the notions of non-exclusivity, local incompatibility, non-additivity and global pluralism which Baker uses to characterize Wittgensteinian conceptions. On the basis of this discussion, and a critique of certain features of Baker’s interpretation of Wittgensteinian conceptions, I introduce the notion of a multidimensional logical description of language use, explaining how this notion, which Baker’s interpretation excludes, (...) constitutes and important element of the later Wittgenstein’s philosophical method of clarification and perspicuous representation. I conclude by explaining how Baker’s problematic notions of local incompatibility and non-additivity, if they are seen in the light of Wittgenstein’s criticisms of certain views of the completeness of philosophical or logical accounts, nevertheless point in the right direction. (shrink)
"This book is a comprehensive attack on several of the views that have been most influential in the philosophy of psychology during the last two decades. Professor Baker argues that mentalistic notions should not be eliminated, and need not be explained in terms of other notions, in cognitive science.' The book is interesting and shows an honest concern for clear argumentation. It deserves a wide readership." --Tyler Burge, University of California at Los Angeles"This book is a provocative and relentlessly (...) argued treatment of a deep and important topic: the fate of intentionality. Baker's arguments oblige those who wish to defend the current conception of cognitive science to rethink the discipline. She has put the ball squarely in the physicalists' court. ... Despite the technical character of the topic, the book is wonderfully readable."--John Heil, Visiting Fellow, University of California, BerkeleyThis stimulating book critically examines a wide range of physicalistic conceptions of mind in the works of Jerry A. Fodor, Stephen P. Stich, Paul M. Churchland, Daniel C. Dennett, and others. Part I argues that intentional concepts cannot be reduced to nonintentional (and nonsemantic) concepts; Part II argues that intentional concepts are nevertheless indispensable to our cognitive enterprises and thus need no foundation in physicalism.As a sustained challenge to the prevailing interpretation of cognitive science, this timely book fills a large gap in the philosophical literature. It is sure to spark controversy, yet its clarity makes it attractive as a text in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Saving Belief should be read byphilosophers, psychologists, and others interested in the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. (shrink)
In ‘Wittgenstein on Language and Rules’, Professor N. Malcolm took us to task for misinterpreting Wittgenstein's arguments on the relationship between the concept of following a rule and the concept of community agreement on what counts as following a given rule. Not that we denied that there are any grammatical connections between these concepts. On the contrary, we emphasized that a rule and an act in accord with it make contact in language. Moreover we argued that agreement in judgments and (...) in definitions is indeed necessary for a shared language. But we denied that the concept of a language is so tightly interwoven with the concept of a community of speakers as to preclude its applicabilty to someone whose use of signs is not shared by others. Malcolm holds that ‘This is an unwitting reduction of Wittgenstein's originality. That human agreement is necessary for “shared” language is not so striking a thought as that it is essential for language simpliciter.’ Though less striking, we believe that it has the merit of being a true thought. We shall once more try to show both that it is correct, and that it is a correct account of Wittgenstein's arguments. (shrink)
Neurobiologist William Calvin explores the human brain, positing that the neurons in the brain operate in an accelerated version of biological evolution, evolving ideas through random variations and selections, and supports his hypothesis with numerous ca.
