In The Varieties of Reference, Gareth Evans argues that the content of perceptual experience is nonconceptual, in a sense I shall explain momentarily. More recently, in his book Mind and World, John McDowell has argued that the reasons Evans gives for this claim are not compelling and, moreover, that Evans’s view is a version of “the Myth of the Given”: More precisely, Evans’s view is alleged to suffer from the same sorts of problems that plague sense-datum theories of perception. In (...) particular, McDowell argues that perceptual experience must be within “the space of reasons,” that perception must be able to give us reasons for, that is, to justify, our beliefs about the world: And, according to him, no state that does not have conceptual content can be a reason for a belief. Now, there are many ways in which Evans’s basic idea, that perceptual content is nonconceptual, might be developed; some of these, I shall argue, would be vulnerable to the objections McDowell brings against him. But I shall also argue that there is a way of developing it that is not vulnerable to these objections. (shrink)
This book by Richard G. Stevens is a comprehensive introduction to the nature of political philosophy. It offers definitions of philosophy and politics, showing the tension between the two and the origin of political philosophy as a means of resolution of that tension. Plato and Aristotle are examined in order to see the search for the best political order. Inquiry is then made into political philosophy's new tension brought about by the growth of revealed religion in the Middle Ages. (...) It then examines the changes introduced by modernity and gives an overview of postmodern political thought. The book covers the most influential philosophers and directs readers to the classics of political philosophy, guiding them in studying them. It is an approachable introduction to a complex subject, not just a history of it. It is a point of entry into the subject for students and for others as well. (shrink)
Ethical decisions have to be made by everyone. Yet Christians often find it difficult to know exactly how they should make them. Is there a better way than an emotional response or looking for a quick answer from the Bible? In the first of the book a sixth-former, Matthew, takes moral issues as the topic of his RS project. He has interviews with various people, such as a businessman, a scientist, a police officer, and a doctor as well as with (...) members of his own family and his minister. These open his eyes to problems that he had not thought about before. In the second part the issues that have been raised are examined more systematically. (shrink)
The paper formulates and proves a strengthening of 'Frege's Theorem', which states that axioms for second-order arithmetic are derivable in second-order logic from Hume's Principle, which itself says that the number of Fs is the same as the number of Gs just in case the Fs and Gs are equinumerous. The improvement consists in restricting this claim to finite concepts, so that nothing is claimed about the circumstances under which infinite concepts have the same number. 'Finite Hume's Principle' also suffices (...) for the derivation of axioms for arithmetic and, indeed, is equivalent to a version of them, in the presence of Frege's definitions of the primitive expressions of the language of arithmetic. The philosophical significance of this result is also discussed. (shrink)
Hartry Field has suggested that we should adopt at least a methodological deflationism: "[W]e should assume full-fledged deflationism as a working hypothesis. That way, if full-fledged deflationism should turn out to be inadequate, we will at least have a clearer sense than we now have of just where it is that inflationist assumptions... are needed". I argue here that we do not need to be methodological deflationists. More precisely, I argue that we have no need for a disquotational truth-predicate; that (...) the word 'true', in ordinary language, is not a disquotational truth-predicate; and that it is not at all clear that it is even possible to introduce a disquotational truth-predicate into ordinary language. If so, then we have no clear sense how it is even possible to be a methodological deflationist. My goal here is not to convince a committed deflationist to abandon his or her position. My goal, rather, is to argue, contrary to what many seem to think, that reflection on the apparently trivial character of T-sentences should not incline us to deflationism. (shrink)
Øystein Linnebo has recently shown that the existence of successors cannot be proven in predicative Frege arithmetic, using Frege's definitions of arithmetical notions. By contrast, it is shown here that the existence of successor can be proven in ramified predicative Frege arithmetic.
