Gupta-Belnap-style circular definitions use all real numbers as possible starting points of revision sequences. In that sense they are boldface definitions. We discuss lightface versions of circular definitions and boldface versions of inductive definitions.
Gupta-Belnap-style circular definitions use all real numbers as possible starting points of revision sequences. In that sense they are boldface definitions. We discuss lightface versions of circular definitions and boldface versions of inductive definitions.
The target article develops a computational connectionist model for analogy-making from a developmental perspective and evaluates this model using simple analogies. Our commentary critically reviews the advantages and limits of this approach, in particular with respect to its expressive power, its capability to generalize across analogous structure and analyze systematicity in analogies.
Gottlob Frege ist der Begründer der modernen Logik und einer der Väter der analytischen Philosophie. Bertrand Russell, Rudolf Carnap und Ludwig Wittgenstein haben seine Ideen aufgegriffen und weiterentwickelt. Dieses Buch liefert eine Bestandsaufnahme zu Werk und Wirkung Freges. Gewürdigt werden seine Leistungen als Logiker, Mathematiker, Sprachphilosoph und Methodologe. Im Ausgang von historischen Untersuchungen zum ursprünglichen 'kontinentalen' Ort des Frege schen Denkens wird die internationale Rezeption und das systematische Gewicht der Philosophie Frege s entfaltet. Mit Beiträgen von: Michael Astroh, Detlef Gronau, (...) Wolfgang Kienzler, Lothar Kreiser, Volker Peckhaus, Eva Picardi, Erich H. Reck, Marco Ruffino, Christiane Schildknecht, Joachim Schulte, Rainer Stuhlmann-Laeisz, Christian Thiel, Kai F. Wehmeier. (shrink)
Over the past twenty years, economic theory has begun to play a central role in antitrust matters. In earlier days, the application of antitrust rules was viewed almost entirely in formal terms; now it is widely accepted that the proper interpretation of these rules requires an understanding of how markets work and how firms can alter their efficient functioning. The Handbook of Antitrust Economics offers scholars, students, administrators, courts, companies, and lawyers the economist's view of the subject, describing the application (...) of newly developed theoretical models and improved empirical methods to antitrust and competition law in both the United States and the European Union. After a general discussion of the use of empirical methods in antitrust cases, the Handbook covers mergers, agreements, abuses of dominance, and market features that affect the way firms compete. Chapters examine such topics as analyzing the competitive effects of both horizontal and vertical mergers, detecting and preventing cartels, theoretical and empirical analysis of vertical restraints, state aids, the relationship of competition law to the defense of intellectual property, and the application of antitrust law to "bidding markets," network industries, and two-sided markets.ContributorsMark Armstrong, Jonathan B. Baker, Timothy F. Bresnahan, Paulo Buccirossi, Nicholas Economides, Hans W. Friederiszick, Luke M. Froeb, Richard J. Gilbert, Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., Paul Klemperer, Kai-Uwe Kuhn, Francine Lafontaine, Damien J. Neven, Patrick Rey, Michael H. Riordan, Jean-Charles Rochet, Lars-Hendrick Röller, Margaret Slade, Giancarlo Spagnolo, Jean Tirole, Thibaud Vergé, Vincent Verouden, John Vickers, Gregory J. WerdenPaolo Buccirossi is Director and Founder of Lear, a research center and an economics consulting firm in Rome, and has worked as an economic advisor at the Italian Competition Authority. (shrink)
In this book Uwe Steinhoff describes and explains the basic tenets of just war theory and gives a precise, succinct and highly critical account of its present status and of the most important and controversial current debates surrounding it. Rejecting certain in effect medieval assumptions of traditional just war theory and advancing a liberal outlook, Steinhoff argues that every single individual is a legitimate authority and has under certain circumstances the right to declare war on others or the state. He (...) also argues that the just cause cannot be established independently of the other criteria of jus ad bellum (the justification of entering a war), except for right intention, which he interprets more leniently than the tradition does. Turning to jus in bello (which governs the conduct of a war) he criticizes the Doctrine of Double Effect and concludes that insofar as wars kill innocents, and be it as "collateral damage", they cannot be just but at best justified as the lesser evil. Steinhoff gives particular attention to the question why soldiers, allegedly, are legitimate targets and civilians not. Discussing four approaches to the explanation of the difference he argues that the four principles underlying them all need to be taken into account and outlines how their weighing can proceed if applied to concrete cases. The resulting approach does not square the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate targets with the distinction between soldiers and civilians, which has extremely important consequences for the conduct of war. Finally, Steinhoff analyses the concept of terrorism and argues that some forms of "terrorism" are actually not terrorism at all and that even terrorism proper can under certain circumstances be justified. (shrink)
