We think that certain of our mental states represent the world around us, and represent it in determinate ways. My perception that there is salt in the pot before me, for example, represents my immediate environment as containing a certain object, a pot, with a certain kind of substance, salt, in it. My belief that salt dissolves in water represents something in the world around me, namely salt, as having a certain observational property, that of dissolving. But what exactly is (...) the relation between such states and the world beyond the surfaces of our skins? Specifically, what exactly is the relation between the contents of those states, and the world beyond our bodies? (shrink)
In this essay, I defend theology against a recent argument made by Peter Byrne. According to Byrne, any discipline of thought that can be interpreted realistically shows the accumulation of reliable or widespread belief about the reality it investigates. I challenge this claim, first, by showing how theology, so construed as an exercise of ‘faith seeking understanding’, can and should be interpreted realistically, even if it does not show the accumulation of reliable or widespread belief about divine reality. Second, I (...) give a plausible account of why theology is beset by internal disagreement and division, even if the goal of theological enquiry is to overcome such disagreement and division. (shrink)
Self-knowledge is the focus of considerable attention from philosophers: Knowing Our Own Minds gives a much-needed overview of current work on the subject, bringing together new essays by leading figures. Knowledge of one's own sensations, desires, intentions, thoughts, beliefs, and other attitudes is characteristically different from other kinds of knowledge: it has greater immediacy, authority, and salience. The contributors examine philosophical questions raised by the distinctive character of self-knowledge, relating it to knowledge of other minds, to rationality and agency, externalist (...) theories of psychological content, and knowledge of language. Together these original, stimulating, and closely interlinked essays demonstrate the special relevance of self-knowledge to a broad range of issues in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. (shrink)
In this book Macdonald elaborates a democratic framework based on the new theoretical concepts of 'public power', 'stakeholder communities' and 'non-electoral representation', and illustrates the practical implications of these proposals for projects of global institutional reform.
In Recovering Hegel from the Critique of Leo Strauss, Sara MacDonald and Barry Craig provide a study unique in its focus on Leo Strauss’s reading of Hegel. While MacDonald and Craig find value in Strauss’s thought, they argue that his pessimism concerning modernity lies in a misunderstanding of both modernity’s greatest philosophical advocate, G.W.F. Hegel, and modernity’s virtues.
Though the relation of spirituality to self has long been recognized in established spiritual and religious systems, serious scientific interest in spirituality and its relation to identity has only started to grow in the past 20 years. This paper overviews the literature on spirituality and identity. Particular attention is given to describing and critiquing conventional and transpersonal perspectives with emphasis given to empirically testable theories. Using MacDonald’s five dimensional model of spirituality, a structural model of spirituality is proposed as (...) is a model of spiritual identity formation. (shrink)
The Existentialist Reader is a comprehensive anthology of classic philosophical writings from eight key existentialist thinkers: Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, de Beauvoir, Jaspers, Marcel, Merleau-Ponty, and Ortega y Gasset. These substantial and carefully selected readings consider the distinctive concerns of existentialism: absurdity, anxiety, alienation, death. A comprehensive introduction by Paul S. MacDonald illuminates the existentialist quest for individual freedom and authentic human experience with insight into the historical and intellectual background of these major figures. The Existentialist Reader is a valuable (...) guide to the provocative theories that shook the philosophical world in the 1930s and continue to profoundly shape the way we think about ourselves. (shrink)
A. J. Ayer was one of the foremost analytical philosophers of the twentieth century, and was known as a brilliant and engaging speaker. In essays based on his influential Dewey Lectures, Ayer addresses some of the most critical and controversial questions in epistemology and the philosophy of science, examining the nature of inductive reasoning and grappling with the issues that most concerned him as a philosopher. This edition contains revised and expanded versions of the lectures and two additional essays. Ayer (...) begins by considering Hume's formulation of the problem of induction and then explores the inferences on which we base our beliefs in factual matters. In other essays, he defines the three kinds of probability that inform inductive reasoning and examines the various criteria for verifiability and falsifiability. In his extensive introduction, Graham Macdonald discusses the arguments in _Probability and Evidence_, how they relate to Ayer's other works, and their influence in contemporary philosophy. He also provides a brief biographical sketch of Ayer, and includes a bibliography of works about and in response to _Probability and Evidence_. (shrink)
In this book MacDonald guides his reader through Luke-Acts from beginning to end to identify and interpret the author’s imitations of classical Greek poetry, arguing that Luke’s two-volume work was a prose epic to provide his readers with a foundation myth for the new social reality that the Christian Church had become.
