B- theorists frequently argue that the A- theoretic views are incompatible with the Special Theory of Relativity (STR) and that this is a problem for the A- theoretic views. however, the B- theory needs to be revised in light of implications of STR. in particular, it follows from STR that some events stand in genuine temporal relations to each other while others do not. Consequently, there isn’t a single temporal order of all events. instead, there are multiple B- series. Some (...) B- theorists defend a view of the passage of time according to which passage is simply temporal succession. This paper argues that, in Minkowski spacetime, time passes in each of the multiple B- series, but there is no passage spanning across all events because some events stand in no genuine temporal relations to each other. (shrink)
In 1981 Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann published a landmark article aimed at exploring the classical concept of divine eternity. 1 Taking Boethius as the primary spokesman for the traditional view, they analyse God's eternity as timeless yet as possessing duration. More recently Brian Leftow has seconded Stump and Kretzmann's interpretation of the medieval position and attempted to defend the notion of a durational eternity as a useful way of expressing the sort of life God leads. 2 However, there are (...) good reasons to reject the idea that divine timelessness should be thought of as having duration. The medievals probably did not accept it, as it contradicts a principle of classical metaphysics even more fundamental than the atemporality of the divine. In any case, it is not possible to express the notion of durational eternity in even a minimally coherent way, and the attempt to salvage the concept by appealing to the Thomistic doctrine of analogy is unsuccessful. The best analogy for God's eternity is still the one proposed by Augustine at the end of the fourth century. God lives in a timeless ‘present’, unextended like our temporal present, but immutable and encompassing all time. (shrink)
The poetry and journalistic essays of Katherine Tillman often appeared in publications sponsored by the American Methodist church. Collected together for the first time, her works speak to the struggles and triumphs of African-American women.
We argue that recent empirical findings and theoretical models shed new light on the nature of attention. According to the resulting amplification view, attentional phenomena can be unified at the neural level as the consequence of the amplification of certain input signals of attention-independent perceptual computations. This way of identifying the core realizer of attention evades standard criticisms often raised against sub-personal accounts of attention. Moreover, this approach also reframes our thinking about the function of attention by shifting the focus (...) from the function of selection to the function of amplification. (shrink)
This interview with N. Katherine Hayles, one of the foremost theorists of the posthuman, explores the concerns that led to her seminal book How We Became Posthuman, the key arguments expounded in that book, and the changes in technology and culture in the ten years since its publication. The discussion ranges across the relationships between literature and science; the trans-disciplinary project of developing a methodology appropriate to their intersection; the history of cybernetics in its cultural and political context ; (...) the changed role for psychoanalysis in the technoscientific age; and the altering forms of mediated ‘embodiment’ in the posthuman context. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that awareness comes in degrees, and we propose a novel multi-factor account that spans both subjective experiences and perceptual representations. At the subjective level, we argue that conscious experiences can be degraded by being fragmented, less salient, too generic, or flash-like. At the representational level, we identify corresponding features of perceptual representations—their availability for working memory, intensity, precision, and stability—and argue that the mechanisms that affect these features are what ultimately modulate the degree of awareness. (...) We conclude the paper by demonstrating why the original interpretations of certain empirical findings that apparently pose problems for our account are, in fact, flawed. (shrink)
Social groups—like teams, committees, gender groups, and racial groups—play a central role in our lives and in philosophical inquiry. Here I develop and motivate a structuralist ontology of social groups centered on social structures (i.e., networks of relations that are constitutively dependent on social factors). The view delivers a picture that encompasses a diverse range of social groups, while maintaining important metaphysical and normative distinctions between groups of different kinds. It also meets the constraint that not every arbitrary collection of (...) people is a social group. In addition, the framework provides resources for developing a broader structuralist view in social ontology. (shrink)
The world is remarkably stable -- amidst the flux, physical objects continue to persist. But how do things persist? Are they spread out through time as they are spread out through space? Or is persistence very different from spatial extension? These ancient metaphysical questions are at the forefront of contemporary debate once more. Katherine Hawley provides a wide-ranging yet accessible study of this key issue. She also makes a major contribution to current debates about change, vagueness, and language.
Katherine Hawley explores and compares three theories of persistence -- endurance, perdurance, and stage theories - investigating the ways in which they attempt to account for the world around us. Having provided valuable clarification of its two main rivals, she concludes by advocating stage theory.
