Joshua Foa Dienstag engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life.
Social commentators have long asked whether racial categories should be conserved or eliminated from our practices, discourse, institutions, and perhaps even private thoughts. In _A Theory of Race_, Joshua Glasgow argues that this set of choices unnecessarily presents us with too few options. Using both traditional philosophical tools and recent psychological research to investigate folk understandings of race, Glasgow argues that, as ordinarily conceived, race is an illusion. However, our pressing need to speak to and make sense of social (...) life requires that we employ something like racial discourse. These competing pressures, Glasgow maintains, ultimately require us to stop conceptualizing race as something biological, and instead understand it as an entirely social phenomenon. (shrink)
Substance has been a leading idea in the history of Western philosophy. _Joshua Hoffman and Gary S. Rosenkrantz_ explain the nature and existence of individual substances, including both living things and inanimate objects. Specifically written for students new to this important and often complex subject, _Substance_ provides both the historical and contemporary overview of the debate. Great Philosophers of the past, such as Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, and Berkeley were profoundly interested in the concept of substance. And, the authors (...) argue, a belief in the existence of substances is an integral part of our everyday world view. But what constitutes substance? Was Aristotle right to suggest that artefacts like tables and ships don't really exist? _Substance: Its Nature and Existence_ is one of the first non-technical, accessible guides to this central problem and will be of great use to students of metaphysics and philosophy. (shrink)
Joshua Matthan Brown contrasts the concept of God assumed by most analytic philosophers, what he refers to as theistic personalism, with that of the apophatic conception of God endorsed by Eastern Christian thinkers. He maintains that the most powerful and economical response to contemporary arguments for atheism is to reject theistic personalism and adopt apophatic theism. Apophatic theists believe there is a lot we cannot say about God, taking the divine nature to be completely ineffable. Brown develops a coherent (...) account of divine ineffability and provides reasons for adopting this oft misunderstood view. Importantly, he draws upon apophatic theology, and its commitment to divine ineffability, to proffer an undercutting defeater for virtually every contemporary argument for the nonexistence of God. Along the way he anticipates and responds to several significant objections. (shrink)
There are many domains about which we think we are reliable. When there is prima facie reason to believe that there is no satisfying explanation of our reliability about a domain given our background views about the world, this generates a challenge to our reliability about the domain or to our background views. This is what is often called the reliability challenge for the domain. In previous work, I discussed the reliability challenges for logic and for deductive inference. I argued (...) for four main claims: First, there are reliability challenges for logic and for deduction. Second, these reliability challenges cannot be answered merely by providing an explanation of how it is that we have the logical beliefs and employ the deductive rules that we do. Third, we can explain our reliability about logic by appealing to our reliability about deduction. Fourth, there is a good prospect for providing an evolutionary explanation of the reliability of our deductive reasoning. In recent years, a number of arguments have appeared in the literature that can be applied against one or more of these four theses. In this paper, I respond to some of these arguments. In particular, I discuss arguments by Paul Horwich, Jack Woods, Dan Baras, Justin Clarke-Doane, and Hartry Field. (shrink)
Joshua Gert presents an original account of color properties, and of our perception of them. He employs a general philosophical strategy - neo-pragmatism - which challenges an assumption made by virtually all other theories of color: he argues that colors are primitive properties of objects, irreducible to physical or dispositional properties.
This book argues that this powerful technique permits the social sciences to meet an explanation, in which one 'grows' the phenomenon of interest in an artificial society of interacting agents: heterogeneous, boundedly rational actors.
