This book studies Wallace Stevens and pre-Socratic poetic philosophy, showing how concepts that animate Stevens’ poetry parallel concepts found in the works of Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Xenophanes.
There has been an increase in recent years in the use of empirical methods in healthcare ethics. Appeals to empirical data cannot answer moral questions, but insights into the knowledge, attitudes, experience, preferences and practice of interested parties can play an important part in the development of healthcare ethics. In particular, while we may establish a general ethical principle to provide explanatory and normative guidance for healthcare professionals, the interpretation and application of such general principles to actual practice still requires (...) interpretation and judgement. And many situations in healthcare practice are complex and may involve a variety of principles, each of which may conflict with the others. Simple surveys or interview studies may not be sufficient if we wish to develop a nuanced approach to ethical practice that can be set out in guidelines, codes or directives. We do not resolve moral questions by plebiscite. In this paper, the authors argue for the use of consensus methods to develop shared understanding of ethical practice, and they argue further for the combination of the Delphi method with the use of vignettes to illustrate the kind of situations that may occur in practice. They develop their argument in part by reference to their experience of using this approach in their recent research. (shrink)
This essay criticizes the proposal recently defended by a number of prominent economists that welfare economics be redirected away from the satisfaction of people's preferences and toward making people happy instead. Although information about happiness may sometimes be of use, the notion of happiness is sufficiently ambiguous and the objections to identifying welfare with happiness are sufficiently serious that welfare economists are better off using preference satisfaction as a measure of welfare. The essay also examines and criticizes the position associated (...) with Daniel Kahneman and a number of co-authors that takes welfare to be ‘objective happiness’ – that is, the sum of momentary pleasures. (shrink)
General practitioners (GPs) have to negotiate a range of challenges when they suspect child abuse or neglect. This article details findings from a Delphi exercise that was part of a larger study exploring the conflicts of interest that arise for UK GPs in safeguarding children. The specific objectives of the Delphi exercise were to understand how these conflicts of interest are seen from the perspectives of an expert panel, and to identify best practice for GPs. The Delphi exercise involved four (...) iterative rounds with questionnaires completed by an expert panel. Results from each round were distilled and findings sent to panel members until consensus was reached. Panel members shared insights regarding their understanding of conflicts of interest in relation to GPs and safeguarding children and responses when conflicts of interests arise. Findings suggested a broader understanding of conflicts of interest (intrapersonal, interpersonal, interprofessional and interagency), the importance of professional judgement in uncertain situations when both action and inaction have potentially negative consequences and the importance of trust. The Delphi exercise was an effective means to bring together a wide range of professional and disciplinary perspectives on a complex topic. Findings caution against the oversimplification of the conceptual and practical issues, emphasise the importance of professional judgement, and support the development of open and trusting relationships with families and among professionals in health and social care agencies. (shrink)
The tenuous claims of cost-benefit analysis to guide policy so as to promote welfare turn on measuring welfare by preference satisfaction and taking willingness-to-pay to indicate preferences. Yet it is obvious that people's preferences are not always self-interested and that false beliefs may lead people to prefer what is worse for them even when people are self-interested. So welfare is not preference satisfaction, and hence it appears that cost-benefit analysis and welfare economics in general rely on a mistaken theory of (...) well-being. This essay explores the difficulties, criticizes standard defences of welfare economics, and then offers a new partial defence that maintains that welfare economics is independent of any philosophical theory of well-being. Welfare economics requires nothing more than an evidential connection between preference and welfare: in circumstances in which people are concerned with their own interests and reasonably good judges of what will serve their interests, their preferences will be reliable indicators of what is good for them. (shrink)
In this book Daniel Wegner offers a novel understanding of the relation of consciousness, the will, and our intentional and voluntary actions. Wegner claims that our experience and common sense view according to which we can influence our behavior roughly the way we experience that we do it is an illusion.
