. In a number of papers I have sought to discuss and cast some doubt on a certain strategy of response to an argument that purports to show that God's foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom. This argument proceeds from the alleged ‘fixity of the past’ to the conclusion that God's foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom. William Lane Craig has criticized my approach to these issues. Here I should like to respond to some of Craig's claims. My goal is (...) to attempt to achieve a clearer, more penetrating view of some of the issues pertaining to the relationship between God's foreknowledge and human freedom. The focus here will be on a strategy of response to the incompatibilist's argument which is associated with William of Ockham. (shrink)
Die Einordnung der Rechtsphilosophie als akademische Disziplin reicht vom reinen Grundlagenfach mit «Service-Funktion» für die praktischen Rechtswissenschaften über ein interdisziplinäres Verständnis, das die Bezüge zu anderen ...
Introduction: "meaning in life and death : our stories" -- John Martin Fischer and Anthony B rueckner, "Why is death bad?", Philosophical studies, vol. 50, no. 2 (September 1986) -- "Death, badness, and the impossibility of experience," Journal of ethics -- John Martin Fischer and Daniel Speak, "Death and the psychological conception of personal identity," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 24 -- "Earlier birth and later death : symmetry through thick and thin," Richard Feldman, Kris McDaniel, Jason R. (...) Raibley, eds., The good, the right, life and death (Aldershot : Ashgate Publishing, 2006) -- "Why immortality is not so bad," International journal of philosophical studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (September 1994) -- John Martin Fischer and Ruth Curl, "Philosophical models of immortality in science fiction," in George Slusser et. al., eds., Immortal engines : life extension and immortality in science fiction and fantasy (Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, 1996) -- "Epicureanism about death and immortality," Journal of ethics, vol. 10, no. 4 -- "Stories," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 20 -- "Free will, death, and immortality : the role of narrative," Philosophical papers (Special issue : meaning in life) volume 34, number 3, November 2005 -- "Stories and the meaning of life," revised and expanded version of "A reply to Pereboom, Zimmerman, and Smith," part of a book symposium on John Martin Fischer, my way : essays on moral responsibility, philosophical books, vol. 47, no. 3. (shrink)
Here we respond to Johansson’s main worry, as laid out in his, “Actual and Counterfactual Attitudes: Reply to Fischer and Brueckner.” We show how our principle BF*(dd*) can be adjusted to address this concern compatibly with our fundamental approach to responding to Lucretius.
In Gendered Readings of Change, Clara Fischer develops a unique theory of change by drawing on American philosophy and contemporary feminist thought. Via a select history of ancient Greek and Pragmatist philosophies of change, she argues for a reconstruction of transformation that is inclusive of women's experiences and thought. With wide-ranging analysis, this book addresses ontological, moral, epistemological, and political questions, and includes an insightful exploration of the philosophies of Parmenides, Aristotle, John Dewey, Iris Young, and Jane Addams.
Introduction: God and Freedom John Martin Fischer Imagine that in some remote part of Connecticut there is a computer that has stored in its memory all truths about your life — past, present, and future. The computer contains all the ...
In previous work we have presented a reply to the Lucretian Symmetry, which has it that it is rational to have symmetric attitudes toward prenatal and posthumous nonexistence. Our reply relies on Parfit-style thought-experiments. Here we reply to a critique of our approach by Huiyuhl Yi, which appears in this journal: Brueckner and Fischer on the evil of death. We argue that this critique fails to attend to the specific nature of the thought-experiments (and our associated argument). More specifically, (...) the thought-experiments seek to elicit attitudes about (say) past pleasures per se, and not insofar as such pleasures are connected to more pleasures in the future or a greater total amount of pleasures in one’s life overall. (shrink)
Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Sixth Edition, is the most comprehensive topically organized collection of classical and contemporary philosophy available. The sixth edition includes five new readings--by renowned contemporary philosophers Anthony Brueckner, John Martin Fischer, Alan Goldman, Rosalind Hursthouse, and Thomas Nagel--and additional descriptive material on the authors throughout the book.
Replies to critics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9669-y Authors John Martin Fischer, University of California, Riverside, CA USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
We extend the work of Fischer et al.  by presenting a method for controlling cardinal characteristics in the presence of a projective wellorder and 2ℵ0>ℵ2. This also answers a question of Harrington  by showing that the existence of a Δ31 wellorder of the reals is consistent with Martinʼs axiom and 2ℵ0=ℵ3.
