This article discusses the conceptualisation, organisation and philosophical orientation of academic history culture in UK higher education. It problematises the extent to which a dominant history culture in UK universities implies and uncritically reproduces normative understandings about the subject; about its epistemological standing, sociopolitical functions, and the presumed cultural value of the discipline practices that students learn to perform. We suggest that current conceptions of history degree curricula are overly thin and organised around a dominant managerialist discourse of skills, personal (...) development and learning outcomes. In a historicised world, in which history-focused behaviour has a crucial, ideological, affirmatory role, and in which historical narratives have a privileged cognitive function, we argue that it is critical for university history students to be able to deconstruct the processes by which history legitimises itself, and reinforces matrices of power in our societies. The positioning of history in higher education as a form of technocratic managerialism closes down spaces in which students can explore the potential of historical practices as a means of engaging with issues of current sociopolitical and ethical concern. We ask in this article, is this what we want an academic history culture to do? (shrink)
The essays in this collection explore both how the employment of nation-state dominated discourses have caused a re-imagination of the past, and how the past has been re-constructed to accord with nationalist agendas. Although other works have considered in general terms how nations are imagined, this collection takes a different stance and specifically focuses on how 'the past' is used in such imaginations. This collection was conceived in an interdisciplinary spirit, drawing insights from art history, intellectual history, literature, archaeology, heritage (...) studies, political science, and film studies. The authors combine a sophisticated theoretical approach with illuminative case studies from all across the globe, including the Balkans, South Africa, Rwanda, the Yemen, Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Uzbekistan. (shrink)
An infinite lottery machine is used as a foil for testing the reach of inductive inference, since inferences concerning it require novel extensions of probability. Its use is defensible if there is some sense in which the lottery is physically possible, even if exotic physics is needed. I argue that exotic physics is needed and describe several proposals that fail and at least one that succeeds well enough.
1. Introduction. David Malament has described a natural and satisfying resolution of the traditional problems of Newtonian cosmology—natural in the sense that it effects the escape by altering Newtonian gravitation theory in a way that leaves its observational predictions completely unaffected. I am in full agreement with his approach. There is one part of his account, however, over which Malament has been excessively modest. The resolution requires a modification to Newtonian gravitation theory. Malament presents the modification as so straightforward as (...) to be automatic. This trivializes the crucial postulate, which I shall call the “relativity of acceleration.” It is a significant physical statement in its own right and requires careful justification. Moreover the postulate proved easy to overlook for decades of discussion of the paradox. It really only becomes natural from the perspective of the newer geometric methods Malament exploits. There the postulate has become a commonplace. My purpose here is to develop the following: While Newtonian cosmology can be repaired satisfactorily, in its traditional form it remains deeply troubled. These troubles can be expressed most vividly as the paradoxical contradictions indicated below. They persist in both the integral and differential formulations of Newtonian gravitation theory. Malament's careful geometric treatment is necessarily dense. By taking some liberties with precision, his core result can be expressed in a far simpler form. Attempts to avoid the resolution Malament describes do lead to disaster. Therefore this episode can be inverted and used as the strongest extant argument for the relativity of acceleration in Newtonian gravitation theory. (shrink)
In my contribution to the Symposium ("On the Vagaries of Determinism and Indeterminism"), I will identify several issues that arise in trying to decide whether Newtonian particle mechanics qualifies as a deterministic theory. I'll also give a mini-tutorial on the geometry and dynamical properties of Norton's dome surface. The goal is to better understand how his example works, and better appreciate just how wonderfully strange it is.
The recent discovery of an indeterministic system in classical mechanics, the Norton dome, has shown that answering the question whether classical mechanics is deterministic can be a complicated matter. In this paper I show that indeterministic systems similar to the Norton dome were already known in the nineteenth century: I discuss four nineteenth century authors who wrote about such systems, namely Poisson, Duhamel, Boussinesq and Bertrand. However, I argue that their discussion of such systems was very different from (...) the contemporary discussion about the Norton dome, because physicists in the nineteenth century conceived of determinism in essentially different ways: whereas in the contemporary literature on determinism in classical physics, determinism is usually taken to be a property of the equations of physics, in the nineteenth century determinism was primarily taken to be a presupposition of theories in physics, and as such it was not necessarily affected by the possible existence of systems such as the Norton dome. (shrink)
John D. Norton defends an empiricist epistemology of thought experiments, the central thesis of which is that thought experiments are nothing more than arguments. Philosophers have attempted to provide counterexamples to this claim, but they haven’t convinced Norton. I will point out a more fundamental reason for reformulation that criticizes Norton’s claim that a thought experiment is a good one when its underlying logical form possesses certain desirable properties. I argue that by Norton’s empiricist standards, no (...) thought experiment is ever justified in any deep sense due to the properties of its logical form. Instead, empiricists should consider again the merits of evaluating thought experiments more like laboratory experiments, and less like arguments. (shrink)
John Norton has proposed a position of “material induction” that denies the existence of a universal inductive inference schema behind scientific reasoning. In this vein, Norton has recently presented a “dome scenario” based on Newtonian physics that, in his understanding, is at variance with Bayesianism. The present note points out that a closer analysis of the dome scenario reveals incompatibilities with material inductivism itself.