This paper focuses on two issues related to ontological emergence: whether it is a coherent notion, and its relation to the doctrine of physicalism. First, it is argued that ontological emergence is best understood as a thesis relying on three fundamental tenets claiming that emergents are basic, genuinely causal, and determined by the physical realm. The paper elucidates the roles of these tenets, and introduces an interpretation that is able to resolve any apparent contradiction between the tenets, thereby supporting the (...) claim that the commitments of ontological emergence form a consistent view. The proposed understanding also hints that telling physicalism and emergentism apart is not a problem even if one subscribes to a supervenience-based formulation of physicalism. The difference in the modal strength of the supervenience relation physicalism and emergentism endorse readily distinguishes them – the former is committed to metaphysical determination whereas the latter to nomological determination. However, in a recent paper, Jessica Wilson has posed an objection to this way of differentiating physicalism from emergentism on the ground that the metaphysical/nomological distinction cannot be drawn in this context. The second part of this paper introduces Wilson's objection, and argues in detail that it fails to disqualify the modal strength-based distinction. (shrink)
Highlighting main issues and controversies, this book brings together current philosophical discussions of symmetry in physics to provide an introduction to the subject for physicists and philosophers. The contributors cover all the fundamental symmetries of modern physics, such as CPT and permutation symmetry, as well as discussing symmetry-breaking and general interpretational issues. Classic texts are followed by new review articles and shorter commentaries for each topic. Suitable for courses on the foundations of physics, philosophy of physics and philosophy of science, (...) the volume is a valuable reference for students and researchers. (shrink)
The mechanistic framework traditionally comes bundled with a multi-level view. Some ascribe ontological weight to these levels, whereas others claim that characterising a higher-level entity and the corresponding lower-level mechanism are only different descriptions of the same thing. The goal of this paper is to develop a consistent metaphysical picture that can underly the latter position. According to this flat view, wholes and their parts are embedded in the same network of interacting units. The flat view preserves the original virtues (...) of the mechanistic approach and is able to avoid the problems associated with the multi-level view. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that there is a notion of 'counterfactual success' which stands to knowledge how as true belief stands to propositional knowledge. (I attempt to avoid the question of whether knowledge how is a type of propositional knowledge.).
I outline a number of parallels between trust and distrust, emphasising the significance of situations in which both trust and distrust would be an imposition upon the (dis)trustee. I develop an account of both trust and distrust in terms of commitment, and argue that this enables us to understand the nature of trustworthiness. Note that this article is available open access on the journal website.
There are moments when things suddenly seem strange - objects in the world lose their meaning, we feel like strangers to ourselves, or human existence itself strikes us as bizarre and unintelligible. Through a detailed philosophical investigation of Heidegger's concept of uncanniness (Unheimlichkeit), Katherine Withy explores what such experiences reveal about us. She argues that while others (such as Freud, in his seminal psychoanalytic essay, 'The Uncanny') take uncanniness to be an affective quality of strangeness or eeriness, Heidegger uses (...) the concept to go beyond feeling uncanny to reach the ground of this feeling in our being uncanny. -/- "Heidegger on Being Uncanny" answers those who wonder whether human existence is fundamentally strange to itself by showing that we can be what we are only if we do not fully understand what it is to be us. This fundamental finitude in our self-understanding is our uncanniness. In this first dedicated interpretation of Heidegger's uncanniness, Withy tracks this concept from his early analyses of angst through his later interpretations of the choral ode from Sophocles's Antigone. Her interpretation uncovers a novel and robust continuity in Heidegger's thought and in his vision of the human being as uncanny, and it points the way toward what it is to live well as an uncanny human being. (shrink)
This paper tracks the commitments of mechanistic explanations focusing on the relation between activities at different levels. It is pointed out that the mechanistic approach is inherently committed to identifying causal connections at higher levels with causal connections at lower levels. For the mechanistic approach to succeed a mechanism as a whole must do the very same thing what its parts organised in a particular way do. The mechanistic approach must also utilise bridge principles connecting different causal terms of different (...) theoretical vocabularies in order to make the identities of causal connections transparent. These general commitments get confronted with two claims made by certain proponents of the mechanistic approach: William Bechtel often argues that within the mechanistic framework it is possible to balance between reducing higher levels and maintaining their autonomy at the same time, whereas, in a recent paper, Craver and Bechtel argue that the mechanistic approach is able to make downward causation intelligible. The paper concludes that the mechanistic approach imbued with identity statements is no better candidate for anchoring higher levels to lower ones while maintaining their autonomy at the same time than standard reductive accounts are, and that what mechanistic explanations are able to do at best is showing that downward causation does not exist. (shrink)
