In this paper I consider the prospects for pluralism about knowledge, that is, the view that there is a plurality of knowledge relations. After a brief overview of some views that entail a sort of pluralism about knowledge, I focus on a particular kind of knowledge pluralism I call standards pluralism. Put roughly, standards pluralism is the view that one never knows anything simpliciter. Rather, one knows by this-or-that epistemic standard. Because there is a plurality (...) of epistemic standards, there is a plurality of knowledge relations. In §1 I argue that one can construct an impressive case for standards pluralism. In §2 I clarify the relationship between standards pluralism, epistemic contextualism and epistemic relativism. In §3 I argue that standards pluralism faces a serious objection. The gist of the objection is that standards pluralism is incompatible with plausible claims about the normative role of knowledge. In §4 I finish by sketching the form that a standards pluralist response to this objection might take. (shrink)
Is it possible to recognize the limits of rationality, and thus to embrace moral pluralism, without embracing moral relativism? My answer is yes; nevertheless, certain anti-foundational positions, both recent and ancient, take a cynical stance toward the possibility of any critical moral judgment, and as such, must be regarded as relativistic.1 It is such cynicism, I argue, whether openly announced or unknowingly implied, that marks the distinction between relativism and pluralism.2 The danger of this cynicism is not so (...) much that it renders the categorical acceptance of a particular moral view unattainable, but that it renders categorical condemnation of any particular position (or action) impossible.3 Two .. (shrink)
By drawing mainly, but not only, on the work of Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor, I suggest that the postsecular turn provides a more substantial and insightful contribution to the understanding of religious pluralism in contexts of late secularization thanks to its focus on how the self-understanding of religious and secular actors is affected by their co-implication within the same discursive space. The ensuing attention for the processes of self-critique and reciprocal learning allows for a fairer distribution of the (...) burdens of participation, consistently with standards of parity which can be properly, but not exclusively, understood within an egalitarian liberal outlook. The participation to a shared conversation about the primary goods is seen, here, as a primary good in itself. I argue that it is possible to move away from this problem while still retaining the distinct awareness that the postsecular stance articulates about the role played by self-critical understandings of religious and secular views when it comes to the cooperative effort necessary to realize conditions of genuine epistemic parity and equal access to public discourse. To this purpose, I suggest that three further steps should be taken: the boundary between the religious and the secular should be more decisively conceived as a shifting and porous border, the resources of public discourse shouldn’t be too rigidly divided between argumentative and non-argumentative, and the presence of stoppers and enablers of public conversation should be acknowledged both in the religious and in the secular domain. The resulting kind of postsecular perspective will turn out to be relevant at two levels: that of the relationships between individuals who actively engage in public discourse and that of the relationships between religious and secular institutions. (shrink)
Set-theoretic pluralism is an increasingly influential position in the philosophy of set theory (Balaguer , Linksy and Zalta , Hamkins ). There is considerable room for debate about how best to formulate set-theoretic pluralism, and even about whether the view is coherent. But there is widespread agreement as to what there is to recommend the view (given that it can be formulated coherently). Unlike set-theoretic universalism, set-theoretic pluralism affords an answer to Benacerraf’s epistemological challenge. The purpose of (...) this paper is to determine what Benacerraf’s challenge could be such that this view is warranted. I argue that it could not be any of the challenges with which it has been traditionally identified by its advocates, like of Benacerraf and Field. Not only are none of the challenges easier for the pluralist to meet. None satisfies a key constraint that has been placed on Benacerraf’s challenge. However, I argue that Benacerraf’s challenge could be the challenge to show that our set-theoretic beliefs are safe – i.e., to show that we could not have easily had false ones. Whether the pluralist is, in fact, better positioned to show that our set-theoretic beliefs are safe turns on a broadly empirical conjecture which is outstanding. If this conjecture proves to be false, then it is unclear what the epistemological argument for set-theoretic pluralism is supposed to be. (shrink)
Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different ways to exist. It is a position with deep roots in the history of philosophy, and in which there has been a recent resurgence of interest. In contemporary presentations, it is stated in terms of fundamental languages: as the view that such languages contain more than one quantifier. For example, one ranging over abstract objects, and another over concrete ones. A natural worry, however, is that the languages proposed by the (...) pluralist are mere notational variants of those proposed by the monist, in which case the debate between the two positions would not seem to be substantive. Jason Turner has given an ingenious response to this worry, in terms of a principle that he calls ‘logical realism’. This paper offers a counter-response on behalf of the ‘notationalist’. I argue that, properly applied, the principle of logical realism is no threat to the claim that the languages in question are notational variants. Indeed, there seems to be every reason to think that they are. (shrink)
To study Earth’s climate, scientists now use a variety of computer simulation models. These models disagree in some of their assumptions about the climate system, yet they are used together as complementary resources for investigating future climatic change. This paper examines and defends this use of incompatible models. I argue that climate model pluralism results both from uncertainty concerning how to best represent the climate system and from difficulties faced in evaluating the relative merits of complex models. I describe (...) how incompatible climate models are used together in ‘multi-model ensembles’ and explain why this practice is reasonable, given scientists’ inability to identify a ‘best’ model for predicting future climate. Finally, I characterize climate model pluralism as involving both an ontic competitive pluralism and a pragmatic integrative pluralism. (shrink)
Some philosophers have argued that truth is a norm of judgement and have provided a variety of formulations of this general thesis. In this paper, I shall side with these philosophers and assume that truth is a norm of judgement. What I am primarily interested in here are two core questions concerning the judgement-truth norm: (i) what are the normative relationships between truth and judgement? And (ii) do these relationships vary or are they constant? I argue for a pluralist picture—what (...) I call Normative Alethic Pluralism (NAP)—according to which (i) there is more than one correct judgement-truth norm and (ii) the normative relationships between truth and judgement vary in relation to the subject matter of the judgement. By means of a comparative analysis of disagreement in three areas of the evaluative domain—refined aesthetics, basic taste and morality—I show that there is an important variability in the normative significance of disagreement—I call this the variability conjecture. By presenting a variation of Lynch’s scope problem for alethic monism, I argue that a monistic approach to the normative function of truth is unable to vindicate the conjecture. I then argue that normative alethic pluralism provides us with a promising model to account for it. (shrink)
Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. This very general characterization gives rise to a whole family of positions. I argue that not all of them are stable. The main argument in the paper is inspired by considerations known as the “collapse problem”, and it aims at the most popular form of logical pluralism advocated by JC Beall and Greg Restall. I argue that there is a more general argument available that challenges (...) all variants of logical pluralism that meet the following three conditions: that there are at least two correct logical systems characterized in terms of different consequence relations, that there is some sort of rivalry among the correct logics, and that logical consequence is normative. The hypothesis I argue for amounts to conditional claim: If a position satisfies all these conditions, then that position is unstable in the sense that it collapses into competing positions. (shrink)
Much has been said on the religious pluralism of John Hick but little attention has been given to a key step in his argument for religious pluralism. This key step is the observation that the universe is religiously ambiguous. Hick himself is ambiguous about what he means by ‘religious ambiguity’. In this essay I will attempt to rectify this ambiguity by analysing the notion of ‘religious ambiguity’ and arguing what interpretation of this term Hick must commit himself to.
