Tim Crane addresses the ancient question of how it is possible to think about what does not exist. He argues that the representation of the non-existent is a pervasive feature of our thought about the world, and that to understand thought's representational power ('intentionality') we need to understand the representation of the non-existent.
This highly multidisciplinary collection discusses an increasingly important topic among scholars in science and technology studies: objectivity in science. It features eleven essays on scientific objectivity from a variety of perspectives, including philosophy of science, history of science, and feminist philosophy. Topics addressed in the book include the nature and value of scientific objectivity, the history of objectivity, and objectivity in scientific journals and communities. Taken individually, the essays supply new methodological tools for theorizing what is valuable in the pursuit (...) of objective knowledge and for investigating its history. The essays offer many starting points, while suggesting new avenues of research. Taken collectively, the essays exemplify the very virtues of objectivity that they theorize—in reading them together, the reader can sense various anxieties about the dangerously subjective in our age and locate commonalities of concern as well as differences of approach. As a result, the volume offers an expansive vision of a research community seeking a communal understanding of its own methods and its own epistemic anxieties, struggling to enunciate the key problems of knowledge of our time and offer insight into how to overcome them. -/- (Contributors: Alex Csiszar, Scott Edgar, Peter Galison, Ian Hacking, Sandra Harding, Moira Howes, Paolo Savoia, Judy Segal, Joan Steigerwald, and Alison Wylie). (shrink)
The mainstream view in the philosophy of language holds that every meaningful sentence has a truth-condition. This view, however, runs into difficulties with non-objective sentences such as sentences on matters of taste or value: these do not appear to be either true or false, but are generally taken to be meaningful. How can this conflict be resolved? -/- Truth Without Objectivity examines various ways of resolving this fundamental problem, before developing and defending its own original solution, a relativist theory of (...) truth. Standard solutions maintain either that in uttering non-objective sentences speakers make implicit reference to their own preferences and thus have unproblematic truth conditions, or that they have no truth conditions at all. Max Kölbel argues that both of these proposed solutions are inadequate, and that a third well-known position, minimalism, can only solve the problem if it is developed in the direction of relativism about truth. -/- Kölbel defends the idea that truth (as invoked in semantics) is a neutral notion: a sentence’s possessing a truth condition does not yet entail that it concerns an objective subject matter, because truth and objectivity are independent of one another. He argues that this notion of ‘truth without objectivity’ leads directly to relativism about truth, and goes on to defend one form of relativism against well-known objections. (shrink)
Early modern empiricists thought that the nature of perceptual experience is given by citing the object presented to the mind in that experience. Hallucination and illusion suggest that this requires untenable mind-dependent objects. Current orthodoxy replaces the appeal to direct objects with the claim that perceptual experience is characterized instead by its representational content. This paper argues that the move to content is problematic, and reclaims the early modern empiricist insight as perfectly consistent, even in cases of illusion, with (...) the realist contention that these direct objects of perception are the persisting mind-independent physical objects we all know and love. (shrink)
There have been several criticisms of Object-Oriented Ontology from the political Left. Perhaps the most frequent one has been that OOO’s aspiration to speak of objects apart from all their relations runs afoul of Marx’s critique of “commodity fetishism.” The main purpose of this article is to show that even a cursory reading of the sections on commodity in Marx’s Capital does not support such an accusation. For Marx, the sphere of entities that are not commodities is actually quite (...) wide, including all the beings of nature not subject to exchange, as well as bartered goods, and tithes and rents paid in kind to feudal lords. In short, the theory of commodity fetishism is a theory of v a l u e, not an anti-realist theory of b e i n g, and thus does not touch on OOO at all. In closing, I make some brief comments on Marx’s relation to Kantian formalism and to Heidegger’s famous account of present-at-hand and ready-to-hand. (shrink)
This reissue of D. A. Gillies highly influential work, first published in 1973, is a philosophical theory of probability which seeks to develop von Mises’ views on the subject. In agreement with von Mises, the author regards probability theory as a mathematical science like mechanics or electrodynamics, and probability as an objective, measurable concept like force, mass or charge. On the other hand, Dr Gillies rejects von Mises’ definition of probability in terms of limiting frequency and claims that probability should (...) be taken as a primitive or undefined term in accordance with modern axiomatic approaches. This of course raises the problem of how the abstract calculus of probability should be connected with the ‘actual world of experiments’. It is suggested that this link should be established, not by a definition of probability, but by an application of Popper’s concept of falsifiability. In addition to formulating his own interesting theory, Dr Gillies gives a detailed criticism of the generally accepted Neyman Pearson theory of testing, as well as of alternative philosophical approaches to probability theory. The reissue will be of interest both to philosophers with no previous knowledge of probability theory and to mathematicians interested in the foundations of probability theory and statistics. (shrink)
In this book Terence Parsons revives the older tradition of taking such objects at face value. Using various modern techniques from logic and the philosophy of language, he formulates a metaphysical theory of nonexistent objects. The theory is given a formalization in symbolism rich enough to contain definite descriptions, modal operators, and epistemic contexts, and the book includes a discussion which relates the formalized theory explicitly to English.
