The doctrine of the communication of natures has played a primarily descriptive role in the history of Christology, and so it is perhaps unsurprising that it has largely gone missing from contemporary theology. This is a serious oversight. But Karl Barth is a noteworthy exception to the reductionist trend, and he provides the Reformed tradition's most complete and substantive engagement with the communication of natures and its implications for dogmatic theology. Through a close reading of volume IV/2 of the Church (...) Dogmatics , this essay considers Karl Barth's vital emphasis upon the communicatio naturarum and the role it plays in his actualist Christology. Barth demonstrates that the traditional threefold communication (of attributes, graces, and operations) has material as well as formal importance. According to Barth, we see in Christ not the mere coincidence of two natures, nor an interpenetration, nor the transformation of one into the other – but mutual operation and interpretation, where divinity and humanity each acquires and has its determination in the other. (shrink)
In writing 'How to Disagree', Ferner and Chetty aim to bring to light those assumptions we make about the world, its structure and the lived reality of what we assume to be real, in order to see how these assumptions affect the ways we engage with each other. It is a fascinating endeavour and very well done through this thoughtful text. 'How to Disagree' is part of the 'Build and Become' series, a community of texts adopting a particular shared approach (...) to enacting their commitment to ‘building knowledge that helps you navigate your world’. The emphasis, as reiterated by the authors, is on finding enjoyment in thinking and talking about difference. (shrink)
What if you could, like a diamond forged through heat and pressure, transform every painful, scary, and stressful experience in your life into one that is meaningful, courageous, and inspiring? What if you were provided with the tools that allow you to tap and manifest the true power that exists within you--the power to shine? Are you ready to discover your path to peace? In this fascinating book, Dr. Darren Weissman shares ancient spiritual wisdom fused with a modern-day understanding (...) of the mind's relationship to biology and behavior that has implications not only for your health, but for the well-being of the entire planet. You'll learn how to use The LifeLine Technique Ô --a philosophy and technology for awakening your infinite potential for healing and wholeness--and share the experiences of scores of people whose lives have been forever changed as a result. Conscious visionaries pronounced more than 40 years ago that the road to peace is paved with the power of love. Dr. Weissman's book provides the steps you can use to learn to walk that path, and it will help you understand why it is your moral imperative to choose love over fear. (shrink)
The importance of research on the notion of trust has grown considerably in the social sciences over the last three decades. Much has been said about the decline of political trust in democracies and intense debates have occurred about the nature and complexity of the relationship between trust and democracy. Political trust is usually understood as trust in political institutions, trust between citizens, and to a lesser extent, trust between groups. However, the literature on trust has given no special attention (...) to the issue of trust between minority and majority nations in multinational democracies – countries that are not only multicultural but also constitutional associations containing two or more nations or peoples whose members claim to be self-governing and have the right of self-determination. This volume, part of the work of the Groupe de recherche sur les sociétés plurinationales, is a comparative study of trust, distrust, and mistrust in multinational democracies, centring on Canada, Belgium, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Beliefs, attitudes, practices, and relations of trust, distrust, and mistrust are studied as situated, interacting, and coexisting phenomena that change over time and space. Contributors include Dario Castiglione, Jérôme Couture, Kris Deschouwer, Jean Leclair, Patti Tamara Lenard, Niels Morsink, Geneviève Nootens, Darren O’Toole, Alexandre Pelletier, Réjean Pelletier, Philip Resnick, David Robichaud, Peter Russell, Richard Simeon, Dave Sinardet, and Jeremy Webber. (shrink)
Books reviewed in this article: Roger Crisp and Brad Hooker (eds), Well–being and Morality: essays in honour of James Griffin James Griffin, Value Judgement John O’Neill, The Market: ethics, knowledge and politics E. F. Paul, F. D. Miller and J. Paul (eds), Human Flourishing Joseph Raz, Engaging Reason L. W. Sumner, Welfare, Happiness and Ethics.