Courtesy of its free energy formulation, the hierarchical predictive processing theory of the brain (PTB) is often claimed to be a grand unifying theory. To test this claim, we examine a central case: activity of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic (DA) systems. After reviewing the three most prominent hypotheses of DA activity—the anhedonia, incentive salience, and reward prediction error hypotheses—we conclude that the evidence currently vindicates explanatory pluralism. This vindication implies that the grand unifying claims of advocates of PTB are unwarranted. More (...) generally, we suggest that the form of scientific progress in the cognitive sciences is unlikely to be a single overarching grand unifying theory. (shrink)
This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled (...) by these points to explore existing literature on the topic. Despite this literature, pluralism has garnered very little attention from broader cognitive science. We end by briefly considering what it might mean for theoretical cognitive science. (shrink)
Ecumenical Alethic Pluralism (EAP) is a novel kind of alethic pluralism. It is ecumenical in that it widens the scope of alethic pluralism by allowing for a normatively deflated truth property alongside a variety of normatively robust truth properties. We establish EAP by showing how Wright's Inflationary Arguments fail in the domain of taste, once a relativist treatment of the metaphysics and epistemology of that domain is endorsed. EAP is highly significant to current debates on the nature (...) of truth insofar as it involves a reconfiguration of the dialectic between deflationists and pluralists. (shrink)
Theories of well-being purport to identify the basic goods and bads whose presence in a person's life determines how well she is faring. Monism is the view that there is only one basic good and one basic bad. Pluralism is the view that there is either more than one basic good or more than one basic bad. In this paper, I give an argument for pluralism that is general in the sense that it does not purport to identify (...) any basic goods or bads. If I am right, then even if you cannot name a single basic good or bad, you can know that pluralism is true. (shrink)
Abstract: How should contractualists seek to accommodate and respond to the existence of radical pluralism within contemporary liberal states? Ryan Muldoon has recently argued that a) the dominant Kantian liberal model of contractualism is hopelessly ill equipped to do so but that b) there is a particular kind of Hobbesian contractualism that can do much better. I raise some problems concerning the capacity of Muldoonian contractualism to respond appropriately to the problem of radical pluralism. I then propose a (...) very different kind of solution that involves embracing an advice model of contractualism. -/- Keywords: contractualism; contractarianism; pluralism; diversity; disagreement . (shrink)
The concept of individuality as applied to species, an important advance in the philosophy of evolutionary biology, is nevertheless in need of refinement. Four important subparts of this concept must be recognized: spatial boundaries, temporal boundaries, integration, and cohesion. Not all species necessarily meet all of these. Two very different types of pluralism have been advocated with respect to species, only one of which is satisfactory. An often unrecognized distinction between grouping and ranking components of any species concept is (...) necessary. A phylogenetic species concept is advocated that uses a grouping criterion of monophyly in a cladistic sense, and a ranking criterion based on those causal processes that are most important in producing and maintaining lineages in a particular case. Such causal processes can include actual interbreeding, selective constraints, and developmental canalization. The widespread use of the biological species concept is flawed for two reasons: because of a failure to distinguish grouping from ranking criteria and because of an unwarranted emphasis on the importance of interbreeding as a universal causal factor controlling evolutionary diversification. The potential to interbreed is not in itself a process; it is instead a result of a diversity of processes which result in shared selective environments and common developmental programs. These types of processes act in both sexual and asexual organisms, thus the phylogenetic species concept can reflect an underlying unity that the biological species concept can not. (shrink)
There are a number of debates that are relevant to questions concerning objectivity in science. One of the eldest, and still one of the most intensely fought, is the debate over epistemic relativism. —All forms of epistemic relativism commit themselves to the view that it is impossible to show in a neutral, non-question-begging, way that one “epistemic system”, that is, one interconnected set of epistemic standards, is epistemically superior to others. I shall call this view “No-metajustification”. No-metajustification is commonly taken (...) to deny the objectivity of standards. In this paper I shall discuss two currently popular attempts to attack “No-metajustification”. The first attempt attacks no-metajustification by challenging a particular strategy of arguing in its defence: this strategy involves the ancient Pyrrhonian “Problem of the Criterion”. The second attempt to refute No-metajustification targets its metaphysical underpinning: to wit, the claim that there are, or could be, several fundamentally different and irreconcilable epistemic systems. I shall call this assumption “Pluralism”. I shall address three questions with respect to these attempts to refute epistemic relativism by attacking no-metajustification: Can the epistemic relativist rely on the Problem of the Criterion in support of No-metajustification? Is a combination of Chisholmian “particularism” and epistemic naturalism an effective weapon against No-metajustification? And is Pluralism a defensible assumption? (shrink)
