The French public has a distinct taste for realist representations of public crisis. Citing figures from the Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’Image Animée (CNC), Sarah Cooper has shown that interest in documentary film is steadily on the rise in France (9), as attested to by the growing number of documentary festivals and documentary films recently released in theaters. Within this context, Martin O’Shaughnessy links the popularity of the social documentary genre to a series of political developments in (...) France, such as the 1995 protests against the infamous “Plan Juppé,” which aimed to slash public spending, and the French electorate’s spurning in 2005 of the Constitution proposed by the European .. (shrink)
We discuss Sharon Ryan’s Deep Rationality Theory of wisdom, defended recently in her “Wisdom, Knowledge and Rationality.” We argue that (a) Ryan’s use of the term “rationality” needs further elaboration; (b) there is a problem with requiring that the wise person possess justified beliefs but not necessarily knowledge; (c) the conditions of DRT are not all necessary; (d) the conditions are not sufficient. At the end of our discussion, we suggest that there may be a problem with the very assumption (...) that an informative, non-circular set of necessary and sufficient conditions of wisdom can be given. (shrink)
In a widely read essay, “For the Law, Neuroscience Changes Nothing and Everything,” Joshua Greene and Jonathan Cohen argue that the advance of neuroscience will result in the widespread rejection of free will, and with it – of retributivism. They go on to propose that consequentialist reforms are in order, and they predict such reforms will take place. We agree that retributivism should be rejected, and we too are optimistic that rejected it will be. But we don’t think that such (...) a development will have much to do with neuroscience – it won’t, because neuroscience is unlikely to show that we have no free will. We have two main aims in this paper. The first is to rebut various aspects of the case against free will. The second is to examine the case for consequentialist reforms. We take Greene and Cohen’s essay as a hobbyhorse, but our criticisms are applicable to neurodeterministic anti-free-willism in general. We first suggest that Greene and Cohen take proponents of free will to be committed to an untenable homuncular account of agency. But proponents of free will can dispense with such a commitment. In fact, we argue, it is Greene and Cohen who work with an overly simple account of free will. We sketch a more nuanced conception. We then turn to the proposal for consequentialist reforms. We argue that retributivism will fall out of favor not as a consequence of neuroscience-driven rejection of free will, but rather, as a result of a familiar feature of moral progress – the expanding circle of concern. In short, retributivism can and must die, but neuroscience will not kill it – humanity will. (shrink)
I discuss the respective roles of traits and reasons in the explanation of action. I begin by noting that traits and reasons explanations are systematically connected: traits explanations require motivation by reasons. Actions due to psychiatric conditions such as mental disorders cannot be explained by an appeal to traits. Because traits require motivation by reasons, it is often possible to explain one and the same action by an appeal to either the agent's traits or to her reasons. I then ask (...) whether it follows from here that traits and reasons explanations of action are equivalent – though perhaps offered from different points of view – or whether they differ in interesting ways. I argue that the differences are interesting and important – traits and reasons explanations answer different “why” questions regarding action: a reasons explanation tells us what reasons motivated the agent acting; a traits explanation, by contrast, indicates something about an agent’s reasons but tells us something else in addition: it tells us why the agent acted on those as opposed to other available reasons. (shrink)
We present counterexamples to the widespread assumption that Moorean sentences cannot be rationally asserted. We then explain why Moorean assertions of the sort we discuss do not incur the irrationality charge. Our argument involves an appeal to the dual-process theory of the mind and a contrast between the conditions for ascribing beliefs to oneself and the conditions for making assertions about independently existing states of affairs. We conclude by contrasting beliefs of the sort we discuss with the structurally similar but (...) rationally impermissible beliefs of certain psychiatric patients. (shrink)
I discuss the aesthetic power of painful art. I focus on artworks that occasion pain by “hitting too close to home,” i.e., by presenting narratives meant to be “about us.” I consider various reasons why such works may have aesthetic value for us, but I argue that the main reason has to do with the power of such works to transgress conversational boundaries. The discussion is meant as a contribution to the debate on the paradox of tragedy.
