Both David Lewis and Roderick Chisholm have proposed that beliefs are best understood, not as relations between people and the propositions they believe, but as relations between people and the properties they "directly attribute" to themselves or "self-ascribe." If this account is correct for belief, it seems that it ought to be possible to extend it to other "propositional attitudes" such as considering and wishing. But the most straightforward way of extending the account to such other attitudes faces difficulties, some (...) of which are discussed in a paper by Peter J. Markie. In this paper I will show how to apply the account to considering and wishing in a way that avoids such difficulties. (shrink)
This edition makes available an entirely new version of Hegel's lectures on the development and scope of world history. Volume I presents Hegel's surviving manuscripts of his introduction to the lectures and the full transcription of the first series of lectures (1822-23). These works treat the core of human history as the inexorable advance towards the establishment of a political state with just institutions-a state that consists of individuals with a free and fully-developed self-consciousness. Hegel interweaves major themes of spirit (...) and culture-including social life, political systems, commerce, art and architecture, religion, and philosophy-with an historical account of peoples, dates, and events. Following spirit's quest for self-realization, the lectures presented here offer an imaginative voyage around the world, from the paternalistic, static realm of China to the cultural traditions of India; the vast but flawed political organization of the Persian Empire to Egypt and then the Orient; and the birth of freedom in the West to the Christian revelation of free political institutions emerging in the medieval and modern Germanic world. Brown and Hodgson's new translation is an essential resource for the English reader, and provides a fascinating account of the world as it was conceived by one of history's most influential philosophers. The Editorial Introduction surveys the history of the texts and provides an analytic summary of them, and editorial footnotes introduce readers to Hegel's many sources and allusions. For the first time an edition is made available that permits critical scholarly study, and translates to the needs of the general reader. (shrink)
Several forms of naturalism are currently extant. Proponents of the various approaches disagree on matters of strategy and detail but one theme is common: we have not received any revelations about the nature of the world -- including our own nature. Whatever knowledge we have has been acquired through a fallible process of conjecture and revision. This common theme will bring to mind the writings of Karl Popper and, in many respects, Popper is the father of contemporary naturalism. Along with (...) Popper, the form of naturalism that I would defend is realistic in the following sense: it considers the acquisition of knowledge of the nature of the world to be a pursuable long-term goal of our epistemic activities. (See Brown [1987, 1988, 1990].) Popper's central interest in truth has led him to object to the pervasive concern with concepts among contemporary philosophers. Truth, Popper insists, is the fundamental epistemic concern; propositions are the bearers of truth; and the evaluation of propositions should be at the center of our epistemic focus (e.g., 1965, pp. 18-21; 1972, pp. 123-24). Concern with concepts, Popper maintains, is a distraction. Yet, this leaves us in an odd position. When we study a particular subject matter, one of our main problems is to determine what kinds of entities and processes occur in that domain. But the kinds of entities and processes we attribute to a domain will be captured in the concepts we use for describing that domain and, from a naturalistic point of view, concepts are no more available through revelation than are propositions. As our knowledge develops, we must not only propose and evaluate propositions, we must also propose and evaluate concepts. (shrink)
Generally, I find gatherings of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness more interesting and congenial than the Tucson conferences. There are at least two reasons for this, the first one obvious: the former is smaller. Less crowds, more chances to participate in discussions . The second reason reflects my predispositions, and of course those of the ASSC: the talks, research, and speculation are closely data-driven. I find it highly refreshing to attend talks on consciousness which are reporting experiments (...) done by groups employing stringent quality controls, and to hear speculation which is carefully restrained to inferences that closely and clearly follow from consensually verified data. I find it hopeful that researchers have not abandoned lines of inquiry which have decades of experiments to back them up merely because they have not yet found answers to some particular questions. But hey, these are my own biases; I'm someone who thinks the Skeptical Inquirer is a valuable resource. (shrink)
In Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that existence is always a harm. His argument, in brief, is that this follows from a theory of personal good which we ought to accept because it best explains several???asymmetries???. I shall argue here that Benatar's theory suffers from a defect which was already widely known to afflict similar theories, and that the main asymmetry he discusses is better explained in a way which allows that existence is often not a harm.
