In autumn 2009, BBC television ran a natural history series, ‘Last Chance to See’, with Stephen Fry and wildlife writer and photographer, Mark Carwardine, searching out endangered species. In one episode they retraced the steps Carwardine had taken in the 1980s with Douglas Adams, when they visited Madagascar in search of the aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur. Fry and Carwardine visited an aye-aye in captivity, and upon first setting eyes on the creature they found it rather ugly. After spending an hour (...) or so in its company, Fry said he was completely ‘under its spell’. A subsequent encounter with an aye-aye in the wild supported Fry's judgment of ugliness and fascination for the creature: ‘The aye-aye is beguiling, certainly bizarre, for some even a little revolting. And I say, long may it continue being so.’. (shrink)
In Stabilizing Dynamics Roy Weintraub provides a history of stability theory from the work of Hicks and Samuelson in the late 1930s to the Gale and Scarf counterexamples in the 1960s. Unlike his earlier work in the history of general equilibrium theory this recent contribution is not an attempt to fit the Walrasian program into the narrow framework of some particular philosophy of natural science. Rather, the theme in Stabilizing Dynamics is broadly social constructivist. Simply put, the constructivist view of (...) science is “that scientific knowledge itself is constructed socially, in communities of scientists: Knowledge is constructed, not found”. (shrink)
much early modern metaphysics grew with an eye to the new science of its time, but few figures took it as seriously as Emilie du Châtelet. Happily, her oeuvre is now attracting close, renewed attention, and so the time is ripe for looking into her metaphysical foundation for empirical theory. Accordingly, I move here to do just that. I establish two conclusions. First, du Châtelet's basic metaphysics is a robust realism. Idealist strands, while they exist, are confined to non-basic regimes. (...) Second, her substance realism seems internally coherent, so her foundational project appears successful.I have two aims in this paper. Historically, I show that du Châtelet's main source of inspiration was Christian... (shrink)
Pezdek and Lam [Pezdek, K. & Lam, S. . What research paradigms have cognitive psychologists used to study “False memory,” and what are the implications of these choices? Consciousness and Cognition] claim that the majority of research into false memories has been misguided. Specifically, they charge that false memory scientists have been misusing the term “false memory,” relying on the wrong methodologies to study false memories, and misapplying false memory research to real world situations. We review each of these claims (...) and highlight the problems with them. We conclude that several types of false memory research have advanced our knowledge of autobiographical and recovered memories, and that future research will continue to make significant contributions to how we understand memory and memory errors. (shrink)
In The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Nature, Emily Brady takes a fresh look at the sublime and shows why it endures as a meaningful concept in contemporary philosophy. In a reassessment of historical approaches, the first part of the book identifies the scope and value of the sublime in eighteenth-century philosophy, nineteenth-century philosophy and Romanticism, and early wilderness aesthetics. The second part examines the sublime's contemporary significance through its relationship to the arts; its position with respect (...) to other aesthetic categories involving mixed or negative emotions, such as tragedy; and its place in environmental aesthetics and ethics. Far from being an outmoded concept, Brady argues that the sublime is a distinctive aesthetic category which reveals an important, if sometimes challenging, aesthetic-moral relationship with the natural world. (shrink)
Dementia patients in the moderate-late stage of the disease can, and often do, express different preferences than they did at the onset of their condition. The received view in the philosophical literature argues that advance directives which prioritize the patient’s preferences at onset ought to be given decisive moral weight in medical decision-making. Clinical practice, on the other hand, favors giving moral weight to the preferences expressed by dementia patients after onset. The purpose of this article is to show that (...) the received view in the philosophical literature is inadequate and is out of touch with real clinical practice. I argue that having dementia is a cognitive transformative experience and that preference changes which result from this are legitimate and ought to be given moral weight in medical decision-making. This argument ought to encourage us to reduce our confidence in the moral weight of advance directives for dementia patients. (shrink)
