The arts of rule cover the exercise of power by princes and popular sovereigns, but they range beyond the domain of government itself, extending to civil associations, political parties, and religious institutions. Making full use of political philosophy from a range of backgrounds, this festschrift for Harvey Mansfield recognizes that although the arts of rule are comprehensive, the best government is a limited one.
This is an excellent article, probably the best there is in defence of prohibiting the sale of organs, and it deserves a much fuller discussion of detail than there is space for here.1 My concerns, however, are with generalities rather than detail. Although some such argument might justify prohibition of organ selling in particular places and at particular times, it is difficult to see how it could support the kind of general, universal policy currently accepted by most advocates of prohibition.Whenever (...) the subject of organ selling is discussed, it is useful to keep in mind the natural history of the debate. Prohibition was instituted by most governments and professional bodies just about as quickly as possible after it was discovered that payment for kidneys was going on, and was a direct response to feelings of moral outrage. It all happened without time for debate. It was only later, as challenges appeared, that justifications began to be produced; and when they did they followed a pattern long familiar to philosophers, and more recently recognised by moral psychologists, of determined efforts to find a justification for the initial intuition that organ selling must be wrong. New arguments kept appearing in the cause as earlier attempts were shown to fail, and many were so weak that they could not have seemed plausible unless their advocates had already been committed to their conclusion. This does not mean, of course, that a good justification could never be produced. It does, however, suggest a widespread feeling that organ selling must be intrinsically …. (shrink)
How wrong is it to deceive someone into sex by lying, say, about one's profession? The answer is seriously wrong when the liar's actual profession would be a deal breaker for the victim of the deception: this deception vitiates the victim's sexual consent, and it is seriously wrong to have sex with someone while lacking his or her consent.
Few concepts have been considered as essential to the theory of knowledge and rational belief as that of evidence. The simplest theory which accounts for this is evidentialism, the view that epistemic justification for belief--the kind of justification typically taken to be required for knowledge--is determined solely by considerations pertaining to one's evidence. In this ground-breaking book, leading epistemologists from across the spectrum challenge and refine evidentialism, sometimes suggesting that it needs to be expanded in quite surprising directions. Following this, (...) the twin pillars of contemporary evidentialism--Earl Conee and Richard Feldman--respond to each essay. This engaging debate covers a vast number of issues, and will illuminate and inform. (shrink)
If knowing requires believing on the basis of evidence that entails what’s believed, we have hardly any knowledge at all. Hence the near-universal acceptance of fallibilism in epistemology: if it's true that "we are all fallibilists now" (Siegel 1997: 164), that's because denying that one can know on the basis of non-entailing evidence1is, it seems, not an option if we're to preserve the very strong appearance that we do know many things (Cohen 1988: 91). Hence the significance of concessive knowledge (...) attributions (CKAs) (Rysiew 2001)—i.e., sentences of the form 'S knows that p, but it's possible that q' (where q entails not-p). To many, utterances of such sentences sound very odd indeed. According to David Lewis (1996: 550), however, such sentences are merely "overt, explicit" statements of fallibilism; if so, their seeming incoherence suggests that, contrary to our everyday epistemic pretensions, "knowledge must be by definition infallible" after all (ibid.: 549). -/- Recently Jason Stanley (2005) has defended fallibilism against the Lewisian worry that overtly fallibilistic speech is incoherent. According yo Stanley, CKAs are not just odd-sounding: in most cases, they are simply false. But this doesn't impugn fallibilism. Insofar as the odd-sounding utterances Lewis cites state the fallibilist idea, the latter portion thereof ('S cannot eliminate a certain possibility in which not-p', e.g.) expresses the idea that the subject's evidence doesn't entail what's (allegedly) known (hence, the negation of any contrary propositions). According to Stanley, however, this is not the best reading of the possibility clauses CKAs contain. On the correct account of the latter, while the sentences Lewis cites are almost always self-contradictory, they don't capture the fallibilist idea after all. Here, we argue that the sentences in question do express precisely the fallibilist idea, but argue that Lewis has nonetheless failed to raise a problem for the latter. In addition, we respond to worries that the resulting view of the semantics of epistemic possibility statements has certain unacceptable consequences. (shrink)
You are morally permitted to save your friend at the expense of a few strangers, but not at the expense of very many. However, there seems no number of strangers that marks a precise upper bound here. Consequently, there are borderline cases of groups at the expense of which you are permitted to save your friend. This essay discusses the question of what explains ethical vagueness like this, arguing that there are interesting metaethical consequences of various explanations.
