Private information about individuals contained in computerized data bases is readily available to journalists, who have a moral obligation to inform the masses as a means of redistributing power in society. The journalist's duty to inform, however, conflicts with the duty to respect the privacy of individuals. Because legislation is largely ineffective in protecting individual privacy, the journalist's moral responsibility assumes additional weight. However, the journalist should not allow the claim of privacy to keep him or her from investigating matters (...) in which the public has a legitimate interest. To determine the extent of legitimate interest, the journalist must be able to distinguish between a right to knowledge and a curious interest in knowing. The journalist is offered a 5-point test to assist in determining when an invasion of privacy via data-base research and subsequent publication is warranted. (shrink)
I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
Paul Saettler provides a basis for historical analysis and interpretation of the diverse aspects of American educational technology - the individuals, concepts, and distinctive orientations that have shaped it - and traces its theoretical and methodological antecedents as it evolved from ancient times to the present day.
How should we make choices when we know so little about our futures? L. A. Paul argues that we must view life decisions as choices to make discoveries about the nature of experience. Her account of transformative experience holds that part of the value of living authentically is to experience our lives and preferences in whatever ways they evolve.
Causation is at once familiar and mysterious. Neither common sense nor extensive philosophical debate has led us to anything like agreement on the correct analysis of the concept of causation, or an account of the metaphysical nature of the causal relation. Causation: A User's Guide cuts a clear path through this confusing but vital landscape. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of (...) examples as landmarks. They clarify the central themes of the debate about causation, and cover questions about causation involving omissions or absences, preemption and other species of redundant causation, and the possibility that causation is not transitive. Along the way, Paul and Hall examine several contemporary proposals for analyzing the nature of causation and assess their merits and overall methodological cogency.The book is designed to be of value both to trained specialists and those coming to the problem of causation for the first time. It provides the reader with a broad and sophisticated view of the metaphysics of the causal relation. (shrink)
Critics of contemporary metaphysics argue that it attempts to do the hard work of science from the ease of the armchair. Physics, not metaphysics, tells us about the fundamental facts of the world, and empirical psychology is best placed to reveal the content of our concepts about the world. Exploring and understanding the world through metaphysical reflection is obsolete. In this paper, I will show why this critique of metaphysics fails, arguing that metaphysical methods used to make claims about the (...) world are similar to scientific methods used to make claims about the world, but that the subjects of metaphysics are not the subjects of science. Those who argue that metaphysics uses a problematic methodology to make claims about subjects better covered by natural science get the situation exactly the wrong way around: metaphysics has a distinctive subject matter, not a distinctive methodology. The questions metaphysicians address are different from those of scientists, but the methods employed to develop and select theories are similar. In the first section of the paper, I will describe the sort of subject matter that metaphysics tends to engage with. In the second section of the paper, I will show how metaphysical theories are classes of models and discuss the roles of experience, common sense and thought experiments in the construction and evaluation of such models. Finally, in the last section I will discuss the way these methodological points help us to understand the metaphysical project. Getting the right account of the metaphysical method allows us to better understand the relationship between science and metaphysics, to explain why doing metaphysics successfully involves having a range of different theories, to understand the role of thought experiments involving fictional worlds, and to situate metaphysical realism in a scientifically realist context. (shrink)
I claim that Mill has a theory of poetry which he uses to reconcile nineteenth century associationist psychology, the tendency of the intellect to dissolve associations, and the need for educated members of society to desire utilitarian ends. The heart of the argument is that Mill thinks reading poetry encourages us to feel the feelings of others, and thus to develop pleasurable associations with the pleasurable feelings of others and painful associations with the painful feelings of others. Once the associations (...) are developed, they are supported and maintained by our natural capacity for sympathy and by external elements in society, and provide motivation for the pursuit of utilitarian ends. Further, the additional support causes the associations to be strengthened to the extent that they come to be seen as ‘natural and necessary’, and as such are immune from the dissolving force of the intellect. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...) exactly as it appears to us, even though spatiotemporal entities are not fundamental, means that a central premise of spatiotemporalism, that we may assume, given ordinary experience, that the world is fundamentally spatiotemporal, is false. (ii) Spatiotemporalism must be seen as a contingent, a posteriori physical truth. Finally, (iii) I argue that a metaphysically deeper conclusion follows from the debate over the nature of the fundamental space. The debate in physics over which sort of space is the fundamental space suggests that physicists have discovered that, even if a spacetime is an actual constituent of the world-space category, there is a world-space category that is more fundamental than the category of spacetime. (shrink)
The question I want to explore is whether experience supports an antireductionist ontology of time, that is, whether we should take it to support an ontology that includes a primitive, monadic property of nowness responsible for the special feel of events in the present, and a relation of passage that events instantiate in virtue of literally passing from the future, to the present, and then into the past.