Moral philosophers agree that welfare matters. But they disagree about what it is, or how much it matters. In this vital new work, Wayne Sumner presents an original theory of welfare, investigating its nature and discussing its importance. He considers and rejects all notable theories of welfare, both objective and subjective, including hedonism and theories founded on desire or preference. His own theory connects welfare closely with happiness or life satisfaction. Reacting against the value pluralism that currently dominates moral (...) philosophy, he advances welfare as the only basic ethical value. He concludes by discussing the implications of this thesis for ethical and political theory. Written in clear, non-technical language, and including a definitive survey of other work in this area, Sumner's book is essential reading for moral philosophers, political theorists, and welfare economists. (shrink)
Suppose that the ultimate point of ethics is to make the world a better place. If it is, we must face the question: better in what respect? If the good is prior to the right — that is, if the rationale for all requirements of the right is that they serve to further the good in one way or another — then what is this good? Is there a single fundamental value capable of underlying and unifying all of our moral (...) categories? If so, how might it defeat the claims of rival candidates for this role? If not, is there instead a plurality of basic goods, each irreducible to any of the others? In that case, how do they fit together into a unified picture of the moral life? These are the questions I wish to address, in a necessarily limited way. To many the questions will seem hopelessly old-fashioned or misguided. Some deontologists will wish to reverse my ordering of the good and the right, holding that the right constrains acceptable conceptions of the good. For many contractarians, neither the good nor the right will seem normatively basic, since both are to be derived from a prior conception of rationality. Finally, some theorists will reject the classification of moral theories in terms of their basic normative categories, arguing that the whole foundationalist enterprise in ethics should be abandoned. In the face of these challenges to the priority of the good, and in light of the many current varieties of moral skepticism and relativism, I cannot provide a very convincing justification for raising the questions I intend to discuss. (shrink)
If I lead a life of virtue, that may well be good for you. But will it also be good for me? The idea that it will—or even must—is an ancient one, and its appeal runs deep. For if this idea is correct then we can provide everyone with a good reason—arguably the best reason—for being virtuous. However, for all the effort which has been invested in defending the idea, by some of the best minds in the history of philosophy, (...) it remains unproven. Worse, in this skeptical age hardly anyone really believes it. I don't really believe it either, at least not in its strongest forms, but I think that the question is nonetheless worth examining. Even if we cannot show that virtue and self-interest coincide, we can at least measure the breadth of the gap between them. (shrink)
What does it mean for someone to have a moral right to something? What kinds of creatures can have rights, and which rights can they have? While rights are indispensable to our moral and political thinking, they are also mysterious and controversial; as long as these controversies remain unsolved, rights will remain vulnerable to skepticism. Here, Sumner constructs both a coherent concept of a moral right and a workable substantive theory of rights to provide the moral foundation necessary to (...) dispel such doubts. (shrink)
What if your peers tell you that you should disregard your perceptions? Worse, what if your peers tell you to disregard the testimony of your peers? How should we respond if we get evidence that seems to undermine our epistemic rules? Several philosophers have argued that some epistemic rules are indefeasible. I will argue that all epistemic rules are defeasible. The result is a kind of epistemic particularism, according to which there are no simple rules connecting descriptive and normative facts. (...) I will argue that this type of particularism is more plausible in epistemology than in ethics. The result is an unwieldy and possibly infinitely long epistemic rule — an Uber-rule. I will argue that the Uber-rule applies to all agents, but is still defeasible — one may get misleading evidence against it and rationally lower one’s credence in it. (shrink)
Despite being co-opted by economists and politicians for their own purposes, ‘welfare’ traditionally refers to well-being, and it is in this sense that L. W. Sumner understands the term. His book is a clear, careful, and well-crafted investigation into major theories of welfare, accompanied by a one-chapter defense of “welfarism,” the view that welfare is the only foundational value necessary for ethics. Sumner himself is attracted to utilitarianism, but he makes no commitment to it in this work, which (...) will be of interest to many moral philosophers. (shrink)
The Protein Ontology (PRO) provides a formal, logically-based classification of specific protein classes including structured representations of protein isoforms, variants and modified forms. Initially focused on proteins found in human, mouse and Escherichia coli, PRO now includes representations of protein complexes. The PRO Consortium works in concert with the developers of other biomedical ontologies and protein knowledge bases to provide the ability to formally organize and integrate representations of precise protein forms so as to enhance accessibility to results of protein (...) research. PRO (http://pir.georgetown.edu/pro) is part of the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry. (shrink)
Sometimes we learn what the world is like, and sometimes we learn where in the world we are. Are there any interesting differences between the two kinds of cases? The main aim of this article is to argue that learning where we are in the world brings into view the same kind of observation selection effects that operate when sampling from a population. I will first explain what observation selection effects are ( Section 1 ) and how they are relevant (...) to learning where we are in the world ( Section 2 ). I will show how measurements in the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics can be understood as learning where you are in the world via some observation selection effect ( Section 3 ). I will apply a similar argument to the Sleeping Beauty Problem ( Section 4 ) and explain what I take the significance of the analogy to be ( Section 5 ). Finally, I will defend the Restricted Principle of Indifference on which some of my arguments depend ( Section 6 ). (shrink)
Many epistemological problems can be solved by the objective Bayesian view that there are rationality constraints on priors, that is, inductive probabilities. But attempts to work out these constraints have run into such serious problems that many have rejected objective Bayesianism altogether. I argue that the epistemologist should borrow the metaphysician’s concept of naturalness and assign higher priors to more natural hypotheses.
