The term probability can be used in two main senses. In the frequency interpretation it is a limiting ratio in a sequence of repeatable events. In the Bayesian view, probability is a mental construct representing uncertainty. This 2002 book is about these two types of probability and investigates how, despite being adopted by scientists and statisticians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Bayesianism was discredited as a theory of scientific inference during the 1920s and 1930s. Through the examination of a (...) dispute between two British scientists, the author argues that a choice between the two interpretations is not forced by pure logic or the mathematics of the situation, but depends on the experiences and aims of the individuals involved. The book should be of interest to students and scientists interested in statistics and probability theories and to general readers with an interest in the history, sociology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
In this volume of Leys Lectures, the third collection of Wayne Leys Memorial Lectures, six distinguished essayists demonstrate the relevance of ethics to contemporary concerns by constructively exploring major ethical issues deeply embedded in our society. The essays, written by noted scholars Tom Regan, Carol C. Gould, James Rachels, James P. Sterba, Louis P. Pojman, and David L. Norton, focus on issues of feminism, the exploitation of animals, economic injustice, racial prejudice, naive moral relativism, and the failure of public (...) education. _Tom Regan_ and _Louis P. Pojman_ both address the issue of animal rights. Regan directs his attention to an ethic-of-care feminism, which contends that the ideology of male superiority—not only to women but to all creatures—must be destroyed. By means of a "consistency argument," he extends ethic-of-care feminism to the treatment of animals, insisting that we must not permit to be done to animals "in the name of science" what we would not allow to be done to human beings. Pojman, on the other hand, addresses the question of animal rights through a critical analysis of seven theories of the moral status of animals, arguing that while animals have no natural "rights" since they are unable to enter into contracts, they do deserve to be treated kindly. In his view, much animal research could be abandoned without significant loss. What rethinking of democracy in terms of freedom and equality is required by economic justice? _Carol C. Gould_ offers an answer to this question by arguing that economic justice requires that workers control the production process as well as the distribution process. Such justice would provide the basis of "positive freedom" as self-development without ignoring the importance of the absence of constraints. Taking racial prejudice as his paradigm, _James Rachels_ explores the deeper meaning of prejudice and what equality of treatment involves. Noting the subtlety of prejudicial reasoning, he examines how stereotypes, unconscious bias, and the human tendency toward rationalization make it difficult even for people of good will to prevent prejudice from influencing their actions. _James P. Sterba_ invites the reader to consider a different and more general problem of how to persuade people to act for moral reasons. To accomplish this aim he shows morality to be a requirement of rationality and "the welfare liberal ideal" to be a fusion of the practical ends of five ideals—liberty, fairness, common good, androgyny, and equality. For _David L. Norton_, one of our most pressing problems is the failure of our educational system. The system fails to enable students to make wise "life-shaping" choices involving vocation, marriage, children, and friendship. In order to make good choices, human beings must live and work in an environment that provides experiences that authenticate "personal truths" indispensable to worthy living. These personal truths include direct acquaintance with vocational alternatives and participation in actual service to others. Collectively, these essays bring into sharp focus the urgent moral issues confronting our society and the need for ongoing discussion and examination of these issues in order to gain deeper understanding of and possible solutions to the problems they present. (shrink)
According to John Howie, who compiled these first six annual Wayne Leys Memorial Lectures, “These essays invite the reader to discover the relevance of clearly stated, balanced, and reasonable ethical principles to controversial issues of our time.” Although the essays are indeed clearly stated, balanced, and reasonable, it is unlikely the book’s purchasers will be discovering for the first time that philosophy has something to say about social issues. But an anthology such as this will be bought and appreciated (...) by scholars interested in reading some fairly recent work by six major contemporary American figures in the field of philosophical ethics. (shrink)
Philosophers can learn a lot about scientific methodology when great scientists square off to debate the foundations of their discipline. The Leibniz/newton controversy over the nature of physical space and the Einstein/bohr exchanges over quantum theory provide paradigm examples of this phenomenon. DavidHowie’s splendid recent book describes another philosophically laden dispute of this sort. Throughout the 1930s, R. A. Fisher and Harold Jeffries squabbled over the methodology for the nascent discipline of statistics. Their debate has come to (...) symbolize the controversy between the “frequentist” and “Bayesian” schools of statistical thought. Though much has been written about the Fisher/jeffreys exchange, Howie’s book is now the definitive treatment of the subject. Though billed as a piece of history of science, it brims with philosophical insights. (shrink)
This edition presents a letter from Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus to Karl Joseph Hieronymus Windischmann, dated 13 February 1804, in which Paulus thanks Windischmann for his translation of Plato, discuses philosophy, and mentions the pending appointment of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher.
