This article develops a sociological theory of ambivalence to explain several puzzling and contradictory ethical attitudes of business people: (1) a simultaneous disposition to comparatively more self-interested and more charitable behavior than many other occupational groups and (2) a moderate level of receptiveness to inculcation of moral principles through social channels such as higher education. We test the theory by comparing the way that business students rate the ethical acceptability of various ethically challenging scenarios with the way that criminal justice (...) students rate these same scenarios. We also explore the malleability of ethical views by measuring differences between the responses of sophomores and seniors. The data generally support hypotheses based on a theory of ambivalence. At the same time, however, we also report on findings that suggest alternative explanations to ambivalence. (shrink)
This report by the WHO Consultative Group on Equity and Universal Health Coverage addresses how countries can make fair progress towards the goal of universal coverage. It explains the relevant tradeoffs between different desirable ends and offers guidance on how to make these tradeoffs.
La cobertura universal de salud está en el centro de la acción actual para fortalecer los sistemas de salud y mejorar el nivel y la distribución de la salud y los servicios de salud. Este documento es el informe fi nal del Grupo Consultivo de la OMS sobre la Equidad y Cobertura Universal de Salud. Aquí se abordan los temas clave de la justicia (fairness) y la equidad que surgen en el camino hacia la cobertura universal de salud. Por lo (...) tanto, el informe es pertinente para cada agente que infl uye en ese camino y en particular para los gobiernos, ya que se encargan de supervisar y guiar el progreso hacia la cobertura universal de salud. (shrink)
continent. 2.1 (2012): 40–43. Lance Olsen is a professor of Writing and Literature at the University of Utah, Chair of the FC2 Board of directors, and, most importantly, author or editor of over twenty books of and about innovative literature. He is one of the true champions of prose as a viable contemporary art form. He has just published Architectures of Possibility (written with Trevor Dodge), a book that—as Olsen's works often do—exceeds the usual boundaries of its genre as it (...) explores his interests in narrative theory and pedagogy. The book is a kind of “anti-textbook;” a performative polemic against the stale, conservative and monolithic conception of the literary that so often dominates institutional discourse around creative writing. The following interview takes the occasion of AoP's publication as a chance to speak with Olsen about the book itself as well as to engage with larger, unanswerable, questions about the futures and intersections of literature and education. —Ben Segal INTERVIEW: 1) First, I want to start before the beginning, with the title. I’m really fascinated by the concept it conjures. Can you say something about innovative/experimental/(choose your adjective) literature in relation to both ideas around architecture and possibility? Innovative or experimental are tremendously fraught adjectives, needless to say. But for the purposes of my book, they modify a fiction concerned with the questions: What is fiction? What can it do, and how, and why? Now, of course, what looks “innovative” or “experimental” to one at 17 may not be what looks “innovative” or “experimental” to one at 27 or 57, and what looks “innovative” or “experimental” in 1812 may not be what looks “innovative” or “experimental” in 2012. A certain existential and historical perspectivism is always at work. But I think it’s fair to say that innovative and experimental usually refer to a narrativity that includes a self-reflective awareness of and engagement with theoretical inquiry, concerns, and obsessions, as well as a sense of being in conversation with fiction across space and time. One can't create challenging writing in a vacuum; it has to challenge in relation to something. So contemporary writers interested in the subject are not only in pursuit of the innovative, but are also always-already writing subsequent to it—writing, that is, in its long wake. Architectures of Possibility conceives of creativity as a possibility space, a locale just outside our comfort zones where we can and should take multiple chances in order to imagine in new ways, explore fresh strategies for finding and cultivating ideas, re-view what it is we’re doing and why, better understand what Samuel Beckett meant when he wrote: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” It reminds us that there are other ways of narrating our worlds and ourselves than those we have inherited from the entertainment industry, the government, academia, previous writing, and so on. 2) AoP seems to be directed at several audiences (and purposes) simultaneously. What I mean is that it seems at times a polemic in favor of innovative literature, at other times a creative writing textbook, and still other times a guide to the network of publishers, journals, and programs that make up the current world of non-mainstream literary art in the U.S. In my mind, Architectures is a theorized anti-textbook about writing. Most textbooks on the subject (think of Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft , taught in most creative-writing classroom across the country) orchestrate how to construct conventional stories. They instruct from a place of power how to generate familiar stories that are repeated so often that many of us begin to take them as the primary model for narrativity, if not unconsciously as a kind of truth. The result, as Brian Kiteley points out in 3 A.M. Epiphany (one of the only other alternative textbooks about innovative writing around, by the way, and a tremendous repository of exercises), is merely competent texts. Architectures problematizes that gesture by outlining what conventional narrativity looks like, urging writers to think about its ideology of form as well as content, and invites them to imagine writing, not as a set of relatively stable conventions, but, rather, as a possibility space where everything can and should be thought, tried, challenged. It thereby rhymes with Roland Barthes’s definition of literature: the question minus the answer—which is to say Architectures poses complications to the act of writing rather than solutions. 