Norton’s very simple case of indeterminism in classical mechanics has given rise to a literature critical of his result. I am interested here in posing a new objection different from the ones made to date. The first section of the paper expounds the essence of Norton’s model and my criticism of it. I then propose a specific modification in the absence of gravitational interaction. The final section takes into consideration a surprising consequence for classical mechanics from the new (...) model introduced here. (shrink)
With respect to inductive reasoning, there are at least two broad projects that have been of interest to philosophers. The first project is that of accurately describing paradigmatic instances of inductive reasoning in the sciences and in everyday life. Thus, we might ask, of some particular historical episode, how exactly Newton, or Darwin, or Einstein arrived at some conclusion on the basis of the evidence that was before him. The second project is one of justification. The task here is that (...) of showing why paradigmatic inductive reasoning is good reasoning, or why skeptical challenges which purport to undermine the legitimacy of such reasoning fail to do so. As I understand it, this second, justificatory project prominently includes, but is not limited to, the task of either solving or dissolving Hume’s skeptical critique of induction. Neither of these projects is trivial. Indeed, many think that we are currently far from successfully completing either one. But in any case, it would seem that the descriptive project has a certain priority to the justification project. After all, how could one justify our inductive practices, or defend them against skeptical challenge, in the absence of some reasonably detailed and accurate description of those practices? Given this apparent priority, it is a striking fact that the justification project has often been pursued in the absence of any significant attention to the project of accurate description. In particular, a great deal of the traditional discussion of Hume’s problem of induction has proceeded against the background of hopelessly crude models of our actual inductive practice—a fact sometimes acknowledged by participants in such discussions themselves. Plausibly, the thought which underlies this procedure is the following: whatever force Hume’s critique ultimately possesses, that force is not tied to the specific content of the general rules or principles that we follow in reasoning inductively. Rather, the force of Hume’s critique depends on our following any general rules or principles at all.. (shrink)
Challenging previous interpretations of Levinas that gloss over his use of the feminine or show how he overlooks questions raised by feminists, Claire Elise Katz explores the powerful and productive links between the feminine and religion in Levinas’s work. Rather than viewing the feminine as a metaphor with no significance for women or as a means to reinforce traditional stereotypes, Katz goes beyond questions of sexual difference to reach a more profound understanding of the role of the feminine in (...) Levinas’s conception of ethical responsibility. She combines feminist interpretations of Levinas with interpretations that focus on his Jewish writings to reveal that the feminine provides an important bridge between his philosophy and his Judaism. Katz’s reading of Levinas’s conception of the feminine against the backdrop of discussions of women of the Hebrew bible points to important shifts in contemporary philosophy toward the creation of life and care for the other. (shrink)
The singularity arising from the violation of the Lipschitz condition in the simple Newtonian system proposed recently by Norton (2003) is so fragile as to be completely and irreparably destroyed by slightly relaxing certain (infinite) idealizations pertaining to elastic phenomena in this model. I demonstrate that this is also true for several other Lipschitz-indeterministic systems, which, unlike Norton's example, have no surface curvature singularities. As a result, indeterminism in these systems should rather be viewed as an artefact of (...) certain infinite idealizations essential for these models, depriving them of much of their intended metaphysical import. (shrink)
The question of where the knowledge comes from when we conduct thought experiments has been one of the most fundamental issues discussed in the epistemological position of thought experiments. In this regard, Pierre Duhem shows a skeptical attitude on the subject by stating that thought experiments cannot be evaluated as real experiments or cannot be accepted as an alternative to real experiments. James R. Brown, on the other hand, states that thought experiments, which are not based on new experimental evidence (...) or logically derived from old data, called the Platonic thought experiment, provide intuitive access to a priori knowledge. Unlike Brown, John D. Norton strictly criticizes the idea that thought experiments provide mysterious access to the knowledge of the physical world, and states that thought experiments cannot provide knowledge that transcends empiricism. In the context of the NortonBrown debate, in this article, Brown's stance on thought experiments is supported by critically analyzing the thoughts put forward on the subject. -/- Düşünce deneylerini gerçekleştirdiğimizde sonucunda elde edilen bilginin nereden geldiği sorusu düşünce deneylerinin epistemolojik konumuna ilişkin tartışılan en temel konulardan bir tanesidir. Bu doğrultuda, Pierre Duhem düşünce deneylerinin gerçek deneyler ile aynı statüde