Reichenbachian approaches to indexicality contend that indexicals are "token-reflexives": semantic rules associated with any given indexical-type determine the truth-conditional import of properly produced tokens of that type relative to certain relational properties of those tokens. Such a view may be understood as sharing the main tenets of Kaplan's well-known theory regarding content, or truth-conditions, but differs from it regarding the nature of the linguistic meaning of indexicals and also regarding the bearers of truth-conditional import and truth-conditions. Kaplan has criticized these (...) approaches on different counts, the most damaging of which is that they make impossible a "logic of demonstratives". The reason for this is that the token-reflexive approach entails that not two tokens of the same sentential type including indexicals are guaranteed to have the same truth-conditions. In this paper I rebut this and other criticisms of the Reichenbachian approach. Additionally, I point out that Kaplan's original theory of "true demonstratives" is empirically inadequate, and claim that any modification capable of accurately handling the linguistic data would have similar problems to those attributed to the Reichenbachian approach. This is intended to show that the difficulties, no matter how real, are not caused by idiosincracies of the "token-reflexive" view, but by deep facts about indexicality. (shrink)
In his recent book The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen suggests that political philosophy should move beyond the dominant, Rawls-inspired, methodological paradigm – what Sen calls ‘transcendental institutionalism’ – towards a more practically oriented approach to justice: ‘realization-focused comparison’. In this article, I argue that Sen's call for a paradigm shift in thinking about justice is unwarranted. I show that his criticisms of the Rawlsian approach are either based on misunderstandings, or correct but of little consequence, and conclude that the (...) Rawlsian approach already delivers much of what Sen himself wants from a theory of justice. (shrink)
The paper examines an alleged distinction claimed to exist by Van Gelder between two different, but equally acceptable ways of accounting for the systematicity of cognitive output (two “varieties of compositionality”): “concatenative compositionality” vs. “functional compositionality.” The second is supposed to provide an explanation alternative to the Language of Thought Hypothesis. I contend that, if the definition of “concatenative compositionality” is taken in a different way from the official one given by Van Gelder (but one suggested by some of his (...) formulations) then there is indeed a different sort of compositionality; however, the second variety is not an alternative to the language of thought in that case. On the other hand, if the concept of concatenative compositionality is taken in a different way, along the lines of Van Gelder's explicit definition, then there is no reason to think that there is an alternative way of explaining systematicity. (shrink)
This thesis explores, thematically and chronologically, the substantial concordance between the work of Martin Heidegger and T.S. Eliot. The introduction traces Eliot's ideas of the 'objective correlative' and 'situatedness' to a familiarity with German Idealism. Heidegger shared this familiarity, suggesting a reason for the similarity of their thought. Chapter one explores the 'authenticity' developed in Being and Time, as well as associated themes like temporality, the 'they' (Das Man), inauthenticity, idle talk and angst, and applies them to interpreting Eliot's poem, (...) 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'. Both texts depict a bleak Modernist view of the early twentieth-century Western human condition, characterized as a dispiriting nihilism and homelessness. Chapter two traces the chronological development of Ereignis in Heidegger's thinking, showing the term's two discernible but related meanings: first our nature as the 'site of the open' where Being can manifest, and second individual 'Events' of 'appropriation and revelation'. The world is always happening as 'event', but only through our appropriation by the Ereignis event can we become aware of this. Heidegger finds poetry, the essential example of language as the 'house of Being', to be the purest manifestation of Ereignis, taking as his examples Hölderlin and Rilke. A detailed analysis of Eliot's late work Four Quartets reveals how Ereignis, both as an ineluctable and an epiphanic condition of human existence, is central to his poetry, confirming, in Heidegger's words, 'what poets are for in a destitute time', namely to re-found and restore the wonder of the world and existence itself. This restoration results from what Eliot calls 'raid[s] on the inarticulate', the poet's continual striving to enact that openness to Being through which human language and the human world continually come to be. The final chapter shows how both Eliot and Heidegger value a genuine relationship with place as enabling human flourishing. Both distrust technological materialism, which destroys our sense of the world as dwelling place, and both are essentially committed to a genuinely authentic life, not the angstful authenticity of Being and Time, but a richer belonging which affirms our relationship with the earth, each other and our gods. (shrink)
