Legal and social norms regarding gender relations have undergone dramatic changes in the past 25 years. The changes have come about largely because of the confluence of changing economic and technological realities, the unfolding of the norm dictating equal treatment of individuals, the sexual revolution and its corollaries of improved contraception and legal abortion, the rise of women as a self-conscious group and a presence in the academy, and the interrelations of all of these factors. As men and women have (...) come to share dormitories and workplaces, and as the old mores governing sex—and male-female relations in general—have broken down, there has been struggle and uncertainty over what norms should apply to sexual relations. (shrink)
???Everyone agrees that the moral features of things supervene on their natural features??? , 22). Everyone is wrong, or so I will argue. In the first section, I explain the version of moral supervenience that Smith and others argue everyone should accept. In the second section, I argue that the mere conceptual possibility of a divine command theory of morality is sufficient to refute the version of moral supervenience under consideration. Lastly, I consider and respond to two objections, showing, among (...) other things, that while DCT is sufficient to refute this version of moral supervenience it is not necessary. (shrink)
In his book Attention, Professor Alan White says ‘When you see X, it follows that if X is Y, you see Y whether you realise it or not.’ If, in passing through Paris, I saw a tall complex iron structure and that structure is the Eiffel Tower, then I saw the Eiffel Tower whether I realised it or not. I accept this, but because recent philosophical writings and discussions have cast doubt on the validity of the inference-pattern I saw x (...) ; x is y ; so I saw y and certain related patterns, it is clear that we cannot be content with this unvarnished statement. Various entertaining examples are produced to show that some instances of this pattern are invalid and therefore that the pattern itself is invalid. If I saw Jones at noon and at noon Jones was bribing Smith then, it is alleged, I cannot conclude that I saw Jones bribing Smith. Similarly, it is said, from the facts that I saw a man in the far distance and that that man was my father, I cannot conclude that I saw my father in the far distance; from the facts that I saw a foot and that that foot was Lloyd George's I cannot conclude that I saw Lloyd George. (shrink)
Mill predicted that “[t]he Liberty is likely to survive longer than anything else that I have written … because the conjunction of [Harriet Taylor’s] mind with mine has rendered it a kind of philosophic text-book of a single truth, which the changes progressively taking place in modern society tend to bring out in ever greater relief.” Indeed, _On Liberty_ is one of the most influential books ever written, and remains a foundational document for the understanding of vital political, philosophical and (...) social issues. In addition to its many useful appendices, this new edition includes a chronology, bibliography, and a substantial introduction which outlines Mill’s life and works, and sets this central work of 1859 in the context of both his own intellectual development and of the play of ideas and political forces in Victorian society. (shrink)
Anscombe claims that whenever a subject is doing something intentionally, this subject knows that they are doing it. This essay defends Anscombe's claim from an influential set of counterexamples, due to Davidson. It argues that Davidson's counterexamples are tacit appeals to an argument, on which knowledge can't be essential to doing something intentionally, because some things that can be done intentionally require knowledge of future successes, and because such knowledge can't ever be guaranteed when someone is doing something intentionally. The (...) essay argues that there are apparently sensible grounds for denying each of these two premises. (shrink)
This essay sets out from a reading of two photomontage projects by South African artist Jane Alexander, ?Adventure Centre? (2000) and ?Survey: Cape of Good Hope? (2005?09), one of Alexander's ongoing ?survey? projects, and remarks on the overwhelming impulse on the part of critics and interpreters to anthropomorphize the figures appearing in the photomontage images. It goes on to explore the hypothesis that Alexander's work in fact resists or refuses these attempts at anthropomorphization, and that this resistance (...) is connected with the more openly political aspects of her work, as well as with a more general refusal of anthropomorphism by photography. The second part of the essay frames a possible engagement with Alexander's photomontages through terms offered by Walter Benjamin's ?Little History of Photography,? and looks at Benjamin's peculiar concern with a kind of anti-portraiture: a photographic genre that would feature the human face in an anonymous way, without being concerned with identity. The essay closes with a consideration of the genre of the photographic survey historically, and traces an impulse, evident in the survey, to treat the human as only one of many figural elements composing the crypto-industrial landscape. (shrink)
In this review of three recent books on higher education, Alexander Sidorkin shows how the disinterested discourse that appears to be anticapitalist and anticommercial is actually a way of obtaining income from state subsidies. What links the books under review—Cary Nelson's No University Is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom, Frank Donoghue's The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities, and Jennifer Washburn's University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education—is their critical evaluation of the (...) corporatization and commercialization of higher education. In his analysis of this common theme, Sidorkin considers discourse as a means of production, and he maintains that the semiotic fields produced by discourse may create inflationary bubbles unless they engage in innovative discursive practices. Higher education is shaped by the trend toward massification, which makes the innovative discourse essential. Sidorkin concludes that the discursive energy of proponents of higher education should be focused on solving the numerous problems that arise from the massification of higher education rather than trying to reverse the trend and return to some golden age of academia. (shrink)
This paper responds to the contributions by Alexander Bird, Nathan Wildman, David Yates, Jennifer McKitrick, Giacomo Giannini & Matthew Tugby, and Jennifer Wang. I react to their comments on my 2015 book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, and in doing so expands on some of the arguments and ideas of the book.
