In this paper I develop a novel challenge for sceptical theists. I present a line of reasoning that appeals to sceptical theism to support scepticism about divine assertions. I claim that this reasoning is at least as plausible as one popular sceptical theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil. Thus, I seek to impale sceptical theists on the horns of a dilemma: concede that either sceptical theism implies scepticism about divine assertions, or the sceptical theistic strategy for responding (...) to evidential arguments from evil fails. An implication of is that sceptical theism is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us that they are true. This result will render conceding unattractive to many sceptical theists. (shrink)
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)
Erik J. Wielenberg draws on recent work in analytic philosophy and empirical moral psychology to defend non-theistic robust normative realism, according to which there are objective ethical features of the universe that do not depend on God for their existence. He goes on to develop an empirically-grounded account of human moral knowledge.
Perspectives on global warming Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-29 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9639-9 Authors Steven Yearley, ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AQ UK David Mercer, Science and Technology Studies Program, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia Naomi Oreskes, Department of History, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0104, USA Erik Conway, (...) Caltech, 1200 East California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (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)
Evolutionary debunkers of morality hold this thesis: If S’s moral belief that P can be given an evolutionary explanation, then S’s moral belief that P is not knowledge. In this paper, I debunk a variety of arguments for this thesis. I first sketch a possible evolutionary explanation for some human moral beliefs. Next, I explain how, given a reliabilist approach to warrant, my account implies that humans possess moral knowledge. Finally, I examine the debunking arguments of Michael Ruse, Sharon Street, (...) and Richard Joyce. I draw on the account of moral knowledge sketched earlier to illustrate how these arguments fail. -/- . (shrink)
In this book, the French economist and philosopher Serge-Christophe Kolm discusses the problem of what he calls “macrojustice”, which “concerns the most general rules of society and their application to the distribution of the benefits from the main resources”. He reminds his readers that the first and most important challenge for any policy analysis is the spelling out of its ethical foundations. On that basis, he argues in favour of what is nothing less than a paradigm shift in the theory (...) of optimal income taxation, rejecting the whole traditional approach in public economics as being welfarist and too strongly focused on the problem of labour market distortions. As an alternative, he proposes an approach based on the ideal of equal freedom, and works out a specific tax proposal: equal-labour income equalization. He claims that ELIE is a general and operational solution for the organization of the distribution branch of taxation and public expenditure policy that does not create labour market distortions. (shrink)
In everyday life we often act adequately, yet without deliberation. For instance, we immediately obtain and maintain an appropriate distance from others in an elevator. The notion of normativity implied here is a very basic one, namely distinguishing adequate from inadequate, correct from incorrect, or better from worse in the context of a particular situation. In the ﬁrst part of this paper I investigate such ‘situated normativity’ by focusing on unreﬂective expert action. More particularly, I use Wittgenstein’s examples of craftsmen (...) (tailors and architects) absorbed in action to introduce situated normativity. Situated normativity can be understood as the normative aspect of embodied cognition in unreﬂective skillful action. I develop Wittgenstein’s insight that a peculiar type of aﬀective behaviour, ‘directed discontent’, is essential for getting things right without reﬂection. Directed discontent is a reaction of appreciation in action and is introduced as a paradigmatic expression of situated normativity. In the second part I discuss Wittgenstein’s ideas on the normativity of what he calls ‘blind’ rule-following and the ‘bedrock’ of immediate action. What matters for understanding the normativity of (even ‘blind’) rule-following, is not that one has the capacity for linguistic articulation or reﬂection but that one is reliably participating in a communal custom. In the third part I further investigate the complex relationships between unreﬂective skillful action, perception, emotion, and normativity. Part of this entails an account of the link between normativity at the level of the expert’s socio-cultural practice and the individual’s situated and lived normativity. (shrink)
