I introduce and explicate a new functionalist account of art, namely that something is an artwork iff the fulfillment of its function by a subject requires that the subject aesthetically engage it. This is the Aesthetic Engagement Theory of art. I show how the Aesthetic Engagement Theory outperforms salient rival theories in terms of extensional adequacy, non-arbitrariness, and ability to account for the distinctive value of art. I also give an account of what it is to aesthetically engage a work (...) that relies on our agential capacity to treat an object as having non-instrumental value, even while the ultimate purpose for our engaging the object is to get something from it. (shrink)
This essay examines Catharine Cockburn's moral philosophy as it is developed in her Defence of Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding. In this work, Cockburn argues that Locke's epistemological principles provide a foundation for the knowledge of natural law. Sheridan suggests that Cockburn's objective in defending Locke's moral epistemology was conditioned by her own prior commitment to a significantly un-Lockean theory of morality. In exploring Cockbum's views on morality in terms of their divergence from Locke's, the author hopes to (...) underscore the extent of Cockburn's intellectual independence and her philosophical creativity. (shrink)
Ever since Heidegger lectured on Nietzsche, philosophers have stressed the active side of the Übermensch, the self who aggressively consumes and exploits value. Sheridan Hough, however, argues that there is a distinctly receptive and passive side to the Nietzschean self, and thus a pervasive doubleness in Nietzsche's thought that hasn't been explored before. This doubleness is the focus of Hough's attention here. Hough argues that Nietzsche's favorite way to describe the self is to use opposed pairs of metaphors. The (...) sea and the land, the pursuit of archaeology and the "granite stratum" of the self, the child and pregnancy are tropes he uses to show the self as both an active critic of culture and a creation of that culture. Noon and shadow exemplify this dual thinking. The free spirit, according to Nietzsche, is dogged by a shadow, a shadow cast by the free spirit's efforts to overcome himself. Perfect noon—emblematic of the Übermensch—is the moment of ecstatic release for the free spirit. Thus the Übermensch is not a separate "superhuman" being but rather an ecstatic moment in the experience of free spirits. Hough succeeds in showing that the doubleness motif strikes deeper into the heart of Nietzsche's thinking than has been realized. Favorite Nietzschean images, such as that of pregnancy, suddenly take on new meaning when considered in this light. Careful to avoid a reductionist view, Hough adds significantly to our understanding of Nietzsche's contribution to modern thought. (shrink)
Profoundly important ethical and political controversies turn on the question of whether biological life is an essential aspect of a human person, or only an extrinsic instrument. Lee and George argue that human beings are physical, animal organisms - albeit essentially rational and free - and examine the implications of this understanding of human beings for some of the most controversial issues in contemporary ethics and politics. The authors argue that human beings are animal organisms and that their personal identity (...) across time consists in the persistence of the animal organisms they are; they also argue that human beings are essentially rational and free and that there is a radical difference between human beings and other animals; criticize hedonism and hedonistic drug-taking; present detailed defenses of the prolife positions on abortion and euthanasia; and defend the traditional moral position on marriage and sexual acts. (shrink)
Two compelling principles, the Reasonable Range Principle and the Preservation of Irrelevant Evidence Principle, are necessary conditions that any response to peer disagreements ought to abide by. The Reasonable Range Principle maintains that a resolution to a peer disagreement should not fall outside the range of views expressed by the peers in their dispute, whereas the Preservation of Irrelevant Evidence Principle maintains that a resolution strategy should be able to preserve unanimous judgments of evidential irrelevance among the peers. No standard (...) Bayesian resolution strategy satisfies the PIE Principle, however, and we give a loss aversion argument in support of PIE and against Bayes. The theory of imprecise probability allows one to satisfy both principles, and we introduce the notion of a set-based credal judgment to frame and address a range of subtle issues that arise in peer disagreements. (shrink)
At a time when the analytic/continental split dominates contemporary philosophy, this ambitious work offers a careful and clear-minded way to bridge that divide. Combining conceptual rigor and clarity of prose with historical erudition, A Thing of This World shows how one of the standard issues of analytic philosophy—realism and anti-realism—has also been at the heart of continental philosophy. Using a framework derived from prominent analytic thinkers, Lee Braver traces the roots of anti-realism to Kant's idea that the mind actively organizes (...) experience. He then shows in depth and in detail how this idea evolves through the works of Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. This narrative presents an illuminating account of the history of continental philosophy by explaining how these thinkers build on each other's attempts to develop new concepts of reality and truth in the wake of the rejection of realism. Braver demonstrates that the analytic and continental traditions have been discussing the same issues, albeit with different vocabularies, interests, and approaches. By developing a commensurate vocabulary, his book promotes a dialogue between the two branches of philosophy in which each can begin to learn from the other. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger are two of the most important--and two of the most difficult--philosophers of the twentieth century, indelibly influencing the course of continental and analytic philosophy, respectively. In _ Groundless Grounds_, Lee Braver argues that the views of both thinkers emerge from a fundamental attempt to create a philosophy that has dispensed with everything transcendent so that we may be satisfied with the human. Examining the central topics of their thought in detail, Braver finds that Wittgenstein and (...) Heidegger construct a philosophy based on _original_ _finitude_--finitude without the contrast of the infinite. In Braver's elegant analysis, these two difficult bodies of work offer mutual illumination rather than compounded obscurity. Moreover, bringing the most influential thinkers in continental and analytic philosophy into dialogue with each other may enable broader conversations between these two divergent branches of philosophy. Braver's meticulously researched and strongly argued account shows that both Wittgenstein and Heidegger strive to construct a new conception of reason, free of the illusions of the past and appropriate to the kind of beings that we are. Readers interested in either philosopher, or concerned more generally with the history of twentieth-century philosophy as well as questions of the nature of reason, will find _Groundless Grounds _of interest. (shrink)
I sketch here an intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types, which are individuated in part by historical paths (re)production. Although attractive, this view has been rejected by a number of authors on the basis of general claims about abstract objects. On consideration, however, these general claims are overgeneralizations, which whilst true of some abstracta, are not true of all abstract objects, and in particular, are not true of created types. The intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types (...) is, then, left in place. (shrink)
Are a material object, such as a statue, and its constituting matter, the clay, parts of one another? One wouldn't have thought so, and yet a number of philosophers have argued that they are. I review the arguments for this surprising claim showing how they all fail. I then consider two arguments against the view concluding that there are both pre-theoretical and theoretical considerations for denying that the statue and the clay are mutual parts.
Throughout history, humans have always indulged in certain irrationalities and held some fairly wrong-headed beliefs. But in his newest book, philosopher Lee McIntyre shows how we've now reached a watershed moment for ignorance in the modern era, due to the volume of misinformation, the speed with which it can be digitally disseminated, and the savvy exploitation of our cognitive weaknesses by those who wish to advance their ideological agendas. In _Respecting Truth: Willful Ignorance in the Internet Age_, McIntyre issues a (...) call to fight back against this slide into the witless abyss. In the tradition of Galileo, the author champions the importance of using tested scientific methods for arriving at true beliefs, and shows how our future survival is dependent on a more widespread, reasonable world. (shrink)
Precision medicine relies on data and biospecimens from participants who willingly offer their personal information on the promise that this act will ultimately result in knowledge that will improve human health. Drawing on anthropological framings of the “gift,” this paper contextualizes participation in precision medicine as inextricable from social relationships and their ongoing ethical obligations. Going beyond altruism, reframing biospecimen and data collection in terms of socially regulated gift-giving recovers questions of responsibility and care. As opposed to conceiving participation in (...) terms of donations that elide clinical labor critical to precision medicine, the gift metaphor underscores ethical commitments to reciprocity and responsibility. This demands confronting inequities in precision medicine, such as systemic bias and lack of affordability and access. A focus on justice in precision medicine that recognizes the sociality of the gift is a critical frontier for bioethics. (shrink)
Are counterfactuals with true antecedents and consequents automatically true? That is, is Conjunction Conditionalization: if (X & Y), then (X > Y) valid? Stalnaker and Lewis think so, but many others disagree. We note here that the extant arguments for Conjunction Conditionalization are unpersuasive, before presenting a family of more compelling arguments. These arguments rely on some standard theorems of the logic of counterfactuals as well as a plausible and popular semantic claim about certain semifactuals. Denying Conjunction Conditionalization, then, requires (...) rejecting other aspects of the standard logic of counterfactuals, or else our intuitive picture of semifactuals. (shrink)
