We are living in an algorithmic age where mathematics and computer science are coming together in powerful new ways to influence, shape and guide our behaviour and the governance of our societies. As these algorithmic governance structures proliferate, it is vital that we ensure their effectiveness and legitimacy. That is, we need to ensure that they are an effective means for achieving a legitimate policy goal that are also procedurally fair, open and unbiased. But how can we ensure that algorithmic (...) governance structures are both? This article shares the results of a collective intelligence workshop that addressed exactly this question. The workshop brought together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to consider barriers to legitimate and effective algorithmic governance and the research methods needed to address the nature and impact of specific barriers. An interactive management workshop technique was used to harness the collective intelligence of this multidisciplinary group. This method enabled participants to produce a framework and research agenda for those who are concerned about algorithmic governance. We outline this research agenda below, providing a detailed map of key research themes, questions and methods that our workshop felt ought to be pursued. This builds upon existing work on research agendas for critical algorithm studies in a unique way through the method of collective intelligence. (shrink)
The desire-satisfaction theory of well-being says, in its simplest form, that a person’s level of welfare is determined by the extent to which their desires are satisfied. A question faced by anyone attracted to such a view is, *Which desires*? This paper proposes a new answer to this question by characterizing a distinction among desires that isn’t much discussed in the well-being literature. This is the distinction between what a person wants in a merely behavioral sense, in that the person (...) is, for some reason or other, disposed to act so as to try to get it, and what a person wants in a more robust sense, the sense of being *genuinely attracted* to the thing. I try to make this distinction more clear, and I argue for its axiological relevance by putting it to work in solving four problem cases for desire satisfactionism. The theory defended holds that only desires in the latter, genuine-attraction sense are relevant to welfare. (shrink)
This article argues for a revised best system account of laws of nature. David Lewis’s original BSA has two main elements. On the one hand, there is the Humean base, which is the totality of particular matters of fact that obtain in the history of the universe. On the other hand, there is what I call the ‘nomic formula’, which is a particular operation that gets applied to the Humean base in order to output the laws of nature. My revised (...) account focuses on this latter element of the view. Lewis conceives of the nomic formula as a balance of simplicity and strength, but I argue that this is a mistake. Instead, I motivate and develop a different proposal for the standards that figure into the nomic formula, and I suggest a rationale for why these should be the correct standards. Specifically, I argue that the nomic formula should be conceived as a collection of desiderata designed to generate principles that are predictively useful to creatures like us. The resulting view—which I call the ‘best predictive system’ account of laws—is thus able to explain why scientists are interested in discovering the laws, and it also gives rise to laws with the sorts of features that we find in actual scientific practice 1Introduction2The LOPP3A Problem with Lewis's Formula4A Pragmatic Account of the Nomic Formula 4.1Informative dynamics4.2Wide applicability4.3Spatial locality4.4Temporal locality4.5Spatial, temporal, and rotational symmetries4.6Predictively useful properties4.7Simplicity4.8Recap5 Conclusion. (shrink)
Hedonism and the desire-satisfaction theory of welfare are typically seen as archrivals in the contest over identifying what makes one's life go best. It is surprising, then, that the most plausible form of hedonism just is the most plausible form of desire satisfactionism. How can a single theory of welfare be a version of both hedonism and desire satisfactionism? The answer lies in what pleasure is: pleasure is, in my view, the subjective satisfaction of desire. This thesis about pleasure is (...) clarified and defended only after we proceed through the dialectics that get us to the most plausible forms of hedonism and desire satisfactionism. (shrink)
One of the main challenges confronting Humean accounts of natural law is that Humean laws appear to be unable to play the explanatory role of laws in scientific practice. The worry is roughly that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact (as the Humean would have it), then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, on pain of circularity. Loewer (2012) has defended Humeanism, arguing that this worry only arises if we fail to (...) distinguish between scientific and metaphysical explanations. However, Lange (2013, 2018) has argued that scientific and metaphysical explanations are linked by a transitivity principle, which would undercut Loewer's defense and re-ignite the circularity worry for the Humean. I argue here that the Humean has antecedent reasons to doubt that there are any systematic connections between scientific and metaphysical explanations. The reason is that the Humean should think that scientific and metaphysical explanation have disparate aims, and therefore that neither form of explanation is beholden to the other in its pronouncements about what explains what. Consequently, the Humean has every reason to doubt that Lange's transitivity principle obtains. (shrink)