Sometimes it is epistemically beneficial to form a belief on authority. When you do, what happens to other reasons you have for that belief? Linda Zagzebski’s total-preemption view says that these reasons are “preempted”: you still have them, but you do not use them to support your belief. I argue that this situation is problematic, because having reasons for a belief while not using them forfeits you doxastic justification. I present an alternative account of belief on authority, the proper-basing view, (...) which enables the agent to base her belief on as many reasons as she has. A salient result is that the notion of a preemptive reason, useful though it may be in accounting for acting on authority, does not have any place in an account of believing on authority or in epistemology more generally. (shrink)
The present paper surveys the three most prominent accounts in contemporary debates over how sound reduction should be executed. The classical Nagelian model of reduction derives the laws of the target-theory from the laws of the base theory plus some auxiliary premises (so-called bridge laws) connecting the entities of the target and the base theory. The functional model of reduction emphasizes the causal definitions of the target entities referring to their causal relations to base entities. The new-wave model of reduction (...) deduces not the original target theory but an analogous image of it, which remains inside the vocabulary of the base theory. One of the fundamental motivations of both the functional and the new-wave model is to show that bridge laws can be evaded. The present paper argues that bridge laws—in the original Nagelian sense—are inevitable, i.e. that none of these models can evade them. On the one hand, the functional model of reduction needs bridge laws, since its fundamental concept, functionalization, is an inter-theoretical process dealing with entities of two different theories. Theoretical entities of different theories (in a general heterogeneous case) do not have common causal relations, so the functionalization of an entity—without bridge laws—can only be executed in the framework of its own theory. On the other hand, the so-called images of the new-wave account cannot be constructed without the use of bridge laws. These connecting principles are needed to guide the process of deduction within the base theory; without them one would not be able to recognize if the deduced structure was an image of the target theory. (shrink)
I argue that, despite van Inwagen’s pessimism about the task, it is worth looking for answers to his General Composition Question. Such answers or ‘principles of composition’ tell us about the relationship between an object and its parts. I compare principles of composition with criteria of identity, arguing that, just as different sorts of thing satisfy different criteria of identity, they may satisfy different principles of composition. Variety in criteria of identity is not taken to reflect ontological variety in the (...) identity relation; I discuss whether variety in principles of composition should be taken to reflect ontological variety in the composition relation. (shrink)
Social groups, including racial and gender groups and teams and committees, seem to play an important role in our world. This article examines key metaphysical questions regarding groups. I examine answers to the question ‘Do groups exist?’ I argue that worries about puzzles of composition, motivations to accept methodological individualism, and a rejection of Racialism support a negative answer to the question. An affirmative answer is supported by arguments that groups are efficacious, indispensible to our best theories, and accepted given (...) common sense. Then, I turn to an examination of the features of social groups. I argue that social groups can be divided into two sorts. Groups of Type 1 are organized social groups like courts and clubs. Groups of Type 2 are groups like Blacks, women, and lesbians. While groups of both sorts have some features in common, they also have marked differences in features. Finally, I turn to views of the nature of social groups. I argue that the difference in features provides evidence that social groups do not have a uniform nature. Teams and committees are structured wholes, while race and gender groups are social kinds. (shrink)
Much of what we learn from talking and listening does not qualify as testimonial knowledge: we can learn a great deal from other people without simply accepting what they say as being true. In this article, I examine the ways in which we acquire skills or knowledge how from our interactions with other people, and I discuss whether there is a useful notion of testimonial knowledge how.Keywords: Knowledge how; Practical knowledge; Tacit knowledge; Testimony; Skills; Assertion.
Biomedical research is increasingly globalized with ever more research conducted in low and middle-income countries. This trend raises a host of ethical concerns and critiques. While community engagement has been proposed as an ethically important practice for global biomedical research, there is no agreement about what these practices contribute to the ethics of research, or when they are needed.