The desire to minimize the number of individual new entities postulated is often referred to as quantitative parsimony. Its influence on the default hypotheses formulated by scientists seems undeniable. I argue that there is a wide class of cases for which the preference for quantitatively parsimonious hypotheses is demonstrably rational. The justification, in a nutshell, is that such hypotheses have greater explanatory power than less parsimonious alternatives. My analysis is restricted to a class of cases I shall refer to as (...) additive. Such cases involve the postulation of a collection of qualitatively identical individual objects which collectively explain some particular observed phenomenon. Especially clear examples of this sort occur in particle physics. 1 Introduction 2 Particle physics: a case study 3 Three kinds of simplicity 4 Explanatory power 5 Explanation and non-observation 6 Parsimony and scientific methodology 7 Conclusions. (shrink)
Gordon Baker and I had been colleagues at St John’s for almost ten years when we resolved, in 1976, to undertake the task of writing a commentary on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. We had been talking about Wittgenstein since 1969, and when we cooperated in writing a long critical notice on the Philosophical Grammar in 1975, we found that working together was mutually instructive, intellectually stimulating and great fun. We thought that we still had much to say about Wittgenstein’s philosophy, (...) and it seemed to us that misinterpretations of passages in the Investigations were so extensive that it would be worth trying to write a detailed analytical commentary. It is difficult to recapture the excitement of those early days in being among the first to work on the microfilms and, subsequently, on the photocopies of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. We spent many hundreds of hours poring over the typescripts and the often only semi-legible manuscripts, fascinated and privileged to be able to try to follow the development of the thoughts of a great philosophical genius. We talked endlessly about what we had found in Wittgenstein’s manuscripts and typescripts, and debated how it should be understood. The first fruit of our labours was Wittgenstein – Understanding and Meaning. Its guiding idea was to draw attention to the manner in which Wittgenstein linked the concepts of meaning, understanding and explanation, and so to bypass the connections between meaning, truth and truth-conditions that so fascinated philosophers of the 1970s, and to abandon the red-herring of assertion-conditions and anti-realism. After a hiatus of four years, during which time we wrote a controversial book entitled Frege – Logical Excavations and a polemical book on contemporary philosophy of language – Language, Sense. (shrink)
Paul Helm looks at how Calvin worked at the interface of theology and philosophy and in particular how he employed medieval ideas to do so. Connections are made between his ideas and contemporary philosophical theology, and there is a careful examination of the appeal that current `Reformed' epistemologists make to Calvin.
An exploration of the consequences of various ideas in the thought of John Calvin, and the influence of his ideas on later theologians. The emphasis is on philosophical ideas within Calvin's theology, dealing in turn with epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues. Helm provides a fresh perspective on Calvin's theological context and legacy.
My aim is twofold: first, to root out the metaphysical assumptions that generate the problem of mental causation and to show that they preclude its solution; second, to dissolve the problem of mental causation by motivating rejection of one of the metaphysical assumptions that give rise to it. There are three features of this metaphysical background picture that are important for our purposes. The first concerns the nature of reality: all reality depends on physical reality, where physical reality consists of (...) a network of events.1 The second concerns the nature of causation, and the third concerns the conception of behavior. I try to vindicate a robust idea of mental causation. (shrink)
Calvin's view on the legitimacy of interest has had a great impact on the economic development of Western society. Although Calvin took a fundamentally positive attitude to interest, he also proposed several restrictions on the charging of interest. In this article, we investigate the relevance of these restrictions to the current credit crisis. We find that each of them provides a relevant interpretation of what went wrong in the buildup of the credit crisis and gives directions to improve (...) policies of banks and governments as well. (shrink)