Daniel C. Dennett is a brilliant polemicist, famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies. Over the last thirty years, he has played a major role in expanding our understanding of consciousness, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory. And with such groundbreaking, critically acclaimed books as Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist), he has reached a huge general and professional audience. In this new book, Dennett shows that evolution is the key to resolving the ancient (...) problems of moral and political freedom. Like the planet's atmosphere on which life depends, the conditions on which our freedom depends had to evolve, and like the atmosphere, they continue to evolve-and could be extinguished. According to Dennett, biology provides the perspective from which we can distinguish the varieties of freedom that matter. Throughout the history of life on this planet, an interacting web and internal and external conditions have provided the frameworks for the design of agents that are more free than their parts-from the unwitting gropings of the simplest life forms to the more informed activities of animals to the moral dilemmas that confront human beings living in societies. As in his previous books, Dennett weaves a richly detailed narrative enlivened by analogies as entertaining as they are challenging. Here is the story of how we came to be different from all other creatures, how our early ancestors mindlessly created human culture, and then, how culture gave us our minds, our visions, our moral problems-in a nutshell, our freedom. (shrink)
This essay attempts to distinguish the pressing issues for economists and economic methodologists concerning realism in economics from those issues that are of comparatively slight importance. In particular I shall argue that issues concerning the goals of science are of considerable interest in economics, unlike issues concerning the evidence for claims about unobservables, which have comparatively little relevance. In making this argument, this essay raises doubts about the two programs in contemporary economic methodology that raise the banner of realism. In (...) particular I argue that the banner makes it more difficult to relate the concerns of those who wave it to those of other methodologists. Although this essay argues that many of the debates in this century between scientific realists and their opponents are not relevant to economics, it does not attack scientific realism, and it does not urge economists or economic methodologists to reject it. (shrink)
In this paper on Karl Barth's conception of truth I shall try to state his position regarding the nature of truth and the criterion of truth, and secondly I shall draw from his position some propositions which I believe exhibit a pattern in his theology which brings it into close relationship to a philosophical tradition.
The psychological condition of happiness is normally considered a paradigm subjective good, and is closely associated with subjectivist accounts of well-being. This article argues that the value of happiness is best accounted for by a non-subjectivist approach to welfare: a eudaimonistic account that grounds well-being in the fulfillment of our natures, specifically in self-fulfillment. And self-fulfillment consists partly in authentic happiness. A major reason for this is that happiness, conceived in terms of emotional state, bears a special relationship to the (...) self. These arguments also point to a more sentimentalist approach to well-being than one finds in most contemporary accounts, particularly among Aristotelian forms of eudaimonism. (shrink)
Many libertarians believe that self-ownership is a separate matter from ownership of extra-personal property. “No-proviso” libertarians hold that property ownership should be free of any “fair share” constraints, on the grounds that the inability of the very poor to control property leaves their self-ownership intact. By contrast, left-libertarians hold that while no one need compensate others for owning himself, still property owners must compensate others for owning extra-personal property. What would a “self” have to be for these claims to be (...) true? I argue that both of these camps must conceive of the boundaries of the self as including one's body but no part of the extra-personal world. However, other libertarians draw those boundaries differently, so that self-ownership cannot be separated from the right to control extra-personal property after all. In that case, property ownership must be subject to a fair share constraint, but that constraint does not require appropriators to pay compensation. This view, which I call “right libertarianism,” differs importantly from the other types primarily in its conception of the self, which I argue is independently more plausible. (shrink)
In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of (...) cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. -/- Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic. (shrink)
