Abstract In this paper the authors examine the nature and significance of the interface between race, culture and morality and the implications for the classroom teacher in relation to schooling generally and moral education in particular. They argue that morality is circumscribed by the culture(s) from which it derives and within which it operates. It is therefore, impossible to consider one without the other. The same applies in relation to race and culture and similarly to the holism of race, culture (...) and morality. Having argued that culture in Britain has been increasingly racialized, they make the case for an anti?racist approach to moral education which debunks the racial baggage from contemporary conceptions of morality. They finally argue that since teachers, like pupils, bring their own values and perceptions with them to school, teachers need to acknowledge this and respond positively within the context of a ?multi?ethnic? Britain. (shrink)
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality , Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory (...) and Reality covers logical positivism the problems of induction and confirmation Karl Popper's theory of science Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions" the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student a glossary of terms explains key concepts and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow. (shrink)
As a rule we treat people as responsible for what they do. We admonish them if they behave badly, praise them if they do well. We punish people. And we reward them. There are exceptions, of course. For example, we do not punish someone for doing something he has been compelled to do, perhaps by having a gun in his back. And we even recognize such a thing as psychological compulsion, as in the case of kleptomania.
There is a passage in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations in which he compares an answer that may be given to a philosophical question about someone else's pain with an answer that may be given to a question about the meaning of ‘It is 5 o'clock on the sun’. Wittgenstein does not compare other answers that may be given to the two questions. And he does not compare the questions themselves in respect of what lies behind them – making them ones which (...) we can, or cannot, easily ‘see through’ – or in respect of how they should be answered. Yet there is material in what he says elsewhere in the Investigations and in other of his later writings for a manysided and, I think, useful development of the comparison. Anyway, that is what I shall attempt in this lecture. (shrink)
This book explains the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing links philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of 'externalist' explanations. The author provides a biological approach to the investigation of mind and cognition in nature. In particular he explores the idea that the function of cognition is to enable agents to deal with environmental complexity. The history of the idea in the work of (...) Dewey and Spencer is considered, as is the impact of recent evolutionary theory on our understanding of the place of mind in nature. (shrink)
• "Conditions for Evolution by Natural Selection " (2007) . Evolution by natural selection is usually said to require three ingredients: variation, heredity, and fitness differences. But things are not so simple. Here I discuss various problem cases and their consequences.
Biological functions are dispositions or effects a trait has which explain the recent maintenance of the trait under natural selection. This is the "modern history" approach to functions. The approach is historical because to ascribe a function is to make a claim about the past, but the relevant past is the recent past; modern history rather than ancient.
Richard Brandt is one of the most eminent and influential of contemporary moral philosophers. His work has been concerned with how to justify what is good or right not by reliance on intuitions or theories about what moral words mean but by the explanation of moral psychology and the description of what it is to value something, or to think it immoral. His approach thus stands in marked contrast to the influential theories of John Rawls. The essays reprinted in (...) this collection span a period of almost 30 years and include many classic pieces in metaethical and normative ethical theory. The collection is aimed at both those moral philosophers familiar with Brandt's work and at those philosophers who may be largely unfamiliar with his work. The latter group will be struck by the lucid unpretentious style and the cumulative weight of Brandt's contributions to topics that remain at the forefront of moral philosophy. (shrink)
Non-actual model systems discussed in scientific theories are compared to fictions in literature. This comparison may help with the understanding of similarity relations between models and real-world target systems. The ontological problems surrounding fictions in science may be particularly difficult, however. A comparison is also made to ontological problems that arise in the philosophy of mathematics.
