Sites of embodied disruption challenge academics to engage with power at its seams. In this article I consider an ethics of embodiment, situating it within questions raised by Judith Butler in her articles, “Doing Justice to Someone” and “Giving an Account of Oneself”. In “Giving an Account,” Butler claims that gaps in knowledge and representation are germane to ethical practice, that brave inadequacies and creative approximations are the best we can do for others and ourselves. In “Doing Justice,” Butler enacts (...) this stance, recounting the story of David Reimer, a child who in 1965 was offered up to science after his penis was severed in a botched circumcision. She seizes upon, through narrative fragments, a body whose sexual indeterminacy became the site and occasion for particularly brutal regimes of interpretation. Butler situates this patchwork narrative within the academic industry that reappropriates David's story for its own purposes. Taking Butler's ideas to heart, I carefully trace the nuances of her argument and highlight the silences and foreclosures of her account. I propose “seamfulness” as a possible ethical-aesthetic strategy for embodying Butler's ethical concerns. I close by briefly introducing some implications for arts-informed representations in academic work. (shrink)
Ross P. Cameron argues that the flow of time is a genuine feature of reality. He suggests that the best version of the A-Theory is a version of the Moving Spotlight view, according to which past and future beings are real, but there is nonetheless an objectively privileged present. Cameron argues that the Moving Spotlight theory should be viewed as having more in common with Presentism than with the B-Theory. Furthermore, it provides the best account of truthmakers for (...) claims about what was or will be the case. Cameron goes on to defend an account of the open future, and argues that this is a better account than that available to the Growing Block theory. (shrink)
In Christ Meets Me Everywhere, Michael Cameron argues that Augustine wanted to train readers of Scripture to transpose themselves into the texts in the same way he did, by the same process of figuration that he found at its core. Tracking Augustine's developing practice of self-transposition into the figures of the biblical texts over the course of his entire career, Cameron shows that this practice is the key to Augustine's hermeneutics.
Judge Edwin Cameron (South African Supreme Court of Appeal) makes a plea for a radical change of approach and of formal health policy in relation to HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Cameron delivered this lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Forum on 4 May 2006 as part of the Ronald Louw Memorial Campaign, 'Get Tested, Get Treated'. Ronald Louw was a Professor of Law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, an AIDS treatment activist and co-founder of the Durban Gay and (...) Lesbian Community Centre. He died of AIDS in 2005. Cameron, who was appointed by Nelson Mandela to the high court in 1994, is a high profile AIDS activist and gay rights advocate. He has written about the experience of his decision to make public his own HIV positive status in the book, Witness to AIDS (Tafelberg). (shrink)
For Emily Dickinson, perhaps no more so than for the rest of us, there was a powerful discrepancy between what was "inner than the Bone"1 and what could be acknowledged. To the extent that her poems are a response to that discrepancy—are, on one hand, a defiant attempt to deny that the discrepancy poses a problem and, on the other, an admission of defeat at the problem's enormity—they have much to teach us about the way in which language articulates our (...) life. There is indeed a sense in which these poems test the limits of what we might reveal if we tried and also of what, despite our exertions, will not give itself over to utterance. The question of the visibility of interior experience is one that will concern me in this essay, for it lies at the heart of what Dickinson makes present to us. In "The Dream of Communication," Geoffrey Hartman writes: "Art represents a self which is either insufficiently present or feels itself as not presentable."2 On both counts one thinks of Dickinson, for her poems disassemble the body in order to penetrate to the places where the feelings lie as if hidden, and they tell us that bodies are not barriers the way we sometimes think they are. Despite the staggering sophistication with which we discuss complex issues, like Dickinson we have few words, if any, for what happens inside us. Perhaps this is because we have been taught to conceive of ourselves as perfectly inexplicable or, if explicable, then requiring the aid of someone else to scrutinize what we are explicating to validate it. We have been taught that we cannot see for ourselves—this despite the current emphasis on our proprioceptive functions. But Dickinson tells us that we can see. More important, she tells us how to name what we see. · 1. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson , n. 321.· 2. Geoffrey Hartman, "The Dream of Communication," in I. A. Richards: Essays in His Honor, ed. Reuben Brower et al. , p. 173. Sharon Cameron, associate professor of English at Johns Hopkins University, is currently preparing a theoretical study of the lyric and is examining the relationship between obsession and lyrical structures. The present essay is part of her Lyric Time: Dickinson and the Limits of Genre. (shrink)
