This volume is a collection of original essays by eminent philosophers written for R. B. Braithwaite's eightieth birthday to celebrate his work and teaching. In one way or another, all the essays reflect his central concern with the impact of science on our beliefs about the world and the responses appropriate to that. Together they testify to the signal importance of his contributions in areas of philosophy bearing on this concern: the philosophy of science, especially of the statistical sciences, theories (...) of belief and of probability, decision theory and games theory. This book, which includes a full bibliography of Professor Braithwaite's work, will interest advanced students and professionals in the fields of philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
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Republicans hold that freedom is non-domination rather than non-interference. This entails that any instance of interference that does not involve domination is not freedom-lessening. The case for thinking of freedom as non-domination proceeds mostly by way of a handful of highly compelling cases in which it seems intuitive to say of some person that he or she is unfree despite being in fact free from interference. In this essay, I call attention to a kind of case which directs attention to (...) what seems to me to be a highly counterintuitive element of the republican conception of freedom. (shrink)
E.R. Dodds’ 1959 edition of Plato’s Gorgias is a conventional treatment of this dialogue, aimed at audiences interested in close study of the text. Dodds himself regretted this outcome. He felt he had lost sight of an earlier goal, formulated at a time of political turmoil on the eve of WorldWar II, of using the Gorgias to bring out ‘both the resemblance and the difference between Plato’s situation and that of the intellectual today’. The present paper attempts to reconstruct that (...) goal, as it survives residually in his edition, surfaces in his The Greeks and the Irrational, and appears in some writings from the 1930s, particularly in unpublished lectures. Dodds did frequently juxtapose ancient and modern conceptions of the intellectual, and in a way that cast Plato in a positive light, as someone politically engaged and self-critical, and acutely sensitive, as Dodds himself was, to the political implications of social psychology. (shrink)
It is a common complaint against moral philosophers that their abstract theorising bears little relation to the practical problems of everyday life. Professor Braithwaite believes that this criticism need not be inevitable. With the help of the Theory of Games he shows how arbitration is possible between two neighbours, a jazz trumpeter and a classical pianist, whose performances are a source of mutual discord. The solution of the problem in the lecture is geometrical, and is based on the formal analogy (...) between the logic of the situation and the geometry of a parabola. But an appendix provides the alternative algebraic treatment of a general two-person collaboration situation. (shrink)
Virtually all philosophers now agree that human beings - and possibly the higher animals - have moral rights in some sense, both special rights against individuals to whom they stand in a special relation, and general rights, against everybody or against the government, just in virtue of their human nature. Some philosophers also think, however, that anyone who is a utilitarian ought not to share this view: there is a fundamental incompatibility between utilitarinism and human rights. Most utilitarians, of course, (...) have not thought there is such an incompatibility. John Stuart Mill, for instance, espoused utilitarianism at the same time that he defended rights to free speech and freedom of action except where it injures others. In what follows I wish to explore some reasons recently put forward to show that the utilitarian who wishes to affirm that there are moral rights faces a serious logical problem; and I shall argue that further analysis shows the alleged difficulty is unreal. (shrink)
The concept of energy, the premier concept of physics and indeed of all science, is here investigated from the standpoint of its early historical origin and the philosophical implications thereof. The fundamental assumption is made that the root of the concept is the notion of invariance or constancy in the midst of change. Salient points in the development of this idea are presented from ancient times up to the publication of Lagrange'sMécanique Analytique (1788).
Many social scientists and philosophers have counted themselves moral relativists in some sense or other. We cannot deal with all the various views which are properly called forms of “moral relativism”; so I propose to explain a form of moral relativism which seems to me an interesting, and somewhat plausible theory. This theory comprises the following three affirmations: The basic moral principles of different individuals or groups sometimes are, or can be, in some important sense conflicting. When there is such (...) fundamental conflict of basic principles or standards, there is either always, or at least sometimes, no way to show that one view is better justified even in the presence of ideally complete factual information; in that sense the principles are equally justified or “valid.” But there is a sense in which a particular moral belief may be mistaken or unjustified, if it is a misapplication of the basic principles of the individual or group, e.g., if the basic principles plus statements of known or knowable facts entail a moral proposition incompatible with it. As stated, moral relativism could be true even though in fact, accidentally, all individuals agree in their basic moral principles. (shrink)
The question of whether or not children may be used as subjects in non-therapeutic research projects has generated a great deal of debate and received answers varying from 'no, never' to 'yes, if societal interests are served'. It has been claimed that a Kantian, deontological ethics would necessarily rule out such research, since valid consent would be impossible. The present paper gives a deontological argument for allowing children to be subjects in certain types of research.
In order to explain the idea that sacrifice involves voluntary diminution of the agent’s well-being, “well-being” must be explained. The thesis that an agent’s well-being just consists in the occurrence of events wanted is rejected. Overvold replaces it by the view that the motivating desires involve the existence of the agent, alive, at the time of their satisfaction. This view seems counterintuitive. The whole desire-satisfaction theory is to be rejected partly because we dont’t think an event worthwile if it is (...) not liked when it occurs, and partly because the theory cannot give a sensible account of what is good for an individual when his desires change. A more satisfactory view is that the goodness of an event for a person is fixed by his total gratifications as a result of its occurrence, provided they would occur if the person were fully informed about facts knowledge of which would change them if it existed. But self-sacrifice seems to involve not only voluntary diminution of well-being in this sense, but belief that the action is taken for the benefit of someone else. Overvold’s view leaves open the possibility that acting morally is never contrary to self-interest, if one of the agent’s major interests is that he act morally. This is an ingenious suggestion, but seems a bit counterintuitive. (shrink)
We discuss the idea that superpositions in quantum mechanics may involve contradictions or contradictory properties. A state of superposition such as the one comprised in the famous Schrödinger’s cat, for instance, is sometimes said to attribute contradictory properties to the cat: being dead and alive at the same time. If that were the case, we would be facing a revolution in logic and science, since we would have one of our greatest scientific achievements showing that real contradictions exist.We analyze that (...) claim by employing the traditional square of opposition.We suggest that it is difficult to make sense of the idea of contradiction in the case of quantum superpositions. From a metaphysical point of view the suggestion also faces obstacles, and we present some of them. (shrink)
K.J. Devlin has extended Jensen's construction of a model ofZFC andCH without Souslin trees to a model without Kurepa trees either. We modify the construction again to obtain a model with these properties, but in addition, without Kurepa trees inccc-generic extensions. We use a partially defined ◊-sequence, given by a fine structure lemma. We also show that the usual collapse ofκ Mahlo toω 2 will give a model without Kurepa trees not only in the model itself, but also inccc-extensions.