Recently, Dylan Dodd (this Journal ) has tried to clear up what he takes to be some of the many confusions surrounding concessive knowledge attributions (CKAs)—i.e., utterances of the form “S knows that p , but it’s possible that q ” (where q entails not- p ) (Rysiew, Noûs 35(4): 477–514, 2001). Here, we respond to the criticisms Dodd offers of the account of the semantics and the sometime-infelicity of CKAs we have given (Dougherty and Rysiew, Philosophy and Phenomenological (...) Research 78(1): 121–132, 2009), showing both how Dodd misunderstands certain central features of that view and how the latter can, pace Dodd, be naturally extended to explain the oddity of those “For all I know” statements to which Dodd draws attention. (shrink)
Black hole thermodynamics is regarded as one of the deepest clues we have to a quantum theory of gravity. It motivates scores of proposals in the field, from the thought that the world is a hologram to calculations in string theory. The rationale for BHT playing this important role, and for much of BHT itself, originates in the analogy between black hole behavior and ordinary thermodynamic systems. Claiming the relationship is “more than a formal analogy,” black holes are said to (...) be governed by deep thermodynamic principles: what causes your tea to come to room temperature is said additionally to cause the area of black holes to increase. Playing the role of philosophical gadfly, we pour a little cold water on the claim that BHT is more than a formal analogy. First, we show that BHT is often based on a kind of caricature of thermodynamics. Second, we point out an important ambiguity in what systems the analogy is supposed to govern, local or global ones. Finally, and perhaps worst, we point out that one of the primary motivations for the theory arises from a terribly controversial understanding of entropy. BHT may be a useful guide to future physics. Only time will tell. But the analogy is not nearly as good as is commonly supposed. (shrink)
In an influential paper, L. A. Paul argues that one cannot rationally decide whether to have children. In particular, she argues that such a decision is intractable for standard decision theory. Paul's central argument in this paper rests on the claim that becoming a parent is ``epistemically transformative''---prior to becoming a parent, it is impossible to know what being a parent is like. Paul argues that because parenting is epistemically transformative, one cannot estimate the values of the various outcomes of (...) a decision whether to become a parent. In response, we argue that it is possible to estimate the value of epistemically transformative experiences. Therefore, there is no special difficulty involved in deciding whether to undergo epistemically transformative experiences. Insofar as major life decisions do pose a challenge to decision theory, we suggest that this is because they often involve separate, familiar problems. (shrink)
This paper argues for a reinterpretation of the skill analogy in virtue ethics. It argues that the skill analogy should not be understood as proposing that being virtuous is analogous to possessing a practical skill but, rather, as proposing that being virtuous is analogous to being a good occupant of a skill-involving role. The paper argues for this by engaging with various standard objections to the analogy, two recent defences of it, and Aristotle’s treatment of it in developing his account (...) of virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics. It aims to show that neither virtue nor the skill analogy is correctly understood without recourse to the notion of a role and that once we have recourse to that notion, many objections to the analogy are met. (shrink)
The anglophone philosophy profession has a well-known problem with gender equity. A sig-nificant aspect of the problem is the fact that there are simply so many more male philoso-phers than female philosophers among students and faculty alike. The problem is at its stark-est at the faculty level, where only 22% - 24% of philosophers are female in the United States (Van Camp 2014), the United Kingdom (Beebee & Saul 2011) and Australia (Goddard 2008).<1> While this is a result of the (...) percentage of women declining at each point through-out the standard career trajectory, recent large-scale studies in the United States (Paxton et al. 2012) and Australia (Goddard et al. 2008) have identified a key drop-off point as the transi-tion between taking introductory classes and majoring in philosophy. So why do dispropor-tionately few female students choose to major in philosophy? (shrink)
Nearly everyone prefers pain to be in the past rather than the future. This seems like a rationally permissible preference. But I argue that appearances are misleading, and that future-biased preferences are in fact irrational. My argument appeals to trade-offs between hedonic experiences and other goods. I argue that we are rationally required to adopt an exchange rate between a hedonic experience and another type of good that stays fixed, regardless of whether the hedonic experience is in the past or (...) future. (shrink)
According to the “Textbook View,” there is an extensional dispute between consequentialists and deontologists, in virtue of the fact that only the latter defend “agent-relative” principles—principles that require an agent to have a special concern with making sure that she does not perform certain types of action. I argue that, contra the Textbook View, there are agent-neutral versions of deontology. I also argue that there need be no extensional disagreement between the deontologist and consequentialist, as characterized by the Textbook View.