In this volume Peter A. French sets out to resurrect the role and meaning of vengeance. For French, vengeance is a fundamental aspect of morality that has “fallen into disrepute without being seriously examined”. Although at times this book appears less than serious, it is indeed an earnest analysis worth reading not only for ethicists but for philosophical and political audiences alike. His central argument is that very often “wrong doing requires a hostile response”. Thus, rightly understood, vengeance is an (...) essential principle of morality that ought not to be entirely done away with. Revenge, French argues, “is the technology of moral empowerment, a technology for the sustaining of morality. I do not claim that it is the only one or indeed that it is the best one, although in some situations it well may be the only available one”. (shrink)
If for no other reason, this book is worth reading for the attention Professor Wallach affords the methods of interpretation. While the bulk of this lengthy study aims at a wide-ranging understanding of Plato’s political art “by focusing on the literary and philosophical connections between words and deeds in his ethical and political dialogues”, the structure of the argument and the structure of the book itself takes shape around the attempt to establish a new interpretive method. Wallach calls this interpretive (...) perspective “critical historicism”. The method is intended to rescue Plato from textualists and deconstructionists on the one hand, who “tend to liquefy the concreteness of the historical situation to which Plato’s dialogues responded” and the contextualists, on the other hand, who tend to dismiss Plato’s political art as merely an expression of “class interest, elitist bias, or linguistic convention”. As such, Wallach’s critical historicism attempts to cut across the dichotomy of textualism and contextualism; it “subordinates questions of authorial identity to questions about the discursive and practical problems that an author addresses, without ignoring authorial intention”. In short, the method aims to historicize, then to dehistoricize, and finally to rehistoricize so that Plato’s political art “can be used to invigorate contemporary political theory and benefit democracy”. (shrink)
Why do people in more unequal societies have worse health and shorter lives than those in less unequal ones? Why do more unequal societies tend to have more violence and weaker community life? This paper discusses the research evidence on the psychosocial pathways which suggest how and why we are affected by inequality.How big income differences are in any society seems to serve as an indicator of the scale of social differentiation and social distances within it. The evidence shows that (...) more hierarchical societies incur a wide range of social costs reflecting the corrosive effects of inequality. But why are we so sensitive to inequality? Epidemiological research on health inequalities and the social determinants of health has demonstrated that the quality of the social environment has powerful effects on health. Particularly important are social status, friendship and early childhood experience. The indications are that poor health may share causal pathways with many other social problems associated with relative deprivation - including violence.Summarizing my recent book, The Impact of Inequality , this paper provides an account of how inequality gets under the skin to affect both health and wellbeing. Rather than making comparisons with some impractical state of complete equality, all the evidence presented shows the importance of the differences in inequality between different states of the USA or between different developed market democracies: it shows that even small increases in equality matter. (shrink)
THE PAPER EXAMINES WHAT IS MEANT BY ’EVIDENCE’ WHEN IT IS SAID THAT A THEORY IS PROBABLE ON CERTAIN EVIDENCE. IT CONSIDERS WHAT IS THE RELATION BETWEEN A THEORY BEING PROBABLE ON CERTAIN EVIDENCE, A THEORY BEING BELIEVED, AND A THEORY BEING CREDIBLE. IT DISTINGUISHES VARIOUS SENSES OF ’ACCEPT’ IN WHICH SCIENTISTS ARE SAID TO ACCEPT THEORIES, ONLY ONE OF WHICH IS THE SENSE OF ’ACCEPT’ IN WHICH IT IS EQUATED WITH ’BELIEVE’. IT ANALYSES THE LOGICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN A THEORY (...) BEING PROBABLE ON THE EVIDENCE, AND A THEORY BEING ACCEPTED, AND A THEORY BEING ACCEPTABLE, IN THE DIFFERENT SENSES OF ’ACCEPT’. (shrink)
Contrairement à une croyance trop répandue, le darwinisme et son prolongement au XXe siècle — le néo-darwinisme — ne portent pas sur une idée de l'évolution fondée sur la simple notion de « la survie du plus apte ». Si la théorie de la sélection naturelle est partie intégrante du néo-darwinisme, plusieurs de ses fondateurs seront en quête d'une conception beaucoup plus généreuse, pleine et compréhensive de l'évolution. En réalité, la révolution dite darwinienne s'insère au coeur d'une révolution intellectuelle beaucoup (...) plus importante : la révolution transformiste. Avant d'être des darwiniens, de dignes représentants de cette mouvance s'afficheront comme étant des transformistes. Cela signifie que, en plus des mécanismes de l'évolution biologique, d'autres éléments tout aussi cruciaux seront pris en considération`, dans l'élaboration d'une véritable synthèse évolutionniste : les rapports entre l'évolution biologique et l'évolution cosmique ; les interrogations portant sur la question d'une possible direction évolutive ; l'enseignement à tirer pour l'homme de sa place et de son rôle dans la nature. A la croisée de l'histoire, de la philosophie et de la science, cet ouvrage cherche à démontrer, à travers l'analyse des travaux de plusieurs néo-darwiniens de premier plan, que la révolution darwinienne demeurera incomplète aussi longtemps que la révolution transformiste le restera. (shrink)
Discusses Frege's formal definitions and characterizations of infinite and finite sets. Speculates that Frege might have discovered the "oddity" in Dedekind's famous proof that all infinite sets are Dedekind infinite and, in doing so, stumbled across an axiom of countable choice.
