This collection of essays, offered in honor of the distinguished career of prominent political philosophy professor Clifford Orwin, brings together internationally renowned scholars to provide a wide context and discuss various aspects of the virtue of “humanity” through the history of political philosophy.
A philosophical essay under this title faces severe rhetorical challenges. New accounts of the good life regularly and rapidly turn out to be variations of old ones, subject to a predictable range of decisive objections. Attempts to meet those objections with improved accounts regularly and rapidly lead to a familiar impasse — that while a life of contemplation, or epicurean contentment, or stoic indifference, or religious ecstasy, or creative rebellion, or self-actualization, or many another thing might count as a good (...) life, none of them can plausibly be identified with the good life, or the best life. Given the long history of that impasse, it seems futile to offer yet another candidate for the genus “good life” as if that candidate might be new, or philosophically defensible. And given the weariness, irony, and self-deprecation expected of a philosopher in such an impasse, it is difficult for any substantive proposal on this topic to avoid seeming pretentious. (shrink)
This article explores the influence of East Asia's economic growth on the evolution of American neoconservative thought in the 1970s and 1980s. It traces how prominent neoconservative thinkers—Nathan Glazer, Peter L. Berger, Herman Kahn, Michael Novak, and Lawrence E. Harrison—developed the claim that the region's prosperity stemmed from its alleged Confucian tradition. Drawing in part from East Asian leaders and scholars, they argued that the region's growth demonstrated that tradition had facilitated, rather than hampered, the development of a (...) distinct East Asian capitalist modernity. The article argues that this Confucian thesis helped American neoconservatives articulate their conviction that “natural” social hierarchies, religious commitment, and traditional families were necessary for healthy and free capitalist societies. It then charts how neoconservatives mobilized this interpretation of Confucian East Asia against postcolonial critiques of capitalism, especially dependency theory. East Asia, they claimed, demonstrated that poverty and wealth were determined not by patterns of welfare, structural exploitation, or foreign assistance, but values and culture. The concept of Confucian capitalism, the article shows, was central to neoconservatives’ broad ideological agenda of protecting political, economic, and racial inequality under the guise of values, culture, and tradition. (shrink)
There is much more said in the Critique of Pure Reason about the relationship between God and purposiveness than what is found in Kant's analysis of the physico-theological argument. The ‘Wise Author of Nature’ is central to his analysis of regulative principles in the ‘Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic’ and also appears in the ‘Canon’, first with regards to the Highest Good and then again in relation to our theoretical use of purposiveness. This paper will begin with a brief discussion (...) of the physico-theological argument before moving on to the Appendix and the Canon. Finally, it will consider some changes to the role of the Wise Author in the Critique of Judgement. (shrink)
Embodied cognition often challenges standard cognitive science. In this outstanding introduction, Lawrence Shapiro sets out the central themes and debates surrounding embodied cognition, explaining and assessing the work of many of the key figures in the field, including George Lakoff, Alva Noë, Andy Clark, and Arthur Glenberg. Beginning with an outline of the theoretical and methodological commitments of standard cognitive science, Shapiro then examines philosophical and empirical arguments surrounding the traditional perspective. He introduces topics such as dynamic systems theory, (...) ecological psychology, robotics, and connectionism, before addressing core issues in philosophy of mind such as mental representation and extended cognition. Including helpful chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, _Embodied Cognition_ is essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind, psychology, and cognitive science. (shrink)
The nature of the information content of declarative sentences is a central topic in the philosophy of language. The natural view that a sentence like "John loves Mary" contains information in which two individuals occur as constituents is termed the naive theory, and is one that has been abandoned by most contemporary scholars. This theory was refuted originally by philosopher Gottlob Frege. His argument that the naive theory did not work is termed Frege's puzzle, and his rival account of information (...) content is termed the orthodox theory. In this detailed study, Nathan Salmon defends a version of the naive theory and presents a proposal for its extension that provides a better picture of information content than the orthodox theory gives. He argues that a great deal of what has generally been taken for granted in the philosophy of language over the past few decades is either mistaken or unsupported, and consequently, much current research is focused on the wrong set of questions. Salmon dissolves Frege's puzzle as it is usually formulated and demonstrates how it can be reconstructed and strengthened to yield a more powerful objection to the naive theory. He then defends the naive theory against the new Frege puzzle by presenting an idea that yields both a surprisingly rich and powerful extension of the naive theory and a better picture of information content than that of the original orthodox theory. Nathan Salmon is Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Santa Barbara. A Bradford Book. (shrink)
The phenomenon of `consciousness' is intrinsically related to one's awareness of one's self, of time, and of the physical world. What, then, can be learned about consciousness from people who have suffered brain damage such as amnesia which affects their awareness? This is the question explored by Lawrence Weiskrantz, a distinguished neuropsychologist who has worked with such patients over 30 years. Written in an engaging and accessible style, Consciousness Lost and Found provides a unique perspective on one of the (...) most challenging issues in science today. (shrink)
