Philosophy is often conceived in the Anglophone world today as a subject that focuses on questions in particular ‘‘core areas,’’ pre-eminently epistemology and metaphysics. This article argues that the contemporary conception is a new version of the scholastic ‘‘self-indulgence for the few’’ of which Dewey complained nearly a century ago. Philosophical questions evolve, and a first task for philosophers is to address issues that arise for their own times. The article suggests that a renewal of philosophy today should turn the (...) contemporary conception inside out, attending to and developing further the valuable work being done on the supposed ‘‘periphery’’ and attending to the ‘‘core areas’’ only insofar as is necessary to address genuinely significant questions. (shrink)
If someone abstains from meat-eating for reasons of taste or personal economics, no moral or philosophical question arises. But when a vegetarian attempts to persuade others that they, too, should adopt his diet, then what he says requires philosophical attention. While a vegetarian might argue in any number of ways, this essay will be concerned only with the argument for a vegetarian diet resting on a moral objection to the rearing and killing of animals for the human table. The vegetarian, (...) in this laense, does not merely require us to change or justify our eating habits, but to reconsider our attitudes and behaviour towards members of other species across a wide range of practices. (shrink)
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)
The first half of this book argues that physicalism cannot account for consciousness, and hence cannot be true. The second half explores and defends Russellian monism, a radical alternative to both physicalism and dualism. The view that emerges combines panpsychism with the view that the universe as a whole is fundamental.
Is rhetoric just a new and trendy way to épater les bourgeois? Unfortunately, I think that the newfound interest of some economists in rhetoric, and particularly Donald McCloskey in his new book and subsequent responses to critics, gives that impression. After economists have worked so hard for the past five decades to learn their sums, differential calculus, real analysis, and topology, it is a fair bet that one could easily hector them about their woeful ignorance of the conjugation of Latin (...) verbs or Aristotle's Six Elements of Tragedy. Moreover, it has certainly become an academic cliché that economists write as gracefully and felicitously as a hundred monkeys chained to broken typewriters. The fact that economists still trot out Keynes's prose in their defense is itself an index of the inarticulate desperation of an inarticulate profession. (shrink)
Roger Crisp has inspired two important criticisms of Scanlon's buck-passing account of value. I defend buck-passing from the wrong kind of reasons criticism, and the reasons and the good objection. I support Rabinowicz and Rønnow-Rasmussen's dual role of reasons in refuting the wrong kind of reasons criticism, even where its authors claim it fails. Crisp's reasons and the good objection contends that the property of goodness is buck-passing in virtue of its formality. I argue that Crisp conflates general and formal (...) properties, and that Scanlon is ambiguous about whether the formal property of a reason can stop the buck. Drawing from Wallace, I respond to Crisp's reasons and the good objection by developing an augmented buck-passing account of reasons and value, where the buck is passed consistently from the formal properties of both to the substantive properties of considerations and evaluative attitudes. I end by describing two unresolved problems for buck-passers. (shrink)
This innovative approach to freedom starts from an account of what we mean by describing someone, in a psychological vein, as a free subject. Pettit develops an argument as to what it is that makes someone free in that basic sense; and then goes on to derive the implications of the approach for issues of freedom in political theory. Freedom in the subject is equated with the person's being fit to be held responsible and to be authorized as a partner (...) in interaction. This book is unique among contemporary approaches - although it is true to the spirit of classical writers like Hobbes and Kant - in seeking a theory that applies to psychological issues of free agency and free will as well as to political issues in the theory of the free state and the free constitution. The driving thesis is that it is only by connecting up the different issues of freedom, psychological and political, that we can fully appreciate the nature of the questions involved, and the requirements for their resolution. The book does not not seek a comprehensive reach just for its own sake, but rather for the sake of the illumination it provides._ _ _A Theory of Freedom_ is a ground-breaking volume which will be of wide interest to scholars and students in political philosophy and political science. (shrink)
Jonathan Glover and I, while not in such deep disagreement about the ethics of killing as to make all communication impossible, still disagree enough to make sustained confrontation worthwhile. At minimum, such confrontation should make it clear what are the most fundamental issues at stake in ethical arguments about various kinds of killing.
