This distinctive collection by scholars from around the world focuses upon the cultural, educational, and political significance of Richard Rorty's thought. The nine essays which comprise the collection examine a variety of related themes: Rorty's neopragmatism, his view of philosophy, his philosophy of education and culture, Rorty's comparison between Dewey and Foucault, his relation to postmodern theory, and, also his form of political liberalism.
In this paper I will discuss the causes of global inequality. I will argue that there may be other important reasons for poverty than Western selfishness. Further, I will claim that most Western people believe that for one reason or another it is practically impossible to eradicate poverty, and that this shared belief itself may be a cause for why it is practically impossible to eradicate it in the near future. The question is about an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy. In my (...) view, it is important to consider the background and logic of this prophecy. (shrink)
I shall briefly evaluate the common claim that ethically acceptable population policies must let individuals to decide freely on the number of their children. I shall ask, first, what exactly is the relation between population policies that we find intuitively appealing, on the one hand, and population policies that maximize procreative freedom, on the other, and second, what is the relation between population policies that we tend to reject on moral grounds, on the one hand, and population policies that use (...) coercive methods such as laws or economic incentives and deterrents, on the other. I shall argue that when changing a population policy, it may be morally desirable to affect people's procreative decisions more rather than less, and that sometimes it may be morally desirable to prefer a population policy that does not maximize procreative freedom to a population policy that does maximize it. I shall also point out that indirect population policies that use incentives and deterrents are not necessarily incompatible with liberal principles. Finally, I try to show what is assumed by those who defend the view that coercive population policies are morally wrong in all circumstances. (shrink)
In this article I shall undertake a preliminary exploration of the notion of second best. I shall follow a three-step strategy. First, I shall introduce some applications of the theorem of the second best in different fields of philosophy and social sciences. Secondly, I shall make several conceptual distinctions related to the theorem. I aim to show that there are certain theoretical results that are similar but not identical to the theorem of the second best, and that the notion of (...) second best is often used quite loosely. Finally, I shall try to shed some light on the question of how the theorem is description-sensitive. The overall aim of the paper is to pay attention to the generality of the problem of the second best and stress the importance of the theorem in political theory in particular. (shrink)
Imagine yourself standing on the edge of a canyon, marveling at the terrain below, wondering about all the sights currently obscured from your view, and lamenting that you just don’t have time to commit to the steep descent in and long trek across, which would give you a perspective from right up close. Being handed Juha Räikkä’s new book Social Justice in Practice is like being told there’s a flying fox you can take: the canyon is applied political theory, (...) and the flying fox allows the reader to see many different issues, at some speed, and always with the wider context in view. Tuck your loose items of clothing away in your bags, and hop on.The book is loosely organized into six sections, with twelve chapters overall. The first two sections (“Theory and Practice” and “Action and Uncertainty”) introduce readers to the issues around the methodology of contemporary political theory, from whether the arguments of political theory should be more sensitive to what is feasible, through the. (shrink)
In Social Justice in Practice, Juha Räikkä addresses a wide variety of subjects, tackling each one with competence and originality. The twelve essays collected in the book cover topics such as the relationship between theory and practice, the impact of “ideal justice” and its requirements on individuals’ expectations, the difficulties connected to the selection of second-best options and the role of presumption rules. In addition, Räikkä focuses on conspiracy theories, on the right to privacy, on the possibility of concealing (...) information in social relations, as well as on the moral dilemmas connected to “alien beliefs”, namely beliefs beyond individuals’ self-awareness and conflicting with their considered judgments. He also discusses the fairness of demanding forgiveness and clarifies the notion of self-deception, by investigating its connection with adaptive preferences and religious beliefs. Räikkä makes each topic accessible and appealing also to readers unfamiliar with them. Moreo .. (shrink)