There is widespread excitement in the literature about the method of arbitrary functions: many take it to show that it is from the dynamics of systems that the objectivity of probabilities emerge. In this paper, I differentiate three ways in which a probability function might be objective, and I argue that the method of arbitrary functions cannot help us show that dynamics objectivise probabilities in any of these senses.
Objectivity has a history, and it is full of surprises. In Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison chart the emergence of objectivity in the mid-nineteenth-century sciences--and show how the concept differs from its alternatives, truth-to-nature and trained judgment. This is a story of lofty epistemic ideals fused with workaday practices in the making of scientific images. From the eighteenth through the early twenty-first centuries, the images that reveal the deepest commitments of the empirical sciences--from anatomy to crystallography--are those featured in (...) scientific atlases, the compendia that teach practitioners what is worth looking at and how to look at it. Galison and Daston use atlas images to uncover a hidden history of scientific objectivity and its rivals. Whether an atlas maker idealizes an image to capture the essentials in the name of truth-to-nature or refuses to erase even the most incidental detail in the name of objectivity or highlights patterns in the name of trained judgment is a decision enforced by an ethos as well as by an epistemology. As Daston and Galison argue, atlases shape the subjects as well as the objects of science. To pursue objectivity--or truth-to-nature or trained judgment--is simultaneously to cultivate a distinctive scientific self wherein knowing and knower converge. Moreover, the very point at which they visibly converge is in the very act of seeing not as a separate individual but as a member of a particular scientific community. Embedded in the atlas image, therefore, are the traces of consequential choices about knowledge, persona, and collective sight. Objectivity is a book addressed to anyone interested in the elusive and crucial notion of objectivity-- and in what it means to peer into the world scientifically. Lorraine Daston is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. She is the coauthor of Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 and the editor of Things That Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science. Peter Galison is Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. He is the author of Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time, How Experiments End, and Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, and other books, and coeditor of The Architecture of Science. (shrink)
David Wallace has given a decision-theoretic argument for the Born Rule in the context of Everettian quantum mechanics. This approach promises to resolve some long-standing problems with probability in EQM, but it has faced plenty of resistance. One kind of objection charges that the requisite notion of decision-theoretic uncertainty is unavailable in the Everettian picture, so that the argument cannot gain any traction; another kind of objection grants the proof’s applicability and targets the premises. In this article I propose some (...) novel principles connecting the physics of EQM with the metaphysics of modality, and argue that in the resulting framework the incoherence problem does not arise. These principles also help to justify one of the most controversial premises of Wallace’s argument, ‘branching indifference’. Absent any a priori reason to align the metaphysics with the physics in some other way, the proposed principles can be adopted on grounds of theoretical utility. The upshot is that Everettians can, after all, make clear sense of objective probability. 1 Introduction2 Setup3 Individualism versus Collectivism4 The Ingredients of Indexicalism5 Indexicalism and Incoherence5.1 The trivialization problem5.2 The uncertainty problem6 Indexicalism and Branching Indifference6.1 Introducing branching indifference6.2 The pragmatic defence of branching indifference6.3 The non-existence defence of branching indifference6.4 The indexicalist defence of branching indifference7 Conclusion. (shrink)