It is extraordinary, when one thinks about it, how little attention has been paid by theorists of the nature and justification of punishment to the idea that punishment is essentially a matter of self-defense. H. L. A. Hart, for example, in his famous “Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment,” is clearly committed to the view that, at bottom, there are just three directions in which a plausible theory of punishment can go: we can try to justify punishment on purely consequentialist (...) grounds, which for Hart, I think, would be to try to construct a purely utilitarian justification of punishment; we can try to justify punishment on purely retributive grounds; or we can try to justify punishment on grounds that are some sort of shrewd combination of consequentialist and retributive considerations. Entirely absent from Hart's discussion is any consideration of the possibility that punishment might be neither a matter of maximizing the good, nor of exacting retribution for a wrongful act, nor of some imaginative combination of these things, but, rather, of something altogether different from either of them: namely, the exercise of a fundamental right of self-protection. Similarly, but much more recently, R. A. Duff, despite the fact that he himself introduces and defends an extremely interesting fourth possibility, begins his discussion by writing as though, apart from his contribution, there are available to us essentially just the options previously sketched by Hart. Again, there is no mention here, any more than in Hart's or any number of other recent discussions, of the possibility that we might be able to justify the institution of punishment on grounds that are indeed forward-looking, to use Hart's famous term, but that are not at all consequentialist in any ordinary sense of the word. (shrink)
By embodying the hopes of a set of qualitative liberals who believed that postwar economic abundance opened up opportunities for self-development, David Riesman's bestselling The Lonely Crowd influenced the New Left. Yet Riesman's assessment of radical youth protest shifted over the course of the 1960s. As an antinuclear activist he worked closely with New Left leaders during the early 1960s. By the end of the decade, he became a sharp critic of radical protest. However, other leading members of Riesman's circle, (...) such as Kenneth Keniston, author of the influential Young Radicals, applied Riesman's ideas to create more sympathetic understandings of the New Left. Examining reactions to the New Left by Riesman and his associates allows historians to go beyond the common understanding of the key ideological divisions of the 1960s as existing between liberalism and radicalism or between liberalism and conservatism to better appreciate the significance of splits among liberals themselves. (shrink)
Dan Haybron presents an illuminating examination of well-being, drawing on important recent work in the science of happiness. He shows that we are remarkably prone to error in judgements of our own personal welfare, and suggests that we should rethink traditional assumptions about the good life and the good society.
Reasoning about situations we take to be impossible is useful for a variety of theoretical purposes. Furthermore, using a device of impossible worlds when reasoning about the impossible is useful in the same sorts of ways that the device of possible worlds is useful when reasoning about the possible. This paper discusses some of the uses of impossible worlds and argues that commitment to them can and should be had without great metaphysical or logical cost. The paper then provides an (...) account of reasoning with impossible worlds, by treating such reasoning as reasoning employing counterpossible conditionals, and provides a semantics for the proposed treatment. (shrink)
In the last few decades of the twentieth century there was a revolution in metaphysics: the intensional revolution. Many metaphysicians rejected the doctrine, associated with Quine and Davidson, that extensional analyses and theoretical resources were the only acceptable ones. Metaphysicians embraced tools like modal and counterfactual analyses, claims of modal and counterfactual dependence, and entities such as possible worlds and intensionally individuated properties and relations. The twenty-first century is seeing a hypterintensional revolution. Theoretical tools in common use carve more finely (...) than by necessary equivalence: two pieces of language can apply to the same entities across all possible worlds but not be equivalent; thoughts can be necessarily equivalent in truth value but not synonymous. This paper argues that hyperintensional resources are valuable in metaphysics outside theories of representation, and discusses some promising areas of hyperintensional metaphysics. (shrink)