Mutual accommodation is about co-operation, compromise, and inclusion. It's a big idea, equal to freedom, science, and compassion. The postwar global economic order led by the United States is one of the greatest historic achievements of mutual accommodation, yet it is now at risk from the centrifugal forces that have led to populism. Today, to many nations and people, Canada is the model country driven by successful mutual accommodation. In Might Nature Be Canadian? William Macdonald explores the theme of (...) mutual accommodation with a close lens on the Canadian experience. Canada has a drive toward mutual accommodation. The United States has a strong drive toward division. There has always been a divergence of ideologies between the two countries. The United States now appears to view the world as a never-ending struggle, which has become greater since 2000, between good and evil, while Canada, by contrast, leans toward the idea that there is an underlying order at the heart of things. Canada has always faced strong limits in creatively overcoming a challenging geography and French/English language differences within its own borders; on the other hand the United States sees itself as a country with virtually no limits. Throughout its history Canada's drive toward mutual accommodation, stronger than that of any other country, has allowed its increasingly diverse citizens to live together peacefully and successfully, even as they retain their own culture, language, and religion. Nature can be described as simultaneously either/or and both/and. Is there something fundamentally Canadian about this? Taking inspiration from British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, who said that "civilization is the triumph of persuasion over force," Macdonald argues that the urgent spread of mutual accommodation, a charge led by Canada, is central to achieving a bearable world for everyone. (shrink)
A debate has been raging in the philosophy of mind for at least the past two decades. It concerns whether the mental can make a causal difference to the world. Suppose that I am reading the newspaper and it is getting dark. I switch on the light, and continue with my reading. One explanation of why my switching on of the light occurred is that a desiring with a particular content (that I continue reading), a noticing with a particular content (...) (that it is getting dark), and a believing with a particular content (that by switching on the light I could continue reading) occurred in me, and these events caused my switching on of the light. This explanation works by citing the intentional contents of mental phenomena as causes of that action. It is because the intentional causes have the contents that they do, and because those contents play a causal role in bringing about my action, that my action is causally explained. (shrink)
Teleosemantics seeks to explain meaning and other intentional phenomena in terms of their function in the life of the species. This volume of new essays from an impressive line-up of well-known contributors offers a valuable summary of the current state of the teleosemantics debate.
Current discussions of business ethics usually only consider deontological and utilitarian approaches. What is missing is a discussion of traditional teleology, often referred to as virtue ethics. While deontology and teleology are useful, they both suffer insufficiencies. Traditional teleology, while deontological in many respects, does not object to utilitarian style calculations as long as they are contained within a moral framework that is not utilitarian in its origin. It contains the best of both approaches and can be used to focus (...) on the individual''s role within an organization. More work is needed in exposing students and faculty to traditional teleology and its place in business ethic''s discussions. (shrink)
This volume provides an introduction to and review of key contemporary debates concerning connectionism, and the nature of explanation and methodology in cognitive psychology. The first debate centers on the question of whether human cognition is best modeled by classical or by connectionist architectures. The second centres on the question of the compatibility between folk, or commonsense, psychological explanation and explanations based on connectionist models of cognition. Each of the two sections includes a classic reading along with important responses, and (...) concludes with a specially commissioned reply by the main contributor. The editorial introductions provide a comprehensive survey and map through the debates. (shrink)
This paper looks at conflicts of interest in the not-for-profit sector. It examines the nature of conflicts of interest and why they are of ethical concern, and then focuses on the way not-for-profit organisations are especially prone to and vulnerable to conflict-of-interest scandals. Conflicts of interest corrode trust; and stakeholder trust (particularly from donors) is the lifeblood of most charities. We focus on some specific challenges faced by charitable organisations providing funding for scientific (usually medical) research, and examine a case (...) study involving such an organisation. One of the principal problems for charities of this kind is that they often distribute their funds within a relatively small research community (defined by the boundaries of a small region, like an American state or Spanish Autonomous region, or a small country), and it often proves difficult to find high-level researchers within the jurisdiction to adjudicate impartially the research grants. We suggest and recommend options appropriate for our case study and for many other organisations in similar situations. (shrink)
In this paper I outline and defend an introspectionist account of authoritative self-knowledge for a certain class of cases, ones in which a subject is both thinking and thinking about a current, conscious thought. My account is distinctive in a number of ways, one of which is that it is compatible with the truth of externalism.
: Care work straddles the divide between activities performed out of love and those performed for pay. The tensions created for workers by this divide raise questions concerning connections between recognition and redistribution. Through an analysis of mobilization among childcare workers, we argue that care workers can address redistribution and recognition simultaneously through vocabularies of both skill and virtue. We conclude with a discussion of strategies to overcome the false dichotomy between recognition and redistribution.