Prologue: objectivity shock -- Epistemologies of the eye -- Blind sight -- Collective empiricism -- Objectivity is new -- Histories of the scientific self -- Epistemic virtues -- The argument -- Objectivity in shirtsleeves -- Truth-to-nature -- Before objectivity -- Taming nature's variability -- The idea in the observation -- Four-eyed sight -- Drawing from nature -- Truth-to-nature after objectivity -- Mechanical objectivity -- Seeing clear -- Photography as science and art -- Automatic images and blind sight -- Drawing against (...) photography -- Self-surveillance -- Ethics of objectivity -- The scientific self -- Why objectivity? -- The scientific subject -- Kant among the scientists -- Scientific personas -- Observation and attention -- Knower and knowledge -- Structural objectivity -- Objectivity without images -- The objective science of mind -- The real, the objective, and the communicable -- The color of subjectivity -- What even a god could not say -- Dreams of a neutral language -- The cosmic community -- Trained judgment -- The uneasiness of mechanical reproduction -- Accuracy should not be sacrificed to objectivity -- The art of judgment -- Practices and the scientific self -- Representation to presentation -- Seeing is being : truth, objectivity, and judgment -- Seeing is making : nanofacture -- Right depiction. (shrink)
Arguments that ordinary inanimate objects such as tables and chairs, sticks and stones, simply do not exist have become increasingly common and increasingly prominent. Some are based on demands for parsimony or for a non-arbitrary answer to the special composition question; others arise from prohibitions against causal redundancy, ontological vagueness, or co-location; and others still come from worries that a common sense ontology would be a rival to a scientific one. Until now, little has been done to address these arguments (...) in a unified and systematic way. Ordinary Objects is designed to fill this gap, demonstrating that the mistakes behind all of these superficially diverse eliminativist arguments may be traced to a common source. It aims to develop an ontology of ordinary objects subject to no such problems, providing perhaps the first sustained defense of a common sense ontology in two generations. The work done along the way addresses a number of major issues in philosophy of language and metaphysics, contributing to debates about analyticity, identity conditions, co-location and the grounding problem, vagueness, overdetermination, parsimony, and ontological commitment. In the end, the most important result of addressing these eliminativist arguments is not merely avoiding their conclusions; examining their failings also gives us reason to suspect that many apparent disputes in ontology are pseudo-debates. For it brings into question widely-held assumptions about which uses of metaphysical principles are appropriate, which metaphysical demands are answerable, and how we should go about addressing such fundamental questions as "What exists?". As a result, the work of Ordinary Objects promises to provide not only the route to a reflective understanding of our unreflective common-sense view, but also a better understanding of the proper methods and limits of metaphysics. (shrink)
A typical guiding principle of an account of truth is: “truth is objective,” or, to be clear, judging whether an assertion is true or false depends upon how things are in the world rather than how someone or some community believes it to be. Accordingly, whenever a claim is objectively true, its truth conditions ought not depend upon the context in which it is uttered or the utterer making the claim. Part of our ongoing empirical studies surveying people’s responses to (...) questions about truth involved prompts on objectivity. Our studies suggest the following: overall, individuals tend to endorse claims that are consistent with the objectivity of truth; not all conceptions of objectivity are equal, even people who endorse the objectivity of truth sometimes assent to one form of truth’s objectivity over other forms; philosophers and non-philosophers both endorse the objectivity of truth, but the apparent commitment of philosophers is stronger. (shrink)
In this volume Rorty offers a Deweyan account of objectivity as intersubjectivity, one that drops claims about universal validity and instead focuses on utility for the purposes of a community. The sense in which the natural sciences are exemplary for inquiry is explicated in terms of the moral virtues of scientific communities rather than in terms of a special scientific method. The volume concludes with reflections on the relation of social democratic politics to philosophy.
