Are a material object, such as a statue, and its constituting matter, the clay, parts of one another? One wouldn't have thought so, and yet a number of philosophers have argued that they are. I review the arguments for this surprising claim showing how they all fail. I then consider two arguments against the view concluding that there are both pre-theoretical and theoretical considerations for denying that the statue and the clay are mutual parts.
I sketch here an intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types, which are individuated in part by historical paths (re)production. Although attractive, this view has been rejected by a number of authors on the basis of general claims about abstract objects. On consideration, however, these general claims are overgeneralizations, which whilst true of some abstracta, are not true of all abstract objects, and in particular, are not true of created types. The intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types (...) is, then, left in place. (shrink)
Are counterfactuals with true antecedents and consequents automatically true? That is, is Conjunction Conditionalization: if (X & Y), then (X > Y) valid? Stalnaker and Lewis think so, but many others disagree. We note here that the extant arguments for Conjunction Conditionalization are unpersuasive, before presenting a family of more compelling arguments. These arguments rely on some standard theorems of the logic of counterfactuals as well as a plausible and popular semantic claim about certain semifactuals. Denying Conjunction Conditionalization, then, requires (...) rejecting other aspects of the standard logic of counterfactuals, or else our intuitive picture of semifactuals. (shrink)
I present and discuss a counterexample to Kendall Walton's necessary condition for fictionality that arises from considering serial fictions. I argue that although Walton has not in fact provided a necessary condition for fictionality, a more complex version of Walton's condition is immune from the counterexample.
Is A & C sufficient for the truth of ‘if A were the case, C would be the case’? Jonathan Bennett thinks not, although the counterexample he gives is inconsistent with his own account of counterfactuals. In any case, I argue that anyone who accepts the case of Morgenbesser's coin, as Bennett does, should reject Bennett’s counterexample. Moreover, I show that the principle underlying his counterexample is unmotivated and indeed false. More generally, I argue that Morgenbesser’s coin commits us to (...) the sufficiency of A & C for the truth of the corresponding counterfactual. (shrink)
The standard semantics for counterfactuals ensures that any counterfactual with a true antecedent and true consequent is itself true. There have been many recent attempts to amend the standard semantics to avoid this result. I show that these proposals invalidate a number of further principles of the standard logic of counterfactuals. The case against the automatic truth of counterfactuals with true components does not extend to these further principles, however, so it is not clear that rejecting the latter should be (...) a consequence of rejecting the former. Instead I consider how one might defuse putative counterexamples to the truth of true-true counterfactuals. (shrink)
The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The improved proof (...) relies upon the semantic claim that conditionals with antecedents irrelevant to the obtaining of an already true consequent are themselves true. Moreover, this semantic insight allows us to provide compelling counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism that are resistant to the usual contextualist response. (shrink)
Moti Mizrahi (2013) presents some novel counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism (HS) for indicative conditionals. I show that they are not compelling as they neglect the complicated ways in which conditionals and modals interact. I then briefly outline why HS should nevertheless be rejected.
: In 1998, researchers discovered that embryonic stem cells could be derived from early human embryos. This discovery has raised a series of ethical and public-policy questions that are now being confronted by multiple international organizations, nations, cultures, and religious traditions. This essay surveys policies for human embryonic stem cell research in four regions of the world, reports on the recent debate at the United Nations about one type of such research, and reviews the positions that various religious traditions have (...) adopted regarding this novel type of research. In several instances the religious traditions seem to have influenced the public-policy debates. (shrink)
It is often thought that the numerous contradictory perspectives in Margaret Cavendish's writings demonstrate her inability to reconcile her feminism with her conservative, royalist politics. In this book Lisa Walters challenges this view and demonstrates that Cavendish's ideas more closely resemble republican thought, and that her methodology is the foundation for subversive political, scientific and gender theories. With an interdisciplinary focus Walters closely examines Cavendish's work and its context, providing the reader with an enriched understanding of women's contribution to early (...) modern scientific theory, political philosophy, culture and folklore. Considering also Cavendish's ideas in relation to Hobbes and Paracelsus, this volume is of great interest to scholars and students of literature, philosophy, history of ideas, political theory, gender studies and history of science. (shrink)
Andrew McGonigal presents some interesting data concerning truth in serial fictions.1 Such data has been taken by McGonigal, Cameron and Caplan to motivate some form of contextualism or relativism. I argue, however, that many of these approaches are problematic, and that all are under-motivated as the data can be explained in a standard invariantist semantic framework given some independently plausible principles.