Stanley Cavell's work is distinctive not only in its importance to philosophy but also for its remarkable interdisciplinary range. Cavell is read avidly by students of film, photography, painting, and music, but especially by students of literature, for whom Cavell offers major readings of Thoreau, Emerson, Shakespeare, and others. In this first book-length study of Cavell's writings, Michael Fischer examines Cavell's relevance to the controversies surrounding poststructuralist literary theory, particularly works by Jacques Derrida, J. Hillis Miller, Paul de Man, (...) and Stanley Fish. Throughout his study, Fischer focuses on skepticism, a central concern of Cavell's multifaceted work. Cavell, following J. L. Austin and Wittgenstein, does not refute the radical epistemological questioning of Descartes, Hume, and others, but rather characterizes skepticism as a significant human possibility or temptation. As presented by Fischer, Cavell's accounts of both external-world and other-minds skepticism share significant affinities with deconstruction, a connection overlooked by contemporary literary theorists. Fischer follows Cavell's lead in examining how different genres address the problems raised by skepticism and goes on to show how Cavell draws on American and English romanticism in fashioning a response to it. He concludes by analyzing Cavell's remarks about current critical theory, focusing on Cavell's uneasiness with some of the conclusions reached by its practitioners. Fischer shows that Cavell's insights, grounded in powerful analyses of Descartes, Hume, and Wittgenstein, permit a fresh view of Derrida, Miller, de Man, and Fish. The result is not only a revealing characterization of deconstruction but a much-needed and insightful introduction to Cavell's rich but difficult oeuvre. (shrink)
Erratum to: Philosophia 42:741–748DOI 10.1007/s11406-014-9543-9The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake. There were two slight text errors. The correct text information are given below.In the second line of the last paragraph in section "Reply to Yi" right before the "Conclusion", the text should read as:“atypical or, as Yi suggests, are more typical than we appear to suppose”.andIn the middle of the same paragraph, the text should read as:“…Note that a proponent of the Brueckner/Fischer approach can accept (...) that it would be rational to regret late birth somewhat, if it really were true that Learning Japanese represents the typical case.”. (shrink)
Like many readers, I sympathize with Charles Altieri's attempt in "Presence and Reference in a Literary Text"1 to correct Derrida's assimilation of poetry to linguistic "freeplay without origin." But Altieri's "middle ground" solution is at best a stopgap measure, delaying the deconstructionist project but not finally answering it. Altieri agrees with Derrida that "language is not primarily a set of pictures ideally mirroring a world" . But he resists the conclusion that for Derrida follows from this premise, namely, that poems (...) are consequently self-referential and antimimetic. Instead Altieri adopts a position between these two extremes, seeing in art the representation not of reality but of the "stances" we take toward our world. Poems reveal "the qualities of human actions" . In "This is Just to Say," for example, Williams constructs a "simple drama" which brings to light a speaker's "honesty, self-knowledge, and faith in his wife's understanding" . · 1. Charles Altieri, "Presence and Reference in a Literary Text: The Example of Williams' 'This is Just to Say,'" Critical Inquiry 5 : 489-510; all further references to this article will be included in this text. Michael Fischer is an assistant professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He has written on nineteenth- and twentieth-century modern critical theory and on the defense of poetry in modern criticism. (shrink)
In this collection of essays -- a follow up to My Way and Our Stories -- John Martin Fischer defends the contention that moral responsibility is associated with "deep control". Fischer defines deep control as the middle ground between two untenable extreme positions: "superficial control" and "total control". -/- Our freedom consists of the power to add to the given past, holding fixed the laws of nature, and therefore, Fischer contends, we must be able to interpret our (...) actions as extensions of a line that represents the actual past. In "connecting the dots", we engage in a distinctive sort of self-expression. In the first group of essays in this volume, Fischer argues that we do not need genuine access to alterative possibilities in order to be morally responsible. Thus, the line need not branch off at crucial points (where the branches represent genuine metaphysical possibilities). In the remaining essays in the collection he demonstrates that deep control is the freedom condition on moral responsibility. In so arguing, Fischer contends that total control is too much to ask--it is a form of "metaphysical megalomania". So we do not need to "trace back" all the way to the beginning of the line (or even farther) in seeking the relevant kind of freedom or control. Additionally, he contends that various kinds of "superficial control"--such as versions of "conditional freedom" and "judgment-sensitivity" are too shallow; they don't trace back far enough along the line. In short, Fischer argues that, in seeking the freedom that grounds moral responsibility, we need to carve out a middle ground between superficiality and excessive penetration. Deep Control is the "middle way". Fischer presents a new argument that deep control is compatible not just with causal determinism, but also causal indeterminism. He thus tackles the luck problem and shows that the solution to this problem is parallel in important ways to the considerations in favor of the compatibility of causal determinism and moral responsibility. (shrink)