Motivational externalists and internalists of various sorts disagree about the circumstances under which it is conceptually possible to have moral opinions but lack moral motivation. Typically, the evidence referred to are intuitions about whether people in certain scenarios who lack moral motivation count as having moral opinions. People’s intuitions about such scenarios diverge, however. I argue that the nature of this diversity is such that, for each of the internalist and externalist theses, there is a strong prima facie reason to (...) reject it. That much might not be very controversial. But I argue further, that it also gives us a strong prima facie reason to reject all of these theses. This is possible since there is an overlooked alternative option to accepting any of them: moral motivation pluralism , the view that different internalist and externalist theses correctly accounts for different people’s concepts of moral opinions, respectively. I end the paper with a discussion of methodological issues relevant to the argument for moral motivation pluralism and of the consequences of this view for theories about the nature of moral opinions, such as cognitivism and non-cognitivism. (shrink)
I defend a radical interpretation of biological populations—what I call population pluralism—which holds that there are many ways that a particular grouping of individuals can be related such that the grouping satisfies the conditions necessary for those individuals to evolve together. More constraining accounts of biological populations face empirical counter-examples and conceptual difficulties. One of the most intuitive and frequently employed conditions, causal connectivity—itself beset with numerous difficulties—is best construed by considering the relevant causal relations as ‘thick’ causal concepts. (...) I argue that the fine-grained causal relations that could constitute membership in a biological population are huge in number and many are manifested by degree, and thus we can construe population membership as being defined by massively multidimensional constructs, the differences between which are largely arbitrary. I end by showing that positions in two recent debates in theoretical biology depend on a view of biological populations at odds with the pluralism defended here. 1 Introduction2 Biological Population, Broad and Narrow3 Difficulties with Narrow Biological Population Conditions3.1 Against the genealogical condition3.2 Against the conspecificity condition3.3 Against the proximity condition3.4 Against the typology condition4 Causal Connectivity5 Massively Multidimensional Population Constructs6 Population Uniqueness and Natural Selection6.1 Statisticalism and its discontents6.2 Price at what price?7 Conclusion. (shrink)
Logical Pluralists maintain that there is more than one genuine/true logical consequence relation. This paper seeks to understand what the position could amount to and some of the challenges faced by its formulation and defence. I consider in detail Beall and Restall’s Logical Pluralism—which seeks to accommodate radically different logics by stressing the way that they each fit a general form, the Generalised Tarski Thesis (GTT)—arguing against the claim that different instances of GTT are admissible precisifications of logical consequence. (...) I then consider what it is to endorse a logic within a pluralist framework and criticise the options Beall and Restall entertain. A case study involving many-valued logics is examined. I next turn to issues of the applications of different logics and questions of which logic a pluralist should use in particular contexts. A dilemma regarding the applicability of admissible logics is tackled and it is argued that application is a red herring in relation to both understanding and defending a plausible form of logical pluralism. In the final section, I consider other ways to be and not to be a logical pluralist by examining analogous positions in debates over religious pluralism: this, I maintain, illustrates further limitations and challenges for a very general logical pluralism. Certain less wide-ranging pluralist positions are more plausible in both cases, I suggest, but assessment of those positions needs to be undertaken on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
The `fact' of pluralism in science is nosurprise. Yet, if science is representing andexplaining the structure of the oneworld, why is there such a diversity ofrepresentations and explanations in somedomains? In this paper I consider severalphilosophical accounts of scientific pluralismthat explain the persistence of bothcompetitive and compatible alternatives. PaulSherman's `Levels of Analysis' account suggeststhat in biology competition betweenexplanations can be partitioned by the type ofquestion being investigated. I argue that thisaccount does not locate competition andcompatibility correctly. I then defend (...) anintegrative model for understanding pluralism. This view is based on taking seriously both thecomplexity and contingency of biologicalorganization and the idealized character ofbiological models. On this view, explanationbecomes, among other things, the location forthe integration of diverse models. I explicatemy argument by an analysis of explanations ofdivision of labor in social insects. (shrink)
In Liberalism and Pluralism, Richard Bellamy explores the challenges posed by conflicting values, interests and identities to liberal democracy. Conventional liberal thought is no longer suited to the complex, plural societies of today. By analyzing the three major strands of liberal thought as represented by Hayek, Rawls and Walzer, the author reveals how standard liberalism has tried to circumvent unstable settlements. This book establishes a more satisfactory alternative: namely, negotiated compromise.
