Adam Smith said that ‘the propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.’ Smith addressed the mark of the man economical, and there is no denying that this is the peculiar way he acts: clearly, to truck, barter and exchange is to act in a certain way. Austrian economics adopts this way of looking at the realm of economics. It prides itself as a (...) theory of human action. This claim seems ill-founded as long as so important a contribution as Ludwig von Mises’s praxeology remains insufficiently understood. In this paper, I address Barry Smith’s charge that in praxeology ‘other core notions, in addition to the concept of action, have been smuggled into and the theory is therefore not purely analytic’. I offer logical proofs of two cornerstone theorems of praxeology, the uneasiness theorem and the scarcity theorem, and thus provide vindication. Also, the findings support Mises’s controversial claim that economics is a priori founded in action theory. Thus, Carl Menger’s dream to lay foundations to economics and the other social sciences may have come true in the guise of praxeology. (shrink)
The theory of the just price is commonly assumed to have three sources: Political philosophy of Greek antiquity, scholastic ethics of the High Middle Ages, and the Roman law of obligations of late antiquity. While closer inspection confirms this holds for the first two worlds of thought the latter assumption seems ultimately unfounded. The paper claims that the evidence notoriously presented on behalf of that assumption – two rescripts attributed to Roman emperor Diocletian, namely Codex Iustinianus 4.44.2 and 4.44.8 – (...) ultimately points in another direction. Offering both an analysis and an alternative reading of the rescripts an integrated interpretation is given that reconciles them with the “liberalistic spirit of Roman law”. Also, it is explained why, from the point of view of legal and social philosophy, the fact that Roman law refrains from introducing a moral aspect to the institute of price fixing speaks in favour of Roman law rather than against it. [in German]. (shrink)
The paper unfolds a non-modal problem for (moderate) meta-linguistic descriptivism, the thesis that the meaning of a proper name (e.g. ‘Aristotle’) is given by a meta-linguistic description of a certain type (e.g. ‘the bearer of “Aristotle”’). According to this theory, if ⌜α⌝ is a proper name, it is a sufficient condition for the name’s being significant that the description ⌜the bearer of ⌜α⌝⌝ is significant. However, a quotational expression may be significant even when the expression quoted is not. Therefore, proper (...) names and their corresponding descriptions cannot be synonymous, and the corresponding descriptions cannot be viewed as giving the meanings of proper names. So, even if it was immune to Kripke-style modal criticisms, moderate meta-linguistic descriptivism would still seem to founder on the rocks of the opacity of quotation. (shrink)
What is discrimination and what makes wrongful discrimination wrong? Even after an ever-rising tide of research over the course of the past twenty-five or so years these questions still remain hard to answer. Exercising candid and self-critical hindsight, Larry Alexander, who contributed his fair share to this tide, thus remarked: “All cases of discrimination, if wrongful, are wrongful either because of their quite contingent consequences or perhaps because they are breaches of promises or fiduciary duties.” If this is true it (...) raises serious doubts as to how wrongful discrimination can be a moral wrong in itself. Also, the question comes up as to who it is who breaches a promise or a fiduciary duty. This paper defends the view that the substance of these remarks is better understood by couching them in a political approach towards discrimination. Against this background, they give rise to real and pressing concerns. Once we conceptualise the realm political along Hobbesian lines as the battleground comprising both the private sphere of the individual and the public sphere of the commonwealth it emerges that discrimination has different significance with regard to these respective spheres. In order to illustrate this, I adopt Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen’s descriptive account of discrimination