Written as a comment on Crispin Wright's "Vagueness: A Fifth Column Approach", this paper defends a form of supervaluationism against Wright's criticisms. Along the way, however, it takes up the question what is really wrong with Epistemicism, how the appeal of the Sorities ought properly to be understood, and why Contextualist accounts of vagueness won't do.
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, in particular the (...) reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Using the case of an industrial accident involving a killer robot, the author successfully combines technical and ethical concepts to present to students and professionals real-life issues that they may one day have to confront.
Thirty-four states criminalize HIV in some way, whether by mandating disclosure of one’s HIV status to all sexual partners or by deeming the saliva of HIV-positive persons a “deadly weapon.” In this paper, we argue that HIV-specific criminal laws are rooted in historical prejudice against HIV-positive persons as a class. While purporting to promote public health goals, these laws instead legally sanction discrimination against a class of persons.
One characteristic of the transition from the Middle Paleolithic to the Upper Paleolithic in Europe was the emergence of representational charcoal drawings and engravings by Aurignacian and Gravettian artists. European Neanderthals never engaged in representational drawing during the Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic, a property that might reflect less developed visuomotor coordination. This article postulates a causal relationship between an evolved ability of anatomically modern humans to throw spears accurately while hunting and their ability to draw representational images from working (...) memory. Unlike Neanderthals, archaic and anatomically modern humans in sub-Saharan Africa adopted longer-range hunting practices using hand-cast spears as a compensation for the emergence of increasingly wary game. For Neanderthals, paleoclimatic fluctuations likely precluded consistent hunting of cold-adapted game, a property making game more approachable for close-range hunting with thrusting spears. As evidence of less historical wariness of humans, many of the species hunted by Neanderthals were eventually domesticated. Due to strong sources of natural selection on archaic and anatomically modern humans for effective hunting, the parietal cortex that integrates visual imagery and motor coordination expanded progressively, yielding the globular shape of the human cranium that is not evident in Neanderthals. To characterize how the cognitive properties employed for throwing spears and drawing line work are similar, the Upper Paleolithic drawings of animals in Chauvet cave, France, are discussed in the speculative context of how these artists engaged simultaneously in overt attention to guide their hand movements and covert attention to their mental images during the drawing process. (shrink)
Depression and the subjective experience of suffering are distinct forms of distress, but they are sometimes commingled with one another. Using a cross-sectional sample of flight attendants, we tested for further empirical evidence distinguishing depression and suffering. Correlations with 15 indices covering several dimensions of well-being indicated that associations with worse well-being were mostly stronger for depression than suffering. There was a large positive correlation between depression and suffering, but we also found evidence of notable non-concurrent depression and suffering in (...) the sample. After dividing participants into four groups that varied based on severity of depression and suffering, regression analyses showed higher levels of well-being among those with both none-mild depression and none-mild suffering compared to those with moderate-severe depression, moderate-severe suffering, or both. All indices of well-being were lowest among the group of participants with moderate-severe depression and moderate-severe suffering. In addition to providing further evidence supporting a distinction between depression and suffering, our findings suggest that concurrent depression and suffering may be more disruptive to well-being than when either is present alone. (shrink)