Mountaineering is a dangerous activity. For many mountaineers, part of its very attraction is the risk, the thrill of danger. Yet mountaineers are often regarded as reckless or even irresponsible for risking their lives. In this paper, we offer a defence of risk-taking in mountaineering. Our discussion is organised around the fact that mountaineers and non-mountaineers often disagree about how risky mountaineering really is. We hope to cast some light on the nature of this disagreement – and to argue that (...) mountaineering may actually be worthwhile because of the risks it involves. Section 1 introduces the disagreement and, in doing so, separates out several different notions of risk. Sections 2–4 then consider some explanations of the disagreement, showing how a variety of phenomena can skew people's risk judgements. Section 5 then surveys some recent statistics, to see whether these illuminate how risky mountaineering is. In light of these considerations, however, we suggest that the disagreement is best framed not simply in terms of how risky mountaineering is but whether the risks it does involve are justified. The remainder of the paper, sections 6–9, argues that risk-taking in mountaineering often is justified – and, moreover, that mountaineering can itself be justified by and because of the risks it involves. (shrink)
In this paper, we present the results of two surveys that investigate subjects’ judgments about what can be known or justifiably believed about lottery outcomes on the basis of statistical evidence, testimonial evidence, and “mixed” evidence, while considering possible anchoring and priming effects. We discuss these results in light of seven distinct hypotheses that capture various claims made by philosophers about lay people’s lottery judgments. We conclude by summarizing the main findings, pointing to future research, and comparing our findings to (...) recent studies by Turri and Friedman. (shrink)
Abstract In this essay, a new approach for the ethical study of emerging technology ethics will be presented, called anticipatory technology ethics (ATE). The ethics of emerging technology is the study of ethical issues at the R&D and introduction stage of technology development through anticipation of possible future devices, applications, and social consequences. I will argue that a major problem for its development is the problem of uncertainty, which can only be overcome through methodologically sound forecasting and futures studies. I (...) will then consider three contemporary approaches to the ethics of emerging technologies that use forecasting: ethical technology assessment, the techno-ethical scenarios approach and the ETICA approach, and I considered their strengths and weaknesses. Based on this critical study, I then present my own approach: ATE. ATE is a conceptually and methodologically rich approach for the ethical analysis of emerging technologies that incorporates a large variety of ethical principles, issues, objects and levels of analysis, and research aims. It is ready to be applied to contemporary and future emerging technologies. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-13 DOI 10.1007/s11569-012-0141-7 Authors Philip A. E. Brey, Department of Philosophy, School of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands Journal NanoEthics Online ISSN 1871-4765 Print ISSN 1871-4757. (shrink)
Fodor & Pylyshyn (1981) criticize J. J. Gibson's ecological account of perception for failing to address what I call the 'correlation problem' in visual perception. That is, they charge that Gibson cannot explain how perceivers learn to correlate detectable properties of the light with perceptible properties of the environment. Furthermore, they identify the correlation problem as a crucial issue for any theory of visual perception, what I call a 'primary problem'—i.e. a problem which plays a definitive role in establishing the (...) concerns of a particular scientific research program. If they are correct, Gibson's failure to resolve this problem would cast considerable doubt upon his ecological approach to perception. In response, I argue that both Fodor & Pylyshyn's problem itself and their proposed inferential solution embody a significant mistake which needs to be eliminated from our thinking about visual perception. As part of my response, I also suggest a Gibsonian alternative to Fodor & Pylyshyn's primary problem formulation. (shrink)
This is the first complete English translation of Gottlob Frege's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, with introduction and annotation. The importance of Frege's ideas within contemporary philosophy would be hard to exaggerate. He was, to all intents and purposes, the inventor of mathematical logic, and the influence exerted on modern philosophy of language and logic, and indeed on general epistemology, by the philosophical framework.