Notes and Discussions Calvin and Hobbes, or, Hobbes as an Orthodox Christian Three years ago, in the proceedings of an Italian conference on Hobbes and Spinoza, I published an article arguing that Hobbes was at best a deist, and most likely an atheist? In a recent book on Hobbes, A. P. Martinich devoted an appendix to criticizing that article, as part of his case that Hobbes is not merely a theist, but an orthodox Christian, and specifically, that he had (...) "a strong commitment" to the Calvinist branch of the Church of England.' It has been suggested that I respond to Martinich's rebuttal, and I think I should. Martinich's work is arguably the best available book of its kind.3 Pursuing the issues this book raises may help us to see why it is worth our while to be curious about the differences between the English text of Leviathan, first published in 165 x, and the Latin text of that work, first published in 1668. This is a topic generally ignored in English-language discussions of Hobbes and one in which I have a special interest.4 The great virtue of Martinich's book is that he is very precise about what his thesis See '"I Durst Not Write So Boldly' or, How to Read Hobbes' Theological-Political Treatise," in Hobbes e Spinoza, Atti del Convegno Internazionale, Urbino, i4-~ 7 ottobre, 1988 , ed. by Daniela Bostrenghi, intro, by Emilia Giancotti . By 'deist' I understand someone who believes in a personal God, but rejects divine.. (shrink)
In Calvin's Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church, Matthew J. Tuininga explores a little appreciated dimension of John Calvin's political thought, his two kingdoms theology, as a model for constructive Christian participation in liberal society. Widely misunderstood as a proto-political culture warrior, due in part to his often misinterpreted role in controversies over predestination and the heretic Servetus, Calvin articulated a thoughtful approach to public life rooted in his understanding of the gospel and its (...) teaching concerning the kingdom of God. He staked his ministry in Geneva on his commitment to keeping the church distinct from the state, abandoning simplistic approaches that placed one above the other, while rejecting the temptations of sectarianism or separatism. This revealing analysis of Calvin's vision offers timely guidance for Christians seeking a mode of faithful, respectful public engagement in democratic, pluralistic communities today. (shrink)
Locke’s view that continuants are numerically distinct from their constituting hunks of matter is popular enough to be called the “standard account”.1 It was given its definitive contemporary statement by David Wiggins in Sameness and Substance2, and has been defended by many since. Baker’s interesting book contributes new arguments for this view, a new definition of ‘constitution’, and a sustained application to persons and human animals. Much of what she says develops this view in new and important ways. But (...) in some cases she does not advance the position, and in others she takes steps backwards. According to Baker, a person is numerically distinct from her constituting animal. One of Baker’s leading arguments is surprisingly unconvincing. Persons differ in important ways from non-human animals. Only persons are moral agents, modify their goals, have wars, culture, etc. If persons were identical to animals—if we were “nothing but animals”, as she puts it—then the manifest discontinuity between humans and non-human animals would be located “within the domain of biology”. “But from a biological point of view, human animals…are biologically continuous with non-human animals.” (p. 17) The argument fails: why should identifying persons with animals preclude saying that these particular animals have radically distinctive features that are of little interest to biologists? The traditional case for non-identity (which Baker accepts) is more powerful: a person and her constituting animal differ by having different persistence conditions. If my memories were transferred to a new body and my old body destroyed, I the person might survive, but the human animal who constituted me would perish. Therefore, before the transfer, I and the animal that constituted me would be numerically distinct but extremely similar things located in exactly the same place. This consequence—the central thesis of the Wiggins view—is surprising: so surprising that some reject the Wiggins view on that basis.. (shrink)
Calvin was a man of the Church so his political doctrine stems from his ecclesiology, in response to both the Papal doctrine on the delegate power of the magistrates, and the Lutheran subordination of the Church to the civil authorities. He was not concerned with discussing the best possible regime, but rather with preparing a theological justification of civil power that would make it depend exclusively on God, not on the people. I will hold that Calvin states the (...) people’s function is merely instrumental: they accept the authority chosen by God, but do not institute it. The only really relevant element is that both political vocation and the transmission of power that is indispensable to it, derive uniquely and exclusively from God. The discrepancies apparent in different authors’ interpretations can be clarified by recovering the context of his argumentation. This is the objective of this article. (shrink)
In this volume, Calvin Luther Martin proposes that the Europeans learned what they wished to learn from the native Americans, not what the Americans actually meant. Drawing on his own experience with native people and on their stories, he offers the reader a different conceptual landscape.
