I argue that the evolutionary history of anger has substantive implications for normative ethics. In the process, I develop an evolutionary account of anger and its influence on action. First, I consider a prominent argument by Peter Singer and Joshua Greene. They conclude that evolutionary explanations of human cooperation debunk – or undercut the evidential value of – the moral intuitions supporting duty ethics (as opposed to utilitarian or consequentialist ethics). With this argument they aim to defend consequentialist theories. However, (...) their argument also threatens to debunk intuitions that support consequentialist theories. I give a novel argument that overcomes this difficulty. Specifically, I offer an evolutionary story about anger that can explain retributive, duty-oriented intuitions concerning punishment. This explanation debunks these intuitions (and not others) by showing that they were selected for their biological consequences rather than their accuracy (concerning duties to punish). I develop this explanation by raising and resolving three additional problems. First, prominent evolutionary explanations of retributive motives fail because they appeal to models that apply only to organisms with strategic insight. To mitigate this problem, I explain the existence of a retributive-like motive in rodents by appealing to an economic model of resource competition, which applies to organisms without strategic insight. Second, I show that human anger was shaped by resource competition of this kind. To do so, I develop evidential criteria to determine when psychological systems in different species share common evolutionary origins. I deploy these criteria to argue that human anger and the retributive motive in rodents derive from the same ancestral trait. Finally, the continuity of anger across human and nonhuman animals stands in tension with the idea that anger causes purposive behavior like retribution or retaliation. I argue that differences between the angry behaviors of human and nonhuman animals are differences in degree and not in kind. In the end, this evolutionary story both explains and undermines retributive intuitions, but not in the straightforward way that Singer and Greene suppose. (shrink)
What is justice? -- The idea of justice in the Holy Scriptures -- Platonic justice -- Aristotle's doctrine of justice -- The natural-law doctrine before the tribunal of science -- A "dynamic" theory of natural law -- Absolutism and relativism in philosophy and politics -- Value judgments in the science of law -- The law as a specific social technique -- Why should the law be obeyed? -- The pure theory of the law and analytical jurisprudence -- Law, (...) state, and justice in the pure theory of law -- Causality and retribution -- Causality and imputation -- Science and politics. (shrink)
Many people have argued that the evolution of the human language faculty cannot be explained by Darwinian natural selection. Chomsky and Gould have suggested that language may have evolved as the by-product of selection for other abilities or as a consequence of as-yet unknown laws of growth and form. Others have argued that a biological specialization for grammar is incompatible with every tenet of Darwinian theory – that it shows no genetic variation, could not exist in any intermediate forms, (...) confers no selective advantage, and would require more evolutionary time and genomic space than is available. We examine these arguments and show that they depend on inaccurate assumptions about biology or language or both. Evolutionary theory offers clear criteria for when a trait should be attributed to natural selection: complex design for some function, and the absence of alternative processes capable of explaining such complexity. Human language meets these criteria: Grammar is a complex mechanism tailored to the transmission of propositional structures through a serial interface. Autonomous and arbitrary grammatical phenomena have been offered as counterexamples to the position that language is an adaptation, but this reasoning is unsound: Communication protocols depend on arbitrary conventions that are adaptive as long as they are shared. Consequently, language acquisition in the child should systematically differ from language evolution in the species, and attempts to analogize them are misleading. Reviewing other arguments and data, we conclude that there is every reason to believe that a specialization for grammar evolved by a conventional neo-Darwinian process. (shrink)
Familiarity with Charles Darwin's treatise on evolution is essential to every well-educated individual. One of the most important books ever published--and a continuing source of controversy, a century and a half later--this classic of science is reproduced in a facsimile of the critically acclaimed first edition.
