Was sind wir? Wie immer man sich zu dieser Frage stellt, eines scheint offenkundig: Wir sind Tiere, genauer gesagt: menschliche Tiere, Mitglieder der Art Homo sapiens. Dabei mag es überraschen, daß viele Philosophen diese vermeintlich banale Tatsache abstreiten. Plato, Augustinus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant und Hegel, um nur einige herausragende zu nennen, waren alle der Meinung, wir seien keine Tiere. Es mag zwar sein, daß unsere Körper Tiere sind. Doch sind wir nicht mit unseren Körpern gleichzusetzen. Wir sind etwas (...) anderes als Tiere. Kaum anderer Meinung sind Denker nicht-westlicher Traditionen. Und rund neun von zehn Philosophen, die heutzutage über Probleme der personalen Identität nachdenken, vertreten Ansichten, die ausschließen, daß wir Tiere sind. (shrink)
This is a book about Kant's views on causality as understood in their proper historical context. Specifically, Eric Watkins argues that a grasp of Leibnizian and anti-Leibnizian thought in eighteenth-century Germany helps one to see how the critical Kant argued for causal principles that have both metaphysical and epistemological elements. On this reading Kant's model of causality does not consist of events, but rather of substances endowed with causal powers that are exercised according to their natures and circumstances. This (...) innovative conception of Kant's view of causality casts a light on Kant's philosophical beliefs in general, such as his account of temporality, his explanation of the reconciliation of freedom and determinism, and his response to the skeptical arguments of Hume. (shrink)
Do you dream in color? If you answer Yes, how can you be sure? Before you recount your vivid memory of a dream featuring all the colors of the rainbow, consider that in the 1950s researchers found that most people reported dreaming in black and white. In the 1960s, when most movies were in color and more people had color television sets, the vast majority of reported dreams contained color. The most likely explanation for this, according to the philosopher (...) class='Hi'>Eric Schwitzgebel, is not that exposure to black-and-white media made people misremember their dreams. It is that we simply don't know whether or not we dream in color. In Perplexities of Consciousness, Schwitzgebel examines various aspects of inner life and argues that we know very little about our stream of conscious experience. Drawing broadly from historical and recent philosophy and psychology to examine such topics as visual perspective, and the unreliability of introspection, Schwitzgebel finds us singularly inept in our judgments about conscious experience. (shrink)
Climate change and justice are so closely associated that many people take it for granted that a global climate treaty should--indeed, must--directly address both issues together. But, in fact, this would be a serious mistake, one that, by dooming effective international limits on greenhouse gases, would actually make the world's poor and developing nations far worse off. This is the provocative and original argument of Climate Change Justice. Eric Posner and David Weisbach strongly favor both a climate change agreement (...) and efforts to improve economic justice. But they make a powerful case that the best--and possibly only--way to get an effective climate treaty is to exclude measures designed to redistribute wealth or address historical wrongs against underdeveloped countries. In clear language, Climate Change Justice proposes four basic principles for designing the only kind of climate treaty that will work--a forward-looking agreement that requires every country to make greenhouse--gas reductions but still makes every country better off in its own view. This kind of treaty has the best chance of actually controlling climate change and improving the welfare of people around the world. (shrink)
In this essay I propose to explicate and defend a new and improved version of a Lockean proviso—the self-ownership proviso . I shall presume here that individuals possess robust rights of self-ownership. I shall take it that each individual has strong moral claims over the elements which constitute her person, e.g., her body parts, her talents, and her energies. However, in the course of the essay, I shall be challenging what I take to be the standard conception of self-ownership and (...) proposing an enrichment of that conception. The SOP is presented and in part justified as an implication of the right of self-ownership as it is more richly conceived—hence its designation as the self-ownership proviso. As an implication of the right of self-ownership which is also compatible, in theory and practice, with extensive and robust private property rights, the SOP is offered as an integral element of classical-liberal political theory. (shrink)
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a criticism of (...) her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
