When developing computational models to analyze the tradeoffs between climate risk management strategies (i.e., mitigation, adaptation, or geoengineering), scientists make explicit and implicit decisions that are influenced by their beliefs, values and preferences. Model descriptions typically include only the explicit decisions and are silent on value judgments that may explain these decisions. Eliciting scientists’ mental models, a systematic approach to determining how they think about climate risk management, can help to gain a clearer understanding of their modeling decisions. In order (...) to identify and represent the role of values, beliefs and preferences on decisions, we used an augmented mental models research approach, namely values-informed mental models (ViMM). We conducted and qualitatively analyzed interviews with eleven climate risk management scientists. Our results suggest that these scientists use a similar decision framework to each other to think about modeling climate risk management tradeoffs, including eight specific decisions ranging from defining the model objectives to evaluating the model’s results. The influence of values on these decisions varied between our scientists and between the specific decisions. For instance, scientists invoked ethical values (e.g., concerns about human welfare) when defining objectives, but epistemic values (e.g., concerns about model consistency) were more influential when evaluating model results. ViMM can (i) enable insights that can inform the design of new computational models and (ii) make value judgments explicit and more inclusive of relevant values. This transparency can help model users to better discern the relevance of model results to their own decision framing and concerns. (shrink)
Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons. That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop values and beliefs besides those that presently make up her motives, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. An agent wills freely, on this view, by beingultimately (...) responsible for how she is currently disposed to act. Kane needs, then, to show how an agent could be responsible for decisions that her deliberations did not guarantee. He must also explain how a decision for which there is no decisive reason could yet be rational, assuming that the responsibility engendering decisions forming the basis of a free will would be rational. I shall argue here that Kane has achieved neither of these goals. (shrink)
[Robert Stalnaker] Saul Kripke made a convincing case that there are necessary truths that are knowable only a posteriori as well as contingent truths that are knowable a priori. A number of philosophers have used a two-dimensional model semantic apparatus to represent and clarify the phenomena that Kripke pointed to. According to this analysis, statements have truth-conditions in two different ways depending on whether one considers a possible world 'as actual' or 'as counterfactual' in determining the truth-value of the (...) statement relative to that possible world. There are no necessary a posteriori or contingent a priori propositions: rather, contingent a priori and necessary a posteriori statements are statements that are necessary when evaluated one way, and contingent when evaluated the other way. This paper distinguishes two ways that the two-dimensional framework can be interpreted, and argues that one of them gives the better account of what it means to 'consider a world as actual', but that it provides no support for any notion of purely conceptual a priori truth. /// [Thomas Baldwin] Two-dimensional possible world semantic theory suggests that Kripke's examples of the necessary a posteriori and contingent a priori should be handled by interpreting names as implicitly indexical. Like Stalnaker, I reject this account of names and accept that Kripke's examples have to be accommodated within a metasemantic theory. But whereas Stalnaker maintains that a metasemantic approach undermines the conception of a priori truth, I argue that it offers the opportunity to develop a conception of the a priori aspect of stipulations, conceived as linguistic performances. The resulting position accommodates Kripke's examples in a way which is both intrinsically plausible and fits with Kripke's actual discussion of them. (shrink)
Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons.<sup>1</sup> That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop other dispositions, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. To say it again, a person has a free will just in case her character is the product (...) of decisions that she could have rationally avoided making. That one’s character is the product of such decisions entails ultimate responsibility for its manifestations, engendering a free will. (shrink)
Neither the existence of God nor the nature of God is apparent or obvious. If God exists, why is it not entirely clear to everyone that this is so? How can theists explain God's hiddenness, and how plausible are their explanations? God, if God exists, is an omnipotent, morally good, omnipresent being, than whom none greater can be conceived. Surely it is well within the abilities of God to let God's existence and nature be known to us. Why isn't the (...) existence and nature of our Heavenly Father as apparent as, say, the existence of our various earthly fathers? (shrink)
For most of the problems that economists consider, the assumption that agents are self-interested works well enough, generating predictions that are broadly consistent with observation. In some significant cases, however, we find economic behavior that seems to be inconsistent with self-interest. In particular, we find that some public goods and some charitable ventures are financed by the independent voluntary contributions of many thousands of individuals. In Britain, for example, the lifeboat service is entirely financed by voluntary contributions. In all rich (...) countries, charitable appeals raise large amounts of money for famine relief in the Third World. The willingness of individuals to contribute to such projects is an economic fact that requires an explanation. (shrink)