In light of recent social psychological literature, I expand Miranda Fricker’s important notion of testimonial injustice. A fair portion of Fricker’s account rests on an older paradigm of stereotype and prejudice. Given recent empirical work, I argue for what I dub prescriptive credibility deficits in which a backlash effect leads to the assignment of a diminished level of credibility to persons who act in counter-stereotypic manners, thereby flouting prescriptive stereotypes. The notion of a prescriptive credibility deficit is not merely an (...) interesting conceptual addendum that can be appended to Fricker’s theory without need for further emendation. I develop the wider implications of prescriptive credibility deficits and argue that they pose a challenge to Fricker’s conception of the function of credibility assignments in conversational exchange and how a virtuous listener should respond to the potential threat of a prejudicial stereotype affecting her credibility assignments. (shrink)
Liberalism is a wonderful theory, but its adherents have a difficult time explaining why. In his Tanner Lecture entitled Foundations of Liberal Equality, Ronald Dworkin proposes to defend liberalism in a new way. Dworkin is not content to view liberalism as a political compromise in which people set aside their personal convictions in the interest of social peace. Instead, he undertakes to make liberal political theory “continuous” with personal ethics, by describing an ethical position that endorses liberalism as a matter (...) of conviction. (shrink)
Experiments are commonly thought to have epistemic privilege over simulations. Two ideas underpin this belief: first, experiments generate greater inferential power than simulations, and second, simulations cannot surprise us the way experiments can. In this article I argue that neither of these claims is true of experiments versus simulations in general. We should give up the common practice of resting in-principle judgments about the epistemic value of cases of scientific inquiry on whether we classify those cases as experiments or simulations, (...) per se. To the extent that either methodology puts researchers in a privileged epistemic position, this is context sensitive. (shrink)
There is considerable agreement among epistemologists that certain abilities are constitutive of understanding-why. These abilities include: constructing explanations, drawing conclusions, and answering questions. This agreement has led epistemologists to conclude that understanding is a kind of know-how. However, in this paper, I argue that the abilities constitutive of understanding are the same kind of cognitive abilities that we find in ordinary cases of knowledge-that and not the kind of practical abilities associated with know-how. I argue for this by disambiguating between (...) different senses of abilities that are too often lumped together. As a consequence, non-reductionists about understanding—those that claim that understanding-why is not reducible to knowledge-that—need to find another way to motivate the view. In the end, the fact that abilities are constitutive of understanding-why does not give us reason to conclude that understanding is a kind of know-how. (shrink)
ABSTRACTRowland’s message in Morality by Design mirrors Kant’s ‘moral argument’ for God. As such, he is part of a global trend in philosophy towards a ‘religious renaissance’, also reflected in the work of orthodox critical realists, especially those who are drawn to Jurgen Habermas and/or John Dewey in addition to Roy Bhaskar. Many orthodox critical realists may not realize that their approach – which assumes the existence of an absolute, innate, embedded morality – ultimately requires the idea of God to (...) be consistent. By conflating faith with reason, this religious renaissance offers a progressive-sounding discourse that can be used to legitimise activism to achieve socially conservative, yet politically left wing, policy outcomes, norm formation and judicial interpretations. It therefore threatens the hard-won rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community. This review essay offers Bhaskar's original critical realism as an antidote to the religious renaissance in philosophy. (shrink)
The nature of religion -- The moral instinct -- The evolution of religious behavior -- Music, dance, and trance -- Ancestral religion -- The transformation -- The tree of religion -- Morality, trade, and trust -- The ecology of religion -- Religion and warfare -- Religion and nation -- The future of religion.
