A number of recent writers have expressed scepticism about the viability of a specifically moral concept of obligation, and some of the considerations offered have been interesting and persuasive. This is a scepticism that has its roots in Nietzsche, even if he is mentioned only rather rarely in the debate. More proximately, the scepticism in question receives seminal expression in Elizabeth Anscombe's 1958 essay, ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’, a piece that is often paid lip-service to, but—like Nietzsche's work—has only rarely been (...) taken seriously by those wishing to defend the conception of obligation under attack. This is regrettable. Anscombe's essay is powerful and direct, and it makes a forthright case for the claim that, in the absence of a divine law conception of ethics, any specifically moral concept of obligation must be redundant, and that the best that can be hoped for in a secular age is some sort of neo-Aristotelianism. Anscombe is right about this, we think. And, among those who disagree, one of the very few to have taken her on at all explicitly is Christine Korsgaard, whose Kantianism of course commits her to the view that the concept of moral obligation is central, with or without God. Here, we try to show that Korsgaard loses the argument. (shrink)
Understanding human beings and their distinctive rational and volitional capacities requires a clear account of such things as reasons, desires, emotions, and motives, and how they combine to produce and explain human behaviour. Maria Alvarez presents a fresh and incisive study of these concepts, centred on reasons and their role in human agency.
Álvarez J.F. (2016) Conflicts, Bounded Rationality and Collective Wisdom in a Networked Society. In: Scarafile G., Gruenpeter Gold L. (eds) Paradoxes of Conflicts. Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning (Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences), vol 12. Springer, Cham -/- The adoption of an individualistic perspective on reasoning, choice and decision is a spring of paradoxes of conflicts. Usually the agents immerse in conflicts are drawn or modelled as rational individuals with targets well defined and full capabilities to access to (...) information, without both temporal limitations and perfect reasoning abilities to obtain their preferences are taken account. -/- However, other models of agent, in the bounded rationality perspective, could help to understand better the interrelationships. I adopt embedded argumentative reasoning processes as satisfying criteria to analyze the expert function in a new socio technical environment that has changed deeply the mechanism and tools to access and to aggregate information. The open access to information and institutional arrangements addressed towards team knowledge could offer other kind of tools to affront the conflict, even its possible benefits. -/- The “crowd expertise” is emerging as an actual possibility and it must be incorporated to affront with conflicts. The very possibility of obtaining knowledge generated by “many minds”, collective wisdoms, brings up a real challenge to the conservative or elitist conception of the masses, because masses now emerge as a smart collective user, with new mechanisms to select and produce quality knowledge. These new collective actions differ deeply from the traditional modes of social organization. A new mass society is emerging now as a hybrid one that breaks some conceptual traditional models, such as Ortega y Gasset’s ones, and induces a structured way of flourishing both new practices and new knowledge with transforming capabilities. (shrink)
In 1969 Harry Frankfurt published his hugely influential paper 'Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility' in which he claimed to present a counterexample to the so-called 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities' ('a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise'). The success of Frankfurt-style cases as counterexamples to the Principle has been much debated since. I present an objection to these cases that, in questioning their conceptual cogency, undercuts many of those debates. Such cases (...) all require a counterfactual mechanism that could cause an agent to perform an action that he cannot avoid performing. I argue that, given our concept of what it is for someone to act, this requirement is inconsistent. Frankfurt-style alleged counterexamples are cases where an agent is morally responsible for an action he performs even though, the claim goes, he could not have avoided performing that action. However, it has recently been argued, e.g. by John Fischer, that a counterexample to the Principle could be a 'Fischer-style case', i.e. a case where the agent can either perform the action or do nothing else. I argue that, although Fischer-style cases do not share the conceptual flaw common to all Frankfurt-style cases, they also fail as counterexamples to the Principle. The paper finishes with a brief discussion of the significance of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. (shrink)
In the past thirty years or so, the doctrine that actions are events has become an essential, and sometimes unargued, part of the received view in the philosophy of action, despite the efforts of a few philosophers to undermine the consensus. For example, the entry for Agency in a recently published reference guide to the philosophy of mind begins with the following sentence: A central task in the philosophy of action is that of spelling out the differences between events in (...) general and those events that fall squarely into the category of human action. There is no consensus about what events are. But it is generally agreed that, whatever events may prove to be, actions are a species or a class of events. We believe that the received view is mistaken: actions are not events. We concede that for most purposes, the kind of categorial refinement which is involved in either affirming or denying that actions are events is frankly otiose. Our common idiom does not stress the difference between actions and events, at least not in general terms, because it has no need to. Perhaps it sounds a little odd to say that some events are performed; but if we balked at describing, say, the abdication of Edward VIII as one of the politically significant events in Britain in 1936, it could not be for metaphysical reasons. And since actions, like events, are datable — though often, as we shall see, only imprecisely — actions are said to take place and to occur. But an important class of actions consist in moving something; indeed, according to many philosophers, every action consists in moving something. And when we consider actions of this sort from a theoretical point of view it becomes imperative to distinguish between actions and events. Or so we shall argue. (shrink)
