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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
Two questions are addressed in this paper. First, what is it to see? I argue that it is veridical experience of things outside the perceiver brought about by looking. Second, what is it to see a material object? I argue that it is experience of an occupant of a spatial region that is a logical subject for other visual features, able to move to another spatial region, to change intrinsically, and to interact with other material objects. I show how this (...) theory is different from the idea that object-seeing is merely the visual segregation of a region of the visual field. Finally, I argue that we do not object-see objects reflected in mirrors, surfaces of back-lit objects, and depictions of objects. (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)
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 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)
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)
This book develops a novel generalization of possible world semantics, called ‘world line semantics’, which recognizes worlds and links between world-bound objects (world lines) as mutually independent aspects of modal semantics. Addressing a wide range of questions vital for contemporary debates in logic and philosophy of language and offering new tools for theoretical linguistics and knowledge representation, the book proposes a radically new paradigm in modal semantics. This framework is motivated philosophically, viewing a structure of world lines as a precondition (...) of modal talk. The author provides a uniform analysis of quantification over individuals (physical objects) and objects of thought (intentional objects). The semantic account of what it means to speak of intentional objects throws new light on accounts of intentionality and singular thought in the philosophy of mind and offers novel insights into the semantics of intensional transitive verbs. (shrink)
It typically taken for granted that agents can be morally responsible for such things as, for example, the death of the victim and the capture of the murderer in the sense that one may be blameworthy or praiseworthy for such things. The primary task of a theory of moral responsibility, it is thought, is to specify the appropriate relationship one must stand to such things in order to be morally responsible for them. I argue that this common approach is problematic (...) because it attempts to explain the way in which an agent can be morally responsible for something that is external to her, the agent. Since, I argue, everything that matters for moral responsibility is internal to the agent, the accounts that emerge from this approach are committed to a particular form of moral luck. Instead, we should reject this form of moral luck, and with it, the possibility of moral responsibility for objects external to the agent. We are, I argue, morally responsible only for our inner willings. Thus, a form of internalism about moral responsibility is defended. (shrink)
In this paper we present a new metaphysical theory of material objects. On our theory, objects are bundles of property instances, where those properties give the nature or essence of that object. We call the theory essential bundle theory. Property possession is not analysed as bundle-membership, as in traditional bundle theories, since accidental properties are not included in the object’s bundle. We have a different story to tell about accidental property possession. This move reaps many benefits. Essential bundle theory delivers (...) a simple theory of the essential properties of material objects; an explanation of how object coincidence can arise; an actual-world ground for modal differences between coincident objects; a simple story about intrinsic properties; and a plausible account of certain ubiquitous cases of causal overdetermination. (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.
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)
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)
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.
objects are standardly taken to be causally inert, but this claim is rarely explicitly argued for. In the context of his platonism about musical works, in order for musical works to be audible, Julian Dodd argues that abstracta are causally efficacious in virtue of their concrete tokens participating in events. I attempt to provide a principled argument for the causal inertness of abstracta by first rejecting Dodd’s arguments from events, and then extending and generalizing the causal exclusion argument to the (...) abstract/concrete distinction. For reasons of parsimony, if concrete tokens or instantiations of abstract objects account for all causal work, then there is no reason to attribute causal efficacy to abstracta, and thus reason to maintain their causal inertness. I then consider how one of the main arguments against causal exclusion, namely Stephen Yablo’s notion of “proportionality”, could be modified to support the causal efficacy of abstracta. I argue that from a few simple premises Yablo’s account in fact supports their causal inertness. Having a principled reason for the causal inertness of abstracta appears to entail that the musical platonist must admit that we never literally hear the musical work, but only its performances. I sketch a solution to this problem available to Dodd, so that the musical platonist can maintain that musical works are abstract objects and are causally inert while retaining their audibility. (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)
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)
Most observers agree that modern physical theory attempts to provide objective representations of reality. However, the claim that these representations are based on conventional choices is viewed by many as a denial of their objectivity. As a result, objectivity and conventionality in representation are often framed as polar opposites. Offering a new appraisal of symmetry in modern physics, employing detailed case studies from relativity theory and quantum mechanics, Objectivity, Invariance, and Convention contends that the physical sciences, though (...) dependent on convention, may produce objective representations of reality. Talal Debs and Michael Redhead show that both realists and constructivists have recognized important elements of an understanding of science that may not be contradictory. The position--"perspectival invariantism"-- introduced in this book highlights the shortcomings of existing approaches to symmetry in physics, and, for the constructivist, demonstrates that a dependence on conventions in representation reaches into the domain of the most technical sciences. For the realist, it stands as evidence against the claim that conventionality must undermine objectivity. We can be committed to the existence of a single real ontology while maintaining a cultural view of science. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Scanlon’s Being Realistic about Reasons (BRR) is a beautiful book – sleek, sophisticated, and programmatic. One of its key aims is to demystify knowledge of normative and mathematical truths. In this article, I develop an epistemological problem that Scanlon fails to explicitly address. I argue that his “metaphysical pluralism” can be understood as a response to that problem. However, it resolves the problem only if it undercuts the objectivity of normative and mathematical inquiry.