3) One of the most notable things about the book is the use of interviews. This is also one of the reasons that I think the book works so well for a variety of audiences—that anyone with even a passing interest in the state and future of literature will have an interest in your conversation with people like Ben Marcus, Samuel Delany, and Lydia Davis. I was hoping you could just talk a little about how you chose these subjects to interview, how you edited the interview material, and which answers you received struck you the most. Experimentalism , like realism , wants to appear in the plural. The idea of gathering more than forty interviews (with the help of my awesome collaborator, Trevor Dodge, himself a fine innovative author) represents an attempt to suggest that: the wide, rich, exciting opportunities inherent in the term. There are interviews with younger writers, elder statesmen in the field, publishers, editors, hypermedia artists, comic book makers, and so on: Joe Wenderoth, Carole Maso, Scott McCloud, Nick Montfort, Kathy Acker, et al. Trevor and I decided to do flash interviews: short, concentrated Q&As, each focusing on a particular troubling of writing. We only lightly edited the results to match the manuscript’s overall style, and every interview arrived as a surprise housing several unexpected insights. Three brief examples: Michael Mejia, when asked about what he dreads when setting about writing: “Dread is an interesting word here. I associate it less with loathing or aversion, I suppose, than with a kind of productive fear. Do I dread a project’s failure? Sure, who doesn’t? Who wants to waste time on something that comes to nothing, or is unreadable? But then, what do these terms mean, and who or what defines a work as a ‘failure,’ as ‘waste,’ as ‘unreadable’? Should a work actually try to interrogate and exceed these conceptual limitations? My tendency is to write into dread in order to reveal to myself, as much as to any reader that may come after, the varied complacencies that make other, mostly more conventional writings, readable. It’s at the frontier between readability (security) and unreadability (terror) that I want to live creatively.” Carole Maso, when asked what she’d like a sentence to accomplish: “I think a sentence can if allowed carry emotional and intellectual states as they flee, as they come and go, an escaping essence difficult to hold in other ways. In this way I think the sentence can work as a phrase of music does, sounding something large and elusive in us. Alternatively it can provide sometimes a stability, an essence, a moment of being. Unlike music the sentence also of course carries language with all its potential for meaning making and memory traces and association with it as well. I probably love the accretion of sentences most—those patterns, that shimmer, that resonance.” Shelley Jackson, when asked what is innovative about the innovative: “The purpose of the innovative is, I think, to wake us up. We are not quite alive, most of the time; we occupy a sort of cartoon version of our lives, its lines made smooth by repetition. Writing can open the seams in that world, reintroduce us to the real lives that we have forgotten. Maybe all good writing is innovative in some sense, in that it shows or tells or makes you feel something you never felt before—something for which you have no cartoon ready.” 4) You talk a little about N. Katherine Hayles’s concept of Media Specific Analysis and propose the supplemental notion of Medium Specific Generation—basically taking Hayles and applying her thought from the perspective of the writer. I’ve been trying to develop somewhat related theoretical frameworks, so I was really excited to come upon this section of the book. I’m wondering if you can talk a little more about this idea and, in general, about the potentials that you see as being opened up by writers engaging with and exploiting different media as literary platforms? “Lulled into somnolence by five hundred years of print,” Hayles urges in her (at least for me) transformative 2004 essay, “Print is Flat, Code is Deep,” “literary analysis should awaken to the importance of media-specific analysis, a mode of critical attention which recognizes that all texts are instantiated and that the nature of the medium in which they are instantiated matters.” She goes on to argue critics should learn to become more attuned to the materiality of the medium under investigation—which is to say a story isn’t a story isn’t a story. Rather, the “same” story remediated through film is intrinsically different from that story remediated through conventionally printed books is intrinsically different from that story remediated through hypermedia. “Materiality,” Hayles goes on, “is reconceptualized as the interplay between a text’s physical characteristics and its signifying strategies, a move that entwines instantiation and signification at the outset.” My point in Architectures is simply to emphasize Media Specific Generation: the idea that when writing you should be cognizant, not only of the thematics of the text you are working on, and, as it were, the internal components of its narrativity (character, language, plot, etc.), but also of the material embodiment those components take, and, perhaps more important, the material embodiment those components can take. The idea that the way texts matter matters isn’t something usually addressed in any significant way in creative-writing classrooms and textbooks. It may almost go without saying such experimentation with typography, layout, and