Howard Brody expresses concern that citing the “two cases that put futility on the map,” namely Helga Wanglie and Baby K, may be providing ammunition to the opponents of the concept of medical futility. He in fact joins well-known opponents of the concept of medical futility in arguing that it is one thing for the physician to say whether a particular intervention will promote an identified goal, quite another to say whether a goal is worth pursuing. In the latter instance, (...) physicians are laying themselves open “to the criticism of taking on basic value judgments that are more appropriately left to patients and their surrogates.” Brody states that in both the Wanglie and Baby K cases, the “basic value judgments” had to do with the worthiness of maintaining unconscious life via medical technology. He classifies this as “a question of professional integrity—but not a question of futility,” adding that “more than semantics hinges on this distinction.” The “more than semantics” factor is a pragmatic, even political one. Failure to make this distinction renders physicians “that much more suspect and less trustworthy in the public debate.”. (shrink)
Statistical mechanics is one of the crucial fundamental theories of physics, and in his new book Lawrence Sklar, one of the pre-eminent philosophers of physics, offers a comprehensive, non-technical introduction to that theory and to attempts to understand its foundational elements. Among the topics treated in detail are: probability and statistical explanation, the basic issues in both equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, the role of cosmology, the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, and the alleged foundation of the very (...) notion of time asymmetry in the entropic asymmetry of systems in time. The book emphasises the interaction of scientific and philosophical modes of reasoning, and in this way will interest all philosophers of science as well as those in physics and chemistry concerned with philosophical questions. The book could also be read by an informed general reader interested in the foundations of modern science. (shrink)
Epistemic trespassers judge matters outside their field of expertise. Trespassing is ubiquitous in this age of interdisciplinary research and recognizing this will require us to be more intellectually modest.
When philosophers speak of the inconclusiveness of arguments for the existence of God, they often do so as if they were talking about a matter of principle—as if it were in principle impossible to prove God's existence, that every proof was in principle inconclusive. Of course, rebutals of the cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments are usually designed to show that these types of arguments are in principle inconclusive. But one supposes that religious experience arguments are not all in such difficulties. (...) That is, one supposes, for example, that an encounter with the deity would provide a proof of his existence which is at least as conclusive as proofs for the existence of an ‘external world’. And thus it would be false to maintain in an unqualified way that ‘Reason cannot prove the existence of God’. The most one would be able to say would be that at present , or in terms of the currently available evidence, no one can prove God's existence. Further, whether or not sufficient evidence has ever been available in the past would be seen as an historical question— a matter of contingencies, not logical possibilities. (shrink)
Changing our minds isn't easy. Even when we recognize our views are disputed by intelligent and informed people, we rarely doubt our rightness. Why is this so? How can we become more open-minded, putting ourselves in a better position to tolerate conflict, advance collective inquiry, and learn from differing perspectives in a complex world? -/- Nathan Ballantyne defends the indispensable role of epistemology in tackling these issues. For early modern philosophers, the point of reflecting on inquiry was to understand (...) how our beliefs are often distorted by prejudice and self-interest, and to improve the foundations of human knowledge. Ballantyne seeks to recover and modernize this classical tradition by vigorously defending an interdisciplinary approach to epistemology, blending philosophical theorizing with insights from the social and cognitive sciences. -/- Many of us need tools to help us think more circumspectly about our controversial views. Ballantyne develops a method for distinguishing between our reasonable and unreasonable opinions, in light of evidence about bias, information overload, and rival experts. This method guides us to greater intellectual openness--in the spirit of skeptics from Socrates to Montaigne to Bertrand Russell--making us more inclined to admit that sometimes we don't have the right answers. With vibrant prose and fascinating examples from science and history, Ballantyne shows how epistemology can help us know our limits. (shrink)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a claim of metaphysical modality, in possession of good alethic standing, must be in want of an essentialist foundation. Or at least so say the advocates of the reductive-essence-first view, according to which all modality is to be reductively defined in terms of essence. Here, I contest this bit of current wisdom. In particular, I offer two puzzles—one concerning the essences of non-compossible, complementary entities, and a second involving entities whose essences are modally (...) ‘loaded’—that together strongly call into question the possibility of reducing modality to essence. (shrink)
We offer an original argument for the existence of universal fictions—that is, fictions within which every possible proposition is true. Specifically, we detail a trio of such fictions, along with an easy-to-follow recipe for generating more. After exploring several consequences and dismissing some objections, we conclude that fiction, unlike reality, is unlimited when it comes to truth.
