Philosophers and scientists have maintained that causation, correlation, and "partial correlation" are essentially related. These views give rise to various rules of causal inference. This essay considers the "claims of several philosophers and social scientists for causal systems with dichotomous variables. In section 2 important commonalities and differences are explicated among four major conceptions of correlation. In section 3 it is argued that whether correlation can serve as a measure of A's causal influence on B depends upon the conception of (...) causation being used and upon certain background assumptions. In section 4 five major kinds of "partial correlation" are explicated, and some of the important relations are established among two conceptions of "partial correlation", the conception of "screening off", the conception of "partitioning", and the measures of causal influence which have been suggested by advocates of path analysis or structural equation methods. In section 5 it is argued that whether any of these five conceptions of "partial correlation" can serve as a measure of causal influence depends upon the conception of causation being used and upon certain background assumptions. The important conclusion is that each of the approaches (considered here) to causal inference for causal systems with dichotomous variables stands in need of important qualifications and revisions if they are to be justified. (shrink)
During the past decades several philosophers of science and social scientists have been interested in the problems of causation. Recently attention has been given to probabilistic causation in dichotomous causal systems. The paper uses the basic features of probabilistic causation to argue that the causal modeling approaches developed by such researchers as Blalock (1964) and Duncan (1975) can provide, when an additional assumption is added, adequate qualitative measures of one variableś causal influence upon another. Finally, some of the difficulties and (...) issues involved in developing adequate quantitative measures are discussed, and it is concluded that the causal modeling measures cannot provide adequate quantitative measures. (shrink)
Two kinds of causal inference rules which are widely used by social scientists are investigated. Two conceptions of causation also widely used are explicated -- the INUS and probabilistic conceptions of causation. It is shown that the causal inference rules which link correlation, a kind of partial correlation, and a conception of causation are invalid. It is concluded a new methodology is required for causal inference.
In Sein und Zeit, Heidegger claims that (1) das Man is an 'existential' i.e. a necessary feature of Dasein's Being; and (2) Dasein need not always exist in the mode of the Man-self, but can also be eigentlich, which I translate as 'self-owningly'. These apparently contradictory statements have prompted a debate between Hubert Dreyfus, who recommends abandoning (2), and Frederick Olafson, who favors jettisoning (1). I offer an interpretation of the structure of Dasein's Being compatible with both (1) and (...) (2), thus resolving the Dreyfus-Olafson debate. Central to this resolution is the distinction between das Man and the Man-self. Das Man is one of three existential 'horizons', or fields of possibilities; the other two horizons are the world and death. At any time, Dasein encounters entities in one of two basic modes: either by 'expressly seizing' possibilities of the horizon, or by occluding these possibilities. These modes are 'existentiell', i.e. features of Dasein's Being that are possible, but not essential. Self-ownership and the Man-self are the two basic existentiell modes of being oneself, i.e. projecting everyday possibilities of oneself appropriated from the horizon of das Man. What differentiates these two modes is the stance one takes to the possibility of death, the existential horizon of being oneself. (shrink)
In ‘The Open Society and its Enemies,’ Karl Popper contrasts closed and open societies. He evaluates irrationalism and the different kinds of rationalism and he argues that critical rationalism is superior. Living in an open society bestows great benefits but involves a strain that may in some people engender a longing to return to a closed society of tribal submission and an attraction for irrationalism. Attempts to recreate a closed society lead to totalitarianism. In the light of Popper’s arguments I (...) criticise contemporary identity politics and I show that identity politics is irrationalist and tends to totalitarianism. (shrink)
Edmund Gettier’s three-page article is generally regarded as a classic of epistemology. I argue that Gettier cases depend upon three false assumptions and are irrelevant to the theory of knowledge. I suggest that we follow Karl Popper in abandoning subject-centred epistemologies in favour of theories of objective knowledge.
