I present two measures of information for both consistentand inconsistent sets of sentences in a finite language ofpropositional logic. The measures of information are based onmeasures of inconsistency developed in Knight (2002).Relative information measures are then provided corresponding to thetwo information measures.
I provide a method of measuring the inconsistency of a set of sentences from 1-consistency, corresponding to complete consistency, to 0-consistency, corresponding to the explicit presence of a contradiction. Using this notion to analyze the lottery paradox, one can see that the set of sentences capturing the paradox has a high degree of consistency (assuming, of course, a sufficiently large lottery). The measure of consistency, however, is not limited to paradoxes. I also provide results for general sets of sentences.
In this paper we present a probabilistic notion of entailment for finite sets of premises, which has classical entailment as a special case, and show that it is well defined; i.e., that the problem of whether a sentence is entailed by a set of premises is computable. Further we present a natural deductive system and prove that it is the strongest deductive system possible without referring to probabilities.
Economic theory is built on assumptions about human behavior—assumptions embodied in rational-choice theory. Underlying these assumptions are implicit notions about how we think and learn. These implicit notions are fundamentally important to social explanation. The very plausibility of the explanations that we develop out of rational-choice theory rests crucially on the accuracy of these notions about cognition and rationality. But there is a basic problem: There is often very little relationship between the assumptions that rational-choice theorists make and the way (...) that humans actually act and learn in everyday life. This has significant implications for economic theory and practice. It leads to bad theories and inadequate explanations; it produces bad predictions and, thus, supports ineffective social policies. (shrink)
Aristotle is the most influential philosopher of practice, and Knight's new book explores the continuing importance of Aristotelian philosophy. First, it examines the theoretical bases of what Aristotle said about ethical, political and productive activity. It then traces ideas of practice through such figures as St Paul, Luther, Hegel, Heidegger and recent Aristotelian philosophers, and evaluates Alasdair MacIntyre's contribution. Knight argues that, whereas Aristotle's own thought legitimated oppression, MacIntyre's revision of Aristotelianism separates ethical excellence from social elitism and (...) justifies resistance. With MacIntyre, Aristotelianism becomes revolutionary. MacIntyre's case for the Thomistic Aristotelian tradition originates in his attempt to elaborate a Marxist ethics informed by analytic philosophy. He analyses social practices in teleological terms, opposing them to capitalist institutions and arguing for the cooperative defence of our moral agency. In condensing these ideas, Knight advances a theoretical argument for the reformation of Aristotelianism and an ethical argument for social change. (shrink)
The essays in this collection explore the implications of Alasdair MacIntyre's critique of liberalism, capitalism, and the modern state, his early Marxism, and the complex influences of Marxist ideas on his thought. A central idea is that MacIntyre's political and social theory is a form of revolutionary--not reactionary--Aristotelianism. The contributors aim, in varying degrees, both to engage with the theoretical issues of MacIntyre's critique and to extend and deepen his insights. The book features a new introductory essay by MacIntyre, "How (...) Aristotelianism Can Become Revolutionary," and ends with an essay in which MacIntyre comments on the other authors' contributions. It also includes Kelvin Knight's 1996 essay, "Revolutionary Aristotelianism," which first challenged conservative appropriations of MacIntyre's critique of liberalism by reinterpreting his Aristotelianism through the lens of his earlier engagement with Marx. "This is an excellent collection. Its particular strength is its sustained focus on Alasdair MacIntyre's political thought, in particular MacIntyre's complicated relation and indebtedness to Marxism. In their introduction, the co-editors say that the reception of MacIntyre within political philosophy has largely been reductive and one-sided, namely, that he is simply viewed as a conservative communitarian. In focusing on MacIntyre's radical heritage, this volume helps correct that simplistic misperception. --_Keith Breen, Queen's University Belfast_. (shrink)
Sundry times and sundry places Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9670-5 Authors David Knight, Philosophy Department, Durham University, 50, Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HN UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Most of us take it for granted that we are free agents: that we can sometimes act so as to shape our own lives and those of others, that we have choices about how to do so and that we are responsible for what we do. But are we really justified in believing this? For centuries philosophers have argued about whether free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism or natural causation, and they seem no closer to agreeing about (...) it now than at any time in the past. Many contemporary philosophers have come to the conclusion that the intractability of the old argument about free will and determinism is caused by deep rooted illusions and inconsistencies in our unreflective attitudes about moral responsibility and freedom to act. Kevin Magill challenges this view and argues that the philosophical stalemate about free will has arisen through lack of attention to the content of the experiences that shape our understanding of free will and agency and through a mistaken belief that the concept of moral responsibility requires a moral and metaphysical justification. The book sets out an original account of the various ways we experience choosing, deciding and acting, which reconciles the apparently opposing intuitions that have fuelled the traditional dispute. (shrink)