A key question has been underexplored in the literature on conscientious objection: if a physician is required to perform ‘medical activities,’ what is a medical activity? This paper explores the question by employing a teleological evaluation of medicine and examining the analogy of military conscripts, commonly cited in the conscientious objection debate. It argues that physicians (and other healthcare professionals) can only be expected to perform and support medical acts – acts directed towards their patients’ health. That is, physicians cannot (...) be forced to provide or support services that are not medical in nature, even if such activities support other socially desirable pursuits. This does not necessarily mean that medical professionals cannot or should not provide non-medical services, but only that they are under no obligation to provide them. (shrink)
In recent years, a particular doctrine about forms of life has come to be associated with Wittgenstein's name by followers and critics of his philosophy alike. It is not a doctrine which Wittgenstein espoused or even, given his understanding of philosophy, one which he could have accepted; nor is it worthy of acceptance on its own merits. I shall here outline the standard interpretation of Wittgenstein's remarks on forms of life, consider the textual basis for such a reading of Wittgenstein, (...) present a more consistent reading of the texts, place the problem of forms of life within a wider philosophical context, and show the ways in which it is indeed possible to say that a form of life is wrong. In the process, I shall note some important similarities between Wittgenstein's actual position, Quine's analysis of scientific knowledge, and Hans-Georg Gadamer's claims about the fusion of horizons. (shrink)
The concept of a proposition is important in several areas of philosophy and central to the philosophy of language. This collection of readings investigates many different philosophical issues concerning the nature of propositions and the ways they have been regarded through the years. Reflecting both the history of the topic and the range of contemporary views, the book includes articles from Bertrand Russell, Gottlob Frege, the Russell-Frege Correspondence, Alonzo Church, David Kaplan, John Perry, Saul Kripke, Hilary Putnam, Mark Richard, Scott (...) Soames, and Nathan Salmon. (shrink)
Two theses figure centrally in work on the epistemology of disagreement: Equal Weight (‘EW’) and Uniqueness (‘U’). According to EW, you should give precisely as much weight to the attitude of a disagreeing epistemic peer as you give to your own attitude. U has it that, for any given proposition and total body of evidence, some doxastic attitude is the one the evidence makes rational (justifies) toward that proposition. Although EW has received considerable discussion, the case for U has not (...) been critically evaluated. Endorsing U, we argue, commits one to the highly controversial thesis that whatever fixes your rational attitudes can do so only by fixing what evidence you have. This commitment imposes a relatively demanding requirement on justified belief in U, one that we argue is not satisfied by what is currently the strongest available case for U, due to Roger White . Our challenge to U makes more trouble for its proponents than do the worries about U expressed by Gideon Rosen  and Thomas Kelly . Moreover, if Kelly  is correct in thinking that EW “carries with it a commitment to” U—a claim which we accept for reasons similar to Kelly’s but is beyond this paper’s scope (but see Ballantyne and Coffman [forthcoming])—then our challenge to U bears importantly on EW: to the extent that our challenge to U succeeds, EW also suffers. (shrink)
Two theses are central to recent work on the epistemology of disagreement: Conciliationism:?In a revealed peer disagreement over P, each thinker should give at least some weight to her peer's attitude. Uniqueness:?For any given proposition and total body of evidence, the evidence fully justifies exactly one level of confidence in the proposition. 1This paper is the product of full and equal collaboration between its authors. Does Conciliationism commit one to Uniqueness? Thomas Kelly 2010 has argued that it does. After some (...) scene-setting (?1), in ?2 we explain and criticize Kelly's argument, thereby defeating his larger argument that Conciliationism deserves no dialectical special treatment. But we argue further that Conciliationists are committed to a disjunction, one of whose disjuncts is Uniqueness, that amounts to an ?extremely strong and unobvious position? (??3?4). If we are correct, theorists should not treat Conciliationism as a default position in debates about the epistemic significance of disagreement. (shrink)
The Counterfactual Comparative Account of Harm says that an event is overall harmful for someone if and only if it makes her worse off than she otherwise would have been. I defend this account from two common objections.