Mountaineering is a dangerous activity. For many mountaineers, part of its very attraction is the risk, the thrill of danger. Yet mountaineers are often regarded as reckless or even irresponsible for risking their lives. In this paper, we offer a defence of risk-taking in mountaineering. Our discussion is organised around the fact that mountaineers and non-mountaineers often disagree about how risky mountaineering really is. We hope to cast some light on the nature of this disagreement – and to argue that (...) mountaineering may actually be worthwhilebecause ofthe risks it involves. Section 1 introduces the disagreement and, in doing so, separates out several different notions of risk. Sections 2–4 then consider some explanations of the disagreement, showing how a variety of phenomena can skew people's risk judgements. Section 5 then surveys some recent statistics, to see whether these illuminate how risky mountaineering is. In light of these considerations, however, we suggest that the disagreement is best framed not simply in terms ofhow riskymountaineering is but whether the risks it does involve arejustified. The remainder of the paper, sections 6–9, argues that risk-taking in mountaineering oftenisjustified – and, moreover, that mountaineering can itself be justified byandbecause ofthe risks it involves. (shrink)
This paper raises and then discusses a puzzle concerning the ontological commitments of mathematical principles. The main focus here is Hume's Principle—a statement that, embedded in second-order logic, allows for a deduction of the second-order Peano axioms. The puzzle aims to put pressure on so-called epistemic rejectionism, a position that rejects the analytic status of Hume's Principle. The upshot will be to elicit a new and very basic disagreement between epistemic rejectionism and the neo-Fregeans, defenders of the analytic status of (...) Hume's Principle, which will provide a new angle from which properly to assess and re-evaluate the current debate. (shrink)
The notion of risk plays a central role in economics, finance, health, psychology, law and elsewhere, and is prevalent in managing challenges and resources in day-to-day life. In recent work, Duncan Pritchard (2015, 2016) has argued against the orthodox probabilistic conception of risk on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how probable it is, and in favour of a modal conception on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how modally close it is. (...) In this article, we use Pritchard’s discussion as a springboard for a more wide-ranging discussion of the notion of risk. We introduce three different conceptions of risk: the standard probabilistic conception, Pritchard’s modal conception, and a normalcy conception that is new (though it has some precursors in the psychological literature on risk perception). Ultimately, we argue that the modal conception is ill-suited to the roles that a notion of risk is required to play and explore the prospects for a form of pluralism about risk, embracing both the probabilistic and the normalcy conceptions. (shrink)
In this essay, a new approach to the ethics of emerging information technology will be presented, called anticipatory technology ethics (ATE). The ethics of emerging technology is the study of ethical issues at the R&D and introduction stage of technology development through anticipation of possible future devices, applications, and social consequences. In the essay, I will first locate emerging technology in the technology development cycle, after which I will consider ethical approaches to emerging technologies, as well as obstacles in developing (...) such approaches. I will argue that any sound approach must centrally include futures studies of technology. I then present ATE and some applications of it to emerging information technologies. In ATE, ethical analysis is performed at three levels, the technology, artifact and application levels, and at each levels distinct types of ethical questions are asked. ATE analyses result in the identification and evaluation of a broad range of ethical issues that can be anticipated in relation to an emerging information technology. This ethical analysis can then be used for ethical recommendations for design or governance. (shrink)
This paper explores the Rousseauian background to Kant’s critique of metaphysics and philosophical theology. The core idea is that the rejection of metaphysics and philosophical theology is part of a turn from theoretical to practical reason influential on European philosophy of religion, a turn we associate with Kant but that is prefigured by Rousseau. Rousseau is not, however, a thinker normally associated with the notion of metaphysical criticism, nor the notion of the primacy of practical reason. The paper draws out (...) this dimension of Rousseau’s thinking and its importance for Kantian thought. It will proceed by discussing the Kant-Rousseau connection; demonstrate the importance of practical philosophy for Kant and the critical project generally; overview Kant’s critique of metaphysics; and turn to a consideration of Rousseau, particularly from the text Émile . Given the indisputable influence of Rousseau on Kant, the purpose of this paper is to explore the ways that Rousseau’s own rejection of philosophical theology might be suggestive to those interested in Kant and the way in which it throws new light on Kant’s philosophy of religion. As well as drawing out the Kant-Rousseau connection, it also, implicitly, defends the general orientation of these philosophers as one that is important, perhaps vital, to philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Abstractionism, which is a development of Frege's original Logicism, is a recent and much debated position in the philosophy of mathematics. This volume contains 16 original papers by leading scholars on the philosophical and mathematical aspects of Abstractionism. After an extensive editors' introduction to the topic of abstractionism, the volume is split into 4 sections. The contributions within these sections explore the semantics and meta-ontology of Abstractionism, abstractionist epistemology, the mathematics of Abstractionis, and finally, Frege's application constraint within an abstractionist (...) setting. (shrink)