as „differential treatment on the basis of membership of a socially salient group“ and the common view that wrongful discrimination is wrong because it is harmful, disrespectful, or both. In the private sphere the case can be made for morally permissible cases of discrimination. Sexual discrimination due to sexual self-determination with consequently freely choosing your sexual or romantic partner is the central case in point. Where somebody feels unfairly rejected and consequently hurt neither the charge of harm inflicted nor that of disrespect endured need be justified. No “breach of promises or fiduciary duties” is involved. The case is different, however, when it comes to the fiduciary of power. In discriminating, he who exercises the power of the commonwealth necessarily breaches a promise and a fiduciary duty. Discrimination thus appears to be more of a problem of political philosophy than one of applied ethics. [in German] **************************************************************************************************** ******************** Was ist Diskriminierung und warum ist Diskriminierung verwerflich, wenn sie es denn ist? Dies bleibt ungeachtet der seit fünfundzwanzig Jahren anschwellenden Forschungsliteratur unverändert eine harte Nuss. Larry Alexander, der selbst maßgeblich zu dieser Forschungsliteratur beigetragen hat, merkt daher selbstkritisch an: „All cases of discrimination, if wrongful, are wrongful either because of their quite contingent consequences or perhaps because they are breaches of promises or fiduciary duties.“ Wenn dies der Fall ist, stellt sich die Frage, wie moralisch verwerfliche Diskriminierung dann noch an sich verwerflich sein kann. Es stellt sich dann auch die Frage, wer hier ein Versprechen bricht und seine Treuepflichten verletzt. Die leitende Annahme dieses Aufsatzes ist es, dass man dem sachlichen Kern dieser Bedenken Rechnung tragen kann, indem man eine politische Perspektive auf das Phänomen der Diskriminierung einnimmt. Die Bedenken erweisen sich dann als substanziell und zutreffend. Konzeptualisieren wir den Bereich des Politischen mit Thomas Hobbes als das Spannungsfeld, das die private Sphäre des Individuums und die öffentliche Sphäre des Gemeinwesens gegeneinander abgrenzt, wird sichtbar, dass Diskriminierung in diesen Sphären jeweils unterschiedlich zu bewerten ist. Um dies zu verdeutlichen, lege ich Kasper Lippert-Rasmussens deskriptives Verständnis von Diskriminierung als „differential treatment on the basis of membership of a socially salient group“ zugrunde und mache von der in der Diskussion verbreiteten Ansicht Gebrauch, dass das Zufügen von Schaden oder die Verweigerung von Respekt Diskriminierung verwerflich macht. In der privaten Sphäre kann es nun Fälle moralisch zulässiger Diskriminierung geben. Zentral ist die sexuelle Diskriminierung aufgrund der Ausübung einer freien Wahl des eigenen Sexual- oder Liebespartners. Auch wenn sich der Abgewiesene womöglich geschädigt sieht, wird unbilliger Schaden nicht zugefügt und geschul- deter Respekt nicht verweigert. Den Grund finden wir in Alexanders Formel: Ein „breach of promises“ oder eine Verletzung „fiduciary duties“ liegt nicht vor. Anders im Fall staatlicher Diskriminierung: Ein „breach of promises“ oder eine Verletzung „fiduciary duties“ liegt hier stets vor, da Fälle staatlicher Diskriminierung regelmäßig Machtmissbrauch darstellen: Der Inhaber staatlicher Gewalt verletzt die Treuepflicht, das Mandat unparteilich auszuüben, das getreulich auszuführen er gelobt hat. Diskriminierung erscheint also weniger als ein Problem der angewandten Ethik denn als eines der politischen Philosophie. (shrink)
This article is concerned with developing a philosophical approach to a number of significant changes to academic publishing, and specifically the global journal knowledge system wrought by a range of new digital technologies that herald the third age of the journal as an electronic, interactive and mixed-media form of scientific communication. The paper emerges from an Editors' Collective, a small New Zealand-based organisation comprised of editors and reviewers of academic journals mostly in the fields of education and philosophy. The paper (...) is the result of a collective writing process. (shrink)