It has become fashionable to try to prove the impossibility of there being a God. Findlay's celebrated ontological disproof has in the past quarter century given rise to vigorous controversy. More recently James Rachels has offered a moral argument intended to show that there could not be a being worthy of worship. In this paper I shall examine the position Rachels is arguing for in some detail. I shall endeavor to show that his argument is unsound and, more interestingly, that (...) the genuine philosophical perplexity which motivates it can be dispelled without too much difficulty. (shrink)
Research on personality psychology is making important contributions to psychological science and applied psychology. This second edition of The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology offers a one-stop resource for scientific personality psychology. It summarizes cutting-edge personality research in all its forms, including genetics, psychometrics, social-cognitive psychology, and real-world expressions, with informative and lively chapters that also highlight some areas of controversy. The team of renowned international authors, led by two esteemed editors, ensures a wide range of theoretical perspectives. Each research (...) area is discussed in terms of scientific foundations, main theories and findings, and future directions for research. The handbook also features advances in technology, such as molecular genetics and functional neuroimaging, as well as contemporary statistical approaches. An invaluable aid to understanding the central role played by personality in psychology, it will appeal to students, researchers, and practitioners in psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and the social sciences. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Robert A. Oakes argues that a doctrine central to, and partially constitutive of, classical theism implies a certain sort of pantheism. The doctrine in question is a modal form of the claim that God conserves in existence the world of contingent things; alternatively, it is the view that all contingently existing things are necessarily continuously dependent upon God for their existence. And the variety of pantheism at stake is a modal form of the thesis that all (...) contingent things are, in some sense, included within the being of God. (shrink)
This brief opening for a special issue of Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical on Philip Clayton’s thought and its connection with that of Michael Polany introduces Clayton’s essay and the responses by Martinez Hewlett, Gregory R. Peterson, Andy F. Sanders and Waler B. Gulick.
Can groups be rational agents over and above their individual members? We argue that group agents are distinguished by their capacity to mimic the way in which individual agents act and that this capacity must “supervene” on the group members’ contributions. But what is the nature of this supervenience relation? Focusing on group judgments, we argue that, for a group to be rational, its judgment on a particular proposition cannot generally be a function of the members’ individual judgments on that (...) proposition. Rather, it must be a function of their individual sets of judgments across many propositions. So knowing what the group members individually think about some proposition does not generally tell us how the group collectively adjudicates that proposition: the supervenience relation must be “setwise,” not “proposition-wise.” Our account preserves the individualistic view that group agency is nothing mysterious but also suggests that a group agent may hold judgments that are not directly continuous with its members’ corresponding individual judgments. (shrink)
Striving to boldly redirect the philosophy of science, this book by renowned philosopher Philip Kitcher examines the heated debate surrounding the role of science in shaping our lives. Kitcher explores the sharp divide between those who believe that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is always valuable and necessary--the purists--and those who believe that it invariably serves the interests of people in positions of power. In a daring turn, he rejects both perspectives, working out a more realistic image of the (...) sciences--one that allows for the possibility of scientific truth, but nonetheless permits social consensus to determine which avenues to investigate. He then proposes a democratic and deliberative framework for responsible scientists to follow. Controversial, powerful, yet engaging, this volume will appeal to a wide range of readers. Kitcher's nuanced analysis and authorititative conclusion will interest countless scientists as well as all readers of science--scholars and laypersons alike. (shrink)
The following objection to the ‘ontological’ argument of St Anselm has a continuing importance. The argument begs the question by introducing into the first premise the name ‘God’. In order for something to be truly talked about, to have properties truly attributed to it—it has been said—it must exist; a statement containing a vacuous name must either be false, meaningless, or lacking in truth-value, if it is not a misleading formulation to be explained by paraphrase into other terms. In any (...) case the question of the divine existence is begged. (shrink)
