Illusions are thought to make trouble for the intuition that perceptual experience is "open" to the world. Some have suggested, in response to the this trouble, that illusions differ from veridical experience in the degree to which their character is determined by their engagement with the world. An understanding of the psychology of perception reveals that this is not the case: veridical and falsidical perceptions engage the world in the same way and to the same extent. While some contemporary vision (...) scientists propose to draw the distinction between veridical experience and illusion in terms of the satisfaction or non-satisfaction of “hidden assumptions” deployed in the course of normal perceptual inference, I argue for a different approach. I contend that there are, in a sense, no illusions – illusions are as “open” as veridical experiences. Percepts lack the kinds of intentional content that would be needed for perceptual misrepresntation. My view gives a satisfying solution to a philosophical problem for disjunctivism about the good case/bad case distinction: with respect to illusions, every "bad case" of seeing an X can be equally well construed as a "good case" of seeing some Y (different from X). -/- . (shrink)
The contributors to two new anthologies A Mind of One's Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity and Feminist Epistemologies are philosophers for whom feminism is an intellectual as well as political commitment and they produce original, valuable feminist and philosophical work. I focus on differences between the anthologies and on two themes: the social character of knowledge and the allegedly oppressive "masculinism" of epistemological ideals.
A book of tremendous influence when it first appeared, A Mind of One's Own reminded readers that the tradition of Western philosophy-- in particular, the ideals of reason and objectivity-- has come down to us from white males, nearly all of whom are demonstrably sexist, even misogynist. In this second edition, the original authors continue to ask, What are the implications of this fact for contemporary feminists working within this tradition? The second edition pursues this question about the value of (...) reason and objectivity in new directions using the fresh perspectives and diverse viewpoints of the new generation of feminist philosophers. A Mind of One's Own is essential reading and an essential reference for philosophers and for all scholars and students concerned about the nature of knowledge and our pursuit of it. (shrink)
Concern about two problems runs through the work of davidson: the problem of accounting for the "explanatory force" of rational explanations, and the problem posed for materialism by the apparent anomalousness of psychological events. davidson believes that his view of mental causation, imbedded in his theory of "anomalous monism," can provide satisfactory answers to both questions. however, it is argued in this paper that davidson's program contains a fundamental inconsistency; that his metaphysics, while grounding the doctrine of anomalous monism, makes (...) impossible a successful response to the problem of explanatory force in terms of a causal theory of action. (shrink)
Atheists are frequently demonized as arrogant intellectuals, antagonistic to religion, devoid of moral sentiments, advocates of an "anything goes" lifestyle. Now, in this revealing volume, nineteen leading philosophers open a window on the inner life of atheism, shattering these common stereotypes as they reveal how they came to turn away from religious belief. These highly engaging personal essays capture the marvelous diversity to be found among atheists, providing a portrait that will surprise most readers. Many of the authors, for example, (...) express great affection for particular religious traditions, even as they explain why they cannot, in good conscience, embrace them. None of the contributors dismiss religious belief as stupid or primitive, and several even express regret that they cannot, or can no longer, believe. Perhaps more important, in these reflective pieces, they offer fresh insight into some of the oldest and most difficult problems facing the human mind and spirit. For instance, if God is dead, is everything permitted? Philosophers without Gods demonstrates convincingly, with arguments that date back to Plato, that morality is independent of the existence of God. Indeed, every writer in this volume adamantly affirms the objectivity of right and wrong. Moreover, they contend that secular life can provide rewards as great and as rich as religious life. A naturalistic understanding of the human condition presents a set of challenges--to pursue our goals without illusions, to act morally without hope of reward--challenges that can impart a lasting value to finite and fragile human lives. Collectively, these essays highlight the richness of atheistic belief--not only as a valid alternative to religion, but as a profoundly fulfilling and moral way of life. -/- "This Atheists R Us compilation differs markedly in tone from Hitchens and Dawkins. Excellent fare for Christian small groups whose members are genuinely interested in the arguments raised by atheists." --Christianity Today -/- "Readable, personal, and provocative.... Contrary to the popular image, atheism isn't all rebellious trumpets and defiant drums.... Here we have all the varieties of unreligious experience, a full symphony of unbelief." --Free Inquiry -/- "Compelling and sophisticated arguments that religious people ought to confront." --Tikkun. (shrink)
Is Goodness Without God Good Enough contains a lively debate between William Lane Craig and Paul Kurtz on the relationship between God and ethics, followed by seven new essays that both comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of this important issue. Written in an accessible style by eminent scholars, this book will appeal to students and academics alike.
The article presents a critique of John Searle's attack on computationalist theories of mind in his recent book, The Rediscovery of the Mind. Searle is guilty of caricaturing his opponents, and of ignoring their arguments. Moreover, his own positive theory of mind, which he claims "takes account of" subjectivity, turns out to offer no discernible advantages over the views he rejects.
I understand feminist epistemology to be epistemology put at the service of feminist politics. That is, a feminist epistemology is dedicated to answering the many questions about knowledge that arise in the course of feminist efforts to understand and transform patriarchal structures, questions such as: Why have so many intellectual traditions denigrated the cognitive capacities of women? Are there gender differences in epistemic capacities or strategies, and what would be the implications for epistemology if there were? I argue here that (...) such questions situate feminist epistemology much more in mainstream epistemological discussion than probably most feminists would admit, finding that, at least for issues in these areas, the naturalistic approach to the study of knowledge advocated by W. V. Quine has been extremely useful. (shrink)
In ”Embodiment and Epistemology,” Louise Antony considers a kind of ”Cartesian epistemology” according to which, so far as knowing goes, knowers could be completely disembodied, that is, pure Cartesian egos. Antony examines a number of recent challenges to Cartesian epistemology, particularly challenges from feminist epistemology. She contends that we might have good reason to think that theorizing about knowledge can be influenced by features of our embodiment, even if we lack reason to suppose that knowing itself varies relative to such (...) features. She also argues that a masculinist bias can result in mishandling of cognitive differences in cases where they actually exist and she examines a number of the ways in which the maleness of philosophy has, according to feminists, distorted epistemology. Even if a Cartesian approach offers one indispensable part of a comprehensive epistemology, according to Antony, we still need an epistemology that answers questions raised by our everyday, embodied lives. (shrink)
I analyze and criticize Naomi Scheman's argument for the claim that psychological individualism-the thesis that psychological states are entities or particulars over which psychological theories may quantify-has no legitimate philosophical backing and is instead an element of patriarchal ideology. I conclude that Scheman's argument is flawed and that her thesis is false. Psychological individualism is perfectly compatible with and may even be required by feminist political theory.
: Feminism is an antiauthoritarian movement that has sought to unmask many traditional "authorities" as ungrounded. Given this, it might seem as if feminists are required to abandon the concept of authority altogether. But, we argue, the exercise of authority enables us to coordinate our efforts to achieve larger social goods and, hence, should be preserved. Instead, what is needed and what we provide for here is a way to distinguish legitimate authority from objectionable authoritarianism.