I thought the paper by Kai-yee Wong and Chris Fraser was fascinating and insightful. Two things I especially appreciated are the clarity with which they summarize my views. I think they are quite fair and accurate. Second, I appreciate their suggestion that the way to deal with the practical problem of weakness of will has much to do with the role of the Background in shaping our actions. I think they are especially on the right track when they say that (...) the improvement of Background skills may actually narrow the range of real options for action, (p. 21) nonetheless, they do not decrease freedom. As they say, “It is a process of strengthening the self, and the agent is likely to experience the concomitant restriction of ‘live’ options not as a limitation but as strength of character.” (p. 21). That seems to me very much on the right track. What they are suggesting, and it is a powerful addition to my own writings, is that we should not just think of the Background as facilitating languages, games and social practices generally, but for morality as well (p. 23). (shrink)
In my Contemporary Critiques of Religion and in my Scepticism , I argue that non-anthropomorphic conceptions of God do not make sense. By this I mean that we do not have sound grounds for believing that the central truth-claims of Christianity are genuine truth-claims and that we do not have a religiously viable concept of God. I argue that this is so principally because of three interrelated features about God-talk. While purporting to be factual assertions, central bits of God-talk, e.g. (...) ‘God exists’ and ‘God loves man-kind’, are not even in principle verifiable in such a way that we can say what experienceable states of affairs would count for these putative assertions and against their denials, such that we could say what it would be like to have evidence which would make either their assertion or their denial more or less probably true. Personal predicates, e.g. ‘loves’, ‘creates’, are at least seemingly essential in the use of God-talk, yet they suffer from such an attenuation of meaning in their employment in religious linguistic environments that it at least appears to be the case that we have in such environments unwittingly emptied these predicates of all intelligible meaning so that we do not understand what we are asserting or denying when we utter ‘God loves mankind’ or ‘God created the heavens and the earth’ and the like. When we make well-formed assertions, it appears at least to be the case that a necessary condition for such wellformedness is that we should be able successfully to identify the subject of that putative statement so that we can understand what it is that we are talking about and thus understand that a genuine statement has actually been made. But, where God is conceived non-anthropomorphically, we have no even tolerably clear idea about how God, an infinite individual, occupying no particular place or existing at no particular time, and being utterly transcendent to the world, can be identified. Indeed we have no coherent idea of what it would be like to identify him and this means we have no coherent idea of what it would be like for God even to be a person or an it. He cannot be picked out and identified in the way persons and things can. (shrink)
It has been argued that implicit biases are operative in philosophy and lead to significant epistemic costs in the field. Philosophers working on this issue have focussed mainly on implicit gender and race biases. They have overlooked ideological bias, which targets political orientations. Psychologists have found ideological bias in their field and have argued that it has negative epistemic effects on scientific research. I relate this debate to the field of philosophy and argue that if, as some studies suggest, the (...) same bias also exists in philosophy then it will lead to hitherto unrecognised epistemic hazards in the field. Furthermore, the bias is epistemically different from the more familiar biases in respects that are important for epistemology, ethics, and metaphilosophy. (shrink)