In this volume, leading philosophers of psychiatry examine psychiatric classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, asking whether current systems are sufficient for effective diagnosis, treatment, and research. Doing so, they take up the question of whether mental disorders are natural kinds, grounded in something in the outside world. Psychiatric categories based on natural kinds should group phenomena in such a way that they are subject to the same type of causal explanations and respond (...) similarly to the same type of causal interventions. When these categories do not evince such groupings, there is reason to revise existing classifications. The contributors all question current psychiatric classifications systems and the assumptions on which they are based. They differ, however, as to why and to what extent the categories are inadequate and how to address the problem. Topics discussed include taxometric methods for identifying natural kinds, the error and bias inherent in DSM categories, and the complexities involved in classifying such specific mental disorders as "oppositional defiance disorder" and pathological gambling. -/- Contributors George Graham, Nick Haslam, Allan Horwitz, Harold Kincaid, Dominic Murphy, Jeffrey Poland, Nancy Nyquist Potter, Don Ross, Dan Stein, Jacqueline Sullivan, Serife Tekin, Peter Zachar. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that natural kind terms constitute a distinct semantic category. This idea emerged during the 1970's following Kripke's and Putnam's well-known remarks on natural kind terms. The idea has stayed with us, although it is now recognized that the issues are considerably more complex than initially thought. Thus, it has become clear that much of Kripke's and Putnam's discussions were based on rather simplified views of natural kinds. It also turns out that the semantic (...) issues are less straightforward than assumed - in particular, it is far from clear what it might mean to say that a kind term is rigid. Strikingly, however, these worries have not done much to undermine the confident assumption that natural kind terms form a special semantic category. In the paper I try to shake that confidence. I argue that although natural kind terms are no doubt important (for instance, from an explanatory point of view), we are certainly not warranted in concluding that they form a separate, semantic category among the kind terms. (shrink)
A paradigmatic case of rigidity for singular terms is that of proper names. And it would seem that a paradigmatic case of rigidity for general terms is that of natural kind terms. However, many philosophers think that rigidity cannot be extended from singular terms to general terms. The reason for this is that rigidity appears to become trivial when such terms are considered: natural kind terms come out as rigid, but so do all other general terms, and in (...) particular all descriptive general terms. This paper offers an account of rigidity for natural kind terms which does not trivialise in this way. On this account, natural kind terms are de jure obstinately rigid designators and other general terms, such as descriptive general terms, are not. (shrink)
Essentialism about natural kinds has three tenets. The first tenet is that all and only members of a natural kind has some essential properties. The second tenet is that these essential properties play a causal role. The third tenet is that they are explanatorily relevant. I examine the prospects of questioning these tenets and point out that arguing against the first and the second tenets of kind-essentialism would involve taking parts in some of the grand debates of philosophy. (...) But, at least if we restrict the scope of the discussion to the biological domain, the third tenet of kind-essentialism could be questioned more successfully. (shrink)
The category of sympathy marks a number of basic divisions in early modern approaches to action explanations, whether for human agency or for change in the wider natural world. Some authors were critical of using sympathy to explain change. They call such principles “unintelligible” or assume they involve “mysterious” action at a distance. Others, including Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, appeal to sympathy to capture natural phenomena, or to supply a backbone to their metaphysics. Here (...) I discuss how concerns about sympathetic actions form at least a partial background for differing seventeenth-century conceptions of what it is to explain action. I argue that critics of sympathy generally insist on an “atomistic” approach to action explanation, which makes primitively relational phenomena come out as problematic. Proponents of sympathy, by contrast, allow for a more holistic approach to action explanation, which allows for such basic connections. Hence, divergent attitudes toward sympathetic action in part explain differences in approaches to explanation. I conclude by showing how some of these core concerns fade into the background when in the eighteenth-century sympathy gets psychologised and individualised. (shrink)
In this chapter, I hope to show, by referring to two specific literary examples, that works of literature can demonstrate the possibility of Natural Theology and can prompt their readers’ thinking along Natural Theological lines by allowing them to have experiences which mirror the structure of those dealt with by Natural Theology.