This short article discusses the nature of research and art practice and makes a case for the necessary intermingling of these activities. It does not attempt to define a space for art to operate as research, quite the opposite: research is an operating structure for the process and production of, among other things, art. It is regarded as integral to the processes of thinking, making, and reflecting, and it is important to note that curiosity, creative enquiry, and critical reflection underpin (...) much that is considered research in various fields. The author asserts that these processes are not necessarily discipline-specific although particular disciplines have specific procedures and goals. It is argued that "provisionality" is central to what art can offer other disciplines; it can make a virtue of incompleteness. The author suggests that art open itself up to quizzical scrutiny and help others to recognise that research has long been, and will continue to be, a driving force within its makeup. The article posits an expanded notion of the artwork that is essentially provisional and reliant on spectatorial involvement. (shrink)
The literature on the indispensability argument for mathematical realism often refers to the ‘indispensable explanatory role’ of mathematics. I argue that we should examine the notion of explanatory indispensability from the point of view of specific conceptions of scientific explanation. The reason is that explanatory indispensability in and of itself turns out to be insufficient for justifying the ontological conclusions at stake. To show this I introduce a distinction between different kinds of explanatory roles—some ‘thick’ and ontologically committing, others ‘thin’ (...) and ontologically peripheral—and examine this distinction in relation to some notable ‘ontic’ accounts of explanation. I also discuss the issue in the broader context of other ‘explanationist’ realist arguments. (shrink)
The Enhanced Indispensability Argument (Baker [ 2009 ]) exemplifies the new wave of the indispensability argument for mathematical Platonism. The new wave capitalizes on mathematics' role in scientific explanations. I will criticize some analyses of mathematics' explanatory function. In turn, I will emphasize the representational role of mathematics, and argue that the debate would significantly benefit from acknowledging this alternative viewpoint to mathematics' contribution to scientific explanations and knowledge.
A number of philosophers have recently suggested that some abstract, plausibly non-causal and/or mathematical, explanations explain in a way that is radically dif- ferent from the way causal explanation explain. Namely, while causal explanations explain by providing information about causal dependence, allegedly some abstract explanations explain in a way tied to the independence of the explanandum from the microdetails, or causal laws, for example. We oppose this recent trend to regard abstractions as explanatory in some sui generis way, and argue (...) that a prominent ac- count of causal explanation can be naturally extended to capture explanations that radically abstract away from microphysical and causal-nomological details. To this end, we distinguish di erent senses in which an explanation can be more or less abstract, and analyse the connection between explanations’ abstractness and their explanatory power. According to our analysis abstract explanations have much in common with counterfactual causal explanations. (shrink)
We reassess Woodward’s counterfactual account of explanation in relation to regularity explananda. Woodward presents an account of causal explanation. We argue, by using an explanation of Kleiber’s law to illustrate, that the account can also cover some noncausal explanations. This leads to a tension between the two key aspects of Woodward’s account: the counterfactual aspect and the causal aspect. We explore this tension and make a case for jettisoning the causal aspect as constitutive of explanatory power in connection with regularity (...) explananda. (shrink)
The epistemic conception of scientific progress equates progress with accumulation of scientific knowledge. I argue that the epistemic conception fails to fully capture scientific progress: theoretical progress, in particular, can transcend scientific knowledge in important ways. Sometimes theoretical progress can be a matter of new theories ‘latching better onto unobservable reality’ in a way that need not be a matter of new knowledge. Recognising this further dimension of theoretical progress is particularly significant for understanding scientific realism, since realism is naturally (...) construed as the claim that science makes theoretical progress. Some prominent realist positions are best understood in terms of commitment to theoretical progress that cannot be equated with accumulation of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
I review prominent historical arguments against scientific realism to indicate how they display a systematic overshooting in the conclusions drawn from the historical evidence. The root of the overshooting can be located in some critical, undue presuppositions regarding realism. I will highlight these presuppositions in connection with both Laudan’s ‘Old induction’ and Stanford’s New Induction, and then delineate a minimal realist view that does without the problematic presuppositions.
This paper analyses the anti-reductionist argument from renormalisation group explanations of universality, and shows how it can be rebutted if one assumes that the explanation in question is captured by the counterfactual dependence account of explanation.
