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.
In the extended mind literature, one sometimes finds the claim that there is no neural correlate of consciousness. Instead, there is a biological or ecological correlate of consciousness. Consciousness, it is claimed, supervenes on an entire organism in action. Alva Noë is one of the leading proponents of such a view. This paper resists Noë's view. First, it challenges the evidence he offers from neuroplasticity. Second, it presses a problem with paralysis. Third, it draws attention to a challenge from the (...) existence of metamers and visual illusions. (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)
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)
This book is the first detailed study of Kant's method of 'transcendental reflection' and its use in the Critique of Pure Reason to identify our basic human cognitive capacities, and to justify Kant's transcendental proofs of the necessary a priori conditions for the possibility of self-conscious human experience. Kenneth Westphal, in a closely argued internal critique of Kant's analysis, shows that if we take Kant's project seriously in its own terms, the result is not transcendental idealism but realism regarding (...) physical objects. Westphal attends to neglected topics - Kant's analyses of the transcendental affinity of the sensory manifold, the 'lifelessness of matter', fallibilism, the semantics of cognitive reference, four externalist aspects of Kant's views, and the importance of Kant's Metaphysical Foundations for the Critique of Pure Reason - that illuminate Kant's enterprise in new and valuable ways. His book will appeal to all who are interested in Kant's theoretical philosophy. (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)
Four current accounts of theory reduction are presented, first informally and then formally: (1) an account of direct theory reduction that is based on the contributions of Nagel, Woodger, and Quine, (2) an indirect reduction paradigm due to Kemeny and Oppenheim, (3) an "isomorphic model" schema traceable to Suppes, and (4) a theory of reduction that is based on the work of Popper, Feyerabend, and Kuhn. Reference is made, in an attempt to choose between these schemas, to the explanation of (...) physical optics by Maxwell's electromagnetic theory, and to the revisions of genetics necessitated by partial biochemical reductions of genetics. A more general reduction schema is proposed which: (1) yields as special cases the four reduction paradigms considered above, (2) seems to be in better accord with both the canons of logic and actual scientific practice, and (3) clarifies the problems of meaning variance and ontological reduction. (shrink)
Kenneth R. Westphal presents an original interpretation of Hume's and Kant's moral philosophies, the differences between which are prominent in current philosophical accounts. Westphal argues that focussing on these differences, however, occludes a decisive, shared achievement: a distinctive constructivist account of the basic principles of justice which justifies their strict objectivity without invoking moral realism nor moral anti- or irrealism. Westphal explores how Hume developed a kind of constructivism for basic property rights and for government, and how Kant greatly (...) refined Hume's construction of justice within his 'metaphysical principles of justice', whilst preserving the core model of Hume's innovative account. Westphal contends that Hume's and Kant's constructivism avoids the conventionalist and relativist tendencies latent if not explicit in contemporary forms of moral constructivism. (shrink)
To be truly provocative and outrageous the superior philosophical sophistry will commonly possess four somewhat adventitious features. I shall rate it as classic if it has all four. First, and least adventitiously, the argument will be crisp and initially seductive. Second, by the standard the sophistry sets direct rebuttal will be laborious and diffuse. Third, the recipe for the latter will prescribe that we pick out some hitherto unarticulated logical principle such that if the principle be true then the sophistical (...) argument must be invalid, and then, on the strength of that consequence assume the principle to be true. Consequently and fourth, as an antidote parody is supreme. With a persuasive absence of fuss and bias we can turn the tables if we show that, if the sophistical argument were really valid, then some structurally similar argument would prove just as consummately far too much. In short, from the rhetorical point of view at least, Gaunilo is more lethal than Kant. Even if the similarity is defective, the sophist will lose some of his adventitious and insufferable poise, if he ventures to show why. (shrink)
Kant famously declares that “although all our cognition commences with experience, … it does not on that account all arise from experience”. This marks Kant’s disagreement with empiricism, and his contention that human knowledge and experience require both sensation and the use of certain a priori concepts, the Categories. However, this is only the surface of Kant’s much deeper, though neglected view about the nature of reason and judgment. Kant holds that even our a priori concepts are acquired, not from (...) sensation, but “originally,” because our mind has a fundamental capacity to judge that, upon sensory stimulation, generates the Categories through its basic logical functions of judgment. This “epigenesis” of reason and our fundamental capacity to judge that drives it is the topic of Longuenesse’s fascinating book, and the source of her title. (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)
