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.
What methodology should philosophers follow? Should they rely on methods that can be conducted from the armchair? Or should they leave the armchair and turn to the methods of the natural sciences, such as experiments in the laboratory? Or is this opposition itself a false one? Arguments about philosophical methodology are raging in the wake of a number of often conflicting currents, such as the growth of experimental philosophy, the resurgence of interest in metaphysical questions, and the use of formal (...) methods. This outstanding collection of specially-commissioned chapters by leading international philosophers discusses these questions and many more. It provides a comprehensive survey of philosophical methodology in the most important philosophical subjects: metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, phenomenology, philosophy of science, ethics, and aesthetics. A key feature of the collection is that philosophers discuss and evaluate contrasting approaches in each subject, offering a superb overview of the variety of methodological approaches - both naturalistic and non-naturalistic - in each of these areas. They examine important topics at the heart of methodological argument, including the role of intuitions and conceptual analysis, thought experiments, introspection, and the place that results from the natural sciences should have in philosophical theorizing. The collection begins with a fascinating exchange about philosophical naturalism between Timothy Williamson and Alexander Rosenberg, and also includes contributions from the following philosophers: Lynne Rudder Baker, Matt Bedke, Greg Currie, Michael Devitt, Matthew C. Haug, Jenann Ismael, Hilary Kornblith, Neil Levy, E.J. Lowe, Kirk Ludwig, Marie McGinn, David Papineau, Matthew Ratcliffe, Georges Rey, Jeffrey W. Roland, Barry C. Smith, Amie L. Thomasson, Valerie Tiberius, Jessica Wilson, and David W. Smith. (shrink)
Human civilisation faces a range of existential risks, including nuclear war, runaway climate change and superintelligent artificial intelligence run amok. As we show here with calculations for the New Zealand setting, large numbers of currently living and, especially, future people are potentially threatened by existential risks. A just process for resource allocation demands that we consider future generations but also account for solidarity with the present. Here we consider the various ethical and policy issues involved and make a case for (...) further engagement with the New Zealand public to determine societal values towards future lives and their protection. (shrink)
Scholars of classical philosophy have long disputed whether Aristotle was a dialectical thinker. Most agree that Aristotle contrasts dialectical reasoning with demonstrative reasoning, where the former reasons from generally accepted opinions and the latter reasons from the true and primary. Starting with a grasp on truth, demonstration never relinquishes it. Starting with opinion, how could dialectical reasoning ever reach truth, much less the truth about first principles? Is dialectic then an exercise that reiterates the prejudices of one's times and at (...) best allows one to persuade others by appealing to these prejudices, or is it the royal road to first principles and philosophical wisdom? In From Puzzles to Principles? May Sim gathers experts to argue both these positions and offer a variety of interpretive possibilities. The contributors' thoughtful reflections on the nature and limits of dialectic should play a crucial role in Aristotelian scholarship. (shrink)
Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...) and critique, it remains underdeveloped and is often misrepresented by its critics (section 8). (shrink)
A far-reaching and influential view in evolutionary biology claims that species are cohesive units held together by gene flow. Biologists have recognized empirical problems facing this view; after sharpening the expression of the view, we present novel conceptual problems for it. At the heart of these problems is a distinction between two importantly different concepts of cohesion, what we call integrative and response cohesion. Acknowledging the distinction problematizes both the explanandum of species cohesion and the explanans of gene flow that (...) are central to the view we discuss. We conclude by tracing four broader implications for the study and conceptualization of species. (shrink)
Recent research in ethics education shows a potentially problematic variation in content, curricular materials, and instruction. While ethics instruction is now widespread, studies have identified significant variation in both the goals and methods of ethics education, leaving researchers to conclude that many approaches may be inappropriately paired with goals that are unachievable. This paper speaks to these concerns by demonstrating the importance of aligning classroom-based assessments to clear ethical learning objectives in order to help students and instructors track their progress (...) toward meeting those objectives. Two studies at two different universities demonstrate the usefulness of classroom-based, formative assessments for improving the quality of students’ case responses in computational modeling and research ethics. (shrink)
The emergence of signaling systems has been observed in numerous experimental and real-world contexts, but there is no consensus on which shared mechanisms underlie such phenomena. A number of explanatory mechanisms have been proposed within several disciplines, all of which have been instantiated as credible working models. However, they are usually framed as being mutually incompatible. Using an exemplar-based framework, we replicate these models in a minimal configuration which allows us to directly compare them. This reveals that the development of (...) optimal signaling is driven by similar mechanisms in each model, which leads us to propose three requirements for the emergence of conventional signaling. These are the creation and transmission of referential information, a systemic bias against ambiguity, and finally some form of information loss. Considering this, we then discuss some implications for theoretical and experimental approaches to the emergence of learned communication. (shrink)