In ‘Aeon’ magazine (2 August 2017), Professor Paul Russell claims that tolerance demands that criticism of ideologies be permitted; but it also demands that criticism of natural identities be suppressed. He says that the Left’s failure to distinguish ideological from non-ideological identities has led identity politics into intolerance. I argue that Russell’s position is self-contradictory, implying that his (ideological) liberal identity both should and should not be open to criticism. Tolerance must be extended to criticism of non-ideological identities. Laws against (...) ‘hate speech’ are incompatible with tolerance. (shrink)
In Chapter 2 of Escape from Leviathan, Jan Lester defends two hypotheses: that instrumental rationality requires agents to maximise the satisfaction of their wants and that all agents actually meet this requirement. In addition, he argues that all agents are self-interested (though not necessarily egoistic) and he offers an account of categorical moral desires which entails that no agent ever does what he genuinely feels to be morally wrong. I show that Lester’s two hypotheses are false because they cannot accommodate (...) weakness of will, because they are inconsistent with agency, which requires free will, because ends, obligations and values cannot be reduced to desires, and because maximisation is often not possible. Further, Lester’s claim that agents are self-interested is vacuous, his attempted reduction of moral behaviour to want-satisfaction fails, and his contention, that agents always do what they genuinely think to be morally required, seems untenable. A defence of freedom that depends on homo economicus is far from promising. (shrink)
Rarely do Introduction to Philosophy textbooks connect, in any thoroughgoing way, the study of philosophy with examples from literature. While contemporary analytic thinkers often tie literary works to philosophical themes and some serious philosophers have written works of literature, these two ways of linking literature to philosophy face significant pedagogical disadvantages. Another tack is to choose a literary work written by a novelist that has implications for philosophical subjects. This paper describes just such a strategy, namely by supplementing traditional materials (...) for an Introduction to Philosophy course with Daniel Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun.”. (shrink)
Hans-Hermann Hoppe contends that the fact that a person has the capacity to argue entails that she has the moral right of exclusive control over her own body. Critics of Hoppe’s argument do not appear to have pinpointed its flaws. I expose the logical structure of Hoppe’s argument, distinguishing its pragmatic-contradiction and its mutual-recognition components. I provide three counterexamples to show that Hoppe’s mutual-recognition argument is invalid and I argue that the truth that appears to motivate the argument is simply (...) a banality. I show that Hoppe’s pragmatic-contradiction argument is invalid, has a false premise and fails to link up with his mutual-recognition argument in the way that he requires to reach his conclusion. I conclude by outlining three perils of pragmatic-contradiction arguments, the weakness of mutual-recognition arguments, and the implausibility of attempts to derive a universal moral status from a specialised activity such as argumentation. (shrink)
Susan Haack criticises the US courts' use of Karl Popper's epistemology in discriminating acceptable scientific testimony. She claims that acceptable testimony should be reliable and that Popper's epistemology is useless in discriminating reliability. She says that Popper's views have been found acceptable only because they have been misunderstood and she indicates an alternative epistemology which she says can discriminate reliable theories. However, her account of Popper's views is a gross and gratuitous misrepresentation. Her alternative epistemology cannot do what she claims (...) for it. The courts should not be concerned with reliability and, insofar as they use the term 'reliability,' it should be construed in a procedural rather than a substantive sense. Since Popper's epistemology gives something like a characterisation of science at its best, the courts should continue to invoke Popper's theories in their discrimination of acceptable testimony. (shrink)
In das paper 1 ccmstder the rehabday condaton in Atm PlanungaS's proper functionabst account of eptstemtc warrant I begm by reviewing m some detail the features of the rehabdity condition as Planunga lias aruculated a From there, 1 consider what is needed to ground or secure the sort of rehability whzch Plantinga has m mind, and argue that what is needed is a significant causai condam which has generally been overlooked Then, after identifying eight verstons of the relevant sort of (...) reltabdity, I exam me each alternative as to whether as requirement, along with PlanungaSs other proposed conditions, would give us a sausfactory account of epis tenuc warrant I conclude that there is bale to no hope of formulatmg a rehabilay condaion that would yield a sattsfactory analysts of the sort Plantinga destres. (shrink)
