What is intellectual humility? In this essay, we aim to answer this question by assessing several contemporary accounts of intellectual humility, developing our own account, offering two reasons for our account, and meeting two objections and solving one puzzle.
The problem of foreknowledge and freedom presents a challenge to the defender of traditional Western theism. Nelson Pike has argued that the existence of an essentially omniscient God who possesses foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom. Pike's opponents in this matter, among whom is Alvin Plantinga, argue that no incompatibility has yet been shown. I shall develop the view that neither Pike nor his opponents have conclusively settled the question whether foreknowledge and freedom are compatible. Furthermore there is a reason (...) why the issue has not been, and may never be, conclusively settled: it is an inherently paradoxical issue. To aid in demonstrating this point I shall discuss a modified version of a paradox that has come to be known as Newcomb's Problem. (shrink)
The Aristotelian dictum that desire is the starting point of practical reasoning that ends in action can of course be denied. Its denial is a commonplace of moral theory in the tradition of Kant. But in this essay I am concerned with that issue only indirectly. I shall not contend that rational action always or necessarily does involve desire as its starting point; nor shall I deny it. My question concerns instead the possibility of its ever beginning in desire. For (...) there is a question whether it is even possible for reasoning to begin in desire, a question arising from the nature of desire and its objects, which to my knowledge has not been articulated. If we can see how desire can provide the arche of action, then we can consider later, and from that vantage point, whether it is necessary that it should do so. It will, I think, be possible eventually to argue that if practical reasoning has the character it must have, if it can begin in desire, then its starting point can be nothing but desire. (shrink)
This paper extends several themes from recent work on norms of assertion. It does as much by applying those themes to the speech act of asking. In particular, it argues for the view that there is a species of asking which is governed by a certain norm, a norm to the effect that one should ask a question only if one doesn’t know its answer.
This paper explores the nature of curiosity from an epistemological point of view. First it motivates this exploration by explaining why epistemologists do and should care about what curiosity is. Then it surveys the relevant literature and develops a particular approach.
In a world of limited resources, competition between the young and old prompt difficult questions of justice. In countries with public pension and health care systems, or with aging populations, there is often a concern that members of different generations are not always treated fairly. Dennis McKerlie's monograph examines justice between age-groups with the ultimate goal of a new theory of justice that effectively grapples with those questions. In the realm of public policy and medical ethics this is an (...) important and timely topic, but surprisingly one that has received relatively little attention from moral philosophers. McKerlie develops a comprehensive view of fairness between age groups that applies the egalitarian values of equality, or priority for the badly off, to temporal parts of lives -- not just to complete lives. (shrink)
Are public officials morally justified in threatening violence, engaging in deception, or forcing citizens to act for their own good? Can individual officials be held morally accountable for the wrongs that governments commit? Dennis Thompson addresses these questions by developing a conception of political ethics that respects the demands of both morality and politics. He criticizes conventional conceptions for failing to appreciate the difference democracy makes, and for ascribing responsibility only to isolated leaders or to impersonal organizations. His book (...) seeks to recapture the sense that men and women, acting for us and together with us in a democratic process, make the moral choices that govern our public life. Thompson surveys ethical conflicts of public officials over a range of political issues, including nuclear deterrence, foreign intervention, undercover investigation, bureaucratic negligence, campaign finance, the privacy of officials, health care, welfare paternalism, drug and safety regulation, and social experimentation. He views these conflicts from the perspectives of many different kinds of public officials - elected and appointed executives at several levels of government, administrators, judges, legislators, governmental advisers, and even doctors, lawyers, social workers, and journalists whose professional roles often thrust them into public life. In clarifying the ethical problems faced by officials, Thompson combines theoretical analysis with practical prescription, and begins to define a field of inquiry for which many have said there is a need but to which few have yet contributed. Philosophers, political scientists, policy analysts, sociologists, lawyers, and other professionals interested in ethics in government will gain insight from this book. (shrink)
This article details the personal involvement of the author in the early stages of the infamous Pinto fire case. The paper first presents an insider account of the context and decision environment within which he failed to initiate an early recall of defective vehicles. A cognitive script analysis of the personal experience is then offered as an explanation of factors that led to a decision that now is commonly seen as a definitive study in unethical corporate behavior. The main analytical (...) thesis is that script schemas that were guiding cognition and action at the time precluded consideration of issues in ethical terms because the scripts did not include ethical dimensions. (shrink)