Philosophers have long agreed that moral responsibility might not only have a freedom condition, but also an epistemic condition. Moral responsibility and knowledge interact, but the question is exactly how. Ignorance might constitute an excuse, but the question is exactly when. Surprisingly enough, the epistemic condition has only recently attracted the attention of scholars, and it is high time for a full volume on the topic. The chapters in this volume address the following central questions. Does the epistemic condition require (...) akrasia? Why does blameless ignorance excuse? Does moral ignorance sustained by one’s culture excuse? Does the epistemic condition involve knowledge of the wrongness or wrongmaking features of one’s action? Is the epistemic condition an independent condition, or is it derivative from one’s quality of will or intentions? Is the epistemic condition sensitive to degrees of difficulty? Are there different kinds of moral responsibility and thus multiple epistemic conditions? Is the epistemic condition revisionary? What is the basic structure of the epistemic condition? (shrink)
This essay aims to disentangle various types of anti-realism, and to disarm the considerations that are deployed to support them. I distinguish empiricist versions of anti-realism from constructivist versions, and, within each of these, semantic arguments from epistemological arguments. The centerpiece of my defense of a modest version of realism - real realism - is the thought that there are resources within our ordinary ways of talking about and knowing about everyday objects that enable us to extend our claims to (...) unobservable entities. This strategy, the Galilean strategy, is explained using the historical example of the telescope. (shrink)
The problem which motivates this paper bears on the relationship between Marxism and morality. It is not the well-established question of whether the Marxist's commitments undermine an attachment to ethical standards, but the more neglected query as to whether they allow the espousal of political ideals. The study and assessment of political ideals is pursued nowadays under the title of theory of justice, the aim of such theory being to provide a criterion for distinguishing just patterns of social organization from (...) unjust ones. The main rivals in the field represent justice respectively as legitimacy, welfare and fairness. Marxism does not put forward a distinctive conception of justice itself and the question is whether the Marxist is free to choose as he thinks fit among the candidates on offer. (shrink)
During the last three decades, reflections on the growth of scientific knowledge have inspired historians, sociologists, and some philosophers to contend that scientific objectivity is a myth. In this book, Kitcher attempts to resurrect the notions of objectivity and progress in science by identifying both the limitations of idealized treatments of growth of knowledge and the overreactions to philosophical idealizations. Recognizing that science is done not by logically omniscient subjects working in isolation, but by people with a variety of personal (...) and social interests, who cooperate and compete with one another, he argues that, nonetheless, we may conceive the growth of science as a process in which both our vision of nature and our ways of learning more about nature improve. Offering a detailed picture of the advancement of science, he sets a new agenda for the philosophy of science and for other "science studies" disciplines. (shrink)
There are almost as many versions of realism as there are antirealists, each ready to supply a preferred characterization before undertaking demolition. Even in the case of scientific realism, my topic here, I recognize two major antirealist themes.
According to republican theory, we are free persons to the extent that we are protected and secured in the same fundamental choices, on the same public basis, as one another. But there is no public protection or security without a coercive state. Does this mean that any freedom we enjoy is a superficial good that presupposes a deeper, political form of subjection? Philip Pettit addresses this crucial question in On the People's Terms. He argues that state coercion will not (...) involve individual subjection or domination insofar as we enjoy an equally shared form of control over those in power. This claim may seem utopian but it is supported by a realistic model of the institutions that might establish such democratic control. Beginning with a fresh articulation of republican ideas, Pettit develops a highly original account of the rationale of democracy, breathing new life into democratic theory. (shrink)
Freedom, in Philip Pettit's provocative analysis, "requires more than just being left alone." In Just Freedom, a succint articulation of the republican philosophy for which he is renowned, Pettit builds a theory of universal freedom as nondenomination. Seen through this lens, even societies that consider themselves free may find their political arrangements lacking. Do those arrangements protect people's liberties equally? Are they subject to the equally shared control of those they protect? Do they allow the different peoples of the (...) world to live in equal freedom? With elegant, user-friendly tests of freedom---the eyeball test, the tough luck test, and the straight talk test---Pettit addresses these questions, laying out essential yardsticks for policymakers and concerned ciitzens alike. An invitation to join in a program that would better articulate and realize justice in our social, democratic, and international lives. Just Freedom offers readers an essential starting place for the world's thorniest problems. (shrink)
This is a book that every enthusiast for Gödel’s proofs of his incompleteness theorems will want to own. It gives an up-to-date account of connections between systems of modal logic and results on provability in formal systems for arithmetic, analysis, and set theory.