Members of the field of philosophy have, just as other people, political convictions or, as psychologists call them, ideologies. How are different ideologies distributed and perceived in the field? Using the familiar distinction between the political left and right, we surveyed an international sample of 794 subjects in philosophy. We found that survey participants clearly leaned left (75%), while right-leaning individuals (14%) and moderates (11%) were underrepresented. Moreover, and strikingly, across the political spectrum, from very left-leaning individuals and moderates to (...) very right-leaning individuals, participants reported experiencing ideological hostility in the field, occasionally even from those from their own side of the political spectrum. Finally, while about half of the subjects believed that discrimination against left- or right-leaning individuals in the field is not justified, a significant minority displayed an explicit willingness to discriminate against colleagues with the opposite ideology. Our findings are both surprising and important, because a commitment to tolerance and equality is widespread in philosophy, and there is reason to think that ideological similarity, hostility, and discrimination undermine reliable belief formation in many areas of the discipline. (shrink)
When scientists or science reporters communicate research results to the public, this often involves ethical and epistemic risks. One such a risk arises when scientific claims cause cognitive or behavioral changes in the audience that contribute to the self-fulfillment of these claims. Focusing on such effects, I argue that the ethical and epistemic problem that they pose is likely to be much broader than hitherto appreciated. Moreover, it is often due to a psychological phenomenon that has been neglected in the (...) research on science communication, namely that many people tend to conform to descriptive norms, that is, norms capturing (perceptions of) what others commonly do, think, or feel. Because of this tendency, science communication can produce significant social harm. I contend that scientists have a responsibility to assess the risk of this potential harm and consider adopting strategies to mitigate it. I introduce one such a strategy and argue that its implementation is independently well motivated by the fact that it helps improve scientific accuracy. (shrink)
According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no "moral equality of combatants." That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war - but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in the large number of wars (and in practically all modern wars) where the combatants on the justified side violate the (...) rights of innocent people ("collateral damage"), these combatants are in fact liable to attack by the combatants on the unjustified side. I will support this view with a rights-based account of liability to attack and then defend it against a number of objections raised in particular by Jeff McMahan. The result is that the thesis of the moral equality of combatants holds good for a large range of armed conflicts while the opposing thesis is of very limited practical relevance. (shrink)
This book offers a philosophical analysis of the moral and legal justifications for the use of force. While the book focuses on the ethics self-defense, it also explores its relation to lesser evil justifications, public authority, the justification of punishment, and the ethics of war. Steinhoff’s account of the moral use of force covers a wide range of topics, including the nature of justification in general, the precise elements of different justifications, the logic of claim- and liberty-rights and of rights (...) forfeiture, the value of human life and its limits, and the principles of reciprocity and precaution. While the author’s analysis is primarily philosophical, it is informed by a metaethical stance that also places heavy emphasis on existing law and legal scholarship. In doing so, the book appeals to widely shared moral intuitions, precepts, and concepts grounded in criminal law. Self-Defense, Necessity, and Punishment offers the most comprehensive and systematic account of the ethics of self-defense. It will be of interest to scholars and graduate students working in applied ethics and moral philosophy, philosophy of law, and political philosophy. (shrink)
Confirmation bias is one of the most widely discussed epistemically problematic cognitions, challenging reliable belief formation and the correction of inaccurate views. Given its problematic nature, it remains unclear why the bias evolved and is still with us today. To offer an explanation, several philosophers and scientists have argued that the bias is in fact adaptive. I critically discuss three recent proposals of this kind before developing a novel alternative, what I call the ‘reality-matching account’. According to the account, confirmation (...) bias evolved because it helps us influence people and social structures so that they come to match our beliefs about them. This can result in significant developmental and epistemic benefits for us and other people, ensuring that over time we don’t become epistemically disconnected from social reality but can navigate it more easily. While that might not be the only evolved function of confirmation bias, it is an important one that has so far been neglected in the theorizing on the bias. (shrink)