Freud may never have set foot in Cambridge - that hub for the twentieth century's most influential thinkers and scientists - but his intellectual impact there in the years between the two World Wars was immense. This is a story that has long languished untold, buried under different accounts of the dissemination of psychoanalysis. John Forrester and Laura Cameron present a fascinating and deeply textured history of the ways in which a set of Freudian ideas about the workings of (...) the human mind, sexuality and the unconscious, affected Cambridge men and women - from A. G. Tansley and W. H. R. Rivers to Bertrand Russell, Bernal, Strachey and Wittgenstein - shaping their thinking across a range of disciplines, from biology to anthropology, and from philosophy to psychology, education and literature. Freud in Cambridge will be welcomed as a major intervention by literary scholars, historians and all readers interested in twentieth-century intellectual and scientific life. (shrink)
In this paper I further elucidate and defend a metaontological position that allows you to have a minimal ontology without embracing an error-theory of ordinary talk. On this view 'there are Fs' can be strictly and literally true without bringing an ontological commitment to Fs. Instead of a sentence S committing you to the things that must be amongst the values of the variables if it is true, I argue that S commits you to the things that must exist as (...) truthmakers for S if it is true. I rebut some recent objections that have been levelled against this metaontological view. (shrink)
I address an intuition commonly endorsed by metaphysicians, that there must be a fundamental layer of reality, i.e., that chains of ontological dependence must terminate: there cannot be turtles all the way down. I discuss applications of this intuition with reference to Bradley’s regress, composition, realism about the mental and the cosmological argument. I discuss some arguments for the intui- tion, but argue that they are unconvincing. I conclude by making some suggestions for how the intuition should be argued for, (...) and discussing the ramiﬁcations of giving the justiﬁcation I think best. (shrink)
What are the ontological commitments of a sentence? In this paper I offer an answer from the perspective of the truthmaker theorist that contrasts with the familiar Quinean criterion. I detail some of the benefits of thinking of things this way: they include making the composition debate tractable without appealing to a neo-Carnapian metaontology, making sense of neo-Fregeanism, and dispensing with some otherwise recalcitrant necessary connections.
There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of composition as (...) identity, but argue that the version of this doctrine that entails universalism is implausible. I consider the claim that the a priority of such facts leads to their necessity, but give a defence of substantial contingent a priori truths. I ask whether the contingency of such facts would lead to unwelcome possibilities, but argue that the worrying looking possibilities can be blocked if it is desired. Next, I argue against the thought that the Lewis-Sider argument against restricted composition might give us reason to accept the necessity of universalism. Lastly, I respond to two objections from the 2006 BSPC. I conclude in favour of the contingency of the facts concerning when some things compose some thing. (shrink)
When there is truth, there must be some thing (or things) to account for that truth: some thing(s) that couldn’t exist and the true proposition fail to be true. That is the truthmaker principle. True propositions are made true by entities in the mind-independently existing external world. The truthmaker principle seems attractive to many metaphysicians, but many have wanted to weaken it and accept not that every true proposition has a truthmaker but only that some important class of propositions require (...) truthmakers.1 Let us, following Armstrong, call the claim that all true propositions, without exception, have a truthmaker, Truthmaker Maximalism. Why might one be tempted to the spirit of truthmaker theory but reject Truthmaker Maximalism? Well, you might deny that necessary truths need truthmakers, for one, and insist that only contingent truths have truthmakers. But I think it’s fair to say that the most common motivation for rejecting maximalism concerns negative truths. The thought that negative truths are exempt from the demand for truthmakers could be justified in one of two ways: there is the claim that we don’t need truthmakers for negative truths, and there is the claim that we can’t have.. (shrink)
I argue that the truthmaker theorist should be a priority monist if she wants to avoid commitment to mysterious necessary connections. In section 1 I briefly discuss the ontological options available to the truthmaker theorist. In section 2 I develop the argument against truthmaker theory from the Humean denial of necessary connections. In section 3 I offer an account of when necessary connections are objectionable. In section 4 I use this criterion to narrow down the options from section 1. In (...) section 5 I argue that the account leads us to priority monism. (shrink)
This paper attempts to locate, within an actualist ontology, truthmakers for modal truths: truths of the form or . In Sect. 1 I motivate the demand for substantial truthmakers for modal truths. In Sect. 21 criticise Armstrong's account of truthmakers for modal truths. In Sect. 31 examine essentialism and defend an account of what makes essentialist attributions true, but I argue that this does not solve the problem of modal truth in general. In Sect. 41 discuss, and dismiss, a theistic (...) account of the source of modal truth proposed by Alexander Pruss. In Sect. 5 I offer a means of (dis)solving the problem. (shrink)
