There are researchers in cognitive science who use clinical and experimental evidence to draw some rather skeptical conclusions about a central feature of our conscious experience, its unity. They maintain that the examination of clinical phenomena reveals that human consciousness has a much more fragmentary character than the one we normally attribute to it. In the article, these claims are questioned by examining some of the clinical studies on the deficit of anosognosia. I try to show that these studies support (...) a moderate sense of the unity of reflexive consciousness. (shrink)
Dennett has maintained that a careful examination of our intuitive notion of qualia reveals that it is a confused notion, that it is advisable to accept that experience does not have the properties designated by it and that it is best to eliminate it. Because most scientists share this notion of qualia, the major line of attack of his project becomes that of raising objections against the ability of science to answer some basic questions about qualia. I try to show (...) that science appeals to qualia and that it in fact adheres to a notion of qualia different from the one that Dennett has attributed to it. It is argued that qualia are amenable to scientific investigation and that this is the reason why science contributes toward the clarification of the notion of qualia. I also try to show that Dennett's skepticism about the abilities of science in answering questions posited by one of his thought experiments is unwarranted. I conclude that we need not accept Dennett's eliminativism about qualia. (shrink)
The author attempts to show the relevance of Kosslyn's research on mental imagery to some aspects of Freud's theory of dreams. Some of the findings of this research, such as the properties of visual images, the processes involved in image generation, etc., are discussed and it is shown how they contribute to the various Freudian hypotheses concerning the properties of dream images, the processes constituting the dream work, and the activity of dream interpretation.
Jerrold Levinson maintains that he is a realist about aesthetic properties. This paper considers his positive arguments for such a view. An argument from Roger Scruton, that aesthetic realism would entail the absurd claim that many aesthetic predicates were ambiguous, is also considered and it is argued that Levinson is in no worse position with respect to this argument than anyone else. However, Levinson cannot account for the phenomenon of aesthetic autonomy: namely, that we cannot be put in a position (...) to make an aesthetic judgement by testimony alone. Finally, Levinson's views on the ontology of aesthetic properties are considered and found wanting. (shrink)
In this paper I shall suggest that philosophy which bases itself firmly inlife is incompatible with idealism. The example of such a philosophy to be discussed is the later work of Wittgenstein, and I shall define in what sense this is ‘based in life’, with particular reference to his concept of ‘Lebensform’, or ‘life-form’. I shall understand idealism to be, in general terms, the doctrine that idea is the primary, or the only, category of being. Various kinds of idealism may (...) then be distinguished according to the precise definition each gives of ‘idea’, and of the category, if any, which is held to be less fundamental. Thus, in brief, in Platonic idealism, absolute immaterial being is ontologically prior to the changing world given to sense-experience; in the idealistic systems of more modern thought, mind is more fundamental than matter; or again, subject, or spirit, is more fundamental than object. While the various systems of idealism are properly classed together so far as they assign priority to the concept idea, it is clear that they differ in their interpretations of the concept. When one has in mind these differences, it is of course misconceived to speak of idealism as a single doctrine; nevertheless, it is plausible to suppose that philosophers have been led to apply the term ‘idealism’ to various systems despite their differences, because there is indeed a common tendency of thought to be found in them. The present paper takes this supposition as a working hypothesis, with the particular aim of establishing that philosophy based in life is incompatible with philosophy based in idea, whatever be reasonably meant by ‘idea’. In brief my argument will be this: that life is no idea. (shrink)
Derek Parfit presents the third volume of On What Matters, his landmark work of moral philosophy. Parfit develops further his influential treatment of reasons, normativity, the meaning of moral discourse, and the status of morality. He engages with his critics, and shows the way to resolution of their differences.
There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...) has preposterous first-order normative commitments. It is more reasonable to reject the ought simpliciter in favor of the form of normative pluralism advocated in (Tiffany 2007). (shrink)
Traversing the fields of pedagogy, philosophy, and political theory, this book develops a marxist theory of education that will be useful for academics and activists alike. The second edition includes two additional chapters as well as a new preface and revisions throughout.
