Contents \t\t\t\t\t \tTRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION \t\t1 \t \tNOTE ON THE TRANSLATION \t\t39 \t OBSERVATIONS ON THE FEELING OF THE BEAUTIFUL AND SUBLIME \t\t\t\t\t \tSECTION ONE: \t\t\t\t \t\tOf the Distinct Objects of the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime \t\t45 \tSECTION TWO: \t\t\t\t \t\tOf the Attributes of the Beautiful and Sublime.
There has been a groundswell of interest in the account of modality that Kant sets forth in his pre-Critical OnlyPossibleArgument. Andrew Chignell's reconstruction of Kant's theistic argument in terms of what he calls has a prima facie advantage in that it appears to be able to block the plurality objection (namely, that even if every modal fact presupposes some ground, this does not entail that all modal facts share the same ground). I argue that (...) it is both textually and philosophically problematic to interpret Kant's argument in terms of real harmony. Then, I set forth an alternative response to the plurality objection which does not require the adoption of the problematic notion of real harmony. Instead, I argue that the objection can be overcome by observing that the argument seeks to ground modal facts as a totality and that, according to Kant, such relations can be accounted for only by their schematization in a single intellect. (shrink)
KANT ARGUES AT GREAT LENGTH in the Critique of Pure Reason that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated by means of theoretical reason. For after dividing all traditional theistic proofs into three different kinds—the ontological, the cosmological, and the physico-theological—Kant argues first that the cosmological and physico-theological implicitly assume the ontological argument and then that the ontological argument is necessarily fallacious. By restricting knowledge in this manner Kant notoriously makes room for faith, that is, in this case, (...) for a practical proof of the existence of God, which he develops in the Critique of Practical Reason. Kant’s reasons for rejecting theoretical proofs of the existence of God have received considerable attention. In particular, Kant’s objection to the ontological argument, namely that existence is not a real predicate, still seems relevant in contemporary philosophy of religion. What has not received much attention, however, is the relationship between Kant’s rejection of theistic proofs in his critical period and his views on the matter in his pre-critical period. For throughout his pre-critical period, but especially in his The OnlyPossibleArgument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God, Kant believes that there is a theoretical proof of the existence of God. One would naturally expect Kant’s criticisms of theistic proofs as developed in the “ideal of pure reason” to apply in straightforward ways to his earlier attempts at a theistic proof. However, Kant rejects the three traditional arguments in The OnlyPossibleArgument just as he does in the first Critique. Further, his reason for rejecting the ontological argument in particular is identical to the one presented in the first Critique: “Existence is not a predicate or a determination of a thing.” Accordingly, Kant understood himself to be developing a theistic proof in The OnlyPossibleArgument that is distinct from the three traditional arguments and is also not subject to the objections he raises against them. Given that Kant rejects all theoretical proofs of God’s existence in his critical period and given that he did not take his critical objections to the traditional proofs to apply to the theistic proof developed in The OnlyPossibleArgument, what is his justification for rejecting his pre-critical argument for God’s existence? (shrink)
Evolutionary theodicies are attempts to explain how the enormous amounts of suffering, premature death and extinction inherent in the evolutionary process can be reconciled with belief in a loving and almighty God. A common strategy in this area is to argue that certain very valuable creaturely attributes could only be exemplified by creatures that are produced by a partly random and uncontrolled process of evolution. Evolution, in other words, was the onlypossible way for God to create (...) these kinds of creatures. This article presents and examines two versions of the “only way”-argument. The anthropocentric version tries to justify God’s use of evolution by reference to the value of human freedom, and argues that freedom presupposes that God lets go of full control over the process of creation . The non-anthropocentric version presents a similar argument with respect to more inclusive creaturely properties, such as that of being “truly other” than God, or of being a “creaturely self” with a certain degree of autonomy in relation to God . With the help of a number of thought-experiments of the “Twin-Earth”-type, the author argues that both the anthropocentric and the non-anthropocentric only way-arguments fail. (shrink)
Andrew Chignell recently proposed an original reconstruction of Kant's for the existence of God. Chignell claims that what motivates the of Kant's proof, , is the requirement that the predicates of a really possible thing must be , i.e. compatible in an extra-logical or metaphysical sense. I take issue with Chignell's reconstruction. First, the pre-Critical Kant does not present as a general condition of real possibility. Second, the real harmony requirement is not what motivates the of the proof. Instead, (...) this premise is sufficiently motivated by what Chignell labels the requirement. Finally, Kant's downgrading of the proof in his Critical period is not based on a concern regarding the real harmony of the predicates of God, but on his Critical restrictions on cognition in general and modal cognition in particular. (shrink)