Nicholas Rescher presents a critical reaction against two currently influential tendencies of thought. On the one hand, he rejects the facile relativism that pervades contemporary social and academic life. On the other hand, he opposes the rationalism inherent in neo-contractarian theory--both in the idealized communicative-contract version promoted in continental European political philosophy by J;urgen Habermas, and in the idealized social contract version of the theory of political justice promoted in the Anglo-American context by John Rawls. Against such tendencies, Rescher's pluralist (...) approach takes a more realistic and pragmatic line, eschewing the convenient recourse of idealization in cognitive and practical matters. Instead of a utopianism that looks to a uniquely perfect order that would prevail under ideal conditions, he advocates incremental improvements within the framework of arrangements that none of us will deem perfect but that all of us "can live with." Such an approach replaces the yearning for an unattainable consensus with the institution of pragmatic arrangements in which the community will acquiesce--not through agreeing on their optimality, but through a shared recognition among the dissonant parties that the available options are even worse. (shrink)
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
This paper applies Wempe’s (2005, Business Ethics Quarterly 15(1), 113–135) boundary conditions that define the external and internal logics for contractarian business ethics theory, as a system of argumentation for evaluating current or prospective institutional arrangements for arriving at the “good life,” based on the principles and practices of social justice. It does so by showing that a more dynamic, process-oriented, and pluralist ‘dialogic twist’ to Donaldson and Dunfee’s (2003, ‘Social Contracts: sic et non’, in P. Heugens, H. van Oosterhout (...) and J. Vromen (eds.), The Social Institutions of Capitalism: Evolution and Design of Social Contracts (Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd.) pp. 109–126; 1999, Ties that Bind: A Social Contracts Approach to Business Ethics (Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press); 1995, Economics and Philosophy 11(1), 85–112; 1994, Academy of Management Review 19(2), 252–284.) integrated social contracting theory (ISCT) of economic ethics will further develop this promising and influential approach to moral reasoning, ethical decision-making, and stakeholder governance. This evolutionary, interactive learning-based model of ethical norm generation via dialogic stakeholder engagement is particularly appropriate within economic communities that are experiencing value conflict and pressures for institutional change. (shrink)
Feyerabend is well-known as a pluralist, and notorious for his defences of, and sympathetic references to, heterodox subjects, such as parapsychology. Focusing on the latter, I ask how we should understand the relationship between the pluralism and the defences, drawing on Marcello Truzzi's and Martin Gardner's remarks on Feyerabend along the way.
This essay discusses monism and pluralism about two related evaluative notions: welfare, or what makes people better off, and value simpliciter, or what makes the world better. These are stipulatively referred to as 'axiological value'. Axiological value property monists hold that one of these notions is reducible to the other (or else eliminable), while axiological value property pluralists deny this. Substantive monists about axiological value hold that there is just one basic kind of thing that makes our lives or (...) the world better, while substantive pluralists hold that there is more than one such thing. A more radical kind of pluralism holds that each of the plurality of good things is good in its own way, thus raising questions concerning value comparability and compensability. The essay elucidates these theories and discusses important arguments for and against them. (shrink)
Both in the Speeches and in The Christian Faith Schleiermacher offers a comprehensive theory of the nature of religion, grounding it in experience. In the Speeches Schleiermacher grounds religion in an original unity of consciousness that precedes the subject–object dichotomy; in The Christian Faith the feeling of absolute dependence is grounded in the immediate self-consciousness. I argue that Schleiermacher's theory offers a generally coherent account of how it is possible that differing religious traditions are all based on the same experience (...) of the Absolute. I show how Schleiermacher's programme can respond successfully to three related contemporary objections to religious pluralism: (1) different religions make competing truth-claims about the nature of reality and they cannot all be right; (2) differing traditions cannot all be based on a similar religious experience because all experience is interpreted; and (3) the pluralist needs to have criteria in place distinguishing real and illusory religious experience, but such criteria are elusive. (Published Online April 21 2004). (shrink)
Pluralism about truth is the view that there are many properties, not just one, in virtue of which things are true. Pluralists hope to dodge the objections that face traditional monistic substantive views of truth, as well as those facing deflationary theories of truth. More specifically, pluralists hope to advance an explanatorily potent understanding of truth that can capture the subtleties of various realist and anti-realist domains of discourse, all while avoiding the scope problem. I offer a new objection (...) to pluralism that challenges its fundamental commitment to there being a set of alethic properties in virtue of which claims are true. In its place I offer an alternative view that merges standard truthmaker theory with a primitivist conception of truth. This combination of views satisfies the theoretical desires that pluralists claim for themselves, but without taking on pluralism's host of challenges and problems. (shrink)