Management theory and practice are facing unprecedented challenges. The lack of sustainability, the increasing inequity, and the continuous decline in societal trust pose a threat to ‘business as usual’. Capitalism is at a crossroad and scholars, practitioners, and policy makers are called to rethink business strategy in light of major external changes. In the following, we review an alternative view of human beings that is based on a renewed Darwinian theory developed by Lawrence and Nohria. We label this alternative view (...) ‘humanistic’ and draw distinctions to current ‘economistic’ conceptions. We then develop the consequences that this humanistic view has for business organizations, examining business strategy, governance structures, leadership forms, and organizational culture. Afterward, we outline the influences of humanism on management in the past and the present, and suggest options for humanism to shape the future of management. In this manner, we will contribute to the discussion of alternative management paradigms that help solve the current crises. (shrink)
In this book, Michael Arbib, a researcher in artificial intelligence and brain theory, joins forces with Mary Hesse, a philosopher of science, to present an integrated account of how humans 'construct' reality through interaction with the social and physical world around them. The book is a major expansion of the Gifford Lectures delivered by the authors at the University of Edinburgh in the autumn of 1983. The authors reconcile a theory of the individual's construction of reality as a network (...) of schemas 'in the head' with an account of the social construction of language, science, ideology and religion to provide an integrated schema-theoretic view of human knowledge. The authors still find scope for lively debate, particularly in their discussion of free will and of the reality of God. The book integrates an accessible exposition of background information with a cumulative marshalling of evidence to address fundamental questions concerning human action in the world and the nature of ultimate reality. (shrink)
Here, we argue that any neurobiological theory based on an experience/function division cannot be empirically confirmed or falsified and is thus outside the scope of science. A ‘perfect experiment’ illustrates this point, highlighting the unbreachable boundaries of the scientific study of consciousness. We describe a more nuanced notion of cognitive access that captures personal experience without positing the existence of inaccessible conscious states. Finally, we discuss the criteria necessary for forming and testing a falsifiable theory of consciousness.
Bishop and Trout here present a unique and provocative new approach to epistemology. Their approach aims to liberate epistemology from the scholastic debates of standard analytic epistemology, and treat it as a branch of the philosophy of science. The approach is novel in its use of cost-benefit analysis to guide people facing real reasoning problems and in its framework for resolving normative disputes in psychology. Based on empirical data, Bishop and Trout show how people can improve their reasoning by relying (...) on Statistical Prediction Rules. They then develop and articulate the positive core of the book. Their view, Strategic Reliabilism, claims that epistemic excellence consists in the efficient allocation of cognitive resources to reliable reasoning strategies, applied to significant problems. The last third of the book develops the implications of this view for standard analytic epistemology; for resolving normative disputes in psychology; and for offering practical, concrete advice on how this theory can improve real people's reasoning. This is a truly distinctive and controversial work that spans many disciplines and will speak to an unusually diverse group, including people in epistemology, philosophy of science, decision theory, cognitive and clinical psychology, and ethics and public policy. (shrink)
When contrasted with "Continental" philosophy, analytical philosophy is often called "Anglo-American." Dummett argues that "Anglo-Austrian" would be a more accurate label. By re-examining the similar origins of the two traditions, we can come to understand why they later diverged so widely, and thus take the first step toward reconciliation.