The view that it is better for life to be created free of disability is pervasive in both common sense and philosophy. We cast doubt on this view by focusing on an influential line of thinking that manifests it. That thinking begins with a widely-discussed principle, Procreative Beneficence, and draws conclusions about parental choice and disability. After reconstructing two versions of this argument, we critique the first by exploring the relationship between different understandings of well-being and disability, and the second (...) by more briefly focusing on the idea of a significant reason. By placing these results against the broader historical and ongoing contexts in which the lives of those with disabilities have been deemed of inferior quality, we conclude with a call for greater humility about disability and well-being in thought and practice. (shrink)
Background: Studies have found that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are more likely to make errors in appropriately producing referring expressions than are controls but comprehend them with equal facility. We tested whether this anomaly arises because comprehension studies have focused on manipulating perspective-taking at a ‘generic speaker’ level. Method: We compared 24 autistic eight- to eleven-year-olds with 24 well-matched neuro-typical controls. Children interpreted requests in contexts which would be ambiguous if perspective-taking were not utilized. In the interlocutor-specific perspective-taking condition, (...) the target was the particular object which was new for the speaker. Children needed to take into account what the speaker had played with before and the fact that they were now expressing excitement about something new. In two control ‘speaker-generic’ conditions we tested children’s ability to take the visual perspective of the speaker. Results: The autistic group were significantly less likely to select the target and significantly more likely to request clarification in the ‘interlocutor-specific’ condition. Performance in the ‘interlocutor-generic’ perspective taking conditions did not differ between groups. Conclusion: Autistic children, even those who are not intellectually-impaired, tend to have more difficulty than neuro-typical peers in comprehending referring expressions when this requires understanding that people comment on what is new for them. (shrink)
Individuals are a prominent part of the biological world. Although biologists and philosophers of biology draw freely on the concept of an individual in articulating both widely accepted and more controversial claims, there has been little explicit work devoted to the biological notion of an individual itself. How should we think about biological individuals? What are the roles that biological individuals play in processes such as natural selection (are genes and groups also units of selection?), speciation (are species individuals?), and (...) organismic development (do genomes code for organisms)? Much of our discussion here will focus on organisms as a central kind of biological individual, and that discussion will raise broader questions about the nature of the biological world, for example, about its complexity, its organization, and its relation to human thought. (shrink)
The impressive variation amongst biological individuals generates many complexities in addressing the simple-sounding question what is a biological individual? A distinction between evolutionary and physiological individuals is useful in thinking about biological individuals, as is attention to the kinds of groups, such as superorganisms and species, that have sometimes been thought of as biological individuals. More fully understanding the conceptual space that biological individuals occupy also involves considering a range of other concepts, such as life, reproduction, and agency. There has (...) been a focus in some recent discussions by both philosophers and biologists on how evolutionary individuals are created and regulated, as well as continuing work on the evolution of individuality. (shrink)
While neo-classical analysis works well for studying impersonal exchange in markets, it fails to explain why people conduct themselves the way they do in their personal relationships with family, neighbors, and friends. In Humanomics, Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon L. Smith and his long-time co-author Bart J. Wilson bring their study of economics full circle by returning to the founder of modern economics, Adam Smith. Sometime in the last 250 years, economists lost sight of the full range of (...) human feeling, thinking, and knowing in everyday life. Smith and Wilson show how Adam Smith's model of sociality can re-humanize twenty-first century economics by undergirding it with sentiments, fellow feeling, and a sense of propriety - the stuff of which human relationships are built. Integrating insights from The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations into contemporary empirical analysis, this book shapes economic betterment as a science of human beings. (shrink)
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)
