While there is no shortage of scholarship on the topic, there appears to be no widely accepted definition of critical thinking. This is coupled with the troublesome fact that those in higher education often believe their definitions are the norm. In this article, we demonstrate a lack of uniformity through a representative sample of historically influential definitions for critical thinking. These definitions are then classified into two distinct categories: context specific and cross-disciplinary definitions. From this lack of uniformity we argue (...) that at least two problems in higher education arise: lack of proper critical thinking assessment and difficulty in interdisciplinary collaboration on the topic of critical thinking. Given the current focus on critical thinking assessment alongside a movement toward greater interdisciplinary collaboration within higher education, we conclude with a call for a uniform definition of critical thinking. (shrink)
Los teóricos de la democracia dejaron de lado la pregunta de quién legalmente forma parte del "pueblo" autorizado, pregunta que atraviesa a todas las teoría de la democracia y continuamente vivifica la práctica democrática. Determinar quién constituye el pueblo es un dilema inabordable e incluso imposible de responder democráticamente; no es una pregunta que el pueblo mismo pueda decidir procedimentalmente porque la propia premisa subvierte las premisas de su resolución. Esta paradoja del mandato popular revela que el pueblo para ser (...) mejor comprendido como una demanda política, como un proceso de subjetivación, surge y se desarrolla en distintos contextos democráticos. En Estados Unidos el disputado poder para hablar en beneficio del pueblo deriva de un excedente constitutivo heredado de la era revolucionaria, a partir del hecho de que desde la Revolución el pueblo ha sido por vez primera encarnado por la representación y como exceso de cualquier forma de representación. La autoridad posrevolucionaria del vox populi deriva de esa continuamente reiterada pero nunca realizada referencia a la soberanía del pueblo a partir de la representación, legitimidad a partir de la ley, espíritu a partir de la letra, la palabra a través de la palabra. Este ensayo examina la emergencia histórica de este exceso de democracia en el período revolucionario, y cómo este habilita a una subsecuente historia de "momentos constituyentes", momentos cuando subautorizados -radicales, entidades autocreadas-, se apoderan del manto de la autoridad, cambiando las reglas de la autoridad en ese proceso. Estos pequeños dramas de reclamos de autoridad política para hablar en nombre del pueblo son felices, aun cuando explícitamente rompan con los procedimientos o reglas estatuidas para representar la voz popular. -/- Momentos constituyentes: paradojas y poder popular en los Estados Unidos de América posrevolucionarios [traducción], Revista Argentina de Ciencia Política, N°15, EUDEBA, Buenos Aires, Octubre 2012, pp. 49-74. ISSN: 0329-3092. Introducción de “Constituent Moments: Enacting the People in Postrevolutionary America”, de Jason Frank [Ed.: Duke University Press Books, enero de 2010. ISBN-10: 0822346753; ISBN-13: 978-0822346753]. (shrink)
Many philosophers believe that there is a fundamental distinction between knowing that something is the case and knowing how to do something. According to Gilbert Ryle, to whom the insight is credited, knowledge-how is an ability, which is in turn a complex of dispositions. Knowledge-that, on the other hand, is not an ability, or anything similar. Rather, knowledge-that is a relation between a thinker and a true proposition.
Let DDQ be the thesis that definite descriptions are quantifiers. Philosophers often deny DDQ because they believe that quantifiers do not depend on context in certain ways, ways in which definite descriptions do depend on context. In this paper, we examine one such argument, which, if sound, would entail the negation of DDQ.We show that this argument fails, and draw some consequences from its failure.
Jason Stanley presents a startling and provocative claim about knowledge: that whether or not someone knows a proposition at a given time is in part determined by his or her practical interests, i.e. by how much is at stake for that person at that time. In defending this thesis, Stanley introduces readers to a number of strategies for resolving philosophical paradox, making the book essential not just for specialists in epistemology but for all philosophers interested in philosophical methodology. Since (...) a number of his strategies appeal to linguistic evidence, it will be of great interest to linguists as well. (shrink)
Philosophers have long been tempted by the idea that objects and properties are abstractions from the facts. But how is this abstraction supposed to go? If the objects and properties aren't 'already' there, how do the facts give rise to them? Jason Turner develops and defends a novel answer to this question: The facts are arranged in a quasi-geometric 'logical space', and objects and properties arise from different quasi-geometric structures in this space.
