Fichte's reputation at the present time is in some respects a curious one. On the one hand, he is by common consent acknowledged to have exercised a dominant influence upon the development of German thought during the opening decades of the nineteenth century. Thus from a specifically philosophical point of view he is regarded as an innovator who played a decisive role in transforming Kant's transcendental idealism into the absolute idealism of his immediate successors, while at a more general level (...) he is customarily seen as having put into currency certain persuasive conceptions which contributed—less directly but no less surely—to the emergence and spread of romanticism in some of its varied and ramifying forms. On the other hand, however, it is noticeable that detailed consideration of his work has not figured prominently in the recent revival of concern with post-Kantian thought as a whole which has been manifested by philosophers of the English-speaking world. Although his name is frequently mentioned in that connection, one suspects that his books may not be so often read. In part this may be due to his particular mode of expounding his views, which at times attains a level of opacity that can make even Hegel's obscurest passages seem comparatively tractable. It is also true that Fichte's principal theoretical works—if not his semipopular writings—are largely devoid of the allusions to scientific, historical, psychological or cultural matters with which his German contemporaries were prone to illustrate their philosophical doctrines and enliven their more abstract discussions: there is a daunting aridity about much of what he wrote which can raise nagging doubts in the modern reader's mind about the actual issues that are in question. Yet the fact remains that by the close of the eighteenth century his ideas had already made a profound impact, capturing the imagination of a host of German thinkers and intellectuals. The problem therefore arises as to what preoccupations, current at the time, they owed their indubitable appeal and to what puzzles they were welcomed as proffering a solution. If these can be identified, it may become at least partially intelligible that Fichte should have been widely regarded as having provided a framework within which certain hitherto intractable difficulties could be satisfactorily reformulated and resolved. Let me accordingly begin by saying something about them. (shrink)
Coherent, well organized text familiarizes readers with complete theory of logical inference and its applications to math and the empirical sciences. Part I deals with formal principles of inference and definition; Part II explores elementary intuitive set theory, with separate chapters on sets, relations, and functions. Last section introduces numerous examples of axiomatically formulated theories in both discussion and exercises. Ideal for undergraduates; no background in math or philosophy required.
An early, very preliminary edition of this book was circulated in 1962 under the title Set-theoretical Structures in Science. There are many reasons for maintaining that such structures play a role in the philosophy of science. Perhaps the best is that they provide the right setting for investigating problems of representation and invariance in any systematic part of science, past or present. Examples are easy to cite. Sophisticated analysis of the nature of representation in perception is to be found already (...) in Plato and Aristotle. One of the great intellectual triumphs of the nineteenth century was the mechanical explanation of such familiar concepts as temperature and pressure by their representation in terms of the motion of particles. A more disturbing change of viewpoint was the realization at the beginning of the twentieth century that the separate invariant properties of space and time must be replaced by the space-time invariants of Einstein's special relativity. Another example, the focus of the longest chapter in this book, is controversy extending over several centuries on the proper representation of probability. The six major positions on this question are critically examined. Topics covered in other chapters include an unusually detailed treatment of theoretical and experimental work on visual space, the two senses of invariance represented by weak and strong reversibility of causal processes, and the representation of hidden variables in quantum mechanics. The final chapter concentrates on different kinds of representations of language, concluding with some empirical results on brain-wave representations of words and sentences. (shrink)