In this paper I argue for a view of groups, things like teams, committees, clubs and courts. I begin by examining features all groups seem to share. I formulate a list of six features of groups that serve as criteria any adequate theory of groups must capture. Next, I examine four of the most prominent views of groups currently on offer—that groups are non-singular pluralities, fusions, aggregates and sets. I argue that each fails to capture one or more of the (...) criteria. Last, I develop a view of groups as realizations of structures. The view has two components. First, groups are entities with structure. Second, since groups are concreta, they exist only when a group structure is realized. A structure is realized when each of its functionally defined nodes or places are occupied. I show how such a view captures the six criteria for groups, which no other view of groups adequately does, while offering a substantive answer to the question, “What are groups?”. (shrink)
Although the principle of fair subject selection is a widely recognized requirement of ethical clinical research, it often yields conflicting imperatives, thus raising major ethical dilemmas regarding participant selection. In this paper, we diagnose the source of this problem, arguing that the principle of fair subject selection is best understood as a bundle of four distinct sub-principles, each with normative force and each yielding distinct imperatives: fair inclusion; fair burden sharing; fair opportunity; and fair distribution of third-party risks. We first (...) map out these distinct sub-principles, and then identify the ways in which they yield conflicting imperatives for the design of inclusion and exclusion criteria, and the recruitment of participants. We then offer guidance for how decision makers should navigate these conflicting imperatives to ensure that participants are selected fairly. (shrink)
Resolving religious disagreements is difficult, for beliefs about religion tend to come with strong biases against other views and the people who hold them. Evidence can help, but there is no agreed-upon policy for weighting it, and moreover bias affects the content of our evidence itself. Another complicating factor is that some biases are reliable and others unreliable. What we need is an evidence-weighting policy geared toward negotiating the effects of bias. I consider three evidence-weighting policies in the philosophy of (...) religion and advocate one of them as the best for promoting the resolution of religious disagreements. (shrink)
Katherine Hawley investigates what trustworthiness means in our lives. We become untrustworthy when we break promises, miss deadlines, or give unreliable information. But we can't be sure about what we can commit to. Hawley examines the social obstacles to trustworthiness, and explores how we can steer between overcommitment and undercommitment.
Vague existence can seem like the worst kind of vagueness in the world, or seem to be an entirely unintelligible notion. This bad reputation is based upon the rumour that if there is vague existence then there are non-existent objects. But the rumour is false: the modest brand of vague existence entailed by certain metaphysical theories of composition does not deserve its bad reputation.
Many philosophers have attempted to provide a solution to the paradox of fiction, a triad of sentences that lead to the conclusion that genuine emotional responses to fiction are irrational. We suggest that disagreement over the best response to this paradox stems directly from the formulation of the paradox itself. Our main goal is to show that there is an ambiguity regarding the word ‘exist’ throughout the premises of the paradox. To reveal this ambiguity, we display the diverse existential commitments (...) of several leading theories of emotion, and argue that none of the theories we consider are committed to notions of ‘exist’ employed by the paradox. We conclude that it is unclear whether or not there remains a paradox of fiction to be solved—rather than to be argued for—once this ambiguity is addressed. (shrink)
This article explores the relationship between pragmatic encroachment and epistemic permissiveness. If the suggestion that all epistemic notions are interest-relative is viable , then it seems that a certain species of epistemic permissivism must be viable as well. For, if all epistemic notions are interest relative then, sometimes, parties in paradigmatic cases of shared evidence can be maximally rational in forming competing basic doxastic attitudes towards the same proposition. However, I argue that this total pragmatic encroachment is not tenable, and, (...) thus, epistemic permissivism cannot be vindicated in this way. (shrink)
Symmetry considerations dominate modern fundamental physics, both in quantum theory and in relativity. Philosophers are now beginning to devote increasing attention to such issues as the significance of gauge symmetry, quantum particle identity in the light of permutation symmetry, how to make sense of parity violation, the role of symmetry breaking, the empirical status of symmetry principles, and so forth. These issues relate directly to traditional problems in the philosophy of science, including the status of the laws of nature, the (...) relationships between mathematics, physical theory, and the world, and the extent to which mathematics suggests new physics.This entry begins with a brief description of the historical roots and emergence of the concept of symmetry that is at work in modern science. It then turns to the application of this concept to physics, distinguishing between two different uses of symmetry: symmetry principles versus symmetry arguments. It mentions the different varieties of physical symmetries, outlining the ways in which they were introduced into physics. Then, stepping back from the details of the various symmetries, it makes some remarks of a general nature concerning the status and significance of symmetries in physics. (shrink)
: As Heidegger acknowledges, our understanding is essentially situated and so limited by the context and tradition into which it is thrown. But this ‘situatedness’ does not exhaust Heidegger's concept of ‘thrownness’. By examining this concept and its grammar, I develop a more complete interpretation. I identify several different kinds of finitude or limitation in our understanding, and touch on ways in which we confront and carry different dimensions of our past.