Scientists often make surprising claims about things that no one can observe. In physics, chemistry, and molecular biology, scientists can at least experiment on those unobservable entities, but what about researchers in fields such as paleobiology and geology who study prehistory, where no such experimentation is possible? Do scientists discover facts about the distant past or do they, in some sense, make prehistory? In this book Derek Turner argues that this problem has surprising and important consequences for the scientific (...) realism debate. His discussion covers some of the main positions in philosophy of science - realism, social constructivism, empiricism, and the natural ontological attitude - and shows how they relate to issues in paleobiology and geology. His original and thought-provoking book will be of wide interest to philosophers and scientists alike. (shrink)
Suppose we discover how we could live for a thousand years, but in a way that made us unable to have children. Everyone chooses to live these long lives. After we all die, human history ends, since there would be no future people. Would that be bad? Would we have acted wrongly? Some pessimists would answer No. These people are saddened by the suffering in most people’s lives, and they believe it would be wrong to inflict such suffering on others (...) by having children. In earlier centuries, this bleak view was fairly plausible. But our successors would be able to prevent most human suffering. Some optimists would also answer No . . . These [views] are, I believe, deeply mistaken. Given what our successors could achieve in the next million or billion years, here and elsewhere in our galaxy, it would be likely to be very much worse if there were no future people. (shrink)
When we have a normative reason, and we act for that reason, it becomes our motivating reason. But we can have either kind of reason without having the other. Thus, if I jump into the canal, my motivating reason was provided by my belief; but I had no normative reason to jump. I merely thought I did. And, if I failed to notice that the canal was frozen, I had a reason not to jump that, because it was unknown to (...) me, did not motivate me. Though we can have normative reasons without being motivated, and vice versa, such reasons are closely related to our motivation. There are, however, very different views about what this relation is. This disagreement raises wider questions about what normative reasons are, and about which reasons there are. After sketching some of these views, I shall discuss some arguments by Williams, and then say where, in my opinion, the truth lies. [...] I [will] suggest why, as I believe, we should be non-reductive normative realists, and should regard all reasons as external. (shrink)
Do fictions depend upon imagination? Derek Matravers argues against the mainstream view that they do, and offers an original account of what it is to read, listen to, or watch a narrative. He downgrades the divide between fiction and non-fiction, largely dispenses with the imagination, and in doing so illuminates a succession of related issues.
One of the central debates within contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy concerns how to formulate an egalitarian theory of distributive justice which gives coherent expression to egalitarian convictions and withstands the most powerful anti-egalitarian objections. This book brings together many of the key contributions to that debate by some of the world’s leading political philosophers: Richard Arneson, G.A. Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Nagel, Derek Parfit, John Rawls, T.M. Scanlon, and Larry Temkin.