How do fitness and natural selection relate to other evolutionary factors like architectural constraint, mode of reproduction, and drift? In one way of thinking, drawn from Newtonian dynamics, fitness is one force driving evolutionary change and added to other factors. In another, drawn from statistical thermodynamics, it is a statistical trend that manifests itself in natural selection histories. It is argued that the first model is incoherent, the second appropriate; a hierarchical realization model is proposed as a basis (...) for a statistical treatment. It emerges that natural selection does not cause evolution; it just is evolution. The theory incorporates relations of statistical correlation, but not the kind of causation found in fundamental physical processes. (shrink)
En On the Origin of Species Darwin distingue explícitamente entre tres tipos de selección: la selección natural, la artificial y la sexual. En este trabajo, a partir de un estudio más sistemático que historiográfico, se intenta encontrar la relación entre estos tres tipos de selección en la obra de Darwin. Si bien la distinción entre estos distintos mecanismos es de suma importancia en la obra de Darwin, la tesis de este trabajo es que tanto la selección artificial como la (...) sexual no son mecanismos distintos de la selección natural. Particularmente se sostiene que la selección artificial y la sexual son casos de la natural, y por esto sirven para su contrastación. (shrink)
We are living through an era of increased robotisation. Some authors have already begun to explore the impact of this robotisation on legal rules and practice. In doing so, many highlight potential liability gaps that might arise through robot misbehaviour. Although these gaps are interesting and socially significant, they do not exhaust the possible gaps that might be created by increased robotisation. In this article, I make the case for one of those alternative gaps: the retribution gap. This gap (...) arises from a mismatch between the human desire for retribution and the absence of appropriate subjects of retributive blame. I argue for the potential existence of this gap in an era of increased robotisation; suggest that it is much harder to plug this gap than it is to plug those thus far explored in the literature; and then highlight three important social implications of this gap. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that there is a kind of evil, namely, the unequal distribution of natural endowments, or natural inequality, which presents theists with a new evidential problem of evil. The problem of natural inequality is a new evidential problem of evil not only because, to the best of my knowledge, it has not yet been discussed in the literature, but also because available theodicies, such the free will defense and the soul-making defense, are not (...) adequate responses in the face of this particular evil, or so I argue. (shrink)
Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...) motivations for, and central assumptions of, social objectivism. I then propose that gender is better understood as a real kind with a historical essence, analogous to the biologist’s claim that species are historical entities. I argue that this proposal achieves a better solution to the problems that motivate social objectivism. Moreover, the account is consistent with a post-positivist understanding of the classificatory practices employed within the natural and social sciences. (shrink)
Perhaps the most readable and accessible of the great works of scientific imagination, The Origin of Species sold out on the day it was published in 1859. Theologians quickly labeled Charles Darwin the most dangerous man in England, and, as the Saturday Review noted, the uproar over the book quickly "passed beyond the bounds of the study and lecture-room into the drawing-room and the public street." Yet, after reading it, Darwin's friend and colleague T. H. Huxley had a different reaction: (...) "How extremely stupid not to have thought of that." Based largely on Darwin's experience as a naturalist while on a five-year voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle, The Origin of Species set forth a theory of evolution and natural selection that challenged contemporary beliefs about divine providence and the immutability of species. A landmark contribution to philosophical and scientific thought, this edition also includes an introductory historical sketch and a glossary Darwin later added to the original text. Charles Darwin grew up considered, by his own account, "a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect." A quirk of fate kept him from the career his father had deemed appropriate--that of a country parson--when a botanist recommended Darwin for an appointment as a naturalist aboard H.M.S. Beagle from 1831 to 1836. Darwin is also the author of the five-volume work Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle (1839) and The Descent of Man (1871). (shrink)
Philosophical problems about the part-whole relation have been discussed throughout the history of philosophy, at least since Plato and Aristotle. In contemporary philosophy, the understanding of these issues has benefited from the formal tools of Classical Extensional Mereology. This paper aims is to defend mereological restrictivism against some constraints imposed by the vagueness argument. To achieve this, the paper is divided into three parts. In the first, I introduce the special composition question (hereafter SCQ) as formulated by [Van Inwagen, 1990] (...) and briefly present the three sets of theories that proffer answers to it. In the second part, I focus on the vagueness argument, that was presented by [Lewis, 1986, ] and [Sider, 2007, ] to defend mereological universalism. In the third section, I introduce the theory of natural properties by David Lewis. From this theory, I propose a new mereological operation labeled as natural fusion. The purpose of this operation is to falsify one of the premises of the vagueness argument. Then, I discuss some examples and counter-examples to natural fusion. (shrink)