Deliberation often begins with the question ‘What do I want to do?’ rather than the question of what one ought to do. This paper takes that question at face value, as a question about which of one’s desires is strongest, which sometimes guides action. The paper aims to explain which properties of a desire make that desire strong, in the sense of ‘strength’ relevant to this deliberative question. Both motivational force and phenomenological intensity seem relevant to a desire’s strength; however, (...) accounting for the strength of a desire in these terms opens up significant indeterminacy about what we want. The paper argues that this indeterminacy is often resolved simply by posing the question ‘What do I want to do?’ to oneself: there is reason to believe that one’s answer will play a verdictive role, partially determining what the agent most wants. Self-reflective beliefs can play a self-fulfilling role, and surprisingly this seems to follow from basic platitudes about the belief-desire model. (shrink)
This book, a sequel to the author's well-received Luther in Context, illuminates Calvin's thought by placing it in the context of the theological and exegetical traditions - ancient, medieval, and contemporary - that formed it and contributed to its particular texture. Steinmetz addresses a range of issues almost as wide as the Reformation itself, including the knowledge of God, the problem of iconoclasm, the doctrines of justification and predestination, and the role of the state and the civil magistrate. Along (...) the way, Steinmetz also clarifies the substance of Calvin's quarrels with Lutherans, Catholics, Anabaptists, and assorted radicals from Ochino to Sozzini. An accessible yet authoritative general introduction to Calvin's thought, Calvin in Context engages a much wider range of primary sources than the standard introductions. It provides a context for understanding Calvin not from secondary literature about the later middle ages and Renaissance, but from the writings of Calvin's own contemporaries and the rich sources from which they drew. (shrink)
1. Consider first Baker’s definition of constitution. In her view, constitution is a relation between concrete individuals. Each concrete individual is fundamentally a member of exactly one primary kind. By definition, any concrete individual has its primary kind membership essentially, so that a concrete individual x’s ceasing to be a member of this kind entails that x ceases to exist. For example, David’s primary kind is statue, Piece’s primary kind is piece of marble. Suppose that x and y are (...) concrete individuals; F* designates the property of having F as one’s primary-kind; F and G are not the same kind; individual x has F* and individual y has G*; and D designates G- favorable circumstances—“the milieu required for something to be a G”. Then. (shrink)
Restorative justice should have greater weight as a criterion in criminal justice sentencing practice. It permits a realistic recognition of the kinds of harm and damage caused by offences, and encourages individualized non-custodial sentencing options as ways of addressing these harms. Non-custodial sentences have proven more effective than incarceration in securing social reconciliation and preventing recidivism, and they avoid the serious social and personal costs of imprisonment. This paper argues in support of restorative justice as a guiding idea in sentencing. (...) As part of this defence, it considers whether the use of the idea of restorative justice will conflate criminal law with civil law or displace the authority of the criminal courts, and whether the sentences it recommends are best thought of as punishments or alternatives to punishment. (shrink)
Self-consciousness, many philosophers agree, is essential to being a person. There is not so much agreement, however, about how to understand what self-consciousness is. Philosophers in the field of cognitive science tend to write off self-consciousness as unproblematic. According to such philosophers, the real difficulty for the cognitive scientist is phenomenal consciousness--the fact that we have states that feel a certain way. If we had a grip on phenomenal consciousness, they think, self-consciousness could be easily handled by functionalist models. For (...) example, recently Ned Block commented. (shrink)
In _Ontological Terror_ Calvin L. Warren intervenes in Afro-pessimism, Heideggerian metaphysics, and black humanist philosophy by positing that the "Negro question" is intimately imbricated with questions of Being. Warren uses the figure of the antebellum free black as a philosophical paradigm for thinking through the tensions between blackness and Being. He illustrates how blacks embody a metaphysical nothing. This nothingness serves as a destabilizing presence and force as well as that which whiteness defines itself against. Thus, the function of (...) blackness as giving form to nothing presents a terrifying problem for whites: they need blacks to affirm their existence, even as they despise the nothingness they represent. By pointing out how all humanism is based on investing blackness with non-Being—a logic which reproduces antiblack violence and precludes any realization of equality, justice, and recognition for blacks—Warren urges the removal of the human from its metaphysical pedestal and the exploration of ways of existing that are not predicated on a grounding in Being. (shrink)
