My topic is personal identity, or rather, our identity. There is general, but not, of course, unanimous, agreement that it is wrong to give an account of what is involved in, and essential to, our persistence over time which requires the existence of immaterial entities, but, it seems to me, there is no consensus about how, within, what might be called this naturalistic framework, we should best procede. This lack of consensus, no doubt, reflects the difficulty, which must strike anyone (...) who has considered the issue, of achieving, just in one's own thinking, a reflective equilibrium. The theory of personal identity, I feel, provides a curious contrast. On the one side, it seems highly important to know what sort of thing we are, but, on the other, it is hard to find any answer which has a ‘solid’ feel. (shrink)
This is the twenty-sixth volume in the Library of Living Philosophers, a series founded by Paul A. Schilpp in 1939 and edited by him until 1981, when the editorship was taken over by Lewis E. Hahn. This volume follows the design of previous volumes. As Schilpp conceived this series, every volume would have the following elements: an intellectual autobiography of the philosopher, a series of expository and critical articles written by exponents and opponents of the philosopher's thought, replies to these (...) critics and commentators by the philosopher, and as nearly complete a bibliography of the published work of the philosopher as possible. (shrink)
The goal of neuroeconomics is a mathematical theory of how the brain implements decisions, that is tied to behaviour. This theory is likely to show some decisions for which rational-choice theory is a good approximation, to provide a deeper level of distinction among competing behavioural alternatives, and to provide empirical inspiration for economics to incorporate more nuanced ideas about endogeneity of preferences, individual difference, emotions, endogeneous regulation of states, and so forth. I also address some concerns about rhetoric and practical (...) epistemology. Neuroscience articles are necessarily speculative and the science has proceeded rapidly because of that rhetorical convention. Single-study papers are encouraged and are necessarily limited in what can be inferred, so the sturdiest cumulation of results, and the best guide forward, comes in review journals which compile results and suggest themes. The potential of neuroeconomics is in combining the clearest experimental paradigms and statistical methods in economics, with the unprecedented capacity to measure a range of neural and cognitive activity that economists like Edgeworth, Fisher and Ramsey daydreamed about but did not have. (shrink)
F. H. Bradley was the foremost philosopher of the British Idealist school, which came to prominence in the second half of the nineteenth century and remained influential into the first half of the twentieth. Bradley, who was educated at Oxford, and spent his life as a fellow of Merton College, was influenced by Hegel, and also reacted against utilitarianism. He was recognised during his lifetime as one of the greatest intellectuals of his generation and was the first philosopher to receive (...) the Order of Merit, in 1924. This collection of some of Bradley's most important journal articles was first published in 1914. He examines coherence and identity theories of truth, and discusses pragmatism and radical empiricism. The book contains extensive discussion of the work of Bertrand Russell and William James, while other essays cover a range of different subjects such as faith, memory, error and God. (shrink)
This paper is an investigation of the general logic of "identifications", claims such as 'To be a vixen is to be a female fox', 'To be human is to be a rational animal', and 'To be just is to help one's friends and harm one's enemies', many of which are of great importance to philosophers. I advocate understanding such claims as expressing higher-order identity, and discuss a variety of different general laws which they might be thought to obey. [New version: (...) Nov. 4th, 2016]. (shrink)
This highly readable book is aimed at anyone with an interest in the food they eat. In conversational tone, and avoiding academic jargon, it provides an honest and objective account of the consequences of food consumption choices and policies, through the lens of economics.
Peter Unger’s book has both substantive and methodological aims. Substantively, it aims to prove the following four claims in the following order: we must, in general, suffer great losses of property to prevent suffering and death; we may, in general, impose such losses on others for the same goals; we may, in general, kill others to prevent more deaths; and we must, in general, kill ourself to prevent more deaths. Methodologically, it aims to show that intuitive judgments about cases that (...) would be presented as evidence against the four substantive claims—the standard technique of nonconsequentialists arguing against consequentialists—are worthless because we can construct cases that generate the opposite intuitive judgment; further, we can show that the factors that distinguish the cases yielding such different intuitions are not morally significant; and hence, we must decide which judgments are correct by consulting such general moral values as the importance of reducing suffering and death. Thus, Unger offers an error theory of nonconsequentialist restrictions on harming others and prerogatives not to make large sacrifices to aid. This error theory is based on the psychological effects of morally insignificant factors. (shrink)
Book description: The capacity to represent and think about time is one of the most fundamental and least understood aspects of human cognition and consciousness. This book throws new light on central issues in the study of the mind by uniting, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches dealing with the connection between temporal representation and memory. Fifteen specially written essays by leading psychologists and philosophers investigate the way in which time is represented in memory, and the role memory (...) plays in our ability to reason about time. They offer insights into current theories of memory processes and of the mechanisms and cognitive abilities underlying temporal judgements, and draw out fundamental issues concerning the phenomenology and epistemology of memory and our understanding of time. The chapters are arranged into four sections, each focused on one area of current research: Keeping Track of Time, and Temporal Representation; Memory, Awareness and the Past; Memory and Experience; Knowledge and the Past: The Epistemology and Metaphysics of Time. A general introduction gives an overview of the topics discussed and makes explicit central themes which unify the different philosophical and psychological approaches. (shrink)