Janet is known almost exclusively for his left-step periodic table (LSPT). A study of his writings shows him to have been a highly creative thinker and a brilliant draftsman. His approach was primarily arithmetic-geometric, but it led him to anticipate the discovery of deuterium, helium-3, transuranian elements, antimatter and energy from nuclear fusion. He recognized the (n + ℓ) rule well before Madelung and correctly placed the actinides. His controversial treatment of helium at the head of the alkaline earth (...) elements might be less provocative if his system were taken in one of its spiral representations. (shrink)
Edward Pols long ago established himself as a philosopher of first rank. His carefully wrought studies have succeeded each other with regularity, The Recognition of Reason, Whitehead’s Metaphysics, Meditation on a Prisoner: Towards Understanding Action and Mind, and The Acts of Our Being: A Reflection on Agency and Responsibility. While clearly within a tradition that can be traced through modernity to the middle ages and to classical philosophy, Pols is no slave to the past. He recognizes the perennial character of (...) fundamental philosophical problems, their complexity, and the challenge they offer to the contemporary investigator. This perspicacity does not lead him to deny the worth of past efforts, but positions him to frame old problems in a new way. His insight is rooted in a profound grasp of the processes of human knowing and in a rare metaphysical sense. (shrink)
Why is there female under-representation among philosophy majors? We survey the hypotheses that have been proposed so far, grouping similar hypotheses together. We then propose a chronological taxonomy that distinguishes hypotheses according to the stage in undergraduates’ careers at which the hypotheses predict an increase in female under-representation. We then survey the empirical evidence for and against various hypotheses. We end by suggesting future avenues for research.
Most of us are “time-biased” in preferring pains to be past rather than future and pleasures to be future rather than past. However, it turns out that if you are risk averse and time-biased, then you can be turned into a “pain pump”—in order to insure yourself against misfortune, you will take a series of pills which leaves you with more pain and better off in no respect. Since this vulnerability seems rationally impermissible, while time-bias and risk aversion seem rationally (...) permissible, we are left with a puzzle. (shrink)
Fallibilism in epistemology is neither identical to nor unrelated to the ordinary notion of fallibility. In ordinary life we are forced to the conclusion that human beings are prone to error. The epistemological doctrine of fallibilism, though, is about the consistency of holding that humans have knowledge while admitting certain limitations in human ways of knowing. As will be seen, making the content of the basic intuition more precise is both somewhat contentious and the key to an adequate definition of (...) fallibilism. Before moving on to this project I will address a few preliminary issues. Then, after canvassing some prevailing views I will address two concerns. First, I will address the concern that prevailing views do not adequately take into account fallible knowledge of necessary truths and are thus not fully general accounts of fallible knowledge. Second, I will address probabilistic accounts of fallibilism. I will suggest that a simple, adequate account of fallibilism is possible. (shrink)
It is plausible to think that it is wrong to cure many people’s headaches rather than save someone else’s life. On the other hand, it is plausible to think that it is not wrong to expose someone to a tiny risk of death when curing this person’s headache. I will argue that these claims are inconsistent. For if we keep taking this tiny risk then it is likely that one person dies, while many others’ headaches are cured. In light of (...) this inconsistency, there is a conflict in our intuitions about beneficence and chance. This conflict is perplexing. And I have not been able to find a satisfactory way of resolving it. Perhaps you can do better? (shrink)
Abstract: This paper argues that instances of what are typically called ‘epistemic irresponsibility’ are better understood as instances of moral or prudenial failure. This hypothesis covers the data and is simpler than postulating a new sui generis form of normativitiy. The irresponsibility alleged is that embeded in charges of ‘You should have known better!’ However, I argue, either there is some interest at stake in knowing or there is not. If there is not, then there is no irresponsibility. If there (...) is, it is either the inquirer's interests—in which case it is a prudential shortcoming—or someone else's interests are at stake—in which case it is a moral shortcoming. In no case, I argue, is there any need to postulate a form of normativity in epistemology other than the traditional epistemological norm that one's attitudes should fit the evidence one has. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that attention to the intricacies relating to belief illustrate crucial difficulties with Schellenberg's hiddenness argument. This issue has been only tangentially discussed in the literature to date. Yet we judge this aspect of Schellenberg's argument deeply significant. We claim that focus on the nature of belief manifests a central flaw in the hiddenness argument. Additionally, attention to doxastic subtleties provides important lessons about the nature of faith.
In Wrongs and Crimes, Victor Tadros clarifies the debate about whether consent needs to be communicated by separating the question of whether consent requires expressive behaviour from the question of whether it requires “uptake” in the form of comprehension by the consent-receiver. Once this distinction is drawn, Tadros argues both that consent does not require uptake and that consent does not require expressive behaviour that provides evidence to the consent-receiver. As a result, Tadros takes the view that consent requires an (...) attempt to communicate, but nothing more. While I have found Tadros’s arguments for this conclusion intriguing and challenging, I am yet to be persuaded by them. In this essay, I try to say why. (shrink)
A feminist primer for philosophers of science -- The legacy of twentieth century philosophy of science -- What feminist science studies can offer -- Challenges from every direction -- The prospects of twenty-first century philosophy of science.
