This paper describes an undergraduate course in metaphilosophy for philosophy majors and argues that there are four potential benefits to students; namely that doing metaphilosophy (1) allows students to draw their own conclusions about what philosophy is, (2) develops students’ metacognitive skills to promote learning, (3) establishes students as members of the philosophical community, and (4) disposes students to live lives that reflect their philosophical education. It describes issues of transparency of course design and the particulars of the course, including (...) course content, and provides excerpts of student work to demonstrate student learning outcomes. Finally, it will suggest that even if it is not possible to offer a stand-alone course in metaphilosophy, instructors should provide opportunities to reflect on metaphilosophical issues in their other philosophy courses. (shrink)
This paper examines people's reasoning about identity continuity and its relation to previous research on how people value one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as artwork. We propose that judgments about the continuity of artworks are related to judgments about the continuity of individual persons because art objects are seen as physical extensions of their creators. We report a reanalysis of previous data and the results of two new empirical studies that test this hypothesis. The first study demonstrates that the mere categorization of (...) an object as “art” versus “a tool” changes people's intuitions about the persistence of those objects over time. In a second study, we examine some conditions that may lead artworks to be thought of as different from other artifacts. These observations inform both current understanding of what makes some objects one-of-a-kind as well as broader questions regarding how people intuitively think about the persistence of human agents. (shrink)
Modern interpreters have often regarded Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics as a mystery, or even a bit of an embarrassment. In his treatises on natural science and ethics, Aristotle is constantly concerned to review the opinions of his predecessors and of people in general; where appropriate, he also takes note of experiential observations, some of them highly specialized. However, the traditional view of the Posterior Analytics is that it advances an almost Cartesian picture of sciences as deductive systems founded on intuitively evident (...) first premises. How are these to be reconciled? (shrink)
The concept of authenticity plays an important role in how people reason about objects, other people, and themselves. However, despite a great deal of academic interest in this concept, to date, the precise meaning of the term, authenticity, has remained somewhat elusive. This paper reviews the various definitions of authenticity that have been proposed in the literature and identifies areas of convergence. We then outline a novel framework that organizes the existing definitions of authenticity along two key dimensions: describing the (...) type of entity that is evaluated and describing the source of information that is consulted. We argue that this convergence across a number of papers, and more importantly, across a number of domains, reflects significant progress in articulating the meaning of authenticity. We conclude by suggesting new avenues for research in this area, with particular attention toward psychological process. (shrink)
There is a recent interest within both philosophy of science as well as within epistemology to provide a defensible account of understanding. In the present article I build on insights from previous work in attempt to provide an account of two related forms of understanding in terms of the ability to form rational intentions when using specific types of mental representations. I propose first that “understanding that X” requires that one form a representation of X and, further, that one must (...) be capable of forming rational intentions using this representation across a range of conceivable conditions. I then propose that “understanding why X” requires that one possess a representation of a successful explanation for why X, and that one must be similarly capable of forming rational intentions using this representation across a range of conceivable conditions. I conclude the manuscript by reviewing objections and considering the way this account relates to other literature on explanation and understanding. (shrink)
An overview of how the Summer Ethics Academy, at the Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values at Coastal Carolina University—part of its outreachProgram—encourages children to develop desirable characteristics for middle school children to emulate. The article includes applicable project goals and activities.