As medical technology advances and severely injured or ill people can be kept alive and functioning long beyond what was previously medically possible, the debate surrounding the ethics of end-of-life care and quality-of-life issues has grown more urgent. In this lucid and vigorous book, Craig Paterson discusses assisted suicide and euthanasia from a fully fledged but non-dogmatic secular natural law perspective. He rehabilitates and revitalises the natural law approach to moral reasoning by developing a pluralistic account of just (...) why we are required by practical rationality to respect and not violate key demands generated by the primary goods of persons, especially human life. Important issues that shape the moral quality of an action are explained and analysed: intention/foresight; action/omission; action/consequences; killing/letting die; innocence/non-innocence; person/non-person. Paterson defends the central normative proposition that ‘it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person, whether self or another, notwithstanding any further appeal to consequences or motive’. (shrink)
This paper is about the reconstruction of the Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection. My aim here is to outline the fundamental law of this theory in an informal way from its applications in The Origin of Species and to make explicit its fundamental concepts. I will introduce the theory-nets of special laws that arise from the specialization of the fundamental law. I will assume the metatheoretical structuralist frame. I will also point out many consequences that my proposal has about (...) a few metatheoretical discussions around the theory and, finally, I will relate my propose to other reconstructions available. (shrink)
The latter half of the twentieth century has been marked by debates in evolutionary biology over the relative significance of natural selection and random drift: the so-called “neutralist/selectionist” debates. Yet John Beatty has argued that it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the concept of random drift from the concept of natural selection, a claim that has been accepted by many philosophers of biology. If this claim is correct, then the neutralist/selectionist debates seem at best futile, and (...) at worst, meaningless. I reexamine the issues that Beatty raises, and argue that random drift and natural selection, conceived as processes, can be distinguished from one another. (shrink)
This paper elaborates distinctions between a core and a periphery in the ontological and the conceptual domain associated with natural language. The ontological core-periphery distinction is essential for natural language ontology and is the basis for the central thesis of my 2013 book Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language, namely that natural language permits reference to abstract objects in its periphery, but not its core.
[from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz (...) and Johan De Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitive science of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition. -/- De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality. (shrink)
We articulate a view of natural kinds as complex universals. We do not attempt to argue for the existence of universals. Instead, we argue that, given the existence of universals, and of natural kinds, the latter can be understood in terms of the former, and that this provides a rich, flexible framework within which to discuss issues of indeterminacy, essentialism, induction, and reduction. Along the way, we develop a 'problem of the many' for universals.
Though researchers often refer to memory as if it were a unitary phenomenon, a natural kind, the apparent heterogeneity of the various "kinds" of memory casts doubt on this default view. This paper argues, first, that kinds of memory are individuated by memory systems. It argues, second, for a view of the nature of kinds of memory informed by the tri-level hypothesis. If this approach to kinds of memory is right, then memory is not in fact a natural (...) kind. (shrink)
The claim that ordinary ethical discourse is typically true and that ethical facts are typically knowable seems in tension with the claim that ordinary ethical discourse is about features of reality friendly to a scientific worldview. Cornell Realism attempts to dispel this tension by claiming that ordinary ethical discourse is, in fact, discourse about the same kinds of things that scientific discourse is about: natural properties. We offer two novel arguments in reply. First, we identify a key assumption that (...) we find unlikely to be true. Second, we identify two features of typical natural properties that ethical properties lack. We conclude that Cornell Realism falls short of dispelling the tension between ethical conservativism and ethical naturalism. (shrink)