Relativism, the position that things are for each as they seem to each, was first formulated in Western philosophy by Protagoras, the 5th century BC Greek orator and teacher. Mi-Kyoung Lee focuses on the challenge to the possibility of expert knowledge posed by Protagoras, together with responses by the three most important philosophers of the next generation, Plato, Aristotle, and Democritus. In his book Truth, Protagoras made vivid use of two provocative but imperfectly spelled out ideas: first, that we are (...) all "measures" of the truth and that we are each already capable of determining how things are for ourselves, since the senses are our best and most credible guides to the truth; second, given that things appear differently to different people, there is no basis on which to decide that one appearance is true rather than the other. Plato developed these ideas into a more fully worked-out theory, which he then subjected to refutation in the Theaetetus. Aristotle argued that Protagoras' ideas lead to skepticism in Metaphysics Book G, a chapter which reflects awareness of Plato's reaction in the Theaetetus. And finally Democritus incorporated modified Protagorean ideas and arguments into his theory of knowledge and perception. There have been many important recent studies of these thinkers in isolation. However, there has been no attempt to tell a single, coherent story about how Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle responded to Protagoras' striking claim, and to its perceived implications about knowledge, perception, and truth. By studying these four figures in relation to each other, we arrive at a better understanding of an important chapter in the development of Greek epistemology. (shrink)
I present and discuss a counterexample to Kendall Walton's necessary condition for fictionality that arises from considering serial fictions. I argue that although Walton has not in fact provided a necessary condition for fictionality, a more complex version of Walton's condition is immune from the counterexample.
Is A & C sufficient for the truth of ‘if A were the case, C would be the case’? Jonathan Bennett thinks not, although the counterexample he gives is inconsistent with his own account of counterfactuals. In any case, I argue that anyone who accepts the case of Morgenbesser's coin, as Bennett does, should reject Bennett’s counterexample. Moreover, I show that the principle underlying his counterexample is unmotivated and indeed false. More generally, I argue that Morgenbesser’s coin commits us to (...) the sufficiency of A & C for the truth of the corresponding counterfactual. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger is among the most important philosophers of the Twentieth Century. Within the continental tradition, almost every great figure has been deeply influenced by his work. For this reason, a full understanding of the course of modern philosophy is impossible without at least a basic grasp of Heidegger. Unfortunately, his work is notoriously difficult, both because of his innovative ideas and his difficult writing style. In this compelling book, Lee Braver cuts through the jargon to present Heidegger’s ideas in (...) clear English, using illuminating examples and explications of thorny passages. In so doing, he offers readers an accessible overview of Heidegger’s entire career. The first half of the book presents a guide through _Being and Time_, Heidegger’s early masterpiece, while the second half covers the key themes of his later writing, including technology, subjectivity, history, nihilism, agency, and the nature of thought itself. As Heidegger’s later work is deeply engaged with other philosophers, Braver explains the relevance of Plato, Descartes, Kant, and Nietzsche for Heidegger’s thought. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars trying to find their way through Heidegger’s difficult ideas. Anyone interested in Twentieth Century continental philosophy must come to terms with Heidegger, and this book is the ideal place to begin. (shrink)
The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The improved proof (...) relies upon the semantic claim that conditionals with antecedents irrelevant to the obtaining of an already true consequent are themselves true. Moreover, this semantic insight allows us to provide compelling counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism that are resistant to the usual contextualist response. (shrink)
The standard semantics for counterfactuals ensures that any counterfactual with a true antecedent and true consequent is itself true. There have been many recent attempts to amend the standard semantics to avoid this result. I show that these proposals invalidate a number of further principles of the standard logic of counterfactuals. The case against the automatic truth of counterfactuals with true components does not extend to these further principles, however, so it is not clear that rejecting the latter should be (...) a consequence of rejecting the former. Instead I consider how one might defuse putative counterexamples to the truth of true-true counterfactuals. (shrink)
This paper explores the intellectual relationship between three eighteenth century women thinkers: Catharine Trotter Cockburn, and the Bluestockings Elizabeth Carter and Catherine Talbot. All three share a virtue-ethical approach according to which human happiness depends on the harmonization of our essentially rational and sociable natures. The affinity between the Bluestockings and Cockburn, I show, illuminates important new avenues for thinking about the Bluestockings as philosophers in their own right and for thinking about the feminist dimensions of Cockburn's morality. Further, their (...) shared moral outlook sheds interesting light on the burgeoning feminism of the eighteenth century and the contributions of Cockburn and the Bluestockings to a new and growing discourse about women and their social and political role. (shrink)
Focusing on basics--including those critical thinking skills that make philosophical ethics possible--_Hornbook Ethics_ aims to help students understand, analyze, and evaluate both philosophical work in ethics and real-life ethical problems.