In the wake of the paleobiological revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, paleontologists continue to investigate far-reaching questions about how evolution works. Many of those questions have a philosophical dimension. How is macroevolution related to evolutionary changes within populations? Is evolutionary history contingent? How much can we know about the causes of evolutionary trends? How do paleontologists read the patterns in the fossil record to learn about the underlying evolutionary processes? Derek Turner explores these and other questions, introducing the (...) reader to exciting recent work in the philosophy of paleontology and to theoretical issues including punctuated equilibria and species selection. He also critically examines some of the major accomplishments and arguments of paleontologists of the last 40 years. (shrink)
Ethics for Robots describes and defends a method for designing and evaluating ethics algorithms for autonomous machines, such as self-driving cars and search and rescue drones. Derek Leben argues that such algorithms should be evaluated by how effectively they accomplish the problem of cooperation among self-interested organisms, and therefore, rather than simulating the psychological systems that have evolved to solve this problem, engineers should be tackling the problem itself, taking relevant lessons from our moral psychology. Leben draws on the (...) moral theory of John Rawls, arguing that normative moral theories are attempts to develop optimal solutions to the problem of cooperation. He claims that Rawlsian Contractarianism leads to the 'Maximin' principle - the action that maximizes the minimum value - and that the Maximin principle is the most effective solution to the problem of cooperation. He contrasts the Maximin principle with other principles and shows how they can often produce non-cooperative results. Using real-world examples - such as an autonomous vehicle facing a situation where every action results in harm, home care machines, and autonomous weapons systems - Leben contrasts Rawlsian algorithms with alternatives derived from utilitarianism and natural rights libertarianism. Including chapter summaries and a glossary of technical terms, Ethics for Robots is essential reading for philosophers, engineers, computer scientists, and cognitive scientists working on the problem of ethics for autonomous systems. (shrink)
Autonomous vehicles must be programmed with procedures for dealing with trolley-style dilemmas where actions result in harm to either pedestrians or passengers. This paper outlines a Rawlsian algorithm as an alternative to the Utilitarian solution. The algorithm will gather the vehicle’s estimation of probability of survival for each person in each action, then calculate which action a self-interested person would agree to if he or she were in an original bargaining position of fairness. I will employ Rawls’ assumption that the (...) Maximin procedure is what self-interested agents would use from an original position, and then show how the Maximin procedure can be operationalized to produce unique outputs over probabilities of survival. (shrink)
It has long been widely agreed that some concepts can be possessed only by those who have undergone a certain type of phenomenal experience. Orthodoxy among contemporary philosophers of mind has it that these phenomenal concepts provide the key to understanding many disputes between physicalists and their opponents, and in particular offer an explanation of Mary’s predicament in the situation exploited by Frank Jackson's knowledge argument. I reject the orthodox view; I deny that there are phenomenal concepts. My arguments exploit (...) the sort of considerations that are typically used to motivate externalism about mental content. Although physicalists often appeal to phenomenal concepts to defend their view against the knowledge argument, I argue that this is a mistake. The knowledge argument depends on phenomenal concepts; if there are no phenomenal concepts, then the knowledge argument fails. (shrink)
The effects of mental disorder are apparent and pervasive, in suffering, loss of freedom and life opportunities, negative impacts on education, work satisfaction and productivity, complications in law, institutions of healthcare, and more. With a new edition of the 'bible' of psychiatric diagnosis - the DSM - under developmental, it is timely to take a step back and re-evalutate exactly how we diagnose and define mental disorder. This new book by Derek Bolton tackles the problems involved in the definition (...) and boundaries of mental disorder. It addresses two main questions regarding mental illness. Firstly, what is the basis of the standards or norms by which we judge that a person has a mental disorder - that the person's mind is not working as it should, that their mental functioning is abnormal? Controversies about these questions have been dominated by the contrast between norms that are medical, scientific or natural, on the one hand, and social norms on the other. The norms that define mental disorder seem to belong to psychiatry, to be medical and scientific, but are they really social norms, hijacked and disguised by the medical profession? Secondly, what is the validity of the distinction between mental disorder and order, between abnormal and normal mental functioning? To what extent, notwithstanding appearances, does mental disorder involve meaningful reactions and problem-solving? These responses may be to normal problems of living, or to not so normal problems - to severe psycho-social challenges. Is there after all order in mental disorder? With the closing of asylums and the appearance of care in the community, mental disorder is now in our midst. While attempts have been made to define clearly a concept of mental disorder that is truly medical as opposed to social, there is increasing evidence that such a distinction is unviable - there is no clear line between what is normal in the population and what is abnormal. 'What is Mental Disorder?' reviews these various crucial developments and their profound impact for the concept and its boundaries in a provocative and timely book. (shrink)