white space has a long tradition—certainly one that tracks back at least as far as Guillaume Apollinaire’s early twentieth-century Calligrammes , Laurence Sterne’s textually ribald eighteenth-century Tristram Shandy , although one could arguably plot a hypothetical trajectory that reaches to ancient Greek romances like Achilles Tatius’ second-century Leucippe and Clitophon . Experiments into atomic materiality and digital immateriality bracket the definition of “book” at the same time they highlight Michael Martone’s prediction of its present future as increasingly viral, collaborative, and ephemeral. Or, as Matthew Battles points out: the future of the “book” has already arrived, and it is “ethereal and networked” rather than “an immutable brick.”While conventional writing and reading practices are conceptualized as private, individual, relatively fixed experiences, many of the new forms indicate that writing and reading—from production through dissemination—are rapidly becoming public, collective, incrementally unfixed experiences. That strikes me as an astonishing set of opportunities for a writer to investigate. 5) Another concept you elaborate in AoP is that of limit texts, basically texts that, once you read them, change what you imagine as the shape/horizon/potential of literature. You provide a fantastic reading list of limit texts at the end of AoP. I was hoping you could talk about a few of them in terms of how they specifically operate as limit texts for you—how they expand your understanding of what literature could be or do. Karl Jaspers coined the word Grenzsituationen (border/limit situations) to describe existential moments accompanied by anxiety in which the human mind is forced to confront the restrictions of its existing forms—moments that make us abandon, fleetingly, the securities of our limitedness and enter new realms of self-consciousness. Death, for example. Limit texts are a variety of disturbance that carries various elements of narrativity to their brink so the reader can never quite imagine them in the same terms again. Once you’ve taken one down from the shelf, you’ll never be able to put it back up again. They won’t leave you alone. They will continue to work on your imagination long after you’ve read them. Simply by being in the world, they ask us to embrace difficulty, freedom, radical skepticism. One of the most important for me is Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable . Instead of establishing conventional setting and building traditional character, from its first words it unsettles both: “Where now? Who now? When now?” That first trio of question marks broadcasts the thematics of the writing (“novel” may be too strong a word) that will follow: it is all about a voice (or, perhaps, voices, about the grammatical mistake of the first-person pronoun), a consciousness (maybe, again, too strong a word), often genderless, removed from place and chronology and socioeconomic reality, hovering in a state of perpetual aporia. All it knows is what it doesn’t know, and its not-knowing is blackly, sardonically comic. The Unnamable is the embodiment of an unreliable narrator—a subject position that can’t trust itself, let alone be trusted by a reader. It contradicts, takes back, digresses, undoes what it just did, forgets, lies, hallucinates gloriously. The language is abstract, disembodied, devoid of sensory data, grayish rather than painterly in texture. Without knowing this passage is from a novel, a reader might well conclude s/he were reading a patch of (anti-)Cartesian philosophy. It might be helpful to conceive of what Beckett is doing as post-genre writing, then, or perhaps what Raymond Federman referred to as critifiction—a mode that blurs conventional distinctions between theory and narrative. In completely different register, and much more recently, Anne Carson’s Nox blew me away. It takes the form of an elegy for her older brother, whom she didn’t know well and who died unexpectedly while on the run from the law in Europe. The thing itself arrives in a box that simulates a thick book, as well as the brother’s textual coffin. Open it, and inside you discover, not a codex, but an accordioned series of “pages” that folds out into an arrangement that suggests an ancient scroll (Carson is, perhaps illuminatingly, a professor of classics) made up of shards of her brother’s letters, old photographs, tickets, Carson’s observations, Catullus’ poem 101 (the one addressed to the Roman poet’s dead brother, a doubling of Carson’s situation), and extensive dictionary entries on all the words that compose that poem. The aggregate produces a collage about the impossibilities of aggregates, the impossibilities of understanding fully, of capturing absences in language. At times Nox feels less an example of what most readers consider a book than something closer to a three-dimensional work of assemblage art. It’s a beautiful mechanism for contemplating Media Specific Analysis, for urging us all to be more extreme. 6) Finally, I want to talk a little about pedagogy and institutions. I’m less interested in questions like “Are MFA programs good for writers?” than in questions about how your role as teacher informs your understanding of literature and your writing practice. I’m also very curious about your take on how commercially marginal literary art is largely patronized by large state institutions and at the same time often imagines itself as a critical and even possibly revolutionary practice. How have your own positions within universities and university-affiliated organizations shaped your thinking about them and about innovative literature? I can imagine in many ways it might make you even more critical. And (I know, another ‘and’...) how does AoP (especially given its relation to Rebel Yell , your previous text on creative writing) reflect your personal history and experience as a teacher and member of communities that are largely defined by institutions? In the classroom, I try to generate