Experimental philosophy is one of the most active and exciting areas in philosophy today. In Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy, Elizabeth O’Neill and Edouard Machery have brought together twelve leading philosophers to debate four topics central to recent research in experimental philosophy. The result is an important and enticing contribution to contemporary philosophy which thoroughly reframes traditional philosophical questions in light of experimental philosophers’ use of empirical research methods, and brings to light the lively debates within experimental philosophers’ intellectual community. (...) Two papers are dedicated to the following four topics:
Language (Edouard Machery & Genoveva Martí)
Consciousness (Brian Fala, Adam Arico, and Shaun Nicols & Justin Sytsma)
Free Will and Responsibility (Joshua Knobe & Eddy Nahmias and Morgan Thompson)
Epistemology and the Reliability of Intuitions (Kenneth Boyd and Jennifer Nagel & Joshua Alexander and Jonathan Weinberg).
Preliminary descriptions of each chapter, annotated bibliographies for each controversy, and a supplemental guide to further controversies in experimental philosophy (with bibliographies) help provide clearer and richer views of these live controversies for all readers.
This paper argues that while Heidegger showed the importance of architecture in altering people's modes of being to avoid global ecological destruction, the work of Christopher Alexander offered a far more practical orientation to deal with this problem.
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)
Aristotle sometimes claims that the perception of special perceptibles by their proper sense is unerring. This claim is striking, since it might seem that we quite often misperceive things like colours, sounds and smells. Aristotle also claims that the perception of common perceptibles is more prone to error than the perception of special perceptibles. This is puzzling in its own right, and also places constraints on the interpretation of. I argue that reading Alexander of Aphrodisias on perceptual error can (...) help to make good sense of both of Aristotle’s claims. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Alexander of Aphrodisias’ commentaries on Aristotle’s Organon are valuable sources for both Stoic and early Peripatetic logic, and have often been used as such – in particular for early Peripatetic hypothetical syllogistic and Stoic propositional logic. By contrast, this paper explores the role Alexander himself played in the development and transmission of those theories. There are three areas in particular where he seems to have made a difference: First, he drew a connection between certain passages from Aristotle’s (...) Topics and Prior Analytics and the Stoic indemonstrable arguments, and, based on this connection, appropriated at least four kinds of Stoic indemonstrables as Aristotelian. Second, he developed and made use of a specifically Peripatetic terminology in which to describe and discuss those arguments – which facilitated the integration of the indemonstrables into Peripatetic logic. Third, he made some progress towards a solution to the problem of what place and interpretation the Stoic third indemonstrables should be given in a Peripatetic and Platonist setting. Overall, the picture emerges that Alexander persistently (if not always consistently) presented passages from Aristotle’s logical œuvre in a light that makes it appear as if Aristotle was in the possession of a Peripatetic correlate to the Stoic theory of indemonstrables. (shrink)
Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby argue that there may be a free-speech argument against pornography, if pornographic speech has the power to illocutionarily silence women: women's locution ‘No!’ that aims to refuse unwanted sex may misfire because pornography creates communicative conditions where the locution does not count as a refusal. Central to this is the view that women's speech lacks uptake, which is necessary for illocutionary acts like that of refusal. Alexander Bird has critiqued this view by arguing (...) that uptake is not necessary for the illocutionary act of refusal. The Hornsby-Langton view, then, is philosophically indefensible. Here I defend the philosophical cogency of the Hornsby-Langton approach. (shrink)
The cognizability of the world according to Alexander von Humboldt: the experience of landscape. According to Alexander von Humboldt, geography ought to aim to go beyond the modern attitude of seeing knowledge as being the result of a spatial and temporal abstraction from the real world. Von Humboldt wishes to create a new theory of knowledge, one that instead of just simplifying, schematizing, and categorizing reality is able to highlight its multiple meanings, its diversity of perspectives, and its (...) hermeneutical keys. Von Humboldt’s project strives to achieve a universal cognition of the world (or a universal geography) by claiming the centrality of the experience of landscape. This is evidence for von Humboldt’s far-sightedness, since he anticipated the present day trend of considering landscape as a corner stone of interdisciplinary enquiries into the meaning of the world. (shrink)