Near-death experiences offer a glimpse not only into the nature of death but also into the meaning of life. They are not only useful tools to aid in the human quest to understand death but are also deeply meaningful, transformative experiences for the people who have them. In a unique contribution to the growing and popular literature on the subject, philosophers John Martin Fischer and Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin examine prominent near-death experiences, such as those of Pam Reynolds, Eben Alexander and (...) Colton Burpo. They combine their investigations with critiques of the narratives' analysis by those who take them to show that our minds are immaterial and heaven is for real. In contrast, the authors provide a blueprint for a science-based explanation. Focusing on the question of whether near-death experiences provide evidence that consciousness is separable from our brains and bodies, Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin give a naturalistic account of the profound meaning and transformative effects that these experiences engender in many. This book takes the reality of near-death experiences seriously. But it also shows that understanding them through the tools of science is completely compatible with acknowledging their profound meaning. (shrink)
Our Fate is a collection of John Martin Fischer's previously published articles on the relationship between God's foreknowledge and human freedom. The book contains a new introductory essay that places all of the chapters in the book into a cohesive framework. The introductory essay also provides some new views about the issues treated in the book, including a bold and original account of God's foreknowledge of free actions in a causally indeterministic world. The focus of the book is a (...) powerful traditional argument for the incompatibility of God's foreknowledge and human freedom to do otherwise. Fischer presents this argument and defends it against some of the most salient criticisms, especially Ockhamism.The incompatibilist's argument is driven by the fixity of the past, and, in particular, the fixity of God's prior beliefs about our current behavior. The author gives special attention to Ockhamism, which contends that God's prior beliefs are not "over-and-done-with" in the past, and are thus not subject to the intuitive idea of the fixity of the past. In the end, Fischer defends the argument for the incompatibility of God's foreknowledge and human freedom to do otherwise, but he further argues that this incompatibility need not entail the incompatibility of God's foreknowledge and human moral responsibility. Thus, through this collection of essays, Fischer develops a "semicompatibilist" view--the belief that God's foreknowledge is entirely compatible with human moral responsibility, even if God's foreknowledge rules out freedom to do otherwise. (shrink)
By blending multiple strands of thought into one ideology, Chinese Syncretists of the pre-imperial period created an essential guide to contemporary ideas about self, society, and government. Merging traditions such as Ruism, Mohism, Daoism, Legalism, and Yin-Yang naturalism into their work, Syncretists created an integrated intellectual approach that contrasts with other, more specific philosophies. Presenting the first full English translation of the earliest example of a Syncretist text, this volume introduces Western scholars to both the brilliance of the syncretic method (...) and a critical work of Chinese leadership. Written by Shi Jiao, China's first syncretic thinker, during the Warring States Period of 481 to 221 BCE, _Shizi_ is similar to Machiavelli's _The Prince_ in that it dispenses wisdom to would-be rulers. It stresses the need for leaders to be detached and objective. It further encourages self-cultivation and effective government, recommending that rulers maintain self-discipline, hire reliable people, delegate power transparently, and promote others in an orderly fashion. The people, it is argued, will emulate their leader's wisdom and virtue, and a just and peaceful state will result. Paul Fischer provides an extensive introduction and a chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis of the text--outlining the importance of syncretism in Chinese culture--and explores the text's particular features, authorship, transmission, loss, and reconstruction over time. The _Shizi_ set the stage for a long history of syncretic endeavor in China, and its study provides insight into the vital traditions of early Chinese philosophy. It is also a template for interpreting other well-known works, such as the Confucian _Analects_, the Daoist _Laozi_, the Mohist _Mozi_, and the Legalist _Shang jun shu_. (shrink)
Interpreters of Machiavelli easily agree that his political writings have profoundly influenced our fundamental ideas of state and society, yet these interpreters rarely agree on what Machiavelli really thought. Did Machiavelli seek to recover classical republicanism in the Aristotelian tradition, or did he aspire to usher in modernity? Was he a cynic who assumed human beings to be inescapably wicked and offered technical advice to tyrants, or did he aim at some version of "the good life"? Did he create a (...) general theory of politics, or did he teach us that political issues should be approached in a particular contextual, dialectical, or rhetorical manner? Through systematic analysis, Markus Fischer's cogent and articulate study succeeds in resolving these questions. Well-Ordered License will appeal both to new students of Machiavelli and to scholars who have long sought to reconcile the seeming incoherence of his work. (shrink)
