In VAGUENESS AND DEGREES OF TRUTH, Nicholas Smith develops a new theory of vagueness: fuzzy plurivaluationism. -/- A predicate is said to be VAGUE if there is no sharply defined boundary between the things to which it applies and the things to which it does not apply. For example, 'heavy' is vague in a way that 'weighs over 20 kilograms' is not. A great many predicates -- both in everyday talk, and in a wide array of theoretical vocabularies, from law (...) to psychology to engineering -- are vague. -/- Smith argues, based on a detailed account of the defining features of vagueness, that an accurate theory of vagueness must involve the idea that truth comes in degrees. The core idea of degrees of truth is that while some sentences are true and some are false, others possess intermediate truth values: they are truer than the false sentences, but not as true as the true ones. Degree-theoretic treatments of vagueness have been proposed in the past, but all have encountered significant objections. In light of these, Smith develops a new type of degree theory. Its innovations include a definition of logical consequence that allows the derivation of a classical consequence relation from the degree-theoretic semantics, a unified account of degrees of belief and their relationships with degrees of truth and subjective probabilities, and the incorporation of semantic indeterminacy -- the view that vague statements need not have unique meanings -- into the degree-theoretic framework. -/- As well as being essential reading for those working on vagueness, Smith's book provides an excellent entry-point for newcomers to the area -- both from elsewhere in philosophy, and from computer science, logic and engineering. It contains a thorough introduction to existing theories of vagueness and to the requisite logical background. (shrink)
This book develops novel accounts of many of the most controversial topics in the philosophy of Socrates. The authors first develop Socrates' methodological, epistemological, and psychological views before examining his ethical, political, and religious convictions. The results reveals both the richness and the remarkable coherence of the philosophy of Plato's Socrates.
This paper argues that the most famous objection to backward time travel can carry no weight. In its classic form, the objection is that backward time travel entails the occurrence of impossible things, such as auto-infanticide—and hence is itself impossible. David Lewis has rebutted the classic version of the objection: auto-infanticide is prevented by coincidences, such as time travellers slipping on banana peels as they attempt to murder their younger selves. I focus on Paul Horwich‘s more recent version of the (...) objection, according to which backward time travel entails not impossible things, but improbable ones—such as the string of slips on banana peels that would be required to stop a determined auto-infanticidal maniac from murdering her younger self—and hence is itself highly improbable. I argue that backward time travel does not entail unusual numbers of coincidences; and that, even if it did, that would not render its occurrence unlikely. (shrink)
This paper presents a new argument against A-theories of time. A-theorists hold that there is an objective now (present moment) and an objective flow of time, the latter constituted by the movement of the objective now through time. A-theorists therefore want to draw different pictures of reality—showing the objective now in different positions—depending upon the time at which the picture is drawn. In this paper it is argued that the times at which the different pictures are drawn may be taken (...) to be normal times or hypertimes. If they are normal times then the A-theory is inconsistent, or else collapses to the B-theory—and appealing to primitive tense operators will not help A-theorists avoid this conclusion. If the times are hypertimes then the A-theory is consistent, but deeply problematic none the less. (shrink)
Socrates' moral psychology is widely thought to be 'intellectualist' in the sense that, for Socrates, every ethical failure to do what is best is exclusively the result of some cognitive failure to apprehend what is best. Until publication of this book, the view that, for Socrates, emotions and desires have no role to play in causing such failure went unchallenged. This book argues against the orthodox view of Socratic intellectualism and offers in its place a comprehensive alternative account that explains (...) why Socrates believed that emotions, desires and appetites can influence human motivation and lead to error. Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith defend the study of Socrates' philosophy and offer an alternative interpretation of Socratic moral psychology. Their novel account of Socrates' conception of virtue and how it is acquired shows that Socratic moral psychology is considerably more sophisticated than scholars have supposed. (shrink)
Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith offer a comprehensive historical and philosophical interpretation of, and commentary on, one of Plato's most widely read works, the Apology of Socrates. Virtually every modern interpretation characterizes some part of what Socrates says in the Apology as purposefully irrelevant or even antithetical to convincing the jury to acquit him at his trial. This book, by contrast, argues persuasively that Socrates offers a sincere and well-reasoned defense against the charges he faces. First, the authors establish a (...) consensus of ancient reports about Socrates ' moral and religious principles and show that these prohibit him from needlessly risking the condemnation of the jury. Second, they consider each specific claim made by Socrates in the Apology and show how each can be construed as an honest effort to inform the jurors of the truth and to convince them of his blamelessness. The arguments of this book are informed by a critical review of the scholarly literature and careful attention to the philosophy expressed in Plato's other early dialogues. (shrink)
Logic is essential to correct reasoning and also has important theoretical applications in philosophy, computer science, linguistics, and mathematics. This book provides an exceptionally clear introduction to classical logic, with a unique approach that emphasizes both the hows and whys of logic. Here Nicholas Smith thoroughly covers the formal tools and techniques of logic while also imparting a deeper understanding of their underlying rationales and broader philosophical significance. In addition, this is the only introduction to logic available today that presents (...) all the major forms of proof--trees, natural deduction in all its major variants, axiomatic proofs, and sequent calculus. The book also features numerous exercises, with solutions available on an accompanying website. -/- Logic is the ideal textbook for undergraduates and graduate students seeking a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the subject. -/- Provides an essential introduction to classical logic Emphasizes the how and why of logic Covers both formal and philosophical issues Presents all the major forms of proof--from trees to sequent calculus Features numerous exercises, with solutions available online The ideal textbook for undergraduates and graduate students . (shrink)
This paper presents a new solution to the problems for orthodox decision theory posed by the Pasadena game and its relatives. I argue that a key question raised by consideration of these gambles is whether evaluative compositionality (as I term it) is a requirement of rationality: is the value that an ideally rational agent places on a gamble determined by the values that she places on its possible outcomes, together with their mode of composition into the gamble (i.e. the probabilities (...) assigned to them)? The paper first outlines a certain simple response to the Pasadena game and identifies two problems with this response, the second of which is that it leads to a wholesale violation of evaluative compositionality. I then argue that rationality does not require decision makers to factor in outcomes of arbitrarily low probability. A method for making decisions which flows from this basic idea is then developed, and it is shown that this decision method (Truncation) leads to a limited — as opposed to wholesale — violation of evaluative compositionality. The paper then argues that the truncation method yields solutions to the problems posed by the Pasadena game and its relatives that are both attractive in themselves and superior to those yielded by alternative proposals in the literature. (shrink)
John McDowell's Mind and World is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important contributions to philosophy in recent years. In this volume leading philosophers examine the nature and extent of McDowell's achievement in Mind and World and related writings. The chapters, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume, are divided into five parts. The essays in part one consider Mind and World 's location in the modern philosophical tradition, particularly its relation to Kant's critical project. Parts (...) two and three cover issues in epistemology and philosophy of mind, while in part four the focus turns to problems of rationality, realism and ethics. In the final part of the book McDowell responds to the contributors and further elaborates his own views. Together, the essays provide an indispensable resource for understanding McDowell's work and they offer a timely snapshot of the state of play in contemporary philosophy. Reading McDowell is an important and critical contribution to the debates in analytic philosophy and will be a valuable resource for all those interested in Mind and World , philosophy of mind, and epistemology. (shrink)
This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself--as opposed to merely in our representations of the world--against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague properties and relations ; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague objects (...) ; we argue that an object is indeterminate in a certain respect (colour, size, etc.) just in case it is a borderline case of a maximally specific colour (size, etc.) property. Finally we consider the idea that the world as a whole might be indeterminate; we argue that the world is indeterminate just in case it lacks a determinate division into determinate objects. (shrink)
Orthodoxy has it that mereological composition can never be a vague matter, for if it were, then existence would sometimes be a vague matter too, and that's impossible. I accept that vague composition implies vague existence, but deny that either is impossible. In this paper I develop degree-theoretic versions of quantified modal logic and of mereology, and combine them in a framework that allows us to make clear sense of vague composition and vague existence, and the relationships between them.