When we say we 'act for a reason', what do we mean? And what do reasons have to do with being good or bad? Introducing readers to a foundational topic in ethics, Eric Wiland considers the reasons for which we act. You do things for reasons, and reasons in some sense justify what you do. Further, your reasons belong to you, and you know the reasons for which you act in a distinctively first-personal way. Wiland lays out and critically (...) reviews some of the most popular contemporary accounts of how reasons can function in all these ways, accounts such as psychologism, factualism, hybrid theories, constitutivist theories, and finally Anscombean views of reasons. Reasons also includes a brief guide to further reading to help readers master this important topic in contemporary writing in ethics and the philosophy of action. (shrink)
There are possible artificially intelligent beings who do not differ in any morally relevant respect from human beings. Such possible beings would deserve moral consideration similar to that of human beings. Our duties to them would not be appreciably reduced by the fact that they are non-human, nor by the fact that they owe their existence to us. Indeed, if they owe their existence to us, we would likely have additional moral obligations to them that we don’t ordinarily owe to (...) human strangers – obligations similar to those of parent to child or god to creature. Given our moral obligations to such AIs, two principles for ethical AI design recommend themselves: (1) design AIs that tend to provoke reactions from users that accurately reflect the AIs’ real moral status, and (2) avoid designing AIs whose moral status is unclear. Since human moral intuition and moral theory evolved and developed in contexts without AI, those intuitions and theories might break down or become destabilized when confronted with the wide range of weird minds that AI design might make possible. (shrink)
On October 1, 1988, thirty-five years after co-discovering the structure of the DNA molecule, Dr. James Watson launched an unprecedented experiment in American science policy. In response to a reporter's question at a press conference, he unilaterally set aside 3 to 5 percent of the budget of the newly launched Human Genome Project to support studies of the ethical, legal, and social implications of new advances in human genetics. The Human Genome Project, by providing geneticists with the molecular maps of (...) the human chromosomes that they use to identify specific human genes, will speed the proliferation of a class of DNA-based diagnostic and risk-assessment tests that already create professional ethical and health-policy challenges for clinicians. “The problems are with us now, independent of the genome program, but they will be associated with it,” Watson said. “We should devote real money to discussing these issues.” By 1994, the “ELSI program” had spent almost $20 million in pursuit of its mission, and gained both praise and criticism for its accomplishments. (shrink)
For some reason, participants hold agents more responsible for their actions when a situation is described concretely than when the situation is described abstractly. We present examples of this phenomenon, and survey some attempts to explain it. We divide these attempts into two classes: affective theories and cognitive theories. After criticizing both types of theories we advance our novel hypothesis: that people believe that whenever a norm is violated, someone is responsible for it. This belief, along with the familiar workings (...) of cognitive dissonance theory, is enough to not only explain all of the abstract/concrete paradoxes, but also explains seemingly unrelated effects, like the anthropomorphization of malfunctioning inanimate objects. (shrink)
There continues to be a vigorous public debate in our society about the status of climate science. Much of the skepticism voiced in this debate suffers from a lack of understanding of how the science works - in particular the complex interdisciplinary scientific modeling activities such as those which are at the heart of climate science. In this book Eric Winsberg shows clearly and accessibly how philosophy of science can contribute to our understanding of climate science, and how it (...) can also shape climate policy debates and provide a starting point for research. Covering a wide range of topics including the nature of scientific data, modeling, and simulation, his book provides a detailed guide for those willing to look beyond ideological proclamations, and enriches our understanding of how climate science relates to important concepts such as chaos, unpredictability, and the extent of what we know. (shrink)