It has been standard philosophical practice in analytic philosophy to employ intuitions generated in response to thought-experiments as evidence in the evaluation of philosophical claims. In part as a response to this practice, an exciting new movement—experimental philosophy—has recently emerged. This movement is unified behind both a common methodology and a common aim: the application of methods of experimental psychology to the study of the nature of intuitions. In this paper, we will introduce two different views concerning the relationship that (...) holds between experimental philosophy and the future of standard philosophical practice (what we call, the proper foundation view and the restrictionist view), discuss some of the more interesting and important results obtained by proponents of both views, and examine the pressure these results put on analytic philosophers to reform standard philosophical practice. We will also defend experimental philosophy from some recent objections, suggest future directions for work in experimental philosophy, and suggest what future lines of epistemological response might be available to those wishing to defend analytic epistemology from the challenges posed by experimental philosophy. (shrink)
[Emerging Scholar Prize Essay for Spindel Supplement] Some philosophers and psychologists have evaluated psychological egoism against recent experimental work in social psychology. Dan Batson (1991; forthcoming), in particular, argues that empathy tends to induce genuinely altruistic motives in humans. However, some argue that there are egoistic explanations of the data that remain unscathed. I focus here on some recent criticisms based on the idea of self-other merging or "oneness," primarily leveled by Robert Cialdini and his collaborators (1997). These authors argue (...) that the putatively altruistic subjects are acting on ultimately egoistic motives because empathic feelings for someone in distress tend to cause them to blur the distinction between themselves and the other. Employing a conceptual framework for the debate, I argue that the self-other merging explanation fails to explain the empathy-helping relationship on primarily non-empirical grounds, regardless of the empirical results Cialdini and colleagues report. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy uses experimental research methods from psychology and cognitive science in order to investigate both philosophical and metaphilosophical questions. It explores philosophical questions about the nature of the psychological world - the very structure or meaning of our concepts of things, and about the nature of the non-psychological world - the things themselves. It also explores metaphilosophical questions about the nature of philosophical inquiry and its proper methodology. This book provides a detailed and provocative introduction to this innovative field, (...) focusing on the relationship between experimental philosophy and the aims and methods of more traditional analytic philosophy. Special attention is paid to carefully examining experimental philosophy's quite different philosophical programs, their individual strengths and weaknesses, and the different kinds of contributions that they can make to our philosophical understanding. Clear and accessible throughout, it situates experimental philosophy within both a contemporary and historical context, explains its aims and methods, examines and critically evaluates its most significant claims and arguments, and engages with its critics. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider two different attempts to make an end run around the experimentalist challenge to the armchair use of intuitions: one due to Max Deutsch and Herman Cappelen, contending that philosophers do not appeal to intuitions, but rather to arguments, in canonical philosophical texts; the other due to Joshua Knobe, arguing that intuitions are so stable that there is in fact no empirical basis for the experimentalist challenge in the first place. We show that a closer (...) attention to philosophical practices reveal, in turn, that we cannot make sense of these philosophical texts as arguments all the way down; and that our methods are so sensitive to error that even a modest amount of instability is enough to raise deep methodological concerns. (shrink)
The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we’re told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don’t come easily. However, despite (...) the heavy influence of automatic and unconscious processes that have been shaped by evolutionary pressures, we needn’t reject ordinary moral psychology as fundamentally flawed or in need of serious repair. Reason can be corrupted in ethics just as in other domains, but a special pessimism about morality in particular is unwarranted. Moral judgment and motivation are fundamentally rational enterprises not beholden to the passions. (shrink)
The correspondence theory of truth is a precise and innovative account of how the truth of a proposition depends upon that proposition's connection to a piece of reality. Joshua Rasmussen refines and defends the correspondence theory of truth, proposing new accounts of facts, propositions, and the correspondence between them. With these theories in hand, he then offers original solutions to the toughest objections facing correspondence theorists. Addressing the Problem of Funny Facts, Liar Paradoxes, and traditional epistemological questions concerning how (...) our minds can access reality, he challenges recent objections, and defends what has traditionally been the most popular theory of truth. Written with clarity, precision, and sensitivity to a range of philosophical backgrounds, his book will appeal to advanced students and scholars seeking a deeper understanding of the relationship between truth and reality. (shrink)
We chart how neuroscience and philosophy have together advanced our understanding of moral judgment with implications for when it goes well or poorly. The field initially focused on brain areas associated with reason versus emotion in the moral evaluations of sacrificial dilemmas. But new threads of research have studied a wider range of moral evaluations and how they relate to models of brain development and learning. By weaving these threads together, we are developing a better understanding of the neurobiology of (...) moral judgment in adulthood and to some extent in childhood and adolescence. Combined with rigorous evidence from psychology and careful philosophical analysis, neuroscientific evidence can even help shed light on the extent of moral knowledge and on ways to promote healthy moral development. (shrink)
Joshua Gert offers an original account of normative facts and properties, those which have implications for how we ought to behave. He argues that our ability to think and talk about normative notions such as reasons and benefits is dependent on how we respond to the world around us, including how we respond to the actions of other people.
