The rosy dawn of my title refers to that optimistic time when the logical concept of a natural kind originated in Victorian England. The scholastic twilight refers to the present state of affairs. I devote more space to dawn than twilight, because one basic problem was there from the start, and by now those origins have been forgotten. Philosophers have learned many things about classification from the tradition of natural kinds. But now it is in disarray and is unlikely to (...) be put back together again. My argument is less founded on objections to the numerous theories now in circulation, than on the sheer proliferation of incompatible views. There no longer exists what Bertrand Russell called ‘the doctrine of natural kinds’—one doctrine. Instead we have a slew of distinct analyses directed at unrelated projects. (shrink)
How is a person's freedom related to his or her preferences? Liberal theorists of negative freedom have generally taken the view that the desire of a person to do or not do something is irrelevant to the question of whether he is free to do it. Supporters of the “pure negative” conception of freedom have advocated this view in its starkest form: they maintain that a person is unfree to Φ if and only if he is prevented from Φ-ing by (...) the conduct or dispositions of some other person. This definition of freedom is value-neutral in the sense that no reference is made to preferences over options or indeed to any other indicators of the values of options, either in the characterization of “Φ-ing” itself or in the characterization of the way in which Φ-ing can be constrained. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers rate error theories poorly. We identify the arguments these philosophers invoke, and expose their deficiencies. We thereby show that the prospects for error theory have been systematically underestimated. By undermining general arguments against all error theories, we leave it open whether any more particular arguments against particular error theories are more successful. The merits of error theories need to be settled on a case-by-case basis: there is no good general argument against error theories.
In this important new study Ian Hacking continues the enquiry into the origins and development of certain characteristic modes of contemporary thought undertaken in such previous works as his best selling Emergence of Probability. Professor Hacking shows how by the late nineteenth century it became possible to think of statistical patterns as explanatory in themselves, and to regard the world as not necessarily deterministic in character. Combining detailed scientific historical research with characteristic philosophic breath and verve, The Taming of Chance (...) brings out the relations among philosophy, the physical sciences, mathematics and the development of social institutions, and provides a unique and authoritative analysis of the "probabilization" of the Western world. (shrink)
We defend Joseph Melia's thesis that the role of mathematics in scientific theory is to 'index' quantities, and that even if mathematics is indispensable to scientific explanations of concrete phenomena, it does not explain any of those phenomena. This thesis is defended against objections by Mark Colyvan and Alan Baker.
This book draws on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, psychology, neuroscience and Buddhist philosophy to explicate Merleau-Ponty’s unwritten ethics. Daly contends that though Merleau-Ponty never developed an ethics per se, there is significant textual evidence that clearly indicates he had the intention to do so. This book highlights the explicit references to ethics that he offers and proposes that these, allied to his ontological commitments, provide the basis for the development of an ethics. In this work Daly shows how Merleau-Ponty’s relational (...) ontology, in which the interdependence of self, other and world is affirmed, offers an entirely new approach to ethics. In contrast to the ‘top-down’ ethics of norms, obligations and prescriptions, Daly maintains that Merleau-Ponty’s ethics is a ‘bottom-up’ ethics which depends on direct insight into our own intersubjective natures, the ‘I’ within the ‘we’ and the ‘we’ within the ‘I’; insight into the real nature of our relation to others and the particularities of the given situation. Merleau-Ponty and the Ethics of Intersubjectivity is an important contribution to the scholarship on the later Merleau-Ponty which will be of interest to graduate students and scholars. Daly offers informed readings of Merleau-Ponty’s texts and the overall approach is both scholarly and innovative. (shrink)
