An oft-rehearsed objection to the claim that an intention can give one reasons is that if an intention could give us reasons that would allow an agent to bootstrap herself into having a reason where she previously lacked one. Such bootstrapping is utterly implausible. So, intentions to φ cannot be reasons to φ. Call this the bootstrapping objection against intentions being reasons. This essay considers four separate interpretations of this argument and finds they all fail to establish that non-akratic, nonevil, (...) and deliberatively sound intentions cannot be reasons. The first argument is the argument from evil intentions, the second is the argument from akratic intentions, the third is the argument from errors in deliberation, and the last is what I call the ‘wizardry’ argument. This ‘argument’, put forward most clearly by John Broome, claims that intentions are so insubstantial that were they on their own reasons for action, that would amount to creating something out of nothing and that is impossible. The essay argues that the claim that intentions are insubstantial is too strong a premise to put forward without argument. For there are other attitudes that are on their own sufficient to generate reasons, such as loving attitudes. The essay then argues that the bootstrapping objection’s status as dogma in the philosophy of action has led to insufficient attention being paid to the entirely reasonable question of whether intentions are sufficiently like other reason-giving attitudes, such as loving and valuing. It may turn out that, just as loving someone can give the loving person a reason to act in a certain, so too can intending to do something give someone a reason to act in a certain way, but we cannot effectively engage this question without first giving up our commitment to the bootstrapping objection as a central “insight” in philosophy of action. The essay concludes by proposing two research questions that are opened up by the abandonment of the bootstrapping objection as dogma, and proposes that we turn our philosophical attentions to those questions. (shrink)
It is common to talk about options, where an option is a course of action an agent can take. A course of action, in turn, is that which can be the object of intention. It has not often been noticed in the literature, though, that there are two ways to understand what makes something an option: first, an option just is some course of action physically open (or, to be maximally liberal, logically open) to an agent; second, an option just (...) is some course of action that the agent either in fact deliberates about taking or is psychologically capable of deliberating about taking. At any given time, there are far more courses of action open to an agent than the agent can or does deliberate about taking. What determines which courses of action an agent deliberates about as an option, and why do so many other courses of action remain out of deliberative view? I argue that while values, ends, the demands of both means-end coherence and consistency of beliefs contribute to the determination of which courses of action an agent sees as options, they cannot be the whole story. I argue that another mechanism, which I call the practical imagination, is primarily responsible for which courses of action an agent sees as options. Drawing upon both recent work in developmental and social psychology and a strain of philosophical argument that has attempted to show how human beings have a practical understanding of themselves that is mediated by what we can call a narrative identity, I argue that the norms governing the construction of a narrative identity are among the most important, albeit not the only, norms governing the practical imagination and that, just as we should look to the norms of practical reason to explain and critically reflect on practical deliberation, we should look to the norms of practical imagination to explain and critically reflect on the process by which an agent comes to see some course of action as an option. (shrink)
Many forms of contemporary morality treat the individual as the fundamental unit of moral importance. Perhaps the most striking example of this moral vision of the individual is the contemporary global human rights regime, which treats the individual as, for all intents and purposes, sacrosanct. This essay attempts to explore one feature of this contemporary understanding of the moral status of the individual, namely the moral significance of a subject’s actual affective states, and in particular her cares and commitments. I (...) argue that in virtue of the moral significance of actual individuals, we should take actual cares and values very seriously—even if those cares and values are not expressions of the person’s autonomy—as partially constituting that individual as a concrete subject who is the proper object of our moral attention. In particular, I argue that a person’s actual cares and values have non-derivative moral significance. Simply because someone cares about something, that care is morally significant. In virtue of this non-derivative moral significance of cares, we ought to adopt of a commitment to accommodate others’ cares and a commitment not to frustrate their cares. (shrink)
Total work of art in an age of mechanical reproduction -- Total stage: Wagner's festspielhaus -- Total machine: the Bauhaus theatre -- Total montage: Brecht's reply to Wagner -- Total state: Riefenstahl's triumph of the will -- Total world: Disney's theme parks -- Total vacuum: Warhol's performances -- Total immersion: cyberspace.