According to Bickerton, the behavioral sciences have failed to give an adequate account of human nature at least partly because of the conjunction and mutual reinforcement of two widespread beliefs: that language is simply a means of communication and that human intelligence is the result of the rapid growth and unusual size of human brains. Bickerton argues that each of the properties distinguishing human intelligence and consciousness from that of other animals can be shown to derive straightforwardly from properties of (...) language. In essence, language arose as a representational system, not a means of communication or a skill, and not a product of culture but an evolutionary adaptation. The author stresses the necessity of viewing intelligence in evolutionary terms, seeing it not as problem solving but as a way of maintaining homeostasis - the preservation of those conditions most favorable to an organism, the optimal achievable conditions for survival and well-being. The term protolanguage is used to describe the stringing together of symbols that prehuman hominids employed. "It did not allow them to turn today's imagination into tomorrow's fact. But it is just this power to transform imagination into fact that distinguishes human behavior from that of our ancestral species, and indeed from that of all other species. It is exactly what enables us to change our behavior, or invent vast ranges of new behavior, practically overnight, with no concomitant genetic changes." Language and Human Behavior should be of interest to anyone in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences and to all those concerned with the role of language in human behavior. (shrink)
According to the Repugnant Conclusion: Compared with the existence of many people who would all have some very high quality of life, there is some much larger number of people whose existence would be better, even though these people would all have lives that were barely worth living. I suggest some ways in which we might be able to avoid this conclusion. I try to defend a strong form of lexical superiority.
In this paper, I argue that forgiveness is a morally appropriate response only when it is grounded in the wrongdoer’s demonstration of genuine remorse, their offer of a sincere apology, and, where appropriate, acts of recompense and behavioral change. I then respond to John Kleinig’s suggestion (in his paper “Forgiveness and Unconditionality”) that when an apology is not forthcoming, there are at least three additional grounds that, when motivated by virtues such as love and compassion, could nevertheless render “unconditional forgiveness” (...) a morally laudable option. I argue that such grounds could indeed constitute or result in laudable responses to wrongdoing, but only if they are not conceived of or described in terms of forgiveness. (shrink)
sonable, in this sense, if we ignore, or give too little weight to, some other people's well-being or moral claims.' Some critics have suggested that, because Scanlon appeals to this sense of 'reasonable', his formula is empty. On this objection, whenever we believe that some act is wrong, we shall believe that people have moral claims not to be treated in this way. We could therefore argue that such acts are disallowed by some principle which no one could reasonably reject, (...) since anyone who rejected this principle would be giving too little weight to people's moral claims not to be treated in this way. Since everyone could claim that the principles which they accept could not be reasonably rejected, Scanlon's Formula would make no difference to our moral thinking. That is not so. If we reject the principles that disallow certain acts, we are denying that such acts are wrong. This denial would be unreasonable if it would give too little weight to some other people's moral claims. So Scanlon's Formula implies that.. (shrink)
Gender is one of the most frequently studied variables within the ethics literature. In prior studies that find gender differences, females consistently report more ethical responses than males. However, prior research also indicates that females are more prone to responding in a socially desirable fashion. Consequently, it is uncertain whether gender differences in ethical decision-making exist because females are more ethical or perhaps because females are more prone to the social desirability response bias. Using a sample of 30 scenarios from (...) prior studies that find gender differences, we examine whether these gender differences remain robust once social desirability is controlled for in the analysis. Our data suggest that the effect of gender on ethical decision-making is largely attenuated once social desirability is included in the analysis. In essence, the social desirability response bias appears to be driving a significant portion of the relationship between gender and ethical decision-making. We discuss several important research implications of this study. (shrink)
Mark Schroeder has argued that all reasonable forms of inconsistency of attitude consist of having the same attitude type towards a pair of inconsistent contents (A-type inconsistency). We suggest that he is mistaken in this, offering a number of intuitive examples of pairs of distinct attitudes types with consistent contents which are intuitively inconsistent (B-type inconsistency). We further argue that, despite the virtues of Schroeder's elegant A-type expressivist semantics, B-type inconsistency is in many ways the more natural choice in developing (...) an expressivist account of moral discourse. We close by showing how to adapt ordinary formality-based accounts of logicality to define a B-type account of logical inconsistency and distinguish it from both semantic and pragmatic inconsistency. In sum, we provide a roadmap of how to develop a successful B-type expressivism. (shrink)
This book presents an accessible and groundbreaking new look at the evolution of consciousness. It traces its origins back to early man's primordial emotions - those elicited from basic needs such as hunger and thirst.