This paper examines one of the historical antecedents of Big Data, the social physics movement. Its origins are in the scientific revolution of the 17th century in Western Europe. But it is not named as such until the middle of the 19th century, and not formally institutionalized until another hundred years later when it is associated with work by George Zipf and John Stewart. Social physics is marked by the belief that large-scale statistical measurement of social variables reveals underlying relational (...) patterns that can be explained by theories and laws found in natural science, and physics in particular. This larger epistemological position is known as monism, the idea that there is only one set of principles that applies to the explanation of both natural and social worlds. Social physics entered geography through the work of the mid-20th-century geographer William Warntz, who developed his own spatial version called “macrogeography.” It involved the computation of large data sets, made ever easier with the contemporaneous development of the computer, joined with the gravitational potential model. Our argument is that Warntz's concerns with numeracy, large data sets, machine-based computing power, relatively simple mathematical formulas drawn from natural science, and an isomorphism between natural and social worlds became grounds on which Big Data later staked its claim to knowledge; it is a past that has not yet passed. (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)
Autonomy operates as a key term in debates about the rights of families to choose distinct approaches to education. Yet, what autonomy means is often complicated by the actual circumstances and contexts of schools, families, and children. In this essay, Terri S. Wilson and Matthew A. Ryg focus on the challenges involved in translating an ideal of educational autonomy into the “nonideal” contexts and circumstances that surround families' choices. Drawing on the methodological insights of Elizabeth Anderson and John (...) Dewey, they sketch out a nonideal approach for exploring autonomy. Wilson and Ryg particularly focus on Dewey's notion of an ideal, his treatment of autonomy as a concept, and his view of the self. Such a nonideal approach draws attention toward the specific circumstances, habits, and environments that make autonomy possible. Wilson and Ryg illustrate the salience of this nonideal approach by exploring one example of an empirically engaged study of autonomy. (shrink)
Over the past two decades, the promotion of collaborative partnerships involving researchers from low and middle income countries with those from high income countries has been a major development in global health research. Ideally, these partnerships would lead to more equitable collaboration including the sharing of research responsibilities and rewards. While collaborative partnership initiatives have shown promise and attracted growing interest, there has been little scholarly debate regarding the fair distribution of authorship credit within these partnerships.
Consumers do not always follow their ideological beliefs about the need to engage in environmentally friendly consumption. We propose that Commitment to Beliefs —the general tendency to follow one’s value-based beliefs—can help identify who is most likely to follow their environmental ideologies. We predicted that CTB would amplify the effect of beliefs prescribing environmental stewardship, or neglect, on corresponding intentions, behavior, and purchasing decisions. In two studies, CTB amplified the positive and negative effects of relevant EF ideologies on EF purchase (...) decisions, and consumption and conservation attitudes, intentions, as well as future behavior. In each study, only people with higher levels of CTB demonstrated the most ideologically consistent consumption and conservation intentions and behavior. These findings clarify who is most likely to align their decisions and lifestyles according to their sustainable consumption ideologies. The amplification effect of CTB, and the CTB variable itself, present new contributions to consumer behavior research and the domains of sustainable or ethical consumption in particular and offer wide-ranging potential for marketing practitioners and researchers. (shrink)
A substantial body of evidence suggests that autobiographical recollection and simulation of future happenings activate a shared neural network. Many of the neural regions implicated in this network are affected in patients with bipolar disorder , showing altered metabolic functioning and/or structural volume abnormalities. Studies of autobiographical recall in BD reveal overgeneralization, where autobiographical memory comprises primarily factual or repeated information as opposed to details specific in time and in place and definitive of re-experiencing. To date, no study has examined (...) whether these deficits extend to future event simulation. We examined the ability of patients with BD and controls to imagine positive, negative and neutral future events using a modified version of the Autobiographical Interview that allowed for separation of episodic and non-episodic details. Patients were selectively impaired in imagining future positive, negative, and neutral episodic details; simulation of non-episodic details was equivalent across groups. (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)
Scholars of political thought, sociology, and the arts have yet to fully explore the impact of positivism on modernist design theory and practice. This paper offers an intellectual history of the works of three generations of positivist sociologists who built on each other's works. They are Auguste Comte and Richard Congreve, Frederic Harrison and Charles Booth, and Patrick Geddes and Victor Branford. These actors developed different types of sociological survey, established a network of urban interventions, and proposed a series of (...) planning programs and manifestos. It will be argued that their intention was to systematically reconcile international and domestic issues to realize a modern eutopia. Following this analysis, it will be shown that a similar language and practice appeared in the work of a diverse range of such modernist designers as Patrick Abercrombie, Sybella Gurney Branford, Louis Sullivan, H. P. Berlage, and Le Corbusier, among others. (shrink)
This letter was submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Government of Canada, on 29th January, 2021, as final debate over Bill C-7 was being undertaken in the Senate regarding MAiD and the strong opposition to the legislation expressed across the Canadian disability community. It draws on our individual and joint work on eugenics, well-being, and disability.