Modern scholarship has drawn hasty and numerous parallels between the Yellow Peril discourses of the 19th- and 20th-century plagues and the recent racialization of infectious disease in the 21st-century. While highlighting these similarities is politically useful against Sinophobic epidemic narratives, Michel Foucault argues that truly understanding the past’s continuity in the present requires a more rigorous genealogical approach. Employing this premise in a comparative analysis, this work demonstrates a critical discontinuity in the epidemic imaginary that framed the Chinese as pathogenic. (...) Consequently, those seeking to prevent future disease racialization must understand modern Sinophobia as fundamentally distinct from that of the past. (shrink)
This book contains selected papers from the First International Conference on the Ontology of Spacetime. Its fourteen chapters address two main questions: first, what is the current status of the substantivalism/relationalism debate, and second, what about the prospects of presentism and becoming within present-day physics and its philosophy? The overall tenor of the four chapters of the book’s first part is that the prospects of spacetime substantivalism are bleak, although different possible positions remain with respect to the ontological status of (...) spacetime. Part II and Part III of the book are devoted to presentism, eternalism, and becoming, from two different perspectives. In the six chapters of Part II it is argued, in different ways, that relativity theory does not have essential consequences for these issues. It certainly is true that the structure of time is different, according to relativity theory, from the one in classical theory. But that does not mean that a decision is forced between presentism and eternalism, or that becoming has proved to be an impossible concept. It may even be asked whether presentism and eternalism really offer different ontological perspectives at all. The writers of the last four chapters, in Part III, disagree. They argue that relativity theory is incompatible with becoming and presentism. Several of them come up with proposals to go beyond relativity, in order to restore the prospects of presentism. · Space and time in present-day physics and philosophy · Relatively low level of technicality, easily accessible · Introduction from scratch of the debates surrounding time · Top authors explaining their positions · Broad spectrum of approaches, coherently represented. (shrink)
I’m going to argue that omniscience is impossible and therefore that there is no God. The argument turns on the notion of grounding. After illustrating and clarifying that notion, I’ll start the argument in earnest. The first step will be to lay out five claims, one of which is the claim that there is an omniscient being, and the other four of which are claims about grounding. I’ll prove that these five claims are jointly inconsistent. Then I’ll argue for the (...) truth of each of them except the claim that there is an omniscient being. From these arguments it follows that there are no omniscient beings and thus that there is no God. (shrink)
Classic studies of explanation, such as those of Hempel and Bromberger, took it for granted that an explanation-seeking question of the form "Why P?" should be understood as asking about the proposition P. This view has been recently challenged by Bas van Fraassen and Alan Garfinkel. They acknowledge that some questions have the surface form "Why P?", but they hold that a correct reading for why-questions should take the form "Why P (rather than Q)?", where Q is a contrasting alternative. (...) This contrast theory is discussed here. It is argued that, properly understood, the contrast theory and the propositional approach can and should give equivalent readings to why-questions. (shrink)
In this chapter, I show that there is at least one crucial, non-short, argument, which does not involve arguments about spatiotemporality, why Kant’s subjectivism about the possibility of knowledge, argued in the Transcendental Deduction, must lead to idealism. This has to do with the fact that given the implications of the discursivity thesis, namely, that the domain of possible determination of objects is characterised by limitation, judgements of experience can never reach the completely determined individual, i.e. the thing in itself (...) or the unlimited real, but only objects as objects of possible experience. As such, it can be shown by reference to a key argument from Kant, that Hegel’s famous criticism that Kant is not licensed, on the basis of his core arguments concerning the original-synthetic unity of apperception, to restrict our knowledge to appearances, is mistaken on purely systematic grounds. More specifically, I argue that idealism follows already from the constraints that the use of the categories, in particular the categories of quality, places on the very conceivability of things in themselves. My claim is that, although it is not only possible but also necessary to think things in themselves, it does not follow that by merely thinking them we have a full grasp of the nature of things in themselves, as some important commentators claim we have. We must therefore distinguish between two kinds of conceiving of things in themselves: conceiving in the standard sense of ‘forming the notion of’, and conceiving in the narrow sense of ‘having a determinate intellectual