the pedagogical field I would have liked to have inhabited as a student, but didn’t. Roland Barthes has a lovely line about this: “We need to substitute for the magisterial [classroom] space of the past (the word delivered by the master from the pulpit above with the audience below, the flock, the sheep, the herd)—a less upright, less Euclidean space where no one, neither teacher nor students, would ever be in his final place.” Easier said than done, of course, but an important life project for all who think of themselves as educators. My own classroom, my own writing, and Architectures of Possibility itself attempt to create the sort of possibility space where, as I mentioned at the outset of our interview, everything should be thought, tried, challenged; where everything rhymes with Roland Barthes’s definition of literature: the question minus the answer. I’m not sure I could write what I’m writing now without the conversations I have almost daily with my students, the conversations they have with each other, the conversations we all have with the texts we study. Especially in light of the paradigm shift over the last, say, quarter century from academia as intellectual exploration to academia as McDonaldized trade school, the irony isn’t lost on me concerning the discrepancy between the safe harbor innovative authors find there and the cultural critiques those authors launch through their writing and pedagogical work. In 2001, I quit my full professorship at one institution precisely because of my disappointment over what had happened to the learning environment there. I had no intentions of reentering the field. In 2007, however, the University of Utah approached me, and I found myself in an environment much more hospitable to the sort of work I want to do—teaching experimental narrative theory and practice. It isn’t by any means a simple irony. One could easily argue innovative writing and pedagogy represents the trace of the paradigm Barthes suggests, and that trace is tremendously productive in all kinds of ways. Innovative writing has never and will never change the world in any large, macrocosmic way. But we’ve all had our lives changed, one by one, by an encounter with a difficult, rich, resonant piece of prose, poetry, music, art, you name it. We’ve all had our lives changed at the ahistorical, microcosmic moment by a class we’ve taken, a teacher we’ve studied with, to such an extent that we became, quite literally, different people. I just came across a stunning set of sentences from Derrida on the topic: “What is education? The death of the parents.” That’s what we’re all up to in the innovative, be it in written texts or the texts we call our classrooms or the texts we call our politics: trying to disrupt what both can and can’t be disrupted, trying to undo what both can and can’t be undone, continuously. (shrink)
.As editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard in the early 1840s, Lydia Maria Child was responsible for keeping the abolitionist movement in the United States informed of relevant news. She also used her editorial position to philosophize. Her column entitled “Letters from New York” is particularly philosophical, including considerations of infinity, free will, time, nature, art, and history. She especially turned to German philosophers and intellectuals such as Kant, Schiller, Bettina von Arnim, Karoline von Günderrode, Jean Paul, Herder, and (...) Hegel in an attempt to guide her readers to a rejection of slavery for the right philosophical reasons. I consider the influence of German philosophy on three particular themes in her writings: a Romantic-Spinozistic view of humans and nature; a Kantian conception of conscience; and a Hegelian description of the philosophy of history. (shrink)
Current textbooks in formal semantics are all versions of, or introductions to, the same paradigm in semantic theory: Montague Grammar. Knowledge of Meaning is based on different assumptions and a different history. It provides the only introduction to truth- theoretic semantics for natural languages, fully integrating semantic theory into the modern Chomskyan program in linguistic theory and connecting linguistic semantics to research elsewhere in cognitive psychology and philosophy. As such, it better fits into a modern graduate or undergraduate program in (...) linguistics, cognitive science, or philosophy. Furthermore, since the technical tools it employs are much simpler to teach and to master, Knowledge of Meaning can be taught by someone who is not primarily a semanticist. Linguistic semantics cannot be studied as a stand-alone subject but only as part of cognitive psychology, the authors assert. It is the study of a particular human cognitive competence governing the meanings of words and phrases. Larson and Segal argue that speakers have unconscious knowledge of the semantic rules of their language, and they present concrete, empirically motivated proposals about a formal theory of this competence based on the work of Alfred Tarski and Donald Davidson. The theory is extended to a wide range of constructions occurring in natural language, including predicates, proper nouns, pronouns and demonstratives, quantifiers, definite descriptions, anaphoric expressions, clausal complements, and adverbs. Knowledge of Meaning gives equal weight to philosophical, empirical, and formal discussions. It addresses not only the empirical issues of linguistic semantics but also its fundamental conceptual questions, including the relation of truth to meaning and the methodology of semantic theorizing. Numerous exercises are included in the book. (shrink)
What is the difference between a performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and the symphony itself? What does it mean for musicians to be faithful to the works they perform? To answer this question, Goehr combines philosophical and historical methods of enquiry. She describes how the concept of a musical work emerged as late as 1800, and how it subsequently defined the norms, expectations, and behavior characteristic of classical musical practice. Out of the historical thesis, Goehr draws philosophical conclusions about the (...) normative functions of concepts and ideals. She also addresses current debates amongst conductors, early-music performers, and avant-gardists. (shrink)
