The following brief memoir of Wittgenstein needs a few preliminary words of explanation. Among those who attended his lectures and discussions in the years it covers was D. G. James, who later became Professor of English at Bristol University and then Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University. I met him both in Bristol and Southampton, and on one occasion suggested to him that some of us who had known Wittgenstein, but who had not become professional philosophers, might write down our recollections of (...) him, and that he and I should start. What prompted the suggestion was, I think, the publication of Norman Malcolm's book, and a feeling that the non-professionals might have something to contribute to the assessment of Wittgenstein, particularly as a person. I wrote a preliminary draft and sent it to James; but he never responded, there was much else to do, I let the matter rest, and now James is dead. I wrote in about the year 1960 on holiday and away from any books of reference and from my own notes of Wittgenstein's lectures and conversations. I have shown the typescript to a few interested people, but because of its preliminary and unfinished nature have not previously thought of publication. It has recently been suggested to me that it might be of more general interest, and I publish it now as it was written, with one or two trifling alterations. I am well aware of its limitations. It was intended to give an impression of Wittgenstein as a person rather than as a philosopher, and the rather miscellaneous collection of remarks in section 3 have that in view rather than any more strictly ‘philosophical’ intention. Others may well question some of the detail and disagree with some of the opinions expressed. And there are some things which I might put rather differently today. But if the memoir has any interest it is best left as it was written. (shrink)
This paper will argue for a conception of intrinsic value which, it is hoped, will do justice to the following issues: that Nature need not and should not be understood to refer only to what exists on this planet, Earth; that an environmental ethics informed by features unique to Earth may be misleading and prove inadequate as technology increasingly threatens to invade and colonize other planets in the solar system; that a comprehensive environmental ethics must encompass not only our attitude (...) to Earth, but to other planets as well—in other words, it must not simply be an Earthbound but virtually an astronomically bounded ethics. (shrink)
In this article I describe the development of my collaboration with the textile artist Susie Freeman in the production of the visual arts project Pharmacopoeia. Over the last 3 years we have created a body of work that aims to provide information about common medical treatments in a way that engages the public imagination. The work is dominated by the use of active pharmaceuticals, both pills and capsules, which are incorporated into dramatic fabrics by a process known as pocket knitting. (...) These fabrics are then made into clothing and accessories, making their individual messages easier to ‘read’. The work aims to encourage people to think about their own medical and pharmacological history, and to reflect on their relationship with commonly prescribed drugs. It also reveals how dependent our society is on pharmaceuticals, how ambivalent we feel about them and yet how casually we use them. (shrink)
Are a material object, such as a statue, and its constituting matter, the clay, parts of one another? One wouldn't have thought so, and yet a number of philosophers have argued that they are. I review the arguments for this surprising claim showing how they all fail. I then consider two arguments against the view concluding that there are both pre-theoretical and theoretical considerations for denying that the statue and the clay are mutual parts.
Are counterfactuals with true antecedents and consequents automatically true? That is, is Conjunction Conditionalization: if (X & Y), then (X > Y) valid? Stalnaker and Lewis think so, but many others disagree. We note here that the extant arguments for Conjunction Conditionalization are unpersuasive, before presenting a family of more compelling arguments. These arguments rely on some standard theorems of the logic of counterfactuals as well as a plausible and popular semantic claim about certain semifactuals. Denying Conjunction Conditionalization, then, requires (...) rejecting other aspects of the standard logic of counterfactuals, or else our intuitive picture of semifactuals. (shrink)
I sketch here an intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types, which are individuated in part by historical paths (re)production. Although attractive, this view has been rejected by a number of authors on the basis of general claims about abstract objects. On consideration, however, these general claims are overgeneralizations, which whilst true of some abstracta, are not true of all abstract objects, and in particular, are not true of created types. The intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types (...) is, then, left in place. (shrink)
Is A & C sufficient for the truth of ‘if A were the case, C would be the case’? Jonathan Bennett thinks not, although the counterexample he gives is inconsistent with his own account of counterfactuals. In any case, I argue that anyone who accepts the case of Morgenbesser's coin, as Bennett does, should reject Bennett’s counterexample. Moreover, I show that the principle underlying his counterexample is unmotivated and indeed false. More generally, I argue that Morgenbesser’s coin commits us to (...) the sufficiency of A & C for the truth of the corresponding counterfactual. (shrink)
The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The improved proof (...) relies upon the semantic claim that conditionals with antecedents irrelevant to the obtaining of an already true consequent are themselves true. Moreover, this semantic insight allows us to provide compelling counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism that are resistant to the usual contextualist response. (shrink)
I present and discuss a counterexample to Kendall Walton's necessary condition for fictionality that arises from considering serial fictions. I argue that although Walton has not in fact provided a necessary condition for fictionality, a more complex version of Walton's condition is immune from the counterexample.