Evolutionary processes such as natural selection and random drift are commonly regarded as causes of population-level change. We respond to a recent challenge that drift and selection are best understood as statistical trends, not causes. Our reply appeals to manipulation as a strategy for uncovering causal relationships: if you can systematically manipulate variable A to bring about a change in variable B, then A is a cause of B. We argue that selection and drift can be systematically manipulated to produce (...) different kinds of population-level change. They should therefore be regarded as causes. (shrink)
This multidisciplinary collection explores three key concepts underpinning psychiatry -- explanation, phenomenology, and nosology -- and their continuing relevance in an age of neuroimaging and genetic analysis. An introduction by Kenneth S. Kendler lays out the philosophical grounding of psychiatric practice. The first section addresses the concept of explanation, from the difficulties in describing complex behavior to the categorization of psychological and biological causality. In the second section, contributors discuss experience, including the complex and vexing issue of how self-agency (...) and free will affect mental health. The third and final section examines the organizational difficulties in psychiatric nosology and the instability of the existing diagnostic system. Each chapter has both an introduction by the editors and a concluding comment by another of the book's contributors. Contributors: John Campbell, Ph.D.; Thomas Fuchs, M.D., Ph.D.; Shaun Gallagher, Ph.D.; Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D.; Sandra D. Mitchell, Ph.D.; Dominic P. Murphy, Ph.D.; Josef Parnas, M.D., Dr.Med.Sci.; Louis A. Sass, Ph.D.; Kenneth F. Schaffner, M.D., Ph.D.; James F. Woodward, Ph.D.; Peter Zachar, Ph.D. (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)
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)
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)
In the Logical Investigations, Ideas I and many other texts, Husserl maintains that perceptual consciousness involves the intentional “animation” or interpretation of sensory data or hyle, e.g., “color-data,” “tone-data,” and algedonic data. These data are not intrinsically representational nor are they normally themselves objects of representation, though we can attend to them in reflection. These data are “immanent” in consciousness; they survive the phenomenological reduction. They partly ground the intuitive or “in-the-flesh” aspect of perception, and they have a determinacy of (...) character that we do not create but can only discover. This determinate, non-representational stratum of perceptual consciousness also serves as a bridge between consciousness and the world beyond it. I articulate and defend this conception of perceptual consciousness. I locate the view in the space of contemporary positions on phenomenal character and argue for its superiority. I close by briefly arguing that the Husserlian account is perfectly compatible with physicalism (this involves disarming the Grain Problem). (shrink)
Though concise and introductory, this book argues inter alia that Dretske’s information-theoretic epistemology must take into account that many of our information channels are socially constructed, not least through learning concepts and information. These social aspects of human knowledge are consistent with realism about the objects of our empirical knowledge. It further argues that, though important, Margaret Gilbert’s social ontology in principle can neither accommodate nor account for the most fundamental social dimensions of human cognition.
Ken Hammond has been an influential figure in the study of decision making; with this book, he aims to show why mistaken judgments happen, how to make better decisions, and how to understand the thought modes operating in the political process.
Recent years have seen a rekindling of interest in the method of reflective equilibrium. Most of this attention has been suspicious, however. Critics have alleged that the method is nothing more than a high-minded brand of navel-gazing, that it suffers from all the classic problems of inward-looking coherence theories, and that it overestimates the usefulness of self-scrutiny. In this paper I argue that these criticisms miss their mark because they labor under crucial misconceptions about the method of reflective equilibrium. In (...) defending reflective equilibrium I put forward a handful of theses about the nature of inquiry (or, more generally, norm-governed enterprises) that form the backdrop to the method. The critics’ objections fall short, I argue, because they do not recognize reflective equilibrium’s embrace of these theses. Confronting these objections and understanding why they fail brings us to a better understanding what, exactly, the method of reflective equilibrium is. The answer I come to in the final section of the paper is that the method of reflective equilibrium is not, exactly, anything. It is a mistake to try to give a positive characterization of the view, to identify it with a concern with a particular species of data, particular procedures and methods, or even a particular conception of normative success. Instead, it should be understood as the denial of essentialism about just these matters—as a form of anti-essentialism about our epistemic inputs, methods, and goals. (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.
