Faced with the choice between creating a risk of harm and taking a precaution against that risk, should I take the precaution? Does the proper analysis of this trade-off require a maximizing, utilitarian approach? If not, how does one properly analyze the trade-off? These questions are important, for we often are uncertain about the effects of our actions. Accordingly, we often must consider whether our actions create an unreasonable risk of injury — that is, whether our actions are negligent.
Ever since the Proslogion was first circulated , critics have been bemused by St Anselm's brazen attempt to establish a matter of fact, namely, God's existence, from the simple analysis of a term or concept. Yet every critic who has proposed to ‘write the obituary’ of the Ontological Argument has found it to be remarkably resilient . At the risk of adding to a record of failures, I want to venture a new method for attacking this durable argument. Neither the (...) common version of Anselm's argument from Chapter II of the Proslogion nor the previously unrecognized modal version uncovered by Norman Malcolm from Pros , III can possibly get under way without Anselm's celebrated assertion that God is that than which no greater can be conceived. (shrink)
Part intellectual autobiography and part exposition of complex yet contemporary economic ideas, this lively conversation with renowned scholar and public intellectual Kenneth J. Arrow focuses on economics and politics in light of history, current events, and philosophy as well. Reminding readers that economics is about redistribution and thus about how we treat each other, Arrow shows that the intersection of economics and ethics is of concern not just to economists but for the public more broadly. With a foreword by (...) Amartya Sen, this book highlights the belief that government can be a powerful force for good, and is particularly relevant in the current political climate and to the lay reader as well as the economist. (shrink)
The Oxford English Dictionary says that a rite is ‘a formal procedure or act in a religious or other solemn observance’. The word comes into English through the French rite from the Latin ritus . Its original meaning escapes etymologists; and this is a mixed blessing, for we neither can nor must attempt a retrieval of its hidden roots. We are told by respectable etymologists that the word is associated from earliest times with Latin religious usage, but that even in (...) the early Latin it was already extended to ‘custom, usage, manner or way’ of a non-religious sort. [Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary .] So, too, in modern languages the terms ‘rite’ and ‘ritual’ have specifically religious meaning, but they are also used in social and cultural settings that we would not call religious. What first strikes us about the terms ’ and ‘ritual’ is an emphasis upon a certain formality, upon a regular and stable way in which an action or set of actions is to be performed. A ritual is more than a formalism, however, since there are formalisms that are not rites, such as the logical rules for making a valid argument. Moreover, the term is frequently associated with the terms ‘myth’, ‘symbol’ and ‘faith’. These, too, are primarily religious, but are also extended to non-religious contexts. Indeed, there seems to be a network of such terms whose usage touches upon some extraordinary quality in things. Like them, the term ‘ritual’ shares both a wide variety of meanings and a certain hint of impropriety. The variety of ritual forms is notorious, ranging from the most sacred religious liturgies to the absurdities of a fraternity initiation; and the impropriety of the term breaks out whenever we brand a certain action ‘ritualistic’, just as we sometimes refer slightingly to an assertion, saying it is ‘mythical’, ‘merely symbolic’ or ‘credulous’. (shrink)
Throughout his literary career Walker Percy read and studied the philosophical thought of Charles Sanders Peirce in an attempt to re-present in language the world as Percy knew it. Beginning in 1984 and ending in 1990, the year of his death, Percy corresponded with Kenneth Laine Ketner about the "semiotic" of Peirce. Their letters - honest, instructive, and often filled with down-home humor - record an epistolary friendship of two men both passionately interested in Peirce's theory of signs. This (...) volume of letters provides a rich philosophical perspective for better understanding the fiction and nonfiction of Walker Percy. (shrink)
Since something cannot be conscious without being a conscious subject, a complete physicalist explanation of consciousness must resolve an issue first raised by Thomas Nagel, namely to explain why a particular mass of atoms that comprises my body gives rise to me as conscious subject, rather than someone else. In this essay, I describe a thought-experiment that suggests that physicalism lacks the resources to address Nagel's question and seems to pose a counter-example to any form of non-reductive physicalism relying on (...) the mind–body supervenience thesis, which would include William Hasker's emergent dualism. Since the particular thought-experiment does not pose any problems for classical substance dualism and since the problem, as I call it, of explaining subjectivity is the central problem of mind, I conclude that CSD is better supported than any form of non-reductive physicalism. (shrink)