değerlendirilemeyeceğini ve hatta düşünce deneylerinin gerçek deneylerin bir alternatifi olarak bile kabul edilemeyeceğini belirterek konuya ilişkin şüpheci bir tavır sergilemektedir. James R. Brown ise yeni deneysel kanıtlara dayanmayan ya da eski verilerden mantıksal olarak türetilmeyen, Platoncu düşünce deneyi olarak adlandırılan düşünce deneylerinin a priori bilgiye sezgisel erişim sağladığını ifade etmektedir. Brown’ın aksine, John D. Norton düşünce deneylerinin fiziksel dünyanın bilgisine gizemli bir erişim sağladığı yönündeki düşünceyi kesin bir dille eleştirmekte ve düşünce deneylerinin ampirizmi aşan bir bilgi sağlamasının mümkün olamayacağını ifade etmektedir. Norton-Brown tartışması çerçevesinde bu makalede, Brown'un düşünce deneylerine ilişkin tutumu, konuyla ilgili düşüncelerin eleştirel olarak analiz edilmesiyle desteklenmektedir. (shrink)
Henry Thoreau boasted that he was widely travelled in Concord, Massachusetts. He was born there on 12 July 1817, and he died there on 6 May 1862, of tuberculosis, at the age of forty-four years. In 1837 he graduated from Harvard College, and in 1838 he joined Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and others in the informal group that became known as the New England Transcendentalists. The author of four books, many essays and poems, and a voluminous journal, he is (...) best known for the book Walden and the essay ‘Civil Disobedience’, and for the circumstances attending these two milestones in American thought and literature. (shrink)
I deny that the world is fundamentally causal, deriving the skepticism on non-Humean grounds from our enduring failures to find a contingent, universal principle of causality that holds true of our science. I explain the prevalence and fertility of causal notions in science by arguing that a causal character for many sciences can be recovered, when they are restricted to appropriately hospitable domains. There they conform to loose and varying collections of causal notions that form folk sciences of causation. This (...) recovery of causation exploits the same generative power of reduction relations that allows us to recover gravity as a force from Einstein's general relativity and heat as a conserved fluid, the caloric, from modern thermal physics, when each theory is restricted to appropriate domains. Causes are real in science to the same degree as caloric and gravitational forces. (shrink)
Reexamining Emmanuel Levinas’s essays on Jewish education, Claire Elise Katz provides new insights into the importance of education and its potential to transform a democratic society, for Levinas’s larger philosophical project.
This paper describes a method for analyzing a corpus of descriptions collected through micro-phenomenological interviews. This analysis aims at identifying the structure of the singular experiences which have been described, and in particular their diachronic structure, while unfolding generic experiential structures through an iterative approach. After summarizing the principles of the micro-phenomenological interview, and then describing the process of preparation of the verbatim, the article presents on the one hand, the principles and conceptual devices of the analysis method and on (...) the other hand several dimensions of the analysis process: the modes of structural unfolding of generic structures, the mutual guidance of the processes of structural and experiential unfolding, the tracking of analysis processes, and finally the assessment of analysis results. (shrink)
This article presents an interview method which enables us to bring a person, who may not even have been trained, to become aware of his or her subjective experience, and describe it with great precision. It is focused on the difficulties of becoming aware of one’s subjective experience and describing it, and on the processes used by this interview technique to overcome each of these difficulties. The article ends with a discussion of the criteria governing the validity of the descriptions (...) obtained, and then with a brief review of the functions of these descriptions. (shrink)
David and Mary Norton present the definitive scholarly edition of Hume's Treatise, one of the greatest philosophical works ever written. This set comprises the two volumes of texts and editorial material, which are also available for purchase separately. -/- David Hume (1711 - 1776) is one of the greatest of philosophers. Today he probably ranks highest of all British philosophers in terms of influence and philosophical standing. His philosophical work ranges across morals, the mind, metaphysics, epistemology, religion, and aesthetics; (...) he had broad interests not only in philosophy as it is now conceived but in history, politics, economics, religion, and the arts. He was a master of English prose. -/- The Clarendon Hume Edition will include all of his works except his History of England and minor historical writings. It is the only thorough critical edition, and will provide a far more extensive scholarly treatment than any previous editions. This edition (which has been in preparation since the 1970s) offers authoritative annotation, bibliographical information, and indexes, and draws upon the major advances in textual scholarship that have been made since the publication of earlier editions - advances both in the understanding of editorial principle and practice and in knowledge of the history of Hume's own texts. (shrink)