grasp’. So although we must be able notionally to think things in themselves, as the grounds of their appearances, we cannot even conceive, through pure concepts, of how they are in themselves in any determinate, even if merely intellectual, sense. To put it differently, we cannot have a positive conception of things in themselves (this is in line with Kant’s distinction between noumena in the negative and positive senses; cf. B307–9). For support, I resort to a much overlooked chapter in the Critique, concerning the transcendental Ideal, where Kant discusses what it is for a thing to be a thing in itself proper, namely, something that is thoroughly determined. This concerns the real ontological conditions of things, which are not satisfied by the modal categories alone, namely, their existence conditions. I claim that the chief reason why, given Kant’s view of determinative judgement, we cannot determine a thing in itself is because of two connected reasons: (1) a thing in itself is already fully determined and therefore not further determinable and (2) we cannot possibly determine all of the thing’s possible determinations. In this context, I also discuss the notion of material (not: empirical) synthesis—of which Kant speaks in the chapter on the transcendental Ideal—which must be presupposed as the ground of the formal a priori synthesis that grounds possible experience. This material synthesis, which is an idea of reason that defines a thing as thoroughly determined with regard to all of its possible predicates and has mere regulative status, can by implication not be determined by the forms of the understanding, which synthesise only a limited set of predicates. As a result, given this definition of ‘thing in itself’, any object (appearance) as at best44 a limited set of determinations of the thing can never be numerically identical to the thing in itself as thoroughly determined individual. This undercuts a standard assumption about the identity relation between appearances and things in themselves in many contemporary interpretations of Kant’s transcendental idealism. (shrink)
In this important collection of essays Dennis Thompson argues for a more robust conception of responsibility in public life than prevails in contemporary democracies. He suggests that we should stop thinking so much about public ethics in terms of individual vices and start thinking about it more in terms of institutional vices. Combining theory and practice with many concrete examples and proposals for reform, these essays could be used in courses in applied ethics or political theory and will be (...) read by professionals and graduate students in schools of political science, public policy, law, public health, journalism and business. (shrink)
In this first book-length comparative study of these leading eighteenth-century thinkers, Dennis Rasmussen highlights Smith's sympathy with Rousseau's concerns and analyzes in depth the ways in which Smith crafted his arguments to defend ...
Are propositions of law true or false? If so, what does it mean to say that propositions of law are true and false? This book takes up these questions in the context of the wider philosophical debate over realism and anti-realism. Despite surface differences, Patterson argues that the leading contemporary jurisprudential theories all embrace a flawed conception of the nature of truth in law. Instead of locating that in virtue of which propositions of law are true, Patterson argues that lawyers (...) use forms of argument to show the truth of propositions of law. Additionally, Patterson argues that the realism/anti-realism debate in jurisprudence is part of a larger argument over the role of postmodernism in jurisprudence. For this, Patterson offers an analytic account of postmodernism and charts its implications for legal theory. This book will be of interest to those in legal theory, philosophy, social and political theory, and ethics. (shrink)
The symmetrization postulates of quantum mechanics (symmetry for bosons, antisymmetry for fermions) are usually taken to entail that quantum particles of the same kind (e.g., electrons) are all in exactly the same state and therefore indistinguishable in the strongest possible sense. These symmetrization postulates possess a general validity that survives the classical limit, and the conclusion seems therefore unavoidable that even classical particles of the same kind must all be in the same state—in clear conflict with what we know about (...) classical particles. In this article we analyze the origin of this paradox. We shall argue that in the classical limit classical particles emerge, as new entities that do not correspond to the “particle indices” defined in quantum mechanics. Put differently, we show that the quantum mechanical symmetrization postulates do not pertain to particles, as we know them from classical physics, but rather to indices that have a merely formal significance. This conclusion raises the question of whether many discussions in the literature about the status of identical quantum particles have not been misguided. (shrink)
Refinements in Darwin’s theory of the origin of a moral sense create a framework equipped to organize and integrate contemporary theory and research on morality. Morality originated in deferential, cooperative, and altruistic ‘‘social instincts,’’ or decision-making strategies, that enabled early humans to maximize their gains from social living and resolve their conflicts of interest in adaptive ways. Moral judgments, moral norms, and conscience originated from strategic interactions among members of groups who experienced confluences and conflicts of interest. Moral argumentation buttressed (...) by moral reasoning is equipped to generate universal and impartial moral standards. Moral beliefs and standards are products of automatic and controlled information-processing and decision making mechanisms. To understand how people make moral decisions, we must understand how early evolved mechanisms in the old brain and recently evolved mechanisms in the new brain are activated and how they interact. Understanding what a sense of morality is for helps us understand what it is. (shrink)