In his most recent book, Philip Pettit presents and defends a “republican” political philosophy that stems from a tradition that includes Cicero, Machiavelli, James Harrington, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Madison. The book provides an interpretation of what is distinctive about republicanism—namely, Pettit claims, its notion of freedom as nondomination. He sketches the history of this notion, and he argues that it entails a unique justification of certain political arrangements and the virtues of citizenship that would make those arrangements possible. (...) Of historical and philosophical interest, he stresses, is the fundamental contrast between freedom as nondomination and slavery. Joseph Priestly, for instance, invoked this contrast in defending the cause of the American Revolution, and in 1769 declared, incredibly, that if the parliament of Great Britain continued to tax the American colonies, “the colonists will be reduced to a state of as complete servitude, as any people of which there is an account in history”. Those opposed to American independence, among them Jeremy Bentham, relied instead on a Hobbesian notion of freedom as noninterference, using it to argue that the colonists were no more interfered with by the British government than were citizens of Britain. Drawing out this contrast, Pettit aims to establish that a republican view of freedom better supports the institutions of a constitutional democracy than does liberalism. His account of the distinguishing characteristics and strengths of republicanism is, however, only partially successful. Neither his case that a republican notion of freedom provides for a more solid defense of democratic institutions and constitutional protections than is available within liberalism, nor his argument that republicanism can better address “private” injustices, is convincing. (shrink)
This is the first full-length presentation of a republican alternative to the liberal and communitarian theories that have dominated political philosophy in recent years. The latest addition to the acclaimed Oxford Political Theory series, Pettit's eloquent and compelling account opens with an examination of the traditional republican conception of freedom as non-domination, contrasting this with established negative and positive views of liberty. The first part of the book traces the rise and decline of this conception, displays its many attractions, and (...) makes a case for why it should still be regarded as a central political ideal. The second part of the book looks at what the implementation of the ideal would imply for substantive policy-making, constitutional and democratic design, regulatory control and the relation between state and civil society. Prominent in this account is a novel concept of democracy, under which government is exposed to systematic contestation, and a vision of relations between state and society founded upon civility and trust. Pettit's powerful and insightful new work offers not only a unified, theoretical overview of the many strands of republican ideas, but also a new and sophisticated perspective on studies in related fields including the history of ideas, jurisprudence, and criminology. (shrink)
Philip Pettit offers a new insight into moral psychology. He shows that attachments such as love, and certain virtues such as honesty, require their characteristic behaviours not only as things actually are, but also in cases where things are different from how they actually are. He explores the implications of this idea for key moral issues.
The idea that the self is inextricably intertwined with the rest of the world—the “oneness hypothesis”—can be found in many of the world’s philosophical and religious traditions. Oneness provides ways to imagine and achieve a more expansive conception of the self as fundamentally connected with other people, creatures, and things. Such views present profound challenges to Western hyperindividualism and its excessive concern with self-interest and tendency toward self-centered behavior. This anthology presents a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of the nature and implications (...) of the oneness hypothesis. While fundamentally inspired by East and South Asian traditions, in which such a view often is critical to philosophical approach, this collection draws upon religion, psychology, and Western philosophy, as well as sociology, evolutionary theory, and cognitive neuroscience. Contributors trace the oneness hypothesis through the works of East Asian and Western thinkers and traditions, including Confucianism. Mohism, Daoism, Buddhism, Platonism, Zhuangzi, Kant, James, and Dewey. They intervene in debates over ethics, cultural difference, identity, group solidarity, and the positive and negative implications of metaphors of organic unity. Challenging dominant traditional views that presume the proper scope of the mind stops at the boundaries of the skin and skull, The Oneness Hypothesis shows that a more relational conception of the self is not only consistent with contemporary science but has the potential to lead to greater happiness and well-being for both individuals and the larger wholes of which they are parts. (shrink)