In this book, Zalta attempts to lay the axiomatic foundations of metaphysics by developing and applying a (formal) theory of abstract objects. The cornerstones include a principle which presents precise conditions under which there are abstract objects and a principle which says when apparently distinct such objects are in fact identical. The principles are constructed out of a basic set of primitive notions, which are identified at the end of the Introduction, just before the theorizing begins. The main reason for (...) producing a theory which defines a logical space of abstract objects is that it may have a great deal of explanatory power. It is hoped that the data explained by means of the theory will be of interest to pure and applied metaphysicians, logicians and linguists, and pure and applied epistemologists. (shrink)
The objects we encounter in ordinary life and scientific practice - cars, trees, people, houses, molecules, galaxies, and the like - have long been a fruitful source of perplexity for metaphysicians. The Structure of Objects gives an original analysis of those material objects to which we take ourselves to be committed in our ordinary, scientifically informed discourse. Koslicki focuses on material objects in particular, or, as metaphysicians like to call them "concrete particulars", i.e., objects which occupy a single region of (...) space-time at each time at which they exist and which have a certain range of properties that go along with space-occupancy, such as weight, shape, color, texture, and temperature. The Structure of Objects focuses in particular on the question of how the parts of such objects, assuming that they have parts, are related to the wholes which they compose. (shrink)
Objects and Persons presents an original theory about what kinds of things exist. Trenton Merricks argues that there are no non-living inanimate macrophysical objects -- no statues or rocks or chairs or stars -- because they would have no causal role over and above the causal role of their microphysical parts. Humans do exist: we have non-redundant causal powers. Along the way, Merricks has interesting things to say about mental causation, free will, and various philosophical puzzles. Anyone working in metaphysics (...) will enjoy this lucid and provocative book. (shrink)
This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees (...) is considerably more marginal than generally held. (shrink)
Are there objects that are “thin” in the sense that their existence does not make a substantial demand on the world? Frege famously thought so. He claimed that the equinumerosity of the knives and the forks suffices for there to be objects such as the number of knives and the number of forks, and for these objects to be identical. The idea of thin objects holds great philosophical promise but has proved hard to explicate. This book attempts to develop the (...) needed explanations by drawing on some Fregean ideas. First, to be an object is to be a possible referent of a singular term. Second, singular reference can be achieved by providing a criterion of identity for the would-be referent. The second idea enables a form of easy reference and thus, via the first idea, also a form of easy being. Paradox is avoided by imposing a predicativity restriction on the criteria of identity. But the abstraction based on a criterion of identity may result in an expanded domain. By iterating such expansions, a powerful account of dynamic abstraction is developed. (shrink)
Historically associated with military service, conscientious objection has become a significant phenomenon in health care. Mark Wicclair offers a comprehensive ethical analysis of conscientious objection in three representative health care professions: medicine, nursing and pharmacy. He critically examines two extreme positions: the 'incompatibility thesis', that it is contrary to the professional obligations of practitioners to refuse provision of any service within the scope of their professional competence; and 'conscience absolutism', that they should be exempted from performing any action contrary to (...) their conscience. He argues for a compromise approach that accommodates conscience-based refusals within the limits of specified ethical constraints. He also explores conscientious objection by students in each of the three professions, discusses conscience protection legislation and conscience-based refusals by pharmacies and hospitals, and analyzes several cases. His book is a valuable resource for scholars, professionals, trainees, students, and anyone interested in this increasingly important aspect of health care. (shrink)
One of the central questions of material-object metaphysics is which highly visible objects there are right before our eyes. Daniel Z. Korman defends a conservative view, according to which our ordinary, natural judgments about which objects there are are more or less correct. He begins with an overview of the arguments that have led people away from the conservative view, into revisionary views according to which there are far more objects than we ordinarily take there to be or far (...) fewer. Korman criticizes a variety of compatibilist strategies, according to which these revisionary views are actually compatible with our ordinary beliefs. He goes on to respond to debunking arguments; objections that the conservative's verdicts about which objects that are and aren't are objectionably arbitrary; the argument from vagueness; the overdetermination argument; the argument from material constitution; and the problem of the many. (shrink)
