Invited media scholars and journalists examine the general issue of nuclear waste, risk and the sicentific promises that were made, but not kept, about safe disposal. The mass media uncovered and reported on nuclear waste problems at Rocky Flats in Colorado and Hanford in Washington. Two environmental journalists review efforts to expose problems at these sites, how secrecy hampered reporting, and the effects of media coverage on nearby residents. An environmental communications scholar evaluates media coverage, the role of the U.S. (...) Department of Energy, and the impact of secrecy on public risk perceptions and attitudes toward government nuclear waste policies. (shrink)
Empirical work on and common observation of the emotions tells us that our emotions sometimes key us to the presence of real and important reason-giving considerations without necessarily presenting that information to us in a way susceptible of conscious articulation and, sometimes, even despite our consciously held and internally justified judgment that the situation contains no such reasons. In this paper, I want to explore the implications of the fact that emotions show varying degrees of integration with our conscious agency—from (...) none at all to quite substantial—for our understanding of our rationality, and in particular for the traditional assumption that weakness of the will is necessarily irrational. (shrink)
We frequently speak of certain things or phenomena being built out of or based in others. Making Things Up concerns these relations, which connect more fundamental things to less fundamental things: Karen Bennett calls these 'building relations'. She aims to illuminate what it means to say that one thing is more fundamental than another.
In this paper, we develop a novel response to counterfactual scepticism, the thesis that most ordinary counterfactual claims are false. In the process we aim to shed light on the relationship between debates in the philosophy of science and debates concerning the semantics and pragmatics of counterfactuals. We argue that science is concerned with many domains of inquiry, each with its own characteristic entities and regularities; moreover, statements of scientific law often include an implicit ceteris paribus clause that restricts the (...) scope of the associated regularity to circumstances that are ‘fitting’ to the domain in question. This observation reveals a way of responding to scepticism while, at the same time, doing justice both to the role of counterfactuals in science and to the complexities inherent in ordinary counterfactual discourse and reasoning. (shrink)
Recently much has been made of the grounding relation, and of the idea that it is intimately tied to fundamentality. If A grounds B, then A is more fundamental than B (though not vice versa ), and A is ungrounded if and only if it is fundamental full stop—absolutely fundamental. But here is a puzzle: is grounding itself absolutely fundamental?
Drawing on insights from causal theories of reference, teleosemantics, and state space semantics, a theory of naturalized mental representation. In A Mark of the Mental, Karen Neander considers the representational power of mental states—described by the cognitive scientist Zenon Pylyshyn as the “second hardest puzzle” of philosophy of mind. The puzzle at the heart of the book is sometimes called “the problem of mental content,” “Brentano's problem,” or “the problem of intentionality.” Its motivating mystery is how neurobiological states can (...) have semantic properties such as meaning or reference. Neander proposes a naturalistic account for sensory-perceptual representations. Neander draws on insights from state-space semantics, causal theories of reference, and teleosemantic theories. She proposes and defends an intuitive, theoretically well-motivated but highly controversial thesis: sensory-perceptual systems have the function to produce inner state changes that are the analogs of as well as caused by their referents. Neander shows that the three main elements—functions, causal-information relations, and relations of second-order similarity—complement rather than conflict with each other. After developing an argument for teleosemantics by examining the nature of explanation in the mind and brain sciences, she develops a theory of mental content and defends it against six main content-determinacy challenges to a naturalized semantics. (shrink)
A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
This article proposes a number of models to examine through which mechanisms a population of autonomous agents could arrive at a repertoire of perceptually grounded categories that is sufficiently shared to allow successful communication. The models are inspired by the main approaches to human categorisation being discussed in the literature: nativism, empiricism, and culturalism. Colour is taken as a case study. Although we take no stance on which position is to be accepted as final truth with respect to human categorisation (...) and naming, we do point to theoretical constraints that make each position more or less likely and we make clear suggestions on what the best engineering solution would be. Specifically, we argue that the collective choice of a shared repertoire must integrate multiple constraints, including constraints coming from communication. Key Words: autonomous agents; colour categorisation; colour naming; connectionism; cultural evolution; genetic evolution; memes; origins of language; self-organisation; semiotic dynamics; symbol grounding. (shrink)
