Weak values are average quantities, therefore investigating their associated variance is crucial in understanding their place in quantum mechanics. We develop the concept of a position-postselected weak variance of momentum as cohesively as possible, building primarily on material from Moyal and Sonego :1135, 1991) . The weak variance is defined in terms of the Wigner function, using a standard construction from probability theory. We show this corresponds to a measurable quantity, which is not itself a weak value. It also leads (...) naturally to a connection between the imaginary part of the weak value of momentum and the quantum potential. We study how the negativity of the Wigner function causes negative weak variances, and the implications this has on a class of ‘subquantum’ theories. We also discuss the role of weak variances in studying determinism, deriving the classical limit from a variational principle. (shrink)
Right-hand preference for conversational gestures does not imply close connections between the neural systems controlling manual and vocal communication. Use of speech and gestures may dissociate in some cases of focal brain damages. Furthermore, there are limits in the ability to combine spoken words and concurrent hand movements. These findings suggest that discourse production depends on multiple components which probably have different evolutionary origins.
Food retailers are powerful actors of the agro-industrial food system. They exert strong lock-in effects that hinder transitions towards more sustainable agri-food systems. Indeed, their marketing practices generally result in excluding the most sustainable food products, such as local, low-input, small-scale farmers’ products. Recently in Belgium, several initiatives have been created to enable the introduction of local products on supermarket shelves. In this article, we study three of those initiatives to analyse if the development of local sourcing in supermarkets opens (...) up an opportunity for a transition towards more sustainable agri-food systems. We conceptualise transitions as a shift in governance and ethical values and adopt a pragmatist approach of ethics combined with the systemic perspective of transition studies, to evaluate the impact of these initiatives. Our analysis shows that they mainly contribute to the reproduction of the incumbent agri-food system. It also highlights that first, to be a driver for sustainability transitions, food ethics need to be systemic i.e. relate to a systemic understanding of problems and perspective of sustainability, including social justice. And second, it highlights that governance arrangements involving not only representative organisations of the various agri-food and non-agricultural actors, but also actors upholding ethical values that are currently missing in conventional supply chains and representing excluded and marginalised interests, favour the uptake of such systemic ethics by incumbent actors. Hence, systemic ethics and inclusive governance are key features for initiatives to contribute to a sustainability transition. (shrink)
This is the twenty-sixth volume in the Library of Living Philosophers, a series founded by Paul A. Schilpp in 1939 and edited by him until 1981, when the editorship was taken over by Lewis E. Hahn. This volume follows the design of previous volumes. As Schilpp conceived this series, every volume would have the following elements: an intellectual autobiography of the philosopher, a series of expository and critical articles written by exponents and opponents of the philosopher's thought, replies to these (...) critics and commentators by the philosopher, and as nearly complete a bibliography of the published work of the philosopher as possible. (shrink)
It is fortunate for my purposes that English has the two words ‘almighty’ and ‘omnipotent’, and that apart from any stipulation by me the words have rather different associations and suggestions. ‘Almighty’ is the familiar word that comes in the creeds of the Church; ‘omnipotent’ is at home rather in formal theological discussions and controversies, e.g. about miracles and about the problem of evil. ‘Almighty’ derives by way of Latin ‘omnipotens’ from the Greek word ‘ pantokratōr ’; and both this (...) Greek word, like the more classical ‘ pankratēs ’, and ‘almighty’ itself suggest God's having power over all things. On the other hand the English word ‘omnipotent’ would ordinarily be taken to imply ability to do everything; the Latin word ‘omnipotens’ also predominantly has this meaning in Scholastic writers, even though in origin it is a Latinization of ‘ pantocratōr ’. So there already is a tendency to distinguish the two words; and in this paper I shall make the distinction a strict one. I shall use the word ‘almighty’ to express God's power over all things, and I shall take ‘omnipotence’ to mean ability to do everything. (shrink)
The Identity principle says that conditionals with the form 'If p, then p' are logical truths. Identity is overwhelmingly plausible, and has rarely been explicitly challenged. But a wide range of conditionals nonetheless invalidate it. I explain the problem, and argue that the culprit is the principle known as Import-Export, which we must thus reject. I then explore how we can reject Import-Export in a way that still makes sense of the intuitions that support it, arguing that the differences between (...) indicative and subjunctive conditionals play a key role in solving this puzzle. (shrink)