It seems obvious that phenomenally conscious experience is something of great value, and that this value maps onto a range of important ethical issues. For example, claims about the value of life for those in a permanent vegetative state, debates about treatment and study of disorders of consciousness, controversies about end-of-life care for those with advanced dementia, and arguments about the moral status of embryos, fetuses, and non-human animals arguably turn on the moral significance of various facts about consciousness. However, (...) though work has been done on the moral significance of elements of consciousness, such as pain and pleasure, little explicit attention has been devoted to the ethical significance of consciousness. In this book Joshua Shepherd presents a systematic account of the value present within conscious experience. This account emphasizes not only the nature of consciousness, but the importance of items within experience such as affect, valence, and the complex overall shape of particular valuable experiences. Shepherd also relates this account to difficult cases involving non-humans and those with disorders of consciousness, arguing that the value of consciousness influences and partially explains the degree of moral status a being possesses, without fully determining it. The upshot is a deeper understanding of both the moral importance of phenomenal consciousness and its relations to moral status. This book will be of great interest to philosophers and students of ethics, bioethics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
Our interest in this paper is to drive a wedge of contention between two different programs that fall under the umbrella of “experimental philosophy”. In particular, we argue that experimental philosophy’s “negative program” presents almost as significant a challenge to its “positive program” as it does to more traditional analytic philosophy.
This essay is part of larger project in which I attempt to show that Western formal logic, from its inception in Aristotle onward, has both been partially constituted by, and partially constitutive of, what has become known as racism. More specifically, (a) racist/quasi-racist/proto-racist political forces were part of the impetus for logic’s attempt to classify the world into mutually exclusive, hierarchically-valued categories in the first place; and (b) these classifications, in turn, have been deployed throughout history to justify and empower (...) racism/quasi-racism/proto-racism. In other words, (a) an important part of the chaos and messiness that so troubles logic has been the natural bio-cultural diversity of human beings as described by concepts such as race and ethnicity; and (b) once these concepts were historically in place, taken for granted, buttressed with pseudo-science, and had their origins forgotten, they became tools for the oppression of diverse human groups. The central thesis of this essay is that close readings of a variety of Leibniz’s writings (including several essays and one letter) will reveal a pattern of mutual dependency and creation in regard to logic and racism in Leibniz. My conclusion will be that there is a meaningful connection between logic and racism (or at least between logic and politics in general) in Leibniz such that one should be skeptical of his logic’s claim to offer transparent and neutral descriptions of the world as well as imperatives for action. Put differently, I want to ask the following specific question: how do Leibniz’s own racially-informed political goals, along with the emergence of race-centric European colonialism, both invest and disguise themselves within Leibniz’s mathematizing of logic? (shrink)
It used to be a commonplace that the discipline of philosophy was deeply concerned with questions about the human condition. Philosophers thought about human beings and how their minds worked. They took an interest in reason and passion, culture and innate ideas, the origins of people’s moral and religious beliefs. On this traditional conception, it wasn’t particularly important to keep philosophy clearly distinct from psychology, history, or political science. Philosophers were concerned, in a very general way, with questions about how..