It seems natural to choose whether to have a child by reflecting on what it would be like to actually have a child. I argue that this natural approach fails. If you choose to become a parent, and your choice is based on projections about what you think it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. If you choose to remain childless, and your choice is based upon projections about what you think it (...) would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. This suggests we should reject our ordinary conception of how to make this life-changing decision, and raises general questions about how to rationally approach important life choices. (shrink)
Children learn about the world from the testimony of other people, often coming to accept what they are told about a variety of unobservable and indeed counter-intuitive phenomena. However, research on children’s learning from testimony has paid limited attention to the foundations of that capacity. We ask whether those foundations can be observed in infancy. We review evidence from two areas of research: infants’ sensitivity to the emotional expressions of other people; and their capacity to understand the exchange of information (...) through non-verbal gestures and vocalization. We conclude that a grasp of the bi-directional exchange of information is present early in the second year. We discuss the implications for future research, especially across different cultural settings. (shrink)
I defend a one category ontology: an ontology that denies that we need more than one fundamental category to support the ontological structure of the world. Categorical fundamentality is understood in terms of the metaphysically prior, as that in which everything else in the world consists. One category ontologies are deeply appealing, because their ontological simplicity gives them an unmatched elegance and spareness. I’m a fan of a one category ontology that collapses the distinction between particular and property, replacing it (...) with a single fundamental category of intrinsic characters or qualities. We may describe the qualities as qualitative charactersor as modes, perhaps on the model of Aristotelian qualitative (nonsubstantial) kinds, and I will use the term “properties” interchangeably with “qualities”. The qualities are repeatable and reasonably sparse, although, as I discuss in section 2.6, there are empirical reasons that may suggest, depending on one’s preferred fundamental physical theory, that they include irreducibly intensive qualities. There are no uninstantiated qualities. I also assume that the fundamental qualitative natures are intrinsic, although physics may ultimately suggest that some of them are extrinsic. On my view, matter, concrete objects, abstract objects, and perhaps even spacetime are constructed from mereological fusions of qualities, so the world is simply a vast mixture of qualities, including polyadic properties (i.e., relations). This means that everything there is, including concrete objects like persons or stars, is a quality, a qualitative fusion, or a portion of the extended qualitative fusion that is the worldwhole. I call my view mereological bundle theory. (shrink)
This book is the first to provide a sustained, coherent analysis of Foucault's work as a whole. To demonstrate the sense in which Foucault's work is beyond structuralism and hermeneutics, the authors unfold a careful, analytical exposition of his oeuvre. They argue that during the of Foucault's work became a sustained and largely successful effort to develop a new method - "interpretative analytics" - capable of explaining both the logic of structuralism's claim to be an objective science and the apparent (...) validity of the hermeneutical counterclaim that the human sciences can proceed only by understanding the deepest meaning of the subject and his tradition. (shrink)
I argue that we can understand the de se by employing the subjective mode of presentation or, if one’s ontology permits it, by defending an abundant ontology of perspectival personal properties or facts. I do this in the context of a discussion of Cappelen and Dever’s recent criticisms of the de se. Then, I discuss the distinctive role of the first personal perspective in discussions about empathy, rational deference, and self-understanding, and develop a way to frame the problem of lacking (...) prospective access to your future self as a problem with your capacity to imaginatively empathize with your future selves. (shrink)
A general conceptual framework for large-scale neocortical dynamics based on data from many laboratories is applied to a variety of experimental designs, spatial scales, and brain states. Partly distinct, but interacting local processes (e.g., neural networks) arise from functional segregation. Global processes arise from functional integration and can facilitate (top down) synchronous activity in remote cell groups that function simultaneously at several different spatial scales. Simultaneous local processes may help drive (bottom up) macroscopic global dynamics observed with electroencephalography (EEG) or (...) magnetoencephalography (MEG). A local/global dynamic theory that is consistent with EEG data and the proposed conceptual framework is outlined. This theory is neutral about properties of neural networks embedded in macroscopic fields, but its global component makes several qualitative and semiquantitative predictions about EEG measures of traveling and standing wave phenomena. A more general “metatheory” suggests what large-scale quantitative theories of neocortical dynamics may be like when more accurate treatment of local and nonlinear effects is achieved. The theory describes the dynamics of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic action fields. EEG and MEG provide large-scale estimates of modulation of these synaptic fields around background levels. Brain states are determined by neuromodulatory control parameters. Purely local states are dominated by local feedback gains and rise and decay times of postsynaptic potentials. Dominant local frequencies vary with brain region. Other states are purely global, with moderate to high coherence over large distances. Multiple global mode frequencies arise from a combination of delays in corticocortical axons and neocortical boundary conditions. Global frequencies are identical in all cortical regions, but most states involve dynamic interactions between local networks and the global system. EEG frequencies may involve a “matching” of local resonant frequencies with one or more of the many, closely spaced global frequencies. Key Words: binding problem; cell assemblies; coherence; EEG; limit cycles; neocortical dynamics; pacemakers; phase locking; spatial scale; standing waves; synchronization. Footnotes1 The relationship between the synaptic action fields proposed in the target article and cell assemblies is clarified with Figure R1 (p. 416) of the Response. (This figure was not available to Commentators. (shrink)