"As the child of refugees of World War II Europe and a renowned philosopher and scholar of propaganda, Jason Stanley has a deep understanding of how democratic societies can be vulnerable to fascism: Nations don't have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics. In fact, fascism's roots have been present in the United States for more than a century. Alarmed by the pervasive rise of fascist tactics both at home and around the globe, Stanley focuses here on the (...) structures that unite them, laying out and analyzing the ten pillars of fascist politics--the language and beliefs that separate people into an 'us' and a 'them.' He knits together reflections on history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory with stories from contemporary Hungary, Poland, India, Myanmar, and the United States, among other nations. He makes clear the immense danger of underestimating the cumulative power of these tactics, which include exploiting a mythic version of a nation's past; propaganda that twists the language of democratic ideals against themselves; anti-intellectualism directed against universities and experts; law and order politics predicated on the assumption that members of minority groups are criminals; and fierce attacks on labor groups and welfare. These mechanisms all build on one another, creating and reinforcing divisions and shaping a society vulnerable to the appeals of authoritarian leadership. By uncovering disturbing patterns that are as prevalent today as ever, Stanley reveals that the stuff of politics--charged by rhetoric and myth--can quickly become policy and reality. Only by recognizing fascists politics, he argues, may we resist its most harmful effects and return to democratic ideals."--Jacket. (shrink)
Chapter 1: Ryle on Knowing How Chapter 2: Knowledge-wh Chapter 3: PRO and the Representation of First-Person Thought Chapter 4: Ways of Thinking Chapter 5: Knowledge How Chapter 6: Ascribing Knowledge How Chapter 7: The Cognitive Science of Practical Knowledge Chapter 8: Knowledge Justified Preface A fact, as I shall use the term, is a true proposition. A proposition is the sort of thing that is capable of being believed or asserted. A proposition is also something that is characteristically the (...) kind of thing that is true or false; that snow is white is a true proposition, that Barack Obama is President of the United States as I am writing these words is another. Facts in this sense are not only among the things we believe and assert; they are also the kinds of things we know. The thesis of this book is that knowing how to do something is the same as knowing a fact. It follows that learning how to do something is learning a fact. For example, when you learned how to swim, what happened is that you learned some facts about swimming. Knowledge of these facts is what gave you knowledge of how to swim. Something similar occurred with every other activity that you now know how to do, such as riding a bicycle or cooking a meal. You know how to perform activities solely in virtue of your knowledge of facts about those activities. (shrink)
Whether at the executive or the line-management levels, businesspeople face moral decisions that cannot be easily resolved with reference to a shared ethos, whether because of diversity of ethea in the organization or its environment, or because the organization’s ethos is inadequate for the problem at hand. These decisions are made more common by the changing norms of a pluralistic business environment, and require collective moral deliberation to be adequately resolved. Discourse ethics ideally characterizes the form of valid collective moral (...) deliberation. I argue that accommodation for the limitations of actual discourse makes discourse ethics, conceived in terms of the rules of practical discourse, practical for realizing improvements in the openness and validity of moral decision-making over states in which these rules are flagrantly violated. These rules have normative implications at the organizational level for the integrity approach to corporate ethics programs, and at the individual level for ethical leadership. (shrink)
Jason Stanley's "Knowledge and Practical Interests" is a brilliant book, combining insights about knowledge with a careful examination of how recent views in epistemology fit with the best of recent linguistic semantics. Although I am largely convinced by Stanley's objections to epistemic contextualism, I will try in what follows to formulate a version that might have some prospect of escaping his powerful critique.