What is the nature of deep disagreement? In this paper, I consider two similar albeit seemingly rival answers to this question: the Wittgensteinian theory, according to which deep disagreements are disagreements over hinge propositions, and the fundamental epistemic principle theory, according to which deep disagreements are disagreements over fundamental epistemic principles. I assess these theories against a set of desiderata for a satisfactory theory of deep disagreement, and argue that while the fundamental epistemic principle theory does better than the Wittgensteinian (...) theory on this score, the fundamental epistemic principle theory nevertheless struggles to explain the variety of deep disagreement. (shrink)
One of the leading approaches to the nature of sensory pleasure reduces it to desire: roughly, a sensation qualifies as a sensation of pleasure just in case its subject wants to be feeling it. This approach is, in my view, correct, but it has never been formulated quite right; and it needs to be defended against some compelling arguments. Thus the purpose of this paper is to discover the most defensible formulation of this rough idea, and to defend it against (...) the most interesting objections. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers rate error theories poorly. We identify the arguments these philosophers invoke, and expose their deficiencies. We thereby show that the prospects for error theory have been systematically underestimated. By undermining general arguments against all error theories, we leave it open whether any more particular arguments against particular error theories are more successful. The merits of error theories need to be settled on a case-by-case basis: there is no good general argument against error theories.
Ethicists increasingly reject the scale as a useful metaphor for weighing reasons. Yet they generally retain the metaphor of a reason’s weight. This combination is incoherent. The metaphor of weight entails a very specific scale-based model of weighing reasons, Dual Scale. Justin Snedegar worries that scale-based models of weighing reasons can’t properly weigh reasons against an option. I show that there are, in fact, two different reasons for/against distinctions, and I provide an account of the relationship between the various kinds (...) of reason for and against. With this account in hand, we’ll see that Dual Scale has no problem weighing any kind of reason against. (shrink)
This paper is an enquiry into the logical, metaphysical, and physical possibility of time travel understood in the sense of the existence of closed worldlines that can be traced out by physical objects. We argue that none of the purported paradoxes rule out time travel either on grounds of logic or metaphysics. More relevantly, modern spacetime theories such as general relativity seem to permit models that feature closed worldlines. We discuss, in the context of Gödel's infamous argument for the ideality (...) of time based on his eponymous spacetime, what this apparent physical possibility of time travel means. Furthermore, we review the recent literature on so-called time machines, i.e., of devices that produce closed worldlines where none would have existed otherwise. Finally, we investigate what the implications of the quantum behaviour of matter for the possibility of time travel might be and explicate in what sense time travel might be possible according to leading contenders for full quantum theories of gravity such as string theory and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
Users of psychedelic drugs often report that their sense of being a self or ‘I’ distinct from the rest of the world has diminished or altogether dissolved. Neuroscientific study of such ‘ego dissolution’ experiences offers a window onto the nature of self-awareness. We argue that ego dissolution is best explained by an account that explains self-awareness as resulting from the integrated functioning of hierarchical predictive models which posit the existence of a stable and unchanging entity to which representations are bound. (...) Combining recent work on the ‘integrative self' and the phenomenon of self-binding with predictive processing principles yields an explanation of ego dissolution according to which self-representation is a useful Cartesian fiction: an ultimately false representation of a simple and enduring substance to which attributes are bound which serves to integrate and unify cognitive processing across levels and domains. The self-model is not a mere narrative posit, as some have suggested; it has a more robust and ubiquitous cognitive function than that. But this does not mean, as others have claimed, that the self-model has the right attributes to qualify as a self. It performs some of the right kinds of functions, but it is not the right kind of entity. Ego dissolution experiences reveal that the self-model plays an important binding function in cognitive processing, but the self does not exist. (shrink)
We review Potts' influential book on the semantics of conventional implicature, offering an explication of his technical apparatus and drawing out the proposal's implications, focusing on the class of CIs he calls supplements. While we applaud many facets of this work, we argue that careful considerations of the pragmatics of CIs will be required in order to yield an empirically and explanatorily adequate account.