In this essay, Richard Smith observes that being a parent, like so much else in our late‐modern world, is required to become ever more efficient and effective, and is increasingly monitored by the agencies of the state, often with good reason given the many recorded instances of child abuse and cruelty. However, Smith goes on to argue, this begins to cast being a parent as a matter of “parenting,” a technological deployment of skills and techniques, with the loss of older, (...) more spontaneous and intuitive relations between parents and children. Smith examines this phenomenon further through a discussion of how it is captured to some extent in Hannah Arendt's notion of “natality” and how it is illuminated by Charles Dickens in his classic novel, Dombey and Son. (shrink)
The language of self‐belief, including terms like shyness and diffidence, is complex and puzzling. The idea of self‐esteem in particular, which has been given fresh currency by recent interest in ‘personalised learning’, continues to create problems. I argue first that we need a ‘thicker’ and more subtle moral psychology of self‐belief; and, secondly, that there is a radical instability in the ideas and concepts in this area, an instability to which justice needs to be done. I suggest that aspects of (...) deconstruction are helpful here, and offer a deconstructive reading of Kipling's poem, If—, in order to illustrate the power of literature and a certain kind of philosophy to destabilise and resist closure. (shrink)
Antimicrobial resistance is a major and increasing problem globally. Economics has engaged with this issue increasingly over the last 20 years. Much of this concerns assessments of the cost of various forms of resistance, but it also includes economic analyses of interventions and policies designed to contain resistance. Analysis has, however, thus far largely neglected possible distributional issues associated with such interventions and analysis. The article explores three normative bases for the conduct of economic analysis: welfarism; extra-welfarism focused on health (...) gain; and extra-welfarism focused on capability assessment. It then considers issues intrinsic to antimicrobial resistance in terms of the distributional implications and how these might be handled within economic analyses from each of the normative perspectives, before considering the actual focus of empirical studies on these distributional issues. The article concludes that the different normative starting points for economic analysis will affect how distributional issues are incorporated into analysis, but suggests that all analyses could benefit from greater discussion of these issues. (shrink)
Proponents of philosophy for children generally see themselves as heirs to the ‘Socratic’ tradition. They often claim too that children's aptitude for play leads them naturally to play with abstract, philosophical ideas. However in Plato's dialogues we find in the mouth of ‘Socrates’ many warnings against philosophising with the young. Those dialogues also question whether philosophy should be playful in any straightforward way, casting the distinction between play and seriousness as unstable. It seems we cannot think of Plato as representing (...) how to engage in dialectic, nor as prescribing a method for doing so. The irreducible textuality of the dialogues defeats any attempt to read them in this way. This is not to criticise the practice of philosophy for children: only to note the ambivalence and instability of the philosophical heritage that it wants to claim. (shrink)
I consider the proper interpretation of the process of ecthesis which Aristotle uses several times in the Prior analytics for completing a syllogistic mood, i.e., showing how to produce a deduction of a conclusion of a certain form from premisses of certain forms. I consider two interpretations of the process which have been advocated by recent scholars and show that one seems better suited to most passages while the other best fits a single remaining passage. I also argue that ecthesis (...) for Aristotle really means ?setting out? the case to be proved using letters. Aristotle?s remarks about the use of letters in mathematical proofs suggest that he had some understanding of rules equivalent to universal generalization and existential instantiation; the ?proofs through ecthesis? are so called because they rest on the latter rule, with which use of letters is involved in a special way. (shrink)
When we say that good parenting is an ethical and not a technical matter, what is the nature of the warrant we can give for identifying one way of parenting as good and another as bad? There is, of course, a general issue here about the giving of reasons in ethics. The issue may seem to arise with peculiar force in parenting since parenting casts our whole being into uncertainty: here, above all, it seems, we do not scrutinise our commitments (...) from a moral standpoint that is itself secure, and such moral judgements as we make must be tentative. I attempt to illustrate this from the point of view not of parenting but of owning a dog, where the uncertainty and the tentativeness are more marked still and can be deeply disconcerting. A strong case, however, can be made for saying that these are inevitable and proper features of the essentially dialogic and self-reflexive nature of ethical discourse. When we appreciate this, parenting appears less an especially problematic or marginal field of ethical inquiry than a paradigm case of it. (shrink)
Americans have always been divided over whether to welcome or to discourage immigration. But virtually all American leaders have rested their views on notions that the United States has unique providential or world-historical significance-as an asylum for the world's oppressed, as a model to the world, or even as the world's leader. Today, it is normatively desirable for the U.S. to view itself not as the world's "city on a hill" but simply as one worthy political society among many others. (...) Whether such a view can be made politically appealing to most Americans, however, remains in doubt. (shrink)
This volume contains a clear and accurate translation of Books I and VIII of Aristotle's Topics, together with a philosophical commentary on these books and additional extracts from Books II and III, and from a related work by Aristotle. This selection gives a good general view of the main ideas of the Topics, a classic treatise on logic and argument. The volume is well suited to the requirements of students, including those who do not know Greek.
The idea that educational research should be 'scientific', and ideally based on randomised control trials, is in danger of becoming hegemonic. In the face of this it seems important to ask what other kinds of educational research can be respectable in their own different terms. We might also note that the demand for research to be 'scientific' is characteristically modernist, and thus arguably local and temporary. It is then tempting to consider what non-modernist approaches might look like. The purpose of (...) this article is to sketch a case for one particular reaction against modernist thinking: romanticism. How might our understanding (apprehension, sense) of education be changed by readmitting the insights and perspectives of romanticism? And, crucially, what confidence could we have in educational research that was thus inspired and that took the 'romantic turn'? (shrink)