This paper is the report of a meetingthat gathered many of the UK's most senioranimal scientists with representatives of thefarming industry, consumer groups, animalwelfare groups, and environmentalists. Therewas strong consensus that the current economicstructure of agriculture cannot adequatelyaddress major issues of concern to society:farm incomes, food security and safety, theneeds of developing countries, animal welfare,and the environment. This economic structure isbased primarily on competition betweenproducers and between retailers, driving foodprices down, combined with externalization ofmany costs. These issues must be addressed (...) by acombination of legislation, restructuring ofthe market, and use of public funds. Themeeting included workshops that made otherrecommendations for research and education. Themost urgent requirement is recognition thatchange is needed and development of a visionfor what that change must achieve. (shrink)
Suppose that one thinks that certain symmetries of a theory reveal “surplus structure”. What would a formalism without that surplus structure look like? The conventional answer is that it would be a reduced theory: a theory which traffics only in structures invariant under the relevant symmetry. In this paper, I argue that there is a neglected alternative: one can work with a sophisticated version of the theory, in which the symmetries act as isomorphisms.
While many studies have investigated the ethical perceptions, ideologies and value systems of the Chinese, few studies have focused on mainland China, and even fewer have examined regional differences within China. This study examines the factor structure of Forsyth's (1980) Ethics Position Questionnaire in a sample of managers from the PRC. According to Forsyth, individual differences in Relativism and Idealism influence judgements of moral issues (Forsyth, 1980). In a sample of 115 managers, results show that two similar constructs to those (...) described by Forsyth do exist in the Chinese sample. However the precise interpretation of the item groupings through a Chinese perspective, may reveal some discrete areas of difference in the labelling of these constructs. The study also finds that managers in the South of China scored significantly higher in Idealism than managers in the North. Results are presented and implications for future research are discussed. (shrink)
Kant writes: If … the only aim of Nature regarding some creature possessed of reason and a will were its preservation, its well-being, in a word its happiness, then she would have come to a very bad arrangement in choosing its reason as executor of that aim. For all actions that it had to execute in this her intention, and the whole regulation of its behaviour would have been able to be prescribed to it much more precisely by instinct, and (...) that aim thereby much more certainly maintained, than ever could happen through reason …. (shrink)
This paper argues that a counterpart-theoretic treatment of events, combined with a counterfactual theory of causation, can help resolve three puzzles from the causation literature. First, CCT traces the apparent contextual shifts in our causal attributions to shifts in the counterpart relation which obtains in those contexts. Second, being sensitive to shifts in the counterpart relation can help diagnose what goes wrong in certain prominent examples where the transitivity of causation appears to fail. Third, CCT can help us resurrect the (...) much-maligned fragility response to the problems of late pre-emption by understanding fragility in counterpart-theoretic terms. Some reasons to prefer this CCT approach to rivals are discussed. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that causation is transitive and in this paper I aim to reconcile this widely-held assumption with apparent evidence to the contrary. I will discuss a familiar approach to certain well-known counterexamples, before introducing a more resistant sort of case of my own. I will then offer a novel solution, based on Yablo’s proportionality principle, that succeeds in even these more resistant cases. There is a catch, however. Either proportionality is a constraint on which causal claims are (...) true, and the solution works, or it is not and causation is not transitive after all. I will argue that the first horn has unacceptable consequences and should be rejected, but that the second horn is less costly than it might initially appear. (shrink)
This paper outlines a new metasemantic theory of moral reason statements, focused on explaining how the reasons thus stated can be inescapable. The motivation for the theory is in part that it can explain this and other phenomena concerning moral reasons. The account also suggests a general recipe for explanations of conceptual features of moral reason statements. (Published with Open Access.).
The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to (...) luck than is compatibilism. But compatibilist accounts of luck are themselves vulnerable to a powerful luck objection: historical compatibilisms cannot satisfactorily explain how agents can take responsibility for their constitutive luck; non-historical compatibilisms run into insurmountable difficulties with the epistemic condition on control over action. Levy argues that because epistemic conditions on control are so demanding that they are rarely satisfied, agents are not blameworthy for performing actions that they take to be best in a given situation. It follows that if there are any actions for which agents are responsible, they are akratic actions; but even these are unacceptably subject to luck. Levy goes on to discuss recent non-historical compatibilisms, and argues that they do not offer a viable alternative to control-based compatibilisms. He suggests that luck undermines our freedom and moral responsibility no matter whether determinism is true or not. (shrink)
What makes an argument in a law case good or bad? This book examines this and other questions central to the study of jurisprudence. Care has been taken to make the legal elements of the book readily accessible to non-lawyers, and the philosophical elements to non-philosophers.