one important product of kant's pre-critical metaphysics is the proof of God's existence that he presented in The OnlyPossibleArgument of 1763.1 Kant's proof moves from what I will call here the 'actualist principle', every real possibility must be grounded in actuality, to the conclusion that there exists a unique necessary being, i.e. an ens realissimum, which grounds all real possibility. The pre-critical proof deserves interest in its own right, for not only does it have (...) an intriguing logical structure, but it also allows us to observe Kant's first elaborate discussion of modal concepts. However, what has attracted particular scholarly attention in the last few decades is the perplexing attitude... (shrink)
If the human race comes to an end relatively shortly, then we have been born at a fairly typical time in the history of humanity; if trillions of people eventually exist, then we have been born in the first surprisingly tiny fraction of all people. According to the 'doomsday argument' of Carter, Leslie, Gott and Nielsen, this means that the chance of a disaster which would obliterate humanity is much larger than usually thought. But treating possible observers in (...) the same way as those who actually exist avoids this conclusion: our existence is more likely in a race which is long-lived, and this cancels out the doomsday argument, so that the chance of a disaster is only what one would ordinarily estimate. (shrink)
This article is primarily a defense of the Paradigm?Case Argument (PCA). It is secondarily a comment on a recent controversy over the validity of its use in philosophy. I shall submit that the controversy rests on a misinterpretation. By extending the analysis of the objections (and here I shall invoke Descartes? famous method of ?possible doubt') I shall show that the occurrence of a paradigm and the fact that a concept is normally used to describe that paradigm logically (...) entail not that the paradigm is instantiated, but only that it is correct to apply that concept to that paradigm. In this manner the ontological fallacy is avoided, and further, we have enforced the important separation between saying something about the correct application of a concept and saying something about its meaning. (shrink)
I argue that the uniqueness of comedy lies in its potential for social critique. Reading through Aristotle, Hegel, and Umberto Eco, I show that because comedy is not negative, not a counter-argument, it can expose social structures for what they are.
Andrew Chignell and Omri Boehm have recently argued that Kant’s pre-Critical proof for the existence of God entails a Spinozistic conception of God and hence substance monism. The basis for this reading is the assumption common in the literature that God grounds possibilities by exemplifying them. In this article I take issue with this assumption and argue for an alternative Leibnizian reading, according to which possibilities are grounded in essences united in God’s mind (later also described as Platonic ideas intuited (...) by God). I show that this view about the distinction between God’s cognition of essences as the ground of possibility and the actual world is not only explicitly stated by Kant, but is also consistent with his metaphysical picture of teleology in nature and causality during the pre-Critical period. Finally, I suggest that the distinction between the conceptual order of essences embodied in the idea of God and the order of the objects of experience plays a role in the transition into the Critical system, where it is transformed into the distinction between the intelligible and the sensible worlds. (shrink)
In this paper I want to argue for the optimal way to characterise the logical and semantical behaviour of the singular term ‘God’ used in religious language. The relevance of this enterprise to logical theory is the main focus as well. Doing this presupposes to outline the two rivaling approaches of well-definition of singular terms: Kripke’s (“rigid designators”) and Hintikka’s (“world-lines”). ‘God’ as a “rigid designator” is purified from all real-life-language-games of identification and only spells out a metaphysical tag, (...) which favours the view of “anything goes”. Instead, ‘God’ as a “world-line,” plus two ways of quantification, is much more flexible to theological traditions, teachings of the church, religious practices and personal feelings. Thus, it provides a sufficiently well-defined singular term for the purposes of logical theory. (shrink)
In this paper I want to argue for the optimal way to characterise the logical and semantical behaviour of the singular term 'God' used in religious language. The relevance of this enterprise to logical theory is the main focus as well. Doing this presupposes to outline the two rivaling approaches of well-definition of singular terms: Kripke's and Hintikka's. 'God' as a "rigid designator" is purified from all real-life-language-games of identification and only spells out a metaphysical tag, which favours the (...) view of "anything goes". Instead, 'God' as a "world-line," plus two ways of quantification, is much more flexible to theological traditions, teachings of the church, religious practices and personal feelings. Thus, it provides a sufficiently well-defined singular term for the purposes of logical theory. (shrink)
Quantifier Pluralism is:the view that there are different ‘kinds of existence’, which are best cashed out as different fundamental quantifiers. Timothy Williamson and Vann McGee have an argument (the ‘There Can Be Only One’ argument) that seems to refute this view. I try to defend quantifier pluralism against it, for reasons I haven’t quite fathomed yet.
