Evidence of an emerging focus on the role of farmer knowledge in developed countries is highlighted by the debate on the nature of local and scientific knowledge. Less attention has been paid to the interaction of different ways of knowing for sustainable capital-intensive agriculture. This paper explores the relationship between local and scientific knowledge in managing temperate pasture and grazing systems in Australia. The nature of farmer knowledge is firstly examined by describing the experiences of farm families in managing native (...) and introduced perennial grasses in upland areas of the Murray-Darling Basin. The building of knowledge and skills through social learning was explored in group case studies and interviews with stakeholders involved in pasture research and development. The interchange of local and scientific knowledge in groups was shown to have a synergistic effect, whereby local knowledge was broadened and strengthened, and scientific knowledge adapted and molded to specific situations. The effectiveness of social learning was greatest in collaborative programs based on small, local groups involved in monitoring and evaluation of whole farm pasture and grazing systems. (shrink)
The landcare program has been embraced by governments, farmer organizations and conservation groups throughout Australia as offering a model for effective community action to assist the move to more sustainable resource use. Over 2,500 landcare-type groups now operate across Australia with 65,000 members including almost 30% of the farming community. This research used surveys of landcare group activity in most Australian states, a study of the regional landcare action plan (RLAP) process in the state of Victoria, and a survey of (...) landholders in north east Victoria to assess landcare program effectiveness, and particularly, the assumptions underlying the program logic. Information provided revealed the vast scale of community participation in landcare and the considerable amount of onground work undertaken by groups and landholders. Analysis of north east landholder surveys indicated landcare participation had a significant impact upon landholder awareness of issues, level of knowledge, and adoption of best bet practices. However, research findings also highlighted a number of concerns about the program logic and implementation, and the authors suggest it is time to adopt a revised landcare program model. (shrink)
What we believe depends on more than the purely intrinsic facts about us: facts about our environment or context also help determine the contents of our beliefs. 1 This observation has led several writers to hope that beliefs can be divided, as it were, into two components: a "core" that depends only on the individual?s intrinsic properties; and a periphery that depends on the individual?s context, including his or her history, environment, and linguistic community. Thus Jaegwon Kim suggests that "within (...) each noninternal psychological state that enters into the explanation of some action or behavior we can locate an ?internal core state? which can assume the causal-explanatory role of the noninternal state."2 In the same vein, Stephen Stich writes that "nonautonomous" states, like belief, are best viewed as "conceptually complex hybrids" made up of an autonomous component together with historical and contextual features.3 John Perry, whose term I have adopted, distinguishes between belief states, which are determined by an individual?s intrinsic properties, and objects of belief, which are not.4 And Daniel Dennett makes use of the same notion when he asks:5. (shrink)
Narrow mental content is a kind of mental content that does not depend on an individual's environment. Narrow content contrasts with “broad” or “wide” content, which depends on features of the individual's environment as well as on features of the individual. It is controversial whether there is any such thing as narrow content. Assuming that there is, it is also controversial what sort of content it is, what its relation to ordinary or “broad” content is, and how it is determined (...) by the individual's intrinsic properties. (shrink)
Belief states are only contingently connected with the objects of belief. Burge's examples show that the same belief state can be associated with different objects of belief. Kripke's puzzle shows that the same object of belief can be associated with different belief states. Nevertheless, belief states can best be characterized by a subset of the propositions one believes, namely those one directly or immediately believes. The rest of the things one believes are believed indirectly, by virtue of one's direct beliefs. (...) This distinction sheds light on Kripke's puzzle, the problem of the contingent a priori, and the problem of logical omniscience. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of moral philosophers have held both that there are particular moral truths, and also that there are no general moral principles which explain these particular moral truths--either because there simply are no moral principles, or because moral principles are themselves explained by or derived from particular moral truths rather than vice versa. Often this combination of doctrines is held by philosophers interested in reviving an Aristotelean approach..
Idealism is an ontological view, a view about what sorts of things there are in the universe. Idealism holds that what there is depends on our own mental structure and activity. Berkeley of course held that everything was mental; Kant held the more complex view that there was an important distinction between the mental and the physical, but that the structure of the empirical world depended on the activities of minds. Despite radical differences, idealists like Berkeley and Kant share what (...) Ralph Barton Perry called "the cardinal principle of idealism," namely, the principle that "being is dependent on the knowing of it."1 I believe that Hilary Putnam intends his "internal realism" to be a version of idealism in this broad sense; although many of his arguments concern semantic notions like truth and reference, he takes these semantic arguments to have ontological consequences. This is strongly suggested, for instance, by his claim that "'objects' themselves are as much made as discovered, as much products of our conceptual invention as of the 'objective' factor in experience."2 Or again there is this rather Kantian metaphor: "the mind and the world jointly make up the mind and the world."3 But just what is Putnam's ontology? (shrink)
Ruth Barcan Marcus has argued that, just as we cannot know what is false, we cannot believe what is impossible.1 I will offer an interpretation of her defense of this view. I will then argue, first, that if the defense succeeded it would also justify rejecting many, perhaps most, of our ordinary belief ascriptions; and second, that, luckily, the defense does not succeed. Finally, I suggest that despite its failure there is something correct and important in Marcus's argument.
