In this paper I will be concerned primarily with purity in morals. I will begin by considering an analysis of the pure person offered by Nicolai Hartmann. While I think there is much that is correct in his discussion, I will criticize it for focusing on naive innocence. I will then suggest some components of what I refer to as “mature purity,” and contrast it with Hartmann’s conception. I will also consider whether mature purity involves certain sorts of attitudes and (...) feelings, or merely conscientious action. I go on to discuss forms of impurity, and finally to discuss the relation of purity to other virtues. (shrink)
In epistemology the nagging voice of the sceptic has always been present, whispering that 'You can't know that you have hands, or just about anything else, because for all you know your whole life is a dream.' Philosophers have recently devised ingenious ways to argue against and silence this voice, but Bryan Frances now presents a highly original argument template for generating new kinds of radical scepticism, ones that hold even if all the clever anti-sceptical fixes defeat the traditional (...) sceptic. Sharp, witty, and fun to read, Scepticism Comes Alive will be highly provocative for anyone interested in knowledge and its limits. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM - whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part I of this article will take up the first two questions. With the first question, invited commentators express a range of opinion regarding the nature of psychiatric disorders, loosely divided into a realist position that the diagnostic categories represent real diseases that we can accurately name and know with our perceptual abilities, a middle, nominalist position that psychiatric disorders do exist in the real world but that our diagnostic categories are constructs that may or may not accurately represent the disorders out there, and finally a purely constructivist position that the diagnostic categories are simply constructs with no evidence of psychiatric disorders in the real world. The second question again offers a range of opinion as to how we should define a mental or psychiatric disorder, including the possibility that we should not try to formulate a definition. The general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM - whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part I of this article took up the first two questions. Part II will take up the second two questions. Question 3 deals with the question as to whether DSM-V should assume a conservative or assertive posture in making changes from DSM-IV. That question in turn breaks down into discussion of diagnoses that depend on, and aim toward, empirical, scientific validation, and diagnoses that are more value-laden and less amenable to scientific validation. Question 4 takes up the role of pragmatic consideration in a psychiatric nosology, whether the purely empirical considerations need to be tempered by considerations of practical consequence. As in Part 1 of this article, the general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
In the conclusion to this multi-part article I first review the discussions carried out around the six essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis – the position taken by Allen Frances on each question, the commentaries on the respective question along with Frances’ responses to the commentaries, and my own view of the multiple discussions. In this review I emphasize that the core question is the first – what is the nature of psychiatric illness – and that in some manner (...) all further questions follow from the first. Following this review I attempt to move the discussion forward, addressing the first question from the perspectives of natural kind analysis and complexity analysis. This reflection leads toward a view of psychiatric disorders – and future nosologies – as far more complex and uncertain than we have imagined. (shrink)
This translation of this classic text contains a balance of cultural and biological considerations. While arguing for the strong influence of exposure and of formal training on the way that music is perceived, Frances draws on the literature concerning the amusias to illustrate his points about the types of cognitive abstraction that are performed by the listener.
Philosophers often find themselves in disagreement with contemporary philosophers they know full well to be their epistemic superiors on the topics relevant to the disagreement. This looks epistemically irresponsible. I offer a detailed investigation of this problem of the reflective epistemic renegade. I argue that although in some cases the renegade is not epistemically blameworthy, and the renegade situation is significantly less common than most would think, in a troublesome number of cases in which the situation arises the renegade is (...) blameworthy in her disagreement with recognized epistemic superiors. I also offer some thoughts on what it would mean for philosophical practice for us to refrain from being renegades. Finally, I show how a new kind of radical skepticism emerges from modest theses regarding the renegade. (shrink)
Many highly educated people think religious belief is irrational and unscientific. If you ask a philosopher, however, you'll likely get two answers: most religious belief is rational in some respects and irrational in other respects. In this essay I explain why they think religious belief is rational. In a sequel essay I explain why they think the very same beliefs are irrational.
In this essay I try to motivate and formulate the main epistemological questions to ask about the phenomenon of religious disagreement. I will not spend much time going over proposed answers to those questions. I address the relevance of the recent literature on the epistemology of disagreement. I start with some fiction and then, hopefully, proceed with something that has at least a passing acquaintance with truth.