In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases show (...) that it is the justification (rather than the belief) that must be based in the evidence. We compare Lehrer’s account of basing with some alternative accounts that have been offered, and show why Lehrer’s own account is more plausible. (shrink)
There is an extensive literature on time travel in both philosophy and physics. Part of the great interest of the topic stems from the fact that reasons have been given both for thinking that time travel is physically possible—and for thinking that it is logically impossible! This entry deals primarily with philosophical issues; issues related to the physics of time travel are covered in the separate entries on time travel and modern physics and time machines. We begin with the definitional (...) question: what is time travel? We then turn to the major objection to the possibility of backwards time travel: the Grandfather paradox. Next, issues concerning causation are discussed—and then, issues in the metaphysics of time and change. We end with a discussion of the question why, if backwards time travel will ever occur, we have not been visited by time travellers from the future. (shrink)
I argue in favour of the central claim of virtue-ethical accounts of right action: that right action is virtuous action. First, I disambiguate this claim and argue for a specific interpretation of it. Second, I provide reasons to prefer target-centred over both agent-centred and motive-centred accounts of virtuous action. Third, I argue that an action is right if, only if, and because it is overall virtuous. Finally, I respond to important arguments to the contrary.
This paper presents and defends a definition of vagueness, compares it favourably with alternative definitions, and draws out some consequences of accepting this definition for the project of offering a substantive theory of vagueness. The definition is roughly this: a predicate 'F' is vague just in case for any objects a and b, if a and b are very close in respects relevant to the possession of F, then 'Fa' and 'Fb' are very close in respect of truth. The definition (...) is extended to cover vagueness of many-place predicates, of properties and relations, and of objects. Some of the most important advantages of the definition are that it captures the intuitions which motivate the thought that vague predicates are tolerant, without leading to contradiction, and that it yields a clear understanding of the relationships between higher-order vagueness, sorites susceptibility, blurred boundaries, and borderline cases. The most notable consequence of the definition is that the correct theory of vagueness must countenance degrees of truth. (shrink)
One of the most striking differences between Frege's Begriffsschrift (logical system) and standard contemporary systems of logic is the inclusion in the former of the judgement stroke: a symbol which marks those propositions which are being asserted , that is, which are being used to express judgements . There has been considerable controversy regarding both the exact purpose of the judgement stroke, and whether a system of logic should include such a symbol. This paper explains the intended role of the (...) judgement stroke in a way that renders it readily comprehensible why Frege insisted that this symbol was an essential part of his logical system. The key point here is that Frege viewed logic as the study of inference relations amongst acts of judgement , rather than – as in the typical contemporary view – of consequence relations amongst certain objects (propositions or well-formed formulae). The paper also explains why Frege's use of the judgement stroke is not in conflict with his avowed anti-psychologism, and why Wittgenstein's criticism of the judgement stroke as 'logically quite meaningless' is unfounded. The key point here is that while the judgement stroke has no content , its use in logic and mathematics is subject to a very stringent norm of assertion. (shrink)
I have argued for a picture of decision theory centred on the principle of Rationally Negligible Probabilities. Isaacs argues against this picture on the grounds that it has an untenable implication. I first examine whether my view really has this implication; this involves a discussion of the legitimacy or otherwise of infinite decisions. I then examine whether the implication is really undesirable and conclude that it is not.
