A uniform theory of conditionals is one which compositionally captures the behavior of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals without positing ambiguities. This paper raises new problems for the closest thing to a uniform analysis in the literature (Stalnaker, Philosophia, 5, 269–286 (1975)) and develops a new theory which solves them. I also show that this new analysis provides an improved treatment of three phenomena (the import-export equivalence, reverse Sobel-sequences and disjunctive antecedents). While these results concern central issues in the study (...) of conditionals, broader themes in the philosophy of language and formal semantics are also engaged here. This new analysis exploits a dynamic conception of meaning where the meaning of a symbol is its potential to change an agent’s mental state (or the state of a conversation) rather than being the symbol’s content (e.g. the proposition it expresses). The analysis of conditionals is also built on the idea that the contrast between subjunctive and indicative conditionals parallels a contrast between revising and consistently extending some body of information. (shrink)
Imperative sentences like Dance! do not seem to represent the world. Recent modal analyses challenge this idea, but its intuitive and historical appeal remain strong. This paper presents three new challenges for a non-representational analysis, showing that the obstacles facing it are even steeper than previously appreciated. I will argue that the only way for the non-representationalist to meet these three challenges is to adopt a dynamic semantics. Such a dynamic semantics is proposed here: imperatives introduce preferences between alternatives. This (...) characterization of meaning focuses on what function a sentence serves in discourse, rather than what that sentence refers to (e.g. a state of the world). By representing the meaning of imperatives, connectives and declaratives in a common dynamic format, the challenges posed for non-representationalism are met. (shrink)
Recognizing the potential hidden artistic contributions of persons with dementia opens new opportunities for interpretation and potential communication. This visual essay explores the authors’ responses to the fragile objects of art produced by a person with severe dementia and examines what may be learned from them.
Dementia is more than a disease. What dementia is, how it is understood, and how it is experienced is influenced by multiple factors including our societal preoccupation with individual identity. This essay introduces empirical and theoretical evidence of alternative ways of understanding dementia that act as a challenge to common assumptions. It proposes that dementia be understood as an experience of systems, particularly networks of people affected by the diagnosis. Taking this step reveals much about the dementia experience, and about (...) what can be learned from persons with dementia and their networks of family, friends, and carers. It also suggests that dementia may be best thought of as an ecology that arises from the interaction between neuropathological change, people, language, and meaning. While challenging, this perspective may provide new ways of responding to dementia and caring for those affected by it. (shrink)
This paper attempts to provide a conceptual underpinning for codes of ethics in business and the professions. Rule-utilitarianism is a theory of ethics which I believe can successfully do this. Business persons and professionals, hopefully, will be able to develop codes of ethics in a manner consistent with a well-formulated general ethical theory. This will help enable codes of ethics to be a bridge between general ethical theory and specific ethical decisions made in business and the professions.
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 two of his great poems, “Ambulances” and “The Building,” Philip Larkin considers a deep fear about human individuality. The fear is that the human self is contingent and disjunctive, lacking any integrity or unity. The arrival of an ambulance on an urban curb and a visit to the hospital are the occasion of reflection on this form of human fragility. But more significant, the ambulance and the hospital are imagined as contexts in which the contingency of the human (...) individual is brought out and laid before us. (shrink)
The world of John Dewey scholarship recently lost one of its most thoughtful contributors, and teachers of all kinds lost one of their most passionate and committed advocates. Philip W. Jackson was born in 1928 in Vineland, New Jersey, a locale known historically for its excellent grape-growing soil and veterinarian Arthur Goldhaft’s famous pledge to “put a chicken in every pot.” Jackson’s adoptive parents were, appropriately enough, chicken farmers, and, as the story goes, they noticed early on his indisputable (...) knack for singing and poetry recitation. Feeling very at home on the stage, the plucky six-year-old even tried his hand as a vaudevillian, performing a snake charmer act between reels at.. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher is a leading figure in the philosophy of science, and he is part of a growing community of scholars who have turned their attention from the field’s long-time focus on questions of logic and epistemology to the relation between science and society. Kitcher’s book Science, Truth, and Democracy (2001) charted a course between relativism and realism, arguing that the aims of science emerge from not only scientific curiosity but also practical and public concerns. The book also drew (...) on John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1999) to develop an ideal of “well-ordered science,” and then applied the ideal to various aspects of the scientific research agenda. Ten years later, complex public issues like climate change have grown more urgent, and with many people questioning mainstream science on climate change, evolutionary biology, vaccines, stem cell research, and other topics, the tensions between science and democracy seem more pronounced than ever. Kitcher’s Science in a Democrat. (shrink)