Many societies have norms of equity – that those who make symmetric social contributions deserve symmetric rewards. Despite this, there are widespread patterns of social inequity, especially along gender and racial lines. It is often the case that members of certain social groups receive greater rewards per contribution than others. In this article, we draw on evolutionary game theory to show that the emergence of this sort of convention is far from surprising. In simple cultural evolutionary models, inequity is much (...) more likely to emerge than equity, despite the presence of stable, equitable outcomes that groups might instead learn. As we outline, social groups provide a way to break symmetry between actors in determining both contribution and reward in joint projects. (shrink)
Many scholars have argued that the Protestant Reformation generally departed from virtue ethics, and this claim is often accepted by Protestant ethicists. This essay argues against such discontinuity by demonstrating John Calvin’s reception of ethical concepts from Augustine and Aristotle. Calvin drew on Augustine’s concept of eudaimonia and many aspects of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics , including concepts of choice, habit, virtue as a mean, and the specific virtues of justice and prudence. Calvin also evaluated the problem of (...) pagan virtue in light of traditional Augustinian texts discussed in the medieval period. He interpreted the Decalogue as teaching virtue, including the cardinal virtues of justice and temperance. Calvin was not the harbinger of an entirely new ethical paradigm, but rather a participant in the mainstream of Christian thinkers who maintained a dual interest in Aristotelian and Augustinian eudaimonist virtue ethics. (shrink)
relation between, say, a lump of clay and a statue that it makes up, or between a red and white piece of metal and a stop sign, or between a person and her body? Assuming that there is a single relation between members of each of these pairs, is the relation “strict” identity, “contingent” identity or something else?1 Although this question has generated substantial controversy recently,2 I believe that there is philo- sophical gain to be had from thinking through the (...) issues from scratch. Many of the charges and countercharges are based on the following dichotomy: For any x and y that are related as the lump of clay is to the statue that it makes up, either x is identical to y, or x and y are separate entities, independent of each other. By giving up this dichotomy, we will be able to begin to make sense, I hope, of an intermediate unity relation that holds promise for solving a raft of philosophical problems, including the problem of how persons are related to their bodies.3 And if I am correct, then this relation—constitution without identity—is ubiquitous and interesting in its own right, apart from the light that it sheds on human persons. (shrink)
Bioethics and human rights were conceived in the aftermath of the Holocaust, when moral outrage reenergized the outmoded concepts of and renaming them and to give them new purpose. Originally, the principles of bioethics were a means for protecting human rights, but through a historical accident, bioethical principles came to be considered as fundamental. In this paper I reflect on the parallel development and accidental divorce of bioethics and human rights to urge their reconciliation.
The spatial misrepresentation objection (SMO) against the wave theory of sound argues that if sounds are compression waves, then our auditory experiences are massively illusory for not representing sounds as propagating in the medium. Thus, it claims that the wave theory should be rejected because it is unreasonable to accept such an error theory of hearing. This paper presents a metaphysics of compression waves to show that the wave theory correctly implies that we cannot hear sounds as propagating. Moreover, I (...) argue that the SMO is based on a mischaracterisation of the phenomenology of auditory experiences. A new conception of auditory perception is then proposed to explain how a sound source and its compression wave are both represented in the same auditory experience. Finally, I compare my view with some alternative theories of sound. Overall, it is found that the SMO is more of an objection against the traditional conception of hearing than a challenge to the wave theory of sound. (shrink)
Calvin’s view on the legitimacy of interest has had a great impact on the economic development of Western society. Although Calvin took a fundamentally positive attitude to interest, he also proposed several restrictions on the charging of interest. In this article, we investigate the relevance of these restrictions to the current credit crisis. We find that each of them provides a relevant interpretation of what went wrong in the buildup of the credit crisis and gives directions to improve (...) policies of banks and governments as well. (shrink)