Logical and moral arguments have been made for the organizational importance of ethos or virtuousness, in addition to ethics and responsibility. Research evidence is beginning to provide, empirical support for such normative claims. This paper considers the relationship between ethics and ethos in contemporary organizations by summarizing emerging findings that link virtuousness and performance. The effect of virtue in organizations derives from its buffering and amplifying effects, both of which are described.
The connection between whole and part is intimate: not only can we share the same space, but I’m incapable of leaving my parts behind; settle the nonmereological facts and you thereby settle what is a part of what; wholes don’t seem to be an additional ontological commitment over their parts. Composition as identity promises to explain this intimacy. But it threatens to make the connection too intimate, for surely the parts could have made a different whole and the whole have (...) had different parts. In this paper I attempt to offer an account of parthood that is intimate enough but not too intimate: the parts generate the whole, but they are not themselves the whole. (shrink)
Responsible leadership is rare. It is not that most leaders are irresponsible, but responsibility in leadership is frequently defined so that an important connotation of responsible leadership is ignored. This article equates responsible leadership with virtuousness. Using this connotation implies that responsible leadership is based on three assumptions—eudaemonism, inherent value, and amplification. Secondarily, this connotation produces two important outcomes—a fixed point for coping with change, and benefits for constituencies who may never be affected otherwise. The meaning and advantages of responsible (...) leadership as virtuous leadership are discussed. (shrink)
Many of us are tempted by the thought that the future is open, whereas the past is not. The future might unfold one way, or it might unfold another; but the past, having occurred, is now settled. In previous work we presented an account of what openness consists in: roughly, that the openness of the future is a matter of it being metaphysically indeterminate how things will turn out to be. We were previously concerned merely with presenting the view and (...) exploring its consequences; we did not attempt to argue for it over rival accounts. That is what we will aim to do in this paper. (shrink)
Orthodoxy says that the thesis that composition is identity (CAI) entails universalism: the claim that any collection of entities has a sum. If this is true it counts in favour of CAI, since a thesis about the nature of composition that settles the otherwise intractable special composition question (SCQ) is desirable. But I argue that it is false: CAI is compatible with the many forms of restricted composition, and SCQ is no easier to answer given CAI than otherwise. Furthermore, in (...) seeing why this is the case we reveal an objection to CAI: that it allows for the facts concerning what there is to be settled whilst leaving open the question about what is identical to what. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the objection to truthmaker theory, forcibly made by David Lewis and endorsed by many, that it violates the Humean denial of necessary connections between distinct existences. In Sect. 1 I present the argument that acceptance of truthmakers commits us to necessary connections. In Sect. 2 I examine Lewis’ ‘Things-qua-truthmakers’ theory which attempts to give truthmakers without such a commitment, and find it wanting. In Sects. 3–5 I discuss various formulations of the denial of necessary connections (...) and argue that each of them is either false or compatible with truthmaker theory. In Sect. 6 I show how the truthmaker theorist can resist the charge that they are committed to necessary exclusions between possible existents. I conclude that there is no good objection to truthmaker theory on the grounds that it violates the Humean dictum. (shrink)
Works of music do not appear to be concrete objects; but they do appear to be created by composers, and abstract objects do not seem to be the kind of things that can be created. In this paper I aim to develop an ontological position that lets us salvage the creativity intuition without either adopting an ontology of created abstracta or identifying musical works with concreta. I will argue that there are no musical works in our ontology, but nevertheless the (...) English sentences we want to hold true are literally true. I rely on a meta-ontological view whereby ‘a exists’ can be true without committing us to an entity that is a. This meta-ontological view is illustrated by its application to the familiar example of the statue and the clay. I argue that my account of musical ontology fares better on the balance of costs and benefits than its rivals. (shrink)
I begin by contrasting three approaches one can take to the distinction between the essential and accidental properties: an ontological, a deflationary, and a mind-dependent approach. I then go on to apply that distinction to the necessary a posteriori, and defend the deflationist view. Finally I apply the distinction to modal truth in general and argue that the deflationist position lets us avoid an otherwise pressing problem for the actualist: the problem of accounting for the source of modal truth.