Fichte develops his idealism through a higher-level critique: only through the Fichtean fact of reason can one justify a systematic transcendental idealism, thereby making possible the self-sufficiency of theoretical reason. By examining the metaphilosophical implications of our immediate consciousness of the moral law, Fichte is able to assert the necessary metaphilosophical primacy of practical reason for any possible wissenschaftlich philosophy as well as the philosophical unity of theory and practice within such a system.
In his "Two concepts of possible worlds", Peter Van Inwagen explores two kinds of views about the nature of possible worlds : abstractionism and concretism. The latter is the view defended by David Lewis who claims that possible worlds are concrete spatio-temporal universes, very much like our own, causally and spatio-temporally disconnected from each other. The former is the view of the majority who claims that possible worlds are some kind of abstract objects – such as (...) propositions, properties, states of affairs, or sets of numbers. In this paper, I will develop this view in an 'extreme abstractionist' way, appealing to a 'modal bundle theory', and I will try to show that it is preferable to the standard abstractionist ones. Finally, I will compare this kind of abstractionism to concretism, only to find that the difference between the two is minimal. (shrink)
Do the facts of evolution generate an epistemic challenge to moral realism? Some think so, and many “evolutionary debunking arguments” have been discussed in the recent literature. But they are all murky right where it counts most: exactly which epistemic principle is meant to take us from evolutionary considerations to the skeptical conclusion? Here, I will identify several distinct species of evolutionary debunking argument in the literature, each one of which relies on a distinct epistemic principle. Drawing on recent (...) work in epistemology, I will show that most of these initially plausible principles are false, spoiling the arguments that rely on them. And we will see that each argument threatens only one popular view of moral psychology: a “Representationalist” view on which our moral judgments rely crucially on a mental intermediary—e.g. a sentiment, gut reaction, or affect-laden intuition—delivered by our evolved moral faculty. In the end, only one evolutionary debunking argument remains a menace: an “ Argument from Symmetry ” that I will introduce to the literature. But we will see that it should worry only all naturalists, pressuring them into a trilemma: give up moral realism, accept a rationalism that is incongruous with naturalism, or give up naturalism. Non-naturalists are free and clear. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Kant's famous objection to the ontological argument: existence is not a determination. Previous commentators have not adequately explained what this claim means, how it undermines the ontological argument, or how Kant argues for it. I argue that the claim that existence is not a determination means that it is not possible for there to be non-existent objects; necessarily, there are only existent objects. I argue further that Kant's target is not merely (...) ontological arguments as such but the larger ‘ontotheist’ metaphysics they presuppose: the view that God necessarily exists in virtue of his essence being contained in, or logically entailed by, his essence. I show that the ontotheist explanation of divine necessity requires the assumption that existence is a determination, and I show that Descartes and Leibniz are implicitly committed to this in their published versions of the ontological argument. I consider the philosophical motivations for the claim that existence is a determination and then I examine Kant's arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason against it. (shrink)
Many have argued that if God exists then he must necessarily create the best possible world , which entails that the bpw necessarily exists, and is therefore the onlypossible world. But without any scope for comparison, the superlative term ‘best’ is clearly inappropriate and so the bpw cannot be the bpw at all! As such, it must be impossible for God to create it. Hence if God exists then he must of necessity make something that is (...) impossible to create! Because of its conclusion, I call this the repugnant argument. I consider a number of possible responses to this argument. (shrink)
In his Pyrrhonian Outlines , Sextus Empiricus employs an argument based upon the possibility of disagreement in order to show that one should not assent to a Dogmatic claim to which at present one cannot oppose a rival claim. The use of this argument seems to be at variance with the Pyrrhonian stance, both because it does not seem to accord with the definition of Skepticism and because the argument appears to entail that the search for truth (...) is doomed to failure. In the present paper, I examine the passages in which Sextus utilizes the argument from possible disagreement and offer an interpretation that makes the use of this argument compatible with the Pyrrhonian outlook. (shrink)
