The basic alternatives seem to be either a Humean reductionist view that any particular assertion needs backing with inductive evidence for its reliability before it can retionally be believed, or a Reidian criterial view that testimony is intrinscially, though defeasibly, credible, in the absence of evidence against its reliability.Some recent arguments from the constraints on interpreting any linguistic performances as assertions with propositional content have some force against the reductionist view. We thus have reason to accept the criterial view, at (...) least as applied to eyewitness reports. But these considerations do not establish that any rational enquirer must have the concept of other minds or testimony. The logical possibility of the lone enquirer, who uses symbols and thereby expresses some knowledge of his world, remains open — but it is a question we have no need to pronounce upon. (shrink)
Over three previous editions, Ten Theories of Human Nature has been a remarkably popular introduction to some of the most influential developments in Western and Eastern thought. This thoroughly revised fourth edition features substantial new chapters on Aristotle and on evolutionary theories of human nature; the latter centers on Edward O. Wilson but also outlines the ideas of Emile Durkheim, B. F. Skinner, Nikolaas Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz, Noam Chomsky, and recent evolutionary psychology. This edition also includes a rewritten introduction that (...) invites readers (even if inclined toward fundamentalism, or to cultural relativism) to careful, critical thought about human nature; a useful new section that summarizes the history of ideas from the Stoics to the Enlightenment; and a new conclusion that suggests a way to synthesize the various theories. Lucid and accessible, Ten Theories of Human Nature, 4/e, compresses into a small space the essence of such ancient traditions as Confucianism, Hinduism, and the Old and New Testaments as well as the theories of Plato, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The authors juxtapose the ideas of these and other thinkers and traditions in a way that helps readers understand how humanity has struggled to comprehend its nature. To encourage readers to think critically for themselves and to underscore the similarities and differences between the many theories, the book examines each one on four points--the nature of the universe, the nature of humanity, the diagnosis of the ills of humanity, and the proposed cure for these problems. Ideal for introductory courses in human nature, philosophy, religious studies, and intellectual history, Ten Theories of Human Nature, 4/e, will engage and motivate students and other readers to consider how we can understand and improve both ourselves and human society. (shrink)
Kant famously said he 'had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith ’ . But what exactly was his conception of Glaube, and how does it fit into his epistemology? In the first Critique it is not until the concluding Method section that he explicitly addresses these issues. In the Canon of Pure Reason he lists three questions that sum up ‘all interest of my reason’: What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope? (...) . Kant here put hope on the agenda of philosophy. In his essays on history he argued that we can hope for secular progress in the development of human culture; but in his moral and religious philosophy he was also concerned with eschatological hopes that we can perfect our characters in a life after death, and that the moral governor of the universe will ensure that happiness is eventually proportionate to virtue. About immortality and the existence of God, his constant refrain is that we can have only a practical kind of faith. (shrink)
I argue that the distinction between first-person present and other-directed contexts of justification throws new light on epistemology. In particular, it has implications for the relations between justification, knowledge and truth, the debate between externalism and internalism, and the prospects for reflective equilibrium. I suggest that to focus on the third-person questions about knowledge or justification is to risk missing the main point of epistemology, namely to help us make reflective judgments about what to believe.
Examination of recent debates about belief shows the need to distinguish: (a) non-linguistic informational states in animal perception; (b) the uncritical use of language, e.g. by children; (c) adult humans' reasoned judgments. If we also distinguish between mind-directed and object-directed mental states, we have: Perceptual 'beliefs' of animals and infants about their material environment. 'Beliefs' of animals and infants about the mental states of others. Linguistically-expressible beliefs about the world, resulting from e.g. the uncritical tendency to believe what we are (...) told. Uncritically-formed beliefs about the mental states. Beliefs about the material world arrived at by the weighing of evidence. Beliefs about mental states formed by critical assessment. (shrink)
The ability to think of something not presently perceived, but spatio-temporally real. (2) The ability to think of whatever one acknowledges as possible in the spatio-temporal world. (3) The liability to think of something that the subject believes to be real, but which is not. (4) The ability to think of things that one conceives of as fictional. (5) The ability to entertain mental images. (6) The ability to think of anything at all. (7) The non-rational operations of the mind, (...) that is, those explicable in terms of causes rather than reasons. (8) The ability to form perceptual beliefs about public objects in space and time. (9) The ability to sensuously appreciate works of art or objects of natural beauty without classifying them under concepts or thinking of them as useful. (10) The ability to create works of art that encourage such sensuous appreciation. (11) The ability to appreciate things that are expressive or revelatory of the meaning of human life. (12) The ability to create works of art that express something deep about the meaning of life. (shrink)
The indiscernibility of identicals is incompatible with geach's theory of 'relative' identity, But consistent with the view that x is identical with y iff x is the same a as y, For some count-Noun 'a'. 'x is the same a as y' expresses identity only if x is an a, Otherwise it is merely an equivalence relation.