Neil E. Williams develops a systematic metaphysics centred on the idea of powers, as a rival to neo-Humeanism, the dominant systematic metaphysics in philosophy today. Williams takes powers to be inherently causal properties and uses them as the foundation of his explanations of causation, persistence, laws, and modality.
The Taming of the True poses a broad challenge to realist views of meaning and truth that have been prominent in recent philosophy. Neil Tennant argues compellingly that every truth is knowable, and that an effective logical system can be based on this principle. He lays the foundations for global semantic anti-realism and extends its consequences from the philosophy of mathematics and logic to the theory of meaning, metaphysics, and epistemology.
This paper advances three necessary conditions on a successful account of sentential negation. First, the ability to explain the constancy of sentential meaning across negated and unnegated contexts (the Fregean Condition). Second, the ability to explain why sentences and their negations are inconsistent, and inconsistent in virtue of the meaning of negation (the Semantic Condition). Third, the ability of the account to generalize regardless of the topic of the negated sentence (the Generality Condition). The paper discusses three accounts of negation (...) available to moral expressivists. The first—the dominant commitment account—fails to meet the Fregean Condition. The two remaining accounts—commitment semantics and the expression account—satisfy all three conditions. A recent argument that the dominant commitment account is the only option available to expressivists is considered and rejected. (shrink)
Presentists standardly conform to the eternalist’s paradigm of treating all cases of property-exemplification as involving a single relation of instantiation. This, we argue, results in a much less parsimonious and philosophically explanatory picture than is possible if other alternatives are considered. We argue that by committing to primitive past and future tensed instantiation ties, presentists can make gains in both economy and explanatory power. We show how this metaphysical picture plays out in cases where an individual exists to partake in (...) facts about its past and future, and also in cases where that individual no longer exists, and proxies (or surrogates) for that thing must be found. (shrink)
Informed consent is a central topic in contemporary biomedical ethics. Yet attempts to set defensible and feasible standards for consenting have led to persistent difficulties. In Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics Neil Manson and Onora O'Neill set debates about informed consent in medicine and research in a fresh light. They show why informed consent cannot be fully specific or fully explicit, and why more specific consent is not always ethically better. They argue that consent needs distinctive communicative transactions, by (...) which other obligations, prohibitions, and rights can be waived or set aside in controlled and specific ways. Their book offers a coherent, wide-ranging and practical account of the role of consent in biomedicine which will be valuable to readers working in a range of areas in bioethics, medicine and law. (shrink)
This work is a controversial collection of interrelated papers investigating and arguing about issues of concern to lawyers and politicians today. MacCormick combines a scholarly concern with leading thinkers such as John Locke, Lord Stair, Adam Smith and David Hume, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Patrick Atiyah, and stringently argued view of questions of political obligation, civil liberty, and legal rights.
What is posthumanism and why does it matter? This book offers an introduction to the ways in which humanism's belief in the natural supremacy of the Family of Man has been called into question at different moments and from different theoretical positions. What is the relationship between posthumanism and technology? Can posthumanism have a politics—postcolonial or feminist? Are postmodernism and poststructuralism posthumanist? What happens when critical theory meets Hollywood cinema? What links posthumanism to science fiction. Posthumanism addresses these and other (...) questions in an attempt to come to terms with one of the most pressing issues facing contemporary society. (shrink)
We explore how one might respond emotionally to the eternal recurrence. Zarathustra himself serves as our central case study. First we clarify the idea of eternal recurrence and its role in Nietzsche’s philosophy, explaining why the eternal recurrence has the emotional consequences Nietzsche describes when he first introduces the idea in The Gay Science. Then we describe Zarathustra’s emotional journey from horror at the eternal recurrence to loving it, in the sections from “On Great Events” to “The Seven Seals, or: (...) The Yes and Amen Song.”. (shrink)
The rightness and wrongness of actions fits on a continuous scale. This fits the way we evaluate actions chosen among a diverse range of options, even though English speakers don’t use the words “righter” and “wronger”. I outline and defend a version of scalar consequentialism, according to which rightness is a matter of degree, determined by how good the consequences are. Linguistic resources are available to let us truly describe actions simply as right. Some deontological theories face problems in accounting (...) for degrees of rightness, as they don't invoke continuous parameters among the right-making features of action. (shrink)
I argue that the intellectualist account of knowledge-how, according to which agents have the knowledge-how to \ in virtue of standing in an appropriate relation to a proposition, is only half right. On the composition view defended here, knowledge-how at least typically requires both propositional knowledge and motor representations. Motor representations are not mere dispositions to behavior because they have representational content, and they play a central role in realizing the intelligence in knowledge-how. But since motor representations are not propositional, (...) propositional knowledge is not sufficient for knowledge-how. (shrink)
Anti-realism is a doctrine about logic, language, and meaning that is based on the work of Wittgenstein and Frege. In this book, Professor Tennant clarifies and develops Dummett's arguments for anti-realism and ultimately advocates a radical reform of our logical practices.