Ecological feminism is the position that there are important connections-historical, symbolic, theoretical-between the domination of women and the domination of nonhuman nature. I argue that because the conceptual connections between the dual dominations of women and nature are located in an oppressive patriarchal conceptual framework characterized by a logic of domination, (1) the logic of traditional feminism requires the expansion of feminism to include ecological feminism and (2) ecological feminism provides a framework for developing a distinctively feminist environmental ethic. I (...) conclude that any feminist theory and any environmental ethic which fails to take seriously the interconnected dominations of women and nature is simply inadequate. (shrink)
Several authors have claimed that mechanisms play a vital role in distinguishing between causation and mere correlation in the social sciences. Such claims are sometimes interpreted to mean that without mechanisms, causal inference in social science is impossible. The author agrees with critics of this proposition but explains how the account of how mechanisms aid causal inference can be interpreted in a way that does not depend on it. Nevertheless, he shows that this more charitable version of the account is (...) still unsuccessful as it stands. Consequently, he advances a proposal for shoring up the account, which is founded on the possibility of acquiring knowledge of social mechanisms by linking together norms or practices found in a society. Key Words: causality social mechanisms interpretation anthropology. (shrink)
This book discusses the notion that quantum gravity may represent the "breakdown" of spacetime at extremely high energy scales. If spacetime does not exist at the fundamental level, then it has to be considered "emergent", in other words an effective structure, valid at low energy scales. The author develops a conception of emergence appropriate to effective theories in physics, and shows how it applies (or could apply) in various approaches to quantum gravity, including condensed matter approaches, discrete approaches, and loop (...) quantum gravity. (shrink)
The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all (...) the work, and there is nothing left for the mental to do. (shrink)
The likelihood principle (LP) is a core issue in disagreements between Bayesian and frequentist statistical theories. Yet statements of the LP are often ambiguous, while arguments for why a Bayesian must accept it rely upon unexamined implicit premises. I distinguish two propositions associated with the LP, which I label LP1 and LP2. I maintain that there is a compelling Bayesian argument for LP1, based upon strict conditionalization, standard Bayesian decision theory, and a proposition I call the practical relevance principle. In (...) contrast, I argue that there is no similarly compelling argument for or against LP2. I suggest that these conclusions lead to a restrictedly pluralistic view of Bayesian confirmation measures. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
In the ninth century BCE, the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity to the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Later generations further developed these initial insights, but we have never grown beyond them. Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, for example, were all secondary flowerings of the original Israelite vision. Now, in (...) The Great Transformation , Karen Armstrong reveals how the sages of this pivotal “Axial Age” can speak clearly and helpfully to the violence and desperation that we experience in our own times. Armstrong traces the development of the Axial Age chronologically, examining the contributions of such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the mystics of the Upanishads, Mencius, and Euripides. All of the Axial Age faiths began in principled and visceral recoil from the unprecedented violence of their time. Despite some differences of emphasis, there was a remarkable consensus in their call for an abandonment of selfishness and a spirituality of compassion. With regard to dealing with fear, despair, hatred, rage, and violence, the Axial sages gave their people and give us, Armstrong says, two important pieces of advice: first there must be personal responsibility and self-criticism, and it must be followed by practical, effective action. In her introduction and concluding chapter, Armstrong urges us to consider how these spiritualities challenge the way we are religious today. In our various institutions, we sometimes seem to be attempting to create exactly the kind of religion that Axial sages and prophets had hoped to eliminate. We often equate faith with doctrinal conformity, but the traditions of the Axial Age were not about dogma. All insisted on the primacy of compassion even in the midst of suffering. In each Axial Age case, a disciplined revulsion from violence and hatred proved to be the major catalyst of spiritual change. (shrink)
In seeking an answer to the question of what it means for a theory to be fundamental, it is enlightening to ask why the current best theories of physics are not generally believed to be fundamental. This reveals a set of conditions that a theory of physics must satisfy in order to be considered fundamental. Physics aspires to describe ever deeper levels of reality, which may be without end. Ultimately, at any stage we may not be able to tell whether (...) we've reached rock bottom, or even if there is a base level – nevertheless, I draft a checklist to help us identify when to stop digging, in the case where we may have reached a candidate for a final theory. Given that the list is – according to (current) mainstream belief in high-energy physics – complete, and each criterion well-motivated, I argue that a physical theory that satisfies all the criteria can be assumed to be fundamental in the absence of evidence to the contrary (i.e., I argue that the necessary conditions are jointly sufficient for a claim of fundamentality in physics). (shrink)