In 1942 Robert K. Merton tried to demonstrate the structure of the normative system of science by specifying the norms that characterized it. The norms were assigned the abbreviation CUDOs: Communism, Universalism, Disinterestedness, and Organized skepticism. Using the results of an on-line survey of climate scientists concerning the norms of science, this paper explores the climate scientists’ subscription to these norms. The data suggests that while Merton’s CUDOs remain the overall guiding moral principles, they are not fully endorsed or present (...) in the conduct of climate scientists: there is a tendency to withhold results until publication, there is the intention of maintaining property rights, there is external influence defining research and the tendency to assign the significance of authored work according to the status of the author rather than content of the paper. These are contrary to the norms of science as proposed by Robert K. Merton. (shrink)
A study involving purchasing managers was conducted to test specific Hunt-Vitell theoretical propositions concerning the determinants of managers' teleological evaluations. We extended the Hunt-Vitell model by developing a new integrative construct, namely the desirability of consequences to self versus others. We hypothesized that desirability of consequences affects teleological evaluations in that the more desirable the consequences of a particular action, the more likely managers evaluate that action positively. The results of the present study provided support for this hypothesis. Furthermore, we (...) extended the Hunt-Vitell model by developing a new integrative construct, namely the desirability of consequences of self versus others. We hypothesized that cognitive moral development moderates the relationship between the desirability of consequences of self versus others and teleological evaluation. The results failed to support this hypothesis. We explained the lack of support in terms of the level of aggregation of the data, the possibility of the confounding effect of respondents' sensitivity to ethical issues, and the possibility that deontological evaluations confounded the respondents' teleological judgments. Future research and managerial implications of the findings were also discussed. (shrink)
It is a central aspect of our ordinary concept of time that history unfolds and events come into being. It is only natural to take this seriously. However, it is notoriously difficult to explain further what this `becoming' consists in, or even to show that the notion is consistent at all. In this article I first argue that the idea of a global temporal ordering, involving a succession of cosmic nows, is not indispensable for our concept of time. Our experience (...) does not support the existence of global simultaneity and arguments from modern physics further support the conclusion that time should not be seen as a succession of cosmic nows. Accordingly, I propose that if we want to make sense of becoming we should attempt to interpret it as something purely local. Second, I address the question of what this local becoming consists in. I maintain that processes of becoming are nothing but the successive happening of events, and that this happening of events consists entirely in the occurring of these events at their own spacetime locations. This leads to a consistent view of becoming, which is applicable even to rather pathological spacetimes. (shrink)
I describe how relativistic field theory generalizes the paradigm property of material systems, the possession of mass, to the requirement that they have a mass–energy–momentum density tensor T µ associated with them. I argue that T µ does not represent an intrinsic property of matter. For it will become evident that the definition of T µ depends on the metric field g µ in a variety of ways. Accordingly, since g µ represents the geometry of spacetime itself, the properties of (...) mass, stress, energy, and momentum should not be seen as intrinsic properties of matter, but as relational properties that material systems have only in virtue of their relation to spacetime structure. (shrink)
Top-down feedback does not benefit speech recognition; on the contrary, it can hinder it. No experimental data imply that feedback loops are required for speech recognition. Feedback is accordingly unnecessary and spoken word recognition is modular. To defend this thesis, we analyse lexical involvement in phonemic decision making. TRACE (McClelland & Elman 1986), a model with feedback from the lexicon to prelexical processes, is unable to account for all the available data on phonemic decision making. The modular Race model (Cutler (...) & Norris 1979) is likewise challenged by some recent results, however. We therefore present a new modular model of phonemic decision making, the Merge model. In Merge, information flows from prelexical processes to the lexicon without feedback. Because phonemic decisions are based on the merging of prelexical and lexical information, Merge correctly predicts lexical involvement in phonemic decisions in both words and nonwords. Computer simulations show how Merge is able to account for the data through a process of competition between lexical hypotheses. We discuss the issue of feedback in other areas of language processing and conclude that modular models are particularly well suited to the problems and constraints of speech recognition. Key Words: computational modeling; feedback; lexical processing; modularity; phonemic decisions; reading; speech recognition; word recognition. (shrink)