P.F. Strawson’s (1962) “Freedom and Resentment” has provoked a wide range of responses, both positive and negative, and an equally wide range of interpretations. In particular, beginning with Gary Watson, some have seen Strawson as suggesting a point about the “order of explanation” concerning moral responsibility: it is not that it is appropriate to hold agents responsible because they are morally responsible, rather, it is ... well, something else. Such claims are often developed in different ways, but one thing remains (...) constant: they meant to be incompatible with libertarian theories of moral responsibility. The overarching theme of this paper is that extant developments of “the reversal” face a dilemma: in order to make the proposals plausibly anti-libertarian, they must be made to be implausible on other grounds. I canvas different attempts to articulate a “Strawsonian reversal”, and argue that none is fit for the purposes for which it is intended. I conclude by suggesting a way of clarifying the intended thesis: an analogy with the concept of funniness. The result: proponents of the “reversal” need to accept the difficult result that if we blamed small children, they would be blameworthy, or instead explain how their view escapes this result, while still being a view on which our blaming practices “fix the facts” of moral responsibility. (shrink)
There is a familiar debate between Russell and Strawson concerning bivalence and ‘the present King of France’. According to the Strawsonian view, ‘The present King of France is bald’ is neither true nor false, whereas, on the Russellian view, that proposition is simply false. In this paper, I develop what I take to be a crucial connection between this debate and a different domain where bivalence has been at stake: future contingents. On the familiar ‘Aristotelian’ view, future contingent propositions are (...) neither true nor false. However, I argue that, just as there is a Russellian alternative to the Strawsonian view concerning ‘the present King of France’, according to which the relevant class of propositions all turn out false, so there is a Russellian alternative to the Aristotelian view, according to which future contingents all turn out false, not neither true nor false. The result: contrary to millennia of philosophical tradition, we can be open futurists without denying bivalence. (shrink)
One of the striking features of the last few years has been a re-awakening of interest in spirituality. Many new books on prayer have appeared, old classics of the spiritual life have been re-published, prayer groups have sprung up and the Charismatic Movement has become an important factor in many Christian communities. If the 1960s was the decade of secularism and ‘God is dead’, the 1970s may well go down in history as the decade of renascent spirituality. But this interest (...) in spirituality has not, in general, gone hand in hand with a renewed interest in theology: indeed, in many cases I detect a positive hostility towards professional theologians . Still less has there been any link between this concern with spirituality and philosophy. And yet there are many important philosophical problems here: given that in a spiritual way of life men have certain experiences and are changed in various ways, what does this show? (shrink)
Patrick Shade makes a strong argument for the necessity of hope in a cynical world that too often rejects it as foolish. While most accounts of hope situate it in a theological context, Shade presents a theory rooted in the pragmatic thought of such American philosophers as C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey.
Think of the last thing someone did to you to seriously harm or offend you. And now imagine, so far as you can, becoming fully aware of the fact that his or her action was the causally inevitable result of a plan set into motion before he or she was ever even born, a plan that had no chance of failing. Should you continue to regard him or her as being morally responsible—blameworthy, in this case—for what he or she did? (...) Many have thought that, intuitively, you should not. Recently, Alfred Mele has employed this line of thought to mount what many have taken to be a powerful argument for incompatibilism: the “Zygote Argument”. However, in interesting new papers, John Martin Fischer and Stephen Kearns have each independently argued that the Zygote Argument fails. As I see it, the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns reveal some important questions about how the argument is meant to be—or how it would best be—understood. Once we make a slight (but important) modification to the argument, however, I think we will be able to see that the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns do not detract from its substantial force. (shrink)
Roughly, animalism is the doctrine that each of us is identical with an organism. This paper explains and defends a hylemorphic version of animalism. I show how hylemorphic animalism handles standard objections to animalism in compelling ways. I also show what the costs of endorsing hylemorphic animalism are. The paper's contention is that despite the costs, the view is worth taking seriously.