A principle that many have found attractive is one that goes by the name “'Ought' Implies 'Can'.” According to this principle, one morally ought to do something only if one can do it. This essay has two goals: to show that the principle is false and to undermine the motivations that have been offered for it. Toward the end, a proposal about moral obligation according to which something like a restricted version of 'Ought' Implies 'Can' is true is floated. Though (...) no full-fledged argument for this proposal is offered, that it fits with a rather natural and intuitive picture of the structure of morality and seems to explain certain salient features of the debate over whether the principle is true, goes some way toward recommending it. (shrink)
Among the extensive correspondence of Timothy I, Catholicos of the Church of the East, are two letters which refer to his collobaration in a translation of Aristotle's Topics into Syriac and Arabic, commissioned by the Caliph al-Mahdī. An annotated English translation of both letters is provided. Dans la volumineuse correspondance de Timothée I, Catholicos de l'Église orientale, deux lettres renvoient à sa collaboration à la traduction des Topiques d'Aristote en syriaque et en arabe, commandée par le Calife al-Mahdī. On trouvera (...) ici la traduction annotée en anglais de ces deux lettres. (shrink)
In recent years philosophers have given much attention to the ‘ontological problem’ of events. Donald Davidson puts the matter thus: ‘the assumption, ontological and metaphysical, that there are events is one without which we cannot make sense of much of our common talk; or so, at any rate, I have been arguing. I do not know of any better, or further, way of showing what there is’. It might be thought bizarre to assign to philosophers the task of ‘showing what (...) there is’. They have not distinguished themselves by the discovery of new elements, new species or new continents, nor even of new categories, although there has often been more dreamt of in their philosophies than can be found in heaven or earth. It might appear even stranger to think that one can show what there actually is by arguing that the existence of something needs to be assumed in order for certain sentences to make sense. More than anything, the sober reader will doubtlessly be amazed that we need to assume , after lengthy argument, ‘that there are events’. (shrink)
Throughout its history philosophy has been thought to be a member of a community of intellectual disciplines united by their common pursuit of knowledge. It has sometimes been thought to be the queen of the sciences, at other times merely their under-labourer. But irrespective of its social status, it was held to be a participant in the quest for knowledge – a cognitive discipline.
It is now a problem more or less universally acknowledged that religion, even in an ostensibly secular age, must be in need of good commentary. The underlying problem is: what would constitute good commentary at this point? It is not as if religion has just appeared on the horizon of the secular intellectual. Even if we restrict our purview to nonreligious, nontheological discourse, there is a long tradition of critical appraisals and histories of religious phenomena, dating from the ancient Greeks. (...) The field receives an intellectual boost of sorts in the late eighteenth, the nineteenth, and the early twentieth centuries, as the religion of the theologians and prophetic reformers gives way to anthropological and sociological disciplines, the better to be scientifically understood and codified. This upsurge in the secular accounting for religious belief is often explained as the result of the Enlightenment—that is, materialist explanations of nature, textual authority, and psychology eventually turn religion into a natural function of human will, a series of authorial inventions, and a psychological manifestation of deeper impulses, from love, to class-based self-narcotizing illusion, to fear of the loss of paternal care. Max Weber proposed the most intriguing and far-reaching hypothesis about how the Enlightenment superseded religion in the West: Protestant reform within Christianity itself—beginning with Luther and Calvin—designed to produce a purer and far less magical, mystical, hierarchic, and corrupt system of belief, had the unintended consequence of laying the psychological foundations for ascetic capitalism, and hence the seemingly inevitable decline of religion in favor of worldly pursuits. (shrink)
In his most recent article, “The Appeals Process as a Means of Error Correction,” Steven Shavell asks a very important question: Why do we use a hierarchical court structure? The flip side of this inquiry is whether we might not be better off simply making our trial courts more efficient. Although I certainly applaud the recent efforts of Shavell and other law and economics scholars to examine issues of institutional design, this particular attempt suffers from two major flaws. The first (...) involves the asymmetric treatment of litigants before trial courts and appeals courts: Appellants can choose to either appeal cases or not, but the population of cases before the trial courts is assumed to be exogenous. This severely limits the ability to improve the efficiency of trial courts, leading to an overestimation of the value added from an appeals process. The second problem involves the behavior of judges, who are assumed to behave as automatons. Allowing judges to behave rationally dramatically changes the nature of the model's results, most fatally leading to the elimination of the separation equilibrium that Shavell wishes to achieve. (shrink)