Philosophy as Fiction seeks to account for the peculiar power of philosophical literature by taking as its case study the paradigmatic generic hybrid of the twentieth century, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. At once philosophical--in that it presents claims, and even deploys arguments concerning such traditionally philosophical issues as knowledge, self-deception, selfhood, love, friendship, and art--and literary, in that its situations are imaginary and its stylization inescapably prominent, Proust's novel presents us with a conundrum. How should it be (...) read? Can the two discursive structures co-exist, or must philosophy inevitably undermine literature (by sapping the narrative of its vitality) and literature undermine philosophy (by placing its claims in the mouth of an often unreliable narrator)? In the case of Proust at least, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Not only can a coherent, distinctive philosophical system be extracted from the Recherche, once the narrator's periodic waywardness is taken into account; not only does a powerfully original style pervade its every nook, overtly reinforcing some theories and covertly exemplifying others; but aspects of the philosophy also serve literary ends, contributing more to character than to conceptual framework. What is more, aspects of the aesthetics serve philosophical ends, enabling a reader to engage in an active manner with an alternative art of living. Unlike the "essay" Proust might have written, his novel grants us the opportunity to use it as a practice ground for cooperation among our faculties, for the careful sifting of memories, for the complex procedures involved in self-fashioning, and for the related art of self-deception. It is only because the narrator's insights do not always add up--a weakness, so long as one treats the novel as a straightforward treatise--that it can produce its training effect, a feature that turns out to be its ultimate strength. (shrink)
Case reports about patients undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for various motor and psychiatric disorders - including Parkinson’s Disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Treatment Resistant Depression - have sparked a vast literature in neuroethics. Questions about whether and how DBS changes the self have been at the fore. The present chapter brings these neuroethical debates into conversation with recent research in moral psychology. We begin in Section 1 by reviewing the recent clinical literature on DBS. In Section 2, we consider (...) whether DBS poses a threat to personal identity. In Section 3 we argue for engagement with recent empirical work examining judgements of when identity changes. We conclude in Section 4 by highlighting a range of ethical issues raised by DBS, including various cross-cultural considerations. (shrink)
This chapter argues that epistemic uses of the imagination are a sui generis form of reasoning. The argument proceeds in two steps. First, there are imaginings which instantiate the epistemic structure of reasoning. Second, reasoning with imagination is not reducible to reasoning with doxastic states. Thus, the epistemic role of the imagination is that it is a distinctive way of reasoning out what follows from our prior evidence. This view has a number of important implications for the epistemology of the (...) imagination. For one thing, it clarifies the epistemic role of widely invoked “constraints” on the imagination. For another, it highlights important and underappreciated disanalogies between how perceptual experiences and imaginings justify beliefs. Ultimately, the view that we can reason with imagination offers an illuminating and theoretically fruitful framework through which to understand the epistemic structure of the imagination. (shrink)
The concept of acting intentionally is an important nexus where ‘theory of mind’ and moral judgment meet. Preschool children’s judgments of intentional action show a valence-driven asymmetry. Children say that a foreseen but disavowed side-effect is brought about 'on purpose' when the side-effect itself is morally bad but not when it is morally good. This is the first demonstration in preschoolers that moral judgment influences judgments of ‘on-purpose’ (as opposed to purpose influencing moral judgment). Judgments of intentional action are usually (...) assumed to be purely factual. That these judgments are sometimes partly normative — even in preschoolers — challenges current understanding. Young children’s judgments regarding foreseen side-effects depend upon whether the children process the idea that the character does not care about the side-effect. As soon as preschoolers effectively process the ‘theory of mind’ concept, NOT CARE THAT P, children show the side-effect effect.idea.. (shrink)