Hans Frei, one of the most influential American theologians of the twentieth century, is generally considered a founder of postliberal theology. Frei never set forth his thinking systematically, and he has been criticized for being inconsistent, contradictory, and insufficiently rigorous. Jason Springs seeks here to offer a re-evaluation of Frei's work. Arguing that Hans Frei's theology cannot be understood without a meticulous consideration of the complex equilibrium of his theological and philosophical interests and influences, Springs vindicates Frei's christologically motivated (...) engagement with Ludwig Wittgenstein, Clifford Geertz, and Erich Auerbach, as well as his use of ordinary language philosophy and non-foundational philosophical insights, while illuminating his indebtedness to Karl Barth's theology. Moreover, by placing Frei's work in critical conversation with developments in pragmatist thought and cultural theory since his death, this re-reading aims to resolve many of the misunderstandings that vex his theological legacy. What emerges from Toward a Generous Orthodoxy is a sharpened account of the christologically anchored, interdisciplinary, and conversational character of Frei's theology, one he came to describe as a "generous orthodoxy"--modeling a way for academic theological voices to take seriously both their vocation to the Christian church and their roles as interlocutors in academic discourse. (shrink)
Agent-causal libertarians maintain we are irreducible agents who, by acting, settle matters that aren’t already settled. This implies that the neural matters underlying the exercise of our agency don’t conform to deterministic laws, but it does not appear to exclude the possibility that they conform to statistical laws. However, Pereboom (Noûs 29:21–45, 1995; Living without free will, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001; in: Nadelhoffer (ed) The future of punishment, Oxford University Press, New York, 2013) has argued that, if these neural (...) matters conform to either statistical or deterministic physical laws, the complete conformity of an irreducible agent’s settling of matters with what should be expected given the applicable laws would involve coincidences too wild to be credible. Here, I show that Pereboom’s argument depends on the assumption that, at times, the antecedent probability certain behavior will occur applies in each of a number of occasions, and is incapable of changing as a result of what one does from one occasion to the next. There is, however, no evidence this assumption is true. The upshot is the wild coincidence objection is an empirical objection lacking empirical support. Thus, it isn’t a compelling argument against agent-causal libertarianism. (shrink)
This article examines two questions about scientists’ search for knowledge. First, which search strategies generate discoveries effectively? Second, is it advantageous to diversify search strategies? We argue pace Weisberg and Muldoon, “Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor”, that, on the first question, a search strategy that deliberately seeks novel research approaches need not be optimal. On the second question, we argue they have not shown epistemic reasons exist for the division of cognitive labor, identifying the errors that led (...) to their conclusions. Furthermore, we generalize the epistemic landscape model, showing that one should be skeptical about the benefits of social learning in epistemically complex environments. (shrink)
Egalitarianism, the view that equality matters, attracts a great deal of attention amongst contemporary political theorists. And yet it has turned out to be surprisingly difficult to provide a fully satisfactory egalitarian theory. The cutting-edge articles in Egalitarianism move the debate forward. They are written by some of the leading political philosophers in the field.
US citizens perceive their society to be one of the most diverse and religiously tolerant in the world today. Yet seemingly intractable religious intolerance and moral conflict abound throughout contemporary US public life - from abortion law battles, same-sex marriage, post-9/11 Islamophobia, public school curriculum controversies, to moral and religious dimensions of the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street movements, and Tea Party populism. Healthy Conflict in Contemporary American Society develops an approach to democratic discourse and coalition-building across deep (...) moral and religious divisions. Drawing on conflict transformation in peace studies, recent American pragmatist thought, and models of agonistic democracy, Jason Springs argues that, in circumstances riven with conflict between strong religious identities and deep moral and political commitments, productive engagement may depend on thinking creatively about how to constructively utilize conflict and intolerance. The result is an approach oriented by the recognition of conflict as a constituent and life-giving feature of social and political relationships. (shrink)