Contemporary social-scientific research seeks to identify specific causal mechanisms for outcomes of theoretical interest. Experiments that randomize populations to treatment and control conditions are the “gold standard” for causal inference. We identify, describe, and analyze the problem posed by transformative treatments. Such treatments radically change treated individuals in a way that creates a mismatch in populations, but this mismatch is not empirically detectable at the level of counterfactual dependence. In such cases, the identification of causal pathways is underdetermined in a (...) previously unrecognized way. Moreover, if the treatment is indeed transformative it breaks the inferential structure of the experimental design. Transformative treatments are not curiosities or “corner cases,” but are plausible mechanisms in a large class of events of theoretical interest, particularly ones where deliberate randomization is impractical and quasi-experimental designs are sought instead. They cast long-running debates about treatment and selection effects in a new light, and raise new methodological challenges. (shrink)
Children's utterances from late infancy to 3 years of age were examined to infer their conception of knowledge. In Study 1, the utterances of two English-speaking children were analysed and in Study 2, the utterances of a Mandarin-speaking child were analysed – in both studies, for their use of the verb know. Both studies confirmed that know and not know were used to affirm, query or deny knowledge, especially concerning an ongoing topic of conversation. References to a third party were (...) rare. By implication, 2-year-olds have a conception of knowledge that underpins their exchange of information in conversation. Implications for the child's developing theory of mind are discussed. (shrink)
In “What you can’t expect when you’re expecting,” I argue that, if you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, you cannot make this decision rationally—at least, not if your decision is based on what you think it would be like for you to become a parent. My argument hinges on the idea that becoming a parent is a transformative experience. This unique type of experience often transforms people in a deep and personal sense, and in the process, (...) changes their preferences. In section 1, I will explain transformative experience in terms of radical first-personal epistemic and self change. In section 2, I’ll explain the notion of subjective value that I use to develop the decision problem. In section 3, I will discuss the way we ordinarily combine our introspective assessments with testimony and evidence. In section 4, I will discuss the problems for rational decision-making. In section 5, I will explore the problem of first-personally transformed future selves. In section 6, I will engage with the main themes and arguments and ideas of the authors of the papers contributed to this volume. (shrink)
I address two related questions: first, what is the best theory of how objects have de re modal properties? Second, what is the best defence of essentialism given the variability of our modal intuitions? I critically discuss several theories of how objects have their de re modal properties and address the most threatening antiessentialist objection to essentialism: the variability of our modal intuitions. Drawing on linguistic treatments of vagueness and ambiguity, I show how essentialists can accommodate the variability of modal (...) intuitions while holding that objects have their modal properties independently of contexts. (shrink)
What is the nature of children's trust in testimony? Is it based primarily on evidential correlations between statements and facts, as stated by Hume, or does it derive from an interest in the trustworthiness of particular speakers? In this essay, we explore these questions in an effort to understand the developmental course and cognitive bases of children's extensive reliance on testimony. Recent work shows that, from an early age, children monitor the reliability of particular informants, differentiate between those who make (...) true and false claims and keep that differential accuracy in mind when evaluating new information from these people. We argue that this selective trust is likely to involve the mentalistic appraisal of speakers rather than surface generalizations of their behavior. Finally, we review the significance of children's deference to adult authority on issues of naming and categorization. In addition to challenging a purely inductive account of trust, these and other findings reflect a potentially rich set of tools brought by children to the task of learning from people's testimony. (shrink)
In claiming the independence of theology from science, Ernan McMullin nevertheless saw the danger of separating these disciplines on questions of mutual significance, as his accompanying article “Biology and the Theology of the Human” in this edition of Zygon shows. This paper analyzes McMullin's adoption of emergence as a qualified endorsement of a view that avoids the excesses of both dualism and materialism. I argue that McMullin's distinctive contribution is the conceptual clarification of emergence in the light of a precise (...) understanding of matter, in light of Aristotelian metaphysics and Darwinian theory. As applied to human nature, McMullin retains an Augustinian outlook that sees spirit as emergent in the human body and which posits a credible biblical hermeneutic. I indicate briefly how McMullin's perspective could be fortified by a fuller natural theology. (shrink)
Androphilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal to adult males, whereas gynephilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal to adult females. In Independent Samoa, androphilic males, most of whom are effeminate or transgendered, are referred to as fa’afafine, which means “in the manner of a woman.” Previous research has established that fa’afafine report significantly higher avuncular tendencies relative to gynephilic men. We hypothesized that Samoan fa’afafine might adopt feminine gender role orientations with respect to childcare activity. If so, then the (...) fa’afafine’s femininity might be a proximate mechanism for promoting their elevated avuncular tendencies. Our analyses indicated that fa’afafine had significantly higher willingness to assist in the childcare of nieces and nephews than childless women, mothers, or men, none of whom differed from each other on this measure. Thus, femininity does not appear to explain the fa’afafine’s pattern of avuncular tendencies, nor the women’s pattern of materteral (i.e., aunt-like) tendencies, relative to gynephilic men. We discuss how the fa’afafine “third” gender status might influence the expression of their elevated avuncular tendencies. (shrink)
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