David Hume described the question of liberty and necessity as ‘the most contentious question of metaphysics, the most contentious science’. He was right about it being contentious. Whether it is metaphysical is another matter. I think that what is genuinely metaphysical is an assumption that Hume, and a good many other philosophers, make in their treatment of the question. The assumption is about language and reality. I call it ‘the conformity assumption’. But more about that shortly. Let us begin at (...) the obvious beginning, by considering what the terms ‘liberty’ and ‘necessity’ mean in the expression ‘liberty and necessity’. (shrink)
Debate about adaptationism in biology continues, in part because within “the” problem of assessing adaptationism, three distinct problems are mixed together. The three problems concern the assessment of three distinct adaptationist positions, each of which asserts the central importance of adaptation and natural selection to the study of evolution, but conceives this importance in a different way. As there are three kinds of adaptationism, there are three distinct "anti-adaptationist" positions as well. Or putting it more formally, there are three different (...) dimensions here, and strongly adaptationist views, strongly anti-adaptationist views, and moderate views are possible for each dimension. (shrink)
Both biologists and philosophers often make use of simple verbal formulations of necessary and sufficient conditions for evolution by natural selection (ENS). Such summaries go back to Darwin's Origin of Species (especially the "Recapitulation"), but recent ones are more compact.1 Perhaps the most commonly cited formulation is due to Lewontin.2 These summaries tend to have three or four conditions, where the core requirement is a combination of variation, heredity, and fitness differences. The summaries are employed in several ways. First, they (...) are often used in pedagogical contexts, and in showing the coherence of evolutionary theory in response to attacks from outside biology. Second, they are important in discussions of extensions of evolutionary principles to new domains, such as cultural change. The summaries also have intrinsic scientific and philosophical interest as attempts to capture some core principles of evolutionary theory in a highly concise way. Despite their prominence, both the proper formulation and status of these summaries are unclear. Standard formulations are subject to counterexamples, and their relations to formal models of evolutionary change are not straightforward. Here I look closely at these verbal summaries, and at how they relate to formal models. Are the summaries merely rough approximations that have no theoretical role of their own? Perhaps they could operate as theoretical statements in Darwin's time, but have now been superseded by more exact treatments. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility is a tortured concept. We review the current state of the art across a number of academic disciplines, from accounting to management to theology. In a world that is increasingly global and pluralistic, progress in our understanding of CSR must include theorizing around the micro-level processes practicing managers engage in when allocating resources toward social initiatives, as well as refined measurement of the outcomes of those initiatives on stakeholder and shareholder interests. Scholarship must also account for the (...) influence of diverse, and even mal-adaptive, stakeholders as well as more fully incorporate non-Western philosophical and economic perspectives. Based on this review, we pose five questions that scholars from each of these disciplines should address as the CSR field moves forward. We hope our questions provoke deeper thinking and greater rigor and attention to detail in this important area of business research. (shrink)
The paper links discussions of two topics: biological individuality and the simplest forms of mentality. I discuss several attempts to locate the boundary between metabolic activity and ‘minimal cognition.’ I then look at differences between the kinds of individuality present in unicellular life, multicellular life in general, and animals of several kinds. Nervous systems, which are clearly relevant to cognition and subjectivity, also play an important role in the form of individuality seen in animals. The last part of the paper (...) links these biological transitions to the evolutionary history of subjective experience. (shrink)
I discuss the bearing on the mind-body problem of some general characteristics of living systems, including the physical basis of metabolism and the relation between living activity and cognitive capacities in simple organisms. I then attempt to describe stages in the history of animal life important to the evolution of subjective experience. Features of the biological basis of cognition are used to criticize arguments against materialism that draw on the conceivability of a separation between mental and physical. I also argue (...) against commonly held views about the "multiple realizability" of mental states of the kind seen in humans. The aim of the paper is to reconfigure and narrow the "explanatory gap" between mental and physical. (shrink)
The role played by the concept of genetic coding in biology is discussed. I argue that this concept makes a real contribution to solving a specific problem in cell biology. But attempts to make the idea of genetic coding do theoretical work elsewhere in biology, and in philosophy of biology, are probably mistaken. In particular, the concept of genetic coding should not be used (as it often is) to express a distinction between the traits of whole organisms that are coded (...) for in the genes, and the traits that are not. (shrink)
Formal methods developed for modeling levels of selection problems have recently been applied to the investigation of major evolutionary transitions. We discuss two new tools of this kind. First, the ‘near-variant test’ can be used to compare the causal adequacy of predictively equivalent representations. Second, ‘state-variable gestalt-switching’ can be used to gain a useful dual perspective on evolutionary processes that involve both higher and lower level populations.
