The moral psychology of sympathy is the linchpin of the sentimentalist moral theories of both David Hume and Adam Smith. In this paper, I attempt to diagnose the critical differences between Hume's and Smith's respective accounts of sympathy in order to argue that Smithian sympathy is more properly suited to serve as a basis for impartial moral evaluations and judgments than is Humean sympathy. By way of arguing this claim, I take up the problem of overcoming sympathetic partiality in the (...) construction of a moral point of view, acknowledged by both writers, as my primary platform. My contention is that Humean sympathy is too mechanistic to actually deliver an impartial adjudicatory perspective, and that Smithian sympathy, with its evaluative, imaginative components, succeeds where Hume's account falls short. The paper is comprised of six sections: (i) introductory remarks, (ii) a discussion of Humean sympathy, (iii) a discussion of Smithian sympathy and its distinctness, (iv) a critical analysis of Hume's attempt to correct for sympathetic partiality in the construction of the judicial spectator's general point of view, (v) a critical discussion of sympathetic partiality in Smithian sympathy & (vi) a critical analysis of Smith's construction of the impartial spectator perspective as a moral point of view. (shrink)
En épistémologie des sciences sociales, Jon Elster est connu pour sa défense de l’individualisme méthodologique et sa critique des explications de haut niveau. Cette note critique la plus récente formulation de sa position . D’une part, nous montrons que les problèmes relatifs aux explications au niveau agrégé s’appliquent également aux explications en termes de mécanismes psychologiques, privilégiées par Elster. Si les mécanismes psychologiques contribuent à l’explication en sciences sociales, ce n’est pas parce qu’ils font explicitement référence à des états intentionnels, (...) mais parce qu’ils rendent mieux compte que les autres hypothèses de ce qui fait la différence entre deux faits ou événements. D’autre part, nous soutenons que l’individualisme ne doit pas servir d’idéal régulateur dans la recherche en sciences sociales. Si l’explication des comportements individuels est souvent essentielle pour produire une bonne explication, il existe des situations où elle est susceptible de nuire à la qualité de celle-ci en introduisant des éléments inadéquats.In epistemology of the social sciences, Jon Elster is well known for his defense of methodological individualism and his criticism of high-level explanations. This note criticizes the most recent version of his position . First, I argue that the problems related to explanations at the aggregate level also pertain to explanations in terms of psychological mechanisms, favored by Elster. If psychological mechanisms contribute to explanation in the social sciences, it is not because they explicitly refer to intentional states, but rather because they account better than alternative hypotheses for the difference between two facts or events. Second, I contend that individualism should not be taken as a regulative ideal for research in the social sciences. If accounts of individual behavior are often essential to good explanations, there are situations in which they are likely to be detrimental to them by encouraging the introduction of irrelevant factors. (shrink)
Education as object of inquiry is susceptible to multiple interpretations, which -most of them- run the risk of falling only in the understanding of structural factors or in internalist aspects. Reason why one feels like exploring routes that do not engage in a determinist paradox of the type: soci..
Technical change, defined as the manufacture and modification of tools, is generally thought to have played an important role in the evolution of intelligent life on earth, comparable to that of language. In this volume, first published in 1983, Jon Elster approaches the study of technical change from an epistemological perspective. He first sets out the main methods of scientific explanation and then applies those methods to some of the central theories of technical change. In particular, Elster considers neoclassical, evolutionary, (...) and Marxist theories, whilst also devoting a chapter to Joseph Schumpeter's influential theory. (shrink)
In this article I reply to Jon Robson's objections to my argument that God does not contain any possible worlds. I had argued that ugly possible worlds clearly compromise God's beauty. Robson argues that I failed to show that possible worlds can be subject to aesthetic evaluation, and that even if they were it could be the case that ugliness might contribute to God's overall beauty. In reply I try to show that possible worlds are aesthetically evaluable by arguing that (...) possible worlds are maximally rich representations of possible events. I further argue that nothing in God's being can be aesthetically non-evaluable since God must be maximal beauty – a beauteous maximality which needs no ugliness. Finally I show in what sense Christ's heavenly scars can be beautiful. (shrink)
Author comments Rick Grush’s statements about emulation and embodied approach to representation. He proposes his modification of Grush’s definition of emulation, criticizing notion of “standing in for”. He defends of notion of representation. He claims that radical embodied theories are not applicable to all cognition.