In a very short time, it is likely that we will identify many of the genetic variants underlying individual differences in intelligence. We should be prepared for the possibility that these variants are not distributed identically among all geographic populations, and that this explains some of the phenotypic differences in measured intelligence among groups. However, some philosophers and scientists believe that we should refrain from conducting research that might demonstrate the (partly) genetic origin of group differences in IQ. Many scholars (...) view academic interest in this topic as inherently morally suspect or even racist. The majority of philosophers and social scientists take it for granted that all population differences in intelligence are due to environmental factors. The present paper argues that the widespread practice of ignoring or rejecting research on intelligence differences can have unintended negative consequences. Social policies predicated on environmentalist theories of group differences may fail to achieve their aims. Large swaths of academic work in both the humanities and social sciences assume the truth of environmentalism and are vulnerable to being undermined. We have failed to work through the moral implications of group differences to prepare for the possibility that they will be shown to exist. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Most of what we believe comes to us from the word of others, but we do not always believe what we are told. We often reject thinkers' reports by attributing biases to them. We may call this debunking. In this essay, I consider how debunking might work and then examine whether, and how often, it can help to preserve rational belief in the face of disagreement.
The first edition of Blindsight, written by Lawrence Weiskrantz was an important and highly cited account of studies of the phenomenon - Blindsight. The updated edition retains the original text of the first edition, but brings the book up to date with developments in this area in the past decade.
Lawrence, Carmen Why should we protect our heritage? In the broadest sense our heritage is what we inherit; it's what we value of that inheritance and what we decide to keep and protect for future generations. Heritage is both global enough to encompass our shock at the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan and as local as our own sepia-tinted family photographs. Everything which our predecessors have bequeathed, both tangible and intangible, may be called heritage - landscapes, (...) structures, objects, traditions, stories and language. (shrink)
The work of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty touches on some of the most essential and vital concerns of the world today, yet his ideas are difficult and not widely understood. Lawrence Hass redresses this problem by offering an exceptionally clear, carefully argued, critical appreciation of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. Hass provides insight into the philosophical methods and major concepts that characterize Merleau-Ponty's thought. Questions concerning the nature of phenomenology, perceptual experience, embodiment, intersubjectivity, expression, and philosophy of language are fully and systematically (...) discussed with reference to main currents and discussions in contemporary philosophy. The result is a refreshingly jargon-free invitation into Merleau-Ponty's important and transformational way of understanding human experience. (shrink)
My title is meant to suggest a continuation of the sort of philosophical investigation into the nature of language and modality undertaken in Rudolf Carnap’s Meaning and Necessity and Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity. My topic belongs in a class with meaning and naming. It is demonstratives—that is, expressions like ‘that darn cat’ or the pronoun ‘he’ used deictically. A few philosophers deserve particular credit for advancing our understanding of demonstratives and other indexical words. Though Naming and Necessity is concerned (...) with proper names, not demonstratives, it opened wide a window that had remained mostly shut in Meaning and Necessity but that, thanks largely to Kripke, shall forevermore remain unbarred. Understanding of demonstrative semantics grew by a quantum leap in David Kaplan’s remarkable work, especially in his masterpiece “Demonstratives” together with its companion “Afterthoughts.” In contrast to the direct-reference propensities of these two contemporary figures, Gottlob Frege, with his uncompromisingly thoroughgoing intensionalism, shed important light on the workings of demonstratives in “Der Gedanke”—more specifically, in a few brief but insightful remarks from a single paragraph concerning tense and temporal indexicality. (shrink)