We propose a definition of capability as a class intermediate between function and disposition as the latter are defined in Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). A disposition inheres in a material entity and is realized in a certain kind of process. An example is the disposition of a glass to break when struck, which is realized when it shatters. A function is a disposition which is (simply put) the rationale for the existence of its bearer. To say for example that a (...) water pump has the function to pump water is to say that the pump exists because something was needed that would pump water. Capabilities are a special sort of disposition in that that, like functions, they can be evaluated on the basis of how well they are realized. They differ from functions in that their realizations are not the rationale – not the primary reason – for the existence of their bearers. Thus, a water pump may have many capabilities, including to be weatherproof, to run without lubricant, and so forth, but only one function. All functions are capabilities on the view we defend, but not all capabilities are functions. We develop a series of axioms to distinguish capabilities formally from both dispositions and functions and provide examples of the use of ‘capability’ in a variety of domains. (shrink)
This is the first complete, one-volume English translation of the ancient Chinese text Xunzi, one of the most extensive, sophisticated, and elegant works in the tradition of Confucian thought. Through essays, poetry, dialogues, and anecdotes, the Xunzi articulates a Confucian perspective on ethics, politics, warfare, language, psychology, human nature, ritual, and music, among other topics. Aimed at general readers and students of Chinese thought, Eric Hutton's translation makes the full text of this important work more accessible in English than (...) ever before. Named for its purported author, the Xunzi has long been neglected compared to works such as the Analects of Confucius and the Mencius. Yet interest in the Xunzi has grown in recent decades, and the text presents a much more systematic vision of the Confucian ideal than the fragmented sayings of Confucius and Mencius. In one famous, explicit contrast to them, the Xunzi argues that human nature is bad. However, it also allows that people can become good through rituals and institutions established by earlier sages. Indeed, the main purpose of the Xunzi is to urge people to become as good as possible, both for their own sakes and for the sake of peace and order in the world. In this edition, key terms are consistently translated to aid understanding and line numbers are provided for easy reference. Other features include a concise introduction, a timeline of early Chinese history, a list of important names and terms, cross-references, brief explanatory notes, a bibliography, and an index. (shrink)
Introduction -- Sanctioning models : theories and their scope -- Methodology for a virtual world -- A tale of two methods -- When theories shake hands -- Models of climate : values and uncertainties -- Reliability without truth -- Conclusion.
David Silver has argued that there is an illegitimate circularity in Plantinga's account of how a Christian theist can defend herself against the potential defeater presented by Paul Draper's formulation of the problem of evil. The way out of the circle for the theist, thinks Silver, would be by adopting a kind of evidentialism: she needs to make an appeal to evidence that is independent of the reasons she has for holding theistic belief in the first place. I shall argue (...) that Silver's argument is unsuccessful, mainly because he does not get Plantinga's thought right. Silver's confusion is in taking causes of belief as reasons for belief, and in failing to account for the impact of belief holism and our web of beliefs on the very hope for independent reasons. (shrink)
My goal in this essay is to say something helpful about the philosophical foundations of deontic restraints, i.e., moral restraints on actions that are, roughly speaking, grounded in the wrongful character of the actions themselves and not merely in the disvalue of their results. An account of deontic restraints will be formulated and offered against the backdrop of three related, but broader, contrasts or puzzles within moral theory. The plausibility of this account of deontic restraints rests in part on how (...) well this account resolves the puzzles or illuminates the contrasts which make up this theoretical backdrop. (shrink)
To the student of the recent history of theological ideas in the West, it sometimes seems as though, of all the ‘new’ subjects that have been intro duced into theological discussion during the last hundred or so years, only two have proved to be of permanent significance. One is, of course, biblical criticism, and the other, the subject which in my University is still called ‘comparative religion’—the dispassionate study of the religions of the world as phenomena in their own right.