On April 26, 2013, Philip Kitcher met with a line-up of six critics at the New York Pragmatist Forum to learn what they thought about his latest large book, Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward a Reconstruction in Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2012). The following contributions, as well as Kitcher’s reply, originated in this meeting, with each author taking into account Kitcher’s initial responses while further developing his or her arguments.As S. Joshua Thomas notes below, our purpose as critics has been (...) two-fold: first, to offer fair criticisms that avoid the kind of “tribalist” response Philip Kitcher often receives as an internationally well-known philosopher moving between two philosophical traditions that .. (shrink)
This paper is a critical notice of Philip Pettit's On the People's Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy. Pettit argues that only Republicanism can respond appropriately to the ‘evil of subjection to another's will – particularly in important areas of personal choice’ because its ideal of liberty – freedom as non-domination – both captures better than liberalism our commitment to individual liberty and explains better our commitment to the legitimacy of democratic decision-making than standard democrat accounts. If (...) this argument succeeds, it demonstrates that there is no real tension between the liberal thought that justice provides a standard for evaluating public decisions independent of the fact that they are taken democratically and the democratic thought that the fact that a decision is democratic suffices to make it legitimate. I argue, however, that Pettit finds himself caught between two contradictory positions: a version of Isaiah Berlin's negative concept of liberty and a positive liberty account of democracy. And I show that his attempt to resolve the tension fails because it requires him to embrace the positive liberty account he is committed to rejecting. (shrink)
There are many studies of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Philip Kain does not break new ground in Hegel and Right. Nor does he deal with the German scholarship that did, by posing the possibility of an esoteric Hegel belying the exoteric author caving to censorship pressure. Still, he has provided us a worthwhile book that touches on some controversial issues. Kain professes to be a Marxian and social democrat who opposes capital punishment and supports same-sex marriage and, perhaps not (...) coincidentally, his Hegel is open to at least the latter three positions. Some scholars of Hegel may be dismayed that there is little reference to Hegel's Logic, though they should appreciate Kain emphasizing how the Absolute is the... (shrink)
While the earlier work of Philip Kitcher, in particular The Advancement of Science (1993), continues to inform his more recent studies, such as Science, Truth, and Democracy (2001), there are significant "changes of opinion" from those articulated in the 1990s. One may even speak of two different stages in the configuration of epistemological proposals. An analysis, from an empiricist standpoint, of the shifts between one and the other indicates further evolution towards realist positions but much more modest ones than (...) those previously endorsed. Kitcher qualifies former individualism with an ensuing defence of pluralism, vital to his effort to develop a social epistemology. The present centrality of the achievement of a well-ordered science , one that promotes the common good within the context of democracies, encapsulates recent variation in the work of Kitcher and may be considered one of the author's most defendable proposals, even including its classically empiricist resonance. (shrink)
In “Hegel, Antigone, and Women,” Philip Kain argues for a socially constructive type of individualism that he also attributes to Hegel’s Antigone. He regards this non-destructive version of individualism as a model for non-liberal or post-liberal feminism. I would like to raise two problems with the argument here. First, does Kain’s conception adequately capture what we mean, at a bare minimum, by individualism, that is, some sort of development and expression of unique particularity? Second, is this concept of individualism, (...) one that is compatible with familial corporatism, in fact attributable to Hegel’s Antigone? Kain proposes that “Hegel’s goal is to get beyond [the] destructive form of individualism [that involves conflict] to an individualism formed by, in harmony with, and reinforcing the institutions of our sociocultural world”. Kain further proposes that we find this in Antigone. For Hegel’s conception of Antigone’s “individualism is... manifested in and through acting in perfect solidarity with the family, religion, and tradition”. “Her individualism,” Kain goes on, “is the sort that allows a self embedded in a context of cultural relations, institutions, and common customs, traditions, and practices to develop an individual identity”. And what is this sense of identity given that she is in “perfect solidarity” with her group and her times? It is this, according to Kain. (shrink)
I assess the ethical content of Philip Roth's account of his father's final years with, and death from, a tumor. I apply this to criticisms of the nature and content of case reports in medicine. I also draw some implications about modernism, postmodernism and narrative understandings.