The paper addresses the phenomenology of inference. It proposes that the conscious character of conscious inferences is partly constituted by a sense of meaning; specifically, a sense of what Grice called ‘natural meaning’. In consciously drawing the (outright, categorical) conclusion that Q from a presumed fact that P, one senses the presumed fact that P as meaning that Q, where ‘meaning that’ expresses natural meaning. This sense of natural meaning is phenomenologically analogous, I suggest, to our sense (...) of what is said in fluently comprehending everyday utterances in our first language. The proposal that conscious inference involves a sense of natural meaning is compared with views according to which conscious inference involves taking the premises (i) to be good reasons for the conclusion (as defended by Thomson and Grice), (ii) to support it (as argued by Audi and, recently, Boghossian), or (iii) to imply it (as lately contended by Broome). I argue our proposal can explain certain phenomena handled by alternatives (i) and (ii), but that some further phenomena is handled by our account but not these alternatives. In relation to alternative (iii), I argue that, in so far as implicational and natural-meaning relations come apart, the latter are a better fit for what we sense or take to be so in conscious inference. (shrink)
Both realist and anti-realist accounts of natural kinds possess prima facie virtues: realists can straightforwardly make sense of the apparent objectivity of the natural kinds, and anti-realists, their knowability. This paper formulates a properly anti-realist account designed to capture both merits. In particular, it recommends understanding natural kinds as ‘categorical bottlenecks,’ those categories that not only best serve us, with our idiosyncratic aims and cognitive capacities, but also those of a wide range of alternative agents. By endorsing (...) an ultimately subjective categorical principle, this view sidesteps epistemological difficulties facing realist views. Yet, it nevertheless identifies natural kinds that are fairly, though not completely, stance-independent or objective. (shrink)
The doctrine of permanent sovereignty over natural resources is a hugely consequential one in the contemporary world, appearing to grant nation-states both jurisdiction-type rights and rights of ownership over the resources to be found in their territories. But the normative justification for that doctrine is far from clear. This article elucidates the best arguments that might be made for permanent sovereignty, including claims from national improvement of or attachment to resources, as well as functionalist claims linking resource rights to (...) key state functions. But it also shows that these defences are insufficient to justify permanent sovereignty and that in many cases they actually count against it as a practice. They turn out to be compatible, furthermore, with the dispersal of resource rights away from the nation-state which global justice appears to demand. (shrink)
The article argues that the famous debate on natural and positive law between Lon Fuller and HLA Hart rests on a dispute about whether or not that something is a law provides on its own a prima facie reason for doing something.
This presentation of Aristotle's natural deduction system supplements earlier presentations and gives more historical evidence. Some fine-tunings resulted from conversations with Timothy Smiley, Charles Kahn, Josiah Gould, John Kearns,John Glanvillle, and William Parry.The criticism of Aristotle's theory of propositions found at the end of this 1974 presentation was retracted in Corcoran's 2009 HPL article "Aristotle's demonstrative logic".
This edited volume of 13 new essays aims to turn past discussions of natural kinds on their head. Instead of presenting a metaphysical view of kinds based largely on an unempirical vantage point, it pursues questions of kindedness which take the use of kinds and activities of kinding in practice as significant in the articulation of them as kinds. The book brings philosophical study of current and historical episodes and case studies from various scientific disciplines to bear on (...) class='Hi'>natural kinds as traditionally conceived of within metaphysics. Focusing on these practices reveals the different knowledge-producing activities of kinding and processes involved in natural kind use, generation, and discovery. -/- Specialists in their field, the esteemed group of contributors use diverse empirically responsive approaches to explore the nature of kindhood. This groundbreaking volume presents detailed case studies that exemplify kinding in use. Newly written for this volume, each chapter engages with the activities of kinding across a variety of disciplines. Chapter topics include the nature of kinds, kindhood, kinding, and kind-making in linguistics, chemical classification, neuroscience, gene and protein classification, colour theory in applied mathematics, homology in comparative biology, sex and gender identity theory, memory research, race, extended cognition, symbolic algebra, cartography, and geographic information science. -/- The volume seeks to open up an as-yet unexplored area within the emerging field of philosophy of science in practice, and constitutes a valuable addition to the disciplines of philosophy and history of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. -/- Contributions from a diverse group of established and junior scholars in the fields of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science including Hasok Chang, Jordi Cat, Sally Haslanger, Joyce C. Havstad, Catherine Kendig, Bernhard Nickel, Josipa Petrunic, Samuli Pöyhönen, Thomas A. C. Reydon, Quayshawn Spencer, Jackie Sullivan, Michael Wheeler, and Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that moral judgment is a natural kind by developing an empirically grounded theory of the distinctive conceptual content of moral judgments. Psychological research on the moral/conventional distinction suggests that in moral judgments right and wrong, good and bad, praiseworthiness and blameworthiness, etc. are conceptualized as serious, general, authority-independent, and objective. After laying out the theory and the empirical evidence that supports it, I address recent empirical and conceptual objections. Finally, I suggest that the theory (...) uniquely accounts for the possibility of genuine moral agreement and disagreement. (shrink)