Bryan Norton’s 2005 book Sustainability describes a pragmatic approach to environmental philosophy that stresses philosophy’s role as one of mediating between scientific and ordinary language. But on two topics, Norton’s approach is not pragmatic enough. In the case of his discussion of risk, he accedes to a scientific notion that fails to acknowledge the way that ordinary usage of the word risk involves pragmatic links to human action and moral responsibility. With respect to the word sustainability, his analysis (...) fails to acknowledge important scientific work that characterizes the functional integrity of system cycling, opting instead for usage grounded either in economic accounting or in an even less substantive sense of a broad social movement for environmental improvement. On each of these topics, adherence to the pragmatic orientation of Norton’s philosophy results in a different analysis of the concepts in question. (shrink)
The Enkratic Principle enjoys something of a protected status as a requirement of rationality. I argue that this status is undeserved, at least in the epistemic domain. Compliance with the principle should not be thought of as a requirement of epistemic rationality, but rather as defeasible indication of epistemic blamelessness. To show this, I present the Puzzle of Inconsistent Requirements, and argue that the best way to solve it is to distinguish two kinds of epistemic evaluation – requirement evaluations and (...) appraisal evaluations. This allows us to solve the puzzle while accommodating traditional motivations for thinking of the Enkratic Principle as a requirement of rationality. (shrink)
Can we make mistakes about what rationality requires? A natural answer is that we can, since it is a platitude that rational belief does not require truth; it is possible for a belief to be rational and mistaken, and this holds for any subject matter at all. However, the platitude causes trouble when applied to rationality itself. The possibility of rational mistakes about what rationality requires generates a puzzle. When combined with two further plausible claims – the enkratic principle, and (...) the claim that rational requirements apply universally – we get the result that rationality generates inconsistent requirements. One popular and attractive solution to the puzzle denies that it is possible to make rational mistakes about what rationality requires. I show why (contra Titelbaum (2015b), and Littlejohn (2015)) this solution is doomed to fail. (shrink)
Norton argues on pragmatic “Deweyan” grounds that we should cease to ask scientists for value neutral definitions of “sustainability,” developed independently of moral and social values, to guide our environmental policy making debates. “Sustainability,” like human “health,” is a normative concept from the start—one that cannot be meaningfully developed by scientists or economists without input by all the stake holders affected. While I endorse Norton’s approach, I question his apparent presumption that concern for sustainability for the future is (...) at odds with and ought to trump concern for enhancement in the present of public opportunities to access the goods nature represents. I argue that the two are not separable in practice. I argue for Passmore’s position that unless we take care to enhance equitable access to the good and services nature represents in the present, we cannot succeed in promoting sustainability for future generations. (shrink)
Incoherence is usually regarded as a bad thing. Incoherence suggests irrationality, confusion, paradox. Incoherentism disagrees: incoherence is not always a bad thing, sometimes we ought to be incoherent. If correct, Incoherentism has important and controversial implications. It implies that rationality does not always require coherence. Dilemmism and Incoherentism both embrace conflict in epistemology. After identifying some important differences between these two ways of embracing conflict, I offer some reasons to prefer Incoherentism over Dilemmism. Namely, that Incoherentism allows us to deliberate (...) about what we ought to believe using ordinary epistemology, and it does a better job of accommodating the positive features of incoherence. (shrink)
A familiar part of debates about supererogatory actions concerns the role that cost should play. Two camps have emerged: one claiming that extreme cost is a necessary condition for when an action is supererogatory, while the other denies that it should be part of our definition of supererogation. In this paper, I propose an alternative position. I argue that it is comparative cost that is central to the supererogatory and that it is needed to explain a feature that all accounts (...) agree is central to the very notion of supererogation: optionality. Perhaps because of this agreement on its importance, few attempts have been made to clarify and explain the notion of optionality. I argue that giving an account of the optionality of supererogatory requires drawing a line between doing the bare minimum permissible and going beyond the bare minimum and that this line ought to be drawn based on comparative cost of alternative permissible acts. Having outlined my account and motivated it, I discuss and reject two concerns that might be raised: firstly, that it is extreme cost, not comparative cost, that matters and, secondly, that in fact no cost is needed for an act to be supererogatory. (shrink)
There has been an ongoing debate about the best approach in environmental ethics. Bryan Norton believes that “weak anthropocentrism” will yield the best results for public policy, and that it is the most defensible position. In contrast, I have argued that an ecocentric, holistic position is required to deal with the urgent environmental problems that face us, and that position is complemented by the ecosystem approach and complex systems theory. I have called this approach “the ethics of integrity,” and (...) in this paper I show why this perspective suggests better solutions to difficult cases, for which “weak anthropocentrism” fails to provide an answer. (shrink)
