This volume is based on papers presented at a conference on defeasibility in ethics, epistemology, law, and logic that took place at the Goethe University in Frankfurt in 2010. The subtitle (“Knowledge, Agency, Responsibility, and the Law”) better reflects the content than does the title of the original conference. None of the papers focuses directly or primarily on defeasible reasoning in logic, though a few touch on this indirectly. Nor are the papers evenly split among the topics. Six are primarily (...) about epistemology, four about responsibility, and one each focuses on agency and the law. (shrink)
This final comment provides, a theoretical framework on how to conceive the self as presented in the key-note paper ‘Meaningfulness, volunteering and being moved. The event of witnessing’. This is deemed requisite to achieve a full understanding of how depth in meaningfulness comes about.
In this response to Stenmark's critique of my views on rational theology, I concentrate on his distinction between the epistemic and the practical goals of religion and between descriptive and normative rational theology. With regard to the first distinction, I grant that truth claims play an essential role in religious belief and that it is indeed the task of philosophy of religion to decide on the meaning and rationality of such claims. I argue, however, that since such claims are internally (...) related to the practical context of religious belief, their meaning and rationally cannot be determined apart from this context as is done in the kind of rational theology which Stenmark calls 'scientific'. With regard to the second distinction, I reject Stenmark's view that philosophy of religion has a descriptive task with reference to religion, and hence also his claim that I have put forward a false description of 'the religious language game'. (shrink)
I reconstruct Bruno Latour's ideas about science and religion and compare them to Ian G. Barbour's and Mikael Stenmark's models, as well as to the discussion of technology and religion developed by John C. Caiazza and Antje Jackelén. I show how using “Latour's App” enlightens some aspects of said models which Barbour and Stenmark themselves were seemingly struggling with, and that Caiazza's and Jackelén's views can be reconciled despite their apparent opposition. The result of such tests is an overall (...) assessment of Latour's proposal. I argue that, under the disguise of a flamboyant and original language, Latour's method is not that distant from those of the other authors analyzed here, and that his discussion might conceal some unwelcome philosophical shortcomings. (shrink)
Exploring both the political and intellectual contexts within which Machiavelli's political vision was formed, Mikael Hornqvist stresses the classical and rhetorical character of Machiavelli's thought. He analyzes his preoccupation with glory and liberality in relation to the revival of Roman ideas of triumphalism. The result is a revealing account of the formation of Machiavelli's characteristic preoccupations.
In this comment-response Mikael Lindfelt makes some suggestions to how one could develop the argument for witnessing as experiencing meaningfulness in life as put forward by Nicole Note and Emilie Van Deale. While being positive to the main phenomenological approach, and especially the dialectical relational aspect of the phenomenological argument, Lindfelt uses Alain Badiou’s talk of Event in trying both to develop the phenomenological argument and to point out some idealistic tendencies in the line of the argument. Lindfelt suggests (...) that the aspect of uniqueness in the relational experience of the other should be taken to more radically than suggested by Note and Van Deale. By pointing out the dialectical fragility of the Event of witnessing Lindfelt is arguing for that the concept of respect could be more utilized in arguing for the experience of meaning seen as a gift. (shrink)
Adams’ thesis is generally agreed to be linguistically compelling for simple conditionals with factual antecedent and consequent. We propose a derivation of Adams’ thesis from the Lewis- Kratzer analysis of if-clauses as domain restrictors, applied to probability operators. We argue that Lewis’s triviality result may be seen as a result of inexpressibility of the kind familiar in generalized quantifier theory. Some implications of the Lewis- Kratzer analysis are presented concerning the assignment of probabilities to compounds of conditionals.
The aim of this paper is to provide a case for the double-halfer position in the sleeping beauty. This case relies on the use of the so-called imaging rule for probabilistic dynamics as a substitute for conditionalization. It is argued that the imaging rule is the appropriate one for dealing with belief change in sleeping beauty and that under natural assumptions, this rule results in the double-halfer position.