In the literature on free will, fatalism, and determinism, a distinction is commonly made between temporally intrinsic (‘hard’) and temporally relational (‘soft’) facts at times; determinism, for instance, is the thesis that the temporally intrinsic state of the world at some given past time, together with the laws, entails a unique future (relative to that time). Further, it is commonly supposed by incompatibilists that only the ‘hard facts’ about the past are fixed and beyond our control, whereas the ‘soft facts’ (...) about the past needn’t be. A substantial literature arose in connection with this distinction, though no consensus emerged as to the proper way to analyze it. It is time, I believe, to revisit these issues. The central claim of this paper is that the attempts to analyze the hard/soft fact distinction got off on fundamentally the wrong track. The crucial feature of soft facts is that they (in some sense) depend on the future. Following recent work on the notion of dependence, however, I argue that the literature on the soft/hard distinction has failed to capture the sense of dependence at stake. This is because such attempts have tried to capture softness in terms of purely modal notions like entailment and necessitation. As I hope to show, however, such notions cannot capture the sort of asymmetrical dependence relevant to soft facthood. Arguing for this claim is the first goal of this paper. My second goal is to gesture towards what an adequate account of soft facthood will really look like. (shrink)
There are several argumentative strategies for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism. One prominent such strategy is to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility can nevertheless be subject to responsibility-undermining manipulation. In this paper, I argue that incompatibilists advancing manipulation arguments against compatibilism have been shouldering an unnecessarily heavy dialectical burden. Traditional manipulation arguments present cases in which manipulated agents meet all compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility, but are (allegedly) not responsible (...) for their behavior. I argue, however, that incompatibilists can make do with the more modest (and harder to resist) claim that the manipulation in question is mitigating with respect to moral responsibility. The focus solely on whether a manipulated agent is or is not morally responsible has, I believe, masked the full force of manipulation-style arguments against compatibilism. Here, I aim to unveil their real power. (shrink)
This Introduction has three sections, on "logical fatalism," "theological fatalism," and the problem of future contingents, respectively. In the first two sections, we focus on the crucial idea of "dependence" and the role it plays it fatalistic arguments. Arguably, the primary response to the problems of logical and theological fatalism invokes the claim that the relevant past truths or divine beliefs depend on what we do, and therefore needn't be held fixed when evaluating what we can do. We call the (...) sort of dependence needed for this response to be successful "dependence with a capital 'd'": Dependence. We consider different accounts of Dependence, especially the account implicit in the so-called "Ockhamist" response to the fatalistic arguments. Finally, we present the problem of future contingents: what could "ground" truths about the undetermined future? On the other hand, how could all such propositions fail to be true? (shrink)
Epistemic contextualism is a recent and hotly debated position. In its dominant form, EC is the view that the proposition expressed by a given knowledge sentence depends upon the context in which it is uttered. What makes this view interesting and controversial is that ‘context’ here refers, not to certain features of the putative subject of knowledge or his/her objective situation, but rather to features of the knowledge attributor' psychology and/or conversational-practical situation. As a result of such context-dependence, utterances of (...) a given such sentence, made in different contexts, may differ in truth value. (shrink)
There has been increasing attention in sociology and internet studies to the topic of ‘digital remains’: the artefacts users of social network services and other online services leave behind when they die. But these artefacts also pose philosophical questions regarding what impact, if any, these artefacts have on the ontological and ethical status of the dead. One increasingly pertinent question concerns whether these artefacts should be preserved, and whether deletion counts as a harm to the deceased user and therefore provides (...) pro tanto reasons against deletion. In this paper, I build on previous work invoking a distinction between persons and selves to argue that SNS offer a particularly significant material instantiation of persons. The experiential transparency of the SNS medium allows for genuine co-presence of SNS users, and also assists in allowing persons to persist as ethical patients in our lifeworld after biological death. Using Blustein’s “rescue from insignificance” argument for duties of remembrance, I argue that this persistence function supplies a nontrivial obligation not to delete these artefacts. Drawing on Luciano Floridi’s account of “constitutive” information, I further argue that the “digital remains” metaphor is surprisingly apt: these artefacts in fact enjoy a claim to moral regard akin to that of corpses. (shrink)