Descriptive semantic theories purport to characterize the meanings of the expressions of languages in whatever complexity they might have. Foundational semantics purports to identify the kind of considerations relevant to establish that a given descriptive semantics accurately characterizes the language used by a given individual or community. Foundational Semantics I presents three contrasting approaches to the foundational matters, and the main considerations relevant to appraise their merits. These approaches contend that we should look at the contents of speakers’ intuitions; at (...) the deep psychology of users and its evolutionary history, as revealed by our best empirical theories; or at the personal-level rational psychology of those subjects. Foundational Semantics II examines a fourth view, according to which we should look instead at norms enforced among speakers. The two papers aim to determine in addition the extent to which the approaches are really rival, or rather complementary. (shrink)
For those who maintain that free will is incompatible with causal determinism, a persistent problem is to give a coherent characterization of action that is neither determined by prior events nor random, arbitrary, lucky or in some way insufficiently under the control of the agent to count as free action. One approach—that of Roderick Chisholm and others—is to say that a third alternative is for an action to be caused by an agent in a way that is not reducible to (...) event causal terms. A different approach than the Chisholmian appeal to primitive substance causation is one that, instead, involves causal relations purely among events. This paper presents a particular event-causal indeterminist account of free action, describing both its attractions and recent objections to it, and then proposes a revised version, with the aim of supporting the plausibility of an event-causal indeterminist approach to free will. (shrink)
In this essay, we suggest practical ways to shift the framing of crisis standards of care toward disability justice. We elaborate on the vision statement provided in the 2010 Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine) “Summary of Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations,” which emphasizes fairness; equitable processes; community and provider engagement, education, and communication; and the rule of law. We argue that interpreting these elements through disability justice entails a commitment to both (...) distributive and recognitive justice. The disability rights movement's demand “Nothing about us, without us” requires substantive inclusion of disabled people in decision‐making related to their interests, including in crisis planning before, during, and after a pandemic like Covid‐19 . (shrink)
In this comprehensive new study of human free agency, Laura Waddell Ekstrom critically surveys contemporary philosophical literature and provides a novel account of the conditions for free action. Ekstrom argues that incompatibilism concerning free will and causal determinism is true and thus the right account of the nature of free action must be indeterminist in nature. She examines a variety of libertarian approaches, ultimately defending an account relying on indeterministic causation among events and appealing to agent causation only in (...) a reducible sense. Written in an engaging style and incorporating recent scholarship, this study is critical reading for scholars and students interested in the topics of motivation, causation, responsibility, and freedom. In broadly covering the important positions of others along with its exposition of the author’s own view, Free Will provides both a significant scholarly contribution and a valuable text for courses in metaphysics and action theory. (shrink)
This article provides a conceptual map of the debate on ideal and non‐ideal theory. It argues that this debate encompasses a number of different questions, which have not been kept sufficiently separate in the literature. In particular, the article distinguishes between the following three interpretations of the ‘ideal vs. non‐ideal theory’ contrast: full compliance vs. partial compliance theory; utopian vs. realistic theory; end‐state vs. transitional theory. The article advances critical reflections on each of these sub‐debates, and highlights areas for future (...) research in the field. (shrink)
Espino, Santamaria, and Garcia-Madruga (2000) report three results on the time taken to respond to a probe word occurring as end term in the premises of a syllogistic argument. They argue that these results can only be predicted by the theory of mental models. It is argued that two of these results, on differential reaction times to end-terms occurring in different premises and in different figures, are consistent with Chater and Oaksford's (1999) probability heuristics model (PHM). It is argued that (...) the third finding, on different reaction times between figures, does not address the issue of processing difficulty where PHM predicts no differences between figures. It is concluded that Espino et al.'s results do not discriminate between theories of syllogistic reasoning as effectively as they propose. (shrink)
