Philosophers of language have long recognized that in opaque contexts, such as those involving propositional attitude reports, substitution of co-referring names may not preserve truth value. For example, the name ‘Clark Kent’ cannot be substituted for ‘Superman’ in a context like:1. Lois believes that Superman can flywithout a change in truth value. In an earlier paper , Jennifer Saul demonstrated that substitution failure could also occur in ‘simple sentences’ where none of the ordinary opacity-producing conditions existed, such as:2. Superman (...) leaps more tall buildings than Clark Kent does.Accounts focusing on opacity were unable to explain our ‘anti-substitution intuitions’ in such cases.In Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Saul extends her earlier work. She provides a comprehensive presentation and criticism of recent accounts of simple sentence substitution failure, and proposes a new approach drawing on psychological evidence about cognitive processing. Saul's purpose is not merely to solve the substitution puzzle cases, but to make …. (shrink)
Intuitions play an important role in contemporary epistemology. Over the last decade, however, experimental philosophers have published a number of studies suggesting that epistemic intuitions may vary in ways that challenge the widespread reliance on intuitions in epistemology. In a recent paper, Jennifer Nagel offers a pair of arguments aimed at showing that epistemic intuitions do not, in fact, vary in problematic ways. One of these arguments relies on a number of claims defended by appeal to the psychological literature (...) on intuitive judgment and on mental state attribution (also known as “theory of mind”, “mindreading” and “folk psychology”). I call this the "theoretical argument". The other argument relies on recent experimental work carried out by Nagel and her collaborators. It is my contention that in setting out her theoretical argument, Nagel offers an account of the relevant scientific literature that is, in crucial respects, flawed and misleading. My main goal in this paper is to rectify these errors and to make it clear that, once this is done, Nagel’s theoretical argument collapses. Since Nagel’s experimental work has not yet been published, and available details are very sketchy, I do not discuss this work in detail. However, in the final section of the paper I offer some critical observations about Nagel’s strategy for dealing with empirical data that does not support her view – both other people’s and her own. (shrink)
Jennifer Windt’s Dreaming is an enormously rich and thorough book, developing illuminating connections between dreaming, the methodology of psychology, and various philosophical subfields. I’ll focus on two epistemological threads that run through the book. The first has to do with the status of certain assumptions about dreams. Windt argues that the assumptions that dreams involve experiences, and that dream reports are reliable — are methodologically necessary default assumptions, akin to Wittgensteinian hinge propositions. I’ll suggest that Windt is quietly pre-supposing (...) some sceptical assumptions, and that recent literature in epistemic externalism may bear in important ways on her arguments. The second thread involves the perennial sceptical worry that dreaming threatens ordinary knowledge. I’ll suggest again that Windt makes tacit sceptical assumptions one may wish to resist. (shrink)
Jennifer Hornsby’s 1997 paper, ‘Truth: The Identity Theory’, has been highly influential in making the identity theory of truth a viable option in contemporary philosophy. In this introduction and commentary I focus on what distinguishes her theory and its methodology from the correspondence theory and the ‘substantivist’ methodology, and on other issues that have not been widely discussed in earlier commentaries yet are central to the current debate on truth.
In this important book, Jennifer Scuro's lived experience presents a challenge to common ideas and assumptions about motherhood, femininity, and anti-abortion politics, as well as to the familiar content and form of philosophy. It is centered on an intensely personal, 176-page graphic novel that details the vivid aspects of Scuro's own miscarriage. Her experience serves as a philosophical allegory, challenging neoliberal and ableist assumptions that presume normalcy, expect results, and promise the false freedom of choice. Initially fitting the script (...) of "normal" motherhood and femininity, Scuro's experience brought her to the "razor's edge" of her cisgender, white privilege. The cutting truth of her story is that... (shrink)
I reply to the excellent commentaries by Nancy Snow and Jennifer Cole Wright on my book, The Character Gap: How Good Are We? Topics discussed include the criteria of virtue, kinds of virtuous motives, vicious motivation and behavior, continence and incontinence, the possibility of widespread vice, and a recent meta-analysis of helping behavior.