Moti Mizrahi (2013) presents some novel counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism (HS) for indicative conditionals. I show that they are not compelling as they neglect the complicated ways in which conditionals and modals interact. I then briefly outline why HS should nevertheless be rejected.
The Moral Media provides readers with preliminary answers to questions about ethical thinking in a professional environment. Representing one of the first publications of journalists' and advertising practitioners' response to the Defining Issues Test (DIT), this book compares thinking about ethics by these two groups with the thinking of other professionals. This text is divided into three parts: *Part I includes chapters that explain the DIT and place it within the larger history of three fields: psychology, philosophy, and mass communication. (...) It also provides both a statistical (quantitative) and narrative (qualitative) analysis of journalists' responses to the DIT. *Part II adds to scholarship theory building in these three disciplines and makes changes in the DIT that adds an element of visual information processing to the test. *Part III explores the larger meaning of this effort overall and links the results to theory and practice in these three fields. The Moral Media pursues connections among various intellectual disciplines, between the academy and the profession of journalism, and among those who believe that what journalists do is essential. As a result, this book is appropriate for aspiring journalists; scholars in journalism and mass communication; psychologists, particularly those interested in human development and behavior; and philosophers. (shrink)
The standard semantics for counterfactuals ensures that any counterfactual with a true antecedent and true consequent is itself true. There have been many recent attempts to amend the standard semantics to avoid this result. I show that these proposals invalidate a number of further principles of the standard logic of counterfactuals. The case against the automatic truth of counterfactuals with true components does not extend to these further principles, however, so it is not clear that rejecting the latter should be (...) a consequence of rejecting the former. Instead I consider how one might defuse putative counterexamples to the truth of true-true counterfactuals. (shrink)
Moral luck, until recently, has been understood either explicitly or implicitly through using a lack of control account of luck. For example, a case of resultant moral luck is a case where an agent is morally blameworthy or more morally blameworthy or praiseworthy for an outcome despite that outcome being significantly beyond that agent's control . Due to a shift in understanding the concept of luck itself in terms of modal robustness, however, other accounts of moral luck have surfaced. Both (...) Duncan Pritchard and Julia Driver have offered an alternative way of understanding moral luck by employing versions of a modal account of luck. This essay considers some problems with these accounts and attempts to resolve them. (shrink)
The ' argument from queerness', made famous by J. L. Mackie, remains one of the most influential arguments in metaethics. However, many philosophers focus on just one or two of its strands, while others assume a particular but by no means universal reading of it. This essay attempts to disentangle and evaluate all strands of the argument. Surprisingly, when this is done, not much is left as a distinct argument from queerness. Much of the argument collapses into other types of (...) argument, and what is left, though intuitively appealing, is not viable as philosophical argument. (shrink)
A new ensemble interpretation of quantum mechanics is proposed according to which the ensemble associated to a quantum state really exists: it is the ensemble of all the systems in the same quantum state in the universe. Individual systems within the ensemble have microscopic states, described by beables. The probabilities of quantum theory turn out to be just ordinary relative frequencies probabilities in these ensembles. Laws for the evolution of the beables of individual systems are given such that their ensemble (...) relative frequencies evolve in a way that reproduces the predictions of quantum mechanics.These laws are highly non-local and involve a new kind of interaction between the members of an ensemble that define a quantum state. These include a stochastic process by which individual systems copy the beables of other systems in the ensembles of which they are a member. The probabilities for these copy processes do not depend on where the systems are in space, but do depend on the distribution of beables in the ensemble.Macroscopic systems then are distinguished by being large and complex enough that they have no copies in the universe. They then cannot evolve by the copy law, and hence do not evolve stochastically according to quantum dynamics. This implies novel departures from quantum mechanics for systems in quantum states that can be expected to have few copies in the universe. At the same time, we are able to argue that the center of masses of large macroscopic systems do satisfy Newton’s laws. (shrink)
Andrew McGonigal presents some interesting data concerning truth in serial fictions.1 Such data has been taken by McGonigal, Cameron and Caplan to motivate some form of contextualism or relativism. I argue, however, that many of these approaches are problematic, and that all are under-motivated as the data can be explained in a standard invariantist semantic framework given some independently plausible principles.