What is the origin of the concept of a law of nature? How much does it owe to theology and metaphysics? To what extent do the laws of nature permit contingency? Are there exceptions to the laws of nature? Is it possible to give a reductive analysis of lawhood, or is it a primitive? -/- Twelve brand-new essays by an international team of leading philosophers take up these and other central questions on the laws of nature, whilst also examining some (...) of the most important intuitions and assumptions that have guided the debate over laws of nature since the concept's invention in the seventeenth century. -/- Laws of Nature spans the history of philosophy and of science, contemporary metaphysics, and contemporary philosophy of science. Contents: 1. Intuitions and Assumptions in the Debate over Laws of Nature, Walter Ott and Lydia Patton 2. Early Modern Roots of the Philosophical Concept of a Law of Nature, Helen Hattab 3. Laws of Nature and the Divine Order of Things: Descartes and Newton on Truth in Natural Philosophy, Mary Domski 4. Leges sive natura: Bacon, Spinoza, and a Forgotten Concept of Law, Walter Ott 5. Laws and Powers in the Frame of Nature, Stathis Psillos 6. Laws and Ideal Unity, Angela Breitenbach 7. Becoming Humean, John W. Carroll 8. A Perspectivalist Better Best System Account of Lawhood, Michela Massimi 9. Laws: An Invariance Based Account, James Woodward 10. How the Explanations of Natural Laws Make Some Reducible Physical Properties Natural and Explanatorily Powerful, Marc Lange 11. Laws and their Exceptions, Stephen Mumford 12. Are laws of nature consistent with contingency?, Nancy Cartwright and Pedro Merlussi. (shrink)
This essay interrogates the motives of eighteenth-century European naturalists to alternately show and hide their laboring-class fossil suppliers. Focusing on rare moments of heightened visibility, I ask why gentlemen naturalists occasionally, deliberately, and even performatively made visible the marginalized science workers on whom they crucially depended but more typically ignored or effaced. Comparing archival fragments from elite works of natural history across a considerable stretch of time and space, including Italy, France, Switzerland, Britain, Ireland, Germany, Spain, and French, Spanish, and (...) British America, this essay sketches the contours of a disparate group of people I term ‘earth workers’: laborers of very low social rank, such as quarrymen, shepherds, ditch-diggers, and fieldworkers, whose daily labor in and on the earth enabled the discovery of subterranean specimens. At the same time, archival traces of laboring lives ultimately reveal more about the naturalists who created them than they do about the marginalized laborers whose lives they faintly record. Cultural norms of elite masculinity and scholarly self-presentation in the Republic of Letters help us to understand why some eighteenth-century naturalists felt they had to publicly disavow a form of labor that would come to be recognized as a crucial and skilled part of scientific fieldwork in the modern era. Compared to other kinds of invisible labor that historians of science have brought into view, the social meaning of earth work rendered it uniquely visible in some ways and uniquely invisible in others. (shrink)
This book offers a radical reappraisal of the nature and significance of Wittgenstein’s thought about ethics from a variety of different perspectives. The book includes essays on Wittgenstein’s early remarks on ethics in the _Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,_ on his 1929 "Lecture on Ethics", and on various aspects of Wittgenstein’s later views on ethics in the _Philosophical Investigations_ and elsewhere. Together, the essays in this volume provide a comprehensive assessment of Wittgenstein’s moral thought throughout his work, its continuity and development between his (...) early and later work, and its connections with other aspects of his thought. Featuring fourteen original contributions written by internationally renowned Wittgenstein scholars, _Wittgenstein’s Moral Thought _opens up a new understanding of ethics that diverges from prevailing views prominent in contemporary discussions of the subject. (shrink)
Aspect-seeing, I claim, involves reflection on concepts. It involves letting oneself feel how it would be like to conceptualize something with a certain concept, without committing oneself to this conceptualization. I distinguish between two kinds of aspect-perception: -/- 1. Preparatory: allows us to develop, criticize, and shape concepts. It involves bringing a concept to an object for the purpose of examining what would be the best way to conceptualize it. -/- 2. Non-Preparatory: allows us to express the ingraspability of certain (...) experiences. It involves bringing a concept to an object for the purpose of showing—per impossible—what it would take to properly capture one’s experience. -/- I demonstrate the usefulness of the two kinds of aspect perception in making conceptual judgments, and in making moral and aesthetic judgments. (shrink)
This article characterizes aspect-perception as a distinct form of judgment in Kant's sense: a distinct way in which the mind contacts world and applies concepts. First, aspect-perception involves a mode of thinking about things apart from any established routine of conceptualizing them. It is thus a form of concept application that is essentially reflection about language. Second, this mode of reflection has an experiential, sometimes perceptual, element: in aspect-perception, that is, we experience meanings—bodies of norms. Third, aspect-perception can be “preparatory”: (...) it may help us to decide what linguistic norms to develop and how to conceptualize—make the world thinkable. Fourth, the article discusses the forms of justification for which aspect-perception allows—the necessity and normativity involved in employing this form of judgment. (shrink)