My topic is personal identity, or rather, our identity. There is general, but not, of course, unanimous, agreement that it is wrong to give an account of what is involved in, and essential to, our persistence over time which requires the existence of immaterial entities, but, it seems to me, there is no consensus about how, within, what might be called this naturalistic framework, we should best procede. This lack of consensus, no doubt, reflects the difficulty, which must strike anyone (...) who has considered the issue, of achieving, just in one's own thinking, a reflective equilibrium. The theory of personal identity, I feel, provides a curious contrast. On the one side, it seems highly important to know what sort of thing we are, but, on the other, it is hard to find any answer which has a ‘solid’ feel. (shrink)
This first volume in the four-volume series The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law focuses on the "harm principle," the commonsense view that prevention of harm to persons other than the perpetrator is a legitimate purpose of criminal legislation. Feinberg presents a detailed analysis of the concept and definition of harm and applies it to a host of practical and theoretical issues, showing how the harm principle must be interpreted if it is to be a plausible guide to the lawmaker.
Owen Flanagan is a highly prolific writer and speaker whose work brings together results of research in several empirical disciplines overlapping with philosophy, particularly neuroscience and other areas of psychology. This book of thirteen essays, most of them revisions of work published elsewhere, exhibits both his intellectual and his stylistic range. Many of the essays are light and chatty, others analytical and slower-going.
Standard defences of preservationism, and of the intrinsic value of nature more generally, are vulnerable to at least three objections. The first of these comes from social constructivism, the second from the claim that it is incoherent to argue that nature is both 'other' and something with which we can feel unity, whilst the third links defences of nature to authoritarian objectivism and dangerously misanthropic normative dichotomies which set pure nature against impure humanity. I argue that all these objections may (...) be answered by recasting the relationship between man and nature into a tripartite spectrum of ontological form between nature and artifact, with the key question being the extent to which nature has been humanised in accordance with certain modes of strongly instrumental rationality, these in turn being defined by reference to the split between abstract reason and natural feeling which was exacerbated by specific elements in the Enlightenment period. This new model may grant normative force by linking external nature to a broader conception of human psychological wellbeing than that offered by the quantitatively orientated models of human rationality and agency. (shrink)
In medieval writers an important distinction was drawn between two applications of the term ‘ logica ’: there was logica utens , the practice of thinking logically about this or that subject-matter, and there was logica docens , the construction of logical theory. Of course the English word ‘logic’ and its derivative ‘logical’ have a corresponding twofold meaning, and we ignore the distinction at the risk of serious confusion. ‘Logical thought’ may mean thinking that is being commended as orderly, consistent, (...) and consequent, whatever its subject-matter; or it may mean the thinking of logicians about logic, which alas has not always exhibited these virtues. Similarly for ‘teaching logic’: there is trying to get people, by precept and example, to be orderly, consistent, and consequent in their thinking, and there is the endeavour to train logicians for the next generation. In any respectable philosophy department there will be someone teaching logic in the first sense; in my own university there are very many first-year undergraduates who do a course called Reason and Argument with this aim. But we hold that the teacher of such logica utens must himself have a sufficient skill in logica docens if he is to do his job properly; and we undertake the further task of training people in logical theory so that some of them, who have sufficient native ability and motivation, may take up the torch from their teachers. (shrink)
Human conflict and its resolution is obviously a subject of great practical importance. Equally obviously, it is a vast subject, ranging from total war at one end of the spectrum to negotiated settlement at its other end. The literature on the subject is correspondingly vast and, in recent times, technical, thanks to the valuable contributions made to it by game theorists, economists, and writers on industrial and international relations. In this essay, however, I shall discuss only one familiar form of (...) conflict-resolution. There is room for such a discussion, because philosophers have lately neglected compromise, despite the interest shown in it by the aforementioned experts, and despite the classic treatments of it by Halifax, Burke and Morley. Truly, ‘…compromise is not so widely discussed by philosophers as one might expect’, and ‘…the idea of compromise has been largely neglected by Anglo-American jurisprudence’. (shrink)
Paul Sheehy has argued that the modal realist cannot satisfactorily allow for the necessity of God's existence. In this short paper I show that she can, and that Sheehy only sees a problem because he has failed to appreciate all the resources available to the modal realist. God may be an abstract existent outside spacetime or He may not be: but either way, there is no problem for the modal realist to admit that He exists at every concrete possible world.