There is a recent and growing trend in philosophy that involves deferring to the claims of certain disciplines outside of philosophy, such as mathematics, the natural sciences, and linguistics. According to this trend— deferentialism , as we will call it—certain disciplines outside of philosophy make claims that have a decisive bearing on philosophical disputes, where those claims are more epistemically justified than any philosophical considerations just because those claims are made by those disciplines. Deferentialists believe that certain longstanding philosophical problems (...) can be swiftly and decisively dispatched by appeal to disciplines other than philosophy. In this paper we will argue that such an attitude of uncritical deference to any non-philosophical discipline is badly misguided. With reference to the work of John Burgess and David Lewis, we consider deference to mathematics. We show that deference to mathematics is implausible and that main arguments for it fail. With reference to the work of Michael Blome-Tillmann, we consider deference to linguistics. We show that his arguments appealing to deference to linguistics are unsuccessful. We then show that naturalism does not entail deferentialism and that naturalistic considerations even motivate some anti-deferentialist views. Finally, we set out deferentialism’s failings and present our own anti-deferentialist approach to philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
Historical records show that there was no real concept of probability in Europe before the mid-seventeenth century, although the use of dice and other randomizing objects was commonplace. Ian Hacking presents a philosophical critique of early ideas about probability, induction, and statistical inference and the growth of this new family of ideas in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Hacking invokes a wide intellectual framework involving the growth of science, economics, and the theology of the period. He argues that the (...) transformations that made it possible for probability concepts to emerge have constrained all subsequent development of probability theory and determine the space within which philosophical debate on the subject is still conducted. First published in 1975, this edition includes an introduction that contextualizes his book in light of developing philosophical trends. Ian Hacking is the winner of the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009. (shrink)
From the time of its clearest origins with Pascal, the theory of probabilities seemed to offer means by which the study of human affairs might be reduced to the same kind of mathematical discipline that was already being achieved in the study of nature. Condorcet is to a great extent merely representative of the philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who were led on by the prospect of developing moral and political sciences on the pattern of the natural sciences, (...) specifically physics. The development of economics and the social sciences, from the eighteenth century onwards, may be said in part to have fulfilled and in a manner to have perpetuated these ambitions. In so far as the new sciences have been susceptible of mathematical treatment, this has not been confined to the calculus of probabilities. But there is a temptation at every stage to ascribe fundamental significance and universal applicability to each latest mathematical device that is strikingly useful or illuminating on its first introduction. It is the theory of games that enjoys this position at present, and shapes the common contemporary conception of the very same problems that preoccupied Condorcet. (shrink)
_An Introduction to Philosophical Methods_ is the first book to survey the various methods that philosophers use to support their views. Rigorous yet accessible, the book introduces and illustrates the methodological considerations that are involved in current philosophical debates. Where there is controversy, the book presents the case for each side, but highlights where the key difficulties with them lie. While eminently student-friendly, the book makes an important contribution to the debate regarding the acceptability of the various philosophical methods, and (...) so it will also be of interest to more experienced philosophers. (shrink)
Do numbers exist? Do properties? Do possible worlds? Do fictional characters? Many metaphysicians spend time and effort trying to answer these and other questions about the existence of various entities. These inquiries have recently encountered opposition: a group of philosophers, drawing inspiration from Aristotle, have argued that many or all of the existence questions debated by metaphysicians can be answered trivially, and so are not worth debating. Our task is to defend existence questions from the neo-Aristotelians' attacks.