Suppose there is no God. This might imply that human life is meaningless, that there are no moral obligations and hence people can do whatever they want, and that the notions of virtue and vice and good and evil have no place. Erik J. Wielenberg believes this view to be mistaken and in this book he explains why. He argues that even if God does not exist, human life can have meaning, we do have moral obligations, and virtue is (...) possible. Naturally, the author sees virtue in a Godless universe as different from virtue in a Christian universe, and he develops naturalistic accounts of humility, charity, and hope. The moral landscape in a Godless universe is different from the moral landscape in a Christian universe, but it does indeed exist. Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe is a tour of some of the central landmarks of this under-explored territory. (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)
This book is a comprehensive account of what it means to try to quantify health in distributing resources for health care. It examines the concept of QALYs which supposedly makes it more accurate to talk about life in terms of both quality and quantity of years lived when referring to health care policy. It offers an elegant new approach to comparing the costs and benefits of medical interventions. Cost-Utility Analysis is a method designed by economists to aid decision makers distribute (...) scarce resources to areas of health care where they will yield the greatest benefits. Erik Nord questions the feasibility of measuring patients' quality of life meaningfully in numerical terms, as CUA presupposes. He presents an alternative approach called cost-value analysis in which representative samples of the general public express preferences between different health-care programs. In this approach, subjects are allowed to include concerns for fairness that go beyond concerns for efficiency of conventional health economics. (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.
The prevalence and complexity of local sustainable development challenges require coordinated action from multiple actors in the business, public, and civil society sectors. Large multi-stakeholder partnerships that build capacity by developing and leveraging the diverse perspectives and resources of partner organizations are becoming an increasingly popular approach to addressing such challenges. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are designed to address and prioritize a social problem, so it can be challenging to define the value proposition to each specific partner. Using a resource-based view, this (...) study examines partner outcomes from the perspective of the strategic interest of the partner as distinct from the strategic goal of the partnership. Based on 47 interviews with representatives of partner organizations in four Canadian case studies of community sustainability plan implementation, this article details 10 resources partners can gain from engaging in a multi-stakeholder partnership. (shrink)
There are important structural similarities in the way that animals and humans engage in unreflective activities, including unreflective social interactions in the case of higher animals. Firstly, it is a form of unreflective embodied intelligence that is ‘motivated’ by the situation. Secondly, both humans and non-human animals are responsive to ‘affordances’ (Gibson 1979); to possibilities for action offered by an environment. Thirdly, both humans and animals are selectively responsive to one affordance rather than another. Social affordances are a subcategory of (...) affordances, namely possibilities for social interaction offered by an environment: a friend’s sad face invites comforting behavior, a person waiting for a coffee machine can afford a conversation, and an extended hand affords a handshake. I will review recent insights in the nature of the bodily intentionality characteristic of unreflective action. Such ‘motor intentionality’ can be characterized as “our direct bodily inclination to act in a situated, environmental context” (Kelly 2005, p. 106). Standard interpretations of bodily intentionality see grasping an object as the paradigmatic example of motor intentionality. I will discuss the implications of another, novel perspective that emphasizes the importance of unreflective switches from one activity to another (Rietveld 2004) and understands bodily intentionality in terms of adequate responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances. In the final section I will discuss some implications for cognitive neuroscientists who use empirical findings related to the ‘mirror neuron system’ as a starting point for a theory of motor intentionality and social cognition. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine critically the notion of “Triple Bottom Line” accounting. We begin by asking just what it is that supporters of the Triple Bottom Line idea advocate, and attempt to distil specific, assessable claims from the vague, diverse, and sometimescontradictory uses of the Triple Bottom Line rhetoric. We then use these claims as a basis upon which to argue (a) that what issound about the idea of a Triple Bottom Line is not novel, and (b) that what (...) is novel about the idea is not sound. We argue on bothconceptual and practical grounds that the Triple Bottom Line is an unhelpful addition to current discussions of corporate social responsibility. Finally, we argue that the Triple Bottom Line paradigm cannot be rescued simply by attenuating its claims: the rhetoric isbadly misleading, and may in fact provide a smokescreen behind which firms can avoid truly effective social and environmental reporting and performance. (shrink)