A major challenge facing modern parapsychology continues to be the replicability of psi. Whilst some researchers appear to consistently obtain positive evidence for psi, others, equally consistently, appear to be less successful. Previous research has attempted to explain this so-called 'experimenter effect' in terms of both psychological variables and parapsychological variables . In this paper, both of these interpretations are considered, as are other possible interpretations . Research in this area emphasises the important role of the experimenter in parapsychology. The (...) paper concludes with a discussion of possible implications for the study of consciousness. (shrink)
In his collection of essays, Law as a Leap of Faith, John Gardner lucidly develops a powerful account of legal positivism, primarily via a careful interrogation of H. L. A. Hart’s work, with a particular focus on Hart’s most important text, The Concept of Law. In this essay, I raise a question regarding the significance of legal subjects’ understanding of themselves as legal subjects. I claim that as Gardner fills out the picture of what it takes to have an ideal (...) legal system, we will find that there is no requirement that subjects have any understanding of themselves as legal subjects, much less an understanding either of what the law requires of them or of the legal status with respect to officials that the law gives them. In particular, I argue that Gardner’s account of the law is too focused on the perspective of officials, and leaves out the perspective of legal subjects. This manifests what I call a unidirectional legal optic: the view of the law is the view from a single perspective, namely the perspective of the official. This is not an accurate picture of the law and so should not be presented as the paradigmatic account of law. (shrink)
Can there be an obligation to obey laws produced by patently illegitimate political institutions, or are these laws like rules of etiquette – rules we might have reasons to follow but which we are not obligated to obey?2 Exclude from the scope of this question laws that recapitulate or contradict independently valid moral principles. Let us instead query only whether there is an obligation to obey laws that (i) do not recapitulate or contradict valid moral principles, and (ii) are products (...) of illegitimate political authorities. In this paper, I argue that there can be such an obligation even if the laws’ “parent” political institution is not legitimate. I do so by showing how the law (whatever its provenance) can generate interpersonal relationships that have deep moral significance – relationships that in turn ground an obligation to obey the law. (shrink)
We use the term “justice” in many different ways. In this essay, I consider justice only as it used in Anglo-American political and legal theory. In this realm of discourse, all forms of justice consist of non-utilitarian allocative principles, i.e., principles governing, to put it as broadly as possible, who gets how much of what. Some may wish to treat utilitarian principles as principles of justice. As a matter of nomenclatural pedantry, this is surely reasonable. But, perhaps as a consequence (...) of John Rawls’ arguments in Theory of Justice,2 or perhaps as a result of Aristotle’s classifications of two forms of justice in the Nicomachean Ethics,3 or perhaps as a result of John Stuart Mill’s appreciation of the need for reconciling utilitarianism with justice,4 we generally think of justice as consisting of principles that are sensitive to factors shielded from any stable form of utilitarianism. Furthermore, thanks to Rawls, we generally think of distributive justice as being primarily applicable to political and social institutions and not to individual actors (this, though, has been challenged by those who would still recognize a sharp distinction between utilitarianism and justice5). Regardless of whether this distinction between justice and utilitarian principles is sustainable in the long term, I shall presume it, if only to make clear what is at stake if we are to treat utilitarianism as just one form of justice. (shrink)
Intentions have been a central subject of research since contemporary philosophy of action emerged in the middle of the twentieth century. For almost that entire period, the approach has been to treat the study of intentions as separate from the study of morality. This essay offers a brief overview of that history and then suggests some ways forward, as exemplified by the essays collected in this volume.
Can the laws produced by patently illegitimate political institutions be authoritative, or are they like the rules of etiquette – rules we might have conclusive reasons to follow but which are not authoritative? Exclude from the scope of this question laws that recapitulate or contradict independently valid moral principles and so are authoritative in virtue of their content. Let us instead query only whether laws that (i) do not recapitulate or contradict valid moral principles, and (ii) are products of illegitimate (...) political authorities, can be authoritative. In this paper, I argue that they can: laws can have authority even while their “parent” political institutions do not. (shrink)
This paper has a two-pronged thesis. First, laws should be understood as making factual claims about the moral order. Second, the truth or falsity of these claims depends as much on the content of the law as on whether the lawmaker has political authority. In particular, laws produced by legitimate authorities are successful as laws when they guide subjects’ behavior by giving subjects authoritative reasons for action. This paper argues that laws produced by legitimate authorities accomplish this task by being (...) on their own sufficient to change the moral state of affairs, which thereby generates for people new moral reasons to act that they can read right off of the legislation. (shrink)
Rachel Galvin’s News of War: Civilian Poetry 1936–1945 is a focused and forceful study of six major modernist poets who crafted similar styles in response to WWII and the Spanish Civil War: César Vallejo, W.H. Auden, Wallace Stevens, Raymond Queneau, Marianne Moore, and Gertrude Stein. A chapter is dedicated to each of these poets, with the exception of Auden, in many respects the book’s central figure, who is treated in two consecutive chapters. As can be seen in her choice of (...) poets, Gavin’s approach is transnational and multilingual. This allows her to draw startling parallels between poets who, though given ample critical attention individually, are rarely mentioned in the same breath. It also allows her to... (shrink)