I have argued that orthographic processing cannot be understood and modeled without considering the manner in which orthographic structure represents phonological, semantic, and morphological information in a given writing system. A reading theory, therefore, must be a theory of the interaction of the reader with his/her linguistic environment. This outlines a novel approach to studying and modeling visual word recognition, an approach that focuses on the common cognitive principles involved in processing printed words across different writing systems. These claims were (...) challenged by several commentaries that contested the merits of my general theoretical agenda, the relevance of the evolution of writing systems, and the plausibility of finding commonalities in reading across orthographies. Other commentaries extended the scope of the debate by bringing into the discussion additional perspectives. My response addresses all these issues. By considering the constraints of neurobiology on modeling reading, developmental data, and a large scope of cross-linguistic evidence, I argue that front-end implementations of orthographic processing that do not stem from a comprehensive theory of the complex information conveyed by writing systems do not present a viable approach for understanding reading. The common principles by which writing systems have evolved to represent orthographic, phonological, and semantic information in a language reveal the critical distributional characteristics of orthographic structure that govern reading behavior. Models of reading should thus be learning models, primarily constrained by cross-linguistic developmental evidence that describes how the statistical properties of writing systems shape the characteristics of orthographic processing. When this approach is adopted, a universal model of reading is possible. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 25 This is a pre-print. Please cite only the revised published version. This paper presents an original, ambitious, truth-directed transcendental argument for the existence of an ‘external world’. It begins with a double-headed starting-point: Stroud’s own remarks on the necessary conditions of language in general, and Hegel’s critique of the “fear of error.” The paper argues that the sceptical challenge requires a particular critical concept of thought as that which may diverge from reality, and (...) that this concept is possibleonly through reflection on situations of error, in which how things are thought to be diverges from how things really are with independent items in an objective world. The existence of such a world is therefore a necessary condition of the possibility of scepticism: such scepticism is therefore false. I defend the argument against objections from Stroud’s sceptic and others. Drawing on Heidegger, the paper concludes by indicating that the chain of necessary conditions includes practical engagement with the world. (shrink)
En este trabajo se estudia si, según Kierkeggard, el conocimiento de la propia intimidad humana es natural o exclusivamente sobrenatural. Se concluye que, aunque tal punto no sea explícito en los textos del pensador danés, ya que admite que la relación del hombre con Dios es en exclusiva sobrenatural, por medio de la fe, y que esta no es cognoscitiva porque acepta que Dios está detrás del absurdo, por consiguiente, según él no cabe antropología filosófica como ciencia. In this paper, (...) we examine whether knowledge of our own human intimacy is natural or exclusively supernatural, as Kierkegaard proposes. We conclude that, even though this idea is not explicit in his writings, he admits that man's relationship with God is exclusively supernatural through faith, and that faith is not cognitive because it accepts that God is behind the absurd; hence, philosophical anthropology is not possible as a science. (shrink)
The Vagueness Argument for universalism only works if you think there is a good reason not to endorse nihilism. Sider's argument from the possibility of gunk is one of the more popular reasons. Further, Hawley has given an argument for the necessity of everything being either gunky or composed of mereological simples. I argue that Hawley's argument rests on the same premise as Sider's argument for the possibility of gunk. Further, I argue that that (...) premise can be used to demonstrate the possibility of simples. Once you stick it all together, you get an absurd consequence. I then survey the possible lessons we could draw from this, arguing that whichever one you take yields an interesting result. (shrink)
The Catholic Church has increasingly invoked the principle of human dignity as a way to communicate the message of the Gospel. Catholic philosophers must therefore defend this principle in service to Catholic theology. One aspect of this defense is how the human person relates to the universe. Is human dignity of a piece with the material universe in which we find ourselves? Or is the part’s dignity alien in kind to such a whole? Or does the truth lie somewhere in (...) between? The metaphysics of creation properly locates the human being in the universe as a part, ordered to the universe’s common good of order and ultimately to God. Human dignity is possibleonly in a cosmos; that this is concordant with modern scientific cosmology is briefly defended in conclusion. (shrink)