The official model of explanation proposed by the logical empiricists, the covering law model, is subject to familiar objections. The goal of the present paper is to explore an unofficial view of explanation which logical empiricists have sometimes suggested, the view of explanation as unification. I try to show that this view can be developed so as to provide insight into major episodes in the history of science, and that it can overcome some of the most serious difficulties besetting the (...) covering law model. (shrink)
Despite the bad reputation of the legal profession, law remains king in America. A highly diverse society relies on the laws to maintain a working sense of the dignity and inviability of each individual. And a persistent element in contemporary debates is the fear that naturalistic theories of the human person will erode our belief that we have a dignity greater than that of other natural objects. Thus the endurance of the creation vs. evolution debate is due less to the (...) arguments of creationists, or to the continued influence of the book of Genesis, than to the reading of the evidence provided by Phillip E. Johnson of the University of California, Berkeley, Law School. (shrink)
Suppose that a person P 1 dies some time during 1978. Many years later, the resurrection world, a perennial object of Christian concern, begins on the morning of the day of judgment. On its first morning there are in that world distinct persons, P 2 and P 3 , each of whom is related in remarkably intimate ways to P 1 . You are to imagine that each of them satisfies each of the criteria or conditions necessary for identity with (...) P 1 to some extent, that both of them satisfy these conditions to exactly the same extent, and that every other denizen of the resurrection world satisfies each of these conditions to a lesser extent than P 2 and P 3 do. Thus, for example, philosophers often claim that bodily continuity is a necessary condition for personal identity. If it is, you might assume that the body P 2 has on the morning of the day of judgment contains some of the same atoms the body of P1 1 contained when P 1 died, and that P 2 's body on that day contains exactly n atoms from P 1 's body at the time of death just in case P 3 's body on that day contains exactly n atoms from P 1 's body at the time of death. Or, again, some philosophers hold that connectedness of memory is necessary for personal identity. If so, you are to suppose that on the morning of the day of judgment P 3 seems to remember some of the events in the life of P 1 having happened to him, and that P 3 seems to remember a certain event in the life of P 1 having happened to him just in case P 2 seems to remember that very event in the life of P 1 having happened to him. You are to fill in the details by adding complete parity between P 2 and P 3 with respect to similarity of DNA molecules, character traits and whatever else you deem relevant to personal identity. And, finally, you are to complete the story by imagining that P 2 and P 3 live very different sorts of lives in the resurrection world. To heighten the poignancy of the story, you might imagine that P 2 enjoys forever after the beatitude promised to the blessed while P 3 suffers the everlasting torments reserved for the damned. (shrink)
The advance of science and human knowledge is impeded by misunderstandings of various statistics, insufficient reporting of findings, and the use of numerous standardized and non-standardized presentations of essentially identical information. Communication with journalists and the public is hindered by the failure to present statistics that are easy for non-scientists to interpret as well as by use of the word significant, which in scientific English does not carry the meaning of "important" or "large." This article promotes a new standard method (...) for reporting two-group and two-variable statistics that can enhance the presentation of relevant information, increase understanding of findings, and replace the current presentations of two-group ANOVA, t-tests, correlations, chi-squares, and z-tests of proportions. A brief call to highly restrict the publication of risk ratios, odds ratios, and relative increase in risk percentages is also made, since these statistics appear to provide no useful scientific information regarding the magnitude of findings. (shrink)
Learning in educational settings most often emphasizes declarative and procedural knowledge. Studies of expertise, however, point to other, equally important components of learning, especially improvements produced by experience in the extraction of information: Perceptual learning. Here we describe research that combines principles of perceptual learning with computer technology to address persistent difficulties in mathematics learning. We report three experiments in which we developed and tested perceptual learning modules to address issues of structure extraction and fluency in relation to algebra and (...) fractions. PLMs focus students’ learning on recognizing and discriminating, or mapping key structures across different representations or transformations. Results showed significant and persisting learning gains for students using PLMs. PLM technology offers promise for addressing neglected components of learning: Pattern recognition, structural intuition, and fluency. Using PLMs as a complement to other modes of instruction may allow students to overcome chronic problems in learning. (shrink)