_A fresh and fascinating look at the philosophies, politics, and intellectual legacy of one of the twentieth century’s most influential and controversial minds_ Occupying a pivotal position in postwar thought, Noam Chomsky is both the founder of modern linguistics and the world’s most prominent political dissident. Chris Knight adopts an anthropologist’s perspective on the twin output of this intellectual giant, acclaimed as much for his denunciations of US foreign policy as for his theories about language and mind. Knight (...) explores the social and institutional context of Chomsky’s thinking, showing how the tension between military funding and his role as linchpin of the political left pressured him to establish a disconnect between science on the one hand and politics on the other, deepening a split between mind and body characteristic of Western philosophy since the Enlightenment. Provocative, fearless, and engaging, this remarkable study explains the enigma of one of the greatest intellectuals of our time. (shrink)
Li Da (1890–1966) was one of China’s most important Marxist intellectuals and a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party. He played a major role in the introduction of Marxist philosophy and theory to China and in its dissemination among Chinese revolutionaries. His works are now regarded in China as classics of Marxist philosophy, and he is numbered among the ten most influential Chinese intellectuals of this century. Yet, almost nothing has been written about Li Da in English.In this seminal (...) study, Knight analyzes Li Da’s contribution to the flowering of Marxist philosophy and theory in China, examining Li’s writings and placing them in the context of the Marxist tradition. Knight also explores Li Da’s philosophical relationship with Mao Zedong, who was heavily influenced by Li’s works. Through the lens of Li’s life and thought, this book provides a detailed assessment of the introduction and dissemination of Marxist philosophy and social theory in China. (shrink)
The changing world of health care finance has led to a paradigm shift in health care with health care being viewed more and more as a commodity. Many have argued that such a paradigm shift is incompatible with the very nature of medicine and health care. But such arguments raise more questions than they answer. There are important assumptions about basic concepts of health care and markets that frame such arguments.
In this review essay, Kathleen Knight Abowitz discusses three recent books related to democratic public life and schooling: Susan H. Fuhrman and Marvin Lazerson’s The Public Schools, Walter C. Parker’s Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life, and Kevin McDonough and Walter Feinberg’s Education and Citizenship in Liberal‐Democratic Societies. Abowitz details how each text is inspired by meanings of liberal democracy that evolved during the Enlightenment era, in which individual rights were constitutionally coded and equality came to (...) be a powerful social and educational ideal, and how each book also takes up different sorts of Enlightenment traditions of public life and education, attempting to revitalize their meanings for public education today. Yet while these books are inspiring and instructive in numerous ways, they are also notable for the issues they fail to take into theoretical account, particularly the colonization of public spheres by the private and market‐based spheres of commerce, and the ways in which increasing ecological crisis calls for new ways of conceiving our political and educational frameworks. (shrink)
Neither Karl Popper, nor Frank Knight, nor Max Weber are cited or mentioned in Friedman’s famous 1953 essay “On the methodology of positive economics” (F53). However, they play a crucial role in F53. Making their con-tribution explicit suggests that F53 has been seriously misread in the past. I will first show that there are several irritating statements in F53 that are, taken together, not compatible with any of the usual readings of F53. Sec-ond, I show that an alternative reading (...) of F53 can be achieved if one takes seriously Friedman’s reference to ideal types; “ideal type” is a technical term introduced by Max Weber. Friedman was familiar with Max Weber’s work through Frank Knight, who was his teacher in Chicago. Given that in F53’s view ideal types are fundamen-tal building blocks of economic theory, it becomes clear why both instrumentalist and realist readings of F53 are inadequate. Third, the reading of F53 in terms of ideal types gives the role of elements from Popper’s falsifica-tionist methodology in F53 a somewhat different twist. Finally, I show that the irritating passages of F53 make good sense under the new reading, including the infamous “the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions”. (shrink)
It is an exciting time to pursue philosophy of religion, not least because of an earnest and widening conversation about what philosophers of religion should be doing in the future. This conversation is driven by factors including the growing presence of philosophers who do not presume as normative the subject position of so-called western traditions of thought, the relentless historicization—especially along Foucaultian lines—of the modern study of religion by critics working across the range of implicated disciplines, and by newly energized (...) emphases in existing methods of the study of religion upon embodiment and upon materiality more generally.Kevin Schilbrack’s Philosophy and the Study of Religions: a Manifesto enters the conversation with an exhibition of clarity and wit, logical strength, and breadth of ambition. Schilbrack argues for expanding the work of philosophy of religion from its traditional task—the examination of theism—to a more inclusive self-understan .. (shrink)