Dummett defines a ‘predicate’ as that which combines with one or more singular terms to form a sentence. His account of ‘singular term’ is syntactical, involving three necessary conditions. He discusses a fourth, ‘Aristotelian’, criterion before propounding a criterion of predicate quantification which he claims to be superior to it. He tentatively proposes that the three necessary conditions plus the criterion of predicate quantification yield sufficient conditions for being a singular term. I show that Dummett’s necessary conditions fail with regard (...) to referentially opaque contexts, negative existentials and wide-scope negations, and that he overlooks an important class of predicative expressions that satisfy his three supposedly necessary conditions for singular terms, namely, those that may appear either as adjectives or as nouns. I argue that Dummett cannot use the ‘Aristotelian’ criterion without circularity; and that, in any case, the ‘Aristotelian’ criterion fails dramatically. I also show that his criterion of predicate quantification fails with regard to expressions for colours. I end by casting doubts on the adequacy of any purely syntactical approach. (shrink)
Against its prominent compatiblist and libertarian opponents, I defend Galen Strawson's Basic Argument for the impossibility of moral responsibility. Against John Martin Fischer, I argue that the Basic Argument does not rely on the premise that an agent can be responsible for an action only if he is responsible for every factor contributing to that action. Against Alfred Mele and Randolph Clarke, I argue that it is absurd to believe that an agent can be responsible for an action when no (...) factor contributing to that action is up to that agent. Against Derk Pereboom and Clarke, I argue that the versions of agent-causal libertarianism they claim can immunize the agent to the Basic Argument actually fail to do so. Against Robert Kane, I argue that the Basic Argument does not rely on the premise that simply the presence of indeterministic factors in the process of bringing an action about is itself what rules out the agent's chance for being responsible for that action. (shrink)
The paper formulates and proves a strengthening of 'Frege's Theorem', which states that axioms for second-order arithmetic are derivable in second-order logic from Hume's Principle, which itself says that the number of Fs is the same as the number of Gs just in case the Fs and Gs are equinumerous. The improvement consists in restricting this claim to finite concepts, so that nothing is claimed about the circumstances under which infinite concepts have the same number. 'Finite Hume's Principle' also suffices (...) for the derivation of axioms for arithmetic and, indeed, is equivalent to a version of them, in the presence of Frege's definitions of the primitive expressions of the language of arithmetic. The philosophical significance of this result is also discussed. (shrink)
Skeptics try to persuade us of our ignorance with arguments like the following: 1. I don't know that I am not a handless brain-in-a-vat [BIV]. 2. If I don't know that I am not a handless BIV, then I don't know that I have hands. Therefore, 3. I don't know that I have hands. The BIV argument is valid, its premises are intuitively compelling, and yet, its conclusion strikes us as a absurd. Something has to go, but what? Contextualists contend (...) that an adequate solution to the skeptical problem must: (i) retain epistemic closure, (ii) explain the intuitive force of skeptical arguments by explaining why their premises initially seem so compelling, and (iii) account for the truth of our commonsense judgment that we do possess lots of ordinary knowledge. Contextualists maintain that the key to such a solution is recognizing that the semantic standards for 'knows' vary from context to context such that in skeptical contexts the skeptic's premises are true and so is her conclusion; but in ordinary contexts, her conclusion is false and so is her first premise. Despite its initial attractiveness, the contextualist solution comes at a significant cost, for contextualism has many counterintuitive results. After presenting the contextualist solution, I identify a number of these costs. I then offer a noncontextualist solution that meets the adequacy constraint identified above, while avoiding the costs associated with contextualism. Hence, one of the principal reasons offered for adopting a contextualist theory of knowledge -- its supposedly unique ability to adequately resolve the skeptical problem -- is undermined. (shrink)
The American Institute of certified public accountants (AICPA) has promulgated a Code of Professional Conduct, which has served as the primary ethical standard for public accountants in the United States for more than 20 years. It is now out of date and needs to be replaced with a code of ethics. Just as U.S. generally accepted accounting principles are being migrated toward "principles-based accounting" as part of a convergence with international financial reporting standards, a similar process needs to occur with (...) ethics. This article organizes the primary rules of the AICPA Code around five essential virtues: objectivity, integrity, inquisitiveness, loyalty, and trustworthiness. These virtues correspond to the general principles set forth in the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). From this virtue ethics perspective, various rules of the AICPA Code are critiqued as being inadequate at best, and poorly crafted at worst. The article concludes with the proposition that principles-based ethics serves the profession and the financial reporting process better than the current rules-based approach. (shrink)