With a book as wide ranging and insightful as Barry's Justice as Impartiality, it is perhaps a little churlish to criticize it for paying insufficient attention to one's own particular interests. That said, in what follows I am going to do just that and claim that in an important sense Barry does not take utilitarianism seriously. Utilitarianism does receive some discussion in Barry's book, and in an important section which I will discuss he even appears to concede that utilitarianism provides (...) a rival though ultimately inadequate theory of justice. Nevertheless, utilitarianism is not considered a rival to ‘justice as impartiality’ in the way that ‘justice as mutual advantage’ and ‘justice as reciprocity’ are. One response, and perhaps the only adequate response, would be to construct a rival utilitarian theory. I cannot provide such a theory in this paper, and I certainly would be very cautious about claiming that I could provide such a theory elsewhere. What I want to suggest is that utilitarianism is a genuine third theory to contrast with ‘justice as mutual advantage’ and ‘justice as impartiality’ – ‘justice as reciprocity’ being merely a hybrid of ‘justice as mutual advantage’, at least as Barry presents it. I also want to argue that it poses a more significant challenge to a contractualist theory such as Barry's than his discussion of utilitarianism reveals. (shrink)
Mathematics tells us there exist infinitely many prime numbers. Nominalist philosophy, introduced by Goodman and Quine, tells us there exist no numbers at all, and so no prime numbers. Nominalists are aware that the assertion of the existence of prime numbers is warranted by the standards of mathematical science; they simply reject scientific standards of warrant.
Traditionally Hume is seen as offering an ‘empiricist’ critique of ‘rationalism’. This view is often illustrated – or rejected – by comparing Hume's views with those of Descartes'. However the textual evidence shows that Hume's most sustained engagement with a canonical ‘rationalist’ is with Nicolas Malebranche. The author shows that the fundamental differences between the two on the self and causal power do indeed rest on a principled distinction between ‘rationalism’ and ‘empiricism’, and that there is some truth in the (...) traditional story. This, however, is very far from saying that Hume's general orientation is an attack on something called ‘rationalism’. (shrink)
Between 1787, and the end of his life in 1832, Bentham turned his attention to the development and application of economic ideas and principles within the general structure of his legislative project. For seventeen years this interest was manifested through a number of books and pamphlets, most of which remained in manuscript form, that develop a distinctive approach to economic questions. Although Bentham was influenced by Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, he (...) neither adopted a Smithian vocabulary for addressing questions of economic principle and policy, nor did he accept many of the distinctive features of Smith's economic theory. One consequence of this was that Bentham played almost no part in the development of the emerging science of political economy in the early nineteenth century. The standard histories of economics all emphasize how little he contributed to the mainstream of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century debate by concentrating attention on his utilitarianism and the psychology of hedonism on which it is premised. Others have argued that the calculating nature of his theory of practical reason reduced the whole legislative project to a crude attempt to apply economics to all aspects of social and political life. Put at its simplest this argument amounts to the erroneous claim that Bentham's science of legislation is reducible to the science of political economy. A different but equally dangerous error would be to argue that because Bentham's conception of the science of legislation comprehends all the basic forms of social relationships, there can be no science of political economy as there is no autonomous sphere of activity governed by the principles of economics. This approach is no doubt attractive from an historical point of view given that the major premise of this argument is true, and that many of Bentham's ‘economic’ arguments are couched in terms of his theory of legislation. Yet it fails to account for the undoubted importance of political economy within Bentham's writings, not just on finance, economic policy, colonies and preventive police, but also in other aspects of his utilitarian public policy such as prison reform, pauper management, and even constitutional reform. All of these works reflect a conception of political economy in its broadest terms. However, this conception of political economy differs in many respects from that of Bentham's contemporaries, and for this reason Bentham's distinctive approach to problems of economics and political economy has largely been misunderstood. (shrink)
