In this paper I want to propose that we see solipsism as arising from certain problems we have about identifying ourselves as subjects in an objective world. The discussion will centre on Wittgenstein’s treatment of solipsism in his Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus. In that work Wittgenstein can be seen to express an unusually profound understanding of the problems faced in trying to give an account of how we, who are subjects, identify ourselves as objects in the world. We have in his (...) compressed remarks, the kernels of a number of arguments which all come together to form what can be called the problem of self-identification. I want to argue that the solipsism of the Tractatus arises at least in part as a solution to, or – to put it less optimistically – as a symptom or articulation of this problem. In approaching Wittgenstein’s early discussion of solipsism in this way I will obviously be in disagreement with some other interpretations of the work. For example, there are those who think that there is no ‘solipsism of the Tractatus’.1 In fact, the Tractarian arguments presented below as motivating solipsism have been seen as fulfilling the quite opposite function of refuting it. I do not intend in this piece to engage with alternative interpretations. Let me say a little bit about why I have granted myself the licence not to do so. First, the focus of my concern with solipsism is on how it connects with what I have called the problem of self-identification. While it is a concern that emerged in an attempt to make sense of Wittgenstein’s remarks in. (shrink)
_An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge_ guides the reader through the key issues and debates in contemporary epistemology. Lucid, comprehensive and accessible, it is an ideal textbook for students who are new to the subject and for university undergraduates. The book is divided into five parts. Part I discusses the concept of knowledge and distinguishes between different types of knowledge. Part II surveys the sources of knowledge, considering both _a priori_ and _a posteriori_ knowledge. Parts III and IV provide (...) an in-depth discussion of justification and scepticism. The final part of the book examines our alleged knowledge of the past, other minds, morality and God. O'Brien uses engaging examples throughout the book, taking many from literature and the cinema. He explains complex issues, such as those concerning the private language argument, non-conceptual content, and the new riddle of induction, in a clear and accessible way. This textbook is an invaluable guide to contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
In certain situations, lies can be used to pass on knowledge. The kinds of cases I focus on are those involving a speaker's devious manipulation of the hearer's irrational or prejudiced thought. These cases show that sometimes a speaker's knowledge of a hearer's mind is necessary for the testimonial transmission of knowledge. They also support a 'seeding' model of knowledge transmission, rather than one that is akin to the postal delivery of complete parcels of information.
For Hume virtues are character traits that are useful and agreeable to ourselves and to others. Such traits are wide-ranging, from moral virtues such as benevolence to intellectual virtues such as courage of mind and penetration. This paper focuses on Hume’s account of the latter. I argue that Hume is a virtue epistemologist, principally interested in the role that intellectual character traits play in social interactions rather than in the justifiedness of particular beliefs. I shall argue that this interpretation is (...) consonant with his mitigated skepticism, and that it calls for a reappraisal of the marshalling of Hume and Reid into the contemporary debate between reductionists and non-reductionists with respect to the epistemology of testimony. (shrink)
Hume is usually taken to have an evidentialist account of testimonial belief: one is justified in believing what someone says if one has empincal evidence that they have been reliable in the past. This account is impartialist: such evidence is required no matter who the person is, or what refotions she may have to you. I, however, argue that Hume has another account of testimony, one grounded in sympathy. This account is partialist, in that empincal evidence is not required in (...) order for one to be justified in believing some of the assertions of one's friends. (shrink)
There are various forms of teleological thinking central to debates in the early modern and modern periods, debates in which David Hume (1711–1776) is a key figure. In the first section, we shall introduce three levels at which teleological considerations have been incorporated into philosophical accounts of man and nature, and sketch Hume’s criticisms of these approaches. In the second section, we turn to Hume’s non-teleological ‘science of man’. In the third section, we show how Hume has an account of (...) human flourishing that is not dependent on teleology. In the fourth section, we shall speculate as to the relation between Hume’s account of human nature and contemporary evolutionary accounts of morality and reasoning. (shrink)
Testimonial knowledge sometimes depends on internalist epistemic conditions, those that thinkers are able to reflect upon. In the testimony literature the only internalist conditions that are considered are those concerning a hearer's knowledge of a speaker's reliability. I argue, however, that the relevant sense of internal"" should not be seen as referring to just the hearer's point of view, but rather to the points of view of both the hearer and the speaker. There are certain cases of testimonial knowledge transmission (...) that depend on the speaker's knowledge of his audience. These include cases of ""engineered knowledge"" in which a speaker deviously manipulates a hearer's beliefs. Such knowledge is therefore internalist because it depends on factors that are internal to the point of view of the speaker, and not merely on externalist factors such as the reliability of the speakers' and hearers' beliefs.". (shrink)