Jennifer Nagel (2010) has recently proposed a fascinating account of the decreased tendency to attribute knowledge in conversational contexts in which unrealized possibilities of error have been mentioned. Her account appeals to epistemic egocentrism, or what is sometimes called the curse of knowledge, an egocentric bias to attribute our own mental states to other people (and sometimes our own future and past selves). Our aim in this paper is to investigate the empirical merits of Nagel’s hypothesis about the psychology involved (...) in knowledge attribution. (shrink)
There are several important arguments in metaethics that rely on explanatory considerations. Gilbert Harman has presented a challenge to the existence of moral facts that depends on the claim that the best explanation of our moral beliefs does not involve moral facts. The Reliability Challenge against moral realism depends on the claim that moral realism is incompatible with there being a satisfying explanation of our reliability about moral truths. The purpose of this chapter is to examine these and related arguments. (...) In particular, this chapter will discuss four kinds of arguments – Harman’s Challenge, evolutionary debunking arguments, irrelevant influence arguments, and the Reliability Challenge – understood as arguments against moral realism. The main goals of this chapter are (i) to articulate the strongest version of these arguments; (ii) to present and assess the central epistemological principles underlying these arguments; and (iii) to determine what a realist would have to do to adequately respond to these arguments. (shrink)
It has long been known that people’s causal judgments can have an impact on their moral judgments. To take a simple example, if people conclude that a behavior caused the death of ten innocent children, they will therefore be inclined to regard the behavior itself as morally wrong. So far, none of this should come as any surprise. But recent experimental work points to the existence of a second, and more surprising, aspect of the relationship between causal judgment and moral (...) judgment. It appears that the relationship can sometimes go in the opposite direction. That is, it appears that our moral judgments can sometimes impact our causal judgments. (Hence, we might first determine that a behavior is morally wrong and then, on that basis, arrive at the conclusion that it was the cause of various outcomes.). (shrink)
This chapter discusses contemporary scientific research on the role of reason and emotion in moral judgment. The literature suggests that moral judgment is influenced by both reasoning and emotion separately, but there is also emerging evidence of the interaction between the two. While there are clear implications for the rationalism-sentimentalism debate, we conclude that important questions remain open about how central emotion is to moral judgment. We also suggest ways in which moral philosophy is not only guided by empirical research (...) but continues to guide it. (shrink)
This book presents an account of normative practical reasons and the way in which they contribute to the rationality of action. Rather than simply 'counting in favour of' actions, normative reasons play two logically distinct roles: requiring action and justifying action. The distinction between these two roles explains why some reasons do not seem relevant to the rational status of an action unless the agent cares about them, while other reasons retain all their force regardless of the agent's attitude. It (...) also explains why the class of rationally permissible action is wide enough to contain not only all morally required action, but also much selfish and immoral action. The book will appeal to a range of readers interested in practical reason in particular, and moral theory more generally. (shrink)
The Shape of Agency offers interlinked explanations of the basic building blocks of agency, as well as its exemplary instances. The first part offers accounts of a collection of related phenomena that have long troubled philosophers of action: control over behaviour, non-deviant causation, and intentional action. These accounts build on earlier work in the causalist tradition, and undermine the claims made by many that causalism cannot offer a satisfying account of non-deviant causation, and therefore fails as an account of intentional (...) action. The second part turns to modes of agentive excellence—ways that agents display quality of form—providing a novel account of skill, including an account of the ways that agents display more or less skill. Shepherd discusses the role of knowledge in skill, and concludes that while knowledge is often important, it is inessential. This leads to a discussion of the way that knowledge of action and knowledge of how to act informs action execution. Knowledgeable action includes a unique epistemic underpinning: in knowledgeable action, the agent has authoritative knowledge of what she is doing and how she is doing it when and because she is poised to control her action by way of practical reasoning. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Prudence or Oneiromancy? A Parody of Didacticism Preaching to the Converted The Asymmetry of “Imaginative Resistance” Virtue Ethics and Gossip Qualifications Positive Views.