Hermann von Helmholtz allows for not only physiological facts and psychological inferences, but also perspectival reasoning, to influence perceptual experience and knowledge gained from perception. But Helmholtz also defends a version of the view according to which there can be a kind of “perspectival truth” revealed in scientific research and investigation. Helmholtz argues that the relationships between subjective and objective, real and actual, actual and illusory, must be analyzed scientifically, within experience. There is no standpoint outside experience from which we (...) can reason, no extra-sensory knowledge of the constitution of the “ideal subject” or of the properties of “real objects.” In the tradition of psychophysics inherited by Helmholtz, we can arrive at a kind of perspectival analysis of perceptual experience, which embeds an account of that experience within the context of the history and situation of the perceiving subject. That analysis is relative to the perceiving subject, but the perspectival explanations Helmholtz constructs are not thereby relativist: in fact, for Helmholtz, the more squarely the perceiving subject is placed in a scientific, perspectival context, the more facts we are able to learn about her experience and the objects with which she interacts. (shrink)
We discuss the challenge to truth-conditional semantics presented by apparent shifts in extension of predicates such as ‘red’. We propose an explicit indexical semantics for ‘red’ and argue that our account is preferable to the alternatives on conceptual and empirical grounds.
The Marburg neo-Kantians argue that Hermann von Helmholtz's empiricist account of the a priori does not account for certain knowledge, since it is based on a psychological phenomenon, trust in the regularities of nature. They argue that Helmholtz's account raises the 'problem of validity' (Gueltigkeitsproblem): how to establish a warranted claim that observed regularities are based on actual relations. I reconstruct Heinrich Hertz's and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Bild theoretic answer to the problem of validity: that scientists and philosophers can depict the (...) necessary a priori constraints on states of affairs in a given system, and can establish whether these relations are actual relations in nature. The analysis of necessity within a system is a lasting contribution of the Bild theory. However, Hertz and Wittgenstein argue that the logical and mathematical sentences of a Bild are rules, tools for constructing relations, and the rules themselves are meaningless outside the theory. Carnap revises the argument for validity by attempting to give semantic rules for translation between frameworks. Russell and Quine object that pragmatics better accounts for the role of a priori reasoning in translating between frameworks. The conclusion of the tale, then, is a partial vindication of Helmholtz's original account. (shrink)
Donald Davidson is, arguably, the most important philosopher of mind and language in recent decades. His articulation of the position he called "anomalous monism" and his ideas for unifying the general theory of linguistic meaning with semantics for natural language both set new agendas in the field. _Interpreting Davidson_ collects original essays on his work by some of his leading contemporaries, with Davidson himself contributing a reply to each and an original paper of his own.
This is a community based research project using a case study of 20 people living in middle America who are food insecure, but do not use food pantries. The participants’ rate of actual hunger is twice that of food insecure community members who use food pantries. Since most of the participants are not poor, the Asset Vulnerability Framework is used to classify causes of food insecurity. The purpose of the study is to identify why participants are food insecure and why (...) they do not use food pantries. Findings reveal that the participants restrict the quality and quantity of food eaten as a strategy to manage their budget. Following AVF, this strategy allows them to offset lower returns to labor assets, cover rising costs of human capital investment, protect their two most important productive assets of housing and transportation, and compensate for household relationships that increase their vulnerability. In addition, food insecurity itself inhibited social capital formation, further increasing vulnerability. The main reasons the participants do not use food pantries is to protect their social capital assets: almost all of the participants hid their hunger from colleagues, friends, relatives, and even the people they lived with. The participants described fear of societal shaming and blaming as motivations for hiding their hunger. However, using food pantries could reduce their food insecurity. Therefore, there was a feedback loop between food insecurity and social capital: food insecurity reduced social capital and efforts to protect social capital prevented participants from improving food security by using food pantries. (shrink)
In this paper we present a theoretical hybrid framework for ethical decision making, drawing upon Emmanuel Levinas’ view on ethics as “first philosophy”, as an inherent infinite responsibility for the other. The pivotal concept in this framework is an appeal to a heightened sense of personal responsibility of the moral actor to provide the ethical context within which conventional approaches to applied business ethics could be engaged. Max Weber’s method of reconciling absolutism and relativism in ethical decision making is adopted (...) to provide the synergy between personal responsibility and contextual realities, forging a coherent framework. The paper concludes by discussing ways that business could make way for the flourishing of ethics of responsibility in individuals. (shrink)