The most promising way of responding to arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom (in one way or another) invokes a claim about the order of explanation: God knew (or believed) that you would perform a given action because you would, in fact, perform it, and not the other way around. Once we see this result, many suppose, we'll see that divine foreknowledge ultimately poses no threat to human freedom. This essay argues that matters are not so (...) simple, for such reasoning threatens also to reconcile divine prepunishment with human freedom. The question here is this: if you have already been ( justly) punished by God for doing something, how then could you avoid doing that thing? As we'll see, there is a strong argument that seems to show that you couldn't. However, this essay argues that if divine prepunishment rules out human freedom, then so does divine foreknowledge. The arguments are exactly parallel in certain crucial respects. At any rate, investigating the issues surrounding prepunishment can help to throw into relief the various different strategies of response to the foreknowledge argument and can bring out what their costs and commitments really are. In particular, investigating prepunishment can help to bring out the inadequacy of the “Ockhamist” reply to the argument, as well as the sense in which God's past beliefs need to depend on what we do, if we are plausibly to have a choice about those beliefs. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop an ontological position according to which substances such as you and I have no substantial parts. The claim is not that we are immaterial souls. Nor is the claim that we are “human atoms” co-located with human organisms. It is, rather, that we are macrophysical objects that are, in the relevant sense, simple. I contend that despite initial appearances, this claim is not obviously false, and I defend it by showing how much work it can (...) do. (shrink)
Abstract Of the many ways in which identity is constructed and performed online, few are as strongly ‘anchored’ to existing offline relationships as in online social networks like Facebook and Myspace. These networks utilise profiles that extend our practical, psychological and even corporeal identity in ways that give them considerable phenomenal presence in the lives of spatially distant people. This raises interesting questions about the persistence of identity when these online profiles survive the deaths of the users behind them, via (...) the practice of ‘memorialising’ social network profile pages. I situate these practices within a phenomenology of grief that accounts for the ways in which the dead can persist as moral patients, and show how online survival in this case illuminates an important difference between persons and selves within contemporary philosophy of personal identity. Ultimately, the online persistence of the dead helps bring into view a deep ontological contradiction implicit in our dealings with death: the dead both live on as objects of duty and yet completely cease to exist. Content Type Journal Article Category Special Issue Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0050-7 Authors Patrick Stokes, Philosophy Group, School of Humanities, University of Hertfordshire de Havilland Campus, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB, UK Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
Curriculum Development in the Postmodern Era provided the first introduction and analysis of contemporary concepts of curriculum development in relation to postmodernism. It challenged educators to transcend purely traditional approaches to curriculum development and instead incorporate various postmodern discourses into their reflection and action in schools. Since publication in 1995, the curriculum studies field has exploded, the very notion of the postmodern has shifted, and the landscape of American schooling has changed dramatically-federal policies like No Child Left Behind have dramatically (...) increased the focus on accountability and consequently what and how teachers teach. The need to understand curriculum in relation to global religions, ethnic relations, multicultural communities, and socio-political interest groups has been magnified. Controversial issues such as biology, gender roles, academic freedom, religion and prayer in schools, gay straight alliances, GLBT literature in the curriculumstudies is theorized. In this much-anticipated and thoroughly updated edition, noted curriculum studies scholar Patrick Slattery tackles these and other issues to reflect on the current state of curriculum development and on where the field may go from here. (shrink)
Everyone agrees that we can’t change the past. But what about the future? Though the thought that we can change the future is familiar from popular discourse, it enjoys virtually no support from philosophers, contemporary or otherwise. In this paper, I argue that the thesis that the future is mutable has far more going for it than anyone has yet realized. The view, I hope to show, gains support from the nature of prevention, can provide a new way of responding (...) to arguments for fatalism, can account for the utility of total knowledge of the future, and can help in providing an account of the semantics of the English progressive. On the view developed, the future is mutable in the following sense: perhaps, once, it was true that you would never come to read a paper defending the mutability of the future. And then the future changed. And now you will. (shrink)