Robert Owen was one of the most extraordinary Englishmen who ever lived and a great man. In a way his history is the history of the establishment of modern industrial Britain, reflected in the mind and activities of a very intelligent, capable and responsible industrialist, alive to the best social thought of his time. The organisation of industrial labour, factory legislation, education, trade unionism, co-operation, rationalism: he was passionately and ably engaged in all of them. His community at New (...) Lanark was the nearest thing to an industrial heaven in the Britain of dark satanic mills; he tried to found a rational co-operative community in the USA. In everything he contemplated, he saw education as a key. This selection of his writings on education illustrates his rationalist concept of the formation of character and its implications for education and society; also his growing utopian concern with social reorganisation; and third, his impact on social movements. Silver's introduction shows Owen's relationship to particular educational traditions and activities and his long-term influence on attitudes to education. (shrink)
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
The traditional problem of evil is set forth, by no means for the first time, in Part X of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion in these familiar words: ‘Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?’ This formulation of the problem of evil obviously suggests an argument to the effect that the existence of evil in (...) the world demonstrates that God does not exist. The purpose of this paper is to examine this argument, with a view to showing that while it is not a conclusive argument, it is much stronger than some apologists for traditional theism allow. (shrink)
The contemporary explosion of information makes intellectual responsibility more needed than ever. The uncritical tend to believe too much that is unsubstantiated; the overcritical tend to believe too little that is true. A central problem for this paper is to formulate standards to guide an intellectually rigorous search for a mean between excessive credulity and indiscriminate skepticism. A related problem is to distinguish intellectual responsibility for what we believe from moral responsibility for what we do. A third problem is how (...) to square intellectual responsibility in retaining our views with the realization that peers we respect disagree with us. Much of the paper is directed to articulating principles for dealing with such disagreements. (shrink)
A standard objection to act utilitarian theories is that they are not helpful in deciding what it is morally permissible for us to do when we actually have to make a choice between alternatives. That is, such theories are worthless as decision procedures. A standard reply to this objection is that act utilitarian theories can be evaluated solely as theories about right-making characteristics and, when so evaluated, their inadequacy as decision procedures is irrelevant. Even if somewhat unappealing, this is an (...) effective reply to the standard objection. (shrink)
The Westermarck Effect posits that intimate association during childhood promotes human incest avoidance. In previous work, I articulated and defended a version of the Westermarck Effect by developing a phylogenetic argument that has purchase within primatology but that has had more limited appeal for cultural anthropologists due to their commitment to conventionalist or culture-first accounts of incest avoidance. Here I look to advance the discussion of incest and incest avoidance beyond culture-first accounts in two ways. First, I shall dig deeper (...) into the disciplinary grooves within cultural anthropology that make attractive the view that incest has a naturalness to it that is countered only or primarily by explicit social rules, such as taboos. Second, I further explore the emerging, post-conventionalist view of incest avoidance in a more positive vein by elaborating on the nature of the Westermarckian mechanism and how it relates to such explicit social rules and our innate biological endowments. One general aim here is to overcome the bifurcation between perspectives that are seen as biological and those seen as cultural, preempting or countering the claim that rejecting culture-first accounts entails a form of biological reductionism, a general aim I have pursued in related publications on bioessentialism about kinship. (shrink)
A significant feature of John Stuart Mill's moral theory is the introduction of qualitative differences as relevant to the comparative value of pleasures. Despite its significance, Mill presents his doctrine of qualities of pleasures in only a few paragraphs in the second chapter of Utilitarianism, where he begins the brief discussion by saying: utilitarian writers in general have placed the superiority of mental over bodily pleasures chiefly … in their circumstantial advantages rather than in their intrinsic nature.… [B]ut they might (...) have taken the … higher ground with entire consistency. It is quite compatible with the principle of utility to recognize the fact, that some kinds of pleasure are more desirable and more valuable than others. It would be absurd that while, in estimating all other things, quality is considered as well as quantity, the estimation of pleasures should be supposed to depend on quantity alone. (shrink)
Formal axiology is based on the logical nature of meaning, namely intension, and on the structure of intension as a set of predicates. It applies set theory to this set of predicates. Set theory is a certain kind of mathematics that deals with subsets in general, and of finite and infinite sets in particular. Since mathematics is objective and a priori, formal axiology is an objective and a priori science; and a test based on it is an objective test based (...) on an objective standard.1. (shrink)
Robert Kane provides a critical overview of debates about free will of the past half century, relating this recent inquiry to the broader history of the free will issue and to vital currents of twentieth century thought. Kane also defends a traditional libertarian or incompatibilist view of free will, employing arguments that are both new to philosophy and that respond to contemporary developments in physics and biology, neuro science, and the cognitive and behavioral sciences.