If you retain your belief upon learning that a large number and percentage of your recognized epistemic superiors disagree with you, then what happens to the epistemic status of your belief? I investigate that theoretical question as well has the applied case of philosophical disagreement—especially disagreement regarding purely philosophical error theories, theories that do not have much empirical support and that reject large swaths of our most commonsensical beliefs. I argue that even if all those error theories are false, either (...) (a) the average philosopher’s true commonsensical beliefs are epistemically impoverished, or (b) a good portion of philosophy is bunk and philosophers should give up most of their error theories despite the fact that their supporting arguments are generally as good as or even better than other philosophical arguments. (shrink)
I’m going to argue for a set of restricted skeptical results: roughly put, we don’t know that fire engines are red, we don’t know that we sometimes have pains in our lower backs, we don’t know that John Rawls was kind, and we don’t even know that we believe any of those truths. However, people unfamiliar with philosophy and cognitive science do know all those things. The skeptical argument is traditional in form: here’s a skeptical hypothesis; you can’t epistemically neutralize (...) it, you have to be able to neutralize it to know P; so you don’t know P. But the skeptical hypotheses I plug into it are “real, live” scientific-philosophical hypotheses often thought to be actually true, unlike any of the outrageous traditional skeptical hypotheses (e.g., ‘You’re a brain in a vat’). So I call the resulting skepticism Live Skepticism. Notably, the Live Skeptic’s argument goes through even if we adopt the clever anti-skeptical fixes thought up in recent years such as reliabilism, relevant alternatives theory, contextualism, and the rejection of epistemic closure. Furthermore, the scope of Live Skepticism is bizarre: although we don’t know the simple facts noted above, many of us do know that there are black holes and other amazing facts. (shrink)
One of Moore’s paradoxical sentence types is ‘P, but I believe ~P’. Mooreans have assumed that all tokens of that sentence type are absurd in some way: epistemically, pragmatically, semantically, or assertively. And then they proceed to debate what the absurdity really is. I argue that if one has the appropriate philosophical views, then one can rationally assert tokens of that sentence type, and one can be epistemically reasonable in the corresponding compound belief as well.
Regardless of who you are or how you live your life, you disagree with millions of people on an enormous number of topics from politics, religion and morality to sport, culture and art. Unless you are delusional, you are aware that a great many of the people who disagree with you are just as smart and thoughtful as you are - in fact, you know that often they are smarter and more informed. But believing someone to be cleverer or more (...) knowledgeable about a particular topic usually won’t change your mind. Should it? This book is devoted to exploring this quandary - what should we do when we encounter disagreement, particularly when we believe someone is more of an authority on a subject than we are? The question is of enormous importance, both in the public arena and in our personal lives. Disagreement over marriages, beliefs, friendships and more causes immense personal strife. People with political power disagree about how to spend enormous amounts of money, about what laws to pass, or about wars to fight. If only we were better able to resolve our disagreements, we would probably save millions of lives and prevent millions of others from living in poverty. The first full-length text-book on this philosophical topic, Disagreement provides students with the tools they need to understand the burgeoning academic literature and its perspectives. Including case studies, sample questions and chapter summaries, this engaging and accessible book is the perfect starting point for students and anyone interested in thinking about the possibilities and problems of this fundamental philosophical debate. (shrink)
Suppose you know that someone is your epistemic peer regarding some topic. You admit that you cannot think of any relevant epistemic advantage you have over her when it comes to that topic; you admit that she is just as likely as you to get P's truth-value right. Alternatively, you might know that she is your epistemic superior regarding the topic. And then after learning this about her you find out that she disagrees with you about P. In those situations (...) it appears that the confidence with which one holds one's belief should be significantly reduced. My primary goal in this essay is to present and reflect upon a set of cases of disagreement that have not been discussed in the literature but are vital to consider. I argue that in the new cases one is reasonable in not lowering one?s confidence in the belief. Then I articulate and defend an ambitious principle, the Disagreement Principle, meant to answer the question 'Under what conditions am I epistemically blameworthy in retaining my belief with the same level of confidence after I have discovered recognized peers or superiors who disagree with me?'. (shrink)
