Our culture is conflicted about morally judging and condemning. We can't avoid it altogether, yet many layfolk today are loathe to do it for reasons neither they nor philosophers well understand. Their resistance is often confused (by themselves and by theorists) with some species of antiobjectivism. But unlike a nonobjectivist, most people think that (a) for us to judge and condemn is generally (objectively) morally wrong , yet (b) for God to do so is (objectively) proper, and (c) so too (...) for certain persons in certain relations (e.g., self-condemnation, parental child rearing.) Certainly, religious (e.g., Christian) critics of judging and condemning without doubting the objective truth of their tradition's core moral teachings. Most puzzling is that (a) merely judging and condemning in one's heart may be improper, and (b) someone else with no more evidence or expertise might properly judge and condemn the same action. The answer is in condemning's complex structure of presuppostions. Condemning and judging are acts, and attitudes initiated by the act. Condemnation is motivated by two judgments presumed to justify it, a criticism of a target, and a judgment that the criticism justifies some negative response toward the target. Unlike nonpunitive penalties, punishments are motivated and explained by condemnation. Condemnation is an act of a hostile will, wishing some evil for its target, not (just) as a means to some good. Its root is in damning, an act akin to cursing. It declares a degraded status. The hostility makes it harder to justify condemnation than criticism, and punishment than nonpunitive penalties. Condemning claims objectivity and authority. It involves reflexive evaluation, regarding itself justified, approving its hostile feelings toward the target. Condemners presume themselves entitled to sit in judgment, pass judgment, and cast the condemned down. Those presumptions inhere in sitting in judgment, assuming jurisdiction. Unlike mathematical or scientific judgments, passing moral judgment seems to be a political act subject to extraepistemic constraints. "Who are you to judge?" may properly challenge your right to pass judgment. (shrink)
Critique of prevailing textbook conception of sufficient conditions and necessary conditions as a truth functional relation of material implication (p->q)/(~q->~p). Explanation of common sense conception of condition as correlative of consequence, involving dependence. Utility of this conception exhibited in resolving puzzles regarding ontology, truth, and fatalism.
Contra Michael Walzer and Jeff McMahan, neither classical just war theory nor the contemporary rules of war require or support any notion of combatant moral equality. Nations rightly accept prohibitions against punishing enemy combatants without recognizing any legal or moral right of aggressors to kill. The notion of combatant moral equality has real import only in our interpersonal -- and intrapersonal -- attitudes, since the notion effectively preempts any ground for conscientious objection. Walzer is criticized for over-emphasizing our collective responses (...) to war conduct and slighting our personal, extra-political responses. (shrink)
Analyses of quotation have assumed that quotations are referring expressions while disagreeing over details. That assumption is unnecessary and unacceptable in its implications. It entails a quasi-Parmenidean impossibility of meaningfully denying the meaningfulness or referential function of anything uttered, for it implies that: 'Kqxf' is not a meaningful expression 'The