Abstract Previous work has found few gender differences in moral orientation among children. Two experiments were conducted with third grade children (8?year?olds) to learn if children's moral orientation would be affected by the gender of dilemma characters: all male, all female, or mixed gender. Children responded to stories in which animal characters faced a conflict. Children's suggestions as to how the characters should solve their problems were coded as expressing a concern for others (care orientation) or a focus on issues (...) of rights and justice (rights orientation). Both boys and girls showed a small but consistent preference for the care orientation, and their reasoning was not influenced by the gender of the characters. Children tended to misremember female animal story characters as male (Experiment 1), unless an illustration depicting the characters? gender accompanied the text (Experiment 2). Overall, the results point to the role of children's literature in creating stereotyped expectations about male and female story characters, and emphasise the initial similarity of boys? and girls? moral orientation in childhood. (shrink)
How to draw the distinction between activity and passivity? Whatever that might be, the causal theory of action cannot give the right answer, as it offers an essentially passive account of human action.
Among the very many questions we might wish to ask of any particular science, two of them concern the nature of the objects of the science and the character of the laws which describe the behaviour of those objects. What I wish to do is to raise those two questions about historical materialism. That is, I want to ask what it is that one studies in Capital for example, and in what ways of behaving does the nomic or lawlike behaviour (...) of those objects consist. Both are ontological questions of a sort, and, in particular, questions about what I call social ontology, although it is usual to restrict the term ‘ontological’ to the former question alone. The first question asks about the objects to whose existence historical materialism is committed; the second asks about the characteristic ways of behaving of those objects. (shrink)
Are explanations in the social sciences fundamentally different from explanations in the natural sciences? Many philosophers think that they are, and I call such philosophers ‘difference theorists’. Many difference theorists locate that difference in the alleged fact that only in the natural sciences does explanation essentially include laws.
David-Hillel Ruben mounts a defence of some unusual and original positions in the philosophy of action. Written from a point of view out of sympathy with the assumptions of much of contemporary philosophical action theory, his book draws its inspiration from philosophers as diverse as Aristotle, Berkeley, and Marx. Ruben 's work is located in the tradition of the metaphysics of action, and will attract much attention from his peers and from students in the field.
Book synopsis: David-Hillel Ruben's new book pursues some novel and unusual standpoints in the philosophy of action. He rejects, for example, the most widely held view about how to count actions, and argues for what he calls a 'prolific theory' of act individuation. He also describes and argues against the two leading theories of the nature of action, the causal theory and the agent causal theory. The causal theory cannot account for skilled activity, nor for mental action. The agent (...) causalist theory unnecessarily reifies causings. He identifies an assumption that they share, and that most action theorists have assumed to be unproblematic and uncontroversial, that an action is, or entails the existence of, an event. Several different meanings to that claim are disentangled and in the most interesting sense of that claim, Ruben denies that it is true. His own alternative is simple and unpretentious: nothing informative can be said about the nature of action that explicates action in any other terms. Ruben sketches a theory of causal explanation of action that eschews the requirement for laws or generalisations, and this effectively quashes one argument for the oft-repeated view that no explanations of action can be causal, on the grounds that there are no convincing cases of laws of human action. He addresses a number of questions about the knowledge an agent has of his own actions, looking particularly at examples of pathological cases of action in which, for one reason or another, the agent does not know what he is doing. Inspiring and enlightening in its challenge to received wisdom, and in its convincing defence of some unfashionable positions, Action and its Explanation will be required reading for anyone working in this field. (shrink)
A comparison of disjunctive theories of action and perception. The development of a theory of action that warrants the name, a disjunctive theory. On this theory, there is an exclusive disjunction: either an action or an event (in one sense). It follows that in that sense basic actions do not have events intrinsic to them.
The article argues that the famous debate on natural and positive law between Lon Fuller and HLA Hart rests on a dispute about whether or not that something is a law provides on its own a prima facie reason for doing something.
In virtue of what are later and an earlier group members of one and the numerically same tradition? Gallie was one of the few philosophers to have engaged with issues surrounding this question. My article is not a faithful exegesis of Gallie but develops a terminology in which to discuss issues surrounding the numerical identity of a tradition over time, based on some of his insights.
What constitutes numerically one and the same tradition diachronically, at different times? This question is the focus of often violent dispute in societies. Is it capable of a rational resolution? Many accounts attempt that resolution with a diagnosis of ambiguity of the disputed concept-Islam, Marxism, or democracy for example. The diagnosis offered is in terms of vagueness, namely the vague criteria for sameness or similarity of central beliefs and practices.