Between 1825 and 1895, Victorian Britain witnessed a significant blossoming of interest in foreign theological literature. Much of this interest, together with a concomitant anxiety, focused on the negotiation of German biblical criticism and the new challenges and possibilities this criticism introduced. This article thematizes this transnational literary and theological encounter, paying particular attention both to the major book series that undertook to mediate criticism to Britain, and to the burgeoning periodical literature that supplied ’foreign intelligence’ and short translations. Translation (...) served as both a liberalizing force as it introduced critical results that troubled some proponents of orthodoxy, but also offered a channel for resistance as doctrinally conservative strands of German biblical scholarship found a warm reception. The article is followed by a chronologically organized bibliography of translated works published in Britain from 1825 to 1895. (shrink)
This article presents two studies that examine cause-related marketing promotions that require consumers’ active participation. Requiring a follow-up behavior has very valuable implications for maximizing marketing expenditures and customer relationship management. Theories related to ethical behavior, like motivated reasoning and defensive denial, are used to explain when and why consumers respond negatively to these effort demands. The first study finds that consumers rationalize not participating in CRM by devaluing the sponsored cause. The second study identifies a tactic marketers can utilize (...) to neutralize consumers’ use of defensive denial. Allowing the consumer to choose the sponsored cause seems to effectively refocus their attention and increases consumers’ threshold for campaign requirements. Implications for nonprofits and marketing managers include a tendency for consumers to be more likely to perceive a firm as ethical and socially responsible when they are allowed to choose the specific cause that is supported. (shrink)
Between Feminism and Materialism is a bold attempt to make sense of the relationship between feminist theory and capitalism. Addressing a number of philosophical problems that have engaged feminists over the last few decades--universals and reason, nature and essentialism, identity and non-identity, sex and gender, power and patriarchy, local and global--this innovative book breaks through feminist waves and explains the paradoxes of feminist theory by demonstrating the on-going relevance of dialectics and the concepts of exploitation, ideology, and reification. Drawing on (...) first, second, and third "waves" of feminist theory, this exciting combination of existentialism, phenomenology, and critical theory delivers a proactive feminism ready to respond to the challenges presented by our thoroughly modern times. (shrink)
Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes . Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no.
In this paper I argue that the idea ‘becoming-woman’ is an attempt to transform embodied experience but, because it is unable to concern itself with mechanisms, structures and processes of sexual differentiation, fails in this task. In the first section I elaborate the relationship between becoming-woman and Deleuze's ‘superior’ or ‘transcendental’ empiricism and suggest that problems can be traced back to an underlying Humean empiricism. Along with Hume, Deleuze, it seems, presumes a bundle model of the object which dissolves things (...) into episodic objects of perception and leaves the subject unable to distinguish between fanciful objects, erroneous perception and any other thing. The empiricist ontology thus has consequences for epistemology and leaves us unable to question the conservative tendencies of common sense. As an alternative to transcendental empiricism, the second section considers how transcendental realism, with its ontological commitment to the mind-independent character of things, may provide a more fruitful and productive line of enquiry. Given that there is such a choice, in the third section I speculate as to the specific desires that drive such philosophical abstraction; abstraction which culminates in the non sex-specific figure becoming-woman whilst disguising the mind-independent character of the mechanisms, structures and objects that affect the subject. So I conclude that, despite all appearances of radicalism, the philosophical model ‘becoming-woman’ – aligned as it is with schizo-processes and the philosophical loss of mind-independent things – is more of the same and sexual difference remains a hidden term. Due to this, I believe that feminists should view it with suspicion. (shrink)
This paper contributes to the current academic debate on the nature of embodied, intentional consciousness, specifically the attempt to inaugurate a rapprochement between phenomenological existentialism and critical theory. This is accomplished through a critical comparison of the concepts of negative experience and nonidentity in Theodor Adorno's negative dialectics and Jean-Paul Sartre's early phenomenology. By comparing how each engages with Hegel, I suggest that Sartre offers a broad, anthropological account of negative experience and nonidentity helpful to critical theorists but that there (...) remains a critical deficit which Adorno's more restricted—and political—sense of nonidentity remedies. Sartre's anthropological portrayal of ‘persistent negation’ worries Adorno but I suggest that it can be understood as a pragmatic presupposition for problem-solving rather than as a transcendental condition of experience. (shrink)
This paper examines the problem of natural kinds, a key problem within feminist theory, and argues for a non-instrumental realist account of group identity. I suggest that a reconstructed theory of essence helps to make sense of group membership because it combines a conventional account of groups with a realist commitment to there being something responsible for the appearance of regularities in the world. The claim that natural kind membership is a matter of similarity relationships manages to avoid metaphysical, universal (...) property-based essentialism and, at the same time, points to interested generative mechanisms underlying the appearance of the regularities that make sense of kind membership. Finally, I suggest that the concepts 'real essence' and 'internal constitution' offer a new way to conceive 'sex' and 'gender', and that Adorno's notion of non-identity is a way to think group membership non-instrumentally. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection. The theory is Russellianism, sometimes also called `neo-Russellianism', `Millianism', `the direct reference theory', `the "Fido"-Fido theory', or `the naive theory'. The objection concernssubstitution of co-referring names in belief sentences. Russellianism implies that any two belief sentences, that differ only in containing distinct co-referring names, express the same proposition (in any given context). Since `Hesperus' and `Phosphorus' both refer to the planet Venus, this view implies that (...) all utterances of (1) and.. (shrink)
A major theme in discussions of the influence of technology on society has been the computer as a threat to privacy. It now appears that the truth is precisely the opposite. Three technologies associated with computers—public-key encryption, networking, and virtual reality—are in the process of giving us a level of privacy never known before. The U.S. government is currently intervening in an attempt, not to protect privacy, but to prevent it.