This paper distinguishes revolutionary fictionalism from other forms of fictionalism and also from other philosophical views. The paper takes fictionalism about mathematical objects and fictionalism about scientific unobservables as illustrations. The paper evaluates arguments that purport to show that this form of fictionalism is incoherent on the grounds that there is no tenable distinction between believing a sentence and taking the fictionalist's distinctive attitude to that sentence. The argument that fictionalism about mathematics is ‘comically immodest’ is also evaluated. In place (...) of those arguments, an argument against fictionalism about abstract objects of any kind is presented in the last section. This argument takes the form of a trilemma against the fictionalist. (shrink)
Animalism is the theory that we are animals: in other words, that each of us is numerically identical to an animal. An alternative theory maintains that we are not animals but that each of us is constituted by an animal. Call this alternative theory neo-Lockean constitutionalism or Lockeanism for short. Stephan Blatti (2012) offers to advance the debate between animalism and Lockeanism by providing a new argument for animalism. In this note, we present our own objection to Blatti's argument, and (...) argue that Carl Gillett's earlier reply misses the fundamental problem. We also use Blatti's argument to illustrate a common methodological error, namely, uncritical deference to best theories from other disciplines. (shrink)
Was there an Enlightenment in Ireland? Was there even a distinctively Irish Enlightenment? Few scholars have bothered even to pose this question. Historians of Ireland during the era of Protestant Ascendancy have tended to be all-rounders rather than specialists; their traditional preoccupations are constitutional clashes between London and Dublin, religious conflict, agrarian unrest and popular politicization. With few exceptions there has been no tradition of intellectual history, and little interest in the methodological debates associated with the rise of the “Cambridge (...) school”. Most advances in our understanding of Irish philosophical writing have consequently originated outside Ireland's history departments. One by-product of recent work on the Scottish Enlightenment has been the rediscovery of the “Molesworth Circle” by two scholars engaged in a painstaking reconstruction of Francis Hutcheson's early career in Dublin. At the other end of the century, meanwhile, some of the most exciting and ambitious attempts to conceptualize the republicanism of the United Irishmen have come from a leading historian of revolutionary France, James Livesey. His previous research on the “commercial republicanism” of Montesquieu, Adam Ferguson and Brissot has suggested a new framework for understanding Irish radicals such as Wolfe Tone, Thomas Addis Emmet and, in particular, Arthur O'Connor. (shrink)
Some philosophers deny the existence of composite material objects. Other philosophers hold that whenever there are some things, they compose something. The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize an objection to these revisionary views: the objection that nihilism and universalism are both unacceptably uncharitable because each of them implies that a great deal of what we ordinarily believe is false. Our main business is to show how nihilism and universalism can be defended against the objection. A secondary point is (...) that universalism is harder to defend than nihilism. (shrink)
Sex- and age-specific rates of killing unrelated persons of one’s own sex were computed for Canada (1974–1983), England/Wales (1977–1986), Chicago (1965–1981), and Detroit (1972) from census information and data archives of all homicides known to police. Patterns in relation to sex and age were virtually identical among the four samples, although the rates varied enormously (from 3.7 per million citizens per annum in England/Wales to 216.3 in Detroit). Men’s marital status was related to the probability of committing a same-sex, nonrelative (...) homicide, but age effects remained conspicuous when married and unmarried men were distinguished.These findings and the treatment of age and sex effects by criminologists are discussed in the light of contemporary evolutionary psychological models of sex differences and life-span development. Same-sex homicides in which killer and victim are unrelated can be interpreted as an assay of competitive conflict. In every human society for which relevant information exists, men kill one another vastly more often than do women. Lethal interpersonal competition is especially prevalent among young men, which accords with many other aspects of life-span development in suggesting that sexual selection has maximized male competitive prowess and inclination in young adulthood. (shrink)
What constitutes clinical reasoning is a disputed subject regarding the processes underlying accurate diagnosis, the importance of patient‐specific versus population‐based data, and the relation between virtue and expertise in clinical practice. In this paper, I present a model of clinical reasoning that identifies and integrates the processes of diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic decision making. The model is based on the generalized empirical method of Bernard Lonergan, which approaches inquiry with equal attention to the subject who investigates and the object under (...) investigation. After identifying the structured operations of knowing and doing and relating these to a self‐correcting cycle of learning, I correlate levels of inquiry regarding what‐is‐going‐on and what‐to‐do to the practical and theoretical elements of clinical reasoning. I conclude that this model provides a methodical way to study questions regarding the operations of clinical reasoning as well as what constitute significant clinical data, clinical expertise, and virtuous health care practice. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that ill persons are particularly vulnerable to epistemic injustice in the sense articulated by Fricker. Ill persons are vulnerable to testimonial injustice through the presumptive attribution of characteristics like cognitive unreliability and emotional instability that downgrade the credibility of their testimonies. Ill persons are also vulnerable to hermeneutical injustice because many aspects of the experience of illness are difficult to understand and communicate and this often owes to gaps in collective hermeneutical resources. We then argue (...) that epistemic injustice arises in part owing to the epistemic privilege enjoyed by the practitioners and institutions of contemporary healthcare services—the former owing to their training, expertise, and third-person psychology, and the latter owing to their implicit privileging of certain styles of articulating and evidencing testimonies in ways that marginalise ill persons. We suggest that a phenomenological toolkit may be part of an effort to ameliorate epistemic injustice. (shrink)
An Introduction to Philosophical Methods is the first book to survey the various methods that philosophers use to support their views. Rigorous yet accessible, the book introduces and illustrates the methodological considerations that are involved in current philosophical debates. Where there is controversy, the book presents the case for each side, but highlights where the key difficulties with them lie. While eminently student-friendly, the book makes an important contribution to the debate regarding the acceptability of the various philosophical methods, and (...) so it will also be of interest to more experienced philosophers. (shrink)
After a review of terminology, I identify—in addition to Margaret Battin’s list of five primary arguments for and against aid-in-dying—the argument from functional equivalence as another primary argument. I introduce a novel way to approach this argument based on Bernard Lonergan’s generalized empirical method. Then I proceed on the basis of GEM to distinguish palliative sedation, palliative sedation to unconsciousness when prognosis is less than two weeks, and foregoing life-sustaining treatment from aid-in-dying. I conclude that aid-in-dying must be justified on (...) its own merits and not on the basis of these well-established palliative care practices; and that societies must decide, in weighing the merits of aid-in-dying, whether or not to make the judgment that no life is better than life-like-this part of their operative value structure. (shrink)
The 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument for one-boxing in Newcomb's problem allegedly vindicates evidential decision theory and undermines causal decision theory. But there is a good response to the argument on behalf of causal decision theory. I develop this response. Then I pose a new problem and use it to give a new 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument. Unlike the old argument, the new argument targets evidential decision theory. And unlike the old argument, the new argument is sound.
In the ‘ordinary business of life’, everyone makes claims about what there is. For instance, we say things like: ‘There are some beautiful chairs in my favourite furniture shop’. Within the context of philosophical debate, some philosophers also make claims about what there is. For instance, some ontologists claim that there are chairs; other ontologists claim that there are no chairs. What is the relation between ontologists’ philosophical claims about what there is and ordinary claims about what there is? According (...) to Cian Dorr, ontologists’ claims and denials of existence belong to ‘a sort of professional jargon’. Dorr claims, for example, that ‘There are prime numbers between 20 and 30’ can be used superficially or used fundamentally. Ordinary uses of are superficial: we use the sentence to assert a boring, well-known truth. But in the ontology room, is used fundamentally, to assert that numbers are ‘part of the ultimate furniture of reality’: and this is a substantial metaphysical doctrine, not a boring truth. In this paper, we will show that none of Dorr’s arguments for these claims succeeds. (shrink)
An increasing amount of research has emerged in recent years regarding the benefits that household pets have for individuals, much of which focuses on child?pet relationships. A number of studies have explored the role of pets in elementary classroom settings and what advantages their presence might have. Current curricula aimed at promoting humane education are also related to the use of animals as teaching tools in classrooms. This study examined teachers' attitudes and experiences regarding the use of pets in the (...) classroom. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from approximately 75 elementary classroom teachers, revealing the way in which animals were used in their teaching practices, as well as their views on some of the advantages of using pets in the classroom. The majority of teachers surveyed believed that the use of live pets in the classroom contributed positively to increased empathy, as well as socio?emotional development, in students, much of which is supported by current research. Implications for further research are considered. (shrink)
The 'Discussion' section of this issue contains the following responses to Wilfred Beckerman's article 'Sustainable Development: Is it a Useful Concept?' Environmental Values 3,3 : 191-209. Herman Daly, 'On Wilfred Beckerman's Critique of Sustainable Development'; Michael Jacobs, 'Sustainable Development, Capital Substitution and Humility: A Response to Beckerman'; and Henryk Skolimowski, 'In Defence of Sustainable Development' . These criticisms are answered by Beckerman in Environmental Values 4,2.