Saunders has recently claimed that “identical quantum particles” with an anti-symmetric state (fermions) are weakly discernible objects, just like irreflexively related ordinary objects in situations with perfect symmetry (Black’s spheres, for example). Weakly discernible objects have all their qualitative properties in common but nevertheless differ from each other by virtue of (a generalized version of) Leibniz’s principle, since they stand in relations an entity cannot have to itself. This notion of weak discernibility has been criticized as question begging, but we (...) defend and accept it for classical cases likes Black’s spheres. We argue, however, that the quantum mechanical case is different. Here the application of the notion of weak discernibility indeed is question begging and in conflict with standard interpretational ideas. We conclude that the introduction of the conceptual resource of weak discernibility does not change the interpretational status quo in quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In focusing on the systematic deduction of the categories from a principle, Schulting takes up anew the controversial project of the eminent German Kant scholar Klaus Reich, whose monograph “The Completeness of Kant's Table of Judgments” made the case that the logical functions of judgement can all be derived from the objective unity of apperception and can be shown to link up with one another systematically. -/- Common opinion among Kantians today has it that Kant did not mean to derive (...) the functions of judgement, and accordingly the categories, from the principle of apperception. Schulting challenges this standard view and aims to resuscitate the main motivation behind Reich’s project. He argues, in agreement with Reich’s main thesis about the derivability of the functions of judgement, that Kant indeed does mean to derive, in full a priori fashion, the categories from the principle of apperception. -/- Schulting also shows that, given the general assumptions of the Critical philosophy, Kant's derivation is successful and that absent an account of the derivation of the categories from apperception, the B-Deduction cannot really be understood. -/- New edition. First published 2012 as „Kant’s Deduction and Apperception. Explaining the Categories" (Palgrave Macmillan). (shrink)
Renè Descartes is commonly portrayed as a strict rationalist, a philosopher who theorized a radical, unresolvable split between mind and body. In this long-overdue examination of the role of imagination in Descartes's thought, Dennis Sepper reveals a Descartes quite different from the usual dualistic portrayals and offers a critical reconception of the genesis and nature of the philosopher's thought. In a vigorous analysis of the less-known early works, Sepper finds that initially Descartes assigned the imagination a central role in (...) the mind's activity. Although Descartes eventually lost confidence in the philosophy of imagination, an early understanding of its central role in cognition came to shape the most fundamental notions of his mature philosophy. Sepper's radical reassessment of Descartes ultimately raises new questions about the development of modern philosophy. (shrink)
:Recently, Allais, Hanna and others have argued that Kant is a nonconceptualist about intuition and that intuitions refer objectively, independently of the functions of the understanding. Kantian conceptualists have responded, which the nonconceptualists also cite as textual evidence for their reading) that this view conflicts with the central goal of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction: to argue that all intuitions are subject to the categories. I argue that the conceptualist reading of KrV, A 89 ff./B 122 ff. is unfounded. Further, I argue (...) that the nonconceptualists are wrong to believe that intuitions as such refer objectively and that they are mistaken about the relation between figurative synthesis and intellectual synthesis. (shrink)
For the past five years at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver a community service or service learning component has been included in the Values in Action class (now Values-Based Leadership), a core MBA course that integrates ethics, law, and public policy perspectives on business issues. This paper summarizes the educational philosophy and the mechanics of this required component. Few empirical studies have been conducted to gauge the perceived value and impact of a service learning requirement (...) on students. Thus, several surveys were conducted to understand better the choices made by students as well as the impact of the requirement on students. Preliminary results reveal generally a positive effect on students, including some evidence that such a service learning requirement may influence students to make a greater lifetime commitment to community service. (shrink)
Epistemology is normative. This normativity has been widely recognized for a long time, but it has recently come into direct focus as a central topic of discussion. The result is a recent and large turn towards focusing on epistemic value. I’ll start by describing some of the history and motivations of this recent value turn. Then I’ll categorize the work within the value turn into three strands, and I’ll discuss the main writings in those strands. Finally, I’ll explore some themes (...) that are ripe for further development. (shrink)