We articulate a view of natural kinds as complex universals. We do not attempt to argue for the existence of universals. Instead, we argue that, given the existence of universals, and of natural kinds, the latter can be understood in terms of the former, and that this provides a rich, flexible framework within which to discuss issues of indeterminacy, essentialism, induction, and reduction. Along the way, we develop a 'problem of the many' for universals.
Names are referring expressions and interact with the determiner system only exceptionally, in stark contrast with count nouns. The-predicativists like Sloat, Matushansky, and Fara claim otherwise, maintaining that syntactic data offers indicates that names belong to a special syntactic category which differs from common count nouns only in how they interact with ‘the’. I argue that the-predicativists have incorrectly discerned the syntactic facts. They have bypassed a large range of important syntactic data and misconstrued a critical data point on which (...) they ground the-predicativism. The right data offers new compelling syntactic grounds for referentialism. (shrink)
It has been argued that humans can face an ethical/epistemic dilemma over the automatic stereotyping involved in implicit bias: ethical demands require that we consistently treat people equally, as equally likely to possess certain traits, but if our aim is knowledge or understanding our responses should reflect social inequalities meaning that members of certain social groups are statistically more likely than others to possess particular features. I use psychological research to argue that often the best choice from the epistemic perspective (...) is the same as the best choice from the ethical perspective: to avoid automatic stereotyping even when this involves failing to reflect social realities in our judgements. This argument has an important implication: it shows that it is not possible to successfully defend an act of automatic stereotyping simply on the basis that the stereotype reflects an aspect of social reality. An act of automatic stereotyping can be poor from an epistemic perspective even if the stereotype that is activated reflects reality. (shrink)
Closest-continuer or best-candidate accounts of persistence seem deeply unsatisfactory, but it’s hard to say why. The standard criticism is that such accounts violate the ‘only a and b’ rule, but this criticism merely highlights a feature of the accounts without explaining why the feature is unacceptable. Another concern is that such accounts violate some principle about the supervenience of persistence facts upon local or intrinsic facts. But, again, we do not seem to have an independent justification for this supervenience claim. (...) Instead, I argue that closest continuer accounts are committed to unexplained correlations between distinct existences, and that this is their fundamental flaw. We can have independent justification for rejecting such correlations, but what the justification is depends upon much broader issues in ontology. There is no one-size-fits all objection to closest-continuer accounts of persistence. (shrink)
In his Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen distinguishes two questions about parthood. What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for some things jointly to compose a whole? What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for a thing to have proper parts? The first of these, the Special Composition Question (SCQ), has been widely discussed, and David Lewis has argued that an important constraint on any answer to the SCQ is that it should not permit borderline cases of composition. This is (...) a far-reaching claim, since many plausible-seeming accounts of composition do permit borderline cases. Ned Markosian has recently directed our attention to the second, the neglected Inverse Special Composition Question (ISCQ). I will argue that those who accept Lewis’s constraint on answers to the SCQ should accept an analogous constraint on answers to the ISCQ, and I will discuss the effects of such a constraint. (shrink)
Recently several philosophers have argued that racial, gender, and other social generic generalizations should be avoided given their propensity to promote essentialist thinking, obscure the social nature of categories, and contribute to oppression. Here I argue that a general prohibition against social generics goes too far. Given that the truth of many generics require regularities or systematic rather than mere accidental correlations, they are our best means for describing structural forms of violence and discrimination. Moreover, their accuracy, their persistence in (...) the face of counterexamples, and features of the contemporary socio-political context make generics useful linguistic tools in social justice projects. (shrink)