Are there nonexistent objects, i.e., objects that do not exist? Some examples often cited are: Zeus, Pegasus, Sherlock Holmes, Vulcan (the hypothetical planet postulated by the 19th century astronomer Le Verrier), the perpetual motion machine, the golden mountain, the fountain of youth, the round square, etc. Some important philosophers have thought that the very concept of a nonexistent object is contradictory (Hume) or logically ill-formed (Kant, Frege), while others (Leibniz, Meinong, the Russell of Principles of Mathematics) have embraced it (...) wholeheartedly. This entry is an examination of the many questions which arise in connection with the view that there are nonexistent objects. The following are particularly salient: What reasons are there (if any) for thinking that there are nonexistent objects? If there are nonexistent objects, then what kind of objects are they? How can they be characterized? Is it possible to provide a consistent theory of nonexistent objects? What is the explanatory force of a consistent theory of nonexistent objects (if such a thing is possible)? (shrink)
This chapter accepts for the sake of argument Ronald Dworkin’s point that the only viable form of normative skepticism is internal, and develops an internal skeptical argument directed specifically at normative realism. There is a striking and puzzling coincidence between normative judgments that are true, and normative judgments that causal forces led us to believe—a practical/theoretical puzzle to which the constructivist view has a solution. Normative realists have no solution, but are driven to conclude that we are probably hopeless at (...) recognizing the independent normative truths they posit. Since this is an unacceptable conclusion, we must conclude that normative realism is false. Drawing on evolutionary considerations, it is explained why this internal skeptical argument does not carry over to our knowledge of objects in our manifest surroundings, and why the challenge does not depend on any assumption that the epistemology of the normative domain must be a causal one. (shrink)
Over the last two or three decades, puzzles concerning vagueness, identity, and material constitution have led an increasing number of ontologists to “eliminate” at least some of the objects of folk ontology. In the book here reviewed, Trenton Merricks proposes to eliminate any and all material objects that lack nonredundant causal powers. The objects found lacking include statues, baseballs, planets, and all other inanimate macroscopica, including the masses and conjunctive objects favored by some other eliminativists. The objects found to possess (...) the requisite powers include human persons, who are taken to be human organisms, other conscious organisms, such as dogs and dolphins, and the microscopica of which organisms are composed. Merricks doesn’t assume that there are physical simples. But he does assume that there is at least one level of microscopica, and he uses ‘atoms’ as a convenient term for the microscopica of some unspecified level. As regards organisms that lack consciousness, Merricks is agnostic. (shrink)
This chapter is divided into three parts. First I outline what makes something an objective list theory of well-being. I then go on to look at the motivations for holding such a view before turning to objections to these theories of well-being.
One might well wonder—is there a category under which every thing falls? Offering an informative account of such a category is no easy task. For nothing would distinguish things that fall under it from those that don’t—there being, after all, none of the latter. It seems hard, then, to say much about any fully general category; and it would appear to do no carving or categorizing or dividing at all. Nonetheless there are candidates for such a fully general office, including (...) thing, being, entity, item, existent, and—especially—object.[ It is not obvious that there is any fully general category (whether object or otherwise). Accordingly, not all accounts of object assign it to a fully general category, instead allowing that there are non-objects. On those views, object does indeed divide. Accounts of object, then, differ with respect to whether there are non-objects. And this is not the only fault line. Other dimensions of difference include what objects there are and what objects are. Accordingly, this entry will survey three broad questions about the category object: What, if any, is its contrast or complement? What is its extension? What is its nature? (shrink)
What does the passage of time consist in? There are some suggestive metaphors. âEvents approach us, pass us, and recede from us, like sticks and leaves floating on the river of time.â âWe are moving from the past into the future, like ships sailing into an unknown ocean.â There is surely something right and deep about these metaphors. But how close are they to the literal truth? In this book Bradford Skow argues that they are far from the literal truth. (...) Skowâs argument takes the form of a defense of the block universe theory of time, a theory that, in many ways, treats time as a dimension of reality that closely resembles the three dimensions of space. Opposed to the block universe theory of time are theories that take the metaphors more seriously: presentism, the moving spotlight theory, the growing block theory, and the branching time theory. These are theories of ârobustâ passage of time, or âobjective becoming.â Skow argues that the best of these theories, the block universe theoryâs most worthy opponent, is the moving spotlight theory, the theory that says that âpresentnessâ moves along the series of times from the past into the future. Skow defends the moving spotlight theory against the objection that it is inconsistent, and the objection that it cannot answer the question of how fast time passes. He also defends it against the objection that it is incompatible with Einsteinâs theory of relativity. Skow proposes several ways in which the moving spotlight theory may be made compatible with the theory of relativity. Still, this book is ultimately a defense of the block universe theory, not of the moving spotlight theory. Skow holds that the best arguments against the block universe theory, and for the moving spotlight theory, start from the idea that, somehow, the passage of time is given to us in experience. Skow discusses several different arguments that start from this idea, and argues that they all fail. (shrink)
