This book taps the best American thinkers to answer the essential American question: How do we sustain our experiment in government of, by, and for the people? Authored by an extraordinary and politically diverse roster of public officials, scholars, and educators, these chapters describe our nation's civic education problem, assess its causes, offer an agenda for reform, and explain the high stakes at risk if we fail.
Recent experimental studies indicate that epistemically irrelevant factors can skew our intuitions, and that some degree of scepticism about appealing to intuition in philosophy is warranted. In response, some have claimed that philosophers are experts in such a way as to vindicate their reliance on intuitions—this has become known as the ‘expertise defence’. This paper explores the viability of the expertise defence, and suggests that it can be partially vindicated. Arguing that extant discussion is problematically imprecise, we will finesse the (...) notion of ‘philosophical expertise’ in order to better reflect the complex reality of the different practices involved in philosophical inquiry. On this basis, we offer a new version of the expertise defence that allows for distinct types of philosophical expertise. The upshot of our approach is that wholesale vindications or rejections of the expertise defence are shown to be unwarranted; we must instead turn to local, piecemeal investigations of philosophical expertise. Lastly, in the spirit of taking our own advice, we exemplify how recent developments from experimental philosophy lend themselves to this approach, and can empirically support one instance of a successful expertise defence. (shrink)
The paper begins by providing a game-theoretic reconstruction of Gilbert’s (1989) philosophical critique of Lewis (1969) on the role of salience in selecting conventions. Gilbert’s insight is reformulated thus: Nash equilibrium is insufficiently powerful as a solution concept to rationalize conventions for unboundedly rational agents if conventions are solutions to the kinds of games Lewis supposes. Both refinements to NE and appeals to bounded rationality can plug this gap, but lack generality. As Binmore (this issue) argues, evolutive game (...) theory readily explains the origin of conventional behavior, but that is not Lewis’s project. Gilbert’s critique is generalized by reference to Bacharach’s (2006) work on team reasoning in games. The paper then argues that although Lewis’s account of the rationalization of conventions is shown by the reconstruction of Gilbert’s critique to be incomplete, Gilbert is wrong to conclude that classical (‘eductive’) game theory lacks the resources to explain conformity to conventions among people. A game-theoretic account of the dynamics of socialization, based on Ross’s (2005, 2006) idea of ‘game determination’, rationalizes choices of conventional strategies in overlapping generations contexts, provided agents are products of evolutionary selection and know that other players are also such products. (shrink)
Michael Murrin’s work on allegory provides an instructive contrast to Stephen Greenblatt’s Aristotelian conception of art as representation. This essay argues that Christian Platonism created the allegorical mode in which Spenser wrote, allowing a different perspective of the self than the one Greenblatt describes in Renaissance Self-Fashioning. The essay then suggests that those Christian thinkers who rejected Lucretius and Epicureanism did so for philosophical reasons deeply grounded in Plato’s thought–reasons that in the twentieth century found a home in the work (...) of C. S. Lewis. (shrink)
Despite playing an important role in epistemology, philosophy of science, and more recently in moral philosophy and aesthetics, the nature of understanding is still much contested. One attractive framework attempts to reduce understanding to other familiar epistemic states. This paper explores and develops a methodology for testing such reductionist theories before offering a counterexample to a recently defended variant on which understanding reduces to what an agent knows.
A thriving project in contemporary epistemology concerns identifying and explicating the epistemic virtues. Although there is little sustained argument for this claim, a number of prominent sources suggest that curiosity is an epistemic virtue. In this paper, I provide an account of the virtue of curiosity. After arguing that virtuous curiosity must be appropriately discerning, timely and exacting, I then situate my account in relation to two broader questions for virtue responsibilists: What sort of motivations are required for epistemic virtue? (...) And do epistemic virtues need to be reliable? I will sketch an account on which curiosity is only virtuous when rooted in a non-instrumental appreciation of epistemic goods, before arguing that curiosity can exhibit intellectual virtue irrespective of whether one is reliable in satisfying it. (shrink)
‘I understand that the world was nothing, a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understand that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink. —An ugly god pitifully dying in a tree.’.
In those twenty or so pages of section xi of Part Two of the Philosophical Investigations in which Wittgenstein discusses the concept of noticing an aspect and its place among the concepts of experience, there are three passages which are explicitly concerned with the relations between seeing and interpreting in the experience of noticing an aspect.
Some argue that Lewisian realism fails as a reduction of modality because in order to meet some criterion of success the account needs to invoke primitive modality. I defend Lewisian realism against this charge; in the process, I hope to shed some light on the conditions of success for a reduction. In §1 I detail the resources the Lewisian modal realist needs. In §2 I argue against Lycan and Shalkowski’s charge that Lewis needs a modal notion of ‘world’ to (...) ensure that worlds correspond to possibilities. In §3 I respond to Divers and Melia’s objection that Lewis needs to invoke primitive modality to give a complete account of what worlds there are. In §4 I ask what it is for a notion to ‘involve’ modality. I conclude that the question is either in bad standing or at best offers little traction on the debate, and propose a different way of assessing when materials are appropriately included in a reductive base. (shrink)
Wisely, the authors begin this book by describing it as a polemic. They argue that most contemporary analytic metaphysics is a waste of time and resources since contemporary ‘neo-scholastic’ metaphysical theorizing cannot hope to attain objective truth given its penchant for making a priori claims about the nature of the world which are backed up by appeal to intuition. In engaging in this activity, metaphysicians have, the authors claim, abandoned hope of locating any interesting connection between their metaphysical pronouncements and (...) how our best empirical theories describe the world. Moreover, the success attained by empirical science just cannot be matched by metaphysical theorizing and so, faced with this asymmetry, empirical science wins: a priori metaphysical theorizing must give way to a naturalistic form of metaphysics, a positive account of which the authors attempt to elucidate in the second and third, rather lengthy chapters of the book.The first chapter consists of a statement of the authors’ negative view, a vigorous, sustained and sometimes withering attack upon contemporary a priori metaphysics. Most ire is reserved for those who indulge in what the authors call ‘pseudo-scientific metaphysics’; that is, those who pay lip service to keeping their metaphysical speculation in tune with physics, only to constrain their ontology in such a way that the entities and processes within it do not even play a role in current physical theory, or are in straightforward contradiction with it. Much philosophy of science and scientific metaphysics is too superficial and simplistic to deserve the name and bears more relation to ‘the philosophy of “A” Level chemistry’. The guilty in this respect include David Lewis, Jaegwon Kim, Jonathan Lowe, Donald Davidson, Jerry Fodor, Crawford Elder, Trenton Merricks among …. (shrink)
In May 1999, David Lewis sent Timothy Williamson an intriguing letter about knowledge and vagueness. This paper has a brief discussion of Lewis on evidence, and a longer discussion of a distinctive theory of vagueness Lewis puts forward in this letter, one rather different from standard forms of supervaluationism. Lewis's theory enables him to provide distinctive responses to the challenges to supervaluationism famously offered in chapter 5 of Timothy Williamson's 1994 book Vagueness. However these responses bring (...) out a number of very surprising features of Lewis's own view. -/- The letter from Lewis itself is available on the blog of The Age of Metaphysical Revolution Project, University of Manchester. (shrink)