The fine-tuning argument can be used to support the Many Universe hypothesis. The Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy objection seeks to undercut the support for the Many Universe hypothesis. The objection is that although the evidence that there is life somewhere confirms Many Universes, the specific evidence that there is life in this universe does not. I will argue that the Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy is not committed by the fine-tuning argument. The key issue is the procedure by which the universe with life (...) is selected for observation. Once we take account of the procedure, we find that the support for the Many Universe hypothesis remains. (shrink)
In a recent book, Wayne Sumner gives a lucid and very thorough treatment of the standard accounts of well-being. While his criticisms of hedonism and objectivism are convincing, his objections to preferentialism are less so. He argues that preferentialism is seriously mistaken, for preference satisfaction is neither sufficient nor necessary for well-being. In this paper, I show that Sumner’s arguments do not support this conclusion. In particular, I show that some of his main criticisms are based on a (...) straw man conception of well-being preferentialism. I discuss this conception in the second section of this paper. In the third section, I deal with his criticism of the sufficiency claim. I show that his criticisms can be met by adopting a personal restriction that excludes preferences that do not involve the preferrer and his life. Finally, in the fourth section, I turn to his criticism of the necessity claim. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the notion of ‘reasonableness’ that is, for many, at the heart of the Philosophy for Children approach particularly and education for democratic citizenship more broadly, is constituted within the epistemology of ‘white ignorance’ and operates in such a way that it is unlikely to transgress the boundaries of white ignorance so as to view it from without. Drawing on scholarship in critical legal studies and social epistemology, I highlight how notions of reasonableness often include (...) consensus, ‘racialised common sense’ and the ‘typical’ view. In addition the promotion of particular dispositions on the grounds of ‘reasonableness’ both promotes stability and limits how one may think otherwise. Thus, P4C practices that fail to historicise, examine and challenge prevailing notions of reasonableness establish an epistemically ‘gated’ community of inquiry. (shrink)
How do temporal and eternal beliefs interact? I argue that acquiring a temporal belief should have no effect on eternal beliefs for an important range of cases. Thus, I oppose the popular view that new norms of belief change must be introduced for cases where the only change is the passing of time. I defend this position from the purported counter-examples of the Prisoner and Sleeping Beauty. I distinguish two importantly different ways in which temporal beliefs can be acquired and (...) draw some general conclusions about their impact on eternal beliefs. (shrink)
Hoping is an integral part of what it is to be human, and its significance for education has been widely noted. Hope is, however, a contested category of human experience and getting to grips with its characteristics and dynamics is a difficult task. The paper argues that hope is not a singular undifferentiated experience and is best understood as a socially mediated human capacity with varying affective, cognitive and behavioural dimensions. Drawing on the philosophy, theology and psychology of hope, five (...) modes of hoping are outlined: patient, critical, sound, resolute and transformative. The key aim of the paper is to illustrate how different modes of hoping are associated with different pedagogical strategies. Phrased differently, the paper seeks to delineate a range of pedagogies of hope. The phrase ‘pedagogy of hope’ is very much associated with critical theory—one thinks instantly of, for example, Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux or bell hooks. There are many pedagogies of hope, however, and an explicitly conservative text such as William Bennett’s Book of Virtues has as strong a claim to the title as Freire’s radical and utopian ideas. A broader argument, therefore, is that there is nothing inherently radical or subversive about a pedagogy of hope. Pedagogies of hope can serve to reproduce social relations as well as to transform them. (shrink)