One version of the free-will argument relies on the claim that, other things being equal, a world in which free beings exist is morally preferable to a world in which free beings do not exist . I argue that this version of the free-will argument cannot support a theodicy that should alleviate the doubts about God's existence to which the problems of evil give rise. In particular, I argue that the value thesis has no foundation in common intuitions about morality. (...) Without some sort of intuitive support, the value thesis lacks the resources to serve as the foundation for a theodicy that addresses the powerful intuition, which affects believers and non-believers alike, that a perfect God would not allow so much evil. (shrink)
In evolutionary psychology predictions, women’s mate preferences shift between fertile and nonfertile times of the month to reflect ancestral fitness benefits. Our meta-analytic test involving 58 independent reports was largely nonsupportive. Specifically, fertile women did not especially desire sex in short-term relationships with men purported to be of high genetic quality. The few significant preference shifts appeared to be research artifacts. The effects declined over time in published work, were limited to studies that used broader, less precise definitions of the (...) fertile phase, and were found only in published research. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: -/-  JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 23:1 JANUARY 198 5 Book Reviews Kenneth Dorter. Plato's 'Phaedo': An Interpretation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982. Pp. xi + 233. $28.50. Kenneth Dorter of the University of Guelph has given us a useful and unusual study of the Phaedo, which will attract the interest of a variety of Plato's readers. He provides the careful studies of (...) the dialogue's arguments for immortality to be expected in a sound commentary, paying close attention to the text as well as to recent scholarship, and displaying a good sense of argument. What gives the book additional interest, however, are its features as an interpretation of the Phaedo. Two stand out. First, Dorter wishes to give full weight not only to the logic of the arguments but also to the dramatic details of Plato's writing, believing these to be important in disclosing Plato's intentions. Secondly, he reads the Phaedo in light of a more general understanding of Plato's philosophy, especially the nature of the soul in its cosmic as well as individual aspects. Much of this is set out in a final speculative chapter, where Dorter seeks to make intelligible Plato's developing conception of soul by means of such notions as energy and poles of consciousness. Not every reader will be persuaded; but Dorter is to be commended for an attempt to move the discussion beyond the Phaedo and Plato's own vocabulary. The study gains its coherence from Dorter's belief that Plato's view of soul cannot support the ostensible aim of the dialogue, to provide reassurance of personal immortality. Although he has no doubt that for the Platonic Socrates there is "a meaningful sense in which we may be called immortal" (94, cf. 159), Dorter's analysis must be stretched to provide that sense. In part this is a result of his assessment of the arguments. The first, from reciprocity in nature, can at most show that, given the eternal nature of the world, soul and corporeality in general must continue to exist. The argument from recollection can point only to a non-empirical element in our knowledge ; that from the soul's kinship with the divine is best seen as an analogy developed to awaken within us a sense of eternity. The final argument, though containing fallacies (157), will support the conclusion that immortal soul is imperishable as long as soul is regarded as motive force in the universe, in the first argument's sense. In none of these discussions, then, can Plato's reasoning yield up personal survival. But there is another part to Dorter's case, underlying this conclusion. For Plato the individual human being is a composite of soul and body; so even if Plato were to prove the immortality of the soul he could never establish personal survival (63-64). It is not surprising then that Dorter is left with a doctrine of immortality either reduced to a "discovery of eternity within ourselves" (77), or else dissolved into a principle of enduring cosmic energy. So in neither case does it seem meaningful for Plato to say that we are immortal: the eternal which we sense is no more us than it is anything else. Although it is of course possible that Plato did not intend this consequence of his arguments, Dorter thinks otherwise. In support he invokes literary features of the dialogue to argue that Plato operates on one level for the less sophisticated (who wish to be persuaded of personal survival) and on another for the philosophically reflective reader. Dorter treats the textual evidence for this claim with an appropriate modesty, and tries to justify Plato's apparent duplicity as an attempt to convince the weak by a 'noble lie' (95-97). Nevertheless this leads Dorter to mix together too quickly for this reader popular religion, myth, and metaphor. To the fact that Plato does not espouse the language of popular religion literally, Dorter adds his own view of myth as an imaginative appeal to emotion that can be translated without loss into rational discourse (7, 165, a95). So the accounts of the afterlife at 8oc-84 b... (shrink)
Spontaneous inferences are unconscious, automatic, and apparently ubiquitous. Research has documented their variety (particularly in the social domain) and impact on memory and judgment. They are good candidates for Mercier and Sperber's (M&S's) Forming spontaneous inferences is highly context sensitive, varying with the perceiver's conscious and unconscious goals, and implicit and explicit theories about the domain in question.