I question the widespread assumption that when we act for reasons we know what our reasons are. I argue that an agent may act in ignorance, or partial ignorance, regarding his or her reasons, and an action involving ignorance of this sort may still qualify as done for reasons. I conclude from here that we need to develop a suitable new model of action for reasons, and I proceed to offer such a model. Briefly, I argue that an action qualifies (...) as done for reasons when the agent performing that action possesses a reasons explanation of it and is (at least partly) motivated to act by the fact he possesses such an explanation. The crucial point is that the agent may not be motivated – not even in part – by the content of the reasons that constitute the explanation in question. (shrink)
In “Neurosentimentalism and Moral Agency”, Philip Gerrans and Jeanette Kennett argue that prominent versions of metaethical sentimentalism and moral realism ignore the importance, for moral agency and moral judgment, of the capacity to experientially project oneself into the past and possible futures – to engage in ‘mental time travel’. They contend that such views are committed to taking subjects with impaired capacities for MTT to be moral judgers, and thus confront a dilemma: either allow that these subjects are moral agents, (...) or deny that moral agency is required for moral judgment. In reply, we argue for two main claims. First, it is implausible that moral agency is required for moral judgment, and Gerrans and Kennett give us no good reason for thinking it is. Second, at least some of the subjects in question seem able to make moral judgments, and Gerrans and Kennett give us no good reason to doubt that they can. We conclude that they have not shown a problem for any of the metaethical views in question. (shrink)
Some of our largely unchosen first-order reactions, such as disgust, can underwrite morally-laden character traits. This observation is in tension with the plausible idea that virtues and vices are based on reasons. I propose a way to resolve the tension.
This article employs the basic tenets of critical realism to provide a philosophical foundation for understanding and resolving the dualisms of activity theory. Its argument follows in four parts. First I develop an immanent critique that shows the problems within activity theory; it reveals that several dualisms were present from the onset, and further that an implicit ontology allows activity theorists to presuppose critical realism in practice. I claim that the historical development of activity theory is marked by attempts to (...) resolve contradictions, which are signalling devices pointing to the need for theoretical expansion. To shed light on attempts to mend dualisms, I then introduce the notion of a ‘patch’ because it functions as a mechanism that sustains dualisms and gaps in practice. An omissive critique identifies the key omitted element that causes the dualisms; namely, the omission of a critique of Humean philosophy and classical empiricism. Finally,, after effectively isolating and explaining the source of dualisms, I prepare the ground for a protoexplanatory critique to rectify them. (shrink)
Do claims of taste function as validity claims? Our ordinary use of aesthetic notions suggests as much. When I assert that Rodin’s Camille Claudel is ‘beautiful’ I mean my claim to be, in a sense, correct. I expect others to concur and if they do not I think that they are mistaken. But am I justified in attributing an error to the judgment of someone who, unlike me, does not find Rodin’s Camille Claudel beautiful? Not obviously. For it looks, on (...) the other hand, that my assertion “The sculpture of Camille Claudel is beautiful” is not an assertion about a property of that sculpture, not, that is, about a feature of the world which exists for others as well as for me. Quite the opposite, I seem to base my claim on a subjective response, on a certain feeling of mine. I maintain that the sculpture of Camille Claudel is ‘beautiful’ because it produces a particular effect upon me, namely it pleases me aesthetically. But how can the feeling of pleasure, being a subjective response on my part, serve as a normative ground for a claim? (shrink)
Casting directors are tasked with selecting a suitable actor for a given role. “Suitable” in this context typically means possessing a combination of physical attributes and acting skills. But are there any moral constraints on the choice? I argue that there are. This is an uncommon supposition, and few even entertain the question. In this essay, I discuss the reasons for this omission and attempt to make up for it.
Envy has often been seen as a vice and the envied as its victims. I suggest that this plausible view has an important limitation: the envied sometimes actively try to provoke envy. They may, thus, be non-innocent victims. Having argued for this thesis, I draw some practical implications.