This chapter examines issues surrounding inference to the best explanation, its justification, and its role in different arguments for scientific realism, as well as more general issues concerning explanations’ ontological commitments. Defending the reliability of inference to the best explanation has been a central plank in various realist arguments, and realists have drawn various ontological conclusions from the premise that a given scientific explanation best explains some phenomenon. This chapter stresses the importance of thinking carefully about the nature of explanation (...) in connection with evaluating realists’ appeals to explanatory reasoning and inference to the best explanation. (shrink)
I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist evidence from (...) the history of science. The minimal realist attitude sketched withholds realist com- mitment to what quantum state |Ψ⟩ represents. I argue that such commitment is not required for fulfilling the ultimate realist motiva- tion: accounting for the empirical success of quantum mechanics in a way that is in tune with a broader understanding of how theoretical science progresses and latches onto reality. (shrink)
This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from "geometry of motion" with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from “geometry of motion” with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
Many realist writings exemplify the spirit of ‘recipe realism’. Here I characterise recipe realism, challenge it, and propose replacing it with ‘exemplar realism’. This alternative understanding of realism is more piecemeal, robust, and better in tune with scientists’ own attitude towards their best theories, and thus to be preferred.
This article argues that previous research on the outcomes of corporate responsibility should be refined in two ways. First, although there is abundant research that addresses the link between corporate responsibility (CR) and financial performance, hardly any studies scrutinize whether the type of corporate responsibility makes a difference to this link. Second, while the majority of CR research conducted within business studies concentrates on the financial outcomes for the firm, the societal outcomes of CR are left largely unexplored. To tackle (...) these two deficiencies, this article extends the different conceptualizations of corporate responsibility and elaborates both the financial and the societal outcomes of different types of CR. (shrink)
Kirchhoff’s diffraction theory is introduced as a new case study in the realism debate. The theory is extremely successful despite being both inconsistent and not even approximately true. Some habitual realist proclamations simply cannot be maintained in the face of Kirchhoff’s theory, as the realist is forced to acknowledge that theoretical success can in some circumstances be explained in terms other than truth. The idiosyncrasy (or otherwise) of Kirchhoff’s case is considered.
This chapter defends a (minimal) realist conception of progress in scientific understanding in the face of the ubiquitous plurality of perspectives in science. The argument turns on the counterfactual-dependence framework of explanation and understanding, which is illustrated and evidenced with reference to different explanations of the rainbow.
This paper takes another look at a case study which has featured prominently in a variety of arguments for rival realist positions. After critically reviewing the previous commentaries of the theory shift that took place in the transition from Fresnel’s ether to Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of optics, it will defend a slightly different reading of this historical case study. Central to this task is the notion of explanatory approximate truth, a concept which must be carefully analysed to begin with. With (...) this notion properly understood, it will be finally argued, the popular Fresnel-Maxwell case study points towards a novel formulation of scientific realism. (shrink)
This chapter examines the status of inference to the best explanation in naturalistic metaphysics. The methodology of inference to the best explanation in metaphysics is studied from the perspective of contemporary views on scientific explanation and explanatory inferences in the history and philosophy of science. This reveals serious shortcomings in prevalent attempts to vindicate metaphysical "explanationism" by reference to similarities between science and naturalistic metaphysics. This critique is brought out by considering a common gambit of methodological unity: (1) Both metaphysics (...) and science employ inference to the best explanation. (2) One has no reason to think that if explanationism is truth-conducive in science, it is not so in metaphysics. (3) One has a positive reason to think that if explanationism is truth-conducive in science, it is also so in metaphysics. (shrink)
Model theoretic considerations purportedly show that a certain version of structural realism, one which articulates the nvtion of structure via Ramsey sentences, is in fact trivially true. In this paper we argue that the structural realist is by no means forced to Ramseyfy in the manner assumed in the formal proof. However, the structural realist's reprise is short-lived. For, as we show, there are related versions of the model theoretic argument which cannot be so easily blocked by the structural realist. (...) We examine various ways in which the structural realist may respond, and conclude that the best way of blocking the model theoretic argument involves formulating his Ramseyfied theories using intensional operators. Introduction The model theoretic arguments On Ramseyfying away predicates The model theoretic argument bites back Restricting the second order quantifiers 5.1 Naturalness 5.2 Intrinsic 5.3 Qualitative 5.4 Contingent and causal Intensional operators and relations between properties Conclusion. (shrink)
This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from ‘geometry of motion’ with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.