"But the point of Burke's work, and the significance of his achievement, is not that he points out that religion and language affect each other, for this has been said before, but that he proceeds to demonstrate how this is so by reference to a specific symbolic context. After a discussion 'On Words and The Word,' he analysess verbal action in St. Augustine's Confessions. He then discusses the first three chapters of Genesis, and ends with a brilliant and profound 'Prologue (...) in Heaven,' an imaginary dialogue between the Lord and Satan in which he proposes that we begin our study of human motives with complex theories of transcendence,' rather than with terminologies developed in the use of simplified laboratory equipment.... Burke now feels, after some forty years of search, that he has created a model of the symbolic act which breaks through the rigidities of the 'sacred-secular' dichotomy, and at the same time shows us how we get from secular and sacred realms of action over the bridge of language.... Religious systems are systems of action based on communication in society. They are great social dramas which are played out on earth before an ultimate audience, God. But where theology confronts the developed cosmological drama in the 'grand style,' that is, as a fully developed cosmological drama for its religious content, the 'logologer' can be further studied not directly as knowledge but as anecdotes that help reveal for us the quandaries of human governance." --Hugh Dalziel Duncan from Critical Responses to Kenneth Burke, 1924 - 1966, edited by William H. Rueckert (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969). (shrink)
Kenneth F. Schaffner compares the practice of biological and medical research and shows how traditional topics in philosophy of science--such as the nature of theories and of explanation--can illuminate the life sciences. While Schaffner pays some attention to the conceptual questions of evolutionary biology, his chief focus is on the examples that immunology, human genetics, neuroscience, and internal medicine provide for examinations of the way scientists develop, examine, test, and apply theories. Although traditional philosophy of science has regarded scientific (...) discovery--the questions of creativity in science--as a subject for psychological rather than philosophical study, Schaffner argues that recent work in cognitive science and artificial intelligence enables researchers to rationally analyze the nature of discovery. As a philosopher of science who holds an M.D., he has examined biomedical work from the inside and uses detailed examples from the entire range of the life sciences to support the semantic approach to scientific theories, addressing whether there are "laws" in the life sciences as there are in the physical sciences. Schaffner's novel use of philosophical tools to deal with scientific research in all of its complexity provides a distinctive angle on basic questions of scientific evaluation and explanation. (shrink)
Abstract: There has recently been controversy over the existence of 'multiple realization' in addition to some confusion between different conceptions of its nature. To resolve these problems, we focus on concrete examples from the sciences to provide precise accounts of the scientific concepts of 'realization' and 'multiple realization' that have played key roles in recent debates in the philosophy of science and philosophy of psychology. We illustrate the advantages of our view over a prominent rival account ( Shapiro, 2000 and (...) 2004 ) and use our work to rebut recent objections to the long-standing claim that psychological properties are multiply realized. For we use scientific evidence, in combination with our more precise theoretical framework, to show that we have strong reason to believe that psychological properties are indeed multiply realized both at the biochemical and neuronal levels. (shrink)
David Hume wrote that Berkeley's arguments `admit of no answer but produce no conviction'. This book aims at the kind of understanding of Berkeley's philosophy that comes from seeing how we ourselves might be brought to embrace it. Berkeley held that matter does not exist, and that the sensations we take to be caused by an indifferent and independent world are instead caused directly by God. Nature becomes a text, with no existence apart from the spirits who transmit and receive (...) it. Kenneth P. Winkler presents these conclusions as natural consequences of Berkeley's reflections on such topics as representation, abstraction, necessary truth, and cause and effect. In the closing chapters Proefssor Winkler offers new interpretations of Berkeley's view on unperceived objects, corpuscularian science, and our knowledge of God and other minds. (shrink)
In this engaging study, the authors put casuistry into its historical context, tracing the origin of moral reasoning in antiquity, its peak during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, and its subsequent fall into disrepute from the mid-seventeenth century.