Those of us who take skepticism seriously typically have two relevant beliefs: (a) it’s plausible (even if false) that in order to know that I have hands I have to be able to epistemically neutralize, to some significant degree, some skeptical hypotheses, such as the brain-in-a-vat (BIV) one; and (b) it’s also plausible (even if false) that I can’t so neutralize those hypotheses. There is no reason for us to also think (c) that the BIV hypothesis, for instance, is plausible (...) or probably true. In order to take skepticism seriously it’s sufficient to hold (a) and (b); one need not hold (c). Indeed, philosophers who accept (a) and (b) never endorse (c). Show me a philosopher who suspects that he is a brain in a vat and I’ll show you someone who is deranged! That’s one thing that bothers undergraduates in philosophy. They object: why on earth do some philosophers take the BIV hypothesis to pose any threat at all to our beliefs given that those very same philosophers think that there’s no real chance that the BIV hypothesis is true? Sure, the BIV hypothesis is formally inconsistent with my belief that I have hands, so if the former is true then my belief is false. But so what? Why should that bare inconsistency matter so much? Is this strange attitude amongst philosophers the result of some logic fetish infecting the philosophical community? It is sometimes said that the skeptical hypotheses are not only inconsistent with our beliefs but are explanatory of our experiences, which is supposed to make them more of a threat. But students aren’t fooled: although the skeptical hypotheses may attempt to explain why our experience is as it is, it’s the kind of attempt appropriate for science fiction movies that are all special effects and virtually no plot. No one with any sense of reality will take the evil demon hypothesis to be even tenuously explanatory. (shrink)
For years philosophers argued for the existence of distinct yet materially coincident things by appealing to modal and temporal properties. For instance, the statue was made on Monday and could not survive being flattened; the lump of clay was made months before and can survive flattening. Such arguments have been thoroughly examined. Kit Fine has proposed a new set of arguments using the same template. I offer a critical evaluation of what I take to be his central lines of reasoning.
This volume brings together a range of influential essays by distinguished philosophers and political theorists on the issue of global justice. Global justice concerns the search for ethical norms that should govern interactions between people, states, corporations and other agents acting in the global arena, as well as the design of social institutions that link them together. The volume includes articles that engage with major theoretical questions such as the applicability of the ideals of social and economic equality to the (...) global sphere, the degree of justified partiality to compatriots, and the nature and extent of the responsibilities of the affluent to address global poverty and other hardships abroad. It also features articles that bring the theoretical insights of global justice thinkers to bear on matters of practical concern to contemporary societies, such policies associated with immigration, international trade, and climate change. -/- Contents: Introduction; Part I Standards of Global Justice: (i) Assistance-Based Responsibilities to the Global Poor: Famine, affluence and mortality, Peter Singer; We don't owe them a thing! A tough-minded but soft-hearted view of aid to the faraway needy, Jan Narveson; Does distance matter morally to the duty to rescue? FrancesMyrna Kamm. (ii) Contribution-Based Responsibilities to the Global Poor: 'Assisting' the global poor, Thomas Pogge; Should we stop thinking about poverty in terms of helping the poor?, Alan Patten; Poverty and the moral significance of contribution, Gerhard Øverland. (iii)Cosmopolitans, Global Egalitarians, and its Critics: The one and the many faces of cosmopolitanism, Catherine Lu; Cosmopolitan justice and equalizing opportunities, Simon Caney; The problem of global justice, Thomas Nagel; Against global egalitarianism, David Miller; Egalitarian challenges to global egalitarianism: a critique, Christian Barry and Laura Valentini. Part II Pressing Global Socioeconomic Issues: (i) Governing the Flow of People: Immigration and freedom of association, Christopher Wellman; Democratic theory and border coercion: no right to unilaterally control your own borders, Arash Abizadeh; Justice in migration: a closed borders utopia?, Lea Ypi. (ii) Climate Change: Global environment and international inequality, Henry Shue; Valuing policies in response to climate change: some ethical issues, John Broome; Saved by disaster? Abrupt climate change, political inertia, and the possibility of an intergenerational arms race, Stephen M. Gardiner; Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change, Elinor Ostrom. (iii) International Trade: Responsibility and global labor justice, Iris Marion Young; Property rights and the resource curse, Leif Wenar; Fairness in trade I: obligations arising from trading and the pauper-labor argument, Mathias Risse; Name index. -/- See: www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=483&sort=pubdate&forthcoming=1&title_i d=9958&edition_id=13385. (shrink)