A number of authors have noted that vagueness engenders degrees of belief, but that these degrees of belief do not behave like subjective probabilities. So should we countenance two different kinds of degree of belief: the kind arising from vagueness, and the familiar kind arising from uncertainty, which obey the laws of probability? I argue that we cannot coherently countenance two different kinds of degree of belief. Instead, I present a framework in which there is a single notion of degree (...) of belief, which in certain circumstances behaves like a subjective probability assignment and in other circumstances does not. The core idea is that one’s degree of belief in a proposition P is one’s expectation of P’s degree of truth. (shrink)
Plato's Republic has proven to be of astounding influence and importance. Justly celebrated as Plato's central text, it brings together all of his prior works, unifying them into a comprehensive vision that is at once theological, philosophical, political, and moral. These essays provide a a state-of-the-art research picture of the most interesting aspects of the Republic, and address questions that continue to puzzle and provoke, such as: Does Plato succeed in his argument that the life of justice is the most (...) attractive one? Is his tripartite analysis of the soul coherent and plausible? Why does Plato seem to have to force his philosopher-guardians to rule when they know this is something they ought to do? What is the point of the strange and complicated closing Myth of Er? This volume will be essential to those looking for thoughtful and detailed excursions into the problems posed by Plato's text and ideas. (shrink)
This article examines a neglected but crucial feature of Honneth's critical theory: its use of a concept of recognition to articulate the norms that are apposite for the contemporary world of work. The article shows that from his first writings on the structure of critical social theory in the early 1980s to the recent exchange with Nancy Fraser on recognition and redistribution, the problem of grounding a substantive critique of work under capitalism has been central to Honneth's enterprise. This answers (...) the routine objection that the recognition paradigm fails to take into account economic or material realities. At the same time, Honneth's approach to the critique of work has undergone significant shifts, and it is yet to be fully developed. The article traces these changes in direction, and it proposes an expressivist conception of work that builds upon the `normative content' of the concept of work described by Honneth in his 1980 essay `Work and Instrumental Action'. (shrink)
If we think, as Ramsey did, that a degree of belief that P is a stronger or weaker tendency to act as if P, then it is clear that not only uncertainty, but also vagueness, gives rise to degrees of belief. If I like hot coffee and do not know whether the coffee is hot or cold, I will have some tendency to reach for a cup; if I like hot coffee and know that the coffee is borderline hot, I (...) will have some tendency to reach for a cup. Suppose that we take degrees of belief arising from uncertainty to obey the laws of probability and that we model vagueness using degrees of truth. We then encounter a problem: it does not look as though degrees of belief arising from vagueness should obey the laws of probability. One response would be to countenance two different sorts of degrees of belief: degrees of belief arising from uncertainty, which obey the laws of probability; and degrees of belief arising from vagueness, which obey a different set of laws. I argue, however, that if a degree of belief that P is a stronger or weaker tendency to act as if P, then this option is not open. Instead, I propose an account of the behaviour of degrees of belief that integrates subjective probabilities and degrees of truth. On this account, degrees of belief are expectations of degrees of truth. The account explains why degrees of belief behave in accordance with the laws of probability in cases involving only uncertainty, while also allowing degrees of belief to behave differently in cases involving only vagueness, and in mixed cases involving both uncertainty and vagueness. Justifications of the account are given both via Dutch books and in terms of epistemic accuracy. (shrink)
In this paper I present a new argument against vague identity — one that is more fundamental than existing arguments — and I also try to explain why we find the idea of vague identity puzzling, in a way that will dispel the puzzlement. In brief, my argument is this: to make clear sense of something, one must at least model it set-theoretically; but due to the special place of identity in set-theoretic models, any vague relation that one does model (...) set-theoretically will not be identity, for real identity will already be there, built into the background of the model, and perfectly precise. (shrink)
From Fine and Kamp in the 70’s—through Osherson and Smith in the 80’s, Williamson, Kamp and Partee in the 90’s and Keefe in the 00’s—up to Sauerland in the present decade, the objection continues to be run that fuzzy logic based theories of vagueness are incompatible with ordinary usage of compound propositions in the presence of borderline cases. These arguments against fuzzy theories have been rebutted several times but evidently not put to rest. I attempt to do so in this (...) paper. (shrink)