Psychotherapy holds out the promise of help for people who are hurting and in need. It can save lives and change lives. In therapy, clients can find their strengths and sense of hope. They can change course toward a more meaningful and healthy life. They can confront loss, tragedy, hopelessness, and the end of life in ways that do not leave them numb or paralyzed. They can discover what brings them joy and what sustains them through hard times. They can (...) begin to trust, or to trust more wisely. They can learn new behaviors in therapy and how to teach themselves new behaviors after therapy ends. They can question what they always believed was a given. They can find out what matters most to them, and how to stop wasting time. They can become happier, or at least less miserable. They can become better able, as Freud noted, to love and to work. They can learn how to accept and love themselves just as they are and accept others who are different from them. Our ethics acknowledge and affirm our profession's responsibilities. This book was written to help strengthen, deepen, and inform ethical awareness and the sense of personal ethical responsibility. Its job is to help you hold onto the ideals-including ethical ideals-that called you into the profession to begin with, to help you develop and fulfill those ideals. There will be so much-trust us on this-that tends to dull ethical awareness, to make ethics drift out of focus, to create barriers between you and your ideals, to replace ethics with pseudo-ethics and ethics placebos. Fatigue, endless paperwork, unrealistic expectations, illness, family crises, not being able to make ends meet, burn out, threats of job loss, insurance coverage that doesn't come close to meeting the needs of our clients, biases that have not been addressed, and so many other forces can pressure us into cutting ethical corners. This book is intended to help you develop a strong and healthy resistance to such forces, to help you weather them without losing your ethical awareness and ideals. (shrink)
This book marks Kenneth Burke's breakthrough in criticism from the literary and aesthetic into social theory and the philosophy of history. In this volume we find Burke's first entry into what he calls his theory of Dramatism and here also is an important section on the nature of ritual.
Kenneth A. Taylor examines the complex relationship between semantic analysis and metaphysical inquiry with the aim of bringing philosophical methodology into closer alignment with total science. He urges philosophers who seek metaphysical insight to interrogate reality itself rather than language and concepts.
00 In this innovative analysis, Plato's four eleatic dialogues are treated as a continuous argument. In Kenneth Dorter's view, Plato reconsiders the theory of forms propounded in his earlier dialogues and through an examination of the theory's limitations reaffirms and proves it essential. Contradicted are both those philosophers who argue that Plato espoused his theory of forms uncritically and those who argue that Plato in some sense rejected the theory and moved toward the categorical analysis developed byAristotle. Dorter's reexamination (...) of Plato's insights implies an important new direction for modern philosophical inquiry. In this innovative analysis, Plato's four eleatic dialogues are treated as a continuous argument. In Kenneth Dorter's view, Plato reconsiders the theory of forms propounded in his earlier dialogues and through an examination of the theory's limitations reaffirms and proves it essential. Contradicted are both those philosophers who argue that Plato espoused his theory of forms uncritically and those who argue that Plato in some sense rejected the theory and moved toward the categorical analysis developed byAristotle. Dorter's reexamination of Plato's insights implies an important new direction for modern philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
A great deal of the criticism directed at Locke's theory of abstract ideas assumes that a Lockean abstract idea is a special kind of idea which by its very nature either represents many diverse particulars or represents separately things that cannot exist in separation. This interpretation of Locke has been challenged by scholars such as Kenneth Winkler and Michael Ayers who regard it as uncharitable in light of the obvious problems faced by this theory of abstraction. Winkler and Ayers (...) argue that Locke instead held that to have an abstract idea is to attend selectively to some portion of the content of a particular idea. On this view, to have an abstract idea is not to have a special kind of idea but to have an ordinary idea in a special way. Ayers argues that Locke inherited this theory from Arnauld. I argue that the case made by Ayers for the attribution of the extrinsic theory to Locke rests on a misinterpretation of Arnauld. In fact, both Locke and Arnauld regard selective attention as part of a process whereby a new kind of idea is constructed. (shrink)