The reigning orthodoxy on biological teleology assumes that teleology either must be reduced (or eliminated) or it depends on a supernatural agent. The dominant orthodox sect rejects supernaturalism and eliminitivism, and, given the poverty of competing views has been allowed to become complacent about the adequacy of favored reductivist accounts. These are beset by more serious problems than proponents acknowledge. Moreover, the assumption underlying orthodoxy is false; there is an alternative scientifically and philosophically plausible naturalistic account of teleology. We can (...) share reductivists’ realism about biological teleology, embrace ontological and epistemological naturalism about science as well as science’s the ontic authority yet accept sui generis teleology conceived along ontologically emergentist lines. I sketch one such emergentist account, one that deserves serious consideration if supernaturalism and eliminitivism are as impoverished as reductionists believe. (shrink)
In this paper I examine two principles of orthodox truthmaker theory: truthmaker maximalism - the doctrine that every (contingent) truth has a truthmaker, and truthmaker necessitarianism - the doctrine that the existence of a truthmaker necessitates the truth of any proposition which it in fact makes true. I argue that maximalism should be rejected and that once it is we only have reason to hold a restricted form of necessitarianism.
Some argue that Lewisian realism fails as a reduction of modality because in order to meet some criterion of success the account needs to invoke primitive modality. I defend Lewisian realism against this charge; in the process, I hope to shed some light on the conditions of success for a reduction. In §1 I detail the resources the Lewisian modal realist needs. In §2 I argue against Lycan and Shalkowski’s charge that Lewis needs a modal notion of ‘world’ to ensure (...) that worlds correspond to possibilities. In §3 I respond to Divers and Melia’s objection that Lewis needs to invoke primitive modality to give a complete account of what worlds there are. In §4 I ask what it is for a notion to ‘involve’ modality. I conclude that the question is either in bad standing or at best offers little traction on the debate, and propose a different way of assessing when materials are appropriately included in a reductive base. (shrink)
Some truths are necessary, others could have been false. Why? What is the source of the distinction between the necessary and the contingent? What's so special about the necessary truths that account for their necessity? In this article, we look at some of the most promising accounts of the grounds of necessity: David Lewis' reduction of necessity to truth at all possible worlds; Kit Fine's reduction of necessity to essence; and accounts of necessity that take the distinction between the necessary (...) and the contingent to be a matter of convention. (shrink)
I attempt to accommodate the phenomenon of vagueness with classical logic and bivalence. I hold that for any vague predicate there is a sharp cut-off between the things that satisfy it and the things that do not; I claim that this is due to the greater naturalness of one of the candidate meanings of that predicate. I extend the thought to the problem of the many and Benacerraf cases. I go on to explore the idea that it is ontically indeterminate (...) what the most natural meanings are, and hence ontically indeterminate where the sharp cut-off in a sorites series is. (shrink)