W. V. Quine was quite simply the most distinguished analytic philosopher of the later half of the twentieth century. His celebrated attack on the analytic/synthetic tradition heralded a major shift away from the views of language descended from logical positivism. His most important book, Word and Object, introduced the concept of indeterminacy of radical translation, a bleak view of the nature of the language with which we ascribe thoughts and beliefs to ourselves and others. Quine is also famous for the (...) view that epistemology should be naturalized, that is conducted in a scientific spirit with the object of investigating the relationship between the inputs of experience and the outputs of belief. The eleven essays in this volume cover all the central topics of Quine's philosophy: the underdetermination of physical theory, analycity, naturalism, propositional attitudes, behaviorism, reference and ontology, positivism, holism and logic. (shrink)
This paper examines the commonplace assertion that utilitarianism allows for and even, at times, requires the punishment of the innocent. It traces the origins of this doctrine to the writings of the British Idealists and the subsequent development of what is called the post-utilitarian paradigm which posits various justifications for punishment such as retribution, deterrence and reform, finds all of them inadequate, and then, with the addition of other ideas, reconciles them. The idea of deterrence is falsely depicted as the (...) utilitarian contribution to the theory of punishment, while deterrence in fact is one of several elements in the utilitarian theory. The mistake comes from ignoring the pain-pleasure dimension of Benthamite utilitarianism and from regarding the principle of utility itself as the sole criterion of action in a ‘top-down’ fashion. (shrink)
Written in debate format, this book covers developing fields such as social cognition, as well as classic areas such as memory, learning, perception and categorization. The links between emotion and memory, learning, perception, categorization, social judgements, and behavior are addressed.
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
Alston begins his exposition of the realist conception of truth in chapter 1 with a roughly Aristotelian formulation: “A statement is true if and only if what the statement says to be the case actually is the case”. This condition has the drawback that it defines truth via illocutionary acts; yet, as Alston argues, propositions are the most basic truth-bearers. Alston therefore turns to the universalized T-schema for a condition that characterizes the truth of propositions without mentioning illocutionary acts: “ (...) The proposition that p is true iff p”, where “” is a substitutional rather than objectual quantifier over propositions. Later Alston avers that this account of truth is equivalent to another that is overtly realist in characterizing truth in terms of facts, a minimalist correspondence theory: “ The proposition that p is true iff it is a fact that p”. (shrink)
This book provides the English-speaking world with a comprehensive account of the still largely unknown work of Schelling’s philosophy of mythology and revelation. Its achievement, however, is not archival but philosophical, elucidating the relation between Schelling and onto-theology. It explains how Schelling dealt with the problem of nihilism and onto-theology well before Nietzsche and Heidegger, arguing that Schelling surpasses onto-theology or the philosophy of presence a century prior to Heidegger. Overall, the author provocatively suggests that Heidegger is perhaps Schelling’s genuine (...) heir and by comprehensively interpreting Schelling’s multifaceted late lectures he analyzes issues as diverse as the Ancient relation between thinking and Being, the Medieval debate between voluntarism and intellectualism, the overcoming of modern subjectivism and German Idealism as well as many themes in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant makes the interesting, but obscure claim that the normative constraints that constitute the objectivity of our representations have their source ultimately in transcendental apperception. Keller focuses on this claim. He interprets Kant’s condition of transcendental apperception as the claim that I must represent myself in an impersonal way, and he argues that impersonal self-consciousness is a necessary condition under which I can distinguish my particular take on things from the way things are independently (...) of my own perspective on them. He elaborates his interpretation and defense of the condition of transcendental self-consciousness by discussing its role in each of the central arguments in the Critique in which the notion importantly figures: the transcendental deduction in both the first edition and in the second, the Analogies of Experience, the Paralogisms, and the second-edition refutation of idealism. (shrink)
We argue that neuroeconomics should be a mechanistic science. We defend this view as preferable both to a revolutionary perspective, according to which classical economics is eliminated in favour of neuroeconomics, and to a classical economic perspective, according to which economics is insulated from facts about psychology and neuroscience. We argue that, like other mechanistic sciences, neuroeconomics will earn its keep to the extent that it either reconfigures how economists think about decision-making or how neuroscientists think about brain mechanisms underlying (...) behaviour. We discuss some ways that the search for mechanisms can bring about such top-down and bottom-up revision, and we consider some examples from the recent neuroeconomics literature of how varieties of progress of this sort might be achieved. (shrink)
In this essay, Hegel attempted to show how Fichte’s Science of Knowledge was an advance from the position of Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason, and how Schelling (and incidentally Hegel himself) had made a further advance from the position of Fichte.