Payment to recruit research subjects is a common practice but raises ethical concerns relating to the potential for coercion or undue influence. We conducted the first national study of IRB members and human subjects protection professionals to explore attitudes as to whether and why payment of research participants constitutes coercion or undue influence. Upon critical evaluation of the cogency of ethical concerns regarding payment, as reflected in our survey results, we found expansive or inconsistent views about coercion and undue influence (...) that may interfere with valuable research. In particular, respondents appear to believe that coercion and undue influence lie on a continuum; by contrast, we argue that they are wholly distinct: whereas undue influence is a cognitive distortion relating to assessment of risks and benefits, coercion is a threat of harm. Because payment is an offer, rather than a threat, payment is never coercive. (shrink)
David Kaplan’s analysis of the factors that determine what words someone has used in a given utterance requires that a speaker can only use a word through producing an utterance performed with a particular, related intention directed at speaking that word. This account, or any that requires a speaker to have an intention to utter a specific word, proves inconsistent with models of speech planning in psycholinguistics as informed by data on slips-of-the-tongue. Kaplan explicitly aims to formulate a theory of (...) words that elides the details of the processes responsible for speech planning and production. Though it may superficially seem that the picture of speech planning and production offered by psycholinguistics can add no insight into our analysis—on closer inspection—we find a rich body of empirical data that should be integrated into any viable account of what words someone has used in a given utterance. (shrink)
Limited strikes are arguably different from war insofar as they are more circumscribed, less destructive, and cost less in blood and treasure to employ. However, what they can achieve is also considerably more circumscribed than what is set out by the goals of war. How do we morally evaluate limited strikes? As part of the roundtable, “The Ethics of Limited Strikes,” this essay argues that we need to turn to the ethics of limited of force, orjus ad vim, to do (...) so. Two moral assumptions that are the keystone tojus ad vimcan shed light on the moral imperatives and ethical dilemmas of undertaking limited strikes. First, such strikes should be seen as an alternative to war, and not part of thejus ad bellumlast resort process. What I call the “Rubicon assessment” determines at what level force should be used: at the level of war, with all its costs and unpredictability, or at that of the more predictable and less costly limited force. Second, limited strikes should adhere to a “presumption against escalation”; that is, a moral commitment not to escalate to war. This essay highlights these moral principles in five different limited strike scenarios: “hot pursuit,” “red line,” “the last straw,” “the point of no return,” and “the right of retaliation.” The conclusion explores the notion of justice after limited strikes, or what I calljus post vim, to show that while what can be accomplished by limited strikes is inherently constrained, they can, if used morally and in tune with diplomacy, be of service in the quest for peace. (shrink)
What is time? This is one of the most fundamental questions we can ask. Emily Thomas explores how a new theory of time emerged in the seventeenth century. The 'absolute' theory of time held that it is independent of material bodies or human minds, so even if nothing else existed there would be time.
With the normative demand to attend to social difference and an absence of universal evaluative terms with which to do so, recent theory has increasingly turned to the study of the affective rather than epistemological conditions of ethical encounter. This I call a “dispositional ethics” that construes responsibility as responsiveness. Recent articulations of such an ethics, notably in the most current work of Judith Butler, James Tully, Jade Larissa Schiff, and Ella Myers, highlight its connection to situated practices of concrete (...) bodies-in-relation, but often stop short of developing an account of what such embodied practices might be. Based on interviews with thirteen experts who take the body as their primary vocational and intellectual field and characterize their practice as an art of listening, I distinguish three dimensions of a dispositional ethics in practice and some of the specific strategies available to cultivate the conditions for responsiveness in political life. (shrink)
The question of authenticity centers in the lives of women of color to invite and restrict their representative roles. For this reason, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Uma Narayan advocate responding with strategic essentialism. This paper argues against such a strategy and proposes an epistemic understanding of the question of authentic- ity. The question stems from a kernel of truth—the connection between experience and knowledge. But a coherence theory of knowledge better captures the sociality and the holism of experience and knowledge.
This groundbreaking book provides an analytical tool to understand how and why evil works in the world as it does. Deconstructing memory, history, and myth as received wisdom, the volume critically examines racism, sexism, poverty, and stereotypes.