A psychoanalytic psychology and art of unconscious emotion -- An inward turn : Vienna 1900 -- Exploring the truths hidden beneath the surface : origins of a scientific medicine -- Viennese artists, writers, and scientists meet in the Zuckerkandl Salon -- Exploring the brain beneath the skull : origins of a scientific psychiatry -- Exploring mind together with the brain : the development of a brain-based psychology -- Exploring mind apart from the brain : origins of a dynamic psychology -- (...) Searching for inner meaning in literature -- The depiction of modern women's sexuality in art -- The depiction of the psyche in art -- The fusion of eroticism, aggression, and anxiety in art -- A cognitive psychology of visual perception and emotional response to art -- Discovering the beholder's share -- Observation is also invention : the brain as a creativity machine -- The emergence of twentieth-century painting -- A biological science of the beholder's visual response to art -- The brain's processing of visual images -- Deconstruction of the visual image: the building blocks of form perception -- Reconstruction of the world we see : vision is information processing -- High-level vision and the brain's perception of face, hands, and body -- Top-down processing of information : using memory to find meaning -- The deconstruction of emotion : the search for emotional primitives -- The artistic depiction of emotion through the face, hands, body, and color -- Unconscious emotions, conscious feelings, and their bodily expression -- A biological science of the beholder's emotional response to art -- Top-down control of cognitive emotional information -- The biological response to beauty and ugliness in art -- The beholder's share : entering the private theater of another's mind -- The biology of the beholder's share : modeling other people's minds -- How the brain regulates emotion and empathy -- An evolving dialogue between visual art and science -- Artistic universals and the austrian expressionists -- The creative brain -- The cognitive unconscious and the creative brain -- Brain circuits for creativity -- Talent, creativity, and brain development -- Knowing ourselves : the new dialogue between art and science. (shrink)
Do philosophy professors specializing in ethics behave, on average, any morally better than do other professors? If not, do they at least behave more consistently with their expressed values? These questions have never been systematically studied. We examine the self-reported moral attitudes and moral behavior of 198 ethics professors, 208 non-ethicist philosophers, and 167 professors in departments other than philosophy on eight moral issues: academic society membership, voting, staying in touch with one's mother, vegetarianism, organ and blood donation, responsiveness to (...) student emails, charitable giving, and honesty in responding to survey questionnaires. On some issues, we also had direct behavioral measures that we could compare with the self-reports. Ethicists expressed somewhat more stringent normative attitudes on some issues, such as vegetarianism and charitable donation. However, on no issue did ethicists show unequivocally better behavior than the two comparison groups. Our findings on attitude-behavior consistency were mixed: ethicists showed the strongest relationship between behavior and expressed moral attitude regarding voting but the weakest regarding charitable donation. We discuss implications for several models of the relationship between philosophical reflection and real-world moral behavior. (shrink)
In this book, Eric Sanday boldly demonstrates that Plato’s “theory of forms” is true, easy to understand, and relatively intuitive. Sanday argues that our chief obstacle to understanding the theory of forms is the distorting effect of the tacit metaphysical privileging of individual things in our everyday understanding. For Plato, this privileging of things that we can own, produce, exchange, and through which we gain mastery of our surroundings is a significant obstacle to philosophical education. The dialogue’s chief philosophical (...) work, then, is to destabilize this false privileging and, in Parmenides, to provide the initial framework for a newly oriented account of participation. Once we do this, Sanday argues, we more easily can grasp and see the truth of the theory of forms. (shrink)
People sometimes knowingly undermine the achievement of their own goals by, e.g., playing the lottery or borrowing from loan sharks. Are these agents acting irrationally? The standard answer is “yes”. But, in a recent award-winning paper, Jennifer Morton argues “no”. On her view, the norms of practical reasoning an agent ought to follow depend on that agent’s resource context (roughly, how rich or poor they are). If Morton is correct, the orthodox view that the same norms of practical rationality apply (...) to all agents needs revision. I argue that Morton’s arguments fail on empirical and philosophical grounds. What’s at stake? If Morton is correct, poverty-relief agencies ought to re-design their incentives so resource-scarce agents can rationally respond to them. If I’m correct, resource-scarce agents do act irrationally in the cases under discussion, and we shouldn’t be shy about saying so. Instead of declaring them rational, we should try to understand the causes of their irrational behavior and help them better succeed by their own lights. (shrink)
The application of neurostimulation techniques such as deep brain stimulation —often called a brain pacemaker for neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease —has generated “currents of hope.” Building on this hope, there is significant interest in applying neurostimulation to psychiatric disorders such as major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These emerging neurosurgical practices raise a number of important ethical and social questions in matters of resource allocation, informed consent for vulnerable populations, and commercialization of research.