In this paper we consider a Bayesian treatment of ‘Duhem's thesis’, the proposition that theories are never refuted on empirical grounds because they cannot be tested in isolation from auxiliary hypotheses about initial conditions or the operation of scientific instruments. Sawyer, Beed, and Sankey consider Duhem's thesis and its role in hypothesis testing, using four theories from economics and finance as examples. Here we consider Duhem's thesis in the context of theory choice, econometric results, and the ‘farm problem’ in agricultural (...) economics. This problem is defined as persistently low and highly variable prices, incomes, and returns in the agricultural sector as compared to the nonagricultural sector of the U.S. economy. The existence of the farm problem tends to refute an implication of general equilibrium theory — that resources flow to equate returns between sectors of the economy. We discuss Duhem's thesis in the context of demonstrating why evidence supporting the farm problem has not diminished the standing of general equilibrium theory among agricultural economists. (shrink)
The headlines at the outset of 1987 told of Howard Beach, where a group of blacks had been chased, and one killed, because they had unwittingly entered a white enclave in New York City. And they told of Forsythe County, Georgia, where the mere presence of civil rights marchers, in a place from which blacks had been driven three-quarters of a century earlier, brought out depths of antagonism unknown since an earlier era of civil rights marches. Behind both events – (...) indeed, behind almost every question of race to arise in recent years – was the specter of affirmative action. Even as, during the late 1960s, some blamed urban riots on the federal government's failure to achieve equal opportunity between the races by equalizing life outcomes, so in 1987 white antagonisms were regarded in some quarters as a crude reflection of the Reagan administration's hostility towards affirmative action. The rhetoric and the policies of that administration, it was said, contributed to a sentiment that blacks already had their share – indeed, more than their share. Official word and deed contributed also, it was argued, to a resentment against blacks who, because of quotas, had been unfairly advantaged. (shrink)
Gewirth's view that ethics is based on human rights is contrasted to Blanshard's view that human rights derive their support from ethics. For Blanshard intrinsic good is comprised of whatever both satisfies and fulfills human nature. Human rights and correlated duties depend entirely upon whether or not they foster this intrinsic good. For Gewirth, by contrast, human claim-rights, such as freedom and well-being, are the foundation of human agency required for moral action of any sort. Such rights, properly conceived, are (...) the foundation and basis of ethics. (shrink)
This is an interesting book in many ways. But, it is not a study of creativity in American philosophy. It is more accurate to call it a labyrinth through which Charles Hartshorne’s view of creativity finally emerges. It is a sketch of how Hartshorne reacted to those in the philosophical tradition to whom he was exposed and, more specifically, what he found worthwhile or enduring, from his perspective, in their philosophical outlooks. There is more candor and objectivity to his approach (...) than one finds in Bertrand Russell’s history of Western philosophy, but the purpose served by the exploration is similar. Invariably there are omissions and distortions. (shrink)
In relation to this world of fact, how is the self creative? In relation to this conservative system of physical nature, how is the self creative? By creative, in this context, Hocking means “making a difference in physical nature: inserting something that would not otherwise be there.” Can the self make such a difference?