The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
The importance of personal connections and relationships, or guanxi when doing business with the Chinese is widely acknowledged amongst Western academics and business managers alike. However, aspects of guanxi-rehted behaviours in the workplace are often misunderstood by Westerners with some going so far as to equate guanxi with forms of corruption. This study extends earlier study of Tan and Snell: 2002, Journal of Business Ethics 41 (December), 361-384) in its investigation of the underlying modes of moral reasoning in ethical decisions (...) relating to aspects of guanxi, amongst Hong Kong managers. Managers' ethical judgements and underlying moral reasoning relating to a series of guanxi related behaviours were recorded. Content analysis yielded categories that correspond with categories of moral reasoning described in Kohlberg's (1969, Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research, Rand McNally, Chicago, pp. 347-480) model. As hypothesised, it was found that harsher ethical evaluations of guanxi-vehted behaviours were positively correlated with the stage of moral reasoning. The most common types of reasoning were those corresponding to Kohlberg's stages four and five which relate to moral reasoning based on law and order, and on reason rather than emotion. Stage 6, concerned with more universalistic approaches to moral reasoning, was utilised considerably less, consistent with popularly held beliefs of the relativistic nature of Chinese ethics. (shrink)
There is a robust scientific consensus concerning climate change and evolution. But many people reject these expert views, in favour of beliefs that are strongly at variance with the evidence. It is tempting to try to explain these beliefs by reference to ignorance or irrationality, but those who reject the expert view seem often to be no worse informed or any less rational than the majority of those who accept it. It is also tempting to try to explain these beliefs (...) by reference to epistemic overconfidence. However, this kind of overconfidence is apparently ubiquitous, so by itself it cannot explain the difference between those who accept and those who reject expert views. Instead, I will suggest that the difference is in important part explained by differential patterns of epistemic deference, and these patterns, in turn, are explained by the cues that we use to filter testimony. We rely on cues of benevolence and competence to distinguish reliable from unreliable testifiers, but when debates become deeply politicized, asserting a claim may itself constitute signalling lack of reliability. (shrink)
Many oppose the use of profile evidence against defendants at trial, even when the statistical correlations are reliable and the jury is free from prejudice. The literature has struggled to justify this opposition. We argue that admitting profile evidence is objectionable because it violates what we call “equal protection”—that is, a right of innocent defendants not to be exposed to higher ex ante risks of mistaken conviction compared to other innocent defendants facing similar charges. We also show why admitting other (...) forms of evidence, such as eyewitness, trace, and motive evidence, does not violate equal protection. (shrink)
Causal exclusion arguments are taken to threaten the autonomy of the special sciences, and the causal efficacy of mental properties. A recent line of response to these arguments has appealed to “independently plausible” and “well grounded” theories of causation to rebut key premises. In this paper I consider two papers which proceed in this vein and show that they share a common feature: they both require causes to be proportional to their effects. I argue that this feature is a bug, (...) and one that generalises: any attempt to rescue the autonomy of the special sciences, or the efficacy of the mental, from exclusion worries had better not look to proportionality for help. (shrink)
Implicit attitudes are mental states that appear sometimes to cause agents to act in ways that conflict with their considered beliefs. Implicit attitudes are usually held to be mere associations between representations. Recently, however, some philosophers have suggested that they are, or are very like, ordinary beliefs: they are apt to feature in properly inferential processing. This claim is important, in part because there is good reason to think that the vocabulary in which we make moral assessments of ourselves and (...) of others is keyed to folk psychological concepts, like ‘belief’, and not to concepts that feature only in scientific psychology: if implicit attitudes are beliefs there is a prima facie case for thinking that they can serve as the basis for particular kinds of moral assessment. In this paper I argue that while implicit attitudes have propositional structure, their sensitivity and responsiveness to other mental representations is too patchy and fragmented for them to properly be considered beliefs. Instead, they are a sui generis kind of mental state, a state I dub patchy endorsements. (shrink)