The argument from illusion attempts to establish the bold claim that we are never perceptually aware of ordinary material objects. The argument has rightly received a great deal critical of scrutiny. But here we develop a criticism that, to our knowledge, has not hitherto been explored. We consider the canonical form of the argument as it is captured in contemporary expositions. There are two stages to our criticism. First, we show that the argument is invalid. Second, we identify premises that (...) can be used to make the argument valid. But we argue that the obvious fixes are problematic. If our arguments are successful, we show that the argument from illusion is even more difficult to defend than is commonly acknowledged. (shrink)
If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
In 1969, the field of human genetics was in its infancy. Amniocentesis was a new technique for prenatal diagnosis, and a newborn genetic screening program had been established in one state. There were also concerns about the potential hazards of genetic engineering. A research group at the Hastings Center and Paul Ramsey pioneered in the discussion of genetics and bioethics. Two principal techniques have emerged as being of enduring importance: human gene transfer research and genetic testing and screening. This essay (...) tracks the development and use of these techniques and considers the ethical issues that they raise. (shrink)
The last quarter of the twentieth century has given rise to reproductive technologies and arrangements that in the earlier part of the century could only be dreamed of by the authors of science fiction. We stand in the middle of this reproductive revolution, trying to cope with the developments that have already occurred but with an uneasy sense that the future may be even more complicated ethically than the past and the present. In this brief essay, I will survey recent (...) ethical and public-policy discussions of two reproductive techniques (assisted insemination and in vitro fertilization) and one reproductive arrangement (surrogate motherhood). After distinguishing three phases in the normative debate, I will briefly comment on some of the characteristics of, and continuing ambiguities in, the ethical debate of the past 25 years. At the conclusion of the essay, I will attempt to anticipate three future issues in ethics and reproduction. (shrink)
Academic accrediting/standard-setting bodies and the accounting profession view the continued emergence of reputation-damaging ethical transgressions within the accounting profession as a failure of accounting education to effectively implement necessary reforms. Although accounting educators have proposed various frameworks and instructional methods for improving ethics education, accounting still lags behind other professions in the moral development of aspiring professionals. The purpose of this paper is to provide a model for an enhanced ethics course developed for an accounting curriculum. The model course was (...) designed to respond to identified deficiencies in accounting ethics education and improve the moral development of accounting students. The paper discusses course design, delivery methods, educational goals, topical coverage and assessment of learning. Assessment data indicated that accounting students’ levels of moral development improved to a level consistent with other professions upon successful completion of the course. (shrink)
A festschrift for Dorothy Edgington, containing contributions from Cleo Condoravdi, Dorothy Edgington, Kit Fine, Alan Hájek, John Hawthorne, Sabine Iatridou, Nick Jones, Rosanna Keefe, Angelika Kratzer, David Over, Daniel Rothschild, Robert Stalnaker, Scott Sturgeon, and Timothy Williamson.
In the summer of 1997 one could scarcely enter a bookstore in Beijing without encountering Wang Xiaobo's pensive and defiant look on the cover of dozens of books displayed at the entrance. Wang had suddenly died in the spring of that year at the age of forty-five. Born in Beijing in 1952 to a family of intellectuals, he remained attached to China's capital despite periods of separation, such as during the Cultural Revolution, when he was sent to Yunnan to "learn (...) from the peasants" and taught in a "people-run-school" in Shandong, and also during the 1980s, when he studied in the United States . Wang always returned to Beijing, in the late 1970s to study economy and business at the People's University and in the late 1980s to teach there. After retiring in 1993, he devoted his time to writing: poetry, novels, essays, non-fiction, and a movie script. (shrink)
This essay explores some moral problems raised by experimentation involving the human fetus. In the first part of the essay three examples of fetal experimentation from the medical literature are described in some detail. Next, the ethical and legal arguments employed in the two major existing public policy-documents on fetal experimentation are analyzed. Finally, the author seeks to identify four fundamental presuppositions which underlie divergent normative positions on the problem of fetal experimentation.
Dorothy Edgington’s work has been at the centre of a range of ongoing debates in philosophical logic, philosophy of mind and language, metaphysics, and epistemology. This work has focused, although by no means exclusively, on the overlapping areas of conditionals, probability, and paradox. In what follows, I briefly sketch some themes from these three areas relevant to Dorothy’s work, highlighting how some of Dorothy’s work and some of the contributions of this volume fit in to these debates.