Reasons can play a variety of roles in a variety of contexts. For instance, reasons can motivate and guide us in our actions (and omissions), in the sense that we often act in the light of reasons. And reasons can be grounds for beliefs, desires and emotions and can be used to evaluate, and sometimes to justify, all these. In addition, reasons are used in explanations: both in explanations of human actions, beliefs, desires, emotions, etc., and in explanations of a (...) wide range of phenomena involving all sorts of animate and inanimate substances. This diversity has encouraged the thought that the term 'reason' is ambiguous or has different senses in different contexts. Moreover, this view often goes hand in hand with the claim that reasons of these different kinds belong to different ontological categories: to facts (or something similar) in the case of normative/justifying reasons, and to mental states in the case of motivating/explanatory reasons. In this paper I shall explore some of the main roles that reasons play and, on that basis, I shall offer a classification of kinds of reasons. As will become clear, my classification of reasons is at odds with much of the literature in several respects: first, because of my views about how we should understand the claim that reasons are classified into different kinds; second, because of the kinds into which I think reasons should be classified; and, finally, because of the consequences I think this view has for the ontology of reasons. (shrink)
This paper explores the question whether whatever is done intentionally is done for a reason. Apart from helping us to think about those concepts, the question is interesting because it affords an opportunity to identify a number of misconceptions about reasons. In the paper I argue that there are things that are done intentionally but not done for a reason. I examine two different kinds of example: things done “because one wants to” and “purely expressive actions”. Concerning the first, I (...) argue that the tendency to think that things done because one wants to are things done for a reason derives from conflating the reason that explains why someone did something with their reason for doing it. While these sometimes coincide, they need not always do so. And although the fact that someone wanted to do something can contribute to explaining the person's action, it is not normally that person's reason for doing that thing. Purely expressive actions also provide examples of things done intentionally but not for a reason. I argue that, although those actions are spontaneous, they are nonetheless intentional and that, since they are mere expressions of emotions, they are not done for reasons - although there are reasons why we do them. (shrink)
This paper seeks a better understanding of the elements of practical reasoning: premises and conclusion. It argues that the premises of practical reasoning do not normally include statements such as ‘I want to ϕ’; that the reasoning in practical reasoning is the same as in theoretical reasoning and that what makes it practical is, first, that the point of the relevant reasoning is given by the goal that the reasoner seeks to realize by means of that reasoning and the subsequent (...) action; second, that the premises of such reasoning show the goodness of the action to be undertaken; third, that the conclusions of such reasoning may be actions or decisions, that can be accompanied by expressions of intention, either in action, or for the future; and that these are justified, and might be contradicted, in ways that are not only peculiar to them (i.e. in ways that diverge from those found in theoretical reasoning), but are distinctively practical, in that they involve reference to reasons for acting and to expressions of intention, respectively.1. (shrink)
Two conceptions of motivating reasons, i.e. the reasons for which we act, can be found in the literature: (1) the dominant 'psychological conception', which says that motivating reasons are an agent's believing something; and (2) the 'non-psychological' conception, the minority view, which says that they are what the agent believes, i.e. his beliefs. In this paper I outline a version of the minority view, and defend it against what have been thought to be insuperable difficulties - in particular, difficulties concerning (...) 'error cases' (cases where what the agent believes is false); and difficulties concerning the explanation of action. Concerning error cases, I argue that if we are motivated by something believed that is true, what motivates us to act is a motivating reason. By contrast, if we are motivated by something believed that is false, then what motivates us to act is merely an apparent motivating reason. Either way, what motivates us is, as the non-psychological conception says, what we believe and not our believing it. I offer an account of the relation between motivating reasons and the explanation of action, and argue that this account helps bring out two important points. One is that the fact that we often do, and indeed sometimes must, use explanations such as 'He did it because he believed that p' does not vindicate the psychological conception of motivating reasons. The other is that endorsing the non-psychological conception of motivating reasons does not commit one to a non-factive view of explanations of action. (shrink)
This paper presents a restructured set of axioms for categorical logic. In virtue of it, the syllogistic with indefinite terms is deduced and proved, within the categorical logic boundaries. As a result, the number of all the conclusive syllogisms is deduced through a simple and axiomatic methodology. Moreover, the distinction between immediate and mediate inferences disappears, which reinstitutes the unity of Aristotelian logic.