These comments on Frederick’s “The Evolutionary Firm and Its Moral (Dis)Contents” focus on two dominant themes to provide a more optimistic perspective on Frederick’s conclusions. First is the need to take a systemic orientation at the societal and ecological levels to gain a perspective on ecologizing rather than economizing. Second, is the need to take a developmental perspective, on the assumption that evolution is still occurring, and that what may be needed to get humankind to the systemic/ecologizing orientation (...) is a higher level of awareness, greater cognitive (and moral) development than is currently prevalent. (shrink)
After examining Frederick's charge in his recently published Values, Nature, and Culture in the American Corporation that philosophers and others in the field of business ethics and business and society ignore nature and technology, the paper investigates Frederick's attempt to articulate and defend a New Normative Synthesis (NNS). Since the NNS is the result of a synthesis between Frederick's theory of business values and the body of principles in business ethics, I focus on the nature of each (...) component, the nature of the synthesis, and the nature of the resulting NNS itself. Inquiry reveals serious questions about the explanatory value of the theory of business values as a descriptive theory, as well as serious questions about the defense of the theory as normative theory. The analysis also discloses several possible interpretations of the NNS. (shrink)
Frederick Douglass (1817–1895) argued that newly emancipated black Americans should assimilate into Anglo-American society and culture. Social assimilation would then lead to the entire physical amalgamation of the two groups, and the emergence of a new intermediate group that would be fully American. He, like those who were to follow, was driven by a vision of universal human fraternity in the light of which the varieties of human difference were incidental and far less important than the ethical, religious, and (...) political idea of personhood. Douglass’s version of this vision was formed by natural law theories, and a Protestant Christian conception of universal human fraternity, as it was for much of the abolition movement in the US and Britain. His vision and his fierce commitment to abolitionism, moreover, were characterized by his own experience of slavery. His political and ethical vision, his moral universe, generated his conception of America, his interpretation of the US constitution, and his solution to the Nation’s race problem. Unpacking Douglass’s vision will help us understand those positions that follow his legacy. Just as those who argue that race ought to be conserved turn to the figure of W.E.B. Du Bois, those who disagree with the conservation of race need to consider Douglass’s arguments, and their relationship to Douglass’s assimilation-amalgamation solution. Moreover, those that work under the long shadow of Douglass would do well to carefully consider the historical reasons why Du Bois’s and Booker T. Washington’s strategies for racial justice eclipsed Douglass’s. This chapter reviews Douglass’s religious and political ideals, his application of them to the issues of race, black American identity, and constitutional interpretation, and how his ideals and positions developed into his projection about the future of race in the US. All of these matters are guiding features of the anti-race and racial nominalist positions in the contemporary conservation of race debate. Additionally, this paper asks that we consider the cognitive and emotional conflicts that arise within us as we reflect upon Douglass’s vision and this Nation’s contradictions and failures in its long racial history. Douglass, of course, frequently referenced this conflict; it was at the center of his experience of being American. In his first narrative, Douglass characterized this conflict as his “soul’s complaint.” As a slave he yearned for freedom, and came to understand the liberal political and religious ideals that surrounded him. God’s justice or the ideal of American justice were not immanent; this gave him much pain and caused in him a good measure of moral disorientation, yet he resolved to make up for the absence of divine and natural justice through his own and other subaltern resources. And as a freeman and abolitionist he yearned for a greater reconciliation of the Nation: between black and white, and between the Nation and its ideals. In both instances the obstacles to his desires, the enormity of the task, and the elusiveness of Justice often left him somewhere between madness and reconciliation to his misery. His turmoil, a reaction of moral indignation and disorientation, a reaction to bondage in the putative land of liberty, is ours as well. (shrink)
Frederick 2013 (F13) offers criticisms of the Lester 2012 (L12) theory of libertarian liberty and of its compatibility with preference-utilitarian welfare and private-property anarchy. This reply to F13 first explains the underlying philosophical problem with libertarian liberty and L12’s solution. It then goes through F13 in detail showing that it does not grasp the problem or the solution and offers only misrepresentations and unsound criticisms.
