Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (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)
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)
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.
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.
Incompatibilists believe free will is impossible if determinism is true, and they often claim that this view is supported by ordinary intuitions. We challenge the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive to most laypersons and discuss the significance of this challenge to the free will debate. After explaining why incompatibilists should want their view to accord with pre theoretical intuitions. we suggest that determining whether incompatibilism is infact intuitive calls for empirical testing. We then present the results of our studies, which (...) put significant pressure on the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive. Finally, we consider and respond to several potential objections to our approach. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the thesis that alleffects of extra-linguistic context on thetruth-conditions of an assertion are traceable toelements in the actual syntactic structure of thesentence uttered. In the first section, I develop thethesis in detail, and discuss its implications for therelation between semantics and pragmatics. The nexttwo sections are devoted to apparent counterexamples.In the second section, I argue that there are noconvincing examples of true non-sentential assertions.In the third section, I argue that there are noconvincing examples of what (...) John Perry has called`unarticulated constituents''. I conclude by drawingsome consequences of my arguments for appeals tocontext-dependence in the resolution of problems inepistemology and philosophical logic. (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)
Ontological Pluralism is the view that there are different modes, ways, or kinds of being. In this paper, I characterize the view more fully (drawing on some recent work by Kris McDaniel) and then defend the view against a number of arguments. (All of the arguments I can think of against it, anyway.).
"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)
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.
This paper is a companion piece to my earlier paper “Fallibilism and Concessive Knowledge Attributions”. There are two intuitive charges against fallibilism. One is that it countenances the truth (and presumably acceptability) of utterances of sentences such as “I know that Bush is a Republican, though it might be that he is not a Republican”. The second is that it countenances the truth (and presumably acceptability) of utterances of sentences such as “I know that Bush is a Republican, even though (...) I’m not certain that he is”, or “I know that Bush it a Republican, even though it isn’t certain that he is.” In “Fallibilism and Concessive Knowledge Attributions”, I argue that fallibilism in epistemology does not countenance the truth of utterances of sentences such as “I know that Bush is a Republican, though it might be that he is not a Republican”. In this paper, I argue that there are independent reasons for thinking that utterances of sentences such as “I know that Bush is a Republican, though I’m not certain that he is” and “I know that Bush is a Republican, though it’s not certain that he is” are unassertible. More specifically, I argue that these are simply instances of Moore’s Paradox, such as “Dogs bark, but I don’t know that they do.” The right account of Moore’s Paradox does not involve the falsehood of the semantic content of the relevant utterances, but rather their pragmatic unacceptability. So the anti-fallibilist intuitions turn out to have pragmatic, rather than semantic import, and therefore do not tell against the truth of fallibilism. Fallibilism in epistemology is often thought to be theoretically desirable, but intuitively problematic. My purpose with these two papers is to show that fallibilism is not intuitively problematic. (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)
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)
Any successful account of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation must satisfy at least five key desiderata. In this article, I lay out these five desiderata and explain why existing accounts of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation fail to satisfy them. I then present an alternative account that does satisfy the five desiderata. According to this alternative account, we must resort to a type of ontological entity that is new to metaphysics, but not to science: constraints. In this article, I explain (...) how a constraints-based metaphysics fits best with the emerging consensus on the nature of mechanistic explanation. 1Introduction2Renormalizability2.1The first two desiderata: Intrinsicness and productivity2.2The third desideratum: Scientific validity or non-mysteriousness2.3The fourth desideratum: Directionality2.4The fifth desideratum: Perspectival nature of mechanisms3Constraints and Causation3.1Multi-perspectival realism and causal structure3.2Causal structure as laws3.3Causal structures in analytical mechanics: Constraints3.4A metaphysics inspired by analytical mechanics: Constraints as ontologically primitive modal structures4Constraints and Mechanistic Causal Powers 4.1Inter- versus intra-perspectival categories4.2Mechanistic causal powers are grounded by constraints4.3Intrinsicness and constraints4.4Constraints and productiveness4.5Constraints and directionality5Conclusion. (shrink)
This paper critically examines the biology of species identity and the morality of crossing species boundaries in the context of emerging research that involves combining human and nonhuman animals at the genetic or cellular level. We begin with the notion of species identity, particularly focusing on the ostensible fixity of species boundaries, and we explore the general biological and philosophical problem of defining species. Against this backdrop, we survey and criticize earlier attempts to forbid crossing species boundaries in the creation (...) of novel beings. We do not attempt to establish the immorality of crossing species boundaries, but we conclude with some thoughts about such crossings, alluding to the notion of moral confusion regarding social and ethical obligations to novel interspecies beings. (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)
Lewis concludes that fallibilism is uncomfortable, though preferable to scepticism. However, he believes that contextualism about knowledge allows us to ‘dodge the choice’ between fallibilism and scepticism. For the contextualist semantics for ‘know’ can explain the oddity of fallibilism, without landing us into scepticism.