Becoming Human by Jennifer Greenwood is one of the most thought-provoking books on emotion and its expression I have read. At its core, it attempts to provide an account of the development of full human emotionality and in so doing argues the emotions are “transcranial.” Emotions are radically realized outside our nervous systems and beyond our skin. As children, we are functionally integrated affectively with our mothers; so much so that in a sense our emotions are not ours alone. (...) Regardless of whether one agrees with her radical claims, it is a must-read for those interested in emotion and expression. In order to appreciate the significance of this book, let me sketch its contents and raise a few criticisms.Many... (shrink)
En dépit de sa date de parution un peu ancienne, il semble important de signaler cet ouvrage aux lecteurs de ce numéro de Clio. Les évaluations péjoratives de la conversation féminine sont, comme on sait, un des lieux communs les plus anciens et les plus ancrés ; « bavardage », « caquetage », « ragots »... sont quelques-uns des termes métaphoriques qui stigmatisent une façon d'échanger et un style de contenu situés au plus loin de la parole sûre et pondérée (...) des hommes. Jennifer Coates .. (shrink)
Jennifer Greenwood's Becoming Human: The Ontogenesis, Metaphysics, and Expression of Human Emotionality is an innovative exploration of the empirical literature on human development and its implications for the extended mind debate. Greenwood argues that an examination of the emotional and linguistic development of children, especially the unique relationship between mothers and infants, supports transcranialism. I summarize her argument and then point to some of the strengths and weaknesses of her position.
Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor’s Postmodern Utopias and Feminist Fictions represents not only a significant contribution in utopian studies; it is also a major intervention in contemporary literary studies and global cultural studies more generally. Each of the book’s chapters is structured around a specific set of formal and generic questions, exploring in great detail and with a tremendous amount of insight recent feminist revisionings of older genres, including the bildungsroman, the novel of art, nonlinear histories, American historical novels, and finally, in (...) an extraordinary turn, the works of contemporary Arab feminist writers, which, Wagner-Lawlor shows, “directly address the nature of the work left to do, as.. (shrink)
In their excellent new volume, Asian and Feminist Philosophies in Dialogue: Liberating Traditions, editors Jennifer McWeeny and Ashby Butnor offer a vision for philosophy that begins with the insight that philosophy is an activity: it is something that we do rather than simply learn about. As an activity—or even, at times, a performance—philosophy both shapes and is shaped by the social world, a world of power hierarchies, economic realities, and political strategies. Conceiving of philosophy as a socially situated activity (...) highlights its liberatory potential. The activity of philosophy can liberate or constrain; it can empower a person or diminish her. This volume seizes on this insight by employing what Butnor... (shrink)
During this period, when disciples were growing in number, a grievance arose on the part of those who spoke Greek, against those who spoke the language of the Jews; they complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. When Americans think of ethnic conflict, conflict between blacks and whites comes to mind most immediately. Yet ethnic conflict is pervasive around the world. Azerbijanis and Turks in the Soviet Union; Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland; Arabs and Jews (...) in the Middle East; Maoris and English settlers in New Zealand; Muslims and Hindus in India and Pakistan; French and English speakers in Quebec; Africans, Afrikaaners, and mixed-race people in South Africa, in addition to the tribal warfare among the Africans themselves: these are just a few of the more obvious conflicts currently in the news. We observe an even more dizzying array of ethnic conflicts if we look back just a few years. Japanese and Koreans; Mongols and Chinese; Serbs and Croats; Christians and Buddhists in Viet Nam: these ancient antagonisms are not immediately in the news, but they could erupt at any time. And the history of the early Christian Church recounted in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that suspicion among ethnic groups is not a modern phenomenon; rather, it is ancient. The present paper seeks to address the problem of ethnic conflict in modern western democracies. How can our tools and traditions of participatory governments, relatively free markets, and the common law contribute to some resolution of the ancient problems that we find within our midst? In particular, I want to focus here on the question of ethnic integration. (shrink)