The ‘Private Language’ sections of the Philosophical Investigations §§ 243–315 serve to undermine the idea that our ordinary felt sensations, e.g., of heat, or cold, or pain, together with our experienced impressions of colour or of sound, are ‘private’ or ‘inner’ objects, where an object mirrors in the mental realm what we associate with that of the physical. This paper explores Wittgenstein's method in these sections, together with the work of several of his commentators who agree with his ‘therapeutic’ approach (...) to the denial of a possible private language. More significantly, however, it discovers a paradox in the fact that a number of philosophers who claim that his ‘Argument Against Private Language’ is unsuccessful point in reaching this conclusion to the very features concerning first-person sensation ascription that Wittgenstein employs to reveal that our ordinary sensations are not ‘private’ to us in that sense identified in § 243, which talks of ‘a language used to refer to what only its speaker can know’, viz, ‘his immediate private sensations’. This helps to explain why there is still no general agreement on the significance of §§ 243–315. (shrink)
Radical Millianism agrees with less radical varieties in claiming that ordinary proper names lack “descriptive senses” and that the semantic content of such a name is just its referent but differs from less radical varieties of Millianism in claiming that any pair of sentences differing only in the exchange of coreferential names cannot differ in truth-value. This is what makes Radical Millianism radical. The view is surprisingly popular these days, and it is popular despite the fact that, until very (...) recently, there was not a single argument for it. Theodore Sider and David Braun (2006) have tried to provide the missing argument, but, I argue, their attempt fails. I conclude that we (still) have no reason to be Radical Millians. (shrink)
‘Is being one only one? – The Argument for the Uniqueness of Platonic Forms’ Abstract: Each Form is unique in number; no two numerically distinct Forms can share the same nature. Plato argues for this claim in Republic X. I identify the metaphysical principles Plato presupposes in the premises of the argument, by examining the reasoning behind them, and offer a reconstruction of the argument showing the principles in use. I argue that the metaphysical significance of (...) the argument’s conclusion is to establish that if a Form F were not unique, if there were many Forms F, their nature would alter along with their number: a Form cannot recur without change in its constitution. This is why there can be only one Form for each character in the world. (shrink)
I reply to Houston Craighead, who presents two arguments against my version of the cosmological argument. First, he argues that my arguments in defense of the causal principle in terms of the existence being accidental to an essence is fallacious because it begs the question. I respond that the objection itself is circular, and that it invokes the questionable contention that what is conceivable is possible. Against my contention that the causal principle might be intuitively known, I reply (...) to his contention that again I have begged the question. Begging the question is not applicable in that I have not argued that a denial of the principle it possible, only that if it be denied, other endeavors likewise become impossible. Second, against my contention that the causal principle is really necessary, he asserts that the necessity predicated of propositions is solely logical necessity. I reject his contention that a really necessary proposition must either be logically necessary or else a plain contingent factuality. (shrink)
Perhaps personality traits substantially influence one’s philosophically relevant intuitions. This suggestion is not onlypossible, it is consistent with a growing body of empirical research: Personality traits have been shown to be systematically related to diverse intuitions concerning some fundamental philosophical debates. We argue that this fact, in conjunction with the plausible principle that almost all adequate philosophical views should take into account all available and relevant evidence, calls into question some prominent approaches to traditional philosophical projects. To (...) this end, we present the Philosophical Personality Argument (PPA). We explain how it supports the growing body of evidence challenging some of the uses of intuitions in philosophy, and we defend it from some criticisms of empirically based worries about intuitions in philosophy. We conclude that the current evidence indicates that the PPA is sound, and thus many traditional philosophical projects that use intuitions must become substantially more empirically oriented. (shrink)
In this paper I present an argument for the claim that you ought to do something only if you may believe that you ought to do it. More exactly, I defend the following principle about normative reasons: An agent A has decisive reason to φ only if she also has sufficient reason to believe that she has decisive reason to φ. I argue that this principle follows from the plausible assumption that it must be possible for (...) an agent to respond correctly to her reasons. In conclusion, I discuss some implications of this argument (given that some other standard assumptions about reasons hold). One such implication is that we are always in a position to be justified in believing all truths about what we have decisive reason (or ought) to do. (shrink)
2. Spinoza, as is well known, held both and explicitly and concluded that God does not act from free will. In Note II to Prop. 33 of the Ethics Spinoza says, "Although it be granted that will appertains to the essence of God, it nevertheless follows from His perfection that things could not have been by Him created other than they are or in a different order.".