Self-Knowledge and Self-Reference is a defense and reconciliation of the two apparently conflicting theses that the self is peculiarly elusive and that our basic, cogito-judgments are certain. On the one hand, Descartes seems to be correct that nothing is more certain than basic statements of self-knowledge, such as "I am thinking." On the other hand, there is the compelling Humean observation that when we introspect, nothing is found except for various "impressions." The problem, then, is that the Humean and Cartesian (...) insights are both initially appealing, yet they appear to be in tension with one another. In this paper I attempt to satisfy both intuitions by developing a roughly descriptivist account of self-reference according to which our certainty in basic beliefs stems precisely from our needing to know so little in order to have them. (shrink)
I have been arguing, for almost thirty years now, that emotions have been unduly neglected in philosophy. Back in the seventies, it was an argument that attracted little sympathy. I have also been arguing that emotions are a ripe for philosophical analysis, a view that, as evidenced by the Manchester 2001 conference and a large number of excellent publications, has now become mainstream. My own analysis of emotion, first published in 1973, challenged the sharp divide between emotions and rationality, insisted (...) that we reject the established notion that the emotions are involuntary, and argued, in a brief slogan, that ‘emotions are judgments.’ Since then, although the specific term ‘judgment’ has come under considerable fire and my voluntarist thesis continues to attract incredulousness the general approach I took to emotions has been widely accepted in both philosophy and the social sciences. When Paul Griffiths took on what he misleadingly characterized as ‘propositional attitude’ theories of emotion as the enemy of all that was true and scientifically worthy, I knew that we had made it. Such ferocious abuse is surely a sign that we had shifted, in Kuhnian terms, from being revolutionary to becoming the ‘normal’ paradigm. The current counter-revolution of affect programmes and neuro-reductionism says a lot about who we are and how far we have come. (shrink)
Abstract This article is based on a longitudinal study of relations between biographical conditions and the personality development of 21 young workers ranging from 23 to 30 years of age who had passed through an apprenticeship in large plants of the metal industry in West Berlin. The biographical analyses focused mainly on occupational conditions; the personality analyses, on such socio?cognitive variables as patterns of control awareness and structures of moral judgement. A review of the relevant literature led to the hypothesis (...) that seven social conditions in particular promote development. Data on these conditions were collected continually through in?depth interviews of the workers, observations of their work and information from their superiors, personnel managers and works councils. Data on moral judgement were collected at the beginning and end of the study by confronting the workers with five real?life dilemmas in a semi?structured interview. Before the second series of ?moral interviews?, predictions of the individual moral levels of all subjects were derived from their former reasoning and their intermediate biographical experiences. The responses of the interviewees confirmed nearly all the predictions. Occupational experiences appeared to have contributed considerably to moral development in most respondents. (shrink)
In a new retelling of the romantic rationalist adventure of ideas that is Hegel's classic The Phenomenology of Spirit, Robert Brandom argues that when our self-conscious recognitive attitudes take Hegel's radical form of magnanimity and trust, we can overcome a troubled modernity and enter a new age of spirit.