It has recently been suggested that politically motivated cognition leads progressive individuals to form beliefs that underestimate real differences between social groups and to process information selectively to support these beliefs and an egalitarian outlook. I contend that this tendency, which I shall call ‘egalitarian confirmation bias’, is often ‘Mandevillian’ in nature. That is, while it is epistemically problematic in one’s own cognition, it often has effects that significantly improve other people’s truth tracking, especially that of stigmatized individuals in academia. (...) Due to its Mandevillian character, egalitarian confirmation bias isn’t only epistemically but also ethically beneficial, as it helps decrease social injustice. Moreover, since egalitarian confirmation bias has Mandevillian effects especially in academia, and since progressives are particularly likely to display the bias, there is an epistemic reason for maintaining the often-noted political majority of progressives in academia. That is, while many researchers hold that diversity in academia is epistemically beneficial because it helps reduce bias, I argue that precisely because political diversity would help reduce egalitarian confirmation bias, it would in fact in one important sense be epistemically costly. (shrink)
This book is intended as a comprehensive defense of psycho-physical dualism. It gives answers to the question of what dualism may consist in, and inquires into the broadly cultural motivation behind accepting dualism or its opponent physicalism. Arguments for dualism, among them strengthened versions of the famous classical arguments, are presented and defended against objections. Moreover, the various general objections to dualism are criticized in detail, for example, the allegation that dualism is of an anti-scientific nature. The book issues into (...) developing the outlines of a dualistic theory of consciousness and agency. The theory outlined is not only compatible with science but actually connects with it. It offers a unified perspective on the phenomenon of conscious life and may serve as a basis for a general ethics regarding all conscious living beings. (shrink)
A detailed, clear, and comprehensive overview of the current philosophical debate on. The question of when, and under what circumstances, the practice of torture might be justified has received a great deal of attention in the last decade in both academia and in the popular media. Many of these discussions are, however, one-sided with other perspectives either ignored or quickly dismissed with minimal argument. In On the Ethics of Torture, Uwe Steinhoff provides a complete account of the philosophical debate surrounding (...) this highly contentious subject. Steinhoff’s position is that torture is sometimes, under certain narrowly circumscribed conditions, justified, basing his argument on the right to self-defense. His position differs from that of other authors who, using other philosophical justifications, would permit torture under a wider set of conditions. After having given the reader a thorough account of the main arguments for permitting torture under certain circumstances, Steinhoff explains and addresses the many objections that have been raised to employing torture under any circumstances. This is an indispensible work for anyone interested in one of the most controversial subjects of our times. (shrink)
I argue in this paper that traditional just war theory did allow private, indeed even individual war, and that arguments in support of a legitimate authority criterion, let alone in support of the “priority” of this criterion, fail. I further argue that what motivates the insistence on “legitimate authority” is the assumption that doing away with this criterion will lead to chaos and anarchy. I demonstrate that the reasoning, if any, underlying this assumption is philosophically profoundly confused. The fact of (...) the matter is that wars need not necessarily be authorized by some higher authority (such as a king, president, or parliament) in order to be justified, and this moral fact does not need to chaos and anarchy. Accordingly, the criterion of legitimate authority cannot be relied on to delegitimate individual war, private war, guerrilla war, or even terrorism. Finally, I consider some other defenses of authorization and demonstrate that the “authorization” these accounts defend is either not needed for justification or already provided by other just war criteria or, indeed, entirely fictitious. (shrink)
- uneducated in the field authors who defend a consensus they are being TOLD when they enter offices of Ed-Sci, teaching and writing works on learning-theory - but never checked the facts, PART I and PART II.