Agonist theorists have argued against deliberative democrats that democratic institutions should not seek to establish a rational consensus, but rather allow political disagreements to be expressed in an adversarial form. But democratic agonism is not antagonism: some restriction of the plurality of admissible expressions is not incompatible with a legitimate public sphere. However, is it generally possible to grant this distinction between antagonism and agonism without accepting normative standards in public discourse that saliently resemble those advocated by (some) deliberative democrats? (...) In this paper we provide an analysis of one important aspect of political communication, the use of slippery slope arguments, and show that the fact of pluralism weakens the agonists’ case for contestation as a sufficient ingredient for appropriately democratic public discourse. We illustrate that contention by identifying two specific kinds of what we call pluralism slippery slopes, i.e. mechanisms whereby pluralism reinforces the efficacy of slippery slope arguments. (shrink)
‘Value pluralism’ as traditionally understood is the metaphysical thesis that there are many values that cannot be ‘reduced’ to a single supervalue. While it is widely assumed that value pluralism is true, the case for value pluralism depends on resolution of a neglected question in value theory: how are values properly individuated? Value pluralism has been thought to be important in two main ways. If values are plural, any theory that relies on value monism, for example, (...) hedonistic utilitarianism, is mistaken. The plurality of values is also thought to raise problems for rational choice. If two irreducibly distinct values conflict, it seems that there is no common ground that justifies choosing one over the other. The metaphysical plurality of values does not, however, have the implications for rational choice that many have supposed. A charitable interpretation of value pluralist writings suggests a ‘nonreductive’ form of value pluralism. Nonreductive value pluralism maintains that in the context of practical choice, there are differences between values—whether or not those values reduce to a single supervalue—that have important implications for rational choice. This article examines the main arguments for metaphysical value pluralism, argues that metaphysical value pluralism does not have certain implications that it is widely thought to have, and outlines three forms of nonreductive value pluralism. (shrink)
Explanatory pluralism has been defended by several philosophers of history and social science, recently, for example, by Tor Egil Førland in this journal. In this article, we provide a better argument for explanatory pluralism, based on the pragmatist idea of epistemic interests. Second, we show that there are three quite different senses in which one can be an explanatory pluralist: one can be a pluralist about questions, a pluralist about answers to questions, and a pluralist about both. We (...) defend the last position. Finally, our third aim is to argue that pluralism should not be equated with “anything goes”: we will argue for non-relativistic explanatory pluralism. This pluralism will be illustrated by examples from history and social science in which different forms of explanation (for example, structural, functional, and intentional explanations) are discussed, and the fruitfulness of our framework for understanding explanatory pluralism is shown. (shrink)
Ontological pluralism holds that there are different ways of being. Truth pluralism holds that there are different ways of being true. Both views have received growing attention in recent literature, but so far there has been very little discussion of the connections between the views. The authors suggest that motivations typically given for truth pluralism have analogue motivations for ontological pluralism; they argue that while neither view entails the other, those who hold one view and wish (...) to hold the other will find natural routes by which to do so. The authors additionally identify some disanalogies between the views, by considering whether certain “mixed” problems commonly pressed against truth pluralism have analogues for ontological pluralism. (shrink)
Traditional inflationary approaches that specify the nature of truth are attractive in certain ways; yet, while many of these theories successfully explain why propositions in certain domains of discourse are true, they fail to adequately specify the nature of truth because they run up against counterexamples when attempting to generalize across all domains. One popular consequence is skepticism about the efficaciousness of inﬂationary approaches altogether. Yet, by recognizing that the failure to explain the truth of disparate propositions often stems from (...) inflationary approaches' allegiance to alethic monism, pluralist approaches are able to avoid this explanatory inadequacy and the resulting skepticism, though at the cost of inviting other conceptual difficulties. A novel approach, alethic functionalism, attempts to circumvent the problems faced by pluralist approaches while preserving their main insights. Unfortunately, it too generates additional problems---namely, with its suspect appropriation of the multiple realizability paradigm and its platitude-based strategy---that need to be dissolved before it can constitute an adequate inflationary approach to the nature of truth. (shrink)