The Naked Self explores Søren Kierkegaard's understanding of selfhood by situating his work in relation to central problems in contemporary philosophy of personal identity: the role of memory in selfhood, the relationship between the notional and actual subjects of memory and anticipation, the phenomenology of diachronic self-experience, affective alienation from our past and future, psychological continuity, practical and narrative approaches to identity, and the intelligibility of posthumous survival. By bringing his thought into dialogue with major living and recent philosophers of (...) identity, Stokes reveals Kierkegaard as a philosopher with a significant--if challenging--contribution to make to philosophy of self and identity. (shrink)
Abstract: There is no such thing as ‘the’ hylemorphic account of personal identity. There are several views that count as hylemorphic, and these views can be grouped into two main families—the corruptionist view, and the survivalist view. The differentiating factor is that the corruptionist view holds that the persistence of the soul is not sufficient for the persistence of the person, while the survivalist view holds that the persistence of the soul is sufficient for the persistence of the person. In (...) this paper, I argue that hylemorphists should prefer the corruptionist view. This project ought to be of interest to anyone working on issues of personal identity, not only because hylemorphic views are historically important, but also because they are currently receiving significant attention in the personal identity literature. (shrink)
Aristotelian substance theory tells us that substances have structures (read: forms) as proper parts. This claim has recently been defended by Kathrin Koslicki who dubbed it the ‘Neo-Aristotelian Thesis.’ Strangely, Aristotelianism has not yet been universally embraced by philosophers – partly because some of its claims, such as the Neo-Aristotelian Thesis – are viewed by some as counterintuitive at best. In this paper, I argue for Aristotelianism by showing its philosophical usefulness: specifically, I put it to use in saving the (...) metaphysical doctrine of endurantism and some central mereological doctrines (such as Transitivity) from recent attacks. This utility gives us reason to endorse Aristotelianism. Along the way, I defend Koslicki's argument for the Neo-Aristotelian Thesis from a recent criticism, thus helping provide still more reason to endorse Aristotelianism: namely, Koslicki's vindicated argument. (shrink)
The plane was going to crash, but it didn't. Johnny was going to bleed to death, but he didn't. Geach sees here a changing future. In this paper, I develop Geach's primary argument for the (almost universally rejected) thesis that the future is mutable (an argument from the nature of prevention), respond to the most serious objections such a view faces, and consider how Geach's view bears on traditional debates concerning divine foreknowledge and human freedom. As I hope to show, (...) Geach's view constitutes a radically new view on the logic of future contingents, and deserves the status of a theoretical contender in these debates. (shrink)
A prominent recent strategy for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism has been to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for responsibility could nevertheless be subject to certain sorts of deterministic manipulation, so that an agent could meet the compatibilist’s conditions for responsibility, but also be living a life the precise details of which someone else determined that she should live. According to the incompatibilist, however, once we became aware that agents had been manipulated (...) or ‘set up’ in the relevant way, we should no longer judge that they are responsible for their behavior, nor should we hold them responsible for it by blaming them, in case what they did was wrong. In this paper, I aim to shift the debate to different terrain. The focus so far has been simply on what we may or may not permissibly say or do concerning manipulated agents. But I believe a powerful new incompatibilist argument can be mounted from considering whether the manipulators themselves can justifiably blame the agents they manipulate in compatibilist-friendly ways. It seems strikingly counterintuitive to suppose that they may do so. The argument of this paper, however, is that, given the right story, incompatibilism provides the best explanation for why this is so. In short, the compatibilist must say that, while such manipulated agents are still responsible, the manipulators lack the moral standing to blame them. But I argue that, on compatibilist assumptions, this explanation ultimately fails. (shrink)
The past 15 years have witnessed an increasing interest in the comparative study of language and music as cognitive systems. This book presents an interdisciplinary study of language and music, exploring the following core areas - structural comparisons, evolution, learning and processing, and neuroscience.
Animalism is the doctrine that we human beings are – are identical with – animals. Hylemorphism is a form of animalism. In this paper, I defend hylemorphism by showing that while other forms of animalism fall prey to the problem of ‘Remnant Persons,’ hylemorphism does not. But hylemorphism's account of personhood seems to have some very implausible implications. I address one of those implications, and argue that it isn't nearly as objectionable as it might at first appear.