Hume’s writings, taken as a whole, address a dazzlingly broad range of topics. I argue that they do so as part of a coherent and interesting philosophical programme. While Hume’s doctrine of the general point of view provides an attractive way of understanding the process of moral judgement, it raises the threat of parochialism – that is, it potentially makes us prey to the limitations and prejudices of our society. I show that Hume endorses what I call “engaged cosmopolitanism”, which (...) provides the resources to explain how we can, under certain circumstances, escape such parochialism. Engaged cosmopolitanism is the product of a particular sort of society – one that is open and commercial, and that governed by a system of equitable laws. Like Mandeville, Hume rejects the suspicion of commerce and “luxury” that was prevalent during his time. But he provides supporters of commercial society with a justification that does not, in contrast to Mandeville’s writings, abandon notions of morality altogether. On the contrary, he makes commerce a precondition to a society’s moral development. And he further links this development to a certain type of liberal political institutions, thus giving such institutions a moral basis. (shrink)
This book defends the Humean Theory of Motivation, according to which desire drives all action and practical reasoning. -/- Desire motivates us to pursue its object. It makes thoughts of its object pleasant. It focuses attention on its object. Its effects are amplified by vivid representations of its object. These aspects of desire explain why motivation usually accompanies moral belief, how intentions shape our plans, how we exercise willpower, what human selves are, how action can express emotion, why we procrastinate, (...) and how we daydream. The Humean Theory also suggests a new account of moral judgment that upholds objectivity while understanding moral concepts in terms of our feelings. (shrink)
What is the opposite of freedom? In _Freedom as Marronage_, Neil Roberts answers this question with definitive force: slavery, and from there he unveils powerful new insights on the human condition as it has been understood between these poles. Crucial to his investigation is the concept of marronage—a form of slave escape that was an important aspect of Caribbean and Latin American slave systems. Examining this overlooked phenomenon—one of action from slavery and toward freedom—he deepens our understanding of freedom (...) itself and the origin of our political ideals. Roberts examines the liminal and transitional space of slave escape in order to develop a theory of freedom as marronage, which contends that freedom is fundamentally located within this space—that it is a form of perpetual flight. He engages a stunning variety of writers, including Hannah Arendt, W. E. B. Du Bois, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglass, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the Rastafari, among others, to develop a compelling lens through which to interpret the quandaries of slavery, freedom, and politics that still confront us today. The result is a sophisticated, interdisciplinary work that unsettles the ways we think about freedom by always casting it in the light of its critical opposite. (shrink)
This essay defends a strong version of the Humean theory of motivation on which desire is necessary both for motivation and for reasoning that changes our desires. Those who hold that moral judgments are beliefs with intrinsic motivational force need to oppose this view, and many of them have proposed counterexamples to it. Using a novel account of desire, this essay handles the proposed counterexamples in a way that shows the superiority of the Humean theory. The essay addresses the classic (...) objection that the Humean theory cannot explain the feeling of obligation, Stephen Darwall's example of motivationally potent reasoning that is not based on preexisting desires, Thomas Scanlon's criticism that the Humean theory fails to account for the structure and phenomenology of deliberation, and the phenomenon of akrasia as discussed by John Searle. In each case a Humean account explains the data at least as thoroughly as opposing views can, while fitting within a simpler total account of how we deliberate and act. (shrink)
In the past two decades, epistemologists have significantly expanded the focus of their field. To the traditional question that has dominated the debate — under what conditions does belief amount to knowledge? — they have added questions about testimony, epistemic virtues and vices, epistemic trust, and more. This broadening of the range of epistemic concern has coincided with an expansion in conceptions of epistemic agency beyond the individualism characteristic of most earlier epistemology. We believe that these developments have not gone (...) far enough. While the weak anti-individualism we see in contemporary epistemology may be adequate for the kinds of cases it tends to focus on, a great deal of human knowledge production and transmission does not conform to these models. Furthermore, the dispositions and norms that are knowledge-conducive in the familiar cases may not be knowledge-conducive generally. In fact, dispositions that, at an individual level, count as epistemic vices may be epistemic virtues in common social contexts. We argue that this overlooked feature of human social life means that epistemology must become more deeply and pervasively social. (shrink)
Neil Levy defends no-platforming people who espouse dangerous or unacceptable views. I reject his notion of higher-order evidence as authoritarian and dogmatic. I argue that no-platforming frustrates the growth of knowledge.