According to John Searle’s well-known Is-Ought Argument, it is possible to derive an ought-statement from is-statements only. This argument concerns obligations involved in institutions such as promising, and it relies on the idea that institutions can be conceptualized in terms of constitutive rules. In this paper, I argue that the structure of this argument has never been fully appreciated. Starting from my status account of constitutive rules, I reconstruct the argument and establish that it (...) is valid. This reconstruction reveals that the soundness of the argument depends on whether collective acceptance as such can generate obligations. Margaret Gilbert has argued that it can, and thus far some of her central arguments have not been addressed. The upshot is that the Is-Ought Argument deserves to be taken seriously once again. (shrink)
Recent discussions about the anthropic principle and the argument from design can perhaps be summarized as follows : The world is very unusual, so it must have been made by an intelligent creator. The world is very unusual, but unusual things do occur by chance. Both and , in their ordinary interpretations, have been labelled probabilistic fallacies. In my paper I will discuss in particular the following two aspects: The contemporary relevance of Cicero's discussions on chance. The fact that (...) any talk of chance events is onlypossible subject to the more encompassing idea of "limited belief in chance". (shrink)
Jürgen Habermas asserts, in the Preface to Knowledge and Human Interests, that a radical critique of knowledge, that is a metacritique of epistemology, is onlypossible as a social theory. In this essay, Garbin Kortian discusses the implications and philosophical import of this thesis, which is central to Habermas's work, through a critical account of the German philosophical tradition in which it stands. He relates the 'metacritical dimension' of Haberbas's thought to Hegel's critique of Kant, Marx's critique of (...) Hegel, and the Frankfurt school's critique of positivism. Kortian presents his perspective on the philosophical problems Habermas's argument faces: the primacy of practice, this philosophy of understanding and the hermeneutic concept of understanding. This book, which was originally published in French, will interest students of philosophy and of the social and political sciences. (shrink)
In three places Spinoza presents an argument from (a) determinism and (b) God’s “eternity” to (c) “actualism”, i.e., the doctrine that this is (in some sense) the onlypossible world. That he does so shows that he distinguishes (a) from (c), which he has been thought to conflate. On one reading of ‘eternal’, he is claiming that an infinite past entails no other world was a “real” possibility. As might be expected, the argument is a failure, (...) but it may help explain why Spinoza holds that there are no contingencies. (shrink)
In the first chapter of Romans, Paul tells us that the power and deity of God are evident from what he has created. One reading of this is that there is an argument from the content of what has been created. Thus, the Book of Wisdom, which may well have been the source of Paul’s ideas here, says that “from the greatness and beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen” (13:5, NAB). This is a kind (...) of teleological or design argument. But one might also argue instead from general features of the universe, such as the fact that there is a universe at all, or that there are contingent states of affairs, or that there is motion. Alternately, one might argue from something extremely specific, but where the details do not matter, such as the conjunction of all contingent facts. The general strategy of cosmological arguments is to take a grand feature of the world, and then argue, abstracting from much of its specific content, that the best or onlypossible explanation is a First Cause, an entity that stands at the head of a causal chain leading to the occurrence of the existential feature. Typically, the grand feature is something the opponent will not challenge. Instead, opponents tend to ask: 1. Does the grand feature actually have an explanation? 2. Can there be an explanation not involving a First Cause? 3. Need the First Cause be God? Recent discussion has particularly focused on the first two questions, and I wish to primarily focus on the first question myself in this talk. But first a few words about progress on the second and third question, in reverse order. (shrink)
In three places Spinoza presents an argument from determinism and God’s “eternity” to “actualism”, i.e., the doctrine that this is the onlypossible world. That he does so shows that he distinguishes from, which he has been thought to conflate. On one reading of ‘eternal’, he is claiming that an infinite past entails no other world was a “real” possibility. As might be expected, the argument is a failure, but it may help explain why Spinoza holds (...) that there are no contingencies. (shrink)