What is truth? What precisely is it that truths have that falsehoods lack? Pluralists about truth (or “alethic pluralists”) tend to answer these questions by saying that there is more than one way for a proposition, sentence, belief—or any chosen truth-bearer—to be true. In this paper, I argue that two of the most influential formations of alethic pluralism, those of Wright (1992, 2003a) and Lynch (2009), are subject to serious problems. I outline a new formulation, which I call “simple (...) determination pluralism,” that I claim offers better prospects for alethic pluralism, with the potential to have applications for pluralist theories beyond truth. (shrink)
A number of ethical frameworks have been proposed to support decision-making in public health and the evaluation of public health policy and practice. This is encouraging, since ethical considerations are of paramount importance in health policy. However, these frameworks have various deficiencies, in part because they incorporate substantial ethical positions. In this article, we discuss and criticise a framework developed by James Childress and Ruth Bernheim, which we consider to be the state of the art in the field. Their framework (...) distinguishes aims, such as the promotion of public health, from constraints on the pursuit of those aims, such as the requirement to avoid limitations to liberty, or the requirement to be impartial. We show how this structure creates both theoretical and practical problems. We then go on to present and defend a more practical framework, one that is neutral in avoiding precommitment to particular values and how they ought to be weighted. We believe ethics is at the very heart of such weightings and our framework is developed to reflect this belief. It is therefore both pluralist and value-based. We compare our new framework to Childress and Bernheim’s and outline its advantages. It is justified by its impetus to consider a wide range of alternatives and its tendency to direct decisions towards the best alternatives, as well as by the information provided by the ranking of alternatives and transparent explication of the judgements that motivate this ranking. The new framework presented should be useful to decision-makers in public health, as well as being a means to stimulate further reflection on the role of ethics in public health. (shrink)
The relative merits and demerits of historically prominent views such as the correspondence theory, coherentism, pragmatism, verificationism, and instrumentalism have been subject to much attention in the truth literature and have fueled the long-lived debate over which of these views is the most plausible one. While diverging in their specific philosophical commitments, adherents of these historically prominent views agree in at least one fundamental respect. They are all alethic monists. They all endorse the thesis that there is only one property (...) in virtue of which propositions can be true, and so, in this sense, take truth to be one. The truth pluralist, on the other hand, rejects this idea. There are several properties in virtue of which propositions can be true. The literature on truth pluralism has been growing steadily for the past twenty years. This volume, however, is the first of its kind—the first collection of papers focused specifically on pluralism about truth. Part I is dedicated to the development, investigation, and critical discussion of different forms of pluralism. An additional reason to look at truth pluralism with interest is the significant connections it bears to other debates in the truth literature—the debates concerning traditional theories of truth and the deflationism/inflationism divide being cases in hand. Parts II and III of the volume connect truth pluralism to these two debates. (shrink)
Functionalists about truth employ Ramsification to produce an implicit definition of the theoretical term _true_, but doing so requires determining that the theory introducing that term is itself true. A variety of putative dissolutions to this problem of epistemic circularity are shown to be unsatisfactory. One solution is offered on functionalists' behalf, though it has the upshot that they must tread on their anti-pluralist commitments.
I argue that the distinction between monism and pluralism about well-being should be understood in terms of explanation: the monist affirms (but the pluralist denies) that whenever two particular things are basically good for you, the explanation of their basic goodness for you is the same. I then consider a number of arguments for monism and a number of arguments for pluralism.
The 70th anniversary of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac (1949) approaches. For philosophers—environmental ethicists in particular—this text has been highly influential, especially the ‘Land Ethic’ essay contained therein. Given philosophers’ acumen for identifying and critiquing arguments, one might reasonably think a firm grasp of Leopold’s ideas to have emerged from such attention. I argue that this is not the case. Specifically, Leopold’s main interpreter and systematiser, philosopher J. Baird Callicott, has shoehorned Aldo Leopold’s ideas into differing monistic moral theories (...) that ill-serve a proper understanding. Against Callicott, my paper argues that Aldo Leopold embraces a robust moral pluralism, one that goes beyond mere pragmatics, and he does so while seeking a consistency maximisation of values. A new, improved understanding of Leopold’s ideas thus emerges. (shrink)
This is a critique of Michael P. Lynch’s functional pluralism with respect to truth. The paper is sympathetic to Lynch’s overall approach to truth, but is critical of (i) his platitudinous characterization of the general principles of truth, (ii) his excessive pluralism with respect to the “realizers” of truth, (iii) his treatment of atomic truth, and (iv) his analysis of “mixed” logical inferences. The paper concludes with a proposal for a functional pluralism that puts greater emphasis on (...) the unity of truth. For example: while Lynch regards truth as based on correspondence principles in some domains and on coherence principles in others, the current proposal regards truth as based on correspondence principles in all domains, restricting the plurality of truth to a plurality of correspondence principles. (shrink)