Divided into two parts, the first concentrates on the logical properties of propositions, their relation to facts and sentences, and the parallel objects of commands and questions. The second part examines theories of intentionality and discusses the relationship between different theories of naming and different accounts of belief.
The literature on conscientious objection in medicine presents two key problems that remain unresolved: Which conscientious objections in medicine are justified, if it is not feasible for individual medical practitioners to conclusively demonstrate the genuineness or reasonableness of their objections? How does one respect both medical practitioners’ claims of conscience and patients’ interests, without leaving practitioners complicit in perceived or actual wrongdoing? My aim in this paper is to offer a new framework for conscientious objections in medicine, which, by bringing (...) medical professionals’ conscientious objection into the public realm, solves the justification and complicity problems. In particular, I will argue that: an “Uber Conscientious Objection in Medicine Committee” —which includes representatives from the medical community and from other professions, as well as from various religions and from the patient population—should assess various well-known conscientious objections in medicine in terms of public reason and decide which conscientious objections should be permitted, without hearing out individual conscientious objectors; medical practitioners should advertise their conscientious objections, ahead of time, in an online database that would be easily accessible to the public, without being required, in most cases, to refer patients to non-objecting practitioners. (shrink)
We perceive a world of mind-independent macroscopic material objects such as stones, tables, trees, and animals. Our experience is the joint upshot of the way these things are and our route through them, along with the various relevant circumstances of perception; and it depends on the normal operation of our perceptual systems. How should we characterise our perceptual experience so as to respect its basis and explain its role in grounding empirical thought and knowledge? I offered an answer to this (...) question in Perception and its objects. Here I aim to clarify some of my central arguments and to develop and defend the position further in the light of subsequent critical discussion. (shrink)
How can we explain the structure of perceptual experience? What is it that we perceive? How is it that we perceive objects and not disjoint arrays of properties? By which sense or senses do we perceive objects? This book investigates Aristotle's views on these and related questions.
When unknowingly experiencing a perceptual hallucination, a subject can attempt to think specifically about what is, as far as he or she can tell, the perceived object. Is the subject then deceived about his or her cognitive situation? I answer negatively. Moreover, I argue that this answer is compatible with holding that thought specifically about a certain object – singular thought – is object-dependent. By contrast, both critics and advocates of the view that singular thought is (...) class='Hi'>object-dependent have assumed this view to be committed to postulation of illusions of object-dependent thought in cases like that mentioned. The core ingredient in my illusion-free version of the view is a special form of disjunctivism. Alleged cases of illusion are not considered parasitic on ‘the good case’ where the object thought about is perceived. (shrink)
Worries about scientific objectivity seem never-ending. Social critics and philosophers of science have argued that invocations of objectivity are often little more than attempts to boost the status of a claim, while calls for value neutrality may be used to suppress otherwise valid dissenting positions. Objectivity is used sometimes to advance democratic agendas, at other times to block them; sometimes for increasing the growth of knowledge, at others to resist it. Sandra Harding is not ready to throw out objectivity quite (...) yet. For all of its problems, she contends that objectivity is too powerful a concept simply to abandon. In Objectivity and Diversity, Harding calls for a science that is both more epistemically adequate and socially just, a science that would ask: How are the lives of the most economically and politically vulnerable groups affected by a particular piece of research? Do they have a say in whether and how the research is done? Should empirically reliable systems of indigenous knowledge count as "real science"? Ultimately, Harding argues for a shift from the ideal of a neutral, disinterested science to one that prizes fairness and responsibility. (shrink)
Which entities should be accepted as part of the furniture of the world, and which not? What are pseudo-objects, if they are not properly objects? This collection explores the answers given to these questions by some key philosophers throughout the 20th century. It brings together essays by leading scholars on a subject of central importance to both metaphysics and the history of philosophy.".