Politics in America are polarized and trivialized, perhaps as never before. In Congress, the media, and academic debate, opponents from right and left, the Red and the Blue, struggle against one another as if politics were contact sports played to the shouts of cheerleaders. The result, Ronald Dworkin writes, is a deeply depressing political culture, as ill equipped for the perennial challenge of achieving social justice as for the emerging threats of terrorism. Can the hope for change be realized? Dworkin, (...) one the world's leading legal and political philosophers, identifies and defends core principles of personal and political morality that all citizens can share. He shows that recognizing such shared principles can make substantial political argumentpossible and help replace contempt with mutual respect. Only then can the full promise of democracy be realized in America and elsewhere. Dworkin lays out two core principles that citizens should share: first, that each human life is intrinsically and equally valuable and, second, that each person has an inalienable personal responsibility for identifying and realizing value in his or her own life. He then shows what fidelity to these principles would mean for human rights, the place of religion in public life, economic justice, and the character and value of democracy. Dworkin argues that liberal conclusions flow most naturally from these principles. Properly understood, they collide with the ambitions of religious conservatives, contemporary American tax and social policy, and much of the War on Terror. But his more basic aim is to convince Americans of all political stripes--as well as citizens of other nations with similar cultures--that they can and must defend their own convictions through their own interpretations of these shared values. (shrink)
Argument from analogy is a common and formidable form of reasoning in law and in everyday conversation. Although there is substantial literature on the subject, according to a recent survey ( Juthe 2005) there is little fundamental agreement on what form the argument should take, or on how it should be evaluated. Th e lack of conformity, no doubt, stems from the complexity and multiplicity of forms taken by arguments that fall under the umbrella of analogical reasoning in (...) argumentation, dialectical studies, and law. Modeling arguments with argumentation schemes has proven useful in attempts to refine the analyst’s understanding of not only the logical structures that shape the backbone of the argument itself, but also the logical underpinning of strategies for evaluating it, strategies based on the semantic categories of genus and relevance. By clarifying the distinction between argument from example and argument from analogy, it is possible to advance a useful proposal for the treatment of argument from analogy in law. (shrink)
Predictivists use the no miracle argument to argue that “novel” predictions are decisive evidence for theories, while mere accommodation of “old” data cannot confirm to a significant degree. But deductivists claim that since confirmation is a logical theory-data relationship, predicted data cannot confirm more than merely deduced data, and cite historical cases in which known data confirmed theories quite strongly. On the other hand, the advantage of prediction over accommodation is needed by scientific realists to resist Laudan’s criticisms of (...) the no miracle argument. So, if the deductivists are right, the most powerful argument for realism collapses. There seems to be an inescapable contradiction between these prima facie plausible arguments of predictivists and deductivists; but this puzzle can be solved by understanding what exactly counts as novelty, if novel predictions must support the no miracle argument, i.e., if they must be explainable only by the truth of theories. Taking my cues from the use-novelty tradition, I argue that (1) the predicted data must not be used essentially in building the theory or choosing the auxiliary assumptions. This is possible if the theory and its auxiliary assumptions are plausible independently of the predicted data, and I analyze the consequences of this requirement in terms of best explanation of diverse bodies of data. Moreover, the predicted data must be (2) a priori improbable, and (3) heterogeneous to the essentially used data. My proposed notion of novelty, therefore, is not historical, but functional. Hence, deductivists are right that confirmation is independent of time and of historical contingencies such as if the theorist knew a datum, used it, or intended to accommodate it. Predictivists, however, are right that not all consequences confirm equally, and confirmation is not purely a logical theory-data relation, as it crucially involves background epistemic conditions and the notion of best explanation. Conditions (1)–(3) make the difference between prediction and accommodation, and account for the confirming power of theoretical virtues such as non ad-hocness, non-fudging, non-overfitting, independence and consilience. I thus show that functional novelty (a) avoids the deductivist objections to predictivism, (b) is a gradual notion, in accordance with the common intuition that confirmation comes in degrees, and (c) supports the no miracle argument, so vindicating scientific realism. (shrink)