The article considers how Richard Rorty's writings on religion dovetail with his views on the philosophical significance of hope. It begins with a reconstruction of the central features of Rorty's philosophy of religion, including its critique of theism and its attempt to rehabilitate religion within a pragmatist philosophical framework. It then presents some criticisms of Rorty's proposal. It is argued first that Rorty's "redescription" of the fulfilment of the religious impulse is so radical that it is hard to see what (...) remains of its specifically religious content. This casts doubt on Rorty's claim to have made pragmatism and religion compatible. The article then offers an analysis of Rorty's key notion of "unjustifiable hope". Different senses of unjustifiable hope are distinguished, in the course of which a tension between the "romantic" and "utilitarian" aspects of Rorty's pragmatist philosophy of religion comes into view. (shrink)
This paper presents a new theory of vagueness, which is designed to retain the virtues of the fuzzy theory, while avoiding the problem of higher-order vagueness. The theory presented here accommodates the idea that for any statement S₁ to the effect that 'Bob is bald' is x true, for x in [0, 1], there should be a further statement S₂ which tells us how true S₁ is, and so on - that is, it accommodates higher-order vagueness without resorting to the (...) claim that the metalanguage in which the semantics of vagueness is presented is itself vague, and without requiring us to abandon the idea that the logic - as opposed to the semantics - of vague discourse is classical. I model the extension of a vague predicate P as a blurry set, this being a function which assigns a degree of membership or degree function to each object o, where a degree function in turn assigns an element of [0, 1] to each finite sequence of elements of [0, 1]. The idea is that the assignment to the sequence (0.3, 0.2), for example, represents the degree to which it is true to say that it is 0.2 true that o is P to degree 0.3. The philosophical merits of my theory are discussed in detail, and the theory is compared with other extensions and generalisations of fuzzy logic in the literature. (shrink)
Graham Priest (1994) has argued that the following paradoxes all have the same structure: Russell’s Paradox, Burali-Forti’s Paradox, Mirimanoff’s Paradox, König’s Paradox, Berry’s Paradox, Richard’s Paradox, the Liar and Liar Chain Paradoxes, the Knower and Knower Chain Paradoxes, and the Heterological Paradox. Their common structure is given by Russell’s Schema: there is a property φ and function δ such that..
In Plato’s Protagoras, Socrates clearly indicates that he is a cognitivist about the emotions—in other words, he believes that emotions are in some way constituted by cognitive states. It is perhaps because of this that some scholars have claimed that Socrates believes that the only way to change how others feel about things is to engage them in rational discourse, since that is the only way, such scholars claim, to change another’s beliefs. But in this paper we show that Socrates (...) is also responsive to, and has various non-rational strategies for dealing with, the many ways in which emotions can cloud our judgment and lead us into poor decision-making. We provide an account of how Socrates can consistently be a cognitivist about emotion and also have more than purely rational strategies for dealing with emotions. (shrink)
The paper contrasts two approaches to the analysis of hope: one that takes its departure from a view broadly shared by Hobbes, Locke and Hume, another that fits better with Aquinas's definition of hope. The former relies heavily on a sharp distinction between the cognitive and conative aspects of hope. It is argued that while this approach provides a valuable source of insights, its focus is too narrow and it rests on a problematic rationalistic psychology. The argument is supported by (...) a discussion of hope understood as a stance and by a consideration of the phenomenological contrast between expectation and anticipation. The paper concludes with some reflections on the relation between hope and illusion and the idea of responsible hope. (shrink)
This is the first book-length philosophical study of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology and Freud’s theory of the unconscious. The book investigates the possibility for Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology to clarify Freud’s concept of the unconscious with a focus on the theory of repression as its centre. Repression is the unconscious activity of pushing something away from consciousness, while making sure that it remains active as something foreign within us. How this is possible is the main problem addressed in the work. Unlike previous (...) literature (including Ricœur, Merleau-Ponty and Derrida) this book makes full use of the resources of genetic phenomenology and passivity in the attempt to clarify the Freudian unconscious. The central argument developed is that the structure of the lebendige Gegenwart as the core of Husserl’s theory of passivity consists of preliminary forms of bodily kinaesthesia, feelings and drives in a constantly ongoing process where repression occurs as a necessary part of all constitution. The clarification of Freudian repression thus takes place by showing how it presupposes a broad conception of consciousness such as that presented by Husserl’s genetic phenomenology. By arguing that “repression” is central to any philosophical account of subjectivity, this book takes on the most distinct challenge to philosophy posed by Freud. (shrink)