Rather infamously, Kit Fine provided a series of counter‐examples which purport to show that attempts to understand essence in terms of metaphysical necessity are ‘fundamentally misguided’. Here, my aim is to put forward a new version of modalism that is, I argue, immune to Fine's counter‐examples. The core of this new modalist account is a sparseness restriction, such that an object's essential properties are those sparse properties it has in every world in which it exists. After first motivating this sparseness (...) restriction, I proceed to show how the resulting sparse modalism circumvents Fine's original counter‐examples. After dismissing a potential problem concerning the membership relation, I conclude that, as at least one form of modalism is viable, the project of understanding essence in terms of metaphysical necessity is not so fundamentally misguided after all. (shrink)
In mid-2019, the controversy regarding South African runner Caster Semenya’s eligibility to participate in competitions against other female runners culminated in a Court of Arbitration for Sport judgement. Semenya possessed high endogenous testosterone levels (arguably a performance advantage), secondary to a disorder of sexual development. In this commentary, Aristotelean teleology is used to defend the existence of ‘male’ and ‘female’ as discrete categories. It is argued that once the athlete’s sex is established, they should be allowed to compete in the (...) category of their sex without obligatory medical treatment. Indeed, other athletes who possess advantageous genetic or phenotypic traits that fall outside of the human norm have been allowed to compete as humans without restraint. In both cases, if an athlete possesses the essential attributes of being a human or being male or female they should be permitted to compete in those respective categories; athletes’ eligibilities should not be based upon accidental attributes. (shrink)
There are certain uses of and and or that cannot be explained by their normal meanings as truth-functional connectives, even with sophisticated pragmatic resources. These include examples such as The cops show up, and a fight will break out (‘If the cops show up, a fight will break out’), and I have no friends, or I would throw a party (‘I have no friends. If I did have friends, I would throw a party.’). We argue that these uses are indeed (...) distinct from the more ordinary uses of and and or, but that they are nonetheless related in a principled way. To explain them we give an analysis of what we call the dynamic effects of connectives, which arise in all their uses. The special uses at issue are then argued to be instances where the connectives exhibit their dynamic effects without their truth-conditional meaning. (shrink)
Some prominent scientists and philosophers have stated openly that moral and political considerations should influence whether we accept or promulgate scientific theories. This widespread view has significantly influenced the development, and public perception, of intelligence research. Theories related to group differences in intelligence are often rejected a priori on explicitly moral grounds. Thus the idea, frequently expressed by commentators on science, that science is “self-correcting”—that hypotheses are simply abandoned when they are undermined by empirical evidence—may not be correct in all (...) contexts. In this paper, documentation spanning from the early 1970s to the present is collected, which reveals the influence of scientists’ moral and political commitments on the study of intelligence. It is suggested that misrepresenting findings in science to achieve desirable social goals will ultimately harm both science and society. (shrink)
While it is tempting to suppose that an act has moral worth just when and because it is motivated by sufficient moral reasons, philosophers have, largely, come to doubt this analysis. Doubt is rooted in two claims. The first is that some facts can motivate a given act in multiple ways, not all of which are consistent with moral worth. The second is the orthodox view that normative reasons are facts. I defend the tempting analysis by proposing and defending a (...) heterodox account of both normative and motivating reasons that is inspired by Donald Davidson’s primary reasons. We should adopt the heterodox view, I argue, because it addresses an overlooked but fatal defect in the orthodox conception of reasons, of which challenges to the tempting analysis are a special case. (shrink)
The tendency to reciprocate – to return good for good and evil for evil – is a potent force in human life, and the concept of reciprocity is closely connected to fundamental notions of ‘justice’, ‘obligation’ or ‘duty’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘equality’. In _Reciprocity_, first published in 1986,_ _Lawrence Becker presents a sustained argument about reciprocity, beginning with the strategy for developing a moral theory of the virtues. He considers the concept of reciprocity in detail, contending that it is a basic (...) virtue that provides the basis for parental authority, obligations to future generations, and obedience to law. Throughout the first two parts of the book, Becker intersperses short pieces of his own narrative fiction to enrich reflection on the philosophical arguments. The final part is devoted to extensive bibliographical essays, ranging over anthropology, psychology, political theory and law, as well as the relevant ethics and political philosophy. (shrink)