There is widespread consensus that there are undercutting and rebutting defeaters that diminish or destroy the warrant of a belief B. I argue that there are counterparts of defeaters: the counterparts of undercutting defeaters are “requirement fulfillment beliefs”, the counterparts of rebutting defeaters are “consistency beliefs”. These beliefs confirm the warrant of B, I therefore call them “confirmers”.
Alvin Plantinga declared in 1983 that Classical Foundationalism had collapsed. He was convinced that he had found an utterly damaging argument against CF: CF is self-referentially incoherent. Already Alston and Quinn and recently DePoe have denied that Plantinga’s argument is successful. There are three objections against his argument:i) He has to show that there is no argument for CF; ii) there may be an inductive argument for CF; iii) there are other good arguments for CF, presented e.g. by Richard Fumerton. (...) In this paper I will argue that i) is wrong and that Quinn’s inductive argument fails. Plantinga has shown that the “old” type of CF is self-refuting. Plantinga’s argument is not successful if aimed against a contemporary Fumerton-style CF because this type of CF differs in at least one relevant aspect from the kind of CF Plantinga was struggling with. (shrink)
The concept of empiricism evokes both a historical tradition and a set of philosophical theses. The theses are usually understood to have been developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. But these figures did not use the term “empiricism,” and they did not see themselves as united by a shared epistemology into one school of thought. My dissertation analyzes the debate that elevated the concept of empiricism (and of an empiricist tradition) to prominence in English-language philosophy. -/- In the 1870s and (...) ’80s a lively debate about psychology emerged. Neo-Kantian idealists criticized the very idea that the mind can be studied scientifically. A group of philosopher-psychologists responded, often in Mind. They were among the first to call themselves “empiricists,” arguing that psychology could provide a scientific basis for philosophical progress. Idealists held that empirical psychology depended on premises developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. These premises were allegedly absurd because they rendered ideas of extension, as well as other ideas crucial to natural science, unreal. Those who wanted to advance psychology towards becoming a legitimate science were forced to engage these philosophical attacks, while at the same time to develop empirical theories that could successfully explain some characteristics of experience. I show how James’s theory of space perception accomplished both tasks. -/- In developing this theory, James found he had to reject the Lockean notion that reality is associated with passively-registered sensations. James also abandoned Berkeley and Hume’s claim that ideas are ultimately derived from atomic sensations. Instead, James presented experimental evidence that sensation is a continuous stream. The mind must actively parse this stream if it is to gain a coherent representation of its environment. I argue that James’s stream-of-thought thesis served as a presupposition of his entire psychology. The thesis showed how the labor of investigating the mind could be divided between philosophers and scientists, and in a manner sensitive to the concerns of both. The stream thesis also provided a scientific basis for a new philosophical empiricism that, I argue, has a hidden legacy in the history of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
In an effort to assess the latest thinking in the Roman Catholic Church on economic matters, we examine the newest encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) for guidance concerning marketing and business strategy. Core ethical values, consistent with historical Catholic Social Teachings (CST), are retained. However, some important nuances are added to previous treatments, and, reflecting the mind of the current Pontiff, certain points of emphasis are shifted to account for recent global developments. Key areas (...) of consistency and differences (as we perceive them) are spelled out along with some brief commentary on the evolution of the CST position on matters of importance to business decision makers. We close our analysis with a brief discussion of how the lessons of the encyclical can be applied to selected marketing problems embedded with ethical issues, including some criteria for evaluating marketing programs. Finally, we note some editorial commentary published in the wake of the letter’s release along with our own summation. (shrink)
Analyzing the rate at which languages change can clarify whether similarities across languages are solely the result of cognitive biases or might be partially due to descent from a common ancestor. To demonstrate this approach, we use a simple model of language evolution to mathematically determine how long it should take for the distribution over languages to lose the influence of a common ancestor and converge to a form that is determined by constraints on language learning. We show that modeling (...) language learning as Bayesian inference of n binary parameters or the ordering of n constraints results in convergence in a number of generations that is on the order of n log n. We relax some of the simplifying assumptions of this model to explore how different assumptions about language evolution affect predictions about the time to convergence; in general, convergence time increases as the model becomes more realistic. This allows us to characterize the assumptions about language learning (given the models that we consider) that are sufficient for convergence to have taken place on a timescale that is consistent with the origin of human languages. These results clearly identify the consequences of a set of simple models of language evolution and show how analysis of convergence rates provides a tool that can be used to explore questions about the relationship between accounts of language learning and the origins of similarities across languages. (shrink)
This volume offers the first English language collection of academic essays on the post-Holocaust thought of Jean Améry, a Jewish-Austrian-Belgian essayist, journalist and literary author. Comprehensive in scope and multi-disciplinary in orientation, contributors explore central aspects of Améry's philosophical and ethical position, including dignity, responsibility, resentment, and forgiveness.