W.V.O.Quine’s doctrine of referential inscrutability (RI) is the thesis that, first, linguistic reference must always be determined relative to an interpretation of the discourse and, second, that the empirical evidence always underdetermines our choice of interpretation--at least in principle. Although this thesis is a central result of Quine’s theory of language, it was long unclear just how much force RI actually carried. At best, Quine’s discussions provided localized examples of RI (e.g., ‘gavagai’), supplemented merely by arguments for the (in principle) (...) constructability of more general referentially divergent manuals. In defense of Quine, Gerald Massey provides a method for generating large-scale referentially divergent manuals for a complex language. I argue that, while Massey’s rival manuals do meet Quine’s translational criteria, they are demonstrably inferior to their commonsensical “homophonic” competitor. This result provides a clear indication of seminal deficiencies in Quine’s behaviorial approach to the theory of language. Next I argue that Quine’s acceptance of standard assumptions about the nature of perception strongly influences the shape of his semantical theory. Finally, I suggest how an alternative to the standard account of perception might provide grounds for a more adequate understanding of language. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that Boghossian's explanation of how we can acquire a priori knowledge of logical principles through implicit definitions commits a transmission of warrant-failure. To this end, I will briefly outline Boghossian's account, followed by an explanation of what a transmission of warrant-failure consists in. I will also show that this charge is independent of the worry of rule-circularity which has been raised concerning the justification of logical principles and of which Boghossian is fully aware. My (...) argument comes in two steps: firstly, I will argue for the insufficiency of Boghossian's template which is meant to explain how a subject can acquire a warrant for logical principles. I will show however that this insufficiency of his template can be remedied by adopting what I call the Disquotational Step. Secondly, I will argue that incorporating this further step makes his template subject to a transmission of warrant-failure, assuming that certain rather basic and individually motivated principles hold. Thus, Boghossian's account faces a dilemma: either he adopts the Disquotational Step and subjects his account to the charge of a transmission of warrant-failure, or he drops this additional step leaving the account confronted with explaining the gap that has previously been highlighted. I will then suggest various rejoinders that Boghossian might adopt but none of which - I will argue - can resolve the dilemma. Lastly, I will raise and briefly discuss the question whether this worry generalizes to other accounts, such as Hale and Wright's that aim to explain our knowledge of logic and/or mathematics in virtue of implicit definitions. (shrink)
This thesis is concerned with explaining how a subject can acquire a priori knowledge of arithmetic. Every account for arithmetical, and in general mathematical knowledge faces Benacerraf's well-known challenge, i.e. how to reconcile the truths of mathematics with what can be known by ordinary human thinkers. I suggest four requirements that jointly make up this challenge and discuss and reject four distinct solutions to it. This will motivate a broadly Fregean approach to our knowledge of arithmetic and mathematics in general. (...) Pursuing this strategy appeals to the context principle which, it is proposed, underwrites a form of Platonism and explains how reference to and object-directed thought about abstract entities is, in principle, possible. I discuss this principle and defend it against different criticisms as put forth in recent literature. Moreover, I will offer a general framework for implicit definitions by means of which - without an appeal to a faculty of intuition or purely pragmatic considerations - a priori and non-inferential knowledge of basic mathematical principles can be acquired. In the course of this discussion, I will argue against various types of opposition to this general approach. Also, I will highlight crucial shortcomings in the explanation of how implicit definitions may underwrite a priori knowledge of basic principles in broadly similar conceptions. In the final part, I will offer a general account of how non-inferential mathematical knowledge resulting from implicit definitions is best conceived which avoids these shortcomings. (shrink)
In cases of sudden, life-threatening illness where the chance of survival appears negligible to the admitting physician, this opinion is not always revealed during the initial meeting with the patient's relatives. Reasons as to why this withholding of the truth may be acceptable are explored through review of available evidence and personal reflection. Factors identified include: the importance of hope in families' coping mechanisms, and the instinct to preserve it; the fallibility of physicians' perception of poor prognosis in the early (...) phase of illness; the need to avoid large swings in relatives' expectations that occur when patients appear to rally during initial resuscitation; and the adverse effect that an atmosphere of hopelessness can have on the provision of medical care. A strategy for the staged disclosure of information and the confirmation of hopelessness is then described, the aim being to find a compromise between providing a true opinion about a patient's prognosis, and regard for the opposing factors described. (shrink)
We generalize the nonlinear one-dimensional equation of a fluid layer for any depth and length as an infinite-order differential equation for the steady waves. This equation can be written as a q-differential one, with its general solution written as a power series expansion with coefficients satisfying a nonlinear recurrence relation. In the limit of long and shallow water (shallow channels) we reobtain the well-known KdV equation together with its single-soliton solution.