Although many philosophers argue that making and revising moral decisions ought to be a matter of deliberating over reasons, the extent to which the consideration of reasons informs people’s moral decisions and prompts them to change their decisions remains unclear. Here, after making an initial decision in 2-option moral dilemmas, participants examined reasons for only the option initially chosen(affirming reasons), reasons for only the option not initially chosen (opposing reasons), or reasons for both options. Although participants were more likely to (...) change their initial decisions when presented with only opposing reasons compared with only affirming reasons, these effect sizes were consistently small. After evaluating reasons, participants were significantly more likely not to change their initial decisions than to change them, regardless of the set of reasons they considered. The initial decision accounted for most of the variance in predicting the final decision, whereas the reasons evaluated accounted for a relatively small proportion of the variance in predicting the final decision. This resistance to changing moral decisions is at least partly attributable to a biased, motivated evaluation of the available reasons: participants rated the reasons supporting their initial decisions more favorably than the reasons opposing their initial decisions, regardless of the reported strategy used to make the initial decision.Overall, our results suggest that the consideration of reasons rarely induces people to change their initial decisions in moral dilemmas. (shrink)
Is it time to take a break from feminism? In this pathbreaking book, Janet Halley reassesses the place of feminism in the law and politics of sexuality. She argues that sexuality involves deeply contested and clashing realities and interests, and that feminism helps us understand only some of them. To see crucial dimensions of sexuality that feminism does not reveal--the interests of gays and lesbians to be sure, but also those of men, and of constituencies and values beyond the (...) realm of sex and gender--we might need to take a break from feminism. Halley also invites feminism to abandon its uncritical relationship to its own power. Feminists are, in many areas of social and political life, partners in governance. To govern responsibly, even on behalf of women, Halley urges, feminists should try taking a break from their own presuppositions. Halley offers a genealogy of various feminisms and of gay, queer, and trans theories as they split from each other in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. All these incommensurate theories, she argues, enrich thinking on the left not despite their break from each other but because of it. She concludes by examining legal cases to show how taking a break from feminism can change your very perceptions of what's at stake in a decision and liberate you to decide it anew. (shrink)
So-called money pump arguments aim to show that intransitive preferences are irrational because they will lead someone to accept a series of deals that leaves his/her financially worse off and better off in no respect. A common response to these arguments is the foresight response, which counters that the agent in question may see the exploitation coming, and refuse to trade at all. To obviate this response, I offer a “deluxe money pump argument” that applies dominance reasoning to a modified (...) money pump case. (shrink)
The thesis of this short paper is that skeptical theism does not look very plausible from the perspective of a common sense epistemology. A corollary of this isthat anyone who finds common sense epistemology plausible and is attracted to skeptical theism has some work to do to show that they can form a plausiblewhole. The dialectical situation is that to the degree that this argument is a strong one, to that same degree (at least) the theorist who would like to (...) combinecommon sense epistemology with skeptical theism has some work to do. (shrink)
I defend the position that the appearance of a conflict between common-sense epistemology and skeptical theism remains, even after one fully appreciates the role defeat plays in rational belief. In particular, Matheson’s recent attempt to establish peace is not fully successful.
Skeptical theism has as its foundation the thesis that if God permits evil, his reasons for doing so will likely be beyond our ken. The only defense given for this thesis is the Parent Analogy. There is in the literature only one defense of this use of the Parent Analogy and it has never been confronted. I examine it and expose serious flaws, thus exposing a crack in the very foundation of skeptical theism.
Epistemic Authority is a mature work of a leading epistemologist and philosopher of religion. It is a work primarily in epistemology with applications to religious epistemology. There are obvious applications of the notion of epistemic authority to philosophy of religion. For, on the face of it, the notion of some kind of ”epistemic authority’ may serve as a conceptual anchor for our understanding of faith. Indeed, there is ample historical precedent for this. Faith, says Locke, is ”the assent to any (...) proposition... upon the credit of the proposer, as coming from God, in some extraordinary way of communication’. 1 In later Lockeans, ”credit’ is often rendered ”authority’, and the terms were used synonymously at the time of his writing. 2 One of the beauties of Locke’s view is its reductionism, that is, it’s parsimony, which is a species of elegance and therefore beauty. Zagzebski’s notion is more high-octane than Locke’s. In this essay I will do four things. In Section 1 I will describe two kinds or notions of authority or at least two usages of the word ”authority’. In Section 2 I will describe Zagzebski’s use of one of these notions, the non-Lockean one, to ground the reasonableness of religious belief. In Section 3 I will give four arguments against her view. In section 4 I will reply to her critique of Locke. The upshot, in my view, is that though we learn much from Epistemic Authority, a more Lockean approach to the nature of faith is still preferable. (shrink)