I argue that everyday folk-psychological skill might best be explained in terms of the deployment of something like a model, in a specific sense drawn from recent philosophy of science. Theoretical models in this sense do not make definite commitments about the systems they are used to understand; they are employed with a particular kind of flexibility. This analysis is used to dissolve the eliminativism debate of the 1980s, and to transform a number of other questions about the status and (...) role of folk psychology. (shrink)
One way to express the most persistent part of the mind-body problem is to say that there is an “explanatory gap” between the physical and the mental. The gap is not usually taken to apply to all of the mental, but to subjective experience, the mind’s “qualitative” features, or what is now referred to as “phenomenal consciousness.” The “gap” formulation is due to Joseph Levine. He acknowledged the appeal of intuitions of separability between physical facts, of any kind we can (...) envisage, and this aspect of our mental lives. Subjective experience seems not to be the sort of thing that is just the physical under another guise. The immediate focus of Levine’s discussion was a family of arguments due to Saul Kripke. Kripke argued that some influential claims of mind-body identity could not be, as materialists claimed, contingent. If these identities are real then they are necessary. But we can clearly conceive that the mental and physical could come apart—an intuition that “identity theorists” conceded. Given that the identity is necessarily present if present at all, from the fact it is not necessary we can see it is absent. Kripke concluded that physicalism is false. Levine wanted to resist this. (shrink)
Kyle Stanford’s arguments against scientific realism are assessed, with a focus on the underdetermination of theory by evidence. I argue that discussions of underdetermination have neglected a possible symmetry which may ameliorate the situation.
“Triviality arguments” against functionalism in the philosophy of mind hold that the claim that some complex physical system exhibits a given functional organization is either trivial or has much less content than is usually supposed. I survey several earlier arguments of this kind, and present a new one that overcomes some limitations in the earlier arguments. Resisting triviality arguments is possible, but requires functionalists to revise popular views about the “autonomy” of functional description.
Richard Brandt is one of the most influential moral philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century. He is especially important in the field of ethics for his lucid and systematic exposition of utilitarianism. This new book represents in some ways a summation of his views and includes many useful applications of his theory. The focus of the book is how value judgments and moral belief can be justified. More generally, the book assesses different moral systems and theories (...) of justice, and considers specific problems such as the optimal level of charity and the moral tenability of the criminal law. This book will be essential reading for all professional philosophers concerned with ethics, and will prove helpful to students as well. (shrink)
Group-structured populations, of the kind prominent in discussions of multilevel selection, are contrasted with ‘neighbor-structured’ populations. I argue that it is a necessary condition on multilevel description of a selection process that there should be a nonarbitrary division of the population into equivalence classes (or an approximation to this situation). The discussion is focused via comparisons between two famous problem cases involving group structure (altruism and heterozygote advantage) and two neighbor-structured cases that resemble them. Conclusions are also drawn about the (...) role of correlated interaction in the evolution of altruism. 1 Introduction 2 Two Kinds of Population Structure 3 Objections and Replies 4 Particles on a Line 5 Conclusion Appendix: Neighborhoods and Selection CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Drawing on models of communication due to Lewis and Skyrms, I contrast sender-receiver systems as they appear within and between organisms, and as they function in the bridging of space and time. Within the organism, memory can be seen as the sending of messages over time, communication between stages as opposed to spatial parts. Psychological memory and genetic memory are compared with respect to their relations to a sender-receiver model. Some puzzles about “genetic information” can be resolved by seeing the (...) genome as a cell-level memory with no sender. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility is a tortured concept. We review the current state of the art across a number of academic disciplines, from accounting to management to theology. In a world that is increasingly global and pluralistic, progress in our understanding of CSR must include theorizing around the micro-level processes practicing managers engage in when allocating resources toward social initiatives, as well as refined measurement of the outcomes of those initiatives on stakeholder and shareholder interests. Scholarship must also account for the (...) influence of diverse, and even maladaptive, stakeholders as well as more fully incorporate non-Western philosophical and economic perspectives. Based on this review, we pose five questions that scholars from each of these disciplines should address as the CSR field moves forward. We hope our questions provoke deeper thinking and greater rigor and attention to detail in this important area of business research. (shrink)
The history and theoretical role of the concept of a ``replicator''is discussed, starting with Dawkins' and Hull's classic treatmentsand working forward. I argue that the replicator concept is still auseful one for evolutionary theory, but it should be revised insome ways. The most important revision is the recognition that notall processes of evolution by natural selection require thatsomething play the role of a replicator.