Samuel Alexander was a central figure of the new wave of realism that swept across the English-speaking world in the early twentieth century. His Space, Time, and Deity (1920a, 1920b) was taken to be the official statement of realism as a metaphysical system. But many historians of philosophy are quick to point out the idealist streak in Alexander’s thought. After all, as a student he was trained at Oxford in the late 1870s and early 1880s as British Idealism (...) was beginning to flourish. This naturally had some effect on his philosophical outlook and it is said that his early work is overtly idealist. In this paper I examine his neglected and understudied reactions to British Idealism in the 1880s. I argue that Alexander was not an idealist during this period and should not be considered as part of the British Idealist tradition, philosophically speaking. (shrink)
Experimental radiobiology represented a long-standing priority for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), but organizational issues initially impeded the laboratory progress of this government-funded work: who would direct such interdisciplinary investigations and how? And should the AEC support basic research or only mission-oriented projects? Alexander Hollaender's vision for biology in the post-war world guided AEC initiatives at Oak Ridge, where he created and presided over the Division of Biology for nearly two decades (1947-1966). Hollaender's scheme, at once entrepreneurial and (...) system-oriented, made good use of the unique resources provided by the AEC and by Oak Ridge's national laboratory setting, while at the same time it restructured wartime research practices to better reflect biologists' own priorities. Because Hollaender offered many academic experimental biologists a way of envisioning military-related patronage as integral - rather than antithetical - to their professional identities, his work provides an important lens through which to examine the early post-war intellectual and institutional development of radiobiology. (shrink)
According to Alexander of Aphrodisias, our potential intellect is a purely receptive capacity. Alexander also claims that, in order for us to actualise our intellectual potentiality, the intellect needs to abstract what is intelligible from enmattered perceptible objects. Now a problem emerges: How is it possible for a purely receptive capacity to perform such an abstraction? It will be argued that even though Alexander's reaction to this question causes some tension in his theory, the philosophical motivation for (...) it is a sound one. Rather than a calculation of actualities and potentialities, the doctrine of receptivity is supposed to explain how human beings come to grasp universal aspects of reality in an accurate manner. (shrink)
This article offers an analysis of the argumentative method of two treatises by Alexander of Aphrodisias, On Fate and On Providence, the latter of which is preserved only in Arabic translation. It is argued that both texts use techniques from Aristotelian dialectic, albeit in different ways, with On Fate adhering to methods outlined in Aristotle's Topics whereas On Providence uses the ‘aporetic’ method familiar from texts such as MetaphysicsΒ. This represents a revision of a previous study of Alexander's (...) method in On Fate by Jaap Mansfeld, which emphasized parallels between that method and the techniques of ancient scepticism. It is, however, suggested that Alexander does reflect developments in epistemology during the Hellenistic period, especially in so far as he ‘upgrades’ the status of endoxa to play something like the role of common conceptions in the dogmatic Hellenistic schools. (shrink)
Group selection is increasingly being viewed as an important force in human evolution. This paper examines the views of R.D. Alexander, one of the most influential thinkers about human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, on the subject of group selection. Alexander's general conception of evolution is based on the gene-centered approach of G.C. Williams, but he has also emphasized a potential role for group selection in the evolution of individual genomes and in human evolution. Alexander's views are (...) internally inconsistent and underestimate the importance of group selection. Specific themes that Alexander has developed in his account of human evolution are important but are best understood within the framework of multilevel selection theory. From this perspective, Alexander's views on moral systems are not the radical departure from conventional views that he claims, but remain radical in another way more compatible with conventional views. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the figure of Alexander the Great in Augustine's City of God. It argues that Alexander is used to as a negative exemplar, showing the short coming of Roman virtue. It is easier for Augustine's interlocutors to recognize the flaws in Alexander (a non-Roman) than to recognize flaws in Roman heroes. However, once the flaws in Alexander are identified, the flaws in Rome are easier to discern.