In Our Best Interest argues that it is permissible to intervene in a person's affairs whenever doing so serves her best interest without wronging others. Jason Hanna makes the case for paternalism, responding to common objections that paternalism is disrespectful or that it violates rights, and arguing that popular anti-paternalist views confront serious problems.
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)
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)
With its focus on intellectual virtues and their role in the acquisition and transmission of knowledge and related epistemic goods, virtue epistemology provides a rich set of tools for educational theory and practice. In particular, characteristics under the rubric of "responsibilist" virtue epistemology, like curiosity, open-mindedness, attentiveness, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity, can help educators and students define and attain certain worthy but nebulous educational goals like a love of learning, lifelong learning, and critical thinking. This volume is devoted to (...) exploring the intersection between virtue epistemology and education. It assembles leading virtue epistemologists and philosophers of education to address such questions as: Which virtues are most essential to education? How exactly should these virtues be understood? How is the goal of intellectual character growth related to other educational goals, for example, to critical thinking and knowledge-acquisition? What are the "best practices" for achieving this goal? Can growth in intellectual virtues be measured? The chapters are a prime example of "applied epistemology" and promise to be a seminal contribution to an area of research that is rapidly gaining attention within epistemology and beyond. (shrink)
The practice of unrestricted universal suffrage is unjust. Citizens have a right that any political power held over them should be exercised by competent people in a competent way. Universal suffrage violates this right. To satisfy this right, universal suffrage in most cases must be replaced by a moderate epistocracy, in which suffrage is restricted to citizens of sufficient political competence. Epistocracy itself seems to fall foul of the qualified acceptability requirement, that political power must be distributed in ways against (...) which there are no qualified objections. However, it is less intrinsically unjust than democracy with universal suffrage, and probably produces more just outcomes. Thus epistocracy is more just than democracy, even if not perfectly just. (shrink)
This volume is the first in English to provide a full, systematic investigation into Aristotle's criticisms of earlier Greek theories of the soul from the perspective of his theory of scientific explanation. Some interpreters of the De Anima have seen Aristotle's criticisms of Presocratic, Platonic, and other views about the soul as unfair or dialectical, but Jason W. Carter argues that Aristotle's criticisms are in fact a justified attempt to test the adequacy of earlier theories in terms of the (...) theory of scientific knowledge he advances in the Posterior Analytics. Carter proposes a new interpretation of Aristotle's confrontations with earlier psychology, showing how his reception of other Greek philosophers shaped his own hylomorphic psychology and led him to adopt a novel dualist theory of the soul–body relation. His book will be important for students and scholars of Aristotle, ancient Greek psychology, and the history of the mind–body problem. (shrink)
In this paper, I respond to recent attempts by philosophers to deny the existence of something that is both real and significant: reasonable disagreements between epistemic peers. In their arguments against the possibility of such disagreements, skeptical philosophers typically invoke one or more of the following: indifference reasoning , equal weight principles , and uniqueness theses . I take up each of these in turn, finding ample reason to resist them. The arguments for indifference reasoning and equal weight principles tend (...) to overlook the possibility of a certain kind of agnostic credal state which I call deep agnosticism , the possibility of which derails the arguments. The arguments for uniqueness theses tend to invoke a flawed understanding of the evidential support relation. When these problems and misunderstandings are brought into the light and corrected, the threat to reasonable disagreement vanishes. (shrink)
In ‘The Ockhamization of the event sources of sound’ (2013), Roberto Casati, Elvira Di Bona, and Jérôme Dokic argue that ‘ockhamizing’ Casey O’Callaghan’s account of sounds as proper parts of their event sources yields their preferred view: that sounds are identical with their event sources. This article argues that the considerations Casati et al. marshal in favor of their view are actually stronger considerations in favor of a quite different view: a variant on the Lockean conception of sounds as ‘sensible (...) qualities’ that treats sounds as audible properties of their event sources. (shrink)
Suppose a person who is agnostic about most philosophical issues wishes to have true philosophical beliefs but equally wishes to avoid false philosophical beliefs. I argue that this truth-seeking, error-avoiding agnostic would not have good grounds for pursuing philosophy. Widespread disagreement shows that pursuing philosophy is not a reliable method of discovering true answers to philosophical questions. More likely than not, pursuing philosophy leads to false belief. Many attempts to rebut this sceptical argument fail.