A l'occasion du 150e anniversaire de la mort de Soren Aabye Kierkegaard, cette série d'études proposée par le philosophe français André Clair contribue à situer ce penseur danois dans le réseau moderne des philosophies de l'existence. Penseur singulier, mais nullement isolé, Kierkegaard y est ainsi mis en perspective avec d'autres philosophes. Si l'interrogation éthique est privilégiée, les autres aspects d'une œuvre complexe mais unifiée sont également bien présents. De même que les précédents livres d'André Clair sur Kierkegaard, celui-ci se situe (...) dans le contexte des débats internationaux, en insistant toujours à la fois sur l'unité de l'œuvre et sur la singularité de chaque écrit. André Clair poursuit son entreprise philosophique de lecture de grands textes, dans le but notamment de mettre en lumière la manière dont la dimension déontologique de l'éthique doit être rapportée aux enracinements et aux traditions dans lesquels s'inscrivent les fins que poursuit un sujet éthique. (shrink)
Is normative uncertainty like factual uncertainty? Should it have the same effects on our actions? Some have thought not. Those who defend an asymmetry between normative and factual uncertainty typically do so as part of the claim that our moral beliefs in general are irrelevant to both the moral value and the moral worth of our actions. Here I use the consideration of Jackson cases to challenge this view, arguing that we can explain away the apparent asymmetries between normative and (...) factual uncertainty by considering the particular features of the cases in greater detail. Such consideration shows that, in fact, normative and factual uncertainty are equally relevant to moral assessment. (shrink)
Aims The purpose of this literature review was to explore the psychosocial implications of long-term survival for people affected by cancer by systematically examining published research evidence. Key findings 283 abstracts of papers were retrieved and checked and 33 studies relating to the implications of long-term survival subjected to detailed scrutiny. This review suggests that the majority of long-term cancer survivors cope well and enjoy good QoL. However, there are areas of concern which warrant attention. Whilst this review did not (...) set out to review physical problems experienced in the long-term, long-term physical consequences of cancer and its treatment were associated with poorer QoL and more psychological distress and sexual problems. Other long term concerns included anxiety regarding recurrence, financial difficulties and reduced social and emotional support. Long term survivors of lung, head and neck cancers appear particularly vulnerable to long term problems although there were few studies involving people with these cancers in this review. A number of limitations in the current evidence base were highlighted. Little research was conducted in the UK and raises questions as to the relevance of the findings for a different environment or culture where patients may have different attitudes to cancer survival and receive different treatments. Also, when looking at practical issues for long-term survivors such as ability to obtain insurance, or employment matters, then country-specific factors will be important. (shrink)
This article offers a critique and reformulation of the concept of empathy as it is currently used in the context of medicine and medical care. My argument is three pronged. First, that the instrumentalised notion of empathy that has been common within medicine erases the term’s rich epistemological history as a special form of understanding, even a vehicle of social inquiry, and has instead substituted an account unsustainably structured according to the polarisations of modernity. I suggest that understanding empathy by (...) examining its origins within the phenomenological tradition, as a mode of intersubjective understanding, offers a different and profitable approach. Secondly, I argue that the appropriation of empathy in medicine means that, ironically, empathy can function as a technique of pastoral power, in which virtue, knowledge and authority remain with the doctor. And thirdly, empathy is in danger of being resourced as a substitute for equity and funding within health systems. I conclude however with hope for the productive possibilities for empathy. (shrink)
Is there progress in philosophy? If so, how much? Philosophers have recently argued for a wide range of answers to these questions, from the view that there is no progress whatsoever to the view that philosophy has provided answers to all the big philosophical questions. However, these views are difficult to compare and evaluate, because they rest on very different assumptions about the conditions under which philosophy would make progress. This paper looks to the comparatively mature debate about scientific progress (...) for inspiration on how to formulate four distinct accounts of philosophical progress, in terms of truthlikeness, problem-solving, knowledge, and understanding. Equally importantly, the paper outlines a common framework for how to understand and evaluate these accounts. We distill a series of lessons from this exercise, to help pave the way for a more fruitful discussion about philosophical progress in the future. (shrink)