In his latest book, Philip Pettit begins with the apt observation that analyses of freedom in the context of human agency and the free will problem are typically kept separate from discussions of that concept in the political realm. This he regards as an unfortunate departure from the classical view that the psychological freedom of the agent and the political freedom of the citizen are intimately connected. Indeed, the book is a sustained argument for replacing this dichotomy with a (...) single, comprehensive account of freedom as "fitness to be held responsible". Petitt argues that such an analysis is not only intuitively plausible but can be supported on coherentist grounds because, while our intuitions about freedom in each of the two spheres radically underdetermine an overall theory in that domain, "the combination of those sets of intuitions is capable of significantly constraining the choice of a single, unified theory of freedom". The central claim of this intricately argued book is that fitness to be held responsible is most plausibly equated with a conception of freedom that is at once psychological and social. (shrink)
Professor N. G. L. Hammond has of late published some of his thoughts on the activities of Philip II in 347 and 346 B.C. In addition he has treated aspects of Philip's earlier involvement in Thessalian, Thracian, and Phokian affairs. In the process he has in many instances disagreed with a number of current findings. Among those challenged are some of mine. Healthy scholarly debate is always desirable, and in this f spirit I should welcome an opportunity to (...) contest Professor Hammond's views on several points, the most important being the basic factor of methodology and the interpretation of various factual details. (shrink)
This article responds to Philip Walsh’s defence : 179-200) of the traditional Lockean “underlaborer” conception of the role of philosophy against Norbert Elias’s sociology of knowledge. The article argues, contra Walsh, that the “post-philosophical” status of sociology is already a historical fait accompli. The author challenges Walsh’s contention that Elias’s perspectival sociological theory of knowledge is fatally flawed by its improper use of the concept of process as a central principle. The response concludes that Walsh’s article is a formidable (...) mobilization of logical, conceptual, analytical, and other theoretical resources tacitly designed to save the autonomy of philosophy at all costs in the face of the advanced sociology of knowledge of Elias. (shrink)
In the above paper I suggested that in Anth. Pal. ix. 519 and xi. 12 Philip V of Macedon was himself the Cyclops and the Centaur, and that these two identifications were not only appropriate to Philip's character , but also historically associated with the Argead dynasty. In my case for the ‘Centaur’ identification, however, I overlooked one of the most important pieces of evidence, though it had been available since 1926; and that is the meaning of the (...) word κέντανυος In an article published that year E. H. Sturtevant showed that κέντανυος is a word of Thraco-Macedonian origin with the same meaning as the Greek λππος. The first part κενττ– is the κενττ– οΤ κενθ which is a constituent of several Thracian personal names, e.g. Aulu-centus, Aulu-centius, πται-κενθος, Zipa-centhus, etc. . The second half of the word, avro-, occurs in βρο-ξελμης, βρου-πολις βρο-τονον etc. - and αλο- are alternative forms of the same word). Already Tomaschek had identified κεντ- with the Greek ιλ-, and had argued that Thracian avro- ‘was borrowed from Iranian neighbours of the Thracians. Avestan aurva-, aurvañt is strikingly similar in form to Thracian avro-, avrū-, and the Avestan word applies so frequently to the horse that it might easily come to mean ”horse”’. From a combination of the two forms Sturtevant gets the convincing κνταυρος = λιππος. (shrink)
L’auteur de Bentham : A Guide for the Perplexed, Philip Schofield, est spécialiste de Bentham, directeur du Bentham Project et directeur de la publication des Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. Comme l’indique le nom de la collection dans lequel son ouvrage est publié, A Guide for the Perplexed est un opuscule qui a l’ambition de faire connaître la pensée du philosophe utilitariste Jeremy Bentham à un public de lecteur non avertis. Sept chapitres s’attè..