Thomas Reid (1710–96) is increasingly being seen as a highly significant philosopher and a central figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. This new edition of Reid's classic philosophical text in the philosophy of mind at long last gives scholars a complete, critically edited text of the Inquiry. The critical text is based on the fourth life-time edition (1785). A selection of related documents showing the development of Reid's thought, textual notes, bibliographical details of previous editions and a full introduction by the (...) editor makes this an important contribution to the study of this increasingly respected philosopher. -/- Key Features - Complete, critically edited text of the Inquiry accompanied by a judicious selection of manuscript evidence relating to its composition - Comprehensive Introduction providing an historical and philosophical account of the formation of the Inquiry - Detailed textual notes which include bibliographical details and allusions, translations, references to secondary literature and selected passages from Reid's manuscripts. (shrink)
It is now widely accepted that microorganisms play many important roles in the lives of plants and animals. Every macroorganism has been shaped in some way by microorganisms. The recognition of the ubiquity and importance of microorganisms has led some to argue for a revolution in how we understand biological individuality and the primary units of natural selection. The term “holobiont” was introduced as a name for the biological unit made up by a host and all of its associated microorganisms, (...) and much of this new debate about biological individuality has focused on whether holobionts are integrated individuals or communities. In this paper, I show how parts of the holobiont can span both characterizations. I argue that most holobionts share more affinities with communities than they do with organisms, and that, except for maybe in rare cases, holobionts do not meet the criteria for being organisms, evolutionary individuals, or units of selection. (shrink)
Appealing to imagination for modal justification is very common. But not everyone thinks that all imaginings provide modal justification. Recently, Gregory and Kung :620–663, 2010) have independently argued that, whereas imaginings with sensory imageries can justify modal beliefs, those without sensory imageries don’t because of such imaginings’ extreme liberty. In this essay, I defend the general modal epistemological relevance of imagining. I argue, first, that when the objections that target the liberal nature of non-sensory imaginings are adequately developed, those objections (...) also threaten the sensory imaginings. So, if we think that non-sensory imaginings are too liberal for modal justification, we should say the same about sensory imaginings. I’ll finish my defense by showing that, when it comes to deciding between saying that all imaginings are prima facie justificatory and saying that no imaginings are justificatory, there is an independent reason for accepting the former. (shrink)
Derek Nurse looks at variations in the form and function of tense and aspect in Bantu, a branch of Niger-Congo, the world's largest language phylum. Bantu languages are spoken in central, eastern, and southern sub-Saharan Africa south of a line between Nigeria and Somalia. By current estimates there are between 250 and 600 of them, as yet neither adequately classified nor fully described. Professor Nurse's account is based on data from more than 200 Bantu languages and varieties, a representative (...) sample of which is freely available on the publisher's website. He devotes substantial chapters to the analysis and comparison of the different tense and aspect systems found in Bantu. He also examines the verbal categories with which they interact, including negation and focus. Synchronic and diachronic perspectives are interwoven throughout the book. Following a brief history of Bantu over the last five thousand years, the final two chapters look systematically at the history of tense and aspect in Bantu. The first deals with the reconstruction of the earlier forms from which contemporary structures, morphemes, and categories are derived, and the second with the processes of change, including grammaticalization, by means of which older analytical structures and independent lexical items moved as they became incorporated as grammatical inflections and categories. (shrink)