This paper argues that the non-reductive monist need not be concerned about the ‘problem’ of mental causation; one can accept both the irreducibility of mental properties to physical properties and the causal closure of the physical. More precisely, it is argued that instances of mental properties can be causally efficacious, and that there is no special barrier to seeing mental properties whose instances are causally efficacious as being causally relevant to the effects they help to bring about. It is then (...) shown that the causal relevance of mental properties is consistent with there being no downward causation, so the dilemma of ‘epiphenomenalism or reduction’ can be avoided. Non-reductive monism lives on as a viable position in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Our day-to-day experience of the world regularly brings us into contact with middlesized objects such as apples, dogs, and other human beings. These objects possess observable properties, properties that are available or accessible to the unaided senses, such as redness and roundness, as well as properties that are not so available, such as chemical ones. Both of these kinds of properties serve as valuable sources of information about our familiar middle-sized objects at least to the extent that they enable us (...) to understand the behaviours of those objects and their effects on each other and on us. I see the apple on the table before me, and in doing so I see its redness, its roundness, and so on. I do not see, but know that it has, a certain chemical constitution. The knowledge gained of the apple by means of both properties tells me something about the nature of that apple. In general, most, if not all, of the properties that objects in the observable world possess serve as the basis of our knowledge of such objects. But the subject-predicate form of much of our discourse and thought about objects suggests that substances are one kind of thing, properties another. We use subject terms such as names to identify objects, predicate terms to attribute properties to them. What, then, is it for an object to have a property? And what is the relation between an object and its properties? (shrink)
What is knowledge of one's own current, consciously entertained intentional states a form of inner awareness? If so, what form? In this paper I explore the prospects for a quasi-observational account of a certain class of cases where subjects appear to have self-knowledge, namely, the so-called cogito-like cases. In section one I provide a rationale for the claim that we need an epistemology of self-knowledge, and specifically, an epistemology of the cogito-like cases. In section two I argue that contentful properties (...) in such cases have two features in common with observational properties of objects. In section three, I develop a quasi-observational account of self-knowledge for the cogito-like cases by considering various accounts of the nature of observational properties and by applying them to these cases. I conclude by addressing some important objections to the account. (shrink)
Entanglement has been called the most important new feature of the quantum world. It is expressed in the quantum formalism by the joint measurement formula. We prove the formula for projection valued observables from a plausible assumption, which for spacelike separated measurements is an expression of relativistic causality. The state reduction formula is simply a way to express the joint measurement formula after one measurement has been made, and its result known.
Genetic testing in the workplace is a technology both full of promise and fraught with ethical peril. Though not yet common, it is likely to become increasingly so. We survey the key arguments in favour of such testing, along with the most significant ethical worries. We further propose a set of pragmatic criteria, which, if met, would make it permissible for employers to offer (but not to require) workplace genetic testing.
In a recent paper on realism and pragmatism published in this journal, Osmo Kivinen and Tero Piiroinen have been pleading for more methodological work in the philosophy of the social sciences—refining the conceptual tools of social scientists—and less philosophically ontological theories. Following this de-ontologizing approach, we scrutinize the debates on social explanation and contribute to the development of a pragmatic social science methodology. Analyzing four classic debates concerning explanation in the social sciences, we propose to shift the debate away from (...) (a) the ontologizing defenses of forms of social explanation, and (b) a winner-takes-all-approach. Instead, we advocate (c) a pragmatic approach towards social explanation, elaborating a rigorous framework for explanatory pluralism detached from the debates on social ontology. (shrink)
Externalism in the philosophy of mind has been thought by many to pose a serious threat to the claim that subjects are in general authoritative with regard to certain of their own intentional states.<sup>1</sup> In a series of papers, Tyler Burge (1985_a_, 1985_b_, 1988, 1996) has argued that the distinctive entitlement or right that subjects have to self- knowledge in certain cases is compatible with externalism, since that entitlement is environmentally neutral, neutral with respect to the issue of the individuation (...) dependence of subjects' intentional states on factors beyond their bodies. His reason is that whereas externalism—the view that certain intentional states of persons are individuation-dependent on objects and/or phenomena external to their bodies—is a metaphysical thesis, authoritative self-knowledge is an epistemological matter. This being so, there is no reason to suppose that the two need conflict with one another. (shrink)
How did I raise my arm? The simple answer is that I raised it as a consequence of intending to raise it. A slightly more complicated response would mention the absence of any factors which would inhibit the execution of the intention- and a more complicated one still would specify the intention in terms of a goal (say, drinking a beer) which requires arm-raising as a means towards that end. Whatever the complications, the simple answer appears to be on the (...) right track. (shrink)
Discussions of conflict of interest (COI) in the university have tended to focus on financial interests in the context of medical research; much less attention has been given to COI in general or to the policies that seek to manage COI. Are university COI policies accessible and understandable? To whom are these policies addressed (faculty, staff, students)? Is COI clearly defined in these policies and are procedures laid out for avoiding or remedying such situations? To begin tackling these important ethical (...) and governance questions, our study examines the COI policies at the Group of Thirteen (G13) leading Canadian research universities. Using automated readability analysis tools and an ethical content analysis, we begin the task of comparing the strengths and weaknesses of these documents, paying particular attention to their clarity, readability, and utility in explaining and managing COI. (shrink)