I argue that it is intuitive and useful to think about composition in the light of the familiar functionalist distinction between role and occupant. This involves factoring the standard notion of parthood into two related notions: being a parthood slot and occupying a parthood slot. One thing is part of another just in case it fills one of that thing's parthood slots. This move opens room to rethink mereology in various ways, and, in particular, to see the mereological structure of (...) a composite as potentially outreaching the individual entities that are its parts. I sketch one formal system that allows things to have individual entities as parts multiple times over. This is particularly useful to David Armstrong, given Lewis's charge that his structural universals must do exactly that. I close by reflecting upon the nature and point of formal mereology. (shrink)
This article argues that common intuitions regarding (a) the specialness of ‘use-novel’ data for confirmation and (b) that this specialness implies the ‘no-double-counting rule’, which says that data used in ‘constructing’ (calibrating) a model cannot also play a role in confirming the model’s predictions, are too crude. The intuitions in question are pertinent in all the sciences, but we appeal to a climate science case study to illustrate what is at stake. Our strategy is to analyse the intuitive claims in (...) light of prominent accounts of confirmation of model predictions. We show that on the Bayesian account of confirmation, and also on the standard classical hypothesis-testing account, claims (a) and (b) are not generally true; but for some select cases, it is possible to distinguish data used for calibration from use-novel data, where only the latter confirm. The more specialized classical model-selection methods, on the other hand, uphold a nuanced version of claim (a), but this comes apart from (b), which must be rejected in favour of a more refined account of the relationship between calibration and confirmation. Thus, depending on the framework of confirmation, either the scope or the simplicity of the intuitive position must be revised. (shrink)
Relationships between current theories, and relationships between current theories and the sought theory of quantum gravity (QG), play an essential role in motivating the need for QG, aiding the search for QG, and defining what would count as QG. Correspondence is the broad class of inter-theory relationships intended to demonstrate the necessary compatibility of two theories whose domains of validity overlap, in the overlap regions. The variety of roles that correspondence plays in the search for QG are illustrated, using examples (...) from specific QG approaches. Reduction is argued to be a special case of correspondence, and to form part of the definition of QG. Finally, the appropriate account of emergence in the context of QG is presented, and compared to conceptions of emergence in the broader philosophy literature. It is argued that, while emergence is likely to hold between QG and general relativity, emergence is not part of the definition of QG, and nor can it serve usefully in the development and justification of the new theory. (shrink)
This article examines methodological individualism in terms of the theory that invariance under intervention is the signal feature of generalizations that serve as a basis for causal explanation. This theory supports the holist contention that macro-level generalizations can explain, but it also suggests a defense of methodological individualism on the grounds that greater range of invariance under intervention entails deeper explanation. Although this individualist position is not threatened by multiple-realizability, an argument for it based on rational choice theory is called (...) into question by experimental results concerning preference reversals. Key Words: methodological individualism mechanisms explanation invariance preference reversal. (shrink)
The classic Lewis-Stalnaker semantics for counterfactuals captures that Sobel sequences are consistent sequences, for example: a.If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro dance. b.But if Sophie had gone to the parade and been stuck behind someone tall, she would not have seen Pedro dance. But reverse a sequence like this one and it no longer sounds so good, which is surprising on the classic semantics. This observation motivated Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies to propose (...) dynamic semantic accounts of counterfactual conditionals. Subsequently, Sarah Moss defended the classic semantics against the charge that it need be abandoned in the face of these order effects, arguing that the infelicity of the reverse sequences is pragmatic. I argue that both accounts are ultimately untenable, but each account has strengths. Seeing what works and what doesn't in each account points the way to the right positive view. With this in mind, I defend a contextualist account of counterfactuals that takes conversational relevance to play a central role. (shrink)
Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity (QG), where novel empirical data is lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is UV completion: the idea that a theory should (formally) hold up to all possible high energies. We argue---/contra/ standard scientific practice---that UV-completion is poorly-motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we explore (...) the reasons for expecting, or desiring, a UV-complete theory, as well as analyse how UV completion is used, and how it should be used, in various specific approaches to QG. (shrink)
Concerns about ‘mental causation’ are concerns about how it is possible for mental states to cause anything to happen. How does what we believe, want, see, feel, hope, or dread manage to cause us to act? Certain positions on the mind-body problem—including some forms of physicalism—make such causation look highly problematic. This entry sketches several of the main reasons to worry, and raises some questions for further investigation.