Leibniz was a divine concurrentist. That is to say, when it came to the question of how God’s causal power relates to the natural causal activity of creatures, Leibniz held that both God and the creature are directly involved in the occurrence of these effects.
I discuss the historical roots of the landscape problem and propose criteria for its successful resolution. This provides a perspective to evaluate the possibility to solve it in several of the speculative cosmological scenarios under study including eternal inflation, cosmological natural selection and cyclic cosmologies.Invited contribution for a special issue of Foundations of Physics titled Forty Years Of String Theory: Reflecting On the Foundations.
According to the truth-conduciveness problem of coherentism, the coherence theory of justification can hardly show that coherentist justification is truth-conducive. This problem is generally conceived as the most recalcitrant problem with the coherence theory. The purpose of this paper is to show that it does not pose a serious problem for a certain version of coherentism, namely a Sellarsian explanatory coherence theory of justification combined with the deflationary theory of truth. On this version of coherentism, our epistemic goal is to (...) gradually improve our conceptual framework so as to maximize its explanatory coherence, and there is no substantial norm of truth independent of the norms of justification, so that we cannot evaluate the truth-conduciveness of a belief independently of the norms of justification. I argue that this version of coherentism can cope with the truth-conduciveness problem. (shrink)
Where Taber and Lodge view belief polarization to indicate a “partisan motivation,” Lord et al. believed it to be consistent with a desire for accuracy: A “weak” study articulating an opposing viewpoint might simply sharpen participants' initial belief of the wisdom of their prior beliefs. This polarization, Taber and Lodge show, correlates with political sophistication: The more partisan a participant, the more time spent reading the opinions of the other side—in order to critically refute them. Taber and Lodge attribute such (...) findings to people's personal identification with their beliefs. However, participants may have spent so much time reading opinions of the other side because the arguments are unfamiliar. Further, Lord et al. were able to induce people to act with “skepticism” toward their own views by simply suggesting that they “consider the other side.”. (shrink)
Electroencephalogram based Brain–Computer Interfaces enable stroke and motor neuron disease patients to communicate and control devices. Mindfulness meditation has been claimed to enhance metacognitive regulation. The current study explores whether mindfulness meditation training can thus improve the performance of BCI users. To eliminate the possibility of expectation of improvement influencing the results, we introduced a music training condition. A norming study found that both meditation and music interventions elicited clear expectations for improvement on the BCI task, with the strength of (...) expectation being closely matched. In the main 12 week intervention study, seventy-six healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to three groups: a meditation training group; a music training group; and a no treatment control group. The mindfulness meditation training group obtained a significantly higher BCI accuracy compared to both the music training and no-treatment control groups after the intervention, indicating effects of meditation above and beyond expectancy effects. (shrink)
The cognitive unbinding paradigm suggests that the synthesis of neural information is attenuated by general anesthesia. Here, we analyzed the functional organization of brain activities in the conscious and anesthetized states, based on functional segregation and integration. Electroencephalography recordings were obtained from 14 subjects undergoing induction of general anesthesia with propofol. We quantified changes in mean information integration capacity in each band of the EEG. After induction with propofol, mean information integration capacity was reduced most prominently in the γ band (...) of the EEG . Furthermore, we demonstrate that loss of consciousness is reflected by the breakdown of the spatiotemporal organization of γ waves. We conclude that induction of general anesthesia with propofol reduces the capacity for information integration in the brain. These data directly support the information integration theory of consciousness and the cognitive unbinding paradigm of general anesthesia. (shrink)
Jamieson, Hangen, Lee, and Yaeager present their empirical findings as evidence for the effects of reappraising arousal on affective responses. This comment highlights the important contribution of the research by Jamieson and colleagues, but offers alternative ways of conceptualizing it.