If an agent believes that the probability of E being true is 1/2, should she accept a bet on E at even odds or better? Yes, but only given certain conditions. This paper is about what those conditions are. In particular, we think that there is a condition that has been overlooked so far in the literature. We discovered it in response to a paper by Hitchcock (2004) in which he argues for the 1/3 answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem. (...) Hitchcock argues that this credence follows from calculating her fair betting odds, plus the assumption that Sleeping Beauty’s credences should track her fair betting odds. We will show that this last assumption is false. Sleeping Beauty’s credences should not follow her fair betting odds due to a peculiar feature of her epistemic situation. (shrink)
The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
Whilst continuing racism is often invoked as evidence of the urgent need for Philosophy for Children, there is little in the current literature that addresses the topic. Drawing on Critical Race Theory and the related field of Critical Whiteness Studies , I argue that racism is deeply ingrained culturally in society, and best understood in the context of ‘Whiteness’. Following a CRT-informed analysis of two picturebooks that have been recommended as starting points for philosophical enquiry into multiculturalism, racism and diversity (...) – ‘Elmer’ and ‘Tusk Tusk’ by David McKee, I argue that whilst the use of stories with animals is commonly regarded as offering children the comfort of distance from emotionally challenging topics, this has the effect of separating racism from its temporal and spatial realities, which limits rather than enhances opportunities for engaging philosophically with it. I argue in favour of the practice of ‘reading against the text’ and consider the epistemological and practical obstacles to this practice drawing on my own experiences discussing race with P4C practitioners in the UK. I attempt to illustrate how the selection of recommended materials, combined with commonly held principles of P4C, make for a climate where a philosophical engagement with race and racism that considers the discourse of ‘Whiteness’ is highly unlikely to occur. This leads me to posit the idea of The Gated Community of Enquiry. (shrink)
Biomedical ontologies are emerging as critical tools in genomic and proteomic research where complex data in disparate resources need to be integrated. A number of ontologies exist that describe the properties that can be attributed to proteins; for example, protein functions are described by Gene Ontology, while human diseases are described by Disease Ontology. There is, however, a gap in the current set of ontologies—one that describes the protein entities themselves and their relationships. We have designed a PRotein Ontology (PRO) (...) to facilitate protein annotation and to guide new experiments. The components of PRO extend from the classification of proteins on the basis of evolutionary relationships to the representation of the multiple protein forms of a gene (products generated by genetic variation, alternative splicing, proteolytic cleavage, and other post-translational modification). PRO will allow the specification of relationships between PRO, GO and other OBO Foundry ontologies. Here we describe the initial development of PRO, illustrated using human proteins from the TGF-beta signaling pathway. (shrink)
Should philosophers prefer simpler theories? Huemer (Philos Q 59:216–236, 2009) argues that the reasons to prefer simpler theories in science do not apply in philosophy. I will argue that Huemer is mistaken—the arguments he marshals for preferring simpler theories in science can also be applied in philosophy. Like Huemer, I will focus on the philosophy of mind and the nominalism/Platonism debate. But I want to engage with the broader issue of whether simplicity is relevant to philosophy.