This volume reprints a dozen of the author’s papers, most with substantial postscripts, and adds one new one. The bulk of the material is on topics in philosophy of language, but there are also two papers on philosophy of mathematics written after the appearance of the author’s collected papers on that subject, and one on epistemology. As to the substance of Field’s contributions, limitations of space preclude doing much more below than indicating the range of issues addressed, and the general (...) orientation taken towards them. As to the style of his writing, it well exhibits the first of the two virtues, clarity and conciseness, that one looks for in philosophical prose. (shrink)
The principle that One cannot deliberate over what one already knows is going to happen, when suitably qualified, has seemed to many philosophers to be about as secure a truth as one is likely to find in this life.Fortunately, poses little restriction on human deliberation, since the conditions which would trigger its prohibition seldom arise for us: our knowledge of the future is intermittent at best, and those things of which we do have advance knowledge are not the sorts of (...) things over which we would deliberate in any case. But matters appear to stand otherwise with an all-knowing agent such as God is traditionally conceived to be; for what an omniprescient deity ‘already knows is going to happen’ is everything that is going to happen; and if He cannot deliberate over such things, there is nothing over which He can deliberate. (shrink)
Originally conceived as a forty-page conclusion to Hacker’s twenty years of work on the monumental four-volume Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations, this book “rapidly assumed a life of its own”. A major contribution to the history of analytic philosophy, this substantial volume delivers even more than the title promises. The eight chapters are best approached as a six-chapter book, itself some 220 pages long, on Wittgenstein’s contribution to twentieth-century philosophy, followed by a two-chapter, 120-page epilogue about how and why (...) his influence has waned. The first six chapters provide an encyclopedic summary of the fruits of Hacker’s research on Wittgenstein’s writing, an immensely learned account of British philosophy from the turn of the century to the 1970s, and a detailed account of Wittgenstein’s reception by Oxford, Cambridge, and the Vienna Circle. The book’s closing chapters, “Post-positivism in the United States and Quine’s Apostasy” and “The Decline of Analytic Philosophy,” polemically argue that Quine’s philosophy, and the post-Quinean naturalism prevalent in Anglo-American philosophy today, amount to such a decisive break with the analytic tradition, as Hacker conceives of it, that they should not be counted as “analytic.”. (shrink)
Beliefs are freely attributed to God nowadays in Anglo–American philosophical theology. This practice undoubtedly reflects the twentieth–century popularity of the view that knowledge consists of true justified belief . The connection is frequently made explicit. If knowledge is true justified belief then whatever God knows He believes. It would seem that much recent talk of divine beliefs stems from Nelson Pike's widely discussed article, ‘Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action’. In this essay Pike develops a version of the classic argument for (...) the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and free will in terms of divine forebelief. He introduces this shift by premising that ‘ A knows X ’ entails ‘A believes X ’. As a result of all this, philosophers have increasingly been using the concept of belief in defining ‘omniscience’. (shrink)
In ‘Wittgenstein on Language and Rules’, Professor N. Malcolm took us to task for misinterpreting Wittgenstein's arguments on the relationship between the concept of following a rule and the concept of community agreement on what counts as following a given rule. Not that we denied that there are any grammatical connections between these concepts. On the contrary, we emphasized that a rule and an act in accord with it make contact in language. Moreover we argued that agreement in judgments and (...) in definitions is indeed necessary for a shared language. But we denied that the concept of a language is so tightly interwoven with the concept of a community of speakers as to preclude its applicabilty to someone whose use of signs is not shared by others. Malcolm holds that ‘This is an unwitting reduction of Wittgenstein's originality. That human agreement is necessary for “shared” language is not so striking a thought as that it is essential for language simpliciter.’ Though less striking, we believe that it has the merit of being a true thought. We shall once more try to show both that it is correct, and that it is a correct account of Wittgenstein's arguments. (shrink)