War, Richard Norman reminds us, is treated as the great exception to the strong moral prohibition against the killing of other humans. Despite the widespread belief that war is, in many cases, permissible, its morally exceptional character suggests that there is a strong presumption against its permissibility. Norman argues that this presumption cannot be successfully rebutted and, in particular, that just-war theory, which attempts to provide such a rebuttal, fails in this endeavor. But Norman’s work is more than a critique (...) of just-war theory. He also takes up the more general task of demonstrating the basis of the moral presumption against war, that is, the basis and the nature of the prohibition against killing. This is a necessary preliminary, for only when we understand the prohibition can we adequately address the question whether the presumption against war that it establishes can be sustained. Norman provides interesting and subtle arguments concerning both the prohibition against killing and the just-war rebuttal to the presumption against war, but in the end it is not clear that his position can be coherently distinguished from the just-war position he criticizes. (shrink)
Modern warfare cannot be conducted without civilians being killed. In order to reconcile this fact with the principle of discrimination in just war theory, the principle is applied through the doctrine of double effect. But this doctrine is morally inadequate because it is too permissive regarding the risk to civilians. For this reason, Michael Walzer has suggested that the doctrine be supplemented with what he calls the idea of double intention: combatants are not only to refrain from intending to harm (...) civilians; they are also to take precautions to reduce risk to civilians, even at the expense of increasing risk to themselves. The article develops the idea of double intention by addressing two questions: What does it mean to intend to reduce civilian risk, and how much should civilian risk be reduced? The results of this discussion are then used to consider a moral issue that arises in technologically asymmetric warfare, namely, the extent to which the use of precision-guided munitions, which allow more accurate targeting, can by itself bear the moral burden imposed by the principle of discrimination. (shrink)
Scientists collect evidence in order to confirm or falsify scientific theories. Unfortunately, scientific evidence may sometimes be false or deceiving and as a consequence lead individuals to believe in a false theory. By interaction between scientists, such false beliefs may spread through the entire community. There is currently a debate about the effect of various network configurations on the epistemic reliability of scientific communities. To contribute to this debate from a logical perspective, this paper introduces an epistemic logical framework of (...) observation, interaction and belief revision in scientific communities. The presented sound and complete system provides the formal tools for qualitative analysis of the social dynamics of scientific inquiry. Furthermore, this paper includes detailed suggestions for future applications of the framework. (shrink)
In a recent set of publications Ballantyne :485–503, 2011, Synthese 185:319–334, 2012, Synthese 91:1391–1407, 2013) argues that luck does not have a significant role in understanding the concept of knowledge. The problem, Ballantyne argues, lies in what is commonly thought to be a necessary condition for luck—a significance or value condition :385–398, 2007; Lackey, in Austral J Philos 86:255–267, 2008, Ballantyne, in Can J Philos 41:485–503, 2011). For an event, like forming a true belief, to be lucky then it must (...) be of some significance or value to an agent. Yet, if significance, as it has also been commonly thought, plays a role in determining the degree of luck :485–503, 2011), then this leads to a result similar to an absurd form of pragmatic encroachment. If this problem cannot be avoided, then anti-luck epistemology should be abandoned. However, this paper will argue that with proper considerations about the nature of luck according to at least one theory, no such problem arises. (shrink)
An assessment is offered of the progress that the major approaches to quantum gravity have made towards the goal of constructing a complete and satisfactory theory. The emphasis is on loop quantum gravity and string theory, although other approaches are discussed, including dynamical triangulation models (euclidean and lorentzian) regge calculus models, causal sets, twistor theory, non-commutative geometry and models based on analogies to condensed matter systems. We proceed by listing the questions the theories are expected to be able to answer. (...) We then compile two lists: the first details the actual results so far achieved in each theory, while the second lists conjectures which remain open. By comparing them we can evaluate how far each theory has progressed, and what must still be done before each theory can be considered a satisfactory quantum theory of gravity. We find there has been impressive recent progress on several fronts. At the same time, important issues about loop quantum gravity are so far unresolved, as are key conjectures of string theory. However, there is a reasonable expectation that experimental tests of lorentz invariance at Planck scales may in the near future make it possible to rule out one or more candidate quantum theories of gravity. (shrink)
Frontoparietal connectivity has been suggested to be important in conscious processing and its interruption is thought to be one mechanism of general anesthesia. Data in animals demonstrate that feedforward processing of information may persist during the anesthetized state, while feedback processing is inhibited. We investigated the directionality and functional organization of frontoparietal connectivity in 10 human subjects anesthetized with propofol on two separate occasions. Multichannel electroencephalography and a computational method of assessing directed functional connectivity were employed. We demonstrate that directed (...) feedback connectivity is diminished with loss of consciousness and returns with responsiveness to verbal command. We also applied the Dendrogram classification method to assess the global organization of directed functional connectivity during consciousness and anesthesia. We demonstrate a state-specific hierarchy and subject-specific subhierarchy in functional organization. These data support the hypothesis that specific states of human consciousness are defined by specific states of frontoparietal connectivity. (shrink)