In this article I offer a three-pronged defense of Millian theories, all of which share the rough idea that all there is to a proper name is its referent, so it has no additional sense. I first give what I believe to be the first correct analysis of Kripke’s puzzle and its anti-Fregean lessons. The main lesson is that the Fregean’s arguments against Millianism and for the existence of semantically relevant senses (that is, individuative elements of propositions or belief contents (...) that are sensitive to our varying personal conceptions of the referents of those elements) are viciously circular. Thus, the Fregean must give new arguments for her central claims. Second, I offer an original, positive argument for the Millian idea that the thoughts that Cicero was bald and that Tully was bald are identical. Incredibly, the argument appeals to nothing but highly intuitive, pre-theoretical principles regarding folk psychological usage—traditionally the source of Fregean intuitions. Third, I examine one of the most important recent papers on Kripke’s puzzle, that by David Sosa (1996). Sosa claims to have found a way to turn the tables on Kripke’s puzzle by using it to argue against Millian theories. I argue that Sosa’s argument on behalf of the Fregean is question-begging. I conclude that Millian theories can be seriously defended without any use of theoretical constructs such as guises or Russellian propositions, and Fregeans need to start over arguing for their theory’s central claims. (shrink)
We all can identify many contemporary philosophy professors we know to be theists of some type or other. We also know that often enough their nontheistic beliefs are as epistemically upstanding as the non-theistic beliefs of philosophy professors who aren’t theists. In fact, the epistemic-andnon-theistic lives of philosophers who are theists are just as epistemically upstanding as the epistemic-and-non-theistic lives of philosophers who aren’t theists. Given these and other, similar, facts, there is good reason to think that the pro-theistic beliefs (...) of theistic philosophers are frequently epistemically upstanding. Given their impeccable epistemic credentials on non-theistic matters, the amount of careful thought that lies behind their theism, the large size of the community of philosophical theists, as well as other, similar facts, it would be surprising if all or even most of their pro-theistic beliefs were epistemically blameworthy in some or other signicant sense tied to charges such as ‘He should know better than to believe that’ (so mere false belief need not be blameworthy in this sense; the use of ‘blameworthy’ will be claried below). Of course some of the pro-theistic beliefs of some theistic philosophers are epistemically blameworthy; the mere large numbers of fallible theistic philosophers almost guarantees it. My point here is that it would be unexpected if most of the pro-theistic beliefs of theistic philosophers were epistemically blameworthy. (shrink)
Content externalism is the dominant view in the philosophy of mind. Content essentialism, the thesis that thought tokens have their contents essentially, is also popular. And many externalists are supporters of such essentialism. However, endorsing the conjunction of those views either (i) commits one to a counterintuitive view of the underlying physical nature of thought tokens or (ii) commits one to a slightly different but still counterintuitive view of the relation of thought tokens to physical tokens as well as a (...) rejection of realist physicalism. In this essay I reveal the problem and articulate and adjudicate among the possible solutions. I will end up rejecting content essentialism. (shrink)