Conflicting accounts of the role of mathematics in our physical theories can be traced to two principles. Mathematics appears to be both (1) theoretically indispensable, as we have no acceptable non-mathematical versions of our theories, and (2) metaphysically dispensable, as mathematical entities, if they existed, would lack a relevant causal role in the physical world. I offer a new account of a role for mathematics in the physical sciences that emphasizes the epistemic benefits of having mathematics around when we do (...) science. This account successfully reconciles theoretical indispensability and metaphysical dispensability and has important consequences for both advocates and critics of indispensability arguments for platonism about mathematics. (shrink)
In their recent article “A Hierarchy of Classical and Paraconsistent Logics”, Eduardo Barrio, Federico Pailos and Damien Szmuc present novel and striking results about meta-inferential validity in various three valued logics. In the process, they have thrown open the door to a hitherto unrecognized domain of non-classical logics with surprising intrinsic properties, as well as subtle and interesting relations to various familiar logics, including classical logic. One such result is that, for each natural number n, there is a logic which (...) agrees with classical logic on tautologies, inferences, meta-inferences, meta-meta-inferences, meta-meta-...-meta-inferences, but that disagrees with classical logic on n + 1-meta-inferences. They suggest that this shows that classical logic can only be characterized by defining its valid inferences at all orders. In this article, I invoke some simple symmetric generalizations of BPS’s results to show that the problem is worse than they suggest, since in fact there are logics that agree with classical logic on inferential validity to all orders but still intuitively differ from it. I then discuss the relevance of these results for truth theory and the classification problem. (shrink)
This book takes concepts developed by researchers in theoretical computer science and adapts and applies them to the study of natural language meaning. Summarizing over a decade of research, Chris Barker and Chung-chieh Shan put forward the Continuation Hypothesis: that the meaning of a natural language expression can depend on its own continuation.
_The Good Life of Teaching_ extends the recent revival of virtue ethics to professional ethics and the philosophy of teaching. It connects long-standing philosophical questions about work and human growth to questions about teacher motivation, identity, and development. Makes a significant contribution to the philosophy of teaching and also offers new insights into virtue theory and professional ethics Offers fresh and detailed readings of major figures in ethics, including Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Bernard Williams and the practical philosophies of (...) Hannah Arendt, John Dewey and Hans-Georg Gadamer Provides illustrations to assist the reader in visualizing major points, and integrates sources such as film, literature, and teaching memoirs to exemplify arguments in an engaging and accessible way Presents a compelling vision of teaching as a reflective practice showing how this requires us to prepare teachers differently. (shrink)
One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other phenomena: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or welfare (...) commits one to recognizing that desires do provide reasons for action – i.e., commits one to abandoning the value-based theory of reasons. The purpose of this paper is to show that this is not so. All of the following can be true: pleasure and welfare provide reasons; pleasure and welfare are to be understood in terms of desire; desires never provide reasons, in the relevant way. (shrink)
Sciabarra replies to the seven respondents to his Fall 2002 essay on Rand, Rush, and progressive rock music. He defends the view that Rand's dialectical orientation underlies a fundamentally radical perspective. Rand shared with the counterculture—especially its libertarian progressive rock representatives—a repudiation of authoritarianism, while embracing the "unknown ideal" of capitalism. Her ability to trace the interrelationships among personal, cultural, and structural factors in social analysis and her repudiation of false alternatives is at the heart of that ideal vision, which (...) transcends left and right. (shrink)
If dangerous climate change is to be avoided, it is vital that carbon sinks such as tropical rainforests are protected. But protecting them has costs. These include opportunity costs: the potential economic benefits which those who currently control rainforests have to give up when they are protected. But who should bear those costs? Should countries which happen to have rainforests within their territories sacrifice their own economic development, because of our broader global interests in protecting key carbon sinks? This essay (...) develops an argument from the “principle of fairness,” which seeks to establish that outsiders should pay states with rainforests so as to share the costs of protection. If they do not, they can be condemned for free-riding on forest states. The argument is, I suggest, compelling and also capable of enjoying support from adherents of a wide variety of positions on global justice. (shrink)