Do we see more than we can report? Psychologists and philosophers have been hotly debating this question, in part because both possibilities are supported by suggestive evidence. On one hand, phenomena such as inattentional blindness and change blindness suggest that visual awareness is especially sparse. On the other hand, experiments relating to iconic memory suggest that our in-the-moment awareness of the world is much richer than can be reported. Recent research has attempted to resolve this debate by showing that observers (...) can accurately report the color diversity of a quickly flashed group of letters, even for letters that are unattended. If this ability requires awareness of the individual letters’ colors, then this may count as a clear case of conscious awareness overflowing cognitive access. Here we explored this requirement directly: can we perceive ensemble properties of scenes even without being aware of the relevant individual features? Across several experiments that combined aspects of iconic memory with measures of change blindness, we show that observers can accurately report the color diversity of unattended stimuli, even while their self-reported awareness of the individual elements is coarse or nonexistent — and even while they are completely blind to situations in which each individual element changes color mid-trial throughout the entire experiment. We conclude that awareness of statistical properties may occur in the absence of awareness of individual features, and that such results are fully consistent with sparse visual awareness. (shrink)
This book draws its inspiration from Hilbert, Wittgenstein, Cavaillès and Lakatos and is designed to reconfigure contemporary philosophy of mathematics by making the growth of knowledge rather than its foundations central to the study of mathematical rationality, and by analyzing the notion of growth in historical as well as logical terms. Not a mere compendium of opinions, it is organised in dialogical forms, with each philosophical thesis answered by one or more historical case studies designed to support, complicate or question (...) it. The first part of the book examines the role of scientific theory and empirical fact in the growth of mathematical knowledge. The second examines the role of abstraction, analysis and axiomatization. The third raises the question of whether the growth of mathematical knowledge constitutes progress, and how progress may be understood. Readership: Students and scholars concerned with the history and philosophy of mathematics and the formal sciences. (shrink)
Play is a vital component of the social life and well-being of both children and adults. This book examines the concept of play and considers a variety of the related philosophical issues. It also includes meta-analyses from a range of philosophers and theorists, as well as an exploration of some key applied ethical considerations. The main objective of The Philosophy of Play is to provide a richer understanding of the concept and nature of play and its relation to human life (...) and values, and to build disciplinary and paradigmatic bridges between scholars of philosophy and scholars of play. Including specific chapters dedicated to children and play, and exploring the work of key thinkers such as Plato, Sartre, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Deleuze and Nietzsche, this book is invaluable reading for any advanced student, researcher or practitioner with an interest in education, playwork, leisure studies, applied ethics or the philosophy of sport. (shrink)
This book explains the importance of embodiment in understanding the function of race. With chapters by expert contributors and coverage of the most recent thinking in philosophy of race, the book is ideal for upper-level students in Phenomenology, Philosophy of Race and Critical Race Theory.
This paper discusses the contribution of Madame Du Châtelet to the reception of Newtonianism in France prior to her translation of Newton’s Principia. It focuses on her Institutions de physique, a work normally considered for its contribution to the reception of Leibniz in France. By comparing the different editions of the Institutions, I argue that her interest in Newton antedated her interest in Leibniz, and that she did not see Leibniz’s metaphysics as incompatible with Newtonian science. Her Newtonianism can be (...) seen to be in the course of development between 1738 and 1742 and it was shaped by contemporary French debates and the achievement of French Newtonians like Maupertuis in confirming his theories. Her Institutions therefore is linked to the same drive to disseminate Newtonianism undertaken by popularisations such as Voltaire’s Elements de la philosophie de Newton and Algarotti’s Newtonianismo per le dame.Author Keywords: Emilie du Châtelet; Isaac Newton; Voltaire; French reception of Newtonianism. (shrink)
In 2008, many states sought to pass Human Life Amendments, which would extend the definition of personhood to encompass newly fertilized eggs. If such an amendment were to pass, Roe v. Wade, as currently defended by the Supreme Court, may be repealed. Consequently, it is necessary to defend the right to an abortion in a manner that succeeds even if a Human Life Amendment successfully passes. J.J. Thomson's argument in ?A Defense of Abortion? successfully achieves this. Her argument is (...) especially strong when one considers that her central thesis?that one person's right to life does not entail the right to use another's person's body for continued sustenance?is pervasive in legal policies in the U.S.A. (shrink)
Interest in the use of medical data for health research is increasing. Yet, as Elizabeth Ford and colleagues rightly note, there are open questions about the suitability of existing ethical and regulatory oversight frameworks for these research approaches. In their feature article, ‘Should free text data in electronic medical records be shared for research? A citizen’s jury study in the United Kingdom’, Ford et al report the results of a deliberative engagement study in which 18 members of the public were (...) asked whether and under what conditions free text data from medical records should be shared for research purposes. The authors’ explicit aim was to inform national policy on sharing medical text. Public attitudes—stated otherwise, the attitudes of patients whose medical information will ultimately be used under any data sharing policy—are a necessary input into ethical and regulatory decision-making about use of medical data for health research. Though public attitudes will rarely be determinative, they must be weighed in order to uphold the ethical principle of respect for persons.1 Ford et al ’s article is, therefore, an important contribution to …. (shrink)
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