What does it take to count as competent with the meaning of a thin evaluative predicate like 'is the right thing to do'? According to minimalists like Allan Gibbard and Ralph Wedgwood, competent speakers must simply use the predicate to express their own motivational states. According to analytic descriptivists like Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit and Christopher Peacocke, competent speakers must grasp a particular criterion for identifying the property picked out by the term. Both approaches face serious difficulties. We suggest that (...) these difficulties derive from a shared background assumption that competence conditions must be explained in terms of a determinate conceptual role. We propose a new way of characterizing competence with evaluative terms: what's required for competence is participation in a shared epistemic practice with a term. Our approach, we argue, better explains the nature of evaluative inquiry and the extent of disagreement about evaluative questions. (shrink)
This paper proposes a new relational account of concepts and shows how it is particularly well suited to characterizing normative concepts. The key advantage of our ‘connectedness’ model is that it explains how subjects can share the same normative concepts despite radical divergences in the descriptive or motivational commitments they associate with them. The connectedness model builds social and historical facts into the foundations of concept identity. This aspect of the model, we suggest, reshapes normative epistemology and provides new resources (...) for a vindication of realism in ethics. (shrink)
This article is a collective writing experiment undertaken by philosophers of education affiliated with the PESGB. When asked to reflect on questions concerning the Philosophy of Education in a New Key in May 2020, it was unsurprising that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on society and on education were foremost in our minds. We wanted to consider important philosophical and educational questions raised by the pandemic, while acknowledging that, first and foremost, it is a human tragedy. With nearly a (...) million deaths reported worldwide to date, and with everyone effected in one way or another by Covid-19, there is a degree of discomfort, and a responsibility to be sensitive, in reflecting and writing about it academically. Members of this ‘Covid Collective’ come from various countries, with perspectives from Great Britain and Ireland well represented, and we see academic practice as a globally connected enterprise, especially since the digital revolution in academic publishing. The concerns raised in this article relate to but move beyond Covid-19, reflecting the impact of neoliberalism [and other political developments] on geopolitics with educational concerns as central to our focus. (shrink)
This paper presents a conception of the self partially in terms of a particular notion of preference. It develops a coherentist account of when one's preferences are "authorized", or sanctioned as one's own, and presents a coherence theory of autonomous action. The view presented solves certain problems with hierarchical accounts of freedom, such as Harry Frankfurt's.
: Although "brain death" and the dead donor rule—i.e., patients must not be killed by organ retrieval—have been clinically and legally accepted in the U.S. as prerequisites to organ removal, there is little data about public attitudes and beliefs concerning these matters. To examine the public attitudes and beliefs about the determination of death and its relationship to organ transplantation, 1351 Ohio residents ≥18 years were randomly selected and surveyed using random digit dialing (RDD) sample frames. The RDD telephone survey (...) was conducted using computer-assisted telephone interviews. The survey instrument was developed from information provided by 12 focus groups and a pilot study of the questionnaire. Three scenarios based on hypothetical patients were presented: "brain dead," in a coma, or in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). Respondents provided personal assessments of whether the patient in each scenario was dead and their willingness to donate that patient's organs in these circumstances. More than 98 percent of respondents had heard of the term "brain death," but only one-third (33.7%) believed that someone who was "brain dead" was legally dead. The majority of respondents (86.2%) identified the "brain-dead" patient in the first scenario as dead, 57.2 percent identified the patient in a coma as dead (Scenario 2), and 34.1 percent identified the patient in a PVS as dead (Scenario 3). Nearly one-third (33.5%) were willing to donate the organs of patients they classified as alive for at least one scenario, in seeming violation of the dead donor rule. Most respondents were not willing to violate the dead donor rule, although a substantial minority was. However, the majority of respondents were unaware, misinformed, or held beliefs that were not congruent with current definitions of "brain death." This study highlights the need for more public dialogue and education about "brain death" and organ donation. (shrink)