Within philosophy there is not yet an integrative account of unreflective skillful action. As a starting point, contributions would be required from philosophers from both the analytic and continental traditions. Starting from the McDowell-Dreyfus debate, shared Aristotelian-Wittgensteinian common ground is identified. McDowell and Dreyfus agree about the importance of embodied skills, situation-specific discernment and responsiveness to relevant affordances. This sheds light on the embodied and situated nature of adequate unreflective action and provides a starting point for the development of an (...) account that does justice to insights from both philosophical traditions. (shrink)
The E-Z Reader model (Reichle et al. 1998; 1999) provides a theoretical framework for understanding how word identification, visual processing, attention, and oculomotor control jointly determine when and where the eyes move during reading. In this article, we first review what is known about eye movements during reading. Then we provide an updated version of the model (E-Z Reader 7) and describe how it accounts for basic findings about eye movement control in reading. We then review several alternative models of (...) eye movement control in reading, discussing both their core assumptions and their theoretical scope. On the basis of this discussion, we conclude that E-Z Reader provides the most comprehensive account of eye movement control during reading. Finally, we provide a brief overview of what is known about the neural systems that support the various components of reading, and suggest how the cognitive constructs of our model might map onto this neural architecture. Key Words: attention; eye-movement control; E-Z Reader; fixations; lexical access; models; reading; regressions; saccades. (shrink)
Many believe that objective morality requires a theistic foundation. I maintain that there are sui generis objective ethical facts that do not reduce to natural or supernatural facts. On my view, objective morality does not require an external foundation of any kind. After explaining my view, I defend it against a variety of objections posed by William Wainwright, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland.
We propose to understand social affordances in the broader context of responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances in general. This perspective clarifies our everyday ability to unreflectively switch between social and other affordances. Moreover, based on our experience with Deep Brain Stimulation for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients, we suggest that psychiatric disorders may affect skilled intentionality, including responsiveness to social affordances.
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.
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)
In this paper I develop a novel challenge for sceptical theists. I present a line of reasoning that appeals to sceptical theism to support scepticism about divine assertions. I claim that this reasoning is at least as plausible as one popular sceptical theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil. Thus, I seek to impale sceptical theists on the horns of a dilemma: concede that either (a) sceptical theism implies scepticism about divine assertions, or (b) the sceptical theistic strategy (...) for responding to evidential arguments from evil fails. An implication of (a) is that sceptical theism is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us that they are true. This result will render conceding (a) unattractive to many sceptical theists. (shrink)
In a seminal book, Alvin I. Goldman outlines a theory for how to evaluate social practices with respect to their “veritistic value”, i.e., their tendency to promote the acquisition of true beliefs in society. In the same work, Goldman raises a number of serious worries for his account. Two of them concern the possibility of determining the veritistic value of a practice in a concrete case because we often don't know what beliefs are actually true, and even if we did, (...) the task of determining the veritistic value would be computationally extremely difficult. Neither problem is specific to Goldman's theory and both can be expected to arise for just about any account of veritistic value. It is argued here that the first problem does not pose a serious threat to large classes of interesting practices. The bulk of the paper is devoted to the computational problem, which, it is submitted, can be addressed in promising terms by means of computer simulation. In an attempt to add vividness to this proposal, an up-and-running simulation environment is presented and put to some preliminary tests. (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)
One of the cornerstones of western theology is the doctrine of divine omnipotence. God is traditionally conceived of as an omnipotent or all-powerful being. However, satisfactory analyses of omnipotence are notoriously elusive. In this paper, I first consider some simple attempts to analyze omnipotence, showing how each fails. I then consider two more sophisticated accounts of omnipotence. The first of these is presented by Edward Wierenga; the second by Thomas Flint and Alfred Freddoso. I argue that both of these accounts (...) fail. Finally, I propose and defend a novel account of omnipotence. (shrink)