Theorizing in ecology and evolution often proceeds via the construction of multiple idealized models. To determine whether a theoretical result actually depends on core features of the models and is not an artifact of simplifying assumptions, theorists have developed the technique of robustness analysis, the examination of multiple models looking for common predictions. A striking example of robustness analysis in ecology is the discovery of the Volterra Principle, which describes the effect of general biocides in predator-prey systems. This paper details (...) the discovery of the Volterra Principle and the demonstration of its robustness. It considers the classical ecology literature on robustness and introduces two individual-based models of predation, which are used to further analyze the Volterra Principle. The paper also introduces a distinction between parameter robustness, structural robustness, and representational robustness, and demonstrates that the Volterra Principle exhibits all three kinds of robustness. *Received September 2006; revised May 2007. ‡Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Australasian Association of Philosophy, the London School of Economics, and the University of Bristol. The authors wish to thank those audiences as well as Patrick Forber, Ken Waters, Deena Skolnick Weisberg, Uri Wilensky, and Bill Wimsatt for many helpful comments. Special thanks to Giacomo Sillari for his assistance in translating Volterra's original paper and his insightful thoughts about Volterra's aims and methods. Some of the research in this paper was supported by NSF grant SES-0620887 to MW. †To contact the authors, please write to: Michael Weisberg, Department of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania, 433 Logan Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail: email@example.com; Kenneth Reisman, Pluribo, Inc., 100 Park Avenue, Suite 1600, New York, NY 10017; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Anne Conway’s Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy, first published in 1690, is probably the most ambitious contribution to early modern metaphysics by a woman writing in the English language. This beautifully prepared edition makes Conway’s treatise available to twentieth-century readers in an accessible English translation of the 1690 Latin text—itself a translation of an original English manuscript that has long been lost.
This article reconstructs Hegel’s chapter “Sense Certainty” (Phenomenology of Spirit, chap. 1) in detail in its historical and philosophical context. Hegel’s chapter develops a sound internal critique of naive realism that shows that sensation is necessary but not sufficient for knowledge of sensed particulars. Cognitive reference to particulars also requires using a priori conceptions of space, spaces, time, times, self, and individuation. Several standard objections to and misinterpretations of Hegel’s chapter are rebutted. Hegel’s protosemantics is shown to accord in important (...) regards with Gareth Evans’ view in “Identity and Predication.”. (shrink)
This article examines how Quine and Sellars develop informatively contrasting responses to a fundamental tension in Carnap’s semantics ca. 1950. Quine’s philosophy could well be styled ‘Essays in Radical Empiricism’; his assay of radical empiricism is invaluable for what it reveals about the inherent limits of empiricism. Careful examination shows that Quine’s criticism of Carnap’s semantics in ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’ fails, that at its core Quine’s semantics is for two key reasons incoherent and that his hallmark Thesis of Extensionalism (...) is untenable. The tension in Carnap’s semantics together with Quine’s exposure of the severe limits of radical empiricism illuminate central features of Sellars’s philosophy: the fully general form of the myth of givenness, together with Sellars’s alternative Kantian characterisation of understanding; the full significance of Carnap’s distinction between conceptual analysis and conceptual explication, and its important methodological implications; the specifically pragmatic character of Sellars’s realism; and Sellars’s methodological reasons for holding that philosophy must be systematic and that systematic philosophy must be deeply historically and textually informed. This paper thus re-examines this recent episode of philosophical history for its philosophical benefits and systematic insights. (shrink)
A 5,000-word conspectus of Hegel’s moral philosophy which considers the theoretical context of his moral philosophy (§1), his accounts of legal, personal, moral and social freedom (§2), the structure of Hegel’s analysis in his Philosophy of Justice (or »Rechtsphilosophie«) (§3), his account of role obligations as a central component of social freedom (§4), and his integrated account of individual autonomy and social reconciliation (§5).
This is a canvass to the critical reaction to Joseph Raz’s service conception of authority, as well as actual or possible replies by Raz. Familiarity is assumed with the theory itself, covered in a previous article. The article focuses primarily on direct criticisms of Raz’s theory, rather than replies developed in the context of a theorist’s wider project.