Philosophy and gardens have been closely connected from the dawn of philosophy, with many drawing on their beauty and peace for philosophical inspiration. Gardens in turn give rise to a broad spectrum of philosophical questions. For the green-fingered thinker, this book reflects on a whole host of fascinating philosophical themes. Gardens and philosophy present a fascinating combination of subjects, historically important, and yet scarcely covered within the realms of philosophy Contributions come from a wide range of authors, ranging from garden (...) writers and gardeners, to those working in architecture, archaeology, archival studies, art history, anthropology, classics and philosophy Essays cover a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from Epicurus and Confucius to the aesthetics and philosophy of Central Park Offers new perspectives on the experience and evaluation of gardens. (shrink)
The Continuum Companion to Hume is a comprehensive and accessible guide to Hume's life and work includes 21 specially commissioned essays, written by a team of leading experts, covering every aspect of Hume's thought. The Companion presents details of Hume's life, historical and philosophical context, a comprehensive overview of all the key themes and topics apparent in his work, including his accounts of causal reasoning, scepticism, the soul and the self, action, reason, free will, miracles, natural religion, politics, human nature, (...) women, economics and history, and an account of his reception and enduring influence. This is an essential reference tool for anyone working in the fields of Hume Studies and Eighteenth-Century Philosophy. (shrink)
If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
We report on the deliberations of an interdisciplinary group of experts in science, law, and philosophy who convened to discuss novel ethical and policy challenges in stem cell research. In this report we discuss the ethical and policy implications of safety concerns in the transition from basic laboratory research to clinical applications of cell-based therapies derived from stem cells. Although many features of this transition from lab to clinic are common to other therapies, three aspects of stem cell biology pose (...) unique challenges. First, tension regarding the use of human embryos may complicate the scientific development of safe and effective cell lines. Second, because human stem cells were not developed in the laboratory until 1998, few safety questions relating to human applications have been addressed in animal research. Third, preclinical and clinical testing of biologic agents, particularly those as inherently complex as mammalian cells, present formidable challenges, such as the need to develop suitable standardized assays and the difficulty of selecting appropriate patient populations for early phase trials. We recommend that scientists, policy makers, and the public discuss these issues responsibly, and further, that a national advisory committee to oversee human trials of cell therapies be established. **NB we did not reccommend a NAC, we think it might be appropriate**. (shrink)
Lucy O'Brien argues that a satisfactory account of first-person reference and self-knowledge needs to concentrate on our nature as agents. Clearly written, with rigorous discussion of rival views, this book will be of interest to anyone working in the philosophy of mind and action.
O'Brien, Odhran There was a significant monetary cost associated with establishing Catholicism in colonial Western Australia. The bishops and clergy funded the development of the local Catholic Church through donations from European benefactors, offerings from the congregation, and sponsorship from the Colonial and British Governments. As donations from Europe were variable and the resident Catholic population were largely poor, the government grants were the most reliable income for the Diocese of Perth. The government issued grants to support the establishment (...) of congregations, schools, and social welfare institutions. The development of congregations in new settlements was the Catholic Church's core ministry and the government issued stipends to Catholic chaplains to administer spiritual care to settlers and convicts in particular districts. Government grants were based on the census results and the Catholic Church was required to establish local church congregations and recruit clergy, and demonstrate an ability to contribute towards the maintenance of both. From 1852 to 1886, Bishops Joseph Serra, Rosendo Salvado and Martin Griver took charge of establishing congregations, managing clergy and lobbying the governors and other civil officials to fund colonial chaplaincies. The government also expected that the chaplains would promote moral and social order among the ex-convicts transported from Britain. (shrink)
O'Brien, Roderick Among the treasures at the Congregational Archives of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in North Sydney is a booklet, a hymnal: a collection of hymns and sacred songs attributed to Fr Julian Tenison Woods.1 The purpose of this short article is to introduce one of those hymns, and provide some information about poetry and songs in Woods's life and mission. I am grateful to the archivist for making this booklet available. Introducing this particular (...) hymn, 'Longing to Go', also gives us some insight into Woods's spirituality regarding death and regarding mission. (shrink)
O'Brien, Odhran Review of: Aapologia pro Beata Maria Virgine: John Henry Newman's defence of the Virgin Mary in Catholic doctrine and piety, by Robert M. Andrews, Palo Alto, CA: Academica, 2017, pp. 164, hardback, US$76.95.