A large part of our exploration of the world consists in categorizing or classifying the objects and processes we encounter, both in scientific and everyday contexts. There are various, perhaps innumerable, ways to sort objects into different kinds or categories, but it is commonly assumed that, among the countless possible types of classifications, one group is privileged. Philosophy refers to such categories as natural kinds. Standard examples of such kinds include fundamental physical particles, chemical elements, and biological species. The (...) term natural does not imply that natural kinds ought to categorize only naturally occurring stuff or objects. Candidates for natural kinds can include man-made substances, such as synthetic elements, that can be created in a laboratory. The naturalness in question is not the naturalness of the entities being classified, but that of the groupings themselves. Groupings that are artificial or arbitrary are not natural; they are invented or imposed on nature. Natural kinds, on the other hand, are not invented, and many assume that scientific investigations should discover them. (shrink)
In earlier work I have claimed that emotion and some emotions are not `natural kinds'. Here I clarify what I mean by `natural kind', suggest a new and more accurate term, and discuss the objection that emotion and emotions are not descriptive categories at all, but fundamentally normative categories.
The notion that natural selection is a process of fitness maximization gets a bad press in population genetics, yet in other areas of biology the view that organisms behave as if attempting to maximize their fitness remains widespread. Here I critically appraise the prospects for reconciliation. I first distinguish four varieties of fitness maximization. I then examine two recent developments that may appear to vindicate at least one of these varieties. The first is the ‘new’ interpretation of Fisher's fundamental (...) theorem of natural selection, on which the theorem is exactly true for any evolving population that satisfies some minimal assumptions. The second is the Formal Darwinism project, which forges links between gene frequency change and optimal strategy choice. In both cases, I argue that the results fail to establish a biologically significant maximization principle. I conclude that it may be a mistake to look for universal maximization principles justified by theory alone. A more promising approach may be to find maximization principles that apply conditionally and to show that the conditions were satisfied in the evolution of particular traits. (shrink)
The paper presents a proof-theoretic semantics (PTS) for a fragment of natural language, providing an alternative to the traditional model-theoretic (Montagovian) semantics (MTS), whereby meanings are truth-condition (in arbitrary models). Instead, meanings are taken as derivability-conditions in a dedicated natural-deduction (ND) proof-system. This semantics is effective (algorithmically decidable), adhering to the meaning as use paradigm, not suffering from several of the criticisms formulated by philosophers of language against MTS as a theory of meaning. In particular, Dummett’s manifestation argument (...) does not obtain, and assertions are always warranted, having grounds of assertion. The proof system is shown to satisfy Dummett’s harmony property, justifying the ND rules as meaning conferring. The semantics is suitable for incorporation into computational linguistics grammars, formulated in type-logical grammar. (shrink)
The interpretation of Lewis‘s doctrine of natural properties is difficult and controversial, especially when it comes to the bearers of natural properties. According to the prevailing reading – the minimalist view – perfectly natural properties pertain to the micro-physical realm and are instantiated by entities without proper parts or point-like. This paper argues that there are reasons internal to a broadly Lewisian kind of metaphysics to think that the minimalist view is fundamentally flawed and that a liberal (...) view, according to which natural properties are instantiated at several or even at all levels of reality, should be preferred. Our argument proceeds by reviewing those core principles of Lewis‘s metaphysics that are most likely to constrain the size of the bearers of natural properties: the principle of Humean supervenience, the principle of recombination in modal realism, the hypothesis of gunk, and the thesis of composition as identity. (shrink)
Physiologia provides an accessible and comprehensive guide to late Aristotelian natural philosophy; with that context in hand, it offers new interpretations of major themes in Descartes’s natural philosophy.