Buddhist Perspectives on Free Will: Agentless Agency? gives voice, for the first time, to exclusively Buddhist perspectives on free will. In bringing together the work of some of the most important thinkers in this relatively new area of Buddhist studies, editor Rick Repetti gives the reader access both to the best theories on Buddhism and free will currently available and to the scholarly debates shaping articulations of and responses to the problem under consideration. Structurally, the book represents a philosophical (...) exchange so that each chapter either foreshadows or responds to those surrounding it. While each chapter offers a unique snapshot image of the relationship between Buddhism and free will, Repetti's... (shrink)
The purpose of this study is to see how Jon Stewart and his Daily Show colleagues hold traditional broadcast media accountable. This paper suggests Stewart is holding those who claim they are practicing journalism accountable to the public they claim to serve and outlines the normative implications of that accountability. There is a journalistic norm that media practitioners, and the media as a whole, should be accountable to the public. Here, accountability ?refers to the process by which media are called (...) to account for meeting their obligations? (McQuail, 1997, p. 515). However, the government cannot enforce this accountability due to privileges afforded to the press by the First Amendment. Further, while national press councils have been effective in other countries, specifically India, there is no national press council in the United States. Enforcing accountability, then, falls to journalists?along with press critics. The researchers suggest that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart holds traditional broadcast media accountable in four distinct ways. (shrink)
Rick Johnstone's plea for liberal federalism and a supranational mechanism for enforcing “human rights” is reminiscent of what Thomas Hobbes said about “Christian commonwealths.” Behind their appeal to universal morality and religious doctrine was the frenzied attempt to shift rule “from Christian kings and sovereign assemblies absolute in their own territories” to “one Vicar of Christ, constituted of the universal church, to be judged, condemned, or deposed, or put to death as he shall think expedient, or necessary, for the (...) common good.” Johnstone is proposing or justifying a similar shift of authority for existing sovereign states to self-appointed vicars of…. (shrink)
This article argues against Jon Elster's contention that there is a fundamental incompatibility between, on the one hand, autonomy and rationality, and, on the other hand, adaptation to the conditions of one's existence in the sense that one's desires or preferences are adjusted to what it is possible to achieve. It is claimed that Elster's conclusions are premised on a defective conception of human faculties and powers, including a defective conception of human experience and rationality. Moreover, the claim is made (...) that these defects are also characteristic of "rational choice theory" more generally. (shrink)
This paper argues against Jon Elster's contention that there is a fundamentalincompatibility between, on one hand, autonomy and rationality and, on theother hand, adaptation to conditions of one's existence in the sense that one'sdesires or preferences are adjusted to what it is possible to achieve. While thefirst part of the paper more narrowly concentrated on Elster's discussion ofthese ideas, this second part goes on to a more general discussion of the conceptof rationality. On the basis of this discussion, it is (...) claimed that Elster's conclusionsconcerning autonomy and adaptation are premised on a defective conceptionof human experience and rationality. Moreover, the claim is made that thesedefects are also characteristic of "rational choice theory" more generally. (shrink)
In arguments in support of capitalism, the following propositions are sometimes advanced or presupposed: the best life for the individual is one of consumption, understood in a broad sense that includes aesthetic pleasures and entertainment as well as consumption of goods in the ordinary sense; consumption is to be valued because it promotes happiness or welfare, which is the ultimate good; since there are not enough opportunities for consumption to provide satiation for everybody, some principles of distributive justice must be (...) chosen to decide who gets what; the total to be distributed has first to be produced. What is produced depends, among other things, on the motivation and information of the producers. The theory of justice must take account of the fact that different principles of distribution have different effects on motivation and information; economic theory tells us that the motivational and informational consequences of private ownership of the means of production are superior to those of the various forms of collective ownerships. In the traditional controversy over the relative merits of capitalism and economic systems, the focus has been on proposition. In this paper, I consider instead propositions and. Before one can even begin to discuss how values are to be allocated, one must consider what they are – what it is that ought to be valued. I shall argue that at the center of Marxism is a specific conception of the good life as one of active self-realization, rather than passive consumption. (shrink)
In this article I reply to Jon Robson's objections to my argument that God does not contain any possible worlds. I had argued that ugly possible worlds clearly compromise God's beauty. Robson argues that I failed to show that possible worlds can be subject to aesthetic evaluation, and that even if they were it could be the case that ugliness might contribute to God's overall beauty. In reply I try to show that possible worlds are aesthetically evaluable by arguing that (...) possible worlds are maximally rich representations of possible events. I further argue that nothing in God's being can be aesthetically non-evaluable since God must be maximal beauty – a beauteous maximality which needs no ugliness. Finally I show in what sense Christ's heavenly wounds can be beautiful. (shrink)
This is a review essay about David Corfield and Jon Williamson's anthology Foundations of Bayesianism. Taken together, the fifteen essays assembled in the book assess the state of the art in Bayesianism. Such an assessment is timely, because decision theory and formal epistemology have become disciplines that are no longer taught on a routine basis in good philosophy departments. Thus we need to ask: Quo vadis, Bayesianism? The subjects of the articles include Bayesian group decision theory, approaches to the concept (...) of probability, Bayesian approaches in the philosophy of mathematics, reflections on the relationship between causation and probability, the Independence axiom, and a range of criticisms of Bayesianism, among other subjects. While critical of some of the arguments presented in the articles, this review recommends Corfield and Williamson's volume to anyone who is trying to stay abreast of Bayesian research. (shrink)
(2005). George R. Lucas, Jr. & W. Rick Rubel's (Eds) Ethics and the Military Profession: The Moral Foundations of Leadership and Case Studies in Military Ethics. Journal of Military Ethics: Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 214-219. doi: 10.1080/15027570500197453.