In his Comment ‘Adam Smith on the Morality of the Pursuit of Fortune’, Richard Arlen Kleer accepts much of the argument in my article ‘Signifying Voices’ but insists that I have ‘gone too far’. Kleer agrees that there is a moral hierarchy in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments where benevolence and self-command are ranked higher than justice and prudence, but he is uneasy with the conclusion that economic activity and the pursuit of gain are ‘amoral’ activities and insists that (...) they do have a significant moral standing. In addition, although Kleer accepts a good deal of the stylistic analysis, again he is uneasy with the results that are derived from it. This reply will take each of these aspects in turn. (shrink)
Psychological egoism is, I suppose, regarded by most philosophers as one of the more simple-minded fallacies in the history of philosophy, and dangerous and seductive too, contriving as it does to combine cynicism about human ideals and a vague sense of scientific method, both of which make the ordinary reader feel sophisticated, with conceptual confusion, which he cannot resist. For all of these reasons it springs eternal, in one form or another, in the breasts of first-year students, and offers excellent (...) material for their philosophy instructors, who like nothing better than an edifice of sturdy appearance but with rotten foundations on which to display their skill as demolition experts. (shrink)
My title advertizes a paradox. The characteristic complaint of the sceptic is that others make assumptions they are not entitled to make. A philosophical sceptic is committed to a systematic refusal to accept such assumptions in the absence of the kind of justification they think is required. A sceptic who, none the less, helps himself to such an assumption, seems to be caught in a paradoxical position. This is the kind of situation in which, it seems, certain eighteenth-century sceptical philosophers (...) were placed in relation to the ‘principle’ of natural order. They did not doubt that there is such a principle, that there is a source or ultimate cause of the order to be found in the universe. And yet, on their own terms, is not the existence of such a principle something we should expect them to have doubted? What I shall try to do in this lecture is to bring out why they did not doubt the existence of such a principle and how serious their failure to do so is for their sceptical position. (shrink)
In what sense can we not help thinking that every event has a cause? One answer is, that this begs the question: we can think of events as uncaused. Well, we can think of events in isolation from causes, and we can formulate the proposition that some events have no cause, or that no event needs a cause. But the first of these does not constitute thinking of an event as not caused , but thinking of an event not-as-caused ; (...) while the implications of the second, forming anti-causal propositions, are obscure. I can verbally formulate the proposition ‘some events are uncaused’; the question is, whether it makes sense to affirm it. Now I can verbally formulate the proposition ‘some triangles are quadrilateral’, and we must not say that this does not make sense ; for I know the criteria for being a triangle, and I know the criteria for being quadrilateral; and the proposition simply asserts that there are some figures which satisfy both sets of criteria. That this is logically impossible is true, but it is not unintelligible. It does not, however, make sense to affirm a logical impossibility, simply because I cannot meaningfully affirm what I do not understand and believe to be possible , and if I understand what it means to be both triangular and quadrilateral, I cannot also believe it to be possible, since to understand what it means for a plane figure to have three sides is to understand that this excludes its having any other number of sides, e.g. four. But ‘some events are not caused’ is not logically incoherent in this way, or not apparently so; for in thinking of an event I am by definition thinking of a happening in isolation from any cause; I am thinking of it not as caused . Thus ‘some events are uncaused’ is not incoherent ex vi terminorum. (shrink)
As my title implies, I think the verifiability criterion is indeed a criterion of something. I do not intend, therefore, merely to commemorate it. On the other hand I am not sure that those who put it forward in its more liberal forms as a criterion of ‘factual significance’ or ‘literal meaningfulness’ were right in what they identified as the consequence of a sentence's failing to satisfy it. What I want to argue for, in a somewhat reductionist spirit, is a (...) resurrected version of the ‘weak’ verifiability criterion. My resurrected version will certainly appear more rarefied, in so far as it is independent of empiricism. It will, I hope, also be purified of some of the mortal blemishes from which the criterion, as construed by members of the Vienna Circle, seems not to have recovered. (shrink)
This edition offers for the first time an English translation of what Hegel actually said in his landmark Lectures on the History of Philosophy. Volume I contains Hegel's discussion of the history of Chinese and Indian philosophy, and it also sets out the significant changes that Hegel made to his stage-setting introduction to the lectures.