In the philosophy of science, it is a common proposal that values are illegitimate in science and should be counteracted whenever they drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions. Drawing on recent cognitive scientific research on human reasoning and confirmation bias, I argue that this view should be rejected. Advocates of it have overlooked that values that drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions can contribute to the reliability of scientific inquiry at the group level even when they (...) negatively affect an individual’s cognition. This casts doubt on the proposal that such values should always be illegitimate in science. It also suggests that advocates of that proposal assume a narrow, individualistic account of science that threatens to undermine their own project of ensuring reliable belief formation in science. (shrink)
Victor Tadros thinks the idea that in a conflict both sides may permissibly use force should (typically) be rejected. Thus, he thinks that two shipwrecked persons should not fight for the only available flotsam (which can only carry one person) but instead toss a coin, and that a bomber justifiably attacking an ammunitions factory must not be counterattacked by the innocent bystanders he endangers. I shall argue that Tadros’s claim rests on unwarranted assumptions and is also mistaken in the light (...) of the moral reasoning that he himself offers in support of his ‘means principle’. (shrink)
In the tradition of just war theory two assumptions have been taken pretty much for granted: first, that there are quite a lot of justified wars, and second, that there is a moral inequality of combatants, that is, that combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war but not vice versa. I will argue that the first assumption is wrong and that therefore the second assumption is virtually irrelevant for reality. I will (...) also argue, primarily against Jeff McMahan, that his particular thesis about the moral inequality of “just” and “unjust combatants” is an analytical truth which, however, does hardly apply to anything (there are few if any “unjust combatants” as he defines them). If one takes his thesis less literally, namely in the sense of a thesis about combatants participating in a justified war and combatants participating in an unjustified war, it is correct in principle, but still of little practical relevance even if one disregarded the fact that there are virtually no justified wars. One of the reasons for this is that, contrary to McMahan’s claims, justification does not defeat liability. (shrink)
This article argues that positive perceptions of American westward expansion played a major role both for the domestic German debate about the necessity of overseas expansion and for concrete German colonial policies during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During and after the uprising against colonial rule of the two main indigenous peoples, the Herero and the Nama, of German South-West Africa, colonial administrators actively researched the history of the American frontier and American Indian policies in order to learn (...) how best to “handle” the colony's peoples. There exists a substantial literature on the allegedly exceptional enchantment of Germans with American Indians. Yet this article shows that negative views of Amerindians also influenced and shaped the opinions and actions of German colonizers. Because of its focus on the importance of the United States for German discussions about colonial expansion, this article also explores the role German liberals played in the German colonial project. Ultimately, the United States as a “model empire” was especially attractive for Germans with liberal and progressive political convictions. The westward advancement of the American frontier went hand in hand with a variety of policies towards Native Americans, including measures of expulsion and extinction. German liberals accepted American expansionism as normative and were therefore willing to advocate, or at least tolerate, similar policies in the German colonies. (shrink)
In this paper we develop a theory of language meaning that represents scope ambiguities by underspecified structures. The set of possible meanings of a sentence, or text is determined by a set of meta-level constraints that restricts the class of semantic representations appropriately. Thus the way ambiguities are represented does not correspond to any of the usual concepts of formalizing ambiguities by means of disjunctions (of completely specified structures). A sound and complete proof theory is provided that relates these structures (...) directly, without considering cases. (shrink)
I argue that the criterion of just cause is not independent of proportionality and other valid jus ad bellum criteria. One cannot know whether there is a just cause without knowing whether the other (valid) criteria (apart from ‘right intention’) are satisfied. The advantage of this account is that it is applicable to all wars, even to wars where nobody will be killed or where the enemy has not committed a rights violation but can be justifiably warred against anyway. This (...) account also avoids the inefficiency of having proportionality considerations come up at two different points: in a separate criterion of just cause and in the criterion of proportionality proper. ‘Right intention’, the subjective element of the justification of a war, on the other hand, is not to be subsumed under the criterion of just cause: there can be a just cause without anybody knowing it. Conversely, however, the subjective element requires that those responsible for waging the war do know that the justifying objective conditions are fulfilled. This is in one sense more demanding than traditional just war theory; in another sense, however, it is less demanding: nobody needs to intend to fight for a ‘just aim’. (shrink)