Largely due to the popular allegation that contemporary science has uncovered indeterminism in the deepest known levels of physical reality, the debate as to whether humans have moral freedom, the sort of freedom on which moral responsibility depends, has put aside to some extent the traditional worry over whether determinism is true. As I argue in this paper, however, there are powerful proofs for both chronological determinism and necessitarianism, forms of determinism that pose the most penetrative threat to human moral (...) freedom. My ultimate hope is to show that, despite the robust case against human moral freedom that can be made without even relying on them, chronological determinism and necessitarianism should be regarded with renewed urgency. (shrink)
The article analyzes the neural and functional grounding of language skills as well as their emergence in hominid evolution, hypothesizing stages leading from abilities known to exist in monkeys and apes and presumed to exist in our hominid ancestors right through to modern spoken and signed languages. The starting point is the observation that both premotor area F5 in monkeys and Broca's area in humans contain a “mirror system” active for both execution and observation of manual actions, and that F5 (...) and Broca's area are homologous brain regions. This grounded the mirror system hypothesis of Rizzolatti and Arbib (1998) which offers the mirror system for grasping as a key neural “missing link” between the abilities of our nonhuman ancestors of 20 million years ago and modern human language, with manual gestures rather than a system for vocal communication providing the initial seed for this evolutionary process. The present article, however, goes “beyond the mirror” to offer hypotheses on evolutionary changes within and outside the mirror systems which may have occurred to equip Homo sapiens with a language-ready brain. Crucial to the early stages of this progression is the mirror system for grasping and its extension to permit imitation. Imitation is seen as evolving via a so-called simple system such as that found in chimpanzees (which allows imitation of complex “object-oriented” sequences but only as the result of extensive practice) to a so-called complex system found in humans (which allows rapid imitation even of complex sequences, under appropriate conditions) which supports pantomime. This is hypothesized to have provided the substrate for the development of protosign, a combinatorially open repertoire of manual gestures, which then provides the scaffolding for the emergence of protospeech (which thus owes little to nonhuman vocalizations), with protosign and protospeech then developing in an expanding spiral. It is argued that these stages involve biological evolution of both brain and body. By contrast, it is argued that the progression from protosign and protospeech to languages with full-blown syntax and compositional semantics was a historical phenomenon in the development of Homo sapiens, involving few if any further biological changes. Key Words: gestures; hominids; language evolution; mirror system; neurolinguistics; primates; protolanguage; sign language; speech; vocalization. (shrink)
Although our subjective impression is of a richly detailed visual world, numerous empirical results suggest that the amount of visual information observers can perceive and remember at any given moment is limited. How can our subjective impressions be reconciled with these objective observations? Here, we answer this question by arguing that, although we see more than the handful of objects, claimed by prominent models of visual attention and working memory, we still see far less than we think we do. Taken (...) together, we argue that these considerations resolve the apparent conflict between our subjective impressions and empirical data on visual capacity, while also illuminating the nature of the representations underlying perceptual experience. (shrink)
This paper, based on an invited Thesis Eleven presentation, provides a ‘map of technopolitics’ that springs from an investigation of the theoretical notion of technological convergence adopted by the US National Science Foundation, signaling a new paradigm of ‘nano-bio-info-cogno’ technologies. This integration at the nano-level is expected to drive the next wave of scientific research, technology and knowledge economy. The paper explores the concept of ‘technopolitics’ by investigating the links between Wittgenstein’s anti-scientism and Lyotard’s ‘technoscience’, reviewing the history of the (...) notion in the work of the Belgium philosopher Gilbert Hottois. The ‘deep convergence’ representing a new technoscientific synergy is the product of long-term trends of ‘bioinformational capitalism’ that harnesses the twin forces of information and genetic sciences that coalesce in the least mature ‘cognosciences’ in their application to education and research. The map of technopolitics systematically identifies the political relations between Big Tech and ‘new digital publics’ to reveal that the new paradigm is based on the supreme value of cognitive efficiency. There are a closely-knit cluster of concerns that frame a map of political issues about the fifth-generation technological impacts on human beings, their bodies and minds, and public institutions, not least the logic of the distribution and ownership of data, information and knowledge, and its effects on democracy. (shrink)
Coalescent argumentation is a normative ideal that involves the joining together of two disparate claims through recognition and exploration of opposing positions. By uncovering the crucial connection between a claim and the attitudes, beliefs, feelings, values and needs to which it is connected dispute partners are able to identify points of agreement and disagreement. These points can then be utilized to effect coalescence, a joining or merging of divergent positions, by forming the basis for a mutual investigation of non-conflictual options (...) that might otherwise have remained unconsidered. The essay proceeds by defining and discussing ‘argument’, ‘position’ and ‘understanding’. These notions are then brought together to outline the concept of coalescent reasoning. (shrink)
Science and philosophy study well-being with different but complementary methods. Marry these methods and a new picture emerges: To have well-being is to be "stuck" in a positive cycle of emotions, attitudes, traits and success. This book unites the scientific and philosophical worldviews into a powerful new theory of well-being.