Both evolutionary theory and Christian faith have a number of things to say about human beings. Evolutionists claim that humans are animals with a bipedal walk, an erect posture, and a large brain, while Christians maintain that, like everything else, human beings are created by God, but that, in contrast to other things on earth, we humans are also created in the image of God. This much is clear, but do either evolutionists or Christians also claim that there is such (...) a thing as a human nature? Or, even if evolutionary theory and Christian faith do not say so explicitly, should we nevertheless assume that they embrace such a view implicitly? In this essay, I argue that we should give an affirmative answer to these questions. I also try to clarify more precisely what it means to say that something has a nature. (shrink)
Understanding has received growing interest from epistemologists in recent years, but no consensus regarding its epistemic properties has yet been reached. This paper extracts, but also rejects, candidates of epistemic properties for construing an epistemological model of understanding from the writings of epistemologists participating in the current discussion surrounding that state. On the basis of these results, a suggestion is put forward according to which understanding is a non-basic epistemic state of warrant rather than knowledge. It is argued that this (...) move provides a satisfactory conciliatory answer to the central question whether understanding is a factive epistemic state. Some differences between understanding and knowledge are recorded along the way: for instance, that in contrast to knowledge, understanding does not require belief and that, even though neither knowledge nor understanding iterates, so that a subject can both know without knowing that she knows, as well as understanding without understanding that she understands, the reasons for the failure is different. (shrink)
Organic food standardization is an increasingly important strategy for dealing with consumer concerns about the environment, animal welfare, health, and the economic structure of food production. But the ways in which this consumer-oriented strategy is introduced, organized, and debated vary considerably across countries. In Sweden, a nongovernmental organization [KRAV (Association for Control of Organic Production)] – consisting of social movement organizations, associations for conventional and organic farmers, and the food industry – has been quite successful in promoting organic food labeling (...) as an eco-label. KRAV has developed a complementary position vis-à-vis the state and EU regulatory framework. In the US, the federal government controls standardization. The government frames the label as a “marketing label,” thus rejecting the idea that organic food production would have any significant advantages for the environment or, indirectly, for human health. This framing is separate from the ones created by organic constituencies, leading to deeper controversies than in Sweden. The purpose of this paper is to examine why standardization has followed different patterns in the two settings. We analyze context factors (i.e., political culture, pre-regulatory arrangements, and organizational structures) and process factors (i.e., framing and organizing). What are the benefits of a state-centric versus a nonstate-driven approach regarding powerful standardization? The paper shows that both settings provide not only “threats of regulatory occupation” from actors not committed to organic principles but also avenues for substantial standardization in the future, albeit through different channels. (shrink)
In this article, I call into question the relevance of emergence theories as presently used by thinkers in the science–religion discussion. Specifically, I discuss theories of emergence that have been used by both religious naturalists and proponents of panentheism. I argue for the following conclusions: (1) If we take the background theory to be metaphysical realism, then there seems to be no positive connection between the reality of emergent properties and the validity of providing reality with a religious interpretation, though (...) one could perhaps construe an argument for the positive ontological status of emergence as a negative case for a religious worldview. (2) To be considered more plausible, religious naturalism should interpret religious discourse from the perspective of pragmatic realism. (3) Panentheistic models of divine causality are unable to avoid ontological dualism. (4) It is not obvious that emergent phenomena and/or properties are nonreducible in the ontological sense of the terms; indeed, the tension between weak and strong emergence makes it difficult for the emergentist to make ontological judgments. My general conclusion is that the concept of emergence has little metaphysical significance in the dialogue between science and theology. (shrink)
In the current discussion on epistemic value, several philosophers argue that understanding enjoys higher epistemological significance and epistemic value than knowledge—the epistemic state the epistemological tradition has been preoccupied with. By noting a tension between the necessary conditions for understanding in the perhaps most prominent of these philosophers, Jonathan Kvanvig, this paper disputes the higher epistemological relevance of understanding. At the end, on the basis of the results of the previous sections, some alternative comparative contrasts between knowledge and understanding are (...) briefly explored, including one in which an analogue to the KK-principle for knowledge, the “UU-principle”, does not hold for a different reason than that for which the former principle fails. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to explore where and why religious naturalism differs from its rivals, and also to consider some of the challenges religious naturalism faces. I argue that religious naturalism is best conceived as a reaction against both theists who are religious and naturalists who are atheists: the best option is taken to be a naturalist who is religious. Nevertheless, it is quite difficult to say more exactly what claims the view contains. In fact, it is argued, (...) three forms of religious naturalism must be distinguished and contrasted with their rivals, which are taken to be non-religious naturalism, scientific naturalism, theism (including panentheism), divine transcendentalism, religious agnosticism, and religious relativism. (shrink)