Jürgen Habermas is one of the most important German philosophers and social theorists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. His work has been compared in scope with Max Weber’s, and in philosophical breadth to that of Kant and Hegel. In this much-needed introduction Kenneth Baynes engages with the full range of Habermas’s philosophical work, addressing his early arguments concerning the emergence of the public sphere and his initial attempt to reconstruct a critical theory of society in _Knowledge (...) and Human Interests_. He then examines one of Habermas’s most influential works, _The Theory of Communicative Action, _including his controversial account of the rational interpretation of social action. Also covered is Habermas’s work on discourse ethics, political and legal theory, including his views on the relation between democracy and constitutionalism, and his arguments concerning human rights and cosmopolitanism. The final chapter assesses Habermas’s role as a polemical and prominent public intellectual and his criticism of postmodernism in _The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity_, in addition to his more recent writings on the relationship between religion and democracy. Habermas is an invaluable guide to this key figure in contemporary philosophy, and suitable for anyone coming to his work for the first time. (shrink)
Obviously perception is embodied. After all, if creatures were entirely disembodied, how could physical processes in the environment, such as the propagation of light or sound, be transduced into a neurobiological currency capable of generating experience? Is there, however, any deeper, more subtle sense in which perception is embodied? Perhaps. Alva Noë’s theory of en- active perception provides one proposal. Noë suggests a radical constitutive hypothesis according to which (COH) Perceptual experiences are constituted, in part, by the exercise of sensorimotor (...) skills. -/- On Noé's view, bodily processes form a constitutive element in per- ceptual experiences. By contrast, it is more commonly supposed that bodily processes have at most a causal role to play in the genesis of perceptual experiences. Roughly stated, (CAI-l} Perceptual experiences are caused, in part, by the exercise of sensorimotor skills. -/- Clearly these two hypotheses offer distinct conceptions of the embodiment of perception. One view maintains that there is a con- stitutive dependency between bodily processes and perceptual expe- riences, where the other maintains that there is a causal dependency. This paper will make the case that Noe fails to offer any evidence that. supports (COH) over (CAH) and that there is experimental evidence that favours (CAH) over (COH).E . (shrink)
Biologists seems to hold two fundamental beliefs: Organisms are organized into levels and the individuals at these levels differ in their properties. Together these suggest that there will be massive multiple realization, i.e. that many human psychological properties are multiply realized at many neurobiological levels. This paper provides some documentation in support of this suggestion.
This Open Access book provides both a broad perspective and a focused examination of cow care as a subject of widespread ethical concern in India, and increasingly in other parts of the world. In the face of what has persisted as a highly charged political issue over cow protection in India, intellectual space must be made to bring the wealth of Indian traditional ethical discourse to bear on the realities of current human-animal relationships, particularly those of humans with cows. Dharma, (...) yoga, and bhakti paradigms serve as starting points for bringing Hindu--particularly Vaishnava Hindu--animal ethics into conversation with contemporary Western animal ethics. The author argues that a culture of bhakti--the inclusive, empathetic practice of spirituality centered in Krishna as the beloved cowherd of Vraja--can complement recently developed ethics-of-care thinking to create a solid basis for sustaining all kinds of cow care communities. (shrink)
Among the many ideas that go by the name of “enactivism” there is the idea that by “cognition” we should understand what is more commonly taken to be behavior. For clarity, label such forms of enactivism “enactivismb.” This terminology requires some care in evaluating enactivistb claims. There is a genuine risk of enactivist and non-enactivist cognitive scientists talking past one another. So, for example, when enactivistsb write that “cognition does not require representations” they are not necessarily denying what cognitivists claim (...) when they write that “cognition requires representations.” This paper will draw attention to instances of some of these unnecessary confusions. (shrink)
Referentialism has underappreciated consequences for our understanding of the ways in which mind, language, and world relate to one another. In exploring these consequences, this book defends a version of referentialism about names, demonstratives, and indexicals, in a manner appropriate for scholars and students in philosophy or the cognitive sciences. To demonstrate his view, Kenneth A. Taylor offers original and provocative accounts of a wide variety of semantic, pragmatic, and psychological phenomena, such as empty names, propositional attitude contexts, the (...) nature of concepts, and the ultimate source and nature of normativity. (shrink)
This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extended cognition.