Millianism is reasonable; that is, it is reasonable to think that all there is to the semantic value of a proper name is its referent. But Millianism appears to be undermined by the falsehood of Substitutivity, the principle that interchanging coreferential proper names in an intentional context cannot change the truth value of the resulting belief report. Mary might be perfectly rational in assenting to ‘Twain was a great writer’ as well as ‘Clemens was not a great writer’. Her confusion (...) does not seem to preclude her from assenting to those sentences in a normal, understanding manner. That is, Assent-for-Mary is true: Mary can knowingly assent to ‘Twain was a great writer’ and ‘Clemens was not a great writer’. By Disquotation—the rough principle that if in ordinary circumstances one assents to “P”, then one believes that P—Mary believes that Twain was a great writer and she believes that it’s not the case that Clemens was a great writer. If Substitutivity were true, then since ‘Mary believes that Twain was a great writer’ is true, ‘Mary believes that Clemens was a great writer’ would have to be true too. But then Mary would amount to a refutation of the plausible principle Consistency that, roughly put, no rational adult can have occurrently held and reflectively considered and compared contradictory beliefs. Since Disquotation, Assent-for-Mary, and Consistency are true, Substitutivity has to go. (shrink)
Kripke’s puzzle has puts pressure on the intuitive idea that one can believe that Superman can fly without believing that Clark Kent can fly. If this idea is wrong then many theories of belief and belief ascription are built from faulty data. I argue that part of the proper analysis of Kripke’s puzzle refutes the closure principles that show up in many important arguments in epistemology, e.g., if S is rational and knows that P and that P entails Q, then (...) if she considers these two beliefs and Q, then she is in a position to know that.. (shrink)
My hunch has always been that in the end, Fregeanism will defeat Millianism. So I suspect that my (1998) arguments on behalf of Millianism are flawed. Peter Graham (1999) is confident he has found the flaws, but he has not. I hope that some clarification will encourage others to reveal the errors.
The Burge-Putnam thought experiments have generated the thesis that beliefs are not fixed by the constitution of the body. However, many philosophers have thought that if this is true then there must be another content-like property. Even if the contents of our attitudes such as the one in ‘believes that aluminum is a light metal’, do not supervene on our physical makeups, nevertheless people who are physical duplicates must be the same when it comes to evaluating their rationality and explaining (...) their actions. I argue that the considerations motivating this view are best handled with just the ordinary ‘that’-clause contents. (shrink)
I say that it’s philosophically inexpensive because I think it is more convincing than any other Twin-Earth thought experiment in that it sidesteps many of the standard objections to the usual thought experiments. I also discuss narrow contents and give an analysis of Putnam’s original argument.
The authors discuss some of the conceptual issues that must be considered in using and understanding psychiatric classification. DSM-IV is a practical and common sense nosology of psychiatric disorders that is intended to improve communication in clinical practice and in research studies. DSM-IV has no philosophic pretensions but does raise many philosphical questions. This paper describes the development of DSM-IV and the way in which it addresses a number of philosophic issues: nominalism vs. realism, epistemology in science, the mind/body dichotomy, (...) the definition of mental disorders, and dimensional vs. categorical classification. (shrink)
Saul Kripke's puzzle about belief demonstrates the lack of soundness of the traditional argument for the Fregean fundamental principle that the sentences 'S believes that a is F' and 'S believes that b is F' can differ in truth value even if a = b. This principle is a crucial premise in the traditional Fregean argument for the existence of semantically relevant senses, individuative elements of beliefs that are sensitive to our varying conceptions of what the beliefs are about. Joseph (...) Owens has offered a new argument for this fundamental principle, one that is not subject to Kripke's criticisms. I argue that even though Owens' argument avoids Kripke's criticisms, it has other flaws. (shrink)
In this essay (for undergraduates) I introduce three of the famous semantic paradoxes: the Liar, Grelling’s, and the No-No. Collectively, they seem to show that the notion of truth is highly paradoxical, perhaps even contradictory. They seem to show that the concept of truth is a bit akin to the concept of a married bachelor—it just makes no sense at all. But in order to really understand those paradoxes one needs to be very comfortable thinking about how lots of interesting (...) sentences talk about not dogs or cats or elections or baseball but sentences. That is, we need to get familiar analyzing sentences that talk about sentences. (shrink)
The epistemological consequences of paradox are paradoxical. They can be usefully generated by telling a series of once-upon-a-time stories that make various philosophical points, starting out innocent and ending up, well, paradoxical. This is an introduction to my Live Skepticism, defended in Skepticism Comes Alive.