Written by one of the instrumental figures in environmental ethics, Nature as Subject traces the development of an ethical policy that is centered not on human beings, but on itself. Katz applies this idea to contemporary environmental problems, introducing themes of justice, domination, imperialism, and the Holocaust. This volume will stand as a foundational work for environmental scholars, government and industry policy makers, activists, and students in advanced philosophy and environmental studies courses.
Daoism and Environmental Philosophy explores ethics and the philosophy of nature in the Daodejing, the Zhuangzi, and related texts to elucidate their potential significance in our contemporary environmental crisis. This book traces early Daoist depictions of practices of embodied emptying and forgetting and communicative strategies of undoing the fixations of words, things, and the embodied self. These are aspects of an ethics of embracing plainness and simplicity, nourishing the asymmetrically differentiated yet shared elemental body of life of the myriad things, (...) and being responsively attuned in encountering and responding to things. These critical and transformative dimensions of early Daoism provide exemplary models and insights for cultivating a more expansive ecological ethos, environmental culture of nature, and progressive political ecology. This work will be of interest to students and scholars interested in philosophy, environmental ethics and philosophy, religious studies, and intellectual history. (shrink)
Although much legal scholarship discusses the meaning of the religion clauses of the U.S. Constitution, very few articles analyze the ways in which state regulation affects actors' incentives to engage in religious behavior. Yet the question of how a law influences religious behavior is important for determining whether various laws are desirable, and whether they violate constitutional constraints. This article draws on recent economic models of religious organization to analyze the ways in which laws affect the behavior of religious groups. (...) Religious groups produce collective goods for their members, and the effect of laws can be analyzed by examining how they modify the payoffs members receive for cooperating or free riding. The article examines the use of laws to establish religious groups, to subsidize them with cash or tax benefits, to provide accommodations for them, to provide symbolic support for them, to provide secular substitutes for the collective goods they produce, and to regulate disputes between members. The article also briefly discusses the constitutional implications of the analysis. (shrink)
It is often claimed that Kant intended to justify Newton’s most fundamental claims expressed in the Principia, such as his laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. In this article, I argue that the differences between Newton’s laws of motion and Kant’s laws of mechanics are not superficial or merely apparent. Rather, they reflect fundamental differences in their respective projects. This point can be seen especially clearly by considering the nature of the various projects undertaken in Germany prior (...) to Kant that discuss the laws of motion. Wolff and his followers qua metaphysicians were especially interested in providing nonempirical justifications of their laws of motion as well as an intelligible account of the fundamental properties of bodies in terms of substance, accident, and force. Maupertuis and Euler, despite often being seen as Newtonians, both drew on traditions other than Newton’s. Physics textbooks vary considerably in their aims, but in none of these cases is Newton’s main argument of the Principia presented. In light of the fact that these projects are distinct in significant ways from Newton’s project, the differences between Newton’s laws of motion and Kant’s laws of mechanics are most likely not merely apparent but reflect the fact that Kant, too, was pursuing a project fundamentally distinct from Newton’s. (shrink)
We propose capability as a universal or type intermediate between function and disposition. A capability is, broadly speaking, a disposition that is of a type whose instances can be evaluated on the basis of how well they are realized. A function, on the view we are proposing, is a capability the possession of which is the rationale for the existence of its bearer. To say for example that a water pump has the function to pump water is to say that (...) the pump exists because something was needed that would pump water. A water pump may have many capabilities, including: to be weatherproof, to run without lubricant, to be transportable, and so forth. But its function is to pump water. We focus here on capabilities possessed by humans – such as piano playing or language using – and we explore the relation between capabilities of these sorts and structures in the brain. (shrink)