In this book, classicist Joshua Billings considers classical Greek drama as intellectual history. Developing an innovative approach to dramatic form as a mode of philosophical thought, Billings recasts early Greek intellectual history as a conversation across types of discourses and demonstrates the significance of dramatic reflections on widely-shared conceptual questions. He integrates evidence from tragedy, comedy, and satyr play into the development of early Greek philosophy in order to place poetry at the center of Greek thought. He thus offers (...) a substantially new history and map of classical intellectual culture: drama, on his view, appears as our best source for understanding the thought of the fifth century, while at the same time revealing significant tensions and anxieties in the development of philosophy. At the heart of the book is a novel approach to the philosophical qualities of drama. Though dramatists and their works have been considered philosophical in a variety of ways going back to antiquity, scholarly approaches have consistently taken "literature" and "philosophy" as defined categories, tracing more or less direct connections between one and the other. On the contrary, Billings argues that neither "literature" nor "philosophy" were available as stable categories in the fifth century. Rather he describes the way that drama treats issues that would come to be called philosophical, without relying on assumptions concerning what constitutes philosophical method or literary form. Drama develops a kind of method that allows it to pose and pursue conceptual questions in dramatic form which Billings describes as the "philosophical poetics" of drama. (shrink)
In this essay, I draw on Haidt’s and Baron’s respective insights in the service of a bit of philosophical psychoanalysis. I will argue that deontological judgments tend to be driven by emotional responses, and that deontological philosophy, rather than being grounded in moral reasoning, is to a large extent3 an exercise in moral rationalization. This is in contrast to consequentialism, which, I will argue, arises from rather different psychological processes, ones that are more “cognitive,” and more likely to involve genuine (...) moral reasoning. These claims are strictly empirical, and I will defend them on the basis of the available evidence. Needless to say, my argument will be speculative and will not be conclusive. Beyond this, I will argue that if these empirical claims are true, they may have normative implications, casting doubt on deontology as a school of normative moral thought. (shrink)
This book revives a neglected but important topic in philosophy: the nature of substance. The belief that there are individual substances, for example, material objects and persons, is at the core of our common-sense view of the world yet many metaphysicians deny the very coherence of the concept of substance. The authors develop an account of what an individual substance is in terms of independence from other beings. In the process many other important ontological categories are explored: property, event, space, (...) time. The authors show why alternative theories of substance fail, and go on to defend the intelligibility of interacting spiritual and material substances. (shrink)
Recently, a number of theorists (MacFarlane (2003, 2011), Egan et al. (2005), Egan (2007), Stephenson (2007a,b)) have argued that an adequate semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals calls for some technical notion of relativist truth and/or relativist content. Much of this work has relied on an empirical thesis about speaker judgments, namely that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Relativists have in particular appealed to judgments (...) elicited in so-called eavesdropping and retraction cases to support this empirical thesis. But opposing theorists have denied the judgments, and at present there is no consensus in the literature about how the speaker judgments in fact pattern. Consequently there is little agreement on what exactly a semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals should predict about the pattern of judgments in these cases. Further theorizing requires greater clarity on the data to be explained. To clarify the data, we subjected eavesdropping and retraction cases to experimental evaluation. Our data provide evidence against the claim that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Theories designed to predict this result are accordingly undermined. (shrink)
I defend three general claims concerning inter-theoretic reduction in physics. First, the popular notion that a superseded theory in physics is generally a simple limit of the theory that supersedes it paints an oversimplified picture of reductive relations in physics. Second, where reduction specifically between two dynamical systems models of a single system is concerned, reduction requires the existence of a particular sort of function from the state space of the low-level model to that of the high-level model that approximately (...) commutes, in a specific sense, with the rules of dynamical evolution prescribed by the models. The third point addresses a tension between, on the one hand, the frequent need to take into account system-specific details in providing a full derivation of the high-level theory’s success in a particular context, and, on the other hand, a desire to understand the general mechanisms and results that under- write reduction between two theories across a wide and disparate range of different systems; I suggest a reconciliation based on the use of partial proofs of reduction, designed to reveal these general mechanisms of reduction at work across a range of systems, while leaving certain gaps to be filled in on the basis of system-specific details. After discussing these points of general methodology, I go on to demonstrate their application to a number of particular inter-theory reductions in physics involving quantum theory. I consider three reductions: first, connecting classical mechanics and non-relativistic quantum mechanics; second,connecting classical electrodynamics and quantum electrodynamics; and third, connecting non-relativistic quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. I approach these reductions from a realist perspective, and for this reason consider two realist interpretations of quantum theory - the Everett and Bohm theories - as potential bases for these reductions. Nevertheless, many of the technical results concerning these reductions pertain also more generally to the bare, uninterpreted formalism of quantum theory. Throughout my analysis, I make the application of the general methodological claims of the thesis explicit, so as to provide concrete illustration of their validity. (shrink)