A focus on the conjunction of the contents of witness reports and on the coherence of their contents has had negative effects on the epistemic clarity of the Bayesian coherence literature. Whether or not increased coherence of witness reports is correlated with higher confirmation for some H depends upon the hypothesis in question and upon factors concerning the confirmation and independence of the reports, not directly on the positive relevance of the contents to each other. I suggest that Bayesians should (...) shift focus to “coherence for” an hypothesis – that is, to the definition and analysis of cumulative case arguments in which a body of evidence supports some hypothesis that is not restricted to the conjunction of the contents of reports. Such a shift of focus will be valuable for approaching issues such as the problem of the external world which have interested Bayesian coherentists all along. (shrink)
The conception of a ‘law of nature’ is a human product. It was created to play a role in natural philosophy, in the Cartesian tradition. In light of this, philosophers and scientists must sort out what they mean by a law of nature before evaluating rival theories and approaches. If one’s conception of the laws of nature is yoked to metaphysical notions of truth and explanation, that connection must be made explicit and defended. If, on the other hand, one’s aim (...) is to disentangle laws from truth or from explanation, that must be stated and defended as well. If philosophers do not make such assumptions, intuitions, and methodological commitments clear, then it will be impossible to identify the source of disagreement in debates about the laws of nature. Are the conflicts rooted in disagreement about the conclusions reached, or do the background commitments of the combatants block any resolution to the dispute in principle or in practice? (shrink)
Adam of Wodeham and William of Ockham ascribe different properties to intuitive apprehensions. The properties that Wodeham ascribes to intuitive cognitions concur with his reading of one of the four scenarios that Ockham proposes in order to test the idea that an intuitive apprehension serves as an epistemic warrant. In this article, I explain that Wodeham avoids skepticism through his account of intuitive cognitions; even though, like Ockham, he accepts that God can cause us to undergo various sorts of mental (...) acts in virtue of which we could believe that something exists when really it does not exist. (shrink)
Moti Mizrahi has argued that Thomas Kuhn does not have a good argument for the incommensurability of successive scientific paradigms. With Rouse, Andersen, and others, I defend a view on which Kuhn primarily was trying to explain scientific practice in Structure. Kuhn, like Hilary Putnam, incorporated sociological and psychological methods into his history of science. On Kuhn’s account, the education and initiation of scientists into a research tradition is a key element in scientific training and in his explanation of incommensurability (...) between research paradigms. The first part of this paper will explain and defend my reading of Kuhn. The second part will probe the extent to which Kuhn’s account can be supported, and the extent to which it rests on shaky premises. That investigation will center on Moti Mizrahi’s project, which aims to transform the Kuhnian account of science and of its history. While I do defend a modified kind of incommensurability, I agree that the strongest version of Kuhn’s account is steadfastly local and focused on the practice of science. (shrink)
In the growing Prussian university system of the early nineteenth century, "Wissenschaft" (science) was seen as an endeavor common to university faculties, characterized by a rigorous methodology. On this view, history and jurisprudence are sciences, as much as is physics. Nineteenth century trends challenged this view: the increasing influence of materialist and positivist philosophies, profound changes in the relationships between university faculties, and the defense of Kant's classification of the sciences by neo-Kantians. Wilhelm Dilthey's defense of the independence of the (...) methodology of the human sciences (Geisteswissenschaften) from those of the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) is as much a return to the ideal of Wissenschaft as a cooperative endeavor as it is a defense of the autonomy of interpretive or hermeneutic methods. The debate between Dilthey and the neo-Kantian Wilhelm Windelband at the close of the century illuminates the development of this dialogue over the nineteenth century. (shrink)
The scenario is all too common: the elderly woman with end-stage dementia readmitted to the hospital for the fourth time in three months for anorexia, now static cancer progressing despite all proven chemotherapy now pursuing a toxic experimental treatment, or the patient with a rampant infection leading to multiple organ failure who requires machines, medications, and devices to filter the blood, pump the heart, exchange oxygen, facilitate clotting, and provide nutrition. Modern medical science is adept at sustaining life. The field (...) of bioethics has, since its earliest days, debated end-of-life issues; yet American society more broadly remains ill equipped for the experience of dying. This can be .. (shrink)