This paper explores the application of hinge epistemology to deep disagreement. Hinge epistemology holds that there is a class of commitments—hinge commitments—which play a fundamental role in the structure of belief and rational evaluation: they are the most basic general ‘presuppositions’ of our world views which make it possible for us to evaluate certain beliefs or doubts as rational. Deep disagreements seem to crucially involve disagreements over such fundamental commitments. In this paper, I consider pessimism about deep disagreement, the thesis (...) that such disagreements are rationally irresolvable, and ask whether the Wittgensteinian account of deep disagreement—according to which such disagreements are disagreements over hinge commitments—provides adequate support for pessimism. I argue that the answer to this question depends on what hinge commitments are and what our epistemic relation to them is supposed to be. I argue for two core claims. First, that non-epistemic theories of hinge commitments provide adequate support for pessimism. Nevertheless, such theories have highly implausible consequences in the context of deep disagreement. Secondly, at least one epistemic theory of hinge commitments, the entitlement theory, permits optimism about such disagreements. As such, while hinge epistemology is mainly pessimistic about deep disagreement, it doesn’t have to be. (shrink)
This comprehensive reference volume features essays by some of the most distinguished scholars in the field. Provides a comprehensive "who's who" guide to medieval philosophers. Offers a refreshing mix of essays providing historical context followed by 140 alphabetically arranged entries on individual thinkers. Constitutes an extensively cross-referenced and indexed source. Written by a distinguished cast of philosophers. Spans the history of medieval philosophy from the fourth century AD to the fifteenth century.
The purpose of this paper is to present a new argument against so-called fitting attitude analyses of intrinsic value, according to which, roughly, for something to be intrinsically good is for there to be reasons to want it for its own sake. The argument is indirect. First, I submit that advocates of a fitting-attitude analysis of value should, for the sake of theoretical unity, also endorse a fitting-attitude analysis of a closely related but distinct concept: the concept of intrinsic value (...) for a person, i.e., the concept of welfare. Then I argue directly against fitting-attitude analyses of welfare. This argument, which is the focus of the paper, is based on the idea that whereas whether an event is good or bad for a person doesn’t change over time, the attitudes there is reason to have towards such an event can change over time. Therefore, one cannot explain the former in terms of the latter, as fitting-attitude analyses of welfare attempt to do. (shrink)
There is a recent and growing trend in philosophy that involves deferring to the claims of certain disciplines outside of philosophy, such as mathematics, the natural sciences, and linguistics. According to this trend— deferentialism , as we will call it—certain disciplines outside of philosophy make claims that have a decisive bearing on philosophical disputes, where those claims are more epistemically justified than any philosophical considerations just because those claims are made by those disciplines. Deferentialists believe that certain longstanding philosophical problems (...) can be swiftly and decisively dispatched by appeal to disciplines other than philosophy. In this paper we will argue that such an attitude of uncritical deference to any non-philosophical discipline is badly misguided. With reference to the work of John Burgess and David Lewis, we consider deference to mathematics. We show that deference to mathematics is implausible and that main arguments for it fail. With reference to the work of Michael Blome-Tillmann, we consider deference to linguistics. We show that his arguments appealing to deference to linguistics are unsuccessful. We then show that naturalism does not entail deferentialism and that naturalistic considerations even motivate some anti-deferentialist views. Finally, we set out deferentialism’s failings and present our own anti-deferentialist approach to philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
Humanistic management is emerging as a response to the economistic paradigm prevalent in today’s business schools, corporations, and society. There are many compelling reasons why the economistic paradigm is becoming obsolete, and even dangerous, for business if it is to become an agent of world benefit. The purpose of this article is not to explain these reasons but rather to situate the transition to humanistic management in the context of multiple worldviews. We propose an historical sequence of worldviews each with (...) its own paradigmatic assumptions about what it means to be human and the nature of the world. We draw on converging insights between new science and ancient spiritual traditions to outline an emerging quantum worldview. We further submit that integrating elements of the quantum worldview into humanistic management strengthens it in ways that are essential to humankind’s ability to shift to full-spectrum flourishing, defined as a world in which people and all life thrive now and across future generations. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine critically the notion of “Triple Bottom Line” accounting. We begin by asking just what it is that supporters of the Triple Bottom Line idea advocate, and attempt to distil specific, assessable claims from the vague, diverse, and sometimescontradictory uses of the Triple Bottom Line rhetoric. We then use these claims as a basis upon which to argue (a) that what issound about the idea of a Triple Bottom Line is not novel, and (b) that what (...) is novel about the idea is not sound. We argue on bothconceptual and practical grounds that the Triple Bottom Line is an unhelpful addition to current discussions of corporate social responsibility. Finally, we argue that the Triple Bottom Line paradigm cannot be rescued simply by attenuating its claims: the rhetoric isbadly misleading, and may in fact provide a smokescreen behind which firms can avoid truly effective social and environmental reporting and performance. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between national culture and ethical decision making. Established theories of ethics and moral development are reviewed and a culture-based model of ethical decision making in organizations is derived. Although the body of knowledge in both cross-cultural management and ethics is well documented, researchers have failed to integrate the influence of cultural values into the ethical decision-making paradigm. A conceptual understanding of how managers from different nations make decisions about highly ethical (...) issues will provide business ethics researchers with a sound theoretical foundation upon which future empirical inquiry can be based. (shrink)
This paper proposes that the meanings of some natural language expressions should be thought of as functions on their own continuations. Continuations are a well-established analytic tool in the theory of programming language semantics; in brief, a continuation is the entire default future of a computation. I show how a continuation-based grammar can unify several aspects of natural language quantification in a new way: merely stating the truth conditions for quantificational expressions in terms of continuations automatically accounts for scope displacement (...) and scope ambiguity. To prove this claim, I exhibit a simple finite context-free grammar with a strictly compositional semantics in which quantificational NPs are interpreted in situ but take semantic scope over larger constituents. There is no Quantifier Raising (nor any use of a level of Logical Form distinct from overt syntax), no Cooper Storage (or similar mechanisms used in many recent HPSG, Categorial, or Type-logical treatments), and no need for type-shifting (as in Hendriks' Flexible Types account). Continuations also provide a natural account of generalized coordination that does not require either type-shifting or type polymorphism. Compositionality issues are discussed in some detail. (shrink)
I connect two increasingly popular ideas in social epistemology—group knowledge and epistemic extension—both departures from mainstream epistemological tradition. In doing so, I generate a framework for conceptualizing and organizing contemporary epistemology along several core axes. This, in turn, allows me to delineate a largely unexplored frontier in group epistemology. The bulk of extant work in group epistemology can be dubbed intra-group epistemology: the study of epistemically salient happenings within groups. I delineate and attempt to motivate what I dub inter-group epistemology: (...) the study of epistemically salient happenings between groups and other subjects and entities. (shrink)
Starting from two observations regarding nursing ethics research in the past two decades, namely, the dominant influence of both the empirical methods and the principles approach, we present the cornerstones of a foundational argument-based nursing ethics framework. First, we briefly outline the general philosophical–ethical background from which we develop our framework. This is based on three aspects: lived experience, interpretative dialogue, and normative standard. Against this background, we identify and explore three key concepts—vulnerability, care, and dignity—that must be observed in (...) an ethical approach to nursing. Based on these concepts, we argue that the ethical essence of nursing is the provision of care in response to the vulnerability of a human being in order to maintain, protect, and promote his or her dignity as much as possible. (shrink)
In social work there is seldom an uncontroversial `right way' of doing things. So how will you deal with the value questions and ethical dilemmas that you will be faced with as a professional social worker? This lively and readable introductory text is designed to equip students with a sound understanding of the principles of values and ethics which no social worker should be without. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, this book successfully explores the complexities of ethical issues, (...) while recognising the real-world context in which social workers operate. Key features of the text include: - Full of hands-on advice and tips for professional practice. - Engaging and student-friendly. Each chapter is packed with case studies, reader exercises, key definitions and useful summaries. - Comprehensive content. The book explores core issues such as moral philosophy; professionalism; religion; power; oppression; difference and diversity; and ethical codes of practice. - Satisfies all the curriculum and training requirements for the new social work degree. Mapping directly on to first year courses, this text is essential reading for all social work undergraduates. It is an ideal refresher text for upper-level undergraduates, postgraduate and post-qualifying students, and for professionals. `This introductory text succeeds in providing an accessible introduction to the subject area. The book is consistently structured, well planned and uniformly written in a conversational and immediate style…. The discussion manages to combine a sense of engagement with a balanced treatment of the issues. Readers who apply themselves will be well sensitised to the matters under discussion and should be able to take their understanding into the practical arena' - Chris Clark, University of Edinburgh. (shrink)
While many are born into prosperity, hundreds of millions of people lead lives of almost unimaginable poverty. Our world remains hugely unequal, with our place of birth continuing to exert a major influence on our opportunities. -/- In this accessible book, leading political theorist Chris Armstrong engagingly examines the key moral and political questions raised by this stark global divide. Why, as a citizen of a relatively wealthy country, should you care if others have to make do with less? (...) Do we have a moral duty to try to rectify this state of affairs? What does 'global justice' mean anyway - and why does it matter? Could we make our world a more just one even if we tried? Can you as an individual make a difference? -/- This book powerfully demonstrates that global justice is something we should all be concerned about, and sketches a series of reforms that would make our divided world a fairer one. It will be essential introductory reading for students of global justice, activists and concerned citizens. (shrink)
The Higgs mechanism is an essential but elusive component of the Standard Model of particle physics. Without it Yang‐Mills gauge theories would have been little more than a warm‐up exercise in the attempt to quantize gravity rather than serving as the basis for the Standard Model. This article focuses on two problems related to the Higgs mechanism clearly posed in Earman’s recent papers (Earman 2003, 2004a, 2004b): what is the gauge‐invariant content of the Higgs mechanism, and what does it mean (...) to break a local gauge symmetry? (shrink)
Inflationary cosmology has been widely accepted due to its successful predictions: for a “generic” initial state, inflation produces a homogeneous, flat, bubble with an appropriate spectrum of density perturbations. However, the discovery that inflation is “generically eternal,” leading to a vast multiverse of inflationary bubbles with different low-energy physics, threatens to undermine this account. There is a “predictability crisis” in eternal inflation, because extracting predictions apparently requires a well-defined measure over the multiverse. This has led to discussions of anthropic predictions (...) based on a measure over the multiverse, and an assumption that we are typical observers. I will give a pessimistic assessment of attempts to make predictions in this sense, emphasizing in particular problems that arise even if a unique measure can be found. (shrink)
One recent development in epistemology, the philosophical study of knowledge, is the notion of ‘epistemic innocence’ introduced by Bortolotti and colleagues. This concept expresses the idea that certain suboptimal cognitive processes may nonetheless have epistemic (knowledge-related) benefits. The idea that delusion or confabulation may have psychological benefits is familiar enough. What is novel and interesting is the idea that such conditions may also yield significant and otherwise unavailable epistemic benefits. I apply the notion of epistemic innocence to research on the (...) transformative potential of psychedelic drugs. The popular epithet ‘hallucinogen’ exemplifies a view of these substances as fundamentally epistemically detrimental. I argue that the picture is more complicated and that some psychedelic states can be epistemically innocent. This conclusion is highly relevant to policy debates about psychedelic therapy. Moreover, analysing the case of psychedelics can shed further light on the concept of epistemic innocence itself. (shrink)
In our increasingly instrumentalist culture, debates over the privatization of schooling may be beside the point. Whether we hatch some new plan for chartering or funding schools, or retain the traditional model of government-run schools, the ongoing instrumentalization of education threatens the very possibility of public education. Indeed, in the culture of performativity, not only the public school but public life itself is hollowed out and debased. Qualities are recast as quantities, judgments replaced by rubrics, teaching and learning turned into (...) exchange values. Schools should be central to public life: key locations for the regeneration of values, the cultivation of judgment, and the creation of the conditions for positive freedom. In this article Chris Higgins, drawing on Hannah Arendt and Alasdair MacIntyre, goes beyond typical treatments of the schools as equalizer of individual opportunity to explore three aspects of educational publicity: the school as an object of communal concern, schooling as preparation for public life, and the classroom as public space. (shrink)