Strong Hermeneutics presents a compelling case for the importance of hermeneutics in understanding ethics today. It provides a critical comparison of the enlightenment view of ethics with the postmodern or "weak" view of ethics. The weak view, which Nicholas H. Smith traces back to Nietzsche and identifies in the recent work of Rorty and Lyotard, is skeptical of any universal principles in ethics. The enlightenment view, starting with Kant and taken up in the work of Habermas, casts identity as subject (...) of universal but formal moral constraints. Smith argues that neither of these views can provide a proper framework for ethics. Drawing on the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur and Charles Taylor, he presents a fascinating reworking of key issues in ethics and continental philosophy. (shrink)
In the Protagoras, Socrates argues that each of the virtue-terms refers to one thing (: 333b4). But in the Laches (190c8–d5, 199e6–7), Socrates claims that courage is a proper part of virtue as a whole, and at Euthyphro 11e7–12e2, Socrates says that piety is a proper part of justice. But A cannot be both identical to B and also a proper part of B – piety cannot be both identical to justice and also a proper part of justice. In this (...) paper we argue that coherent sense can be made of Socrates'' apparently conflicting claims. The key to understanding Socrates'' position, we will argue, is the central role of wisdom among the virtues. It is through the relationship of each virtue to wisdom that each may be said to be the same as all of the others, on the one hand, and also that some virtues may be regarded as proper parts of some other virtues, or as proper parts of virtue in general, on the other. (shrink)
Introductions to the theory of knowledge are plentiful, but none introduce students to the most recent debates that exercise contemporary philosophers. Ian Evans and Nicholas D. Smith aim to change that. Their book guides the reader through the standard theories of knowledge while simultaneously using these as a springboard to introduce current debates. Each chapter concludes with a “Current Trends” section pointing the reader to the best literature dominating current philosophical discussion. These include: the puzzle of reasonable disagreement; the so-called (...) “problem of easy knowledge”; the intellectual virtues; and new theories in the philosophy of language relating to knowledge. Chapters include discussions of skepticism, the truth condition, belief and acceptance, justification, internalism versus externalism, epistemic evaluation, and epistemic contextualism. Evans and Smith do not merely offer a review of existing theories and debates; they also offer a novel theory that takes seriously the claim that knowledge is not unique to humans. Surveying current scientific literature in animal ethology, they discover surprising sophistication and diversity in non-human cognition. In their final analysis the authors provide a unified account of knowledge that manages to respect and explain this diversity. They argue that animals know when they make appropriate use of the cognitive processes available to animals of that kind, in environments within which those processes are veridically well-adapted. _Knowledge_ is a lively and accessible volume, ideal for undergraduate and post-graduate students. It is also set to spark debate among scholars for its novel approaches to traditional topics and its thoroughgoing commitment to naturalism. (shrink)
A many-valued (aka multiple- or multi-valued) semantics, in the strict sense, is one which employs more than two truth values; in the loose sense it is one which countenances more than two truth statuses. So if, for example, we say that there are only two truth values—True and False—but allow that as well as possessing the value True and possessing the value False, propositions may also have a third truth status—possessing neither truth value—then we have a many-valued semantics in the (...) loose but not the strict sense. A many-valued logic is one which arises from a many-valued semantics and does not also arise from any two-valued semantics [Malinowski, 1993, 30]. By a ‘logic’ here we mean either a set of tautologies, or a consequence relation. We can best explain these ideas by considering the case of classical propositional logic. The language contains the usual basic symbols (propositional constants p, q, r, . . .; connectives ¬, ∧, ∨, →, ↔; and parentheses) and well-formed formulas are defined in the standard way. With the language thus specified—as a set of well-formed formulas—its semantics is then given in three parts. (i) A model of a logical language consists in a free assignment of semantic values to basic items of the non-logical vocabulary. Here the basic items of the non-logical vocabulary are the propositional constants. The appropriate kind of semantic value for a proposition is a truth value, and so a model of the language consists in a free assignment of truth values to basic propositions. Two truth values are countenanced: 1 (representing truth) and 0 (representing falsity). (ii) Rules are presented which determine a truth value for every proposition of the language, given a model. The most common way of presenting these rules is via truth tables (Figure 1). Another way of stating such rules—which will be useful below—is first to introduce functions on the truth values themselves: a unary function ¬ and four binary functions ∧, ∨, → and ↔ (Figure 2).. (shrink)