Moorean arguments are a popular and powerful way to engage highly revisionary philosophical views, such as nihilism about motion, time, truth, consciousness, causation, and various kinds of skepticism (e.g., external world, other minds, inductive, global). They take, as a premise, a highly plausible first-order claim (e.g., cars move, I ate breakfast before lunch, it’s true that some fish have gills) and conclude from it the falsity of the highly revisionary philosophical thesis. Moorean arguments can be used against nihilists in ethics (...) (error theorists), too. Recently, error theorists have recognized Moorean arguments as a powerful challenge and have tried to meet it. They’ve argued that moral Moorean premises seem highly credible to us, but aren’t, by offering various debunking explanations. These explanations all appeal to higher-order evidence—evidence of error in our reasoning. I argue that drawing attention to higher-order evidence is a welcome contribution from error theorists, but that the higher-order evidence actually counts further against error theoretic arguments—including their debunking explanations—and further in favor of Moorean arguments and the commonsense views they support. Along the way I answer a few prominent objections to Moorean arguments: that they are objectionably question-begging, rely on categorizing some facts as “Moorean Facts”, and that reports of one’s credence in a proposition bears no interesting relation to that proposition’s credibility. (shrink)
This volume contains ten new essays focused on the exploration and articulation of a narrative that considers the notion of order within medieval and modern philosophy--its various kinds (natural, moral, divine, and human), the different ways in which each is conceived, and the diverse dependency relations that are thought to obtain among them.
Unconscious logical inference seems to rely on the syntactic structures of mental representations (Quilty-Dunn & Mandelbaum 2018). Other transitions, such as transitions using iconic representations and associative transitions, are harder to assimilate to syntax-based theories. Here we tackle these difficulties head on in the interest of a fuller taxonomy of mental transitions. Along the way we discuss how icons can be compositional without having constituent structure, and expand and defend the “symmetry condition” on Associationism (the idea that associative links and (...) transitions are perfectly symmetric). In the end, we show how a BIT (“bare inferential transition”) theory can cohabitate with these other non-inferential mental transitions. (shrink)
Avec Totem et tabou, Freud entame la première démarche majeure d’interprétation psychanalytique de données ethnographiques, le conduisant en particulier à situer le complexe d’Œdipe au fondement des premières institutions sociales et à repérer l’action de processus inconscients dans leur élaboration. De plus, en posant l’universalité du complexe d’Œdipe tant psychique que culturelle, il réalise une véritable effraction dans le champ d’investigation des anthropologues, suscitant chez eux des réactions aussi violentes que variées. C’est cette histoire souvent faite de méconnaissance, de défiance (...) et de malentendus entre la psychanalyse et l’anthropologie — ces deux sciences de l’homme toutes deux nées au XIXe siècle — que relate Éric Smadja. Après avoir exposé les conditions épistémologiques et historiques d’instauration de ce débat conflictuel, l’auteur le développe suivant un fil chronologique qui l’amène à explorer ses déterminants et ses enjeux, mais aussi les caractéristiques de ces deux disciplines. Se dévoile alors un moment de l’histoire des idées. (shrink)
Can we use technology in the pursuit of a good life, or are we doomed to having our lives organized and our priorities set by the demands of machines and systems? How can philosophy help us to make technology a servant rather than a master? Technology and the Good Life? uses a careful collective analysis of Albert Borgmann's controversial and influential ideas as a jumping-off point from which to address questions such as these about the role and significance of technology (...) in our lives. Contributors both sympathetic and critical examine Borgmann's work, especially his "device paradigm" apply his theories to new areas such as film, agriculture, design, and ecological restoration and consider the place of his thought within philosophy and technology studies more generally. Because this collection carefully investigates the issues at the heart of how we can take charge of life with technology, it will be a landmark work not just for philosophers of technology but for students and scholars in the many disciplines concerned with science and technology studies. (shrink)