Drawing on philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, biology, and theology, Stevenson introduces readers to the endlessly fascinating subject of human nature. He outlines background theories of the universe, basic approaches to human nature, diagnoses of what is wrong with humankind and prescriptions for putting it right while offering clear, critical analyses of the ideas of Plato, Christianity, Karl Marx, Freud, Sartre, Skinner, and Lorenz. Including completely revised and updated bibliographies, the second edition also provides a new interdisciplinary final chapter suggesting areas (...) of further inquiry. (shrink)
I first criticize strawson's account of the transcendental deduction, And then argue that wittgenstein's considerations (in his later work) of the rule-Governed nature of judgment can be used to reconstruct a valid argument for a certain kind of objectivity, Which excludes solipsims. I suggest how kant's talk of synthesis can be reinterpreted in the light of this, As indeed can the doctrine of empirical realism and transcendental idealism.
Is our judgement of the truth-value of propositions subject to the will? Do we have any voluntary control over the formation of our beliefs – and if so, how does it compare with the control we have over our actions? These questions lead into interestingly unclear philosophical and psychological territory which remains a focus of debate today. I will first examine the classic early modern discussions in Descartes, Spinoza and Hume. Then I will review some relevant themes in Kant, including (...) some lesser-known material from his lectures on ‘Logic’. Kant’s critical philosophy makes important appeal to the notion of ‘spontaneity’ or mental activity, but I argue that there are five different kinds of spontaneity in Kant which need distinguishing. I hope thus to achieve some clarification of the differences between theoretical judgements and practical decisions. (shrink)
I distinguish four questions within Kant's "problem of reality": (1) What constitutes propositional content? (2) What constitutes truth? (3) What constitutes referential content? (4) What constitutes successful singular reference? I argue that Kant's transcendental idealism applies primarily to (3) - understood as: What makes some mental or linguistic items would-be referential representations - and secondly to (1). But with regard to (4) and (2), we do not create the objects and states of affairs in the world (there are human artifacts, (...) of course, but most of them continue to exist quite independently of our representing activities). However the contents of our representations in (3) and (1) do depend crucially on our conventions and rules, which are almost always socially learned. (shrink)
Inspired by Kant, Merleau-Ponty and Sellars, I illustrate and identify certain kinds of unity which are typical (if not universal) features of our conscious experience, and argue that Kant was right to claim that such unities are produced by unconscious processes of synthesis: A perceptual experience of succession is not reducible to a succession of perceptual experiences. The experience of perceiving one object as having several features is not reducible to a conjunction of perceptual experiences of those features. A cross-modal (...) perceptual experience is not reducible to a conjunction of single-modality perceptual experiences. Incoming perceptual information is synthesized into a single scene-a representation of the world as perceived from a spatio-temporal point of view. Any two of the simultaneous features of the experience of a subject S can be thought of together by S. Many of the experiences of a subject S can be thought of by S at a later time as part of his or her history of experience. These can be summarized in the general principle: An experience of a complex is not a complex of experiences. This is consistent with Sellars’ principle that: A sense-impression of a complex is a complex of impressions because the latter applies at the sub-personal, unconceptualized level, and the former at the conscious level of conceptualized experiences. (shrink)
How do our secular reflections on freewill relate to the theological tradition of human freedom and divine grace? I will pursue this question with reference to Kant, who represents a half-way house between Christianity and the atheism of other Enlightenment thinkers. But are those the only two alternatives? I suggest that Kant’s wrestling with the notion of divine grace can draw us all towards recognition of the ultimate mystery of human motivation and behaviour, and our need for forgiveness and hope.
We are morally perplexed about nuclear weapons. Popular debate oscillates tediously between an apparently impractical idealism which would have nothing to do with the things, and a military and political realism which insists that we have to use such means to attain our legitimate ends. The choice, it too often seems, is between laying down our nuclear arms–thus avoiding the moral odium of resting our defence policies on threats to vaporize millions of civilians–but leaving ourselves open to domination by those (...) who do not feel such scruples, and on the other hand, retaining such weapons as long as our potential enemies possess them, constantly maintaining parity with the other side–in other words, proceeding with the arms race. The respective proponents of principle and of prudence typically fail to understand how others can possibly neglect the considerations which loom so large in their own minds. Each has at bottom a deeply held ethical view–that certain means may not be used for any end, or that certain ends are so important that they justify the use of almost any means. The disagreement is so irreconcilable that it spills out from TV studios and newspaper editorial pages on to the streets and the missile bases, and into the courts and the prisons. (shrink)
First published in 1971, Professor Putnam's essay concerns itself with the ontological problem in the philosophy of logic and mathematics - that is, the issue of whether the abstract entities spoken of in logic and mathematics really exist. He also deals with the question of whether or not reference to these abstract entities is really indispensible in logic and whether it is necessary in physical science in general.
The notion of experience plays a deeply ambiguous role in philosophical thinking. In ordinary discourse we say that applicants for employment as joiner, farmhand or nanny should have some previous experience with carpentry, livestock or children. Such uses of the word clearly presuppose the existence of the relevant objects of experience. In other usages the focus is more on the mental effect on the subject , as when someone says that they have had several unpleasant experiences that day–a wetting in (...) a thunderstorm, an altercation with a traffic warden, and a long wait at the station. (shrink)
Because of the idealizations involved in the ideas of a total state of the world and of all the laws of nature, the thesis of all-encompassing determinism is unverifiable. Our everyday non-scientific talk of causation does not imply determinism; nor is it needed for the Kantian argument for a general causal framework as a condition for experience of an objective world. Determinism is at best a regulative ideal for science, something to be approached but never reached.