On his death in 2007, Richard Rorty was heralded by the New York Times as “one of the world’s most influential contemporary thinkers.” Controversial on the left and the right for his critiques of objectivity and political radicalism, Rorty experienced a renown denied to all but a handful of living philosophers. In this masterly biography, Neil Gross explores the path of Rorty’s thought over the decades in order to trace the intellectual and professional journey that led him to that (...) prominence. The child of a pair of leftist writers who worried that their precocious son “wasn’t rebellious enough,” Rorty enrolled at the University of Chicago at the age of fifteen. There he came under the tutelage of polymath Richard McKeon, whose catholic approach to philosophical systems would profoundly influence Rorty’s own thought. Doctoral work at Yale led to Rorty’s landing a job at Princeton, where his colleagues were primarily analytic philosophers. With a series of publications in the 1960s, Rorty quickly established himself as a strong thinker in that tradition—but by the late 1970s Rorty had eschewed the idea of objective truth altogether, urging philosophers to take a “relaxed attitude” toward the question of logical rigor. Drawing on the pragmatism of John Dewey, he argued that philosophers should instead open themselves up to multiple methods of thought and sources of knowledge—an approach that would culminate in the publication of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature , one of the most seminal and controversial philosophical works of our time. In clear and compelling fashion, Gross sets that surprising shift in Rorty’s thought in the context of his life and social experiences, revealing the many disparate influences that contribute to the making of knowledge. As much a book about the growth of ideas as it is a biography of a philosopher, Richard Rorty will provide readers with a fresh understanding of both the man and the course of twentieth-century thought. (shrink)
Given the harmony principle for logical operators, compositionality ought to ensure that harmony should obtain at the level of whole contents. That is, the role of a content qua premise ought to be balanced exactly by its role as a conclusion. Frege's contextual definition of propositional content happens to exploit this balance, and one appeals to the Cut rule to show that the definition is adequate. We show here that Frege's definition remains adequate even when one relevantizes logic by abandoning (...) an unrestricted Cut rule. The proof exploits the fact that in the relevantized logic, which abandons the unrestricted rule of Cut, any failure of the transitivity of deduction is offset by the epistemic gain involved in learning that a stronger-than-expected result holds. (shrink)
Noam Chomsky is one of the leading intellectual figures of modern times. He has had a major influence on linguistics, psychology and philosophy, and a significant effect on many other disciplines, from anthropology to mathematics, education to literary criticism. In this rigorous yet accessible account of Chomsky's work and influence, Neil Smith analyses Chomsky's key contributions to the study of language and the study of mind. He gives a detailed exposition of Chomsky's linguistic theorizing, discusses the psychological and philosophical (...) implications of Chomsky's work, and argues that he has fundamentally changed the way we think of ourselves, gaining a position in the history of ideas on a par with that of Darwin or Descartes. This second edition has been thoroughly updated to account for Chomsky's most recent work, including his continued contributions to linguistics, his further discussion on evolution, and his extensive work on the events of September 11th, 2001. (shrink)
Propositionalism is the view that the contents of intentional attitudes have a propositional structure. Objectualism opposes propositionalism in allowing the contents of these attitudes to be ordinary objects or properties. Philosophers including Talbot Brewer, Paul Thagard, Michelle Montague, and Alex Grzankowski attack propositionalism about such attitudes as desire, liking, and fearing. This article defends propositionalism, mainly on grounds that it better supports psychological explanations.
I argue that one intends that ϕ if one has a desire that ϕ and an appropriately related means-end belief. Opponents, including Setiya and Bratman, charge that this view can't explain three things. First, intentional action is accompanied by knowledge of what we are doing. Second, we can choose our reasons for action. Third, forming an intention settles a deliberative question about what to do, disposing us to cease deliberating about it. I show how the desire- belief view can explain (...) why these phenomena occur when they occur, and why they don't when they don't. (shrink)
Accounts of moral responsibility can be divided into those that claim that attributability of an act, omission, or attitude to an agent is sufficient for responsibility for it, and those which hold that responsibility depends crucially on choice. I argue that accounts of the first, attributionist, kind fail to make room for the relatively stringent epistemic conditions upon moral responsibility, and that therefore an account of the second, volitionist, kind ought to be preferred. I examine the various arguments advanced on (...) behalf of attributionist accounts, and argue that for each of them volitionism has a reply that is in every case at least as, and often more, persuasive. Most significantly, only volitionism can accommodate the intuitively important distinction between the bad and the blameworthy. (shrink)
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