David Benatar, in Better Never to Have Been , sets out two arguments in support of the view that coming into existence is always a net harm. Remarkably, the first argument seems to imply that coming into existence would be a net harm even if the only bad we experienced in our lives were a ‘single pin-prick’. This argument hinges on a purported asymmetry: that whereas the absence of pains in non-existence is good, the absence of pleasures in non-existence is (...) not bad (rather than bad ). It also hinges on the non-badness at issue here being relative (no worse than the presence of pleasures in existence) rather than intrinsic (value neutral). To establish the crucial claim that the non-badness of absent pleasures in non-existence is relative rather than intrinsic, Benatar constructs an analogy involving two people, Sick and Healthy. In this paper, I show the inaptness of the analogy and also provide positive reason to doubt the soundness of the argument as it stands. What emerges from this critical analysis of the analogy is a plausible theory of value at odds with Benatar’s argument as a whole. (shrink)
People have inferred that our lives are absurd from the supposed fact that nothing we do will matter in a million years. In this article, I critically discuss this argument for absurdity. After explaining how two refutations in the literature fail to undermine the best version of the argument, I produce several considerations that together do take much of the force out of the argument. I conclude by suggesting that these considerations not only refute this argument for absurdity, but also (...) constitute a motivation to be moral. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: People have inferred that our lives are absurd from the supposed fact that nothing we do will matter in a million years. In this article, I critically discuss this argument for absurdity. After explaining how two refutations in the literature fail to undermine the best version of the argument, I produce several considerations that together do take much of the force out of the argument. I conclude by suggesting that these considerations not only refute this argument for absurdity, but (...) also constitute a motivation to be moral.RÉSUMÉ: On a pu déduire que nos vies sont absurdes en supposant que rien de ce que nous faisons n’aura d’importance dans un million d’années. Dans cet article, j’évalue cet argument en faveur de l’absurdité. Après avoir expliqué comment deux réfutations formulées dans la littérature sur le sujet sont impuissants à contrecarrer la meilleure version de cet argument, je formule plusieurs considérations qui concourrent à réduire de beaucoup la force de cet argument. Je conclus en suggérant que ces considérations non seulement réfutent l’argument en faveur de l’absurdité, mais aussi justifient l’agir moral. (shrink)
Byrne & Hilbert (B&H) assert that reflectances embody the reality of color, but metamerism smears the authors' “real” color categories into uselessness. B&H ignore this problem, possibly because they implicitly adopt a sort of subjectivism, whereby an object is defined by the percepts (or more generally by the measurements) it engenders. Subjectivism is unwieldy, and hence prone to such troubles.
Ignoring consciousness, I apply Palmer 's ideas to a photometer, for which calibration is analogous to socialization of humans to agree in color. Some attributes of the photometer – such as its aperture – do not need to be known because their values are transparent to calibration. But a writing demon can wreak havoc if it permutes measured values before interpolation completes calibration – as happens in Palmer 's color rewirings.
Shepard claims that color constancy needs linear basis-function spectra, and infers the illuminant before removing its dependency. However, of the models of color constancy that have exact (and reasonable) spectral regimes, some do not need linear basis-function expansions of reflectance and illuminant spectra, some do not solve for the illuminant, and some estimate only partial object-reflectance information for single or multiple objects. [Shepard].
This commentary expresses basic agreement with Saunders & van Brakel, gives explanations for some of the frailties they see in color science, and suggests that the conditioning forces of modern technology may render color categories increasingly useful even if not initially.
Situating Cicero in the context of his use and abuse from antiquity to the present, an international and interdisciplinary team of scholars provides several good reasons to return to the study of his many writings with greater interest and respect.