The most extensive descriptions of Gog and Magog in the Hebrew Bible appear in Ezekiel 38–39. At various stages of their political career, both Reagan and Bush have linked Gog and Magog to the bêtes noires of the USA, identifying them either as the ‘communistic and atheistic’ Russia or the ‘evil’ Iraq. Biblical scholars, however, seek to contextualise Gog of Magog in the historical literary setting of the ancient Israelites. Galambush identifies Gog in Ezekiel as a cipher for Nebuchadnezzar, the (...) Babylonian king, who acted as Judah’s oppressor in the 6th century BCE. More recently, Klein concludes that Gog, along with his companions, is ‘eine Personifikation aller Feinde, die Israel im Buch Ezechiel gegenüberstehen’. Despite their differences in detail, these scholars, such as Reagan and Bush, work with a dualism that considers only the features of Judah’s enemies incorporated into Gog’s characteristics. Via an analysis of the semantic allusions, literary position and early receptions of Ezekiel 38–39, this article argues that Gog and his entourage primarily display literary attributes previously assigned to Judah’s political allies. (shrink)
I argue that the typical Wittgensteinian method of philosophical investigation cannot help elucidate the grammar of aspect-seeing. In the typical Wittgensteinian method, we examine meaning in use: We practice language, and note the logical ramifications. I argue that the effectiveness of this method is hindered in the case of aspect-seeing by the fact that aspect-seeing involves an aberrant activity of seeing: Whereas it is normally nonsense to say that we choose what to see (decide to see the White House red, (...) for instance), it is possible to see aspects at will—e.g. to decide to see Jastrow’s duck-rabbit as a duck. I suggest an alternative method of investigation, one that reflects on language from a disengaged standpoint: a method that allows us to entertain a form of conceptualization of an object but does not commit us to adopting that way—namely, that does not involve us in a use of the object according to the norms that govern that conceptualization. This method, I argue, fits the s ubject matter of aspect-perception, since aspect-perception itself involves such a disengaged form of reflection. (shrink)
This qualitative study examines the relevance of self-determination theory to explain retention and attrition in community supported agriculture (CSA). Using a focus group study of CSA members, we examined whether belonging to a CSA supports basic psychological needs for autonomy, competency and relatedness. We found that it did for continuing members. However, for those who did not renew, membership reduced their sense of autonomy, competency, and relatedness. For continuing members, the intensity of their involvement did not affect their needs satisfaction, (...) though it did influence how those needs were met. Continuing CSA members were also intrinsically motivated and internalized extrinsic motivations. (shrink)
In ethics, Wittgenstein, early and late, emphasized changes of attitude over questions about how to act. He once told his friend Rhees: “One of my sister’s characteristics is that whenever she hears of something awful that has happened, her impulse is to ask what one can do about it, what she can do to help or remedy. This is a tendency in her of which I disapprove.” Instead, he says elsewhere: “If life becomes hard to bear we think of improvements. (...) But the most important & effective improvement, in our own attitude, hardly occurs to us […].” Such attitudinal changes involve a kind of clarity of thought for Wittgenstein, and his understanding of them can be explained in part by reference to his later discussion about aspect-perception. Moral problems can disappear in a way that resembles the disappearance of the rabbit-aspect of when the duck-aspect dawns. I compare moral clarification to logical-philosophical clarification. Both cases involve propositions that say nothing, but rather shed light on what other propositions say—tautologies, grammatical remarks, and philosophical elucidations on the one hand, clarificatory moral remarks like ‘think of her as someone’s daughter’ on the other. I argue that this gives a practical edge to Wittgenstein’s moral thought, a tool with which to think through moral difficulties. (shrink)
Since the terms of the health policy debate in the United States and Canada are largely supplied by biomedicine, the current “crisis” in health care is, in part, a product of biomedical rhetoric. In this essay, three metaphors widely identified as being associated with biomedicine—the body is a machine, medicine is war,and medicine is a business—are examined with a view to the ways in which they influence the health policy debate, not only with respect to outcomes, but also with respect (...) to what can be argued at all. The essay proposes that biomedical language itself be foregrounded as the constitutive material of public discourse on health policy. (shrink)
The value of varied evidence, I propose, lies in the fact that more varied evidence is less coherent on the assumption of the negation of the hypothesis under consideration than less varied evidence. I contrast my own analysis with several other Bayesian analyses of the value of evidential diversity and show how my account explains cases where it seems intuitively that evidential variety is valuable for confirmation.
In my dissertation, I present Hermann Cohen's foundation for the history and philosophy of science. My investigation begins with Cohen's formulation of a neo-Kantian epistemology. I analyze Cohen's early work, especially his contributions to 19th century debates about the theory of knowledge. I conclude by examining Cohen's mature theory of science in two works, The Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History of 1883, and Cohen's extensive 1914 Introduction to Friedrich Lange's History of Materialism. In the former, Cohen gives (...) an historical and philosophical analysis of the foundations of the infinitesimal method in mathematics. In the latter, Cohen presents a detailed account of Heinrich Hertz's Principles of Mechanics of 1894. Hertz considers a series of possible foundations for mechanics, in the interest of finding a secure conceptual basis for mechanical theories. Cohen argues that Hertz's analysis can be completed, and his goal achieved, by means of a philosophical examination of the role of mathematical principles and fundamental concepts in scientific theories. (shrink)