How does Hume determine what qualities of the mind count as virtues and what qualities count as vices? By what standard, for example, does Hume dismiss the so-called “monkish virtues”? Hume’s commentators have proposed various possibilities for the standard of virtue, among them the general point of view and the usefulness/agreeableness of qualities. I consider the case for these standards and argue that Hume contends ultimately that consensus decides controversial questions about the status of virtues and vices. I try especially (...) to show that while the usefulness of any quality is not a means by which we can identify virtues or vices, it can be relevant to moral evaluations in so far as it influences what people tend to approve of. (shrink)
Characterizing how activity in the central and autonomic nervous systems corresponds to distinct emotional states is one of the central goals of affective neuroscience. Despite the ease with which individuals label their own experiences, identifying specific autonomic and neural markers of emotions remains a challenge. Here we explore how multivariate pattern classification approaches offer an advantageous framework for identifying emotion-specific biomarkers and for testing predictions of theoretical models of emotion. Based on initial studies using multivariate pattern classification, we suggest that (...) central and autonomic nervous system activity can be reliably decoded into distinct emotional states. Finally, we consider future directions in applying pattern classification to understand the nature of emotion in the nervous system. (shrink)
This book is a collection of essays on the Parallel Lives of the Greek philosopher and biographer Plutarch which examines the moral issues Plutarch recognized behind political leadership, and places his writings in their political and social context of the reigns of the Flavian emperors and their successors.
Next SectionIt is commonly proposed that artifacts cannot be understood without reference to human intentions. This fact, I contend, has relevance to the use of artifacts in intentional action. I argue that because artifacts have intentions embedded into them antecedently, when we use artifacts we are sometimes compelled to intend descriptions of our actions that we might, for various reasons, be inclined to believe that we do not intend. I focus this argument to a specific set of artifacts, namely, medical (...) devices, before considering an extended application to emergency contraceptive devices. Although there is some debate about whether emergency contraception has an abortifacient effect, I argue that if there is an abortifacient effect, then the effect cannot normally be a side effect of one’s action. (shrink)
In the introductory remarks to his Mulierum Virtutes, Plutarch notes the value of comparisons for establishing the diverse manifestations of the same virtue: ‘Achilles was brave in one way, Ajax in another; and the intelligence of Odysseus differed from that of Nestor, nor were Cato and Agesilaus just in the same way, nor was Irene loving of her husband () as Alcestis was, nor Cornelia high-minded in the manner of Olympias’ . All the examples are well known, and quite apposite, (...) except for Irene (). Who is this paragon of wifely love? A search through encyclopedias and mythological handbooks proves fruitless. Wyttenbach in his note ad loc. suggested the courtesan friend of a minor Ptolemy killed at Ephesus , yet this extremely obscure figure hardly merits mention in the same breath with Alcestis. The name must be corrupt. (shrink)
Many commentators propose that Hume thinks that we are not or should not be motivated to perform naturally virtuous actions from moral sentiments if we want our actions to be genuinely virtuous. It is this proposal with which I take issue in this article, arguing that Hume fully incorporates the moral sentiments into his understanding of how human beings act when it comes to the natural virtues and that he does not see the moral sentiments as a problematic kind of (...) motivation that threatens or weakens the virtuous status of the action. (shrink)
In this short letter to Ed Zalta we raise a number of issues with regards to his version of Neo-Logicism. The letter is, in parts, based on a longer manuscript entitled “What Neo-Logicism could not be” which is in preparation. A response by Ed Zalta to our letter can be found on his website: http://mally.stanford.edu/publications.html (entry C3).
In this article, I explore a Bayesian approach to avalanche decision-making. I motivate this perspective by highlighting a version of the base-rate fallacy and show that a similar pattern applies to decision-making in avalanche-terrain. I then draw out three theoretical lessons from adopting a Bayesian approach and discuss these lessons critically. Lastly, I highlight a number of challenges for avalanche educators when incorporating the Bayesian perspective in their curriculum.
What is the relation between ‘full’ or ‘outright’ belief and the various levels of confidence that agents can have in the propositions that concern them? This paper argues for a new answer to this question. Decision theory implies that in making decisions, rational agents must treat certain propositions as though they were completely certain; but on most forms of decision theory, these propositions are not ones for which any finite agent could have maximal justification – the agent will clearly have (...) less justification for these propositions than for elementary logical truths. Thus, every adequate model of a finite rational agent's belief‐system must involve two set of credences – theoretical credences and practical credences . A full or outright belief in p can be defined as the state of being stably disposed to assign a practical credence of 1 to p, for all normal practical purposes. This definition allows for a kind of reconciliation between the pragmatist and intellectualist approaches in epistemology. (shrink)
Recent work at the intersection of moral philosophy and the philosophy of psychology has dealt mostly with Aristotelian virtue ethics. The dearth of scholarship that engages with Hume’s moral philosophy, however, is both noticeable and peculiar. Hume's Moral Philosophy and Contemporary Psychology demonstrates how Hume’s moral philosophy comports with recent work from the empirical sciences and moral psychology. It shows how contemporary work in virtue ethics has much stronger similarities to the metaphysically thin conception of human nature that Hume developed, (...) rather than the metaphysically thick conception of human nature that Aristotle espoused. It also reveals how contemporary work in moral motivation and moral epistemology has strong affinities with themes in Hume’s sympathetic sentimentalism. (shrink)