The problem area of distributive justice includes at its core questions about what ought to be owned, how it can be owned and who ought to own it. A fundamental assumption behind recent attempts to address these questions is that the power to shape the property institutions of a society lies entirely in that society's laws. This view, I argue, is mistaken. In this dissertation I provide an account of how property institutions are related to other social practices in a (...) society. A consequence of this account is that property law does not solely determine what property looks like in a society. ;The analysis begins with the observation of Enlightenment-era natural rights theorists that property is, first and foremost, a conventional social norm. I then turn to modern developments in game theory and social psychology to propose a novel account of how conventional social norms guide agents. On this account, a norm guides an agent by influencing their practical reasoning in one of two ways: either rationally, by generating a belief that behavior in those circumstances is required by that norm, or sub-rationally, by structuring the agent's practical reasoning, without the agent being aware of it, in such a way that ensures the formation of intentions to act in a manner required by the norm. This second form of norm guidance, which I call 'passive norm guidance', provides grounds for the claim that property norms can exist and function independently of recognition by the law. I go on to show how the independent existence of property norms can support a robust natural law account of property rights according to which property rights exist independent of recognition by the law. The dissertation ends by show how this account, while radical, is also consistent with the dominant Twentieth Century analytic jurisprudence accounts of property. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a novel view of the religion clauses. The historical origins of the clause suggest two competing conceptual interpretations: one which privileges religion (the religion-weighted view) and one which privileges freedom (the freedom-weighted view). I argue for the freedom-weighted view and explore the jurisprudential implications of both views. I also argue for the counterintuitive result that, if we accept the freedom-weighted view, Free Exercise challenges to certain laws promoting autonomy (freedom) in children are analytically incoherent. Because (...) such laws by definition promote autonomy, they cannot be inconsistent with the Free Exercise clause under a range of conditions. (shrink)
This paper argues for a rehabilitation of philosophical engagement with the question of whether revolution can be justified. Such a renewed engagement with the problem of revolution appears to be stymied by the intuition that we have strong moral arguments ruling out revolution in almost every case. I aim to show that we should abandon this intuition. I will argue that standard arguments against revolution are not strong enough to warrant the relative inattention the question of the justifiability revolution has (...) recently suffered, especially given the emergence of new potential justifications for revolution (appeals to principles of distributive justice, appeals to the international human rights regime) and the subtle but important shifts that we ought to make in our conceptions of sovereignty and revolution. Accordingly, this paper sketches six forms of argument against the justifiability of revolution. I assess each form of argument and I conclude that none of them are strong enough to makes further philosophical inquiry into the justification of revolution pointless. (shrink)
Reliance Structures: How Urban Public Policy Shapes Human Agency.Matthew Noah Smith - 2018 - In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 809-825.details
This chapter attempts to articulate a novel approach to thinking about urban politics and urban public policy. Building on the observation that all action requires reliance, the chapter argues that elements of the urban environment function as what we call reliance structures. These are the structures that allow agents to realize their intentions as actions. That is, reliance structures are constitutive features of the capacity for action, that is, for agency. The chapter then argues that the urban can be understood (...) as a network of reliance structures. It follows that the urban partially constitutes human agency—agential capacities are partially constituted by urban reliance systems. This is meant to be a substantive diagnostic tool for making sense of the ways that urban public policy can produce and reproduce forms of human agency and, ultimately, the way that the urban partially determines human freedom. (shrink)
How ought we to respond to other people caring about whatever it is that they care about – even if they care about things that are obviously not careworthy?2 For example, if my neighbor cares about collecting antique decorative saltshakers and I think this is an idiotic pastime, how ought I to respond to this? My thesis is that I should respond by accommodating his cares.3 I describe accommodation as follows: [Accommodation] A accommodates B’s caring about F by adjusting her (...) behavior in deference to B’s caring about F.4 So, the thesis I defend in this paper is the following. (shrink)
Virginia Held, in her thoughtful collection of essays How Terrorism Is Wrong, explores many facets of the moral significance of terrorism. Perhaps the most important contribution Held makes is a step toward a more rigorous contextualization of terrorism within the broader spectrum of violence, and in particular within the context of war. This welcome subtlety prompts the discussion of terrorism found in this essay. In particular, I eschew making any axiological or deontic judgments about terrorism and instead attempt to further (...) contextualize terrorist violence within a broad spectrum of human violence by exploring what I take to be the distinctive phenomenology of terrorism.My thesis is composed of a constellation of claims. First, terrorism is best understood as a spectacle that is read by the targets of the terrorist act as expressing or evincing commitment to what I call existential values, which are values that play a central role in constituting a person's identity. Second, the existential values expressed by terrorist acts are experienced by the targets of these acts as what I shall call ethical singularities: ethical commitments that are extremely powerful and impossible to assimilate into one's own ethical worldview. (shrink)
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Delete: the virtue of forgetting in the digital age Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s12394-010-0039-x Authors Matthew L. Smith /, International Development Research Centre Ottawa Canada Journal Identity in the Information Society Online ISSN 1876-0678 Journal Volume Volume 2 Journal Issue Volume 2, Number 3.
Research suggests that psychological characteristics and social behaviors contribute to the development of coaching effectiveness and as such should not be neglected by strength and conditioning coaches. This review examines the current literature on the influence of psychosocial characteristics and behaviors of the S&C coach on elite athlete development. Additionally, this review provides practical suggestions and guidelines to coach developers and coach practitioners to develop such psychosocial behaviors using constructivist learning theories in relation to reflection, stories, mentorships, and internships.