The concept of information has acquired a strikingly prominent role in contemporary biology. This trend is especially marked within genetics, but it has also become important in other areas, such as evolutionary theory and developmental biology, particularly where these fields border on genetics. The most distinctive biological role for informational concepts, and the one that has generated the most discussion, is in the description of the relations between genes and the various structures and processes that genes play a role in (...) causing. For many biologists, the causal role of genes should be understood in terms of their carrying information about their various products. That information might require the cooperation of various environmental factors before it can be "expressed," but the same can be said of other kinds of message. An initial response might be to think that this mode of description is entirely anchored in a set of well-established facts about the role of DNA and RNA within protein synthesis, summarized in the familiar chart representing the "genetic code," mapping DNA base triplets to amino acids. However, informational enthusiasm in biology predates even a rudimentary understanding of these mechanisms (Schrodinger 1944). And more importantly, current applications of informational concepts extend far beyond anything that can receive an obvious justification in terms of the familiar facts about the specification of protein molecules by DNA. This includes: 1 (i) The description of whole-organism phenotypic traits (including complex behavioral traits) as specified or coded for by information contained in the genes, (ii) The treatment of many causal processes within cells, and perhaps of the wholeorganism developmental sequence, in terms of the execution of a program stored in the genes, (iii) The idea that genes themselves, for the purpose of evolutionary theorizing, should be seen as, in some sense, "made" of information.. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between a family of concepts involving reliable correlation, and a family of concepts involving adaptation and biological function, as these concepts are used in the naturalistic semantic theory of Dretske's "Explaining Behavior." I argue that Dretske's attempt to marry correlation and function to produce representation fails, though aspects of his failure point the way forward to a better theory.
The "teleosemantic" program is part of the attempt to give a naturalistic explanation of the semantic properties of mental representations. The aim is to show how the internal states of a wholly physical agent could, as a matter of objective fact, represent the world beyond them. The most popular approach to solving this problem has been to use concepts of physical correlation with some kinship to those employed in information theory (Dretske 1981, 1988; Fodor 1987, 1990). Teleosemantics, which tries to (...) solve the problem using a concept of biological function, arrived in the mid 1980s with ground-breaking works by Millikan (1984) and Papineau (1984, 1987).<sup>1</sup>. (shrink)
It is well known that informational theories of representation have trouble accounting for error. Informational semantics is a family of theories attempting a naturalistic, unashamedly reductive explanation of the semantic and intentional properties of thought and language. Most simply, the informational approach explains truth-conditional content in terms of causal, nomic, or simply regular correlation between a representation and a state of affairs. The central work is Dretske, and the theory was largely developed at the University of Wisconsin by Fred Dretske, (...) Dennis Stampe, and Berent Enc. Recently, informational semantics has roamed far beyond its Wisconsin home, and built a sizeable collection of followers. Converts include Jerry Fodor, Robert Stalnaker and, less faithfully, Paul and Patricia Churchland and Hartry Field. But for some years informational semantics has been hounded by a problem with error – the classic presentation is Fodor – and no other problem has hounded the theory so persistently. (shrink)