High temporal resolution event-related brain potential and electroencephalographic coherence studies of the neural substrate of short-term storage in working memory indicate that the sustained coactivation of both prefrontal cortex and the posterior cortical systems that participate in the initial perception and comprehension of the retained information are involved in its storage. These studies further show that short-term storage mechanisms involve an increase in neural synchrony between prefrontal cortex and posterior cortex and the enhanced activation of long-term memory representations of material (...) held in short-term memory. This activation begins during the encoding/comprehension phase and evidently is prolonged into the retention phase by attentional drive from prefrontal cortex control systems. A parsimonious interpretation of these findings is that the long-term memory systems associated with the posterior cortical processors provide the necessary representational basis for working memory, with the property of short-term memory decay being primarily due to the posterior system. In this view, there is no reason to posit specialized neural systems whose functions are limited to those of short-term storage buffers. Prefrontal cortex provides the attentional pointer system for maintaining activation in the appropriate posterior processing systems. Short-term memory capacity and phenomena such as displacement of information in short-term memory are determined by limitations on the number of pointers that can be sustained by the prefrontal control systems. Key Words: coherence; event-related potentials; imaging; long-term memory; memory; short-term memory; working memory. (shrink)
In footnote 56 of his Naming and Necessity, Kripke offers a ‘proof’ of the essentiality of origin. On its most literal reading the argument is clearly ﬂawed, as was made clear by Nathan Salmon. Salmon attempts to save the literal reading of the argument, but I argue that the new argument is ﬂawed as well, and that it can’t be what Kripke intended. I offer an alternative reconstruction of Kripke’s argument, but I show that this suffers from a more subtle (...) fault. (shrink)
In this paper I examine whether the Humean denial of necessary connections between wholly distinct contingent existents poses problems for a theory of tropes. In section one I consider the substance-attribute theory of tropes. I distinguish first between three versions of the non-transferability of a trope from the substratum in which it inheres and then between two versions of the denial of necessary connections. I show that the most plausible combination of these views is consistent. In section two I consider (...) an objection to the bundle theory using the Humean doctrine that is advanced by Armstrong, and argue that it is unconvincing. In section three I return to the version of non-transferability that would cause obvious trouble for a substance-attribute theory, and less obvious trouble for a bundle theory. I argue that there is independent reason to reject this principle since, given a perdurantist metaphysic, it does not in fact secure what appeared to be its only benefit: namely that it allows tropes to act as truthmakers. I conclude that there is no objection to trope theory per se on the grounds that it brings commitment to necessary connections. (shrink)
Modern philosophy is, for what appear to be good reasons, uniformly hostile to sui generis final causes. And motivated to develop philosophically and scientifically plausible interpretations, scholars have increasingly offered reductivist and eliminitivist accounts of Aristotle's teleological commitment. This trend in contemporary scholarship is misguided. We have strong grounds to believe Aristotle accepted unreduced sui generis teleology, and reductivist and eliminitivist accounts face insurmountable textual and philosophical difficulties. We offer Aristotelians cold comfort by replacing his apparent view with failed accounts. (...) And so we ought to admit Aristotle’s prima facie commitments and deal with — if not accept — the consequences. (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.
Quine said that the ontological question can be asked in three words, ‘What is there?’, and answered in one, ‘everything’. He was wrong. We need an extra word to ask the ontological question: it is ‘What is there, really?’; and it cannot be answered truthfully with ‘everything’ because there are some things that exist but which don’t really exist (and maybe even some things that really exist but which don’t exist).