This critical editorial introduction summarizes and explicates Frederick Will’s pragmatic realism and his account of the nature, assessment, and revision of cognitive and practical norms in connection with: the development of Will’s pragmatic realism, Hume’s problem of induction, the oscillations between foundationalism and coherentism, the nature of philosophical reflection, Kant’s ‘Refutation of Idealism’, the open texture of empirical concepts, the correspondence conception of truth, Putnam’s ‘internal realism’, the redundancy theory of truth, sociology of knowledge, the governance of practice by (...) norms and the assessment and revision of norms in practice, scientific realism, the alleged independence of reason and tradition, rule-following, legal realism, ethical intuitionism and moral relativism, the regress problem (both in epistemology and in moral theory), the paradox of analysis, and culminating in Will’s account of the philosophical governance of norms. These issues are discussed in close consideration of the views of: William Alston, John Dewey, Descartes, Leibniz, Waismann, Austin, Russell, Schlick, Ayer, Richard Rorty, Michael Williams, Hempel, Carnap, Simon Blackburn, Ramsey, Strawson, Kuhn, Wilfrid Sellars, Wittgenstein, Nozick, Dretske, Quine, Barbara Herman, Hardy Jones, Marcus Singer, and Gerd Buchdahl. (shrink)
In this article, I explicate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s account of emancipatory history and activism by examining the influence of G. W. F. Hegel’s account of world-historical individuals on his thought. Both thinkers, I argue, affirm that history’s spiritual destiny works through individuals who are driven by the contingencies of their subjective character and given situation to undertake particular actions, and yet who nevertheless freely and decisively break the new from the old by forsaking subjective satisfaction to spur events forward (...) to a more rational state of affairs. This synthetic unity of abstract freedom and concrete embodiment reflects the ‘civil war’ between the universal and infinite essence, and particular and finite passions, that King and Hegel identify as equally constitutive of human will. Through an examination of King’s account of Rosa Parks’ pivotal arrest, I develop the consequences of this ‘Hegelian’ view for our understanding of political action and historical progress. (shrink)
This review essay examines H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.'s The Foundations of Bioethics, a contemporary nonfeminist text in mainstream biomedical ethics. It focuses upon a central concept, Engelhardt 's idea of the moral community and argues that the most serious problem in the book is its failure to take account of the political and social structures of moral communities, structures which deeply affect issues in biomedical ethics.
This is a review of the book Cultivating Original Enlightenment: Wŏnhyo's Exposition of the Vajrasamādhi-Sūtra, by Robert E. Buswell, Jr., published by the Univeristy of Hawaii Press. This volume, the first to be published in the Collected Works of Wŏnhyo series, contains the translation of a single text by Wŏnhyo, the Kŭmgang Sammaegyŏng Non.
It is shown how a consistent kinematic resolution of Ehrenfest's paradox may be given in accordance with the special theory of relativity. Some statements by T. E. Phipps, Jr., connected with these matters, are commented upon. Problems connected with the relation between stress and strain are solved by a manifestly covariant formulation of Hooke's law.
While “inclusion” has been seen as a central mode of redressing ongoing injustices against communities of color in the US, Indigenous political experiences feature more complex legacies of contesting US citizenship. Turning to an important episode of contestation, this essay examines the relation between inclusion and the politics of eliminating Indigenous nations that was part of a shared policy shift toward “Termination” in the Anglo-settler world of the 1950s and 1960s. Through a reading of Indigenous activist-intellectual Vine Deloria Jr.’s Custer (...) Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, it demonstrates how the construction of what I call the “civic inclusion narrative” in post–World War II American political discourse disavowed practices of empire-formation. Widely considered a foundational text of the Indigenous Sovereignty Movement, the work repositioned Indigenous peoples not as passive recipients of civil rights and incorporation into the nation-state but as colonized peoples actively demanding decolonization. Deloria’s work provides an exemplary counterpoint to the enduring thread of civic inclusion in American political thought and an alternative tradition of decolonization—an imperative that continues to resonate in today’s North American and global Indigenous struggles over land, jurisdiction, and sovereignty. (shrink)
(2005). George R. Lucas, Jr. & W. Rick Rubel's (Eds) Ethics and the Military Profession: The Moral Foundations of Leadership and Case Studies in Military Ethics. Journal of Military Ethics: Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 214-219. doi: 10.1080/15027570500197453.