Das Wiskott-Aldrich-Syndrom (WAS), ein genetisch bedingter Immundefekt mit klinischer Manifestation im Kleinkindalter, wird voraussichtlich in näherer Zukunft erstmals versuchsweise durch eine somatische Gentherapie behandelt werden. Im vor- liegenden Beitrag werden die wichtigsten medizinisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Fakten dieses Krankheitsbildes sowie die bisherigen Erfahrungen mit somatischen Gentherapien bei anderen Immunmangelsyndromen ausführlich dargestellt. Sodann erfolgt eine ethische Analyse eines möglichen gentherapeutischen Eingriffs bei WAS-Patienten, bei der die spezifischen Aspekte des Wiskott-Aldrich-Syndroms – insbesondere die fast ausschließliche Betroffenheit von Kindern sowie die unterschiedlich aussichtsreiche Alter- nativoption einer (...) allogenen Knochenmarktransplantation–wesentliche Aspekte der Beurteilung sind. Im Ergebnis zeigt sich, dass ein gentherapeutischer Eingriff im vorliegenden Fall nicht im Rahmen einer Forschungsstudie, d.h. als Humanexperiment, gerechtfertigt werden kann, sondern allein als individueller Heilversuch. Gleichwohl las- sen die besonderen Risiken und die Innovativität eines solchen Eingriffs es notwendig erscheinen, diesen Heilversuch – anders als andere Heilbehandlungen mit bislang unerprobten Mitteln – in streng kontrollierter Form durchzuführen. Der neuartige Gedanke eines kontrollierten individuellen Heilversuchs zeichnet sich daher für den vorliegenden Fall, und womöglich auch für vergleichbare risikoreiche Behandlungsansätze namentlich im Bereich der Gentherapie, als geeignetes Instrument der Konzeption und Beurteilung ab. (shrink)
In their critique of Klein (2014a), Trafimow and Earp present two theses. First, they argue that, contra Klein, a well-specified theory is not a necessary condition for successful replication. Second, they contend that even when there is a well-specified theory, replication depends more on auxiliary assumptions than on theory proper. I take issue with both claims, arguing that (a) their first thesis confuses a material conditional (what I said) with a modal claim (T&E’s misreading of what I said), (...) and (b) their second thesis has the unfortunate consequence of refuting their first thesis. (shrink)
On the day before Christmas, 1170, Robert de Broc, member of a family of royal servants that had taken up King Henry II's fierce opposition to Thomas Becket, seized a horse bringing goods to the archbishop and cut off its tail. The next day, Archbishop Thomas noted this incident after his Christmas sermon when renewing his excommunication of Robert and several others, and he discussed it again four days later in his initial meeting with the men who would shortly murder (...) him. The excision of the horse's tail appears in five of the biographies of the martyr and subsequently in the national chronicles of Roger of Howden and Ralph of Diceto. Why did a minor act of cruelty inflicted on a horse seem so noteworthy to contemporaries? The sources recording it resound with the rich Latin vocabulary of shame: “dedecus, contemptus, ignominia, dehonestatio, opprobrium.” Robert's highly symbolic act, part of a pattern of harassment by the Brocs, was designed not just to threaten Becket but also to humiliate him. (shrink)
In the first systematic study of the philosophy of Thomas Nagel, Alan Thomas discusses Nagel's contrast between the "subjective" and the "objective" points of view throughout the various areas of his wide ranging philosophy. Nagel's original and distinctive contrast between the subjective view and our aspiration to a "view from nowhere" within metaphysics structures the chapters of the book. A "new Humean" in epistemology, Nagel takes philosophical scepticism to be both irrefutable and yet to indicate a profound truth about our (...) capacity for self-transcendence. The contrast between subjective and objective views is then considered in the case of the mind, where consciousness proves to be the central aspect of mind that contemporary theorising fails to acknowledge adequately. The second half of the book analyses Nagel's work on moral and political philosophy where he has been most deeply influential. Topics covered include the contrast between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons and values, Nagel's distinctive version of a hybrid ethical theory, his discussion of life's meaningfulness and finally his sceptical arguments about whether a liberal society can reconcile the conflicting moral demands of self and other. (shrink)