From an early age, humans know a surprising amount about basic physical principles, such as gravity, force, mass, and shape. We can see this in the way that young children play, and manipulate objects around them. The same behaviour has long been observed in primates - chimpanzees have been shown to possess a remarkable ability to make and use simple tools. But what does this tell us about their inner mental state - do they therefore share the same understanding to (...) that of a young child? Do they understand the simple, underlying physical principles involved? Though some people would say that they do, this book reports groundbreaking research that questions whether this really is the case. -/- Folk Physics for Apes challenges the assumptions so often made about apes. It offers us a rare glimpse into the workings of another mind, examining how apes perceive and understand the physical world - an understanding that appears to be both similar to, and yet profoundly different from our own. The book will have broad appeal to evolutionary psychologists, developmental psychologists, and those interested in the sub-disciplines of cognitive science (philosophy, anthropology). The book additionally offers for developmental psychologists some valuable new non-verbal techniques for assessing causal understanding in young children. (shrink)
Objective reasons are given by the facts. Subjective reasons are given by one’s perspective on the facts. Subjective reasons, not objective reasons, determine what it is rational to do. In this paper, I argue against a prominent account of subjective reasons. The problem with that account, I suggest, is that it makes what one has subjective reason to do, and hence what it is rational to do, turn on matters outside or independent of one’s perspective. After explaining and establishing this (...) point, I offer a novel account of subjective reasons which avoids the problem. (shrink)
Claims pertaining to understanding are made in a variety of contexts and ways. As a result, few in the philosophical literature have made an attempt to precisely characterize the state that is y understanding x. This paper builds an account that does just that. The account is motivated by two main observations. First, understanding x is somehow related to being able to manipulate x. Second, understanding is a mental phenomenon, and so what manipulations are required to be an understander must (...) only be mental manipulations. Combining these two insights, the paper builds an account (URM) of understanding as a certain representational capacity—specifically, understanding x involves possessing a representation of x that could be manipulated in useful ways. By tying understanding to representation, the account correctly identifies that understanding is a fundamentally cognitive achievement. However, by also demanding that which representations count as understanding-conferring be determined by their practical effects, URM captures the insight that understanding is vitally connected to practice. URM is fully general, and can apply equally well to understanding states of affairs, understanding events, and even understanding people and works of art. The ultimate test of URM is its applicability in actual scientific and philosophical discourse. To that end the paper discusses the importance of understanding in the philosophy of science, psychology, and computer science. (shrink)
That truth provides the standard for believing appears to be a platitude, one which dovetails with the idea that in some sense belief aims only at the truth. In recent years, however, an increasing number of prominent philosophers have suggested that knowledge provides the standard for believing, and so that belief aims only at knowledge. In this paper, I examine the considerations which have been put forward in support of this suggestion, considerations relating to lottery beliefs, Moorean beliefs, the criticism (...) and defence of belief, and the value of knowledge. I argue that those considerations do not give us reason to give up the truth view in favour of the knowledge view and, moreover, that reflection on those considerations gives us some reason to reject the knowledge view. Thus, I conclude, we can continue to the take the apparent platitude at face value. (shrink)
Participants watched themselves in a mirror while another person behind them, hidden from view, extended hands forward on each side where participants’ hands would normally appear. The hands performed a series of movements. When participants could hear instructions previewing each movement, they reported an enhanced feeling of controlling the hands. Hearing instructions for the movements also enhanced skin conductance responses when a rubber band was snapped on the other’s wrist after the movements. Such vicarious agency was not felt when the (...) instructions followed the movements, and participants’ own covert movement mimicry was not essential to the influence of previews on reported control. (shrink)
Philosophers have found postulating possible worlds to be very useful in a number of areas, including philosophy of language and mind, logic, and metaphysics. Impossible worlds are a natural extension to this use of possible worlds, and can help resolve a number of difficulties thrown up by possible‐worlds frameworks.