Prinz claims that empirical work on emotions and moral judgement can help us resolve longstanding metaethical disputes in favour of simple sentimentalism. I argue that the empirical evidence he marshals does not have the metaethical implications he claims: the studies purporting to show that having an emotion is sufficient for making a moral judgement are tendentiously described. We are entitled to ascribe competence with moral concepts to experimental subjects only if we suppose that they would withdraw their moral judgement on (...) learning that they were fully explained by hypnotically induced disgust. Genuine moral judgements must be reason-responsive. To capture the reason-responsiveness of moral judgement, we must turn to either neo-sentimentalism or to a non-sentimentalist metaethics, either of which is fully compatible with the empirical evidence Prinz cites. (shrink)
Many otherwise enlightened people often dismiss etiquette as a trivial subject or—worse yet—as nothing but a disguise for moral hypocrisy or unjust social hierarchies. Such sentiments either mistakenly assume that most manners merely frame the “real issues” of any interpersonal exchange or are the ugly vestiges of outdated, unfair social arrangements. But in _On Manners_, Karen Stohr turns the tables on these easy prejudices, demonstrating that the scope of manners is much broader than most people realize and that manners (...) lead directly to the roots of enduring ethical questions. Stohr suggests that though manners are mostly conventional, they are nevertheless authoritative insofar as they are a primary means by which we express moral attitudes and commitments and carry out important moral goals. Drawing primarily on Aristotle and Kant and with references to a wide range of cultural examples—from Jane Austen’s _Pride and Prejudice_ to Larry David’s _Curb Your Enthusiasm_—the author ultimately concludes that good manners are essential to moral character. (shrink)
Ethics education can potentially be supplemented through the use of video games. This article proposes a novel framework, which helps educators choose games to be used for ethics education purposes. The EPIC Framework is derived from a number of classic moral development, learning, and ethical decision-making models, including frameworks and theories associated with games and ethics, as well as prior empirical and theoretical research literature. The EPIC Framework consists of seven ethics education goals, and 12 strategies associated with ethics education, (...) which are also present in video games. Each of the framework’s categories is described in detail, and the limitations of the framework are also discussed. (shrink)
Analogue experiments have attracted interest for their potential to shed light on inaccessible domains. For instance, ‘dumb holes’ in fluids and Bose–Einstein condensates, as analogues of black holes, have been promoted as means of confirming the existence of Hawking radiation in real black holes. We compare analogue experiments with other cases of experiment and simulation in physics. We argue—contra recent claims in the philosophical literature—that analogue experiments are not capable of confirming the existence of particular phenomena in inaccessible target systems. (...) As they must assume the physical adequacy of the modelling framework used to describe the inaccessible target system, arguments to the conclusion that analogue experiments can yield confirmation for phenomena in those target systems, such as Hawking radiation in black holes, beg the question. (shrink)
An effective theory in physics is one that is supposed to apply only at a given length scale; the framework of effective field theory describes a ‘tower’ of theories each applying at different length scales, where each ‘level’ up is a shorter-scale theory. Owing to subtlety regarding the use and necessity of EFTs, a conception of emergence defined in terms of reduction is irrelevant. I present a case for decoupling emergence and reduction in the philosophy of physics. This paper develops (...) a positive conception of emergence, based on the novelty and autonomy of the ‘levels’, by considering physical examples, involving critical phenomena, the renormalisation group, and symmetry breaking. This positive conception of emergence is related to underdetermination and universality, but, I argue, is preferable to other accounts of emergence in physics that rely on universality. (shrink)
John Duns Scotus recognizes complexity in God both at the level of God’s being and at the level of God’s attributes. Using the formal distinction and the notion of “unitive containment,” he argues for real plurality in God, but in a way that permits him to affirm the doctrine of divine simplicity. We argue that his allegiance to the doctrine of divine simplicity is purely verbal, that he flatly denies traditional aspects of the doctrine as he had received it from (...) Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas, and that his denial of the doctrine allows him to escape certain counterintuitive consequences of the doctrine without falling afoul of the worries that motivated the doctrine in the first place. We note also an important consequence of Scotus’s approach to simplicity for the correct interpretation of his view of the foundation of morality. (shrink)
Two versions of global supervenience have recently been distinguished from each other. I introduce a third version, which is more likely what people had in mind all along. However, I argue that one of the three versions is equivalent to strong supervenience in every sense that matters, and that neither of the other two versions counts as a genuine determination relation. I conclude that global supervenience has little metaphysically distinctive value.