Se plantea el problema de la existencia de una campo científico -el geográfico - para el cual existen candidaturas e disciplinas determinadas como la Geografía Física, La Humana, la R egional y la Universal, etc. Se plantea la diferencia entre ciencias naturales y humanas, así como entre ciencias texonómicas y ciencias mereológicas, como marcos de análisis para las ciencias geográficas.
A great effort has been devoted to formulating a classical relativistic theory of spin compatible with quantum relativistic wave equations. The main difficulty in connecting classical and quantum theories rests in finding a parameter that plays the role of proper time at a purely quantum level. We present a partial review of several proposals of classical and quantum spin theories from the pioneering works of Thomas and Frenkel, revisited in the classical BMT work, to the semiclassical model of Barut and (...) Zanghi. We show that the last model can be obtained from a semiclassical limit of the Feynman proper time parametrization of the Dirac equation. At the quantum level, we derive spin precession equations in the Heisenberg picture. Analogies and differences with respect to classical theories are discussed in detail. (shrink)
Like much in this book, the title and dust jacket illustration are clever. The first evokes Hume's remark in the Treatise that ‘Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.’ The second, which represents a cross between a dance-step and a clinch, links up with the title and anticipates an example used throughout the book to support its central claims: that Ronnie, unlike Bradley, has a reason to go to a party – namely, that there will (...) be dancing at the party – because Ronnie, unlike Bradley, loves dancing. So, the explanation of why Ronnie's and Bradley's reasons differ lies in their respective psychologies.Schroeder argues for a version of the Humean Theory of Reasons he calls Hypotheticalism, which says that every reason is explained by a desire in the same way as Ronnie's is. Schroeder argues that on almost every count, Hypotheticalism is as good as, or preferable to, the Humean and non-Humean alternatives; and he defends it against an array of objections. For example, he explains that while Hypotheticalism claims that ‘desires have to serve in the explanation of every reason because desires are part of the correct analysis of reasons’ , it does not claim that a desire that explains a reason is part of that reason: rather it is a background condition for it. This, Schroeder argues, allows him to rebut a variety of objections that depend on conflating reasons with their background conditions. Other …. (shrink)
The genesis of Feynman's original approach to QED is reviewed. The main ideas of his original presentation at the Pocono Conference are discussed and compared with the ones involved in his action-at-distance formulation of classical electrodynamics. The role of the de Sitter group in Feynman's visualization of space-time processes is emphasized.
Ethical beliefs may vary across cultures but there are things that must be valued as preconditions to any cultural practice. Physical and mental abilities vital to believing, valuing and practising a culture are such preconditions and it is always important to protect them. If one is to practise a distinct culture, she must at least have these basic abilities. Access to basic healthcare is one way to ensure that vital abilities are protected. John Rawls argued that access to all-purpose primary (...) goods must be ensured. Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum claim that universal capabilities are what resources are meant to enable. Len Doyal and Ian Gough identify physical health and autonomy as basic needs of every person in every culture. When we disagree on what to prioritize, when resources to satisfy competing demands are scarce, our common needs can provide a point of normative convergence. Need-based rationing, however, has been criticized for being too indeterminate to give guidance for deciding which healthcare services to prioritize and for tending to create a bottomless-pit problem. But there is a difference between needing something (first-order need) and needing to have the ability to need (second-order need). Even if we disagree about which first-order need to prioritize, we must accept the importance of satisfying our second-order need to have the ability to value things. We all have a second-order need for basic healthcare as a means to protect our vital abilities even if we differ in what our cultures consider to be particular first-order needs. (shrink)
The history of the classification of chemical elements is reviewed from the point of view of a bibliophile. The influence that relevant books had on the development of the periodic table and, conversely, how it was incorporated into textbooks, treatises and literary works, with an emphasis on the Spanish bibliography are analyzed in this paper. The reader will also find unexpected connections of the periodic table with the Bible or the architect Buckminster Fuller.
Sharia is a religious legal system that is based on the divine mandates revealed in the Quram and the Sunna as has been interpreted bu the main Islamic Schools of Law, both Sunni and Shiita. In orden to understand what is at stake, distinctions between the main Islamic traditions in this ground was one of the factors that have led to an imprecise use of terminology of the Quram which refers to the Islamic divorce, that is: the Talaq. Its confusion (...) has also been reflected in the case law of the Spanish Supreme Court which regards to the effects of Talaq under the Spanish Civil Law. Bilateral Accord concluded betwen the Spanish Goverment and the Islamic Religious Comunities of Spain has not regulated the requirements of the recognition of the islamic divorce in our legal system. Nevertheless, whether repudiation has been made under the Civil Law of a Muslim State, it could be recognized in Sapin under the rules of procedure of the International Private Law. The main purpose of such recognition is to guarantee the basic civil rights and liberties of the woman who has been repudiated. (shrink)