A common objection to theories of vagueness based on fuzzy logics centres on the idea that assigning a single numerical degree of truth -- a real number between 0 and 1 -- to each vague statement is excessively precise. A common objection to Bayesian epistemology centres on the idea that assigning a single numerical degree of belief -- a real number between 0 and 1 -- to each proposition is excessively precise. In this paper I explore possible parallels between these (...) objections. In particular I argue that the only good objection along these lines to fuzzy theories of vagueness does not translate into a good objection to Bayesian epistemology. An important part of my argument consists in drawing a distinction between two different notions of degree of belief, which I call dispositional degree of belief and epistemic degree of belief. (shrink)
In this article we examine the idea of a politics of misrecognition of working activity. We begin by introducing a distinction between the kind of recognition and misrecognition that attaches to one’s identity, and the kind of recognition and misrecognition that attaches to one’s activity. We then consider the political significance of the latter kind of recognition and misrecognition in the context of work. Drawing first on empirical research undertaken by sociologists at the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt, we argue (...) for a differentiated concept of recognition that shows the politics of misrecognition at work to be as much a matter of conflict between modes of recognition as it is a struggle for recognition as opposed to non -recognition. The differentiated concept of recognition which allows for this empirical insight owes much to Axel Honneth’s theory. But as we argue in the section that follows, this theory is ambiguous about the normative content of the expectations of recognition that are bound up with the activity of working. This in turn makes it unclear how we should understand the normative basis of the politics of the misrecognition of what one does at work. In the final sections of the article, we suggest that the psychodynamic model of work elaborated by Christophe Dejours and others at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris can shed light on this matter; that is to say, it can help to clarify the normative significance and political stakes of the misrecognition of working activity. (shrink)
The essays in this volume offer a range of new perspectives on Charles Taylor's philosophy. Part one addresses key metaphilosophical themes such as the role of transcendental arguments, the critique of representationalism, and the dialectics of Enlightenment. Part two critically examines Taylor's views on personhood, selfhood and interpersonal recognition. Part three discusses issues in Taylor's moral and political theory, including the nature of his moral realism, his theory of modernity, and his critical appropriation of the liberal tradition. The book concludes (...) with an interview with Taylor in which he summarizes his work and comments on some key contemporary issues. (shrink)
I suggest that the post-Hegelian tradition presents us with three contrasting normative models of work. According to the first model, the core norms of work are those of means-ends rationality. In this model, the modern world of work is constitutively a matter of deploying the most effective means to bring about given ends. The rational kernel of modern work, the core norm that has shaped its development, is on this view instrumental reason, and this very same normative core, in the (...) shape of advanced technology and more efficient, time-saving production, can help to liberate it. The second model, by contrast, takes the core norms of work to be internal to working activity. Rather than work gaining its normativity from something external to it, from ends to which the work is a contingent means, on this second view the core norms of work are expressions of values or meanings that are immanent to working practices themselves. The expressive model of work regards the actual world of work to be constituted historically by work-specific norms, norms which working subjects themselves have invoked and mobilised around in the course of their struggles for emancipation. According to the third model, the core norms of work have to do neither with instrumental rationality nor authentic self-expression. Rather they concern norms that relate either to individual achievement or contribution through work (in the form of esteem) or to the conditions that must in place for individuals to participate in the exchange of services by which market societies reproduce themselves (in the form of mutual respect). (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call 'partnership with God'. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the two versions of divided line create problems that cannot be solved — with or without the hypothesis that the objects belonging to the level of διάνοια on the divided line are intermediates. I also argue that the discussion of arithmetic and calculation does not fit Aristotle’s attribution of intermediates to Plato and provides no support for the claim that Plato had such intermediates in mind when he talked about διάνοια in the Republic. The (...) upshot of my argument is negative: even if Aristotle’s report about Plato and intermediates is correct, there is no evidence for such objects provided in the passages I review from the Republic. If they are to be found in Plato, it will have to be elsewhere that they are found. (shrink)