Is the thought that having a reason for action can also be the cause of the action for which it is the reason coherent? This is an attempt to say exactly what is involved in such a thought, with special reference to the case of con-reasons, reasons that count against the action the agent eventually choses.
Book synopsis: This collection of previously unpublished essays presents the newest developments in the thought of international scholars working on the explanation of action. The contributions focus on a wide range of interlocking issues relating to agency, deliberation, motivation, mental causation, teleology, interprative explanation and the ontology of actions and their reasons. Challenging numerous current orthodoxies, and offering positive suggestions from a variety of different perspectives, this book provides essential reading for anyone interested in the explanation of action.
Does 'Person P tried to A' entail that there is some particular, whether a mental act or a brain state or whatever, that is a trying? Most discussions of trying assume that this entailment holds. There is no good reason for holding that this is a valid inference. In particular, I examine one 'Davidsonian' argument that might be used to justify the validity of such an inference and argue that the argument is not sound. See: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/IxsuPqt7rvdzqMxpFiTv/full.
The aim of this series is to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a variety of sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available to the university student or the general reader. The editor of each volume contributes an introductory essay on the items chosen and on the questions with which they deal. A selective bibliography is appended as a guide to further reading. This volume presents a selection of the most important (...) recent writings on the nature of explanation. It covers a broad range of topics from the philosophy of science to the central philosophical terrain of the theory of knowledge. The distinguished contributors include Peter Achinstein, Wesley C. Salmon, Carl G. Hempel, Philip Kitcher, Bas C. van Fraassen, Jaegwon Kim, B. Brody, Timothy McCarthy, Peter Railton, David Lewis, Peter Lipton, James Woodward, and Robert J. Matthews. (shrink)
What might it mean to say that there is such a thing as a hermeneutic circle in the social sciences? A consideration of some remarks by Charles Taylor and others and an interpretive reconstruction, and assessment, of the idea of such a circle.
Book synopsis: This is the first volume of a two-volume introduction to and guide through philosophy. It is intended to orientate, assist, and stimulate the reader at every stage in the study of the subject. Eleven extended essays have been specially commissioned from leading philosophers; each surveys a major area of the subject and offers an accessible but sophisticated account of the main debates. An extended introduction maps out the philosophical terrain and explains how the different subjects relate to each (...) other. The first part of the book deals with the foundations of philosophical enquiry: epistemology; philosophical logic; methodology; metaphysics; and the philosophy of mind. The second part offers four historical chapters, two on ancient and two on modern philosophy, introducing great thinkers from the past, explaining and discussing their ideas, and showing the value of studying them today. The third part comprises two chapters devoted to questions of value, in ethics and aesthetics. Full annotated bibliographies are provided at the ends of chapters to serve as guides to further reading. This is real philosophy, not simplified philosophy; it will be accessible for the beginner but equally valuable for the third-year student. Deep and challenging questions are not shirked; the reader will be given a sense of involvement in the practice of philosophy today. (shrink)
What makes a tradition at t and a tradition at t* numerically one and the same tradition? What are the criteria for the diachronic identity of traditions? Special attention is given to cases of dispute, in which both of two apparently different traditions claim that it but not the other is the true successor to the earlier tradition.
Lewis' counterfactual account of deterministic causation has no way in which to represent causal sufficiency. In the case in which the cause and effect actually occur, the conditional, c box-arrow e is trivially true, equivalent to the material conditional. Yet in deterministic causation, one needs a notion of causal sufficiency that is stronger than that.
To what extend can genuinely mereological considerations apply to talk of wholes and parts in discussions of the relationship between individual persons and the social groups, etc. to which they belong?
Book synopsis: Philosophy of the Social Sciences: 5 Questions is a collection of original contributions from a distinguished score of the world’s most prominent and influential scholars in the field. They deal with questions such as what drew them towards the area; how they view their own contribution, and what the future of the social sciences looks like.
In an explanation, what does the explaining and what gets explained? What are the relata of the explanation relation? Candidates include: people, events, facts, sentences, statements, and propositions.
The Causal Theory of Action (CTA) is the view that x is person p’s token action if x is a movement of p’s body caused in the right way by p’s mental states which rationalise x. But there seem to be many actions which are part of a ‘larger’ action, like some particular movement executed in shaving, which are preceded by nosuch rationalising mental states. To cover these cases, the amended CTA says that some item x is a person p’s (...) action if either the above account is true of x or x is part of a whole such that the above account is true of the whole. I discuss various senses of ‘part’ which might make the amended account plausible and conclude that the account is overly permissive; it will count as actions many items which clearly are not actions. (shrink)