In her recent study, Kant's Organicism.Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy, Jennifer Mensch employs the technical term "organicism" to designate both Kant’s thinking about organisms and his thinking about other matters–chiefly among those transcendental cognition –in terms of his thinking about organisms. The article places Mensch's organicist reading of Kant into the wider context of recent and current work on Kant as a natural historian and its repercussion for understanding the critical core of Kant’s philosophy. To that end, (...) the article addresses the methodological function of conceptual metaphors in general and of biological metaphors in particular in Kant. The article proceeds in three steps, first focusing on an alleged anthropological turn in recent work on Kant, then addressing the distinction between schematism and symbolism in Kant’s critical epistemology and concluding with a consideration of the possibilities and limitations inherent in an organicist reading of Kant. (shrink)
There is no conservative thought in America, only “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas,” wrote Lionel Trilling in 1950, thus providing a generation of historians with a convenient set piece to demonstrate the inadequacies of mid-century liberalism and its blindness to the nascent conservative intellectual movement gathering strength and purpose just as Trilling wrote. Two excellent new books about American intellectual history cast this quote in yet another light. Patrick Allitt's The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities throughout American History (...) carefully documents a centuries-long tradition of conservative thought in America, from the founding era through the end of the twentieth century. In The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers, and the Lessons of Anti-Communism, Michael Kimmage asserts that Trilling himself be considered a source of conservative ideas in postwar America. Taken together, the books by Allitt and Kimmage indicate that a new cycle of writing about conservative thought has reached full flower. For far too long, the field of conservative intellectual history has been dominated by the figure of George Nash, author of the classic 1976 The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. These books provide an updated and more critically sophisticated way to examine the terrain Nash strode alone for so long. More significantly, they indicate that intellectual historians are ready to consider conservatism in dialogue with liberalism, bringing new balance to the study of American ideas. Furthermore, both books, Kimmage's in particular, suggest that some of what we are calling conservative and liberal might be flying under the wrong flag. The key to sorting out the confusion will be drawing a more careful distinction between conservatism as a “movement” and as a body of ideas, and looking at both conservatisms as part of a typically American response to historical change, rather than as an exotic and abberant specimen. (shrink)
In this response paper I defend an alternative position to both Jennifer McMahon’s neo-Kantian view on the aesthetics of perceptual experience, and the sense-data theory that she rightly repudiates. McMahon argues that sense perception is informed by concepts “all the way out,” and that the empiricist notion of unmediated sensuous access to entities in the world is untenable. She further claims that art is demanding inasmuch as it compels one to engage in an open-ended, cognitive interpretive process with sensuous (...) phenomena, and that it is this very process that opens up a space for critique of the entrenched representational concepts by which we navigate the world. In contrast, I argue that the sensuous itself is a source of demand. Perceptual objects, in virtue of their material constitution, are inexhaustible plexuses of meaning that demand a kind of sensuous, interpretive response on the part of our bodily posture and orientation. Works of art offer opportunities for critique insofar as they reveal dimensions of sensuous reality hitherto covered over by status quo conceptual distributions. McMahon is right that sensuous objects are never simply given. But, I claim, she is wrong to suggest that it is only by way of conceptual mediation that we make contact with the world. On the contrary, the sensuous self-presentation of things is always at the same time a demand on our sensory apparatus that resists encapsulation by concepts. (shrink)
In 'What Luck Is Not', Lackey presents counterexamples to the two most prominent accounts of luck: the absence of control account and the modal account. I offer an account of luck that conjoins absence of control to a modal condition. I then show that Lackey's counterexamples mislocate the luck: the agents in her cases are lucky, but the luck precedes the event upon which Lackey focuses, and that event is itself only fortunate, not lucky. Finally I offer an account of (...) fortune. Fortune is luck-involving, and therefore easily confused with luck, but it is not itself lucky. (shrink)
It seems philosophers often feel compelled to assess the continuing relevance of their chosen fields of specialization and/or their favorite philosophers. While this volume does not set out to prove that the philosophy of John Dewey is of continuing relevance (and it is difficult to imagine how one would prove such a thing), several of the included essays explicitly argue that Dewey's work provides resources to advance contemporary philosophical debates. The collection was assembled from essays presented at a June 2009 (...) conference at the University of Opole in southern Poland, held in honor of the 150th anniversary of Dewey's birth. The very fact that sesquicentennial conferences like this one were held all over .. (shrink)