This paper argues that objective consequentialism is incompatible with the rationales of ‘ “ought” implies “can” ’ – with the considerations, that is, that explain or justify this principle. Objective consequentialism is the moral doctrine that an act is right if and only if there is no alternative with a better outcome, and wrong otherwise. An act is obligatory if and only if it is wrong not to perform it. According to ‘ “ought” implies “can” ’, a person is morally (...) obligated to φ only if the person can φ. The rationales of ‘ “ought” implies “can” ’ include considerations related to intuitive plausibility, action-guidance, blameworthiness and fairness, and the nature of practical reasons. (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.
Physical objects are such things as stones, tables, trees, people and other animals: the persisting macroscopic constituents of the world we live in. therefore expresses a commonsense commitment to physical realism: the persisting macroscopic constituents of the world we live in exist, and are as they are, quite independently of anyone.
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)
Through hearing we learn about source events: events in which objects move or interact so that they vibrate and produce sound waves, such as when they roll, collide, or scrape together. It is often claimed that we do not simply hear sounds and infer what event caused them, but hear source events themselves, through hearing sounds. Here I investigate how the idea that we hear source events should be understood, with a focus on how hearing an event relates to hearing (...) the objects involved in that event. I argue that whereas we see events such as rollings and collisions by seeing objects move through space, this cannot be how we hear them, and go on to examine two other possible models. On the first, we hear events but not their participant objects. On the second, to hear an event is to hear the appearance of an object to change. I argue that neither is satisfactory and endorse a third option: to hear a source event is to hear an object as extending through time. (shrink)
Vision has been the primary focus of naturalistic philosophical research concerning perception and perceptual experience. Guided by visual experience and vision science, many philosophers have focused upon theoretical issues dealing with the perception of objects. Recently, however, hearing researchers have discussed auditory objects. I present the case for object perception in vision, and argue that an analog of object perception occurs in auditory perception. I propose a notion of an auditory object that is stronger than just that of an intentional (...) object of audition, but that does not identify auditory objects with the ordinary material objects we see. (shrink)
In recent analytic metaphysics, the view that ‘ordinary inanimate objects such as sticks and stones, tables and chairs, simply do not exist’ has been defended by some noteworthy writers. Thomasson opposes such revisionary ontology in favour of an ontology that is conservative with respect to common sense. The book is written in a straightforward, methodical and down-to-earth style. It is also relatively non-specialized, enabling the author and her readers to approach problems that are often dealt with in isolation in a (...) more unified way.Thomasson's arguments are mainly counter-attacks on six ‘eliminativist’ arguments against ordinary objects. A causal redundancy argument espoused by Trenton Merricks holds that to suppose that there are ordinary objects is to suppose that these objects have distinctive causal powers. However, the casual efficacy of a baseball, for example, is exhausted by that of some suitably arranged …. (shrink)
Professor Arda Denkel argues here that objects are nothing more than bundles of properties. From this point of view he tackles some central questions of ontology: how is an object distinct from others; how does it remain the same while it changes through time? A second contention is that properties are particular entities restricted to the objects they inhabit. The appearance that they exist generally, in a multitude of things, is due to the way we conceptualize them. Other problems dealt (...) with include how objects bear similarities by belonging to the same kinds, and how change in them is caused. Denkel defends a thoroughgoing particularism and offers purely qualitative accounts of individuation, identity, essences and matter. Throughout, the main alternative positions are surveyed, and the relevant historical background is traced. (shrink)
Is there, or should there be, any place in contemporary philosophy of mind for the concept of an intentional object? Many philosophers would make short work of this question. In a discussion of what intentional objects are supposed to be, John Searle...