In an effort to theorize educational logics that are oppositional to capitalism, this article explores what it means to study like a communist. I begin by drawing out the tight connection between learning and capitalism, demonstrating that education is not a subset but a motor of political-economic relations. Next, I turn to the concept of study, which is being developed as an educational alternative to learning. While studying represents an educational challenge to capitalism, I argue that there are political limitations (...) to studying for which we need to account. Specifically, studying is not in itself political, but only represents the possibility of politics. To make this claim and to address these limitations, I turn to Jodi Dean’s work on the communist Party. Dean posits the Party not as a master, director, or prophet, but as an infrastructure of affective intensity that maintains a gap in the order of things. I show that the Party is one way to organize and to defend study. Throughout the article, I illuminate the ways in which educational philosophers can contribute to political movement building by showing, developing, and refining the educational components of politics that many organizers and theorists neglect. (shrink)
It is generally acknowledged that confabulation undermines the authority of self-attribution of mental states. But why? The mainstream answer is that confabulation misrepresents the actual state of one’s mind at some relevant time prior to the confabulatory response. This construal, we argue, rests on an understanding of self-attribution as first-person mindreading. Recent developments in the literature on folk psychology, however, suggest that mental state attribution also plays an important role in regulating or shaping future behaviour in conformity with normative expectations. (...) We explore an analogue understanding of self-attribution of mental states in terms of first-person mindshaping. The main aim of this paper is to explore how this insight alters the implications of empirical confabulation studies on first-person authority. We also indicate how this sheds new light on the phenomenon of confabulation itself. (shrink)
Total views imply what Derek Parfit has called ‘the repugnant conclusion’. There are several strategies aimed at debunking the intuition that this implication is repugnant. In particular, it goes away when we consider the principle of unrestricted instantiation, according to which any instantiation of the repugnant conclusion must appear repugnant if we should be warranted in relying on it as evidence against total theories. However, there are instantiations of the conclusion where it doesn't seem to be at all repugnant. (...) Hence there is nothing repugnant about the repugnant conclusion as such. The faults with total views have nothing to do with large numbers or with the conclusion as such. It is possible, if you like, to correct these putative faults even if you adopt some total view. (shrink)
Early discussions of ?climate justice? have been dominated by economists rather than political philosophers. More recently, analytical liberal political philosophers have joined the debate. However, the philosophical discussion of climate justice remains in its early stages. This paper considers one promising approach based on human rights, which has been advocated recently by several theorists, including Simon Caney, Henry Shue and Tim Hayward. A basic argument supporting the claim that anthropogenic climate change violates human rights is presented. Four objections to this (...) argument are examined: the ?future persons? objection; the ?risk? objection; the ?collective causation? objection; and the ?demandingness? objection. This critical examination leads to a more detailed specification and defence of the claim that anthropogenic climate change violates human rights. (shrink)
The long-standing enigma of I.G. i. 115 has been brought into the lime-light once more by two recent articles, ‘The Law Codes of Athens’ by Sterling Dow in Proc. Massachusetts Hist. Soc., vol. lxxi and by E. Ruschenbusch in Historia, ix, Heft 2 . This enigma has many facets, but I only wish to deal here with one. It concerns the precise nature and purpose of the inscription and, in particular, the significance of the words l. 10. The preamble to (...) the decree is quite specific. (shrink)
Mental content normativists hold that the mind’s conceptual contents are essentially normative. Many hold the view because they think that facts of the form “subject S possesses concept c” imply that S is enjoined by rules concerning the application of c in theoretical judgments. Some opponents independently raise an intuitive objection: even if there are such rules, S’s possession of the concept is not the source of the enjoinment. Hence, these rules do not support mental content normativism. Call this the (...) “Source Objection.” This paper refutes the Source Objection, outlining a key strand of the relationship between judgments and their contents in the process. Theoretical judgment and mental conceptual content are equally the source of enjoinment; norms for judging with contents do not derive from one at the expense of the other. (shrink)