We often consciously will our own actions. This experience is so profound that it tempts us to believe that our actions are caused by consciousness. It could also be a trick, however – the mind’s way of estimating its own apparent authorship by drawing causal inferences about relationships between thoughts and actions. Cognitive, social, and neuropsychological studies of apparent mental causation suggest that experiences of conscious will frequently depart from actual causal processes and so might not reﬂect direct perceptions of (...) conscious thought causing action. (shrink)
Many philosophers hold that a general norm of truth governs the attitude of believing. In a recent and influential discussion, Krister Bykvist and Anandi Hattiangadi raise a number of serious objections to this view. In this paper, I concede that Bykvist and Hattiangadi's criticisms might be effective against the formulation of the norm of truth that they consider, but suggest that an alternative is available. After outlining that alternative, I argue that it is not vulnerable to objections parallel to those (...) Bykvist and Hattiangadi advance, although it might initially appear to be. In closing, I consider what bearing the preceding discussion has on important questions concerning the natures of believing and of truth. (shrink)
In the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals' Kant is explicit, sometimes to the point of peevishness, in denying anthropology and psychology any part or place in his moral science. Recognizing that this will strike many as counterintuitive he is unrepentant: ‘We require no skill to make ourselves intelligible to the multitude once we renounce all profundity of thought’. That the doctrine to be defended is not exemplified in daily experience or even in imaginable encounters is necessitated by the very (...) nature of morality which cannot be served worse ‘… than by seeking to derive it from examples’. Thus, the project of the moral philosopher begins with the recognition that the moral realm is not mapped by anthropological data and does not get its content therefrom. Rather, moral philosophy must be ‘completely cleansed’ of everything that is appropriate to anthropology. (shrink)
Mechanistic explanation has an impressive track record of advancing our understanding of complex, hierarchically organized physical systems, particularly biological and neural systems. But not every complex system can be understood mechanistically. Psychological capacities are often understood by providing cognitive models of the systems that underlie them. I argue that these models, while superficially similar to mechanistic models, in fact have a substantially more complex relation to the real underlying system. They are typically constructed using a range of techniques for abstracting (...) the functional properties of the system, which may not coincide with its mechanistic organization. I describe these techniques and show that despite being non-mechanistic, these cognitive models can satisfy the normative constraints on good explanations. (shrink)
A normative reason for a person to? is a consideration which favours?ing. A motivating reason is a reason for which or on the basis of which a person?s. This paper explores a connection between normative and motivating reasons. More specifically, it explores the idea that there are second-order normative reasons to? for or on the basis of certain first-order normative reasons. In this paper, I challenge the view that there are second-order reasons so understood. I then show that prominent views (...) in contemporary epistemology are committed to the existence of second-order reasons, specifically, views about the epistemic norms governing practical reasoning and about the role of higher-order evidence. If there are no second-order reasons, those views are mistaken. (shrink)
Theorists are converging from quite different quarters on a version of the global neuronal workspace model of consciousness, but there are residual confusions to be dissolved. In particular, theorists must resist the temptation to see global accessibility as the cause of consciousness (as if consciousness were some other, further condition); rather, it is consciousness. A useful metaphor for keeping this elusive idea in focus is that consciousness is rather like fame in the brain. It is not a privileged medium of (...) representation, or an added property some states have; it is the very mutual accessibility that gives some informational states the powers that come with a subject's consciousness of that information. Like fame, consciousness is not a momentary condition, or a purely dispositional state, but rather a matter of actual influence over time. Theorists who take on the task of accounting for the aftermath that is critical for consciousness often appear to be leaving out the Subject of consciousness, when in fact they are providing an analysis of the Subject, a necessary component in any serious theory of consciousness. (shrink)
The literature on conscience in medicine has paid little attention to what is meant by the word ‘conscience.’ This article distinguishes between retrospective and prospective conscience, distinguishes synderesis from conscience, and argues against intuitionist views of conscience. Conscience is defined as having two interrelated parts: (1) a commitment to morality itself; to acting and choosing morally according to the best of one’s ability, and (2) the activity of judging that an act one has done or about which one is deliberating (...) would violate that commitment. Tolerance is defined as mutual respect for conscience. A set of boundary conditions for justifiable respect for conscientious objection in medicine is proposed. (shrink)