The field of mathematics education has been fashioned by a diversity of theoretical and philosophical perspectives. The purpose of this study is to add to this field an analysis of the philosophical position of critical realism. To achieve this objective, the study addresses the following questions: what does critical realism have to offer mathematics education? How may critical realism underlabour for this discipline? In addressing these questions, the study provides an overview of the basic theories and the possible weak points (...) of and arguments against critical realism and realism in general. It then draws upon the notion of a dialectical phenomenology to provide a sequence of Achilles' heel critiques of some of the perspectives that constitute broadly the theoretical landscape of mathematics education research. This critique proceeds with an analysis of didactically oriented empiricism, hermeneutics, pragmatism, postmodernism, traditionally recognized forms of constructivism, traditionally recognized theories of activity, and ethnomathematics. The last section summarizes the implications of philosophical underlabouring for a more beneficial science of mathematics education. (shrink)
I ask whether and when historical inaccuracy in a work of art constitutes an aesthetic flaw. I first consider a few replies derived from others: conceptual impossibility, import-export inconsistency, failure of reference, and imaginative resistance. I argue that while there is a grain of truth to some of these proposals, none of them ultimately succeeds. I proceed to offer an alternative account on which the aesthetic demerits of historical inaccuracies stem from a violation of the conversational contract between author and (...) audience. The key question is what that contract implies. (shrink)
My purpose in the present paper is two-fold: to provide a theoretical framework for understanding the difference between rightness and virtue; and to systematically account for the role of objective rightness in an individual person's decision making. I argue that a decision to do something virtuous differs from a decision to do what's right not simply, as is often supposed, in being motivated differently but, rather, in being taken from a different point of view. My argument to that effect is (...) the following. The 'objectively right' course of action must be right, 'neutrally' speaking, that is right for each of the participants in a given situation: if it is right for you to do A, then it cannot, at the same time, be right for me to prevent you from doing A. But the latter is precisely how things work with virtuous action: for instance, it may be virtuous of you to assume responsibility for my blunder, but it isn't virtuous of me to let you do so. I maintain, on this basis, that, while objectivity does have normative force in moral decision-making, the objective viewpoint is not, typically, the viewpoint from which decisions to act virtuously are taken. I then offer an account of objectivity's constraining power. (shrink)
En cada contexto son diversas las formas de ser niña y niño. El objetivo de este artículo es reflexionar sobre los significados que implica el “ser migrante” para las niñas y los niños peruanos en Chile, considerando los procesos de integración social desde la perspectiva generacional y cómo cambia el concepto de infancia en contextos transnacionales. Mediante observación participante y entrevistas semiestructuradas con 16 niñas y niños peruanos, de 9 a 16 años de edad, se concluye que existe cierta idealización (...) de las formas de expresión de la infancia en Perú. Mientras que en Chile, las niñas y los niños migrantes sienten que las diferencias con sus pares chilenos se transforman en relaciones de desigualdad, conflicto y negociación. Además, la inserción escolar promueve la integración a determinados modelos de infancia construidos normativamente desde el mundo adulto y chileno, que dejan poco espacio para la diversidad cultural de las infancias transnacionales. (shrink)
Papers on nanotechnology in the Scientific Electronic Library Online database were studied bibliometrically. The terms ‘nanotechnology’, ‘nanoparticle’, ‘graphene’, ‘fullerene’, ‘nanotube’ and ‘quantum dot’ were used for the search in their singular and plural forms in three languages, and a total of 1205 papers were selected for the study to assess the frequency rates of the study variables. The results of the study are presented in this article focusing on gender differences.
Victims of disaster suffer, not only at the very moment of the disaster, but also years after the disaster has taken place, they are still in an emotional journey. While many moral perspectives focus on the moment of the disaster itself, a lot of work is to be done years after the disaster. How do people go through their suffering and how can we take care of them? Research on human suffering after a major catastrophe, using an ethics of care (...) perspective, is scarce. People suffering from disasters are often called to be in distress and their emotional difficulties ‘medicalised’. This brings them often into a situation of long term use of medication, and one can wonder if medication is of help to them in the long run. In our paper, we will explore another moral perspective, focusing on the importance of the victims’ narrative and their lived experiences. We will use Paul Ricoeur’s phenomenological reflections from ‘Suffering is not the same as pain’ for conceptualizing human suffering and how to apply it to victims of disaster. Ricoeur suggests that suffering is not a quantity that can be measured, but a characteristic that should be studied qualitatively in interpersonal and narrative contexts. Above all, the perspective of care and listening could offer an opportunity to reconcile people from their loss and suffering. (shrink)