Thomas Pogge claims "that, by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably cause the monumental suffering of global poverty, we are harming the global poor ... or, to put it more descriptively, we are active participants in the largest, though not the gravest, crime against humanity ever committed." In other words, he claims that by upholding certain international arrangements we are violating our strong negative duties not to harm, and not just some positive duties to help. I (...) shall argue that even if Pogge were correct in claiming that certain rich states or at least the rich states collectively violate certain negative duties towards the poor and harm the poor, he is far too hasty in concluding that "we," the citizens of those states, are thus harming the global poor or violating our negative duties towards them. In fact, his conclusion can be shown to be wrong not least of all in the light of some of his own assumptions about collective responsibility, the enforceability of human rights, and terrorism. In addition, I will also argue that his view that we share responsibility for the acts of our political "representatives," who allegedly act "on our behalf," is unwarranted. (shrink)
This paper is not so much concerned with the question under which circumstances self-defense is justified, but rather with other normative features of self-defense as well as with the source of the self-defense justification. I will argue that the aggressor’s rights-forfeiture alone – and hence the liberty-right of the defender to defend himself – cannot explain the intuitively obvious fact that a prohibition on self-defense would wrong victims of attack. This can only be explained by conceiving of self-defense also as (...) a claim-right. However, I will also argue that a claim-right cannot ground the self-defense justification either. Rather, what grounds the self-defense justification and its particular strength and scope is the fact that self-defense is an act-specific agent-relative prerogative: a defender is allowed to give particularly grave weight to his interest in engaging in self-defense, which distinguishes self-defense from most other acts. This is not the same as saying that he has a right or a liberty to engage in self-defense. Thus, self-defense, understood as a normative concept, is a claim-right, a liberty-right, and an act-specific agent-relative prerogative. (shrink)
Metaphilosophy is itself philosophy about philosophy. It is not something before or independent of philosophy. Both Kai Nielsen and Richard Rorty are deeply concerned (someone might say obsessively preoccupied) with metaphilosophy. They both are thoroughly historicist and contextualist resolutely rejecting any form of a transcendental or metaphysical turn. They argue against claims to absolute validity (as well as against absolutism in any form) and a natural order of reasons: some 'Reason' to which any rational agent must be committed. They both (...) see philosophy as a transitional genre first (historically speaking) from religion then metaphysics and more latterly from scientistic conceptions of the world. But they differ about what philosophy is transitional to. For Rorty it is historical narrative and utopian proposals; for Nielsen it is critical theory. Rorty claims this, Nielsen's intentions to the contrary notwithstanding, commits him to enlightenment rationalism. Nielsen replies that his form of critical theory is deeply historicist and contextual without being resolutely atheoretical. This plays out in political orientation to Nielsen's being a socialist while Rorty is a social democrat. (shrink)
This festschrift includes a dozen essays on issues that have been at the focus of Kai Nielsen's research, mainly issues in ethics and political philosophy. Among these are four essays on socialism and Marxism. There are also essays on philosophy of religion, epistemology, and meta-philosophy.
abstract Can torture be morally justified? I shall criticise arguments that have been adduced against torture and demonstrate that torture can be justified more easily than most philosophers dealing with the question are prepared to admit. It can be justified not only in ticking nuclear bomb cases but also in less spectacular ticking bomb cases and even in the so‐called Dirty Harry cases. There is no morally relevant difference between self‐defensive killing of a culpable aggressor and torturing someone who is (...) culpable of a deadly threat that can be averted only by torturing him. Nevertheless, I shall argue that torture should not be institutionalised, for example by torture warrants. (shrink)