This paper examines stakeholder responses to impression management tactics used by firms that express environmental commitment. We inductively analyzed data from 98 open-ended questionnaires and identified two impression management tactics that led respondents to believe that a firm was credible in its commitment to the natural environment. Approximately, half of the respondents responded to illustrative impression management tactics that provide images of, and/or broad-brush comments about, the firm’s commitment to the natural environment. The other half responded to demonstrative (...) impression management tactics, which provide specific facts and details about the firm’s operations. The research results provide important insights into the effects of organizational transparency. In this paper, we explore these findings and provide directions for future research. (shrink)
Recent papers by a number of philosophers have been concerned with the question of whether natural selection is a causal process, and if it is, whether the causes of selection are properties of individuals or properties of populations. I shall argue that much confusion in this debate arises because of a failure to distinguish between causal productivity and causal relevance. Causal productivity is a relation that holds between events connected via continuous causal processes, while causal relevance is a relationship (...) that can hold between a variety of different kinds of facts and the events that counterfactually depend upon them. I shall argue that the productive character of natural selection derives from the aggregation of individual processes in which organisms live, reproduce and die. At the same time, a causal explanation of the distribution of traits will necessarily appeal both to causally relevant properties of individuals and to causally relevant properties that exist only at the level of the population. (shrink)
This paper maps the landscape for a range of views concerning the metaphysics of natural kinds. I consider a range of increasingly ontologically committed views concerning natural kinds and the possible arguments for them. I then ask how these relate to natural kind essentialism, arguing that essentialism requires commitment to kinds as entities. I conclude by examining the homeostatic property cluster view of kinds in the light of the general understanding of kinds developed.
In the history of philosophy, Fichte's thought marks a crucial transitional stage between Kant and post-Kantian philosophy. Fichte radicalized Kant's thought by arguing that human freedom, not external reality, must be the starting point of all systematic philosophy, and in Foundations of Natural Right, thought by many to be his most important work of political philosophy, he applies his ideas to fundamental issues in political and legal philosophy, covering such topics as civic freedom, rights, private property, contracts, family relations, (...) and the foundations of modern political organization. This volume offers the first complete translation of the work into English, by Michael Baur, together with an introduction by Frederick Neuhouser that sets it in its philosophical and historical context. (shrink)
There is growing support for the view that social categories like men and women refer to “objective types” (Haslanger 2000, 2006, 2012; Alcoff 2005). An objective type is a similarity class for which the axis of similarity is an objective rather than nominal or fictional property. Such types are independently real and causally relevant, yet their unity does not derive from an essential property. Given this tandem of features, it is not surprising why empirically-minded researchers interested in fighting oppression and (...) marginalization have found this ontological category so attractive: objective types have the ontological credentials to secure the reality (and thus political representation) of social categories, and yet they do not impose exclusionary essences that also naturalize and legitimize social inequalities. This essay argues that, from the perspective of these political goals of fighting oppression and marginalization, the category of objective types is in fact a Trojan horse; it looks like a gift, but it ends up creating trouble. I argue that objective type classifications often lack empirical adequacy, and as a result they lack political adequacy. I also provide, and in reference to the normative goals described above, several arguments for preferring a social ontology of natural kinds with historical essences. (shrink)