In the Summa Theologiae ‘simplicity’ is treated as pre–eminent among the terms which may properly be used to describe the divine nature. The Question in which Thomas demonstrates that God must be ‘totally and in every way simple’ immediately follows the five proofs of God's existence, preceding the treatment of His other perfections, and being frequently used as the basis for proving them. Then in Question 13 ‘univocal predication' is held to be ‘impossible between God and creatures’ so that at (...) best ‘some things are said of God and creatures analogically’ because of the necessity of using ‘various and multiplied conceptions’ derived from our knowledge of created beings to refer to what in God is simple for ‘the perfections flowing from God to creatures… pre–exist in God unitedly and simply, whereas in creatures they are received divided and multiplied’ . In line with this, in the De Potentia Dei the treatment of analogical predication is integrated into that of ‘the Simplicity of the Divine Essence’ . Moreover, it lies at the root of Thomas's rejection of any possibility of a Trinitarian natural theology such as, for instance, St Anselm or Richard of St Victor had attempted to develop, on the grounds that ‘it is impossible to attain to the knowledge of the Trinity by natural reason’ since ‘we can know what belongs to the unity of the essence, but not what belongs to the distinction of the persons’ . Even modern minds sympathetic to Thomas have clearly found it difficult to understand his concern for the divine simplicity: in his Aquinas Lecture Plantinga speaks for many in stating that it is ‘a mysterious doctrine’ which is ‘exceedingly hard to grasp or construe’ and ‘it is difficult to see why anyone should be inclined to accept it’. Not surprisingly, therefore, some of the most widely read twentieth–century commentators on Aquinas have paid little attention to it. Increased interest has recently been shown in it, but a number of discussions pay insufficient attention to the historical context out of which Thomas's interest in the doctrine emerged, and consequently tend to misconstrue its nature. (shrink)
In his paper ‘Miracles: metaphysics, physics, and physicalism’, 1 Kirk McDermid appears to have two primary goals. The first is to demonstrate that my account of how God might produce a miracle without violating any laws of nature is radically flawed. The second is to suggest two alternative accounts, one suitable for a deterministic world, one suitable for an indeterministic world, which allow for the occurrence of a miracle without violation of the laws of nature, yet do not suffer from (...) the defects of what McDermid terms the ‘Larmerian’ model. I briefly describe my model, reply to McDermid's criticism of it, and evaluate his alternative accounts. (shrink)
This Article is a short response to Anders Tolland's "Iterated Non-Refutation: Robert Lockie on Relativism", International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol. 14, no. 2, 245-254, 2006. Tolland's article was itself a response to Lockie, R (2003) "Relativism and Reflexivity", International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol. 11, no. 3, 319-339.
Three kinds of emotional consciousness are distinguished in this article: feeling awareness, intellectual awareness, and bare awareness. All are important to three moral properties that emotions may have: epistemic, practical, and relational. The bulk of this article is devoted to the third dimension of moral value, that emotions are constitutive of personal relationships such as friendship, enmity, good and bad parenthood, and collegiality. The conception of emotions as concern-based construals (Roberts, 2003) is put to work to explain how felt and (...) intellectually conscious emotions are constitutive of the qualities of such relationships. The relational value of emotions interacts with their epistemic and practical values. (shrink)
Record of papers given at a symposium held at the University of Texas at Austin, April 1967; includes; C.J. Fillmore - The case for case; E. Bach - Nouns and noun phrases; J.D. McCawley - The role of semantics in a grammar; P. Kiparsky Linguistic universals and linguistic change.
The situationist challenge to global character traits claims that on the basis of findings in social psychology, we should only accept at most the existence of local or context-sensitive traits. In this article I explore a neglected area of J. S. Mill's work to outline an account of context-sensitive traits. This account of traits, coupled with a sophisticated consequentialist ethical framework, suggests an interesting view on which persons govern the circumstances of their actions in order to best promote overall well-being.