Conductive Arguments are held to be defeasible, non-conclusive, and neither inductive nor deductive (Blair and Johnson in Conductive argument: An overlooked type of defeasible reasoning. College, London, 2011). Of the different kinds of Conductive Arguments, I am concerned only with those for which it is claimed that countervailing considerations detract from the support for the conclusion, complimentary to the positive reasons increasing that support. Here’s an example from Wellman (Challenge and response: justification in ethics. Southern Illinois University Press, (...) Chicago, 1971): Although your lawn needs cutting, you ought to take your son to the movies because the picture is ideal for children and will be gone by tomorrow. (1971: 57) I argue that Conductive Arguments are not possible—the “ought” conclusion only holds if countervailing considerations are nullified. (shrink)
Gyngell and colleagues consider that the recent Nuffield Council report does not go far enough: heritable genome editing is not just justifiable in a few rare cases; instead, there is a moral imperative to undertake it. We agree that there is a moral argument for this, but in the real world it is mitigated by the fact that it is not usually possible to ensure a better life. We suggest that a moral imperative for HGE can currently (...) class='Hi'>only be concluded if one first buys into an overly deterministic view of a genome sequence, and the role of variation within in it, in the aetiology of the disease: most diseases cannot simply be attributed to specific genetic variants that we could edit away. Multiple, poorly understood genetic and environmental factors interact to influence the expression of diseases with a genetic component, even well understood ‘monogenic’ disorders. Population-level genome analyses are now demonstrating that many genetic ’mutations' are much less predictive than previously thought 1. Furthermore, HGE might introduce new risks just as it reduces old ones; or remove protections not yet clearly delineated. (shrink)
I formulate an argument against epiphenomenalism; the argument shows that epiphenomenalism is extremely improbable. Moreover the argument suggests that qualia not only have causal powers, but have their causal powers necessarily. I address possible objections and then conclude by considering some implications the argument has for dualism.
Although many scientists and engineers insist that technologies are value-neutral, philosophers of technology have long argued that they are wrong. In this paper, I introduce a new argument against the claim that technologies are value-neutral. This argument complements and extends, rather than replaces, existing arguments against value-neutrality. I formulate the Value-Neutrality Thesis, roughly, as the claim that a technological innovation can have bad effects, on balance, only if its users have “vicious” or condemnable preferences. After sketching a (...) microeconomic model for explaining or predicting a technology’s impact on individuals’ behavior, I argue that a particular technological innovation can create or exacerbate collective action problems, even in the absence of vicious preferences. Technologies do this by increasing the net utility of refusing to cooperate. I also argue that a particular technological innovation can induce short-sighted behavior because of humans’ tendency to discount future benefits too steeply. I suggest some possible extensions of my microeconomic model of technological impacts. These extensions would enable philosophers of technology to consider agents with mixed motives—i.e., agents who harbor some vicious preferences but also some aversion to acting on them—and to apply the model to questions about the professional responsibilities of engineers, scientists, and other inventors. (shrink)
This paper argues that challenges that are grand in scope such as "lifelong health and wellbeing", "climate action", or "food security" cannot be addressed through scientific research only. Indeed scientific research could inhibit addressing such challenges if scientific analysis constrains the multiple possible understandings of these challenges into already available scientific categories and concepts without translating between these and everyday concerns. This argument builds on work in philosophy of science and race to postulate a process through which (...) non-scientific notions become part of science. My aim is to make this process available to scrutiny: what I call founding everyday ideas in science is both culturally and epistemologically conditioned. Founding transforms a common idea into one or more scientifically relevant ones, which can be articulated into descriptively thicker and evaluatively deflated terms and enable operationalisation and measurement. The risk of founding however is that it can invisibilise or exclude from realms of scientific scrutiny interpretations that are deemed irrelevant, uninteresting or nonsensical in the domain in question-but which may remain salient for addressing grand-in-scope challenges. The paper considers concepts of "wellbeing" in development economics versus in gerontology to illustrate this process. (shrink)