I argue there are two ways predication relations can hold according to the Categories: they can hold directly or they can hold mediately. The distinction between direct and mediated predication is a distinction between whether or not a given prediction fact holds in virtue of another predication fact’s holding. We can tell Aristotle endorses this distinction from multiple places in the text where he licenses an inference from one predication fact’s holding to another predication fact’s holding. The best explanation for (...) each such inference is that he takes some predication facts to be mediated by others. Once the distinction between direct and mediated predication has been explained and argued for, I show how it can help solve a persistent problem for the traditional view of non-substantial particulars in the Categories—that is, the view that non-substantial particulars are particular in the sense of being non-recurrent. Along with vindicating the traditional view, the direct/mediated predication distinction gives us a distinctive way of understanding what it is for something to be recurrent (or non-recurrent) as well as a better understanding of Aristotle’s broader commitments in the Categories as a whole. (shrink)
Moti Mizrahi (2013) presents some novel counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism (HS) for indicative conditionals. I show that they are not compelling as they neglect the complicated ways in which conditionals and modals interact. I then briefly outline why HS should nevertheless be rejected.
Almost traditionally, it seems, accounts of the development of the concepts of work and energy have tended to describe them within the classical framework of Newtonian mechanics. They are seen as the end products of the celebrated vis-viva dispute in the eighteenth century: the outcome of a debate within the confines of the science of rational mechanics. I would like to suggest that this may be to take too narrow a view of the case. It is to project backwards our (...) present specialist arrangement of scientific knowledge, our present divisions between the sciences, and to assume that past development was strictly guided by these divisions. And this is to make questionable historical and sociological assumptions. (shrink)
Several attempts have recently been made to explain moral systems and moral sentiments in light of evolutionary biological theory. It may be helpful to modify and extend this project with the help of a theory of communication developed by ethologists. The core of this approach is the idea that signals are best seen as attempts to manipulate others rather than as attempts to inform them. This addition helps to clarify some problematic areas in the evolutionary study of morals, and it (...) generates new, testable predictions about moral statements. (shrink)
Based on the "Guide to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990", this volume reviews the regulation of assisted conception including complex moral issues such as abortion, embryo research and cloning.
: This essay examines Catharine Cockburn's moral philosophy as it is developed in her Defence of Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding. In this work, Cockburn argues that Locke's epistemological principles provide a foundation for the knowledge of natural law. Sheridan suggests that Cockburn's objective in defending Locke's moral epistemology was conditioned by her own prior commitment to a significantly un-Lockean theory of morality. In exploring Cockburn's views on morality in terms of their divergence from Locke's, the author hopes (...) to underscore the extent of Cockburn's intellectual independence and her philosophical creativity. (shrink)
Where Taber and Lodge view belief polarization to indicate a “partisan motivation,” Lord et al. believed it to be consistent with a desire for accuracy: A “weak” study articulating an opposing viewpoint might simply sharpen participants' initial belief of the wisdom of their prior beliefs. This polarization, Taber and Lodge show, correlates with political sophistication: The more partisan a participant, the more time spent reading the opinions of the other side—in order to critically refute them. Taber and Lodge attribute such (...) findings to people's personal identification with their beliefs. However, participants may have spent so much time reading opinions of the other side because the arguments are unfamiliar. Further, Lord et al. were able to induce people to act with “skepticism” toward their own views by simply suggesting that they “consider the other side.”. (shrink)
The ' argument from queerness', made famous by J. L. Mackie, remains one of the most influential arguments in metaethics. However, many philosophers focus on just one or two of its strands, while others assume a particular but by no means universal reading of it. This essay attempts to disentangle and evaluate all strands of the argument. Surprisingly, when this is done, not much is left as a distinct argument from queerness. Much of the argument collapses into other types of (...) argument, and what is left, though intuitively appealing, is not viable as philosophical argument. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the ontological interpretation of the concepts of reduction and emergence is often misleading in the philosophy of science and should nearly always be eschewed in favor of an epistemological interpretation. As a paradigm case, an example is drawn from the philosophy of chemistry to illustrate the drawbacks of “ontological reduction” and “ontological emergence,” and the virtues of an epistemological interpretation of these concepts.