Two central assumptions of current models of language acquisition were addressed in this study: (1) knowledge of linguistic structure is "mapped onto" earlier forms of non-linguistic knowledge; and (2) acquiring a language involves a continuous learning sequence from early gestural communication to linguistic expression. The acquisition of the first and second person pronouns ME and YOU was investigated in a longitudinal study of two deaf children of deaf parents learning American Sign Language (ASL) as a first language. Personal pronouns in (...) ASL are formed by pointing directly to the addressee (YOU) or self (I or ME), rather than by arbitrary symbols. Thus, personal pronouns in ASL resemble paralinguistic gestures that commonly accompany speech and are used prelinguistically by both hearing and deaf children beginning around 9 months. This provides a means for investigating the transition from prelinguistic gestural to linguistic expression when both gesture and language reside in the same modality.\nThe results indicate that deaf children acquired knowledge of personal pronouns over a period of time, displaying errors similar to those of hearing children despite the transparency of the pointing gestures. The children initially (ages 10 and 12 months) pointed to persons, objects, and locations. Both children then exhibited a long avoidance period, during which one function of the pointing gesture (pointing to self and others) dropped out completely. During this period their language and cognitive development were otherwise entirely normal, and they continued to use other types of pointing (e.g., to objects). When pointing to self and others returned, it was marked with errors typical of hearing children; one child exhibited consistent pronoun reversal errors, thinking the YOU point referred to herself, while the other child exhibited reversal errors inconsistently. Evidence from experimental tasks conducted with the first child revealed that pronoun errors occurred in comprehension as well. Full control of the ME and YOU pronouns was not achieved until 25-27 months, around the same time when hearing children master these forms. Thus, the study provides evidence for a discontinuity in the child's transition from prelinguistic to linguistic communication. It is argued that aspects of linguistic structure and its acquisition appear to involve distinct, language-specific knowledge. (shrink)
Gendered barriers to women’s advancement in STEM disciplines are subtle, often the result of gender practices, gender stereotypes, and gendered occupational cultures. Professional socialization into scientific cultures encourages and rewards gender practices that help to maintain gendered barriers. This article focuses more specifically on how individual women scientists’ gender practices potentially sustain gender barriers. Findings based on interview data from thirty women in academic STEM fields reveal that women draw on gendered expectations and norms within their disciplines to discursively distance (...) themselves from other women they perceive as having deviated from such norms and expectations. The types of distancing in which these respondents engage reflect and support gendered structures, cultures, and practices that ultimately disadvantage women and obscure gender inequality. I conclude by discussing the implications of women scientists’ distancing practices for efforts to change the gendered cultures of STEM disciplines. (shrink)
Why is there a felt asymmetry between cases in which agents defer to testifiers for certain moral beliefs, and cases in which agents defer on many other matters? One explanation influential in the literature is that having understanding of a proposition is both in tension with acquiring belief in the proposition by deferring to another's testimony and distinctively important when it comes to moral propositions, as compared with what we might think of as many ‘garden variety’ facts. My project in (...) this paper is to offer a new and more defensible version of this explanation. This will involve re-conceiving understanding as a richer state than it is commonly thought to be, requiring affective and motivational engagement with reasons as well as cognitive facility. I also offer a new explanation of the tension between understanding and deference to testimony. (shrink)
Moods have global and profound effects on our thoughts, motivations and behavior. To understand human behavior and cognition fully, we must understand moods. In this paper I critically examine and reject the methodology of conventional ?cognitive theories? of affect. I lay the foundations of a new theory of moods that identifies them with processes of our cognitive functional architecture. Moods differ fundamentally from some of our other affective states and hence require distinct explanatory tools. The computational theory of mood I (...) propose places them within the context of other mental phenomena and is consistent with the empirical data on moods. (shrink)
Are wealthy countries' duties towards developing countries grounded in justice or in weaker concerns of charity? Justice in a Globalized World offers both an in-depth critique of the most prominent philosophical answers to this question, and a distinctive approach for addressing it.