Theories of spatial cognition are derived from many sources. Psychologists are concerned with determining the features of the mind which, in combination with external inputs, produce our spatialized experience. A review of philosophical and other approaches has convinced us that the brain must come equipped to impose a three-dimensional Euclidean framework on experience – our analysis suggests that object re-identification may require such a framework. We identify this absolute, nonegocentric, spatial framework with a specific neural system centered in the hippocampus.A (...) consideration of the kinds of behaviours in which such a spatial mapping system would be important is followed by an analysis of the anatomy and physiology of this system, with special emphasis on the place-coded neurons recorded in the hippocampus of freely moving rats. A tentative physiological model for the hippocampal cognitive map is proposed. A review of lesion studies, in tasks as diverse as discrimination learning, avoidance, and extinction, shows that the cognitive map notion can adequately explain much of the data.The model is extended to humans by the assumption that spatial maps are built in one hemisphere, semantic maps in the other. The latter provide a semantic deep structure within which discourse comprehension and production can be achieved. Evidence from the study of amnesic patients, briefly reviewed, is consistent with this extension. (shrink)
Recent years have witnessed a renewed interest in utopianism within educational theory. In this essay, Darren Webb explores the utopian pedagogy of Paulo Freire in the context of what one commentator has dubbed “the educational comeback of utopia.” Webb argues that Freire's significance lies in the way he embraced both “utopia as process” and “utopia as system.” This is significant because the contemporary rejuvenation of utopianism has extended only so far, embracing utopia conceived as an open‐ended process of becoming (...) but shying away from utopia conceived as the delineation of a normative vision to be struggled for and won. Webb outlines the pedagogical operation of utopia as process, cognitive‐affective orientation, and system, and he argues that Freire was right in insisting that each is constitutive of effective educational practice. (shrink)
What does logic tells us how about we ought to reason? If P entails Q, and you believe P, should you believe Q? There seem to be cases where you should not, for example, if you have evidence against Q, or the inference is not worth making. So we need a theory telling us when an inference ought to be made, and when not. I will argue that we should embed the issue in an independently motivated contextualist semantics for ‘ought’. (...) With the contextualist machinery in hand we can give a theory of when inferences should be made and when not. (shrink)
There is a widely shared belief that the higher-level sciences can provide better explanations than lower-level sciences. But there is little agreement about exactly why this is so. It is often suggested that higher-level explanations are better because they omit details. I will argue instead that the preference for higher-level explanations is just a special case of our general preference for informative, logically strong, beliefs. I argue that our preference for informative beliefs entirely accounts for why higher-level explanations are sometimes (...) better—and sometimes worse—than lower-level explanations. The result is a step in the direction of the unity of science hypothesis. 1Introduction2Background: Is Omitting Details an Explanatory Virtue? 2.1Anti-reductionist arguments2.2Reductionist argument2.3Logical strength3Bases, Links and Logical Strength4Functionalism and Fodor’s Argument5Two Generalizations6Should the Base Really Be Maximally Strong?7Anti-reductionist Arguments Regarding the Base8Should the Antecedent of the Link Really Be Maximally Weak? (shrink)
Large prospective biobanks are being established containing DNA, lifestyle and health information in order to study the relationship between diseases, genes and environment. Informed consent is a central component of research ethics protection. Disclosure of information about the research is an essential element of seeking informed consent. Within biobanks, it is not possible at recruitment to describe in detail the information that will subsequently be collected because people will not know which disease they will develop. It will also be difficult (...) to describe the specific research that will be performed using the biobank, other than to stipulate categories of research or diseases that are not included. Potential subjects can only be given information about the sorts of research that will be performed and by whom. Organisations responsible for biobanks usually argue that this disclosure of information is adequate when seeking informed consent, especially if coupled with a right to withdraw, as it would not be feasible or it would be too expensive to seek consent renewal on a regular basis. However, there are concerns about this ‘blanket consent’ approach’. Consent waivers have also been proposed in which research subjects entrust their consent with an independent third party to decide whether subsequent research using the biobank is consistent with the original consent provided by the subject. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that whether or not a computer can be built that passes the Turing test is a central question in the philosophy of mind. Then I show that the possibility of building such a computer depends on open questions in the philosophy of computer science: the physical Church-Turing thesis and the extended Church-Turing thesis. I use the link between the issues identified in philosophy of mind and philosophy of computer science to respond to a prominent argument (...) against the possibility of building a machine that passes the Turing test. Finally, I respond to objections against the proposed link between questions in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of computer science. (shrink)
Many who take a dismissive attitude towards metaphysics trace their view back to Carnap’s ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’. But the reason Carnap takes a dismissive attitude to metaphysics is a matter of controversy. I will argue that no reason is given in ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’, and this is because his reason for rejecting metaphysical debates was given in ‘Pseudo-Problems in Philosophy’. The argument there assumes verificationism, but I will argue that his argument survives the rejection of verificationism. The root (...) of his argument is the claim that metaphysical statements cannot be justified; the point is epistemic, not semantic. I will argue that this remains a powerful challenge to metaphysics that has yet to be adequately answered. (shrink)