Why do we engage in folk psychology, that is, why do we think about and ascribe propositional attitudes such as beliefs, desires, intentions etc. to people? On the standard view, folk psychology is primarily for mindreading, for detecting mental states and explaining and/or predicting people’s behaviour in terms of them. In contrast, McGeer (1996, 2007, 2015), and Zawidzki (2008, 2013) maintain that folk psychology is not primarily for mindreading but for mindshaping, that is, for moulding people’s behavior and minds (e.g., (...) via the imposition of social norms) so that coordination becomes easier. Mindreading is derived from and only as effective as it is because of mindshaping, not vice versa. I critically assess McGeer’s, and Zawidzki’s proposal and contend that three common motivations for the mindshaping view do not provide sufficient support for their particular version of it. I argue furthermore that their proposal underestimates the role that epistemic processing plays for mindshaping. And I provide reasons for favouring an alternative according to which, in social cognition involving ascriptions of propositional attitudes, neither mindshaping nor mindreading is primary but both are complementary in that effective mindshaping depends as much on mindreading as effective mindreading depends on mindshaping. (shrink)
Practically all modern definitions of war rule out that individuals can wage war. They conceive of war as a certain kind of conflict between groups. In fact, many definitions even restrict the term “war” to sustained armed conflicts between states. Instead of taking such definitions as points of departure, the article starts from scratch. I first explain what an explication of the concept of “war” should achieve. I then introduce the fundamental, and frequently overlooked, distinction between war as an historical (...) event and war as an action. It is war as action—which, unlike events, can be right or wrong—that I explicate. Testing our linguistic intuitions with different examples of conflict I isolate several criteria that a war proper has to fulfill and try to demonstrate that not only collectives but individuals, too, can wage war. In conclusion I examine alternative definitions of war and show that in comparison to them mine fares rather well. (shrink)
I argue that the often-heard claim that all serious present-day political philosophers subscribe to the principle of equal respect and concern or to the doctrine of equal moral status or are in some other fundamental sense egalitarians is wrong. Also wrong is the further claim that the usual methods currently used in political philosophy presuppose basic equality. I further argue that liberal egalitarianism itself is wrong. There is no universal duty “of equal respect and concern” towards every person, for one (...) does not owe one’s nice sister and a serial rapist equal respect and concern. There is also no duty of the state to respect all citizens equally, for a state need not be equally concerned about murderous criminals on the one hand and their innocent victims on the other. The potential maneuver of saving liberal egalitarianism by claiming that people have equal rights is unsuccessful. Human beings clearly do not have equal rights, nor are they born with equal rights; and merely having an equality of some rights, for example of “basic” or human ones, would not suffice for egalitarianism. Appeals to “recognition respect” and related concepts are also to no avail. Trying to go back still a step further and to claim that certain rights inequalities or justified discriminatory rules are themselves “grounded” in equal respect and concern at some deeper, norm-generating level (like, for example, the original position or a discourse-ethical principle of justification) is also futile. Finally, I argue that the “This is not what we mean”-strategy of escaping the above arguments reduces egalitarianism to triviality and empty rhetoric. Liberal egalitarianism should be abandoned. (shrink)
Even among those who find lethal defense against non-responsible threats, innocent aggressors, or justified aggressors justified even in one to one cases, there is a debate as to what the best explanation of this permissibility is. The contenders in this debate are the liability account, which holds that the non-responsible or justified human targets of the defensive measures are liable to attack, and the justified infringement account, which claims that the targets retain their right not to be attacked but may (...) be attacked anyway, even in one to one situations. Given that we normally think that rights are trumps, this latter claim is counter-intuitive and rather surprising, and therefore in need of justification and explanation. So far only Jonathan Quong has actually tried to provide an explanation; however, I will argue that his explanation fails and that Quong’s own account of liability is misguided. I then address Helen Frowe’s critique of the liability account. She makes the important concession that the tactical bomber has to compensate his victims, but she tries to block the conclusion that he must therefore be liable. I will demonstrate that her attempt to explain away liability fails once that concession is made. (shrink)
In empirically informed research on action explanation, philosophers and developmental psychologists have recently proposed a teleological account of the way in which we make sense of people’s intentional behavior. It holds that we typically don’t explain an agent’s action by appealing to her mental states but by referring to the objective, publically accessible facts of the world that count in favor of performing the action so as to achieve a certain goal. Advocates of the teleological account claim that this strategy (...) is our main way of understanding people’s actions. I argue that common motivations mentioned to support the teleological account are insufficient to sustain its generalization from children to adults. Moreover, social psychological studies, combined with theoretical considerations, suggest that we do not explain actions mainly by invoking publically accessible, reason-giving facts alone but by ascribing mental states to the agent. (shrink)