Event-causal libertarians maintain that an agent’s settling of whether certain states-of-affairs obtain on a particular occasion can be reduced to the causing of events by certain mental events or states, such as certain desires, beliefs and/or intentions. Agent-causal libertarians disagree. A common critique against event-causal libertarian accounts is that the agent’s role of settling matters is left unfilled and the agent “disappears” from such accounts—a problem known as the disappearing agent problem. Recently, Franklin has argued that an “enriched” event-causal account (...) can overcome this problem. Franklin, however, doesn’t consider whether, as Pereboom argues, the agent as decider of “torn decisions” disappears from even enriched accounts. As I show here, Franklin’s enriched account takes some modifying if it is to overcome Pereboom’s torn decision problem—a special case of the disappearing agent problem. However, as I also show, there is a more fundamental problem facing event-causal libertarian accounts. It is implausible that an agent qua event or state simultaneously settles whether and how she intervenes. The upshot is that events and/or states lack an ability essential to completely fulfilling an agent’s role qua settler. This isn’t a problem for agent-causal accounts like the one offered by Steward because in as much as an agent qua substance settles whether her body moves in certain ways on certain occasions she simultaneously settles whether and how she intervenes. As a consequence, event-causal libertarians face a dilemma, or rather several, that agent-causal libertarians do not. This may ultimately be explained by the irreducibility of causation by agents to causation by events. (shrink)
Historically, philosophers of biology have tended to sidestep the problem of development by focusing primarily on evolutionary biology and, more recently, on molecular biology and genetics. Quite often too, development has been misunderstood as simply, or even primarily, a matter of gene activation and regulation. Nowadays a growing number of philosophers of science are focusing their analyses on the complexities of development, and in Embryology, Epigenesis and Evolution Jason Scott Robert explores the nature of development against current trends in (...) biological theory and practice and looks at the interrelations between development and evolution , an area of resurgent biological interest. Clearly written, this book should be of interest to students and professionals in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology. (shrink)
Greek and Roman Philosophy After Aristotle brings together over twenty-five of the most important works of Western philosophy written from 322 B.C.E. — the death of Aristotle — to the close of the third century C.E. Eminent philosopher Jason Saunder's choices for this concise volume emphasize the range and significance of the leading philosophers of the Hellenistic Age. Supplemented by Dr. Saunder's enlightening introduction, descriptive notes, and extensive bibliography, these readings provide an essential introduction for students and general readers (...) alike to the enormous influence of Greek philosophy on the formative years of Christianity as well as the early Christians' distrust of it. Published initially in 1966 as part of The Free Press paperback series Readings in the History of Philosophy, this affordable volume introduces Lucretius, Epicurus, Epictetus and Stoicism, Sextus Empiricus, Lucian, Philo of Alexanderia, and Plotinus, as well as seminal figures from early Christian thought, including St. Paul and Clement of Alexandria. JASON L. SAUNDERS held positions in philosophy at the University of California at San Diego, and at The City College of New York. Dr. Saunders was the author of The History and Philosophy of Ancient and Renaissance Stoicism, Greek and Latin Philosophy of Aristotle, Philosophy of Neo Stoicism, and Justus Lipsius: The Philosopher of Renaissance Stoicism. [Back cover text from 1994 reprint.]. (shrink)
Historically, philosophers of biology have tended to sidestep the problem of development by focusing primarily on evolutionary biology and, more recently, on molecular biology and genetics. Quite often too, development has been misunderstood as simply, or even primarily, a matter of gene activation and regulation. Nowadays a growing number of philosophers of science are focusing their analyses on the complexities of development, and in Embryology, Epigenesis and Evolution Jason Scott Robert explores the nature of development against current trends in (...) biological theory and practice and looks at the interrelations between development and evolution, an area of resurgent biological interest. Clearly written, this book should be of interest to students and professionals in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology. (shrink)
Emergence is much discussed by both philosophers and scientists. But, as noted by Mitchell (2012), there is a significant gulf; philosophers and scientists talk past each other. We contend that this is because philosophers and scientists typically mean different things by emergence, leading us to distinguish being emergence and pattern emergence. While related to distinctions offered by others between, for example, strong/weak emergence or epistemic/ontological emergence (Clayton, 2004, pp. 9–11), we argue that the being vs. pattern distinction better captures what (...) the two groups are addressing. In identifying pattern emergence as the central concern of scientists, however, we do not mean that pattern emergence is of no interest to philosophers. Rather, we argue that philosophers should attend to, and even contribute to, discussions of pattern emergence. But it is important that this discussion be distinguished, not conflated, with discussions of being emergence. In the following section we explicate the notion of being emergence and show how it has been the focus of many philosophical discussions, historical and contemporary. In section 3 we turn to pattern emergence, briefly presenting a few of the ways it figures in the discussions of scientists (and philosophers of science who contribute to these discussions in science). Finally, in sections 4 and 5, we consider the relevance of pattern emergence to several central topics in philosophy of biology: the emergence of complexity, of control, and of goal-directedness in biological systems. (shrink)