Much of the philosophical work on perception has focused on vision. Recently, however, philosophers have begun to correct this ‘tunnel vision’ by considering other modalities. Nevertheless, relatively little has been written about the chemical senses—olfaction and gustation. The focus of this paper is olfaction. In light of new physiological and psychophysical research on olfaction, I consider whether olfactory experience is object-based. In particular, I explore the claim that “odor objects” constitute sensory individuals. It isn’t obvious—at least at the outset—whether they (...) meet the widely accepted principles of object individuation and recognition at work in the visual and auditory cases. Among the general issues I consider, then, is whether these traditional principles form necessary, or simply sufficient, conditions on object perception. As we see, at the very least, considering the object-recognition model of olfaction challenges us to look more closely at well-entrenched models of object perception. But the payoff of doing so is high. We not only learn something about a modality that philosophers have historically neglected; by asking new questions and challenging old assumptions, we also further our understanding of perception in general. (shrink)
Human cognitive acts are directed towards entities of a wide range of different types. What follows is a new proposal for bringing order into this typological clutter. A categorial scheme for the objects of human cognition should be (1) critical and realistic. Cognitive subjects are liable to error, even to systematic error of the sort that is manifested by believers in the Pantheon of Olympian gods. Thus not all putative object-directed acts should be recognized as having objects of their own. (...) Broadly, the objects towards which human cognition is directed should be parts of reality in a sense that is at least consistent with the truths of natural science. But such a scheme should also be (2) comprehensive: it should do justice to each sort of object on its own terms, and not attempt to eliminate objects of one sort in favour of objects of other, more favoured sorts. Linguistic and other forms of idealism, as well as Meinongian theories, which assign to each and every referring expression or intentional act an object tailored to fit, yield categorial schemes which fail to satisfy (1). Physicalistic and other forms of reductionism yield categorial schemes which fail to satisfy (2). What follows is a categorial scheme that is both critically realistic and comprehensive. Thus it enjoys some of the benefits of linguistic idealism and physicalism, without (or so it is hoped) the corresponding disadvantages of each. (shrink)
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm's mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis's four-dimensionalist (...) assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
Building on Nozick's invariantism about objectivity, I propose to define scientific objectivity in terms of counterfactual independence. I will argue that such a counterfactual independence account is (a) able to overcome the decisive shortcomings of Nozick's original invariantism and (b) applicable to three paradigmatic kinds of scientific objectivity (that is, objectivity as replication, objectivity as robustness, and objectivity as Mertonian universalism).
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)
Objects are central to perception and our interactions with the world. We perceive the world as parsed into discrete entities that instantiate particular properties, and these items capture our attention and shape how we interact with the environment. Recently there has been some debate about whether the sense of smell allows us to perceive odours as discrete objects, with some suggesting that olfaction is aspatial and doesn’t allow for object-individuation. This paper offers two empirically tractable criteria for assessing whether particular (...) objects are exhibited in perceptual experience— susceptibility to figure-ground segregation and perceptual constancies—and argues that these criteria are fulfilled by olfactory perception, and thus there are olfactory objects. I argue that there are, in fact, two different ways that olfaction allows for figure-ground segregation. First, I look at various Gestalt grouping principles, which are thought to govern when features are perceived as grouped into structured wholes, segregated from everything around them. I argue that these principles apply to olfactory experience, providing evidence of non-spatial figure-ground segregation. Second, I defend the contentious idea that a spatial variety of figure-ground segregation can also occur in olfaction. To see this, however, we need to look to empirical evidence showing that tactile stimulation and bodily movements play a crucial role in olfactory phenomenology. Finally, I draw on empirical evidence and olfactory phenomenology to argue that there are perceptual constancies in olfactory experience, allowing us to perceive odours as coherent objects that survive shifts in our perspectives on the world. (shrink)
I aim to alleviate the pessimism with which some philosophers regard the 'objective attitude', thereby removing a particular obstacle which P.F. Strawson and others have placed in the way of more widespread scepticism about moral responsibility. First, I describe what I consider the objective attitude to be, and then address concerns about this raised by Susan Wolf. Next, I argue that aspects of certain attitudes commonly thought to be opposed to the objective attitude are in fact compatible with it. Finally, (...) I examine the prospects of someone who wishes to adopt the objective attitude permanently. In response to philosophers who claim that this would be psychologically impossible, I argue that our commitment to attitudes that presuppose moral responsibility can soften and fade, often without our noticing it. (shrink)