When Bradley finally turns to a critical appraisal of religion in his works, it occurs always as an ancillary enterprise, subordinated to some other speculative interest. Thus in his early work, Ethical Studies, Bradley reaches a consideration of religion at the conclusion of his analysis of the “world” of morality and then only because he has discovered in the moral sphere a dialectic which inevitably leads the moral aspirant beyond the moral viewpoint to religion. In Appearance and Reality, it is (...) the explicit dialectic of the “good” that leads onward to an analysis of the nature and cognitive claims of religious awareness. In both instances, however, the examination of religion is subordinated to other theoretic interests: in one case to the problem of discerning the relation between the spheres of morality and religion, and in the other, assuming this relation, to the question of the degree of truth and reality in religion when judged by the metaphysical criterion operative in Appearance and Reality. (shrink)
In the first part of this article, I raise questions about Dworkin's theory of the intrinsic value of life and about the adequacy of his proposal to understand abortion in terms of different ways of valuing life. In the second part of the article, I consider his argument in "The Philosophers' Brief on Assisted Suicide", which claims that the distinction between killing and letting die is morally irrelevant, the distinction between intending and foreseeing death can be morally relevant but is (...) not always so. I argue that the killing/letting die distinction can be relevant in the context of assisted suicide, but also show when it is not. Then I consider why the intention/foresight distinction can be morally irrelevant and conclude by presenting an alternative argument for physician-assisted suicide. (shrink)
This article considers Bentham's response to the criticism of utilitarianism that it allows for and may even require the sacrifice of some members of society in order to increase overall happiness. It begins with the contrast between the principle of utility and the contrasting principle of sympathy and antipathy to show that Bentham regarded the main achievement of his principle as overcoming the subjectivity he found in all other philosophical theories. This subjectivism, especially prevalent in theories of rights, might well (...) lead to the sacrifice of the individual. The principle of utility was presented as an ‘objective’ theory that avoided the difficulties of other moral and political theories. The article also considers the importance of universally applicable ends, such as security and equality, as part of the principle of utility, and especially Bentham's view of maximizing pleasure as being a distributive rather than an aggregative idea. The article concludes by criticizing H. L. A. Hart's interpretation of the role of equality and rights in Bentham and John Stuart Mill, and argues that Mill's doctrine of moral rights builds on foundations originally established by Bentham, foundations which would preclude the sacrifice of individuals. (shrink)
Every body cell of an animal or human being contains the same complete set of genes. In theory any of these cells can be used to start a new embryo. The technique has been employed in the case of frogs. The nucleus is taken out of a body cell of a frog and implanted in an enucleated frog's egg. The resulting egg cell is stimulated to develop into a normal frog, and will be an exact copy of that frog which (...) provided the nucleus with all the genetic information. In normal sexual reproduction, two parents each contribute half their genes, but in the case of cloning, one parent passes on all his or her genes. (shrink)
Automaticity is rapid and effortless cognition that operates without conscious awareness or deliberative control. An action is virtuous to the degree that it meets the requirements of the ethical virtues in the circumstances. What contribution does automaticity make to the ethical virtue of an action? How far is the automaticity discussed by virtue ethicists consonant with, or even supported by, the findings of empirical psychology? We argue that the automaticity of virtuous action is automaticity not of skill, but of motivation. (...) Automatic motivations that contribute to the virtuousness of an action include not only those that initiate action, but also those that modify action and those that initiate and shape deliberation. We then argue that both goal psychology and attitude psychology can provide the cognitive architecture of this automatic motivation. Since goals are essentially directed towards the agent’s own action whereas attitudes are not, we argue that goals might underpin some virtues while attitudes underpin others. We conclude that consideration of the cognitive architecture of ethical virtue ought to engage with both areas of empirical psychology and should be careful to distinguish among ethical virtues. (shrink)
William Perm summarized the Magna Carta thus: “First, It asserts Englishmen to be free; that's Liberty. Secondly, they that have free-holds, that's Property.” Since at least the seventeenth century, liberals have not only understood liberty and property to be fundamental, but to be somehow intimately related or interwoven. Here, however, consensus ends; liberals present an array of competing accounts of the relation between liberty and property. Many, for instance, defend an essentially instrumental view, typically seeing private property as justified because (...) it is necessary to maintain or protect other, more basic, liberty rights. Important to our constitutional tradition has been the idea that “[t]he right to property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.” Along similar lines, it has been argued that only an economic system based on private property disperses power and resources, ensuring that private people in civil society have the resources to oppose the state and give effect to basic liberties. Alternatively, it is sometimes claimed that only those with property develop the independent characters that are necessary to preserve a regime of liberty. But not only have liberals insisted that, property is a means of preserving liberty, they have often conceived of it as an embodiment of liberty, or as a type of liberty, or indeed as identical to liberty. This latter view is popular among contemporary libertarians or classical liberals. Jan Narveson, for instance, bluntly asserts that “Liberty is Property,” while John Gray insists that “[t]he connection between property and the basic liberties is constitutive and not just instrumental.”. (shrink)