The first thesis is that beliefs play a role in explaining behavior. This is reasonably uncontroversial, though it has been controverted. Why did I raise my arm? Because I wanted to emphasize a point, and believed that I could do so by raising my arm. The belief that I could emphasize a point by raising my arm is central to the most natural explanation of my action.
Some of Tichý's conclusions rest on an assumption about substitutivity which Kripke would not accept. If we grant the assumption, then Tichý successfully shows that we can discover true identity statements involving names a priori, but not that we can discover a priori what properties things have essentially. Many of Tichý's arguments require an implausible rejection of the possibility of indirect belief as described in Section III. 25Are there necessary a posteriori propositions? I have argued that we certainly can discover (...) necessary propositions a posteriori, but have left it an open question whether there are necessary propositions which we can only discover a posteriori.What effect do the considerations here presented have on the positivist doctrine that the a priori and the necessary coincide? My explanation of how we discover necessary propositions a posteriori involves our believing them indirectly, in virtue of believing contingent propositions. I would argue that Kripke's examples of the contingent a priori involve, similarly, our believing the contingent propositions in directly, in virtue of believing necessary propositions.This suggests that a reformulation of the positivist thesis along something like the following lines may well be correct. Let us say that someone directly believes a proposition just in case he could not fail to believe it without being in a different cognitive state. Then perhaps one can directly believe a proposition on the basis of a priori evidence only if it is necessary, and can directly believe a proposition on the basis of a posteriori evidence only if it is contingent. (shrink)
Can we believe things that could not possibly be true? The world seems full of examples. Mathematicians have "proven" theorems which in fact turn out to be false. People have believed that Hesperus is not Phosphorus, that they themselves are essentially incorporeal, that heat is not molecular motion--all propositions which have been claimed to be not just false, but necessarily false. Some have even seemed to pride themselves on believing the impossible; Hegel thought contradictions could be true, and Kierkegaard seems (...) to have thought that Christianity, in which he fervently believed, was impossible and absurd. (shrink)
Mary Devereaux has suggested, in an overview of feminist aesthetics, that feminist aesthetics constitutes a revolutionary approach to the field: "aesthetics cannot simply 'add on' feminist theories as it might add new works by [ Nelson ] Goodman, Arthur Danto or George Dickie. To take feminism seriously involves rethinking our basic concepts and recasting the history of the discipline." In particular, feminist theory involves a rejection of "deeply entrenched assumptions about the universal value of art and aesthetic experience." Overthrowing these (...) assumptions "constitutes what art historian, Linda Nochlin, describes as a Kuhnian paradigm shift." Near the end of her essay, Devereaux returns to this theme: "If feminism constitutes a new paradigm, then we may wish to ponder how far the old model of aesthetics and the new are commensurable. Is traditional aesthetics contingently or necessarily associated with patriarchy? Can the 'gender-neutral' aesthetics of the traditional model be reformed or must it be rejected?". (shrink)
David Chalmers has defended an account of what it is for a physical system to implement a computation. The account appeals to the idea of a “combinatorial-state automaton” or CSA. It is unclear whether Chalmers intends the CSA to be a computational model in the usual sense, or merely a convenient formalism into which instances of other models can be translated. I argue that the CSA is not a computational model in the usual sense because CSAs do not perspicuously represent (...) algorithms, are too powerful both in that they can perform any computation in a single step and in that without so far unspecified restrictions they can “compute” the uncomputable, and are too loosely related to physical implementations. (shrink)
Both David Lewis and Roderick Chisholm have proposed that beliefs are best understood, not as relations between people and the propositions they believe, but as relations between people and the properties they "directly attribute" to themselves or "self-ascribe." If this account is correct for belief, it seems that it ought to be possible to extend it to other "propositional attitudes" such as considering and wishing. But the most straightforward way of extending the account to such other attitudes faces difficulties, some (...) of which are discussed in a paper by Peter J. Markie. In this paper I will show how to apply the account to considering and wishing in a way that avoids such difficulties. (shrink)
As late twentieth-century discourses of modernity and postmodernity invoke their Enlightenment heritage in a search for the origins of their present achievements and predicaments, Adam Smith's works are still seen as a canonic representative of that heritage. Smith has long been evoked as the ‘father’ of economics and the original proponent of laissez-faire capitalism, but the political changes in recent decades have reconstituted his iconic status. With the full range of Smith's published and unpublished writings and lectures now widely available, (...) there has been a huge growth in the scholarly literature on Smith which has subjected this traditional view to searching questions. The overwhelming conclusion to emerge is that Smith's works display a subtlety and complexity that is at odds with the received image of Smith as the spokesman of modernity, but the diversity of interpretation raises some difficult methodological issues. (shrink)