Business is generally viewed as a means to generate personal or corporate wealth, but business transactions can also sacrificially serve the common good. In conversation with contemporary social theorists, Joshua S. Nunziato in this book critically evaluates the spiritual significance and aims of economic exchange. Inspired by Augustine's vision of the Church as a 'universal sacrifice', he explores how Augustine's approach teaches us detachment - both personal and collective - which releases us from illusory claims of ownership and reframes (...) business as an exercise in loving and letting go. Nunziato's volume engages with the big questions of economic life and considers both why and how we acknowledge people through business in a way that results in collective well-being. It will be of interest to scholars and students of Augustinian studies, philosophy of exchange, and economic ethics. (shrink)
Since the publication of Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and its Limits, knowledge-first epistemology has become increasingly influential within epistemology. This paper discusses the viability of the knowledge-first program. The paper has two main parts. In the first part, I briefly present knowledge-first epistemology as well as several big picture reasons for concern about this program. While this considerations are pressing, I concede, however, that they are not conclusive. To determine the viability of knowledge-first epistemology will require philosophers to carefully evaluate the (...) individual theses endorsed by knowledge-first epistemologists as well as to compare it with alternative packages of views. In the second part of the paper, I contribute to this evaluation by considering a specific thesis endorsed by many knowledge-first epistemologists – the knowledge norm of assertion. According to this norm, roughly speaking, one should assert that p only if one knows that p. I present and motivate this thesis. I then turn to a familiar concern with the norm: In many cases, it is intuitively appropriate for someone who has a strongly justified belief that p, but who doesn't know that p, to assert that p. Proponents of the knowledge norm of assertion typically explain away our judgments about such cases by arguing that the relevant assertion is improper but that the subject has an excuse and is therefore not blameworthy for making the assertion. I argue that that this response does not work. In many of the problem cases, it is not merely that the subject’s assertion is blameless. Rather, the subject positively ought to make the assertion. Appealing to an excuse cannot be used to adequately explain this fact. (Nor can we explain this fact by appealing to some other, quite different, consideration.) Finally, I conclude by briefly considering whether we should replace the knowledge norm of assertion with an alternative norm. I argue that the most plausible view is that there is no norm specifically tied to assertion. (shrink)
When perceiving, explaining, or criticizing human behavior, people distinguish between intentional and unintentional actions. To do so, they rely on a shared folk concept of intentionality. In contrast to past speculative models, this article provides an empirically-based model of this concept. Study 1 demonstrates that people agree substantially in their judgments of intentionality, suggesting a shared underlying concept. Study 2 reveals that when asked to directly define the term intentional, people mention four components of intentionality: desire, belief, intention, and awareness. (...) Study 3 confirms the importance of a fifth component, namely, skill. In light of these findings, the authors propose a model of the folk concept of intentionality and provide a further test in Study 4. The discussion compares the proposed model to past ones and examines its implications for social perception, attribution, and cognitive development. (shrink)
This paper defends pro-realism, the view that it is better if moral realism is true rather than any of its rivals. After offering an account of philosophical angst, I make three general arguments. The first targets nihilism: in securing the possibility of moral justification and vindication in objecting to certain harms, moral realism secures something that is non-morally valuable and even essential to the meaning and intelligibility of our lives. The second argument targets antirealism: moral realism secures a desirable independence (...) for moral justification that is qualitatively different from the anti-realistic construal of independence that is only explicable in terms of degrees of distance from our subjective responses and attitudes. Finally, I argue that while the pan-expressivist semantic program of quasi-realism has significant effects on what can be appropriately said in meta-ethical discourse, it provides no comfort to the pro-realist who is already angsty about anti-realism. (shrink)
The concept of the sublime was crucial to the thought of Immanuel Kant, who defined it as the experience of what is great in power, size, or number. From ancient times to the present, the aesthetic experience of the sublime has been associated with morality, but if we want to be able to exclude evil, fascistic, or terroristic uses of the sublime—the inescapable awe generated by the Nuremberg rallies, for example—we require a systematic justification of the claim that there are (...) internal moral constraints on the sublime. In _Kant on Sublimity and Morality_, Joshua Rayman argues that Kant alone provides the system by which we can bind sublimity to moral ideas, the exhibition of freedom, the production of respect, and violence towards inclinations. (shrink)