Sex determines much about one's life, but what determines one's sex? The answer is complicated and incomplete: on close examination, ordinary notions of female and male are vague. In 2012, the International Olympic Committee further specified what they mean by woman in response to questions about who, exactly, is eligible to compete in women's Olympic events. I argue, first, that their stipulation is evidence that the use of vague terms is better described by semantic approaches to vagueness than by epistemic (...) approaches. In addition, the IOC's 2012 stipulation was made with sensitivity to its practical consequences. Linguistic actions often have morally relevant consequences, and I contend that, other things equal, we should adopt theories about language that acknowledge the responsibility we bear for what we say. Taking vagueness to be an epistemic phenomenon precludes the sense of agency needed for moral responsibility; taking it to be semantic does not. Thus I advance two arguments for semantic approaches to vagueness, as against epistemic approaches: one descriptive and one normative. (shrink)
Merleau-Ponty's reversibility thesis argues that self, other and world are inherently relational, interdependent at the level of ontology. What is at stake in the reversibility thesis is whether it overcomes skeptical objections in both assuring real communication and avoiding solipsism in assuring real difference; the Other must be a genuine, irreducible Other. It is objected that across the domains of reversibility, symmetry and reciprocity are not guaranteed. I argue that this is a non-problem; rather the potentialities for asymmetry and non (...) reciprocity in fact guarantee the irreducibility of the Other; reversibility needs to be appreciated as dialectical or aesthetic, not as a literal or ‘mechanistic’ reversal. A further criticism targets the viability of ontology itself, whether alterity is ever compatible with ontology. This paper considers these objections from two of Merleau-Ponty's contemporaries—Claude Lefort and Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas developed a philosophy which while intersecting with Merleau-Ponty's at important junctures, nonetheless arrived at an entirely different destination. I argue alongside Martin Dillon against the objections of Lefort, and alongside Dan Zahavi against the objections of Levinas. Both of these interpreters, I propose remain faithful to the core directions and spirit of Merleau-Ponty's endeavours without becoming diverted by the less significant inconsistencies. (shrink)
The arguments advanced in this paper are the following. Firstly, that just as Trevarthen’s three subjective/intersubjective levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, mapped out different modes of access, so too response is similarly structured, from direct primordial responsiveness, to that informed by shared pragmatic concerns and narrative contexts, to that which demands the distantiation afforded by representation. Secondly, I propose that empathy is an essential mode of intentionality, integral to the primary level of subjectivity/intersubjectivity, which is crucial to our survival as (...) individuals and as a species. Further to this last point, I argue that empathy is not derived on the basis of intersubjectivity, nor does it merely disclose intersubjectivity, rather it is constitutive of intersubjectivity at the primary level. Empathy is a direct, irreducible intentionality separable in thought from the other primary intentional modes of perception, rationality, memory and imagination, but co-arising with these. In regard to the inter-personal level, the concrete relations with others, primary empathy is both the ground for the possibility of the secondary manifestations—pity, sympathy, perspective taking, etc., and motivates them. Thirdly, it is the movement in the core of subjectivity initially generated by shifting attention between the ‘I’ and ‘we’ perspectives and later ‘solidified’ through affect to become shifting identification, which opens up the intersubjective domain. So we can affirm that we are not only born into sociality but our sociality goes to the roots of our being as Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty have claimed. (shrink)
In what sense are persons equal, such that it is appropriate to treat them as equals? This difficult question has been strangely neglected by political philosophers. A plausible answer can be found by adopting a particular interpretation of the idea of respect. Central to this interpretation is the thought that in order to respect persons we need to treat them as ‘opaque', paying attention only to their outward features as agents. This proposed basis of equality has important implications for the (...) currency of egalitarian justice, ruling out a number of the equalizanda favored by contemporary egalitarians. (shrink)