In this paper, we offer a Piagetian perspective on the construction of the logico-mathematical schemas which embody our knowledge of logic and mathematics. Logico-mathematical entities are tied to the subject's activities, yet are so constructed by reflective abstraction that they result from sensorimotor experience only via the construction of intermediate schemas of increasing abstraction. The axiom set does not exhaust the cognitive structure (schema network) which the mathematician thus acquires. We thus view truth not as something to be defined within (...) the closed world of a formal system but rather in terms of the schema network within which the formal system is embedded. We differ from Piaget in that we see mathematical knowledge as based on social processes of mutual verification which provide an external drive to any necessary dynamic of reflective abstraction within the individual. From this perspective, we argue that axiom schemas tied to a preferred interpretation may provide a necessary intermediate stage of reflective abstraction en route to acquisition of the ability to use formal systems in abstracto. (shrink)
Strategic Reliabilism is a framework that yields relative epistemic evaluations of belief-producing cognitive processes. It is a theory of cognitive excellence, or more colloquially, a theory of reasoning excellence (where 'reasoning' is understood very broadly as any sort of cognitive process for coming to judgments or beliefs). First introduced in our book, Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment (henceforth EPHJ), the basic idea behind SR is that epistemically excellent reasoning is efficient reasoning that leads in a robustly reliable fashion (...) to significant, true beliefs. It differs from most contemporary epistemological theories in two ways. First, it is not a theory of justification or knowledge – a theory of epistemically worthy belief. Strategic Reliabilism is a theory of epistemically worthy ways of forming beliefs. And second, Strategic Reliabilism does not attempt to account for an epistemological property that is assumed to be faithfully reflected in the epistemic judgments and intuitions of philosophers. If SR makes recommendations that accord with our reflective epistemic judgments and intuitions, great. If not, then so much the worse for our reflective epistemic judgments and intuitions. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger is, perhaps, the most controversial philosopher of the twentieth-century. Little has been written on him or about his work and its significance for educational thought. This unique collection by a group of international scholars reexamines Heidegger's work and its legacy for educational thought.
The generality problem is widely considered to be a devastating objection to reliabilist theories of justification. My goal in this paper is to argue that a version of the generality problem applies to all plausible theories of justification. Assume that any plausible theory must allow for the possibility of reflective justification—S's belief, B, is justified on the basis of S's knowledge that she arrived at B as a result of a highly (but not perfectly) reliable way of reasoning, R. The (...) generality problem applies to all cases of reflective justification: Given that is the product of a process-token that is an instance of indefinitely many belief-forming process-types (or BFPTs), why is the reliability of R, rather than the reliability of one of the indefinitely many other BFPTs, relevant to B's justificatory status? This form of the generality problem is restricted because it applies only to cases of reflective justification. But unless it is solved, the generality problem haunts all plausible theories of justification, not just reliabilist ones. (shrink)
Research on implicit learning - a cognitive phenomenon in which people acquire knowledge without conscious intent or awareness - has been growing exponentially. This volume draws together this research, offering the first complete reference on implicit learning by those who have been instrumental in shaping the field. The contributors explore controversies in the field, and examine: functional characteristics, brain mechanisms and neurological foundations of implicit learning; connectionist models; and applications of implicit learning to acquiring new mental skills.
Using relevant encyclicals issued over the last 100 years, the author extracts those principles that constitute the underpinnings of Catholic Social Teaching about the employment relationship and contemplates implications of their incorporation into human resource policy. Respect for worker dignity, for his or her family's economic security, and for the common good of society clearly emerge as the primary guidelines for responsible human resource management. Dovetailing these three Church mandates with the economic objectives of the firm could, in essence, alter (...) the firm's nature because profit motivations would be constrained by consideration for worker and societal welfare. Integration of Church teaching with current corporate goals should therefore impact greatly on a variety of human resource policies. (shrink)