Panentheism is among the most influential variations on classical theism found within nineteenth and twentieth century theology, a prominent perspective in the recent religion and science dialogue, and is increasing in prominence within analytic philosophy of religion. Existing works on the history of panentheism understandably focus primarily on proponents of the view and their arguments in its favor. Less attention has been given to the history of arguments against it, and in particular little has been written on mediaeval Scholastic critiques. (...) Here, I summarize the criticisms leveled by an important thirteenth-century Franciscan, Alexander of Hales. I also assess the enduring value of his critique, arguing that it helps bring to the fore the importance of panentheism’s link with a further metaphysical debate: that between spacetime relationism versus substantivalism. (shrink)
In the year 308 CE, the African army raised to the purple the agens vices praefectorum praetorio Lucius Domitius Alexander. This rather unique case of a vicarius becoming emperor is deserving of investigation. Scholarly interest on the matter has traditionally focused on the broader political significance, treating Alexander as a traditional usurper. This paper argues that, contrary to traditional studies, the regime of Alexander focused on very local, African tropes. The uniqueness of the advertisement suggests that this (...) African usurpation was the product of discontent internal to Africa; in other words, it is a departure from the usurpations of the third century. The achievements of Diocletian, who supposedly stabilized the Empire, ended when he withdrew, and the rebellion of 308–310 demonstrates that there remained unaddressed tensions between the provinces and the remaining tetrarchs. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the concept of pilgrimage provides a unifying trope for the otherwise seemingly unfocused travel accounts of Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Interior and Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland’s Voyage aux régions equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent. I begin with a brief description of debates regarding the notion of pilgrimage. After that I show how pilgrimage as trope may be applied to the texts of these authors. This is followed by an application of the (...) classical stages of pilgrimage to particular phases of Bashō’s and Humboldt’s recounted experiences. I conclude that pilgrimage offers an illuminating new way to understand the travel accounts of these two writers. (shrink)
Alexander’s conquest of Persia transformed the way he ruled, with aspects of Achaemenid monarchy becoming prominent. In general, historians have focused on instances of deliberate engagement with Achaemenid practices, leading to the impression that this change resulted from conscious imitation. Here, I nuance this view, arguing that the gradual adoption of aspects of Achaemenid royal space played a pivotal role in transforming Alexander’s monarchy. This approach shifts our focus away from Alexander himself, placing his reign in a (...) wider context, while also demonstrating how space can act as a conduit for cultural interchange. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: English translation of the 2nd/3rd century Peripatetic Philosopher's Alexander of Aphrodisias commentary on Aristotle's non-modal syllogistic, i.e. on one of the most influential logical texts of all times. -/- Volume includes introduction on Alexander of Aphrodisias and the early commentators, translation with notes and comments, appendices with a new translation of Aristotle's text, a summary of Aristotle's non-modal syllogistic and textual notes.
Why an emergentist account of subjectivity? On the one hand, emergentism provides a new paradigm to rethink subjectivity beyond any dualism. At the same time, the issue of subjectivity puts a strain on emergentism itself, and pushes it beyond its limits. To show it, in the present paper I address a fundamental question: How can we describe subjectivity from an emergentist perspective? To answer, I will tackle Samuel Alexander’s and Alfred North Whitehead’s emergentist accounts of subjectivity. Alexander locates (...) subjectivity into a consistent emergentist framework, but his model of subjectivity remains grounded in the classical interpretation of subjectivity as mind. Whitehead gives a more innovative model of subjectivity, which implies a radical revision of its temporality and connection to the world, but this leads him beyond emergentism as a whole. (shrink)