In his Truth and Ontology,1 Trenton Merricks argues against the truthmaker principle: Truthmaker: ∀p( p → ∃xxᮀ(Exx → p)). Truthmaker says that for any true proposition, there are some things whose existence guarantees the truth of that proposition: that is, some things which couldn’t all exist and the proposition fail to be true. His main arguments against Truthmaker are that there cannot be satisfactory truthmakers for (i) negative existentials, (ii) modal truths, (iii) truths about the past (given that presentism is (...) true) and (iv) certain subjunctive conditionals, in particular so-called ‘counterfactuals of freedom’ and dispositional conditionals. I’m going to concentrate on the ﬁrst three of these. But ﬁrst I’ll say a bit about why we should care about Truthmaker. Merricks says that “No one gives much of an argument for Truthmaker. Instead, Truthmaker’s main support comes from something like the brute intuition that what is true depends in a non-trivial way on what there is” ( p. 2). He is, unfortunately, correct that truthmaker theorists have in general not been very good at motivating their theory. Too often is Truthmaker taken to be obvious, or an obvious consequence of realism, when really it is neither. But I think we can do better. (shrink)
Teleology is the study of ends and goals, things whose existence or occurrence is purposive. Aristotle’s views on teleology are of seminal importance, particularly his views regarding biological functions or purposes. This article surveys core examples of Aristotle’s invocations of teleology; explores philosophically puzzling aspects of teleology (including their normativity and the fact that ends can, apparently, act as causes despite never coming to exist); articulates two of Aristotle’s arguments defending commitment to teleology against critics who attempt to explain nature (...) solely through appeal to nonteleological efficient and material causes; and argues that Aristotle was an ontological realist when it came to teleology: he conceived of ends as an irreducible and ineliminable aspect of the causal structure of reality. Other interpretive controversies are addressed more briefly. (shrink)
Simon Blackburn posed a dilemma for any realist attempt to identify the source of necessity. Either the facts appealed to to ground modal truth are themselves necessary, or they are contingent. If necessary, we begin the process towards regress; but if contingent, we undermine the necessity whose source we wanted to explain. Bob Hale attempts to blunt both horns of this dilemma. In this paper I examine their respective positions and attempt to clear up some confusions on either side. I (...) come to defend Hale’s conclusion that both horns of the dilemma can be resisted. I end by defending my own account of the source of necessity, and showing why it does not fall victim to Blackburn’s problem. (shrink)
In ‘A New Route to the Necessity of Origin’, Rohbraugh and deRosset offer an argument for the Necessity of Origin appealing neither to Suffciency of Origin nor to a branching-times model of necessity. What is doing the crucial work in their argument is instead the thesis they name ‘Locality of Prevention’. In this response, we object that their argument is question-begging by showing, first, that the locality of prevention thesis is not strong enough to satisfactorily derive from it the intended (...) conclusion, and, second, that the argument is not sound unless the Necessity of Origin is operating as an implicit premiss. (shrink)
Recent work in social psychology suggests that people harbor “implicit race biases,” biases which can be unconscious or uncontrollable. Because awareness and control have traditionally been deemed necessary for the ascription of moral responsibility, implicit biases present a unique challenge: do we pardon discrimination based on implicit biases because of its unintentional nature, or do we punish discrimination regardless of how it comes about? The present experiments investigated the impact such theories have upon moral judgments about racial discrimination. The results (...) show that different theories differ in their impact on moral judgments: when implicit biases are defined as unconscious, people hold the biased agent less morally responsible than when these biases are defined as automatic (i.e., difficult to control), or when no theory of implicit bias is provided. (shrink)
Metaphysicians eager to engage with substantive, thoughtful, and provocative issues will be happy with John Heil’s From an Ontological Point of View. The book represents not only a sustained defence of a specific metaphysical theory, but also of a specific way of doing metaphysics. Put ontology first, Heil urges us, in order to remember that the original fascination of metaphysics wasn’t the question ‘what must the world be like in order to correspond neatly to our use of language?’, but rather (...) the altogether more fundamental ‘what must the world be like?’. (shrink)
Consider two of my properties: my mass and my weight. There seems to be an interesting distinction between the reasons for my having these two properties. I have my mass solely in virtue of how I am, whereas I have my weight in virtue of both how I am and how my surroundings are. I have my weight as a result of the gravitational pull exerted by the Earth on a thing having my mass, whereas I have my mass independently (...) of other things around me. If you change my surroundings, if you put me on the moon say, my weight will change, but my mass will stay the same. (shrink)