Practical wisdom (hereafter simply ‘wisdom’), which is the understanding required to make reliably good decisions about how we ought to live, is something we all have reason to care about. The importance of wisdom gives rise to questions about its nature: what kind of state is wisdom, how can we develop it, and what is a wise person like? These questions about the nature of wisdom give rise to further questions about proper methods for studying wisdom. Is the study of (...) wisdom the proper subject of philosophy or psychology? How, exactly, can we determine what wisdom is and how we can get it? In this chapter, we give an overview of some prominent philosophical answers to these questions. We begin by distinguishing practical wisdom from theoretical wisdom and wisdom as epistemic humility. Once we have a clearer sense of the target, we address questions of method and argue that producing a plausible and complete account of wisdom will require the tools of both philosophy and empirical psychology. We also discuss the implications this has for prominent wisdom research methods in empirical psychology. We then survey prominent philosophical accounts of the nature of wisdom and end with reflections on the prospects for further interdisciplinary research. (shrink)
Virtues, broadly understood as stable and robust dispositions for certain responses across morally relevant situations, have been a growing topic of interest in psychology. A central topic of discussion has been whether studies showing that situations can strongly influence our responses provide evidence against the existence of virtues (as a kind of stable and robust disposition). In this review, we examine reasons for thinking that the prevailing methods for examining situational influences are limited in their ability to test dispositional stability (...) and robustness; or, then, whether virtues exist. We make the case that these limitations can be addressed by aggregating repeated, cross-situational assessments of environmental, psychological and physiological variables within everyday life—a form of assessment often called ecological momentary assessment (EMA, or experience sampling). We, then, examine how advances in smartphone application (app) technology, and their mass adoption, make these mobile devices an unprecedented vehicle for EMA and, thus, the psychological study of virtue. We, additionally, examine how smartphones might be used for virtue development by promoting changes in thought and behavior within daily life; a technique often called ecological momentary intervention (EMI). While EMA/I have become widely employed since the 1980s for the purposes of understanding and promoting change amongst clinical populations, few EMA/I studies have been devoted to understanding or promoting virtues within non-clinical populations. Further, most EMA/I studies have relied on journaling, PDAs, phone calls and/or text messaging systems. We explore how smartphone app technology provides a means of making EMA a more robust psychological method, EMI a more robust way of promoting positive change, and, as a result, opens up new possibilities for studying and promoting virtues. (shrink)
May you sell your vote? May you sell your kidney? May gay men pay surrogates to bear them children? May spouses pay each other to watch the kids, do the dishes, or have sex? Should we allow the rich to genetically engineer gifted, beautiful children? Should we allow betting markets on terrorist attacks and natural disasters? Most people shudder at the thought. To put some goods and services for sale offends human dignity. If everything is commodified , then nothing is (...) sacred. The market corrodes our character. Or so most people say. In Markets without Limits , Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski give markets a fair hearing. The market does not introduce wrongness where there was not any previously. Thus, the authors claim, the question of what rightfully may be bought and sold has a simple answer: if you may do it for free, you may do it for money. Contrary to the conservative consensus, they claim there are no inherent limits to what can be bought and sold, but only restrictions on how we buy and sell. (shrink)
This essay argues for the importance of Nishitani Keiji’s thought as a critical resource to confront what the unfolding ecological crisis reveals about who and what we are. The first part considers the importance of “nature” for Nishitani that accords with insights that both resonate with his Zen practice and heritage, and which open up tacit dimensions of the Jōdo Shin tradition. The second section turns to Nishitani’s highly original Zen “existentialization” of science in general, and by extension, contemporary climate (...) science in particular, in order to highlight Nishitani’s Great Death as a response to the unfolding ecological catastrophe. In treating climate science as a kōan, we not only come to see who we are, but also come undone and awaken to a new relation to the Great Earth. (shrink)
Problem one: why, if God designed the human mind, did it take so long for humans to develop theistic concepts and beliefs? Problem two: why would God use evolution to design the living world when the discovery of evolution would predictably contribute to so much nonbelief in God? Darwin was aware of such questions but failed to see their evidential significance for theism. This paper explores this significance. Problem one introduces something I call natural nonbelief, which is significant because it (...) parallels and corroborates well-known worries about natural evil. Problems one and two, especially when combined, support naturalism over theism, intensify the problem of divine hiddenness, challenge Alvin Plantinga’s views about the naturalness of theism, and advance the discussion about whether the conflict between science and religion is genuine or superficial. (shrink)
Induced by intake of the psychedelic substances LSD, psilocybin, DMT and mescaline, psychedelic experiences have been extensively described by subjects as entailing a most unusual increase in the scope and quality of their consciousness. Accordingly, psychedelic experiences have been widely characterised as an “expansion of consciousness.” This article poses the following question, as yet unaddressed in contemporary philosophy and the tradition of phenomenology: to what exactly does “expansion of consciousness” refer as a general characterisation of psychedelic experiences, and what role (...) might attention play therein? On the basis of Aron Gurwitsch’s phenomenology of attention, the following thesis is presented: (a) “expansion of consciousness” refers to a particular restructuration of consciousness in psychedelic experiences. (b) This occurs by means of certain extreme transformations in direction, scope, mode and degree of attention. In order to explicate this thesis, the characteristic features of psychedelic experiences that pertain to expansion of consciousness and attention are first systematically identified from a survey of subject reports. Second, it is demonstrated that the few previous attempts to understand expansion of consciousness in terms of attention as a filter/reducing-valve, spotlight or zoom-lens each fail to explain how consciousness is structured in psychedelic experiences. Third, it is argued that psychedelic expansion of consciousness is a general restructuration of consciousness by means of extreme attentional transformations. In conclusion, brief consideration is given to the question of whether psychedelic expansion of consciousness can have epistemic and ethical value for life. (shrink)
This paper concerns Spinoza’s theory of conatus and an important consequence of this theory concerning how bodies persist through time. I first argue that a conatus is the self-maintaining activity of a mode and not a tendency toward self-preservation or some kind of force. I then argue that it follows from this theory of conatus that bodies persist through time by having temporal parts. I conclude the paper by arguing that attributing a temporal parts metaphysic to Spinoza is not as (...) implausible or anachronistic as it might first seem to be. (shrink)
According to accuracy-first epistemology, accuracy is the fundamental epistemic good. Epistemic norms — Probabilism, Conditionalization, the Principal Principle, etc. — have their binding force in virtue of helping to secure this good. To make this idea precise, accuracy-firsters invoke Epistemic Decision Theory (EpDT) to determine which epistemic policies are the best means toward the end of accuracy. Hilary Greaves and others have recently challenged the tenability of this programme. Their arguments purport to show that EpDT encourages obviously epistemically irrational behavior. (...) We develop firmer conceptual foundations for EpDT. First, we detail a theory of praxic and epistemic good. Then we show that, in light of their very different good-making features, EpDT will evaluate epistemic states and epistemic acts according to different criteria. So, in general, rational preference over states and acts won’t agree. Finally, we argue that based on direction-of-fit considerations, it’s preferences over the former that matter for normative epistemology, and that EpDT, properly spelt out, arrives at the correct verdicts in a range of putative problem cases. (shrink)
Some philosophers have argued for what I call the reason-giving requirement for conscientious refusal in reproductive healthcare. According to this requirement, healthcare practitioners who conscientiously object to administering standard forms of treatment must have arguments to back up their conscience, arguments that are purely public in character. I argue that such a requirement, though attractive in some ways, faces an overlooked epistemic problem: it is either too easy or too difficult to satisfy in standard cases. I close by briefly considering (...) whether a version of the reason-giving requirement can be salvaged despite this important difficulty. (shrink)
Unspecific evidence calls for imprecise credence. My aim is to vindicate this thought. First, I will pin down what it is that makes one's imprecise credences more or less epistemically valuable. Then I will use this account of epistemic value to delineate a class of reasonable epistemic scoring rules for imprecise credences. Finally, I will show that if we plump for one of these scoring rules as our measure of epistemic value or utility, then a popular family of decision rules (...) recommends imprecise credences. In particular, a range of Hurwicz criteria, which generalise the Maximin decision rule, recommend imprecise credences. If correct, the moral is this: an agent who adopts precise credences, rather than imprecise ones, in the face of unspecific and incomplete evidence, goes wrong by gambling with the epistemic utility of her doxastic state in too risky a fashion. Precise credences represent an overly risky epistemic bet, according to the Hurwicz criteria. (shrink)