William Ernest Hocking has been described as “the people’s philosopher,” “the last of the Golden Age of American philosophy,” and “the dean of American philosophers.” These labels reflect something of the sensitivity of the man and the magnitude of his achievements. Hocking’s own words illustrate the appropriateness of the diverse labels. “Philosophy is the common man’s business,” he once remarked, “and until it reaches the common man and answers his questions it is not doing its duty.” “Philosophic thinking, stirred to (...) the depths by catastrophic events on a worldscale, has become a public concern in a new sense. The rise of clearmarked ideologies, undertaking to align men in vast numbers behind a constellation of points-of-view which it would be unfair to call philosophies—unfair to philosophy, I mean—yet with philosophical groundwork, has compelled men the world over to take issues of truth with renewed seriousness.” But, the other two labels apply with equal force. Hocking was the last representative of the Golden Age of American philosophy. In a manner that is quite unfashionable, he dealt with the grand intellectual themes that have traditionally occupied those who love wisdom: the nature of man, the meaning of life and death, and God. Gabriel Marcel refers to Hocking as “a man who, through the visible world, has never ceased to have the presentment of what is eternal.” His fellow philosophers, however bent on other concerns, would find it difficult to overlook his achievements. Hocking published seventeen books and two hundred seventy essays and delivered the prized Gifford and Hibbert Lectures. It is in part at least for such achievements that he is called the “dean of American philosophers.”. (shrink)
What seems to bring the systematic and historical approaches into harmony is “philosophical conscience.” By this is meant “evaluating consciousness” that is “self-distancing” and prompts further searching and more careful expression of ideas. “The experience of thinking referred to here—the tension between the practice of verbal experiments and the nonverbal ‘conscience’ with which this practice tries to coincide—corresponds to the way in which we experience moral, aesthetic, and religious realities”. In brief, “a philosopher who tries to think radically … takes (...) the great chance of undermining his own thought”. “History” is generated by the discontinuity resulting from this process of radical philosophizing especially about the basic foundations. (shrink)
Embodying the major presentations given at the January, 1979, American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting held at Houston, Texas, the seven contributors explore the function of consciousness in quantum mechanics, cosmology, psychology, engineering, information science, and technological policy. Central questions that span the sprawling array of topics considered are: How, if at all, does the observer and user of the universe alter what is observed and used? Can significant experiments be formulated and executed to ascertain this possible (...) interaction between observer and the universe? Does the observer create the reality through observing it? If so, can “models” be designed that acknowledge the function of consciousness in this interaction process? (shrink)
Do psychological traits predict philosophical views? We administered the PhilPapers Survey, created by David Bourget and David Chalmers, which consists of 30 views on central philosophical topics (e.g., epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language) to a sample of professional philosophers (N = 314). We extended the PhilPapers survey to measure a number of psychological traits, such as personality, numeracy, well-being, lifestyle, and life experiences. We also included non-technical ‘translations’ of these views for eventual use (...) in other populations. We found limited to no support for the notion that personality or demographics predict philosophical views. We did, however, find that some psychological traits were predictive of philosophical views, even after strict correction for multiple comparisons. Findings include: higher interest in numeracy predicted physicalism, naturalism, and consequentialism; lower levels of well-being and higher levels of mental illness predicted hard determinism; using substances such as psychedelics and marijuana predicted non-realist and subjectivist views of morality and aesthetics; having had a transformative or self-transcendent experience predicted theism and idealism. We discuss whether or not these empirical results have philosophical implications, while noting that 68% of our sample of professional philosophers indicated that such findings would indeed have philosophical value. (shrink)
This classic edition presents the correspondence of one of the great thinkers of the 18th century, and offers a rich picture of the man and his age. This first volume contains David Hume's letters from 1727 to 1765. Hume's correspondents include such famous public figures as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, James Boswell, and Benjamin Franklin.
Aware that the representational thesis is more plausible for the attitudinal than for the phenomenal, Dretske courageously focuses on sensory experience, where progress in our philosophical understanding of the mental has lagged. His view, essentially, is that what makes any mental state what it is is not so much what it's like as what it's about.
The unit of metaphor isn’t always a complete sentence; often it is a single word or phrase. In such a case, the word or phrase in question makes a nonstandard, metaphorically determined contribution to the propositional content of the sentence in which it appears, a content whose other ingredients are determined in routine ways by routine recursive procedures of truth-conditional semantics. In this respect, metaphor belongs to semantics. In other respects, it doesn’t belong to semantics at all. To identify what (...) Yeats contributed to the content of his own sentence when he wrote. (shrink)
The “ultimate objective” of this book, says David Schmidtz, “is to examine the degree to which being moral is co-extensive with being rational”. For Schmidtz, an “end” gives us a reason for action provided that its pursuit is not undercut by some other end. Morality has a two-part structure. A person’s goal is “moral” if “pursuing it helps [her] to develop in a reflectively rational way,” provided its pursuit does not violate “interpersonal moral constraints”. Interpersonal constraints are imposed by (...) “collectively rational” social institutions, institutions that “make people in general better off by nonexploitative means”. Schmidtz’s view is a form of “actualism.” Our reasons are given by our actual goals, subject to the qualification mentioned above, and moral constraints are given by actually existing collectively rational institutions. Schmidtz concedes that this framework cannot guarantee that it is rational for every agent to be moral, and he concedes that his moral theory might be incomplete. Nevertheless, he argues, “morality and rationality make room for each other in a variety of ways”. (shrink)