Frederick Douglass's socio-political narrative is explored through an existential lens, arguing that Douglass is contesting the proposition that essence precedes existence. Douglass, through his fight with Covey, a white 'slave breaker', and his escape to freedom, affirms his ex-istence (etymologically, 'standing out') as being for it-self (pour-soi) over and against the reduction of his existence to that of being in-itself (an-soi). Drawing from the work of Simone de Beauvoir, who was greatly influenced by the phenomenological and politico-praxic work of (...) Black novelist Richard Wright, it is argued that Douglass disrupts the power/knowledge regime of white American slavery, exercising his existential capacity for transcendence. Examining whiteness as a species of what Beauvoir calls 'the serious man', it is argued that whites within Douglass's text are in a state of flight, performing their whiteness as 'the serious man', that is, where whiteness is accepted as an unconditioned state of being. Douglass's narrative depicts whiteness as a flight from freedom (bad faith); for his very act of protestation against whiteness demonstrates that whiteness is not an objective, hypostatized thing, but a performative choice that sustains white hegemony. Key Words: American slavery Simone de Beauvoir Frederick Douglass existentialism Michel Foucault genealogy Lewis Gordon the 'serious man' value code whiteness womanism Richard Wright. (shrink)
This paper responds to Frederick Neuhouser's attempt to make sense of Hegel's social theory, and in particular the conception of freedom that grounds the detailed claims made within that theory, in abstraction from its larger systematic context. I argue that Neuhouser's interpretation, despite its many virtues, could be further improved by increased attention to the importance of absolute spirit for Hegel's account of social freedom, as well as to the logical necessity of the developments within the Philosophy of Right. (...) I conclude by explaining the consequences of these omissions for our understanding of Hegel's conception of freedom and the social theory that arises from it. (shrink)
Frederick Douglass’s socio-political narrative is explored through an existential lens, arguing that Douglass is contesting the proposition that essence precedes existence. Douglass, through his fight with Covey, a white ‘slave breaker’, and his escape to freedom, affirms his existence as being for it-self over and against the reduction of his existence to that of being in-itself. Drawing from the work of Simone de Beauvoir, who was greatly influenced by the phenomenological and politico-praxic work of Black novelist Richard Wright, it (...) is argued that Douglass disrupts the power/knowledge regime of white American slavery, exercising his existential capacity for transcendence. Examining whiteness as a species of what Beauvoir calls ‘the serious man’, it is argued that whites within Douglass’s text are in a state of flight, performing their whiteness as ‘the serious man’, that is, where whiteness is accepted as an unconditioned state of being. Douglass’s narrative depicts whiteness as a flight from freedom ; for his very act of protestation against whiteness demonstrates that whiteness is not an objective, hypostatized thing, but a performative choice that sustains white hegemony. (shrink)
Henry Johnstone's philosophical development was guided by a persistent need to reform the concept of validity -either by reinterpreting it or by finding a substitute for it. This project lead Johnstone into interesting confrontations with the concept of rhetoric and especiaUy with the work of Chaim Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca. The project culminated in a failed attempt to develop a formal ethics of rhetoric and argumentation, but this attempt was itself not consistent with some of Johnstone's other characterizations ofan ethics of (...) argument ation. A virtue ethics would be truer to the Johnstonian philosophical project than a formal ethics of argument. Resume. (shrink)
Although Frederick Douglass disclaimed any patriotism or love of the United States in the years when he considered its constitution to be pro-slavery, I argue that he was in fact always a patriot and always a lover of his country. This conclusion leads me to argue further that patriotism is not as expressly political as many philosophers suppose. Patriots love their country despite its politics and often unreasonably, although in loving their country they are concerned with its politics. The (...) greatest among them freely dedicate themselves selflessly to the improvement of their country, partly because they love it, and partly because they are moved to take on great projects. (shrink)
Given the pragmatic tum recently taken by argumentation studies, we owe renewed attention to Henry Johnstone's views on the primacy of process over product. In particular, Johnstone's decidedly non-cooperative model is a refreshing alternative to the current dialogic theories of arguing, one which opens the way for specifically rhetorical lines of inquiry.