Simon J. Evnine explores the view that some objects have matter from which they are distinct but that this distinctness is not due to the existence of anything like a form. He draws on Aristotle's insight that such objects must be understood in terms of an account that links what they are essentially with how they come to exist and what their functions are. Artifacts are the most prominent kind of objects where these three features coincide, and Evnine develops a (...) detailed account of the existence and identity conditions of artifacts, and the origins of their functions, in terms of how they come into existence. He then extends this account to organisms, where evolution accomplishes what is effected by intentional making in the case of artifacts, and to actions, which are seen as artifactual events. (shrink)
This article argues that practitioners have a professional ethical obligation to dispense emergency contraception, even given conscientious objection to this treatment. This recent controversy affects all medical professionals, including physicians as well as pharmacists. This article begins by analyzing the option of referring the patient to another willing provider. Objecting professionals may conscientiously refuse because they consider emergency contraception to be equivalent to abortion or because they believe contraception itself is immoral. This article critically evaluates these reasons and concludes that (...) they do not successfully support conscientious objection in this context. Contrary to the views of other thinkers, it is not possible to easily strike a respectful balance between the interests of objecting providers and patients in this case. As medical professionals, providers have an ethical duty to inform women of this option and provide emergency contraception when this treatment is requested. (shrink)
Object perception deploys a suite of perceptual capacities that constrains attention, guides reidentification, subserves recognition, and anchors demonstrative thought. Objects for perception—perceptual objects—are the targets of such capacities. Characterizing perceptual objects for multisensory perception faces two puzzles. First is the diversity of objects across sensory modalities. Second is the unity of multisensory perceptual objects. This paper resolves the puzzles. Objects for perception are structured mereologically complex individuals. Perceptual objects are items that bear perceptible features and have perceptible parts arranged (...) to form a unified whole. This circumscribes the targets of object perception where neutral talk concerning intentional objects and objects of perception cannot. Nonetheless, it is more permissive than identifying perceptual objects with material bodies, which excludes too much and leans too heavily on vision. The account thus is tailored to capture the role of objects in perception beyond vision: tactual, auditory, and olfactory objects are individuals with differing structures. Its flexibility also enables the account to accommodate shared objects for multisensory perception: multisensory perceptual objects are mereologically complex individuals with hybrid structure. For instance, one can bimodally perceive a common whole with parts accessible to one but not both modalities. Each sense provides a partial perspective on a complex whole that is perceptible through the coordinated use of multiple senses. Understanding perceptual objects as structured mereologically complex individuals thus provides a theoretically useful notion of an object for multisensory perception that resolves the puzzles of diversity and of unity. (shrink)
What is objectivity? What is the rule of law? Are the operations of legal systems objective? If so, in what ways and to what degrees are they objective? Does anything of importance depend on the objectivity of law? These are some of the principal questions addressed by Matthew H. Kramer in this lucid and wide-ranging study that introduces readers to vital areas of philosophical enquiry. As Kramer shows, objectivity and the rule of law are complicated phenomena, each comprising a number (...) of distinct though overlapping dimensions. Although the connections between objectivity and the rule of law are intimate, they are also densely multi-faceted. (shrink)