This article contains the results of a theoretical analysis of the phenomenon of natural language understanding (NLU), as a methodological problem. The combination of structural-ontological and informational-psychological approaches provided an opportunity to describe the subject matter field of NLU, as a composite function of the mind, which systemically combines the verbal and discursive structural layers. In particular, the idea of NLU is presented, on the one hand, as the relation between the discourse of a specific speech message and the (...) meta-discourse of a language, in turn, activated by the need-motivational factors. On the other hand, it is conceptualized as a process with a specific structure of information metabolism, the study of which implies the necessity to differentiate the affective (emotional) and need-motivational influences on the NLU, as well as to take into account their interaction. At the same time, the hypothesis about the influence of needs on NLU under the scenario similar to the pattern of Yerkes-Dodson is argued. And the theoretical conclusion that emotions fulfill the function of the operator of the structural features of the information metabolism of NLU is substantiated. Thus, depending on the modality of emotions in the process of NLU, it was proposed to distinguish two scenarios for the implementation of information metabolism - reduction and synthetic. The argument in favor of the conclusion about the productive and constitutive role of emotions in the process of NLU is also given. (shrink)
Philosophy of science is seen by most as a meta-discipline – one that takes science as its subject matter, and seeks to acquire knowledge and understanding about science without in any way affecting, or contributing to, science itself. Karl Popper’s approach is very different. His first love is natural philosophy or, as he would put it, cosmology. This intermingles cosmology and the rest of natural science with epistemology, methodology and metaphysics. Paradoxically, however, one of his best known contributions, (...) his proposed solution to the problem of demarcation, helps to maintain the gulf that separates science from metaphysics, thus fragmenting cosmology into falsifiable science on the one hand, untestable philosophy on the other. This has damaging repercussions for a number of issues Popper tackles, from the problem of induction to simplicity of theory and quantum theory. But his proposed solution to the demarcation problem is untenable. Metaphysical assumptions are an integral part of scientific knowledge, inherent in the persistent acceptance of unified theories against the evidence. Once this is appreciated, it becomes obvious that natural philosophy, a synthesis of science and philosophy, is both more rigorous and of greater intellectual value than the two dissociated components we have today. What Popper sought for could come to full fruition. Problems that Popper tackled, from the problem of induction, to the problem of unity of theory, problems of quantum theory, and problems concerning the scope and limits of physics, all receive more adequate resolution within the new, fully-fledged natural philosophy. (shrink)
The aim of natural language ontology is to uncover the ontological categories and structures that are implicit in the use of natural language, that is, that a speaker accepts when using a language. This article aims to clarify what exactly the subject matter of natural language ontology is, what sorts of linguistic data it should take into account, how natural language ontology relates to other branches of metaphysics, in what ways natural language ontology is important, (...) and what may be distinctive of the ontological categories and structures reflected in natural language. (shrink)
There is a line of reasoning in metaepistemology that is congenial to naturalism and hard to resist, yet ultimately misguided: that knowledge might be a natural kind, and that this would undermine the use of conceptual analysis in the theory of knowledge. In this paper, I first bring out various problems with Hilary Kornblith’s argument from the causal–explanatory indispensability of knowledge to the natural kindhood of knowledge. I then criticize the argument from the natural kindhood of knowledge (...) against the method of conceptual analysis in the theory of knowledge. A natural motivation for this argument is the following seemingly plausible principle: if knowledge is a natural kind, then the concept of knowledge is a natural kind concept. Since this principle lacks adequate support, the crucial semantic claim that the concept of knowledge is a natural kind concept must be defended in some more direct way. However, there are two striking epistemic disanalogies between the concept of knowledge and paradigmatic natural kind concepts that militate against this semantic claim. Conceptual analyses of knowledge are not affected by total error, and the proponents of such analyses are not subject to a priori conceptual obliviousness. I conclude that the argument from natural kindhood does not succeed in undermining the use of conceptual analysis in the theory of knowledge. (shrink)
This paper addresses philosophical issues concerning whether mental disorders are natural kinds and how the DSM should classify mental disorders. I argue that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, depression) are natural kinds in the sense that they are natural classes constituted by a set of stable biological mechanisms. I subsequently argue that a theoretical and causal approach to classification would provide a superior method for classifying natural kinds than the purely descriptive approach adopted by the DSM (...) since DSM-III. My argument suggests that the DSM should classify natural kinds in order to provide predictively useful (i.e., projectable) diagnostic categories and that a causal approach to classification would provide a more promising method for formulating valid diagnostic categories. (shrink)