Bayesian networks are computer programs which represent probabilitistic relationships graphically as directed acyclic graphs, and which can use those graphs to reason probabilistically , often at relatively low computational cost. Almost every expert system in the past tried to support probabilistic reasoning, but because of the computational difficulties they took approximating short-cuts, such as those afforded by MYCIN's certainty factors. That all changed with the publication of Judea Pearl's Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems, in 1988, which synthesized a decade of (...) research making accurate graphical probabilistic reasoning computationally achievable.Bayesian network technology is now one of the fastest growing fields of research in artificial intelligence. That it has become a publication industry in its own right is shown by a search on Google scholar :This development, together with a parallel related growth in the use of causal discovery algorithms which automate the learning of Bayesian networks from sample data, has generated considerable interest, and controversy, within the philosophy-of-science community.Three central questions bringing together AI researchers and philosophers of science are: Are Bayesian networks Bayesian? What is the relation between probability and causality? Are the assumptions behind causal discovery of Bayesian networks realistic or fantastical?Jon Williamson, as a philosopher of science with a keen interest in the technology, asks and answers these questions in his new book. Although it is self-contained, his book is not very likely as an introduction to the technology , nor is it optimal even as an introduction to the philosophical problems in interpreting Bayesian networks . Rather Williamson's book is an attempt to move the debate forward by solving the central problems of the …. (shrink)
At least since the French moralists—Montaigne, Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère—it has been a commonplace that people can fool themselves as well as others about their beliefs and motivations. In this article, I consider some mechanisms of transmutation and misrepresentation, and their impact on behavior. I argue that deception and self-deception are not merely ex post rationalizations of behavior whose real motive and explanation are found elsewhere, but that they have independent causal and explanatory power. If people, that is, did (...) not fool themselves or others about why they do what they do they would act differently. The reason is that deception and self-deception take place under constraints that prevent us from offering totally opportunistic or self-serving rationalizations of what we do. There is a consistency constraint that is induced by the costs of being seen as offering inconsistent justifications for one's behavior, and an imperfection constraint diat is induced by the costs of being seen as offering justifications that are too blatantly self-serving. (shrink)
Political Philosophy Comes to Rick's focuses on reading one of the world's most watched films, Casablanca, politically. Contributors contend that the popularity of the film lies in its ability to present American civic culture, the American character, if you will, in a thoughtful, dramatic, and enduring way.
This chapter explores to what extent some core ideas of predictive processing can be applied to the phenomenology of time consciousness. The focus is on the experienced continuity of consciously perceived, temporally extended phenomena (such as enduring processes and successions of events). The main claim is that the hierarchy of representations posited by hierarchical predictive processing models can contribute to a deepened understanding of the continuity of consciousness. Computationally, such models show that sequences of events can be represented as states (...) of a hierarchy of dynamical systems. Phenomenologically, they suggest a more fine-grained analysis of the perceptual contents of the specious present, in terms of a hierarchy of temporal wholes. Visual perception of static scenes not only contains perceived objects and regions but also spatial gist; similarly, auditory perception of temporal sequences, such as melodies, involves not only perceiving individual notes but also slightly more abstract features (temporal gist), which have longer temporal durations (e.g., emotional character or rhythm). Further investigations into these elusive contents of conscious perception may be facilitated by findings regarding its neural underpinnings. Predictive processing models suggest that sensorimotor areas may influence these contents. (shrink)
Umerez’s analysis made me aware of the fundamental differences in the culture of physics and molecular biology and the culture of semiotics from which the new field of biosemiotics arose. These cultures also view histories differently. Considering the evolutionary span and the many hierarchical levels of organization that their models must cover, models at different levels will require different observables and different meanings for common words, like symbol, interpretation, and language. These models as well as their histories should be viewed (...) as complementary rather than competitive. The relation of genetic language and human language is the central issue. They are separated by 4 billion years and require entirely different models. Nevertheless, these languages have in common a unique unlimited expressive power that allows open-ended evolution and creative thought. Understanding the nature of this expressive power and how it arises remains a basic unsolved problem of biosemiotics. (shrink)