The “Adam Smith problem” has traditionally been concerned with the issue of authorial integrity: the issue of how a single author, Adam Smith, could have written two such apparently dissimilar, even contradictory, works as The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations. As the problem to be resolved was the single authorial origin of two such works, the perceived incompatibilities between them were explained in terms of Smith's intellectual biography – for example, Smith's travels to France, Smith's meetings (...) with the physiocrats, or the mental incapacities of an aging man. The current consensus is that the Adam Smith problem is a “pseudo problem” and that Smith's works represent a unified project, but the same reference to authorial origins now provides thr opposite claim that “the same man” wrote both books. Here the postulate of authorial integrity, “of stable integrated character, not subject to deep intellectual doubts or fissures” provides an assurance that such a man is unlikely to have written two entirely different books, an assurance underwritten by a coherent authorial intentionality that guarantees the consistency of the two works. (shrink)
That the legacy of Berkeley's philosophy has been a largely sceptical one is perhaps rather surprising. For he himself took it as one of his objectives to undermine scepticism. He roundly denied that there were ‘any principles more opposite to Scepticism than those we have laid down’. Yet Hume was to write of Berkeley that ‘most of the writings of that very ingenious author form the best lessons of scepticism, Bayle not excepted’. And it has become something of a commonplace (...) to say that Berkeley's philosophy is sceptical in direction, if not in intention. He is represented as a half-hearted sceptic, applying radical empiricist principles in his treatment of matter but baulking at their implications when he came to consider spirits. Hume is credited with being the more thoroughgoing of the two. Berkeley had denied the substantiality of extended things. Hume felt obliged, by parity of reasoning, to deny the substantiality of the self. On his account of the mind there is ‘properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity in different’. It is commonly supposed that Berkeley, in maintaining the quite contrary view that we know ourselves to be simple, undivided beings, showed a lack of rigour or consistency. (shrink)
My title advertizes a paradox. The characteristic complaint of the sceptic is that others make assumptions they are not entitled to make. A philosophical sceptic is committed to a systematic refusal to accept such assumptions in the absence of the kind of justification they think is required. A sceptic who, none the less, helps himself to such an assumption, seems to be caught in a paradoxical position. This is the kind of situation in which, it seems, certain eighteenth-century sceptical philosophers (...) were placed in relation to the ‘principle’ of natural order. They did not doubt that there is such a principle, that there is a source or ultimate cause of the order to be found in the universe. And yet, on their own terms, is not the existence of such a principle something we should expect them to have doubted? What I shall try to do in this lecture is to bring out why they did not doubt the existence of such a principle and how serious their failure to do so is for their sceptical position. (shrink)
Psychological egoism is, I suppose, regarded by most philosophers as one of the more simple-minded fallacies in the history of philosophy, and dangerous and seductive too, contriving as it does to combine cynicism about human ideals and a vague sense of scientific method, both of which make the ordinary reader feel sophisticated, with conceptual confusion, which he cannot resist. For all of these reasons it springs eternal, in one form or another, in the breasts of first-year students, and offers excellent (...) material for their philosophy instructors, who like nothing better than an edifice of sturdy appearance but with rotten foundations on which to display their skill as demolition experts. (shrink)
If classical Western theism is correct that God's timeless omniscience is compatible with human free will, then it is incoherent to hold that this God can in any strict sense be immutable and a se as well as omniscient. That is my thesis. ‘Classical theism’ shall refer here to the tradition of philosophical theology centring on such mainstream authors as Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas. ‘Divine omniscience’ shall mean that the eternal God knows all events as a timeless observer of them. (...) ‘Human free will’ shall mean that human beings are, at least sometimes, self-determining agents who make choices not decisively caused to be what they are by external or internal factors other than the free willing itself – choices that these agents have the capacity and the freedom to make differently than they do. Except where stipulated otherwise, ‘divine immutability’ shall ‘mean that God is neither subject to, nor capable of, change in being, knowing, or willing, since God is immune to external influences, and without internal needs, of the sorts that might give rise to such change. Finally, ‘aseity’ shall be used to underline the divine immunity to external influences, since a being that is wholly a se or self-caused , cannot be open to such influences, cannot be made to be what or how it is by anything other than itself. (shrink)
Generally, I find gatherings of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness more interesting and congenial than the Tucson conferences. There are at least two reasons for this, the first one obvious: the former is smaller. Less crowds, more chances to participate in discussions . The second reason reflects my predispositions, and of course those of the ASSC: the talks, research, and speculation are closely data-driven. I find it highly refreshing to attend talks on consciousness which are reporting experiments (...) done by groups employing stringent quality controls, and to hear speculation which is carefully restrained to inferences that closely and clearly follow from consensually verified data. I find it hopeful that researchers have not abandoned lines of inquiry which have decades of experiments to back them up merely because they have not yet found answers to some particular questions. But hey, these are my own biases; I'm someone who thinks the Skeptical Inquirer is a valuable resource. (shrink)
Applied ethics work seems to me to be of three main kinds. There is participatory work, where a person whose specialism is ethics participates in a process leading to ethical judgments or decisions. And there are two kinds of teaching work where the teaching objective is to make learners better placed to participate in such processes; one kind of teaching work relates to matters which are specific to the future occupation of the learner, the other kind relates to matters which (...) are not specific to it. (shrink)