Introduction to Philosophy, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive topically organized collection of classical and contemporary philosophy available. Building on the exceptionally successful tradition of previous editions, this edition for the first time incorporates the insights of a new coeditor, John Martin Fischer, and has been updated and revised to make it more accessible. Ideal for introductory philosophy courses, the text includes sections on the meaning of life, God and evil, knowledge and reality, the philosophy of science, the mind/body (...) problem, freedom of will, consciousness, ethics, and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. It presents seventy substantial--and in some cases complete--selections from the best and most influential works in philosophy, offering a unique balance between classical and contemporary material. An extensive glossary of philosophical terms is also included. The fourth edition features fifteen new readings, including work by Albert Camus, Roderick M. Chisholm, Daniel Dennett, Harry G. Frankfurt, William Paley, Derek Parfit, John Perry, Richard Taylor, Peter Van Inwagen, Bernard Williams, and Susan Wolf. Part III, Knowledge and Reality, has been restructured and now includes Plato's Thaetetus, selections by Edmund L. Gettier and Robert Nozick, and an essay by Christopher Grau that explores the philosophical concepts presented in the popular film The Matrix. Two new ethics puzzles--"The Trolley Problem" and "Ducking Harm and Sacrificing Others"--are also included. This edition incorporates Study Questions after each reading and is accompanied by an Instructor's CD and a Student Companion Website, both containing helpful resources. (shrink)
The Metaphysics of Free Will provides a through statement of the major grounds for skepticism about the reality of free will and moral responsibility. The author identifies and explains the sort of control that is associated with personhood and accountability, and shows how it is consistent with causal determinism. In so doing, out view of ourselves as morally responsible agents is protected against the disturbing changes posed by science and religion.
In previous work we have defended the deprivation account of death’s badness against worries stemming from the Lucretian point that prenatal and posthumous nonexistence are deprivations of the same sort. In a recent article in this journal, Fred Feldman has offered an insightful critique of our Parfitian strategy for defending the deprivation account of death’s badness. Here we adjust, clarify, and defend our strategy for reply to Lucretian worries on behalf of the deprivation account.
Philosophical Delusion and its Therapy provides new foundations and methods for the revolutionary project of philosophical therapy pioneered by Ludwig Wittgenstein. The book vindicates this currently much-discussed project by reconstructing the genesis of important philosophical problems: With the help of concepts adapted from cognitive linguistics and cognitive psychology, the book analyses how philosophical reflection is shaped by pictures and metaphors we are not aware of employing and are prone to misapply. Through innovative case-studies on the genesis of classical problems about (...) the mind and perception, and on thinkers including Locke, Berkeley and Ayer, the book demonstrates how such autonomous habits of thought systematically generate unsound intuitions and philosophical delusions, whose clash with reality, or among each other, gives rise to ill-motivated but maddening problems. The book re-examines models of therapeutic philosophy, due to Wittgenstein and J. L. Austin, and develops an approach that may let us overcome philosophical delusions and the problems they engender. In this way, the book explains where and why therapy in called for in philosophy, and develops techniques to carry it out. -/- Introduction : some perplexing discoveries -- Philosophical pictures : the birth of "the mind" -- Through pictures to problems : minds and bodies -- Pictures' effects : from " secondary qualities" to "perceptions" -- The power of pictures : Berkeley's approach -- Self-perpetuating absurdity : Berkeley defends "perceptions" -- Philosophical delusions : Ayer reinvents "perceptions" -- Two turns : a new vision of philosophy -- Linguistic analysis as therapy : Austin on "perceptions" -- Self-reflection as therapy : Wittgenstein on understanding. (This book is also available as paperback. ISBN 978-0415849906). (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to put the concept of moral responsibility under a microscope. At the lowest level of magnification, it appears unified. But Gary Watson has taught us that if we zoom in, we will find that moral responsibility has two faces: attributability and accountability. Or, to describe the two faces in different terms, there is a difference between being responsible and holding responsible. It is one thing to talk about the connection the agent has with her (...) action; it is quite another to talk about the potential interaction the agent might have with her moral community. It turns out, though, that the faces of moral responsibility can themselves be viewed under an even higher level of magnification. If moral responsibility has two faces, then our aim in this paper is to examine their features. To do so reveals subtle distinctions in our concept of moral responsibility and its interaction with surrounding issues that, we argue, can help illuminate various debates in the literature. (shrink)
Several theorists (Merricks, Westphal, and McCall) have recently claimed to offer a novel way to respond to the dilemma of freedom and foreknowledge, rooted in Molina's insight that God's beliefs depend on what we do, rather than the other way around. In this paper we argue that these responses either beg the question, or else are dressed-up versions of Ockhamism.