The only sensible solution to the mind-body problem is a type-type identity theory. I wish to argue for a version of Type-Type identity theory that withstands the usual seemingly fatal objections, which I call ‘R-Type Identity Theory’ and which has three claims. First, an identity theory does not entail ‘reducing’ or ‘eliminating’ one set of things to or in favor of another set of things and introduces epidentity (treating identified relata as distinct). Secondly, pain and what-it-is-like to be in pain (...) are distinguishable and introduces frigid stipulation (a pragmatic rather than semantic property by which we stipulate reference). Finally there may be more than one type of mental state in question and introduces subtypes (a pained brainless Martian is evidence that their state is a pain subtype). With the standard objections to identity theory taken care of we are free to embrace the only truly satisfying, non-Cartesian, philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The implications for the substantivalist–relationalist controversy of Barbour and Bertotti's successful implementation of a Machian approach to dynamics are investigated. It is argued that in the context of Newtonian mechanics, the Machian framework provides a genuinely relational interpretation of dynamics and that it is more explanatory than the conventional, substantival interpretation. In a companion paper (Pooley [2002a]), the viability of the Machian framework as an interpretation of relativistic physics is explored. 1 Introduction 2 Newton versus Leibniz 3 Absolute space versus (...) an affine connection 4 Anti-relationalist arguments 5 Rehabilitating relationalism 6 Dynamics on the relative configuration space 7 Intrinsic particle dynamics 8 Conclusion. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce a paraconsistent reasoning strategy, Chunk and Permeate. In this, information is broken up into chunks, and a limited amount of information is allowed to flow between chunks. We start by giving an abstract characterisation of the strategy. It is then applied to model the reasoning employed in the original infinitesimal calculus. The paper next establishes some results concerning the legitimacy of reasoning of this kind - specifically concerning the preservation of the consistency of each chunk (...) and concludes with some other possible applications and technical questions. (shrink)
In March of 2012, following a robust activist campaign, Arysta LifeScience withdrew the soil fumigant methyl iodide from the US market, just a little over a year after it had finally been registered for use in California. As a major part of the campaign against registration of the chemical, over 53,000 people, ostensibly acting as citizens rather than consumers, wrote public comments contesting the use of the chemical for its high toxicity. Although these comments had marginal impact on the outcome (...) of the case, these comments are of interest for what they say about public action at a time when efforts to address food and agricultural issues have been dominated by “voting with your fork.” Based on a qualitative textual analysis of approximately 3500 representative comments made available to us, we show that many of those taking action did not abandon consumer subjectivities associated with neoliberal governmentality. By threatening “personal boycotts,” some were acting in their capacity as individual consumers; in invoking their own and their children’s health many more were also acting on behalf of consumers, despite that the chemical in question is applied before strawberries are planted and thus leaves no residues. The emphasis that letter writers gave to their own bodies reinforces the idea that some bodies count more than others and thus reveals a biopolitical sorting. Having consumer lives matter is consequential in light of evidence that consumer concern about pesticides has historically led to formulations and regulations more protective of consumers than workers and neighbors. (shrink)
One of the widespread confusions concerning the history of the 1887 Michelson-Morley experiment has to do with the initial explanation of this celebrated null result due independently to FitzGerald and Lorentz. In neither case was a strict, longitudinal length contraction hypothesis invoked, as is commonly supposed. Lorentz postulated, particularly in 1895, any one of a certain family of possible deformation effects for rigid bodies in motion, including purely transverse alteration, and expansion as well as contraction; FitzGerald may well have had (...) the same family in mind. A careful analysis of the Michelson-Morley experiment (which reveals a number of serious inadequacies in many text-book treatments) indeed shows that strict contraction is not required. (shrink)
J. S. Bell's classic 1966 review paper on the foundations of quantum mechanics led directly to the Bell nonlocality theorem. It is not widely appreciated that the review paper contained the basic ingredients needed for a nonlocality result which holds in certain situations where the Bell inequality is not violated. We present in this paper a systematic formulation and evaluation of an argument due to Stairs in 1983, which establishes a nonlocality result based on the Bell-Kochen-Specker “paradox” in quantum mechanics.
In analysing the position adopted by the United Kingdom over therapeutic cloning, this paper will endeavour to examine the question of regulation, its necessity and extent. This will be achieved through considering different models of relevant theoretical discourse before, in applying that discourse to identified systems of regulation, the advantages and pitfalls of each system will be assessed in the hope of reaching a solution appropriate to the sensitive, yet dynamic, needs of the issue.
In the outpatient ultrasound suite of a major urban medical center, the mood is somber. A young woman lies tense and anxious. Pregnant for the first time, she has experienced early first-trimester bleeding. The radiologist relates the ultrasound findings: there has been a small hemorrhage, but there is a six-week-size fetus with normal cardiac activity. Translation: the baby is alive! The woman quietly sobs, happy but apprehensive.Across the drive, in the main hospital building, a young boy lies unresponsively comatose in (...) the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. He is relying on a ventilator to breath, but his cardiovascular system is supporting itself. After a series... (shrink)