Traditionally, theories of concepts in psychology assume that concepts are a single, uniform kind of mental representation. But no single kind of representation can explain all of the empirical data for which concepts are responsible. I argue that the assumption that concepts are uniformly the same kind of mental structure is responsible for these theories’ shortcomings, and outline a pluralist theory of concepts that rejects this assumption. On pluralism, concepts should be thought of as being constituted by multiple representational kinds, (...) with the particular kind of concept used on an occasion being determined by the context. I argue that endorsing pluralism does not lead to eliminativism about concepts as an object of scientific interest. (shrink)
Daniel Sutherland - Kant on Arithmetic, Algebra, and the Theory of Proportions - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.4 533-558 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Kant on Arithmetic, Algebra, and the Theory of Proportions Daniel Sutherland Kant's philosophy of mathematics has both enthralled and exercised philosophers since the appearance of the Critique of Pure Reason. Neither the Critique nor any other work provides a sustained and focused account of his (...) mature views on mathematical cognition, forcing readers to glean what they can from disparate contexts. Despite these hurdles, Kant's views have been of great interest to philosophers of mathematics. They have also been of interest to philosophers wishing to understand Kant's philosophy more generally, since Kant maintains that mathematical judgments are synthetic a priori and that the type of synthesis underlying mathematics is the same as that underlying the perception of objects . Our understanding of Kant's views has been greatly improved during the last four decades by work on Kant's philosophy of mathematics. Despite these advances, however, I think the recent work has largely neglected the importance of Kant's theory of magnitudes and the extent to which that theory is influenced by the Eudoxian theory of proportions presented in Euclid's Elements. As a consequence, an important feature of Kant's.. (shrink)
This essay seeks to provide a justification for the ‘egalitarian authority claim’, according to which citizens of democratic states have a moral duty to obey (at least some) democratically made laws because they are the outcome of an egalitarian procedure. It begins by considering two prominent arguments that link democratic authority to a concern for equality. Both are ultimately unsuccessful; but their failures are instructive, and help identify the conditions that a plausible defense of the egalitarian authority claim must meet. (...) The first argument (discussed in Section II, after Section I clarifies what authority and democracy are taken to consist in) appeals to the simple idea that fairness disallows granting ourselves special privileges that we deny to others; and it suggests that fairness thus requires obeying democratic decisions rather than acting on our own judgment of the right policy. I show that this argument fails; and its failure indicates that we must invoke a less formal, more substantive understanding of equality to justify democratic authority. The second argument, recently suggested by Thomas Christiano, does just that. Democratic authority is, on this account, not justified by the formal demand for equal treatment but by the distinctive value of showing public equal respect to our fellow citizens. Such public equal respect requires treating as authoritative the democratic decisions in which citizens had an equal say. This argument does not, however, succeed in its goal either. While it plausibly establishes the value of democratic institutions, it does not provide grounds for a duty to obey democratic decisions (Section III). This essay thus develops an alternative argument, according to which egalitarian procedures have authority because, by obeying them, we can avoid acting on certain considerations that must be excluded from our intrinsically valuable egalitarian relationships. The authority of democratic decisions rests on the egalitarian fact that none of us has more of a say than any other, not on the further fact (crucial to the previous argument) that each of us has a positive say (Sections IV and V). The argument in turn helps us understand the limits of democratic authority: it is constrained not only by a demand for equality, and by considerations of justice, but also by a requirement of mutual concern without which our egalitarian relationships lack their distinctive value (Section VI). (shrink)
In this paper, I defend against a number of criticisms an account of slurs, according to which the same semantic content is expressed in the use of a slur as is expressed in the use of its neutral counterpart, while in addition the use of a slur conventionally implicates a negative, derogatory attitude. Along the way, I criticise competing accounts of the semantics and pragmatics of slurs, namely, Hom's 'combinatorial externalism' and Anderson and Lepore's 'prohibitionism'.