Control-based models of moral responsibility typically employ a notion of "tracing," according to which moral responsibility requires an exercise of control either immediately prior to the behavior in question or at some suitable point prior to the behavior. Responsibility, on this view, requires tracing back to control. But various philosophers, including Manuel Vargas and Angela Smith, have presented cases in which the plausibility of tracing is challenged. In this paper we discuss the examples and we argue that they do not (...) in fact impugn an attractive and natural tracing component. Our discussion can function in part as a defense of a control-based account of moral responsibility, but also as simply a defense of tracing. (shrink)
The Frankfurt cases have been thought by some philosophers to show that moral responsibility does not require genuine metaphysical access to alternative possibilities. But various philosophers have rejected this putative "lesson" of the cases, and they have put forward a powerful "Dilemma Defense." In the last decade or so, many philosophers have been persuaded by the Dilemma Defense that the Frankfurt cases do not show what Frankfurt (and others) thought they show. This essay presents a template for a general strategy (...) of response to the Dilemma Defense. It thus seeks to provide further support for the author's view that the Frankfurt cases help to establish that moral responsibility does not require alternative possibilities. (shrink)
TEST is a novel taxonomy of knowledge representations based on three distinct hierarchically organized representational features: Tropism, Embodiment, and Situatedness. Tropic representational features reflect constraints of the physical world on the agent's ability to form, reactivate, and enrich embodied (i.e., resulting from the agent's bodily constraints) conceptual representations embedded in situated contexts. The proposed hierarchy entails that representations can, in principle, have tropic features without necessarily having situated and/or embodied features. On the other hand, representations that are situated and/or embodied (...) are likely to be simultaneously tropic. Hence, although we propose tropism as the most general term, the hierarchical relationship between embodiment and situatedness is more on a par, such that the dominance of one component over the other relies on the distinction between offline storage versus online generation as well as on representation-specific properties. (shrink)
John and Mary have fully consensual sex, but they do not want to have a child, so they use contraception with the intention of avoiding pregnancy. Unfortunately, although they used the contraception in the way in which it is supposed to be used, Mary has become pregnant. The couple decides to have the baby, whom they name ‘Ernie’. Now we fill in the story a bit. The universe is causally deterministic, and 30 years later Ernie performs some action A and (...) thereby brings about event E. We also stipulate that Ernie meets plausible compatibilist conditions for acting freely . That is, we suppose that there are no uncontroversially freedom- and responsibility-undermining conditions present in the context in which Ernie performs A, and, further, that Ernie meets plausible compatibilist conditions for acting freely. Let us say, for example, that one adopts the theory according to which the freedom-relevant condition on moral responsibility is that the agent exhibits ‘guidance control’ of his action and . On this approach, one acts freely in so far as one acts from one's own, suitably reasons-responsive mechanism. We can then simply stipulate that, in the relevant context, Ernie acts from his own, suitably reasons-responsive mechanism . If one prefers a different set of compatiblist-friendly conditions for acting freely, one can simply stipulate that Ernie meets them; indeed, the plausible compatibilist-friendly conditions seem to be compatible with each other, and thus Ernie could presumably meet all of them in the relevant context. In such a case, and given that the epistemic condition on acting freely and moral responsibility is met, I am inclined to say that Ernie …. (shrink)
In this essay I shall begin by sketching a "Frankfurt-type example." I shall then lay out a disturbing challenge to the claim I have made above that these examples help us to make significant progress in the debates about the relationship between moral responsibility and causal determinism. I then will provide a reply to this challenge, and the reply will point toward a more refined formulation of the important contribution I believe Frankfurt has made to defending a certain sort of (...) compatibilism. (shrink)
In this brief concluding chapter we first wish to present the overall argument of the book in a concise, nontechnical way. We hope this will provide a clear view of the argument. We shall then point to some of the distinctive--and attractive--features of our approach. Finally, we shall offer some preliminary thoughts about extending the account of moral responsibility to apply to emotions.
In this paper I give an overview of my “framework for moral responsibility,” and I offer some reasons that commend it. I contrast my approach with indeterministic models of moral responsibility and also other compatibilist strategies, including those of Harry Frankfurt and Gary Watson.
Small numbers are spontaneously associated with left space and larger numbers with right space (the SNARC effect), for example when classifying numbers by parity. This effect is often attributed to reading habits but a causal link has so far never been documented. We report that bilingual Russian-Hebrew readers show a SNARC effect after reading Cyrillic script (from left-to-right) that is significantly reduced after reading Hebrew script (from right-to-left). In contrast, they have similar SNARC effects after listening to texts in either (...) language. These results support the view that spatially directional scanning habits contribute to the spatial association of numbers but also emphasize its flexibility. (shrink)