When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many (...) of those who practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
The data emerging from the clinical and brain studies described above suggest that, in the case of OCD, there are two pertinent brain mechanisms that are distinguishable both in terms of neuro dynamics and in terms of the conscious experiences that accompany them. These mechanisms can be characterized, on anatomical and perhaps evolutionary grounds, as a lower level and a higher level mechanism. The clinical treatment has, when successful, an activating effect on the higher level mechanism, and a suppressive effect (...) on the lower level one. (shrink)
According to Stewart Shapiro's coherence principle, structures exist whenever they can be coherently described. I argue that Shapiro's attempts to justify this principle are circular, as he relies on criticisms of modal nominalism which presuppose the coherence principle. I argue further that when the coherence principle is not presupposed, his reasoning more strongly supports modal nominalism than ante rem structuralism.
Terraforming is a process of planetary engineering by which the extant environment of a planetary body is transformed into an environment capable of supporting human inhabitants. The question I would like to consider in this paper is whether there is any reason to believe that the terraforming of another planet—for instance, the terraforming of Mars—is morally problematic. Topics related to the human exploration of space are not often discussed in philosophical circles. Nevertheless, there exists a growing body of philosophical literature (...) dedicated to sorting out the moral implications of the use of resources from (and in) space. Most of this literature is produced as environmental philosophy. Questions of .. (shrink)
The moral obligation to support space exploration follows from our obligations to protect the environment and to survive as a species. It can be justified through three related arguments: one supporting space exploration as necessary for acquiring resources, and two illustrating the need for space technology in order to combat extraterrestrial threats such as meteorite impacts. Three sorts of objections have been raised against this obligation. The first are objections alleging that supporting space exploration is impractical. The second is the (...) widely held notion that space exploration and environmentalism are at odds with one another. Finally, there are two objections to using space resources that Robert Sparrow has raised on the topic of terraforming. The obligation to support space exploration can be defended in at least three ways: (1) the "argument from resources," that space exploration is useful for amplifying our available resources; (2) the "argument from asteroids," that space exploration is necessary for protecting the environment and its inhabitants from extraterrestrial threats such as meteorite impacts; and (3) the "argument from solar burnout," that we are obligated to pursue interstellar colonization in order to ensure long-term human survival. (shrink)
Gibson distinguishes among the properties of environmental things their affordances, which he identifies in terms of that which a thing offers an animal for good or ill. In large part, this article considers his conception of environmental affordances and visually perceiving them, with special attention to the concept of affordance that he exercises in the presentation of his conception. Particular emphasis is placed here on the distinction between the affordance properties of things themselves, and what it is that these things (...) afford an animal, what they enable owing to those properties, and the proposal that the affordances of environmental things are not experiential; they are not properties of the perceptual experiences produced in the process of perceiving them. This does not deny that experiences themselves too possess affordance properties — for example, they are such as to enable specific behaviors — but these affordances are not that which is perceived, according to Gibson, when engaged in the activity of straightforward perceiving. The stream of perceptual experience that is part and product of the latter activity is at all points outwardly directed, not directed upon itself. (shrink)
A translation based on the Latin text of the Leonine edition. The Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate constitutes Aquinas's most extended treatment of any single topic. Volume I discusses the nature of truth and divine and angelic intellects. Volume II deals with truth and human intellect. Volume III investigates the operation of the will.
Gibson distinguishes among activities of the visual system, including viewing a room as opposed to seeing it, and, in effect, between a visual-system activity and the stream of experience that is a product and part of it. During viewing, one perceives the surfaces projecting light to one's point of observation, and one’s location in relation to them. Thus, one does not view some of the surfaces that one sees when, instead, one engages in straightforward seeing at the same observation point. (...) The latter activity produces direct awareness of both occluded and here-and-now surfaces, although the latter surfaces are not distinguished as such . Inter alia, it is argued that, given Gibson’s account of visually controlled locomotion, viewing should be considered the visual perceptual activity involved therein since, in his view, one cannot see light and determine one's behavior on that basis. (shrink)