For one with libertarian sympathies, the official regulation of foods and drugs is presumptively a bad thing. One is most accustomed to seeing the argument in debates about legalizing marijuana and other hedonic drugs. And it remains a very good if by now well-trafficked question, which will be more well-trafficked still by the time this essay ends, why government should be in the business of telling people what sorts of chemical moodenhancers they may take. But as the criminologist James Jacobs (...) has pointed out, to ask this question is to put in play matters far larger and more important than marijuana. What business is it of government to say what medicines may be sold and by whom they may be sold? Why should certain chemical agents be available to willing buyers only with a doctor's scrip, and other agents, such as unproved drugs or devices, forbidden to all, even with medical permission? If libertarians answer these questions impatiently, then admirers of the administrative welfare state will be happy to play rope-a-dope with them, chattering on about the endearing eccentricities of libertarians' assumptions and avoiding the challenge to articulate and defend their own increasingly shabby-looking principles. Those principles are much in need of defense. Food and drug laws are among the most well-established offices of regulatory government. They are complicated, hypertechnical, mysterious, and expensive to administer and maintain. One is entitled to suspect that a number of them are carried on more out of habit and routine than out of any authentic conviction that they are the best way, or among the better ways, to provide for the welfare of citizens. (shrink)
On pourrait résumer de la manière suivante le problème originel auquel Jacques veut se confronter dans son dernier livre: est-il possible de former une «pensée de la différence commune» qui, tout en étant respectueuse des valeurs propres à l’universalisme et à l’individualisme moderne, justifierait au plan philosophique le bien-fondé d’une défense de la nation? Ce problème originel, on le trouvait déjà formulé dans le premier ouvrage de Jacques: «La tâche la plus urgente qui s’impose aujourd’hui consiste peut-être à définir une (...) culture moderne qui, dans le respect de la liberté, permette un certain partage de sens durable». Si l’on prend le terme liberté comme synonyme de modernité et l’expression «partage de sens durable» comme synonyme de nationalité, on est là en présence de la «tension première» qui, de l’aveu même de Jacques, est à l’origine de Nationalité et modernité. La formulation originelle du problème engage déjà beaucoup: au départ il y a une vision de ce qu’est la modernité et de son effet dans l’histoire; ensuite, il y a un jugement porté sur l’ensemble du projet moderne; enfin, il y a une proposition politique formulée à la lumière de l’analyse précédente. L’une des difficultés de l’interprétation de Jacques réside dans le fait que sa pensée se déplace simultanément sur tous ces plans. Pour simplifier la tâche d’analyse de cette pensée, on pourrait avancer que Jacques veut à la fois présenter une anthropologie philosophique et une justification historique de cette anthropologie. Nous entendons ici par anthropologie philosophique, une conception spécifique de la nature humaine qui répond aux questions générales: «qu’est-ce que le bien humain?», «qu’est-ce que l’ordre politique juste?», «quelle est la nature de la liberté politique?», et autres questions de même nature. Cette anthropologie philosophique qui constitue l’épine dorsale de la pensée de Jacques, comme d’ailleurs de toute philosophie politique véritable, ne se laisse dégager qu’à l’occasion d’une opération de désenchevêtrement. Dans son premier ouvrage, elle était en filigrane de sa reconstruction de l’histoire de la culture politique québécoise. Dans Nationalité et modernité, elle constitue le sous-texte d’une ambitieuse reconstitution de l’histoire de la modernité qui prend comme fil conducteur l’histoire de la pensée politique moderne. Nous ne pourrons malheureusement pas dans le cadre de cette étude faire l’analyse exhaustive du récit de la modernité offert par Jacques. Nous nous contenterons d’en faire ressortir certains éléments utiles à la compréhension de son anthropologie et de ses liens à la problématique centrale du livre. (shrink)
An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
Meaning, according to a significant number of philosophers, is an intrinsically normative notion.1 For this reason, it is suggested, meaning is not conducive to a naturalistic explanation. In this paper, I shall not address whether this is indeed so. Nor shall I present arguments in support of the normativity thesis (see Glock 2005; Kripke 1982). Instead, I shall examine and respond to two forceful objections recently (and independently) raised against it by Boghossian (2005), Hattiangadi (2006) and Miller (2006). Although I (...) shall argue that the objections are unsuccessful, they are worth attending to, not only because the normativity thesis is so widely accepted and is thought to have such ramifications but, most importantly, because doing so offers the opportunity to help clarify how it is to be understood. (shrink)
The view that truth is the norm of assertion has fallen out of fashion. The recent trend has been to think that knowledge is the norm of assertion. Objections to the knowledge view proceed almost exclusively by appeal to alleged counterexamples. While it no doubt has a role to play, such a strategy relies on intuitions concerning hypothetical cases, intuitions which might not be shared and which might shift depending on how the relevant cases are fleshed out. In this paper, (...) I reject the knowledge view on principled grounds. More specifically, by appeal to a principle which is motivated independently of the debate over the norms of assertion and which is already accepted by many proponents of the knowledge view, I show the knowledge view to be false while simultaneously accounting for why it might seem to be true. In doing so, I provide a novel defence of the unfashionable truth view. (shrink)