O'Brien, Roderick When we held the Woods Centenary Seminar in 1989, the local Naracoorte Herald gave us excellent publicity. I recall sitting with the editor, Richard Peake, as he was briefed by the great Sr Margaret Press, assisted by Fr Kevin Horsell, the parish priest of Bordertown who brought his scientific background, and by me. The editor asked the question: 'If Mary MacKillop is to be canonised, why not Woods?'.
In this innovative and cogent presentation of her concept of sustainable happiness, Catherine O’Brien outlines how the leading recommendations for transforming education can be integrated within a vision of _well-being for all_. Solution-focused, the book demonstrates how aspects of this vision are already being realized, and the potential for accelerating education transitions that enable people and ecosystems to flourish. Each chapter assists educators to understand how to apply the lessons learned, both personally and professionally. The aim is to support educators (...) to experience themselves as change-makers with growing confidence to implement new teaching strategies and inspire their students to become change-makers as well—engaged in deep learning that develops character, connections with life, and invigorating collaborations that revitalize the very purpose of education. (shrink)
Oaksford & Chater (O&C) have rejected logic in favor of probability theory for reasons that are irrelevant to mental-logic theory, because mental-logic theory differs from standard logic in significant ways. Similar to O&C, mental-logic theory rejects the use of the material conditional and deals with the completeness problem by limiting the scope of its procedures to local sets of propositions.
O'Regan & Noë (O&N) fail to address adequately the two most historically important reasons for seeking to explain visual experience in terms of internal representations. They are silent about the apparently inferential nature of perception, and mistaken about the significance of the phenomenology accompanying dreams, hallucinations, and mental imagery.
Most models of corporate social responsibility revolve around the controversy as to whether business is a single dimensional entity of profit maximization or a multi-dimensional entity serving greater societal interests. Furthermore, the models are mostly descriptive in nature and are based on the experiences of western countries. There has been little attempt to develop a model that accounts for corporate social responsibility in diverse environments with differing socio-cultural and market settings. In this paper an attempt has been made to fill (...) this gap by developing a two-dimensional model of corporate social responsibility and empirically testing its validity in the context of two dissimilar cultures – Australia and Bangladesh. The two dimensions are the span of corporate responsibility and the range of outcomes of social commitments of businesses. The test results confirm the validity of the two-dimensional model in the two environments. The Factor analysis revealed two leading dimensions. Cluster analysis pointed to two distinctive clusters of managers in both Australia and Bangladesh, one consisting of managers with a broad contemporary concept of social responsibility, and the other with a limited narrow view. The paper concludes that corporate social responsibility is two-dimensional and universal in nature and that differing cultural and market settings in which managers operate may have little impact on the ethical perceptions of corporate managers. (shrink)
Any creature that must move around in its environment to find nutrients and mates, in order to survive and reproduce, faces the problem of sensorimotor control. A solution to this problem requires an on-board control mechanism that can shape the creature’s behaviour so as to render it “appropriate” to the conditions that obtain. There are at least three ways in which such a control mechanism can work, and Nature has exploited them all. The first and most basic way is for (...) a creature to bump into the things in its environment, and then, depending on what has been encountered, seek to modify its behaviour accordingly. Such an approach is risky, however, since some things in the environment are distinctly unfriendly. A second and better way, therefore, is for a creature to exploit ambient forms of energy that carry information about the distal structure of the environment. This is an improvement on the first method since it enables the creature to respond to the surroundings without actually bumping into anything. Nonetheless, this second method also has its limitations, one of which is that the information conveyed by such ambient energy is often impoverished, ambiguous and intermittent. (shrink)
The twelve specially written essays in this volume investigate the neglected topic of mental action, and show its importance for the metaphysics, epistemology, and phenomenology of mind. The essays investigate what mental actions are, how we are aware of them, and what is the relationship between mental and physical action.