In this paper we develop a typology of ‘non-commercial’ approaches to farming, based on a survey of a representative sample of farmers in Scotland, United Kingdom. In total, 395 farmers indicated that they do not seek to make a profit on their farms. We estimate that these non-commercial approaches to farming are utilised on at least 13% of agricultural land in Scotland. As such, non-commercial farming is not a marginal practice, nor are NCF limited to small-scale ‘hobby’ farms: NCF exist (...) across the scale of agricultural holding sizes and are operated by a wide range of socio-demographic cohorts. We identify 6 types of NCF: agricultural residences, specialist smallholdings, horsiculture holdings, mixed smallholdings, amenity mixed farms, and large farms or estates. These types were differentiated primarily by the scale of farm size, presence of diversification activities and types of animal present. The analysis demonstrates a number of emergent patterns of land management: de facto land abandonment, transition towards ‘horsiculture’, and management differences between retiring and new entrant NCF. We argue that the types identified reflect a number of intersecting issues in contemporary agrarian transitions, particularly the aging farmer population; generational renewal; and gendered implications of agricultural restructuring. (shrink)
BackgroundAssisted dying has wide support among the general population but there is evidence that those providing care for the dying may be less supportive. Senior doctors would be involved in implementing the proposed change in the law. We aimed to measure support for legalising physician assisted dying in a representative sample of senior doctors in England and Wales, and to assess any association between doctors' characteristics and level of support for a change in the law.MethodsWe conducted a postal survey of (...) 1000 consultants and general practitioners randomly selected from a commercially available database. The main outcome of interest was level of agreement with any change in the law to allow physician assisted suicide.ResultsThe corrected participation rate was 50%. We analysed 372 questionnaires. Respondents' views were divided: 39% were in favour of a change to the law to allow assisted suicide, 49% opposed a change and 12% neither agreed nor disagreed. Doctors who reported caring for the dying were less likely to support a change in the law. Religious belief was also associated with opposition. Gender, specialty and years in post had no significant effect.ConclusionMore senior doctors in England and Wales oppose any step towards the legalisation of assisted dying than support this. Doctors who care for the dying were more opposed. This has implications for the ease of implementation of recently proposed legislation. (shrink)
Quantum mechanics is derived from the principle that the universe contain as much variety as possible, in the sense of maximizing the distinctiveness of each subsystem. The quantum state of a microscopic system is defined to correspond to an ensemble of subsystems of the universe with identical constituents and similar preparations and environments. A new kind of interaction is posited amongst such similar subsystems which acts to increase their distinctiveness, by extremizing the variety. In the limit of large numbers of (...) similar subsystems this interaction is shown to give rise to Bohm’s quantum potential. As a result the probability distribution for the ensemble is governed by the Schroedinger equation. The measurement problem is naturally and simply solved. Microscopic systems appear statistical because they are members of large ensembles of similar systems which interact non-locally. Macroscopic systems are unique, and are not members of any ensembles of similar systems. Consequently their collective coordinates may evolve deterministically. This proposal could be tested by constructing quantum devices from entangled states of a modest number of quits which, by its combinatorial complexity, can be expected to have no natural copies. (shrink)
This study gathered preliminary baseline data on the moral development of journalists using the Defining Issues Test, an instrument based on Kohlberg's 6 stages. Results show that a sample of journalists scored 4th highest among professionals tested using the DIT. The journalists ranked behind seminarians/philosophers, medical students, and physicians but above dental students, nurses, graduate students, undergraduate college students, veterinary students, and adults in general. No significant differences were found between various groups of journalists, including men and women, and broadcast (...) and print journalists. The journalists in the study scored significantly higher on the 3 journalism-specific dilemmas than on 3 nonjournalism dilemmas. (shrink)
It is difficult to imagine a world without common sense, the distinction between truth and falsehood, the belief in some form of morality or an agreement that we are all human. But Friedrich Nietzsche did imagine such a world, and his work has become a crucial point of departure for contemporary critical theory and debate. This volume introduces this key thinker to students of literary and cultural studies, offering a lucid account of Nietzsche's thought on: * anti-humanism * good and (...) evil * the Overman * nihilism * the Will to Power. Lee Spinks prepares readers for their first encounter with Nietzsche's most influential texts, enabling them to begin to apply his thought in studies of literature, art and contemporary culture. (shrink)