This essay argues that the material conditions of capitalist patriarchal societies are more integrally linked to institutionalized heterosexuality than they are to gender. Building on the critical strategies of early feminist sociology through the articulation of a materialist feminist theoretical framework, the author provides a critique of contemporary sex-gender theory. She argues that the heterosexual imaginary in feminist sociological theories of gender conceals the operation of heterosexuality in structuring gender and closes off any critical analysis of heterosexuality as an organizing (...) institution.... every sociological concept and thesis, as well as the overall patterning of these concepts and theses, is potentially open for reconsideration... With the emergence of feminist sociological theory, the critical emphases in sociology are strengthened by an insistence that sociological work be critical and change-oriented... in an intensely reflexive way towards sociology itself (Lengermann and Niebrugge-Brantley 1990:318). We must produce a political transformation of the key concepts, that is of the concepts which are strategic for us (Wittig 1992:30). (shrink)
Can there be phenomenal consciousness without self-consciousness? Strong intuitions and prominent theories of consciousness say “no”: experience requires minimal self-awareness, or “subjectivity”. This “subjectivity principle” faces apparent counterexamples in the form of anomalous mental states claimed to lack self-consciousness entirely, such as “inserted thoughts” in schizophrenia and certain mental states in depersonalization disorder. However, Billon & Kriegel have defended SP by arguing that while some of these mental states may be totally selfless, those states are not phenomenally conscious and thus (...) do not constitute genuine counterexamples to SP. I argue that this defence cannot work in relation to certain experiences of ego dissolution induced by potent fast-acting serotonergic psychedelics. These mental states jointly instantiate the two features whose co-instantiation by a single mental state SP prohibits: phenomenal consciousness and total lack of self-consciousness. One possible objection is that these mental states may lack “me-ness” and “mineness” but cannot lack “for-me-ness”, a special inner awareness of mental states by the self. In response I propose a dilemma. For-me-ness can be defined either as containing a genuinely experiential component or as not. On the first horn, for-me-ness is clearly absent from my counterexamples. On the second horn, for-me-ness has been defined in a way that conflicts with the claims and methods of its proponents, and the claim that phenomenally conscious mental states can totally lack self-consciousness has been conceded. I conclude with some reflections on the intuitive plausibility of SP in light of evidence from altered states. (shrink)
Chris L. Firestone and Nathan Jacobs integrate and interpret the work of leading Kant scholars to come to a new and deeper understanding of Kant's difficult book, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. In this text, Kant's vocabulary and language are especially tortured and convoluted. Readers have often lost sight of the thinker's deep ties to Christianity and questioned the viability of the work as serious philosophy of religion. Firestone and Jacobs provide strong and cogent grounds for taking (...) Kant's religion seriously and defend him against the charges of incoherence. In their reading, Christian essentials are incorporated into the confines of reason, and they argue that Kant establishes a rational religious faith in accord with religious conviction as it is elaborated in his mature philosophy. For readers at all levels, this book articulates a way to ground religion and theology in a fully fledged defense of Religion which is linked to the larger corpus of Kant's philosophical enterprise. (shrink)
Questions concerning the nature of representation and what representations are about have been a staple of Western philosophy since Aristotle. Recently, these same questions have begun to concern neuroscientists, who have developed new techniques and theories for understanding how the locus of neurobiological representation, the brain, operates. My dissertation draws on philosophy and neuroscience to develop a novel theory of representational content.
In recent years, increasing attention has been given to virtue ethics in business. Aristotle's thought is often seen as the basis of the virtue ethics tradition. For Aristotle, the idea of phronësis, or 'practical wisdom', lies at the foundation of ethics. Confucian ethics has notable similarities to Aristotelian virtue ethics, and may embody some similar ideas of practical wisdom. This article considers how ideas of moral judgment in these traditions are consistent with modern ideas about intuition in management decision making. (...) A hypothetical case is considered where the complexity of ethical decision making in a group context illustrates the importance of intuitive, phronësis-like judgment. It is then noted that both Aristotelian and Confucian virtue ethics include suggestions about support for moral decision making that are also consistent with modern theory. (shrink)