Few people, if any, still argue that science in all its aspects is a value-free endeavor. At the very least, values affect decisions about the choice of research problems to investigate and the uses to which the results of research are applied. But what about the actual doing of science? -/- As Science, Values, and Objectivity reveals, the connections and interactions between values and science are quite complex. The essays in this volume identify the crucial values that play a role (...) in science, distinguish some of the criteria that can be used for value identification, and elaborate the conditions for warranting certain values as necessary or central to the very activity of scientific research. -/- Recently, social constructivists have taken the presence of values within the scientific model to question the basis of objectivity. However, the contributors to <I>Science, Values, and Objectivity</I> recognize that such acknowledgment of the role of values does not negate the fact that objects exist in the world. Objects have the power to constrain our actions and thoughts, though the norms for these thoughts lie in the public, social world. -/- Values may be decried or defended, praised or blamed, but in a world that strives for a modicum of reason, values, too, must be reasoned. Critical assessment of the values that play a role in scientific research is as much a part of doing good science as interpreting data. (shrink)
This article develops an account of local epistemic practices on the basis of case studies from ethnobiology. I argue that current debates about objectivity often stand in the way of a more adequate understanding of local knowledge and ethnobiological practices in general. While local knowledge about the biological world often meets criteria for objectivity in philosophy of science, general debates about the objectivity of local knowledge can also obscure their unique epistemic features. In modification of Ian Hacking’s suggestion to discuss (...) “ground level questions” instead of objectivity, I propose an account that focuses on both epistemic virtues and vices of local epistemic practices. (shrink)
This is my main contribution to P. Gould (ed.) Beyond the Control of God?: Six Views on the Problem of God and Abstract Objects Bloomsbury. (The other contibutors to this work are: Keith Yandell; Paul Gould and Rich Davis; Greg Welty; William Lane Craig; and Scott Shalkowski.) I argue that, when it comes to a comparative assessment of the merits of theism and atheism, it makes no difference whether one opts for realism or fictionalism concerning abstract objects.
Building on self-professed perspectival approaches to both scientific knowledge and causation, I explore the potentially radical suggestion that perspectivalism can be extended to account for a type of objectivity in science. Motivated by recent claims from quantum foundations that quantum mechanics must admit the possibility of observer-dependent facts, I develop the notion of ‘perspectival objectivity’, and suggest that an easier pill to swallow, philosophically speaking, than observer-dependency is perspective-dependency, allowing for a notion of observer-independence indexed to an agent perspective. Working (...) through the case studies of colour perception and causal perspectivalism, I identify two places within which I claim perspectival objectivity is already employed, and make the connection to quantum mechanics through Bohr’s philosophy of quantum theory. I contend that perspectival objectivity can ensure, despite the possibility of perspective-dependent scientific facts, the objectivity of scientific inquiry. (shrink)
All else being equal, can granting the objective purport of moral experience support a presumption in favor of some form of moral objectivism? Don Loeb (2007) has argued that even if we grant that moral experience appears to present us with a realm of objective moral fact—something he denies we have reason to do in the first place—the objective purport of moral experience cannot by itself provide even prima facie support for moral objectivism. In this paper, I contend against Loeb (...) that granting the objective purport of ordinary moral experience is sufficient to support a defeasible presumption in favor of moral objectivism, and this by constituting non-explanatory, comparative confirmation that incrementally raises the prima facie likelihood that moral facts exist. More specifically, I appeal to a modest confirmation principle shared by Likelihoodists and Bayesieans - namely, the Weak Law of Likelihood - in an effort to show that (i) at a minimum, moral experience establishes a middling scrutable probability for a sufficient but not necessary condition of moral objectivism being true, and that (ii) this moderate probability in turn constitutes evidence that makes it prima facie more probable than not that some form of moral objectivism is true. (shrink)
Olfaction represents odors, if it represents anything at all. Does olfaction also represent ordinary objects like cheese, fish and coffee-beans? Many think so. This paper argues that it does not. Instead, we should affirm an austere account of the intentional objects of olfaction: olfactory experience is about odors, not objects. Visuocentric thinking about olfaction has tempted some philosophers to say otherwise.