If a classical system has infinitely many degrees of freedom, its Hamiltonian quantization need not be unique up to unitary equivalence. I sketch different approaches (Hilbert space and algebraic) to understanding the content of quantum theories in light of this non‐uniqueness, and suggest that neither approach suffices to support explanatory aspirations encountered in the thermodynamic limit of quantum statistical mechanics.
A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, Reforming Philosophy considers the controversies between William Whewell and John Stuart Mill on the topics of science, morality, politics, and economics. By situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society and its concerns, Laura Snyder shows how two very different men—Whewell, an educator, Anglican priest, and critic of science; and Mill, a philosopher, political economist, and parliamentarian—reacted to the challenges of (...) their times, each seeking to reform science as a means of reforming society as a whole. The first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety, Reforming Philosophy provides a rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain and will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
We examine how two sociological traditions account for the role of femininities in social domination. The masculinities tradition theorizes gender as an independent structure of domination; consequently, femininities that complement hegemonic masculinities are treated as passively compliant in the reproduction of gender. In contrast, Patricia Hill Collins views cultural ideals of hegemonic femininity as simultaneously raced, classed, and gendered. This intersectional perspective allows us to recognize women striving to approximate hegemonic cultural ideals of femininity as actively complicit in reproducing a (...) matrix of domination. We argue that hegemonic femininities reference a powerful location in the matrix from which some women draw considerable individual benefits while shoring up collective benefits along other dimensions of advantage. In the process, they engage in intersectional domination of other women and even some men. Our analysis re-enforces the utility of analyzing femininities and masculinities from within an intersectional feminist framework. (shrink)
This paper introduces the model of Utilitarian Principlism as a framework for crisis healthcare ethics. In modern Western medicine, during non-crisis times, principlism provides the four guiding principles in biomedical ethics—autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice; autonomy typically emerges as the decisive principle. The physician–patient relationship is a deontological construct in which the physician’s primary duty is to the individual patient and the individual patient is paramount. For this reason, we term the non-crisis ethical framework that guides modern medicine Deontological Principlism. (...) During times of crisis, resources become scarce, standards of care become dynamic, and public health ethics move to the forefront. Healthcare providers are forced to work in non-ideal conditions, and interactions with individual patients must be considered in the context of the crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced healthcare to shift to a more utilitarian framework with a greater focus on promoting the health of communities and populations. This paper puts forth the notion of Utilitarian Principlism as a framework for crisis healthcare ethics. We discuss each of the four principles from a utilitarian perspective and use clinical vignettes, based on real cases from the COVID-19 pandemic, for illustrative purposes. We explore how Deontological Principlism and Utilitarian Principlism are two ends of a spectrum, and the implications to healthcare as we emerge from the pandemic. (shrink)
Genomic research results and incidental findings with health implications for a research participant are of potential interest not only to the participant, but also to the participant's family. Yet investigators lack guidance on return of results to relatives, including after the participant's death. In this paper, a national working group offers consensus analysis and recommendations, including an ethical framework to guide investigators in managing this challenging issue, before and after the participant's death.
According to David Chalmers and Frank Jackson, conceptual competence puts one in a position to have a priori knowledge of conditional claims of the form ‘If my environment is thus and so, then water = H2O’. The rationale for this position, I argue, rests on controversial semantic assumptions about the individuation of meanings or concepts. I sketch a new model of conceptual competence, which undermines the apriority of such conditionals.
Lack of specificity around stakeholder identity remains a serious obstacle to the further development of stakeholder theory andits adoption in actual practice by business managers. Nowhere is this shortcoming more evident than in stakeholder theory’s treatment of the constituency known as “community.”In this paper we attempt to set forth what we call “the Problem of Community” as indicative of the definitional problems of stakeholdertheory. We then begin the process of gaining greater specificity around our notions of community and the role (...) of community in stakeholder theory and management. In doing so, we identify the emergence of two fairly new forms of community that we believe are particularly relevant to the stakeholder theorist and practicing manager. These two new variants of community—the virtual advocacy group and the community of practice—extend the notion of community in new directions, which have strikingly different implications for stakeholder theory and practice. (shrink)