A formula is a contingent logical truth when it is true in every model M but, for some model M , false at some world of M . We argue that there are such truths, given the logic of actuality. Our argument turns on defending Tarski’s definition of truth and logical truth, extended so as to apply to modal languages with an actuality operator. We argue that this extension is the philosophically proper account of validity. We counter recent arguments to (...) the contrary presented in Hanson’s ‘Actuality, Necessity, and Logical Truth’ (Philos Stud 130:437–459, 2006 ). (shrink)
In an unpublished manuscript of 1914 titled ‘Logic in mathematics’, Gottlob Frege offered a rich account of the paradox of analysis. I argue that Frege there claims that the explicandum and explicans of a successful analysis express the same sense and that he furthermore appreciated that this requires that one cannot conclude that two sentences differ in sense simply because it is possible for a (minimally) competent speaker to accept one without accepting the other. I claim that this is shown (...) by Frege’s suggestive remarks about a cloudy grasp of a sense. I then argue that this fact calls into question a key assumption behind Frege’s master argument for the sense/reference distinction. (shrink)
Though largely a theoretical endeavour, environmental ethics also has a practical agenda to help humans achieve environmental sustainability. Environmental ethicists have extensively debated the grounds, contents and implications of our moral obligations to nonhuman nature, offering up different notions of an 'environmental ethic' with the presumption that, if humans adopt such an environmental ethic, they will then engage in less environmentally damaging behaviours. We assess this presumption, drawing on psychological research to discuss whether or under what conditions an environmental ethic (...) might engender pro-environmental behaviour. We focus discussion on three lines of scholarship in the environmental ethics literature, on 1) intrinsic value, 2) care ethics, and 3) the land ethic. We conclude by commenting generally on both the limits and transformative potential of an environmental ethic in its larger sociocultural context. (shrink)
Propositional attitude ascribing sentences seem to give rise to failures of substitution. Is this phenomena best accounted for semantically, by constructing a semantics for propositional attitude ascribing sentences that invalidates the Substitution Principle, or pragmatically? In this paper I argue against semantic accounts of such phenomena. I argue that any semantic theory that respects all our apparent substitution failure intuitions will entail that the noun-phrase position outside the scope of the attitude verb is not open to substitution salva veritate, which (...) is counter-intuitive. (shrink)
Karen Bennett has recently argued that the views articulated by Linsky and Zalta (Philos Perspect 8:431–458, 1994) and (Philos Stud 84:283–294, 1996) and Plantinga (The nature of necessity, 1974) are not consistent with the thesis of actualism, according to which everything is actual. We present and critique her arguments. We first investigate the conceptual framework she develops to interpret the target theories. As part of this effort, we question her definition of ‘proxy actualism’. We then discuss her main arguments that (...) the theories carry a commitment to actual entities that do not exist. We end by considering and addressing a worry that might have been the driving force behind Bennett’s claim that Linsky and Zalta’s view is not fully actualistic. (shrink)
Over and over, philosophers have claimed that environmental holism in general, and Leopold's Land Ethic in particular, ought to be rejected on the basis that it has fascistic implications. I argue that the land Ethic is not tantamount to environmental fascism because Leopold's moral theory accounts for the moral standing of the individual as well as "the land," a holistic ethic better protects and defends the individual in the long-run, and the term "fascism" is misapplied in this case.
The “received” concept of wilderness as a place apart from and untouched by humans is five-times flawed: it is not universalizable, it is ethnocentric, it is ecologically naive, it separates humans from nature, and its referent is nonexistent. The received view of wilderness leads to dilemmas and unpalatable consequences, including the loss of designated wilderness areas by political and legislative authorities. What is needed is a more flexible notion of wilderness. Suggestions are made for a revised concept of wilderness.
Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmental movement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
I argue that propositions are contingent existents. Some propositions that in fact exist might not have existed and there might have been propositions that are distinct from every actually existing proposition. This is because some propositions are singular propositions, which are propositions containing ordinary objects as constituents, and so are ontologically dependent on the existence of those objects; had those objects not existed, then the singular propositions would not have existed. I provide both a philosophical and technical understanding of the (...) contingent status of propositions. (shrink)
Students who enroll in my environmental ethics courses often come with a background in ecology and natural resources. Moreover, they often point to this background when they express their frustration with, or outright rejection of, individualistic or atomistic moral theories that simply strive to include individual living things within the purview of a moral community. They ultimately evoke the concept of holism as the source of their frustration. Addressing this concern requires trying to make sense of both the concept of (...) holism generally and the supposed connection students sense between their training as young scientists and the attempt to ground a worthy environmental ethic. Many theories within the field of environmental ethics either evoke or rest upon the concept of holism. To date, however, the concept of holism has not been unpacked in any detail. To begin such an unpacking teachers need (1) to demonstrate how and when holism appears within the field of environmental ethics, (2) to explain the core idea underpinning holism and compare it to reductionism, and (3) to provide a general classification of how holism is employed in both a metaphysical and ethical sense within environmental ethics. (shrink)
I discuss two claims defended in Fischer’s recent work. The first is the default status of compatibilism. This is part of a conception of our agency and moral responsibility as being independent of the truth or the falsity of the thesis of determinism. I try to further bolster Fischer’s arguments in favor of this position. The second is Fischer’s defense of the narrative conception of moral responsibility, according to which the value of self-expression supports and explicates the value of being (...) morally responsible. I argue that the cases and insights taken to support the idea that our lives have a distinctive kind of narrative value are best accounted for in other terms. (shrink)
Janna Thompson dismisses environmental ethics primarily because it does not meet her criteria for ethics: consistency, non-vacuity, and decidability. In place of a more expansive environmental ethic, she proposes to limit moral considerability to beings with a “point of view.” I contend, first, that a point-of-view centered ethic is unacceptable not only because it fails to meet the tests of her own and other criteria,but also because it is precisely the type of ethic that has contributed to our current environmental (...) dilemmas. Second, I argue that the holistic, ecocentric land ethic of Aldo Leopold, as developed by J. Baird Callicott, an environmental ethic that Thompson never considers, nicely meets Thompson’s criteria for acceptable ethics, and may indeed be the cure for our environmental woes. (shrink)
In classical quantificational logic, every individual constant is assigned a value from the domain of discourse, thus ensuring that every instance of \\) is valid and so a theorem of a complete logic. Standard tense and modal logics validate a rule of necessitation, according to which, crudely, every theorem is always and necessarily true. Combining these two generates the result that everything always and necessarily exists. In a number of works from the late 1950s through to his death in 1969, (...) Prior worked to develop tense and modal logics that avoided these results. Prior’s key idea was to reject the rule of necessitation. In this essay, I present and criticize Prior’s account of the contingency of existence and offer a more satisfying account that shares many of the virtues of Prior’s account. (shrink)
I argue that the Formula of Humanity, the principle that we should always treat the humanity of a person as an end in itself and never as a mere means, is a principle of pure practical reason. Insofar as that principle is also the fundamental grounds of morality, it follows, then, that all autonomous rational agents are committed to morality.
Eternalist tensism is the thesis that tense is an objective feature of reality as it is in itself and that all times, whether past, present, or future, are equally real. I develop an argument from qualitative change in favor of tensism and defend eternalism from an argument from fatalism.
Aristotelian Actualism is the conjunction of the theses that absolutely everything is actual, that individuals are neither reducible to nor dependent on independently identified properties, and that some individuals are genuine contingent existents. Robert Adams and Gregory Fitch, two prominent proponents of Aristotelian Actualism, have argued that this view has a consequence that any modal logic stronger than M, and so any modal logic in which symmetry and reflexivity are frame conditions, is inadequate. We argue that this is incorrect.
The Internet and Internet applications such as cloud computing continue to grow at an extraordinary rate, enabled by the Internet's open architecture and the vibrant lightly regulated Internet service provider market. Proposals to hold ISPs responsible for content and software shared by their customers would dramatically constrain the openness and innovation that has been the hallmark of the Internet to date. Rather than taking the kind of approach favored by Raphael Cohen-Almagor, government should enlist the assistance of other intermediaries such (...) as credit card companies in targeted actions against illegal activities online. In addition, they should foster improved online authentication, which could support “zones of trust” on the Internet. (shrink)
Chapter 1 makes a persuasive case for the “worthiness of worth thinking” within moral thought. Perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates that any systematic attempt to consider the meaning of a good and worthwhile life must seriously address the concept of worth: “we need ideals of worthiness to address the more threateningly and excitingly open questions about how to live”.