Photography is often said to be an essentially causal medium. This paper addresses the role of causality in photography and argues for three main claims: (i) a causal theory of photography does not force us to say that images of backlit objects are photographs of the back surfaces of the said objects (as Roy Sorensen would have it); rather, (ii), such images, I suggest, are photographs of the objects and what Alva Noë would call their ‘looks’; (iii) the notion of (...) ‘looks’ furnishes us with a way to move closer to an answer to the question of the appropriate causal relation in photography. (shrink)
In this article I try to define more precisely what scientism is and how it is related to a traditional religion such as Christianity. By first examining the writing of a number of contemporary natural scientists (Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and Edward O. Wilson), I show that the concept can be given numerous different meanings. I propose and defend a distinction between epistemic, rationalistic, ontological, axiological and redemptive scientism and it is also explained why we should (...) not directly identify scientism with scientific materialism or scientific naturalism. (shrink)
In The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature , Steven Pinker maintains that at present there are three competing views of human nature—a Christian theory, a "blank slate" theory (what I call a social constructivist theory), and a Darwinian theory—and that the last of these will triumph in the end. I argue that neither the outcome of such competition nor the particular content of these theories is as clear as Pinker believes. In this essay I take a critical (...) as well as a constructive look at the challenge presented by a Darwinian theory of human nature—a challenge to the social sciences and the humanities and also to theology and more specifically to a Christian understanding of human nature. (shrink)
Although many libertarians share similar moral foundations, they disagree about whether the state can be justified. The most famous libertarian attempt to justify the state is that of Robert Nozick. This attempt has been criticized by, among others, the libertarian anarchist Murray Rothbard. In this article, Nozick’s theory and Rothbard’s critique are discussed, as well as some other attempts to justify the state from libertarian premises. Keeping the criticisms of those theories in mind, an alternative theory, which attempts to bypass (...) the criticisms, is put forward. This alternative theory explains how a state—most probably a nonminimal democratic state—can legitimately be formed in a condition of anarchy without violating anyone’s libertarian rights. One result of this is that the rights-based case for minarchism is severely weakened. (shrink)
Many photographs seem to be images of absences: for instance, a photograph of a shadow seems to be an image of an absence, as shadows are plausibly thought of as being absences of light. Absence photography is puzzling, however, as, first, it is a common idea that photographs can only be images of things that have caused them, and, second, it is unclear whether absences can cause anything. In this paper, I look at various ways to unravel the puzzle. Along (...) the way, I also hope to cast some light on the idea that photography is a causal medium. (shrink)
I address the issue of whether differences in ethical theory have any relevance for the practical issues of environmental management and policy making. Norton’s answer, expressed as a convergence hypothesis, is that environmentalists are evolving toward a consensus in policy even though they remain divided regarding basic values. I suggest that there are good reasons for rejecting Norton’s position.I elaborate on these reasons, first, by distinguishing between different forms of anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism, second, by contrasting the different goals that anthropocentrists, (...) biocentrists, and ecocentrists set up for environmental policy making, and, lastly, by identifying three important policy areas (population growth, wilderness preservation, and wildlife management) where differences in basic values generate divergent policies. (shrink)
Issues about human nature are at the core of philosophy, but theories of human nature can be found in many academic disciplines and all humans have opinions and sometimes fairly strong opinions about who we are. We sometimes talk more specifically about, for instance, a Christian view of human nature and distinguish it from say the Blank Slate theory or a Darwinian understanding of human nature. But what is more exactly a theory of human nature? In this essay I survey (...) a number of key issues which philosophers and other scholars have maintained that a theory of human nature, which pretends to be adequate and comprehensive, needs to address. (shrink)
Ostracism—being excluded and ignored—thwarts satisfaction of four fundamental needs: belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence. The current study investigated whether training participants to focus their attention on the here-and-now reduces distress from an ostracism experience. Participants were first trained in either focused or unfocused attention, and then played Cyberball, an online ball-tossing game for which half the participants were included or ostracized. Participants reported their levels of need satisfaction during the game, and after a short delay. Whereas both training groups (...) experienced the same degree of need-threat in the immediate measure, participants who were trained in focused attention showed more recovery for the delayed measure. We reason that focused attention would not reduce the distress during the ostracism experience, but it aided in recovery by preventing participants from reliving the ostracism experience after it concludes. (shrink)