Based on Steven Wall's work I take perfectionism in political philosophy to include two components: the objective good and the non-neutral state. Some perfectionist theories aim to be liberal. But given the objective good component perfectionism seems to be unable to accommodate the commitment to value pluralism found in liberalism, this is what I call the challenge of pluralism. The perfectionist reply is to claim that their objective good can also be plural and thus there is no conflict. (...) My aim in this paper is to show that this reply does not work. I do this by looking at three different ways we could conceive of perfectionist theories as plural and show how each is unsatisfactory. (shrink)
Ontological pluralism is the doctrine that there are different ways or modes of being. In contemporary guise, it is the doctrine that a logically perspicuous description of reality will use multiple quantifiers which cannot be thought of as ranging over a single domain. Although thought defeated for some time, recent defenses have shown a number of arguments against the view unsound. However, another worry looms: that despite looking like an attractive alternative, ontological pluralism is really no different than (...) its counterpart, ontological monism. In this paper, after explaining the worry in detail, I argue that considerations dealing with the nature of the logic ontological pluralists ought to endorse, coupled with an attractive philosophical thesis about the relationship between logic and metaphysics, show this worry to be unfounded. (shrink)
Abstract: There is a long tradition of trying to analyze art either by providing a definition (essentialism) or by tracing its contours as an indefinable, open concept (anti-essentialism). Both art essentialists and art anti-essentialists share an implicit assumption of art concept monism. This article argues that this assumption is a mistake. Species concept pluralism—a well-explored position in philosophy of biology—provides a model for art concept pluralism. The article explores the conditions under which concept pluralism is appropriate, and (...) argues that they obtain for art. Art concept pluralism allows us to recognize that different art concepts are useful for different purposes, and what has been feuding definitions can be seen as characterizations of specific art concepts. (shrink)
_Insensitive Semantics_ is an overview of and contribution to the debates about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication, investigating the effects of context on communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context of utterance is and what it is to be in one. Provides detailed and wide-ranging overviews of the central positions and arguments surrounding contextualism Addresses broad and varied aspects of the distinction between the semantic and non-semantic content of language Defends a distinctive (...) and explanatorily powerful combination of semantic minimalism and speech act pluralism Confronts core problems which not only run to the heart of philosophy of language and linguistics, but which arise in epistemology, metaphysics, and moral philosophy as well. (shrink)
Up to now theories of semantic information have implicitly relied on logical monism, or the view that there is one true logic. The latter position has been explicitly challenged by logical pluralists. Adopting an unbiased attitude in the philosophy of information, we take a suggestion from Beall and Restall at heart and exploit logical pluralism to recognise another kind of pluralism. The latter is called informational pluralism, a thesis whose implications for a theory of semantic information we (...) explore. (shrink)
Although it’s sometimes thought that pluralism about truth is unstable---or, worse, just a non-starter---it’s surprisingly difficult to locate collapsing arguments that conclusively demonstrate either its instability or its inability to get started. This paper exemplifies the point by examining three recent arguments to that effect. However, it ends with a cautionary tale; for pluralism may not be any better off than other traditional theories that face various technical objections, and may be worse off in facing them all.
Scientific pluralism, a normative endorsement of the plurality or multiplicity of research approaches in science, has recently been advocated by several philosophers (e.g., Kellert et al. 2006, Kitcher 2001, Longino 2013, Mitchell 2009, and Chang 2010). Comparing these accounts of scientific pluralism, one will encounter quite some variation. We want to clarify the different interpretations of scientific pluralism by showing how they incarnate different models of democracy, stipulating the desired interaction among the plurality of research approaches in (...) different ways. Furthermore, the example of scientific pluralism is used to advocate the application of democratic theory to philosophy of science problems in general. Drawing on the parallels between models of science and models of democracy, we can articulate how the plurality of research approaches in science should interact within a democratic framework as well as how to cultivate multiple research approaches in the epistemically most productive way possible. This will not only improve our understanding of scientific plurality, but it can also help us stipulating how different research approaches should interact to constitute the most objective account possible or how the ideal of scientific consensus has to be understood. Ultimately, developing democratic models of science bears on the question of how deeply science and democracy are entwined. (shrink)