A longstanding philosophical tradition holds that the primary objects of hearing are sounds rather than sound sources. In this case, we hear sound sources by—or in virtue of—hearing their sounds. This paper argues that, on the contrary, we have good reason to believe that the primary objects of hearing are sound sources, and that the relationship between a sound and its source is much like the relationship between a color and its bearer. Just as we see objects in seeing their (...) colors, so we hear sound sources in hearing their sounds. (shrink)
The value problem in epistemology is rooted in a commonsense intuition to the effect that knowledge is more valuable than true belief. Call this the “guiding intuition.” The guiding intuition generates a problem in light of two additional considerations. The first is that knowledge is (roughly) justified or warranted true belief. The second is that on certain popular accounts of justification or warrant (e.g. reliabilism), its value is apparently instrumental to and hence derivative from the value of true belief. But (...) if knowledge is justified true belief and the value of justification is derivative from that of true belief, how is it that knowledge is more valuable than true belief? (shrink)
Complex demonstrative phrases, in English, are phrases such as ‘that woman in the department’ and ‘that car on the corner’. They are of particular interest to philosophers for two related reasons. The first involves the problem of intentionality. If there are phrases that are candidates for “latching directly onto the world,” they are such phrases, and their “simple” counterparts, as in the occurrences of ‘that’ in ‘that is nice’. As a result, philosophers interested in intentionality, from the sense-data theorists to (...) contemporary philosophers of mind, have devoted considerable attention to the question of how a demonstrative thought links to its object. The second reason involves issues in semantics and the philosophy of language. In the course of investigations into the model theory for modal logic in the 1950s and 1960s, philosophers recognized that the simplest way to treat terms was as modally rigid, namely as designating their actual designations relative to any possible world in which they existed, and nothing else in other worlds. It was soon recognized that this semantic property could be elegantly explained by the assumption that the semantics of singular terms reflects the role of singular terms in linking representations directly to the world. If the semantic contribution of a singular term to a thought is simply the object it denotes, and the thought is the object of modal evaluation, then the modal rigidity of the class of terms falls out as a consequence. Demonstrative phrases, both simple and complex, have always been taken to be among the paradigms for this picture of reference, which has come to be known as “the direct reference” model. (shrink)
When a patient lacks decision-making capacity, then according to standard clinical ethics practice in the United States, the health care team should seek guidance from a surrogate decision-maker, either previously selected by the patient or appointed by the courts. If there are no surrogates willing or able to exercise substituted judgment, then the team is to choose interventions that promote a patient’s best interests. We argue that, even when there is input from a surrogate, patient preferences should be an additional (...) source of guidance for decisions about patients who lack decision-making capacity. (shrink)
Ontological nihilism is the radical-sounding thesis that there is nothing at all. This chapter first discusses how the most plausible forms of this thesis aim to be slightly less radical than they sound and what they will have to do in order to succeed in their less radical ambitions. In particular, they will have to paraphrase sentences of best science into ontologically innocent counterparts. The chapter then points out the defects in two less plausible strategies, before going on to argue (...) that strategies that look more promising, including one based on Quine's predicate-functor language, face the same defects. (shrink)
Open-mindedness enjoys widespread recognition as an intellectual virtue. This is evident, among other ways, in its appearance on nearly every list of intellectual virtues in the virtue epistemology literature.1 Despite its popularity, however, it is far from clear what exactly open-mindedness amounts to: that is, what sort of intellectual orientation or activity is essential to it. In fact, there are ways of thinking about open-mindedness that cast serious doubt on its status as an intellectual virtue. Consider the following description, from (...) Robert Roberts and Jay Wood (2007), of a ‘bright college freshman, taking an introductory course in philosophy.’ Given this student’s ‘taste for ideas,’ she .. (shrink)
This paper examines the claim made by certain virtue epistemologists that intellectual character virtues like fair-mindedness, open-mindedness and intellectual courage merit an important and fundamental role in epistemology. I begin by considering whether these traits merit an important role in the analysis of knowledge. I argue that they do not and that in fact they are unlikely to be of much relevance to any of the traditional problems in epistemology. This presents a serious challenge for virtue epistemology. I go on (...) to examine the work of two other virtue epistemologists in light of this challenge and then sketch an alternative approach that reveals how the intellectual virtues might merit a substantial role in epistemology even if not a role in connection with more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)
This article examines Michel Foucault’s critical investigation of neoliberalism in the course published as Naissance de la biopolitique: Cours au Collège de France, 1978-1979. Foucault’s lectures are interrogated along two axes. First, examining the way in which neoliberalism can be viewed as a particular production of subjectivity, as a way in which individuals are constituted as subjects of “human capital.” Secondly, Foucault’s analyses is augmented and critically examined in light of other critical work on neoliberalism by Wendy Brown, David Harvey, (...) Christian Laval, Maurizo Lazzarato, and Antonio Negri. Of these various debates and discussions, the paper argues that the discussion of real subsumption in Marx and Negri is most important for understanding the specific politics of neoliberalism. Finally, the paper argues that neoliberalism entails a fundamental reexamination of the tools of critical thought, an examination of how freedom can constitute a form of subjection. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn this paper, I explain why I disagree with David Pilgrim’s claim that critical realists should deny any ‘natal male’ claim to womanhood. Specifically, Pilgrim and I have different definitions of the transitive and intransitive dimensions of reality. In my version – which I believe is in the spirit of the Bhaskarian version – the transitive dimension embraces everything that is currently being affected by human praxis. This allows for an intersectional view of gender in which it is perfectly possible (...) for the same human, in different contexts, to be an ontological woman, an ontological trans woman ; and an ontological person with a prostate gland, some might say a man. In the same way, it is perfectly possible for a room to contain 17 people for the purposes of setting out tea cups, but 18 people for the purposes of providing lecture hand-outs. For the purposes of everyday life, and even, I argue, for the fight against sexism, trans women have the same claim to being women as cis women. (shrink)
Leading versions of hedonism generate implausible results about the welfare value of very intense or unwanted pleasures, while recent versions of desire satisfactionism overvalue the fulfillment of desires associated with compulsions and addictions. Consequently, both these theories fail to satisfy a plausible condition of adequacy for theories of well-being proposed by L.W. Sumner: they do not make one’s well-being depend on one’s own cares or concerns. But Sumner’s own life-satisfaction theory cannot easily be extended to explain welfare over time, and (...) it makes mistaken self-assessment impossible. A new account of well-being based on the stable realization of personal values enjoys the advantages claimed for these subjective theories while avoiding these problems. (shrink)
This paper attempts to explain the conceptual connections between happiness and well-being. It first distinguishes episodic happiness from happiness in the personal attribute sense. It then evaluates two recent proposals about the connection between happiness and well-being: (1) the idea that episodic happiness and well-being both have the same fundamental determinants, so that a person is well-off to a particular degree in virtue of the fact that they are happy to that degree, and (2) the idea that happiness in the (...) personal attribute sense can serve as a ‘‘proxy’’ for well-being, i.e., that a person’s degree of deep or robust happiness approximates their degree of well-being. It is argued that happiness in both these senses is conceptually, metaphysically, and empirically distinct from well- being. A new analysis of welfare, well-being as agential flourishing, can explain welfare’s real connection to happiness in both the episodic and personal attribute senses. It predicts that such happiness is only directly beneficial when it is valued, when it is a form of valuing, or when it underwrites (i.e., serves as the causal basis for) the disposition to realize one’s values. It is therefore a necessary—but not sufficient—condition for especially high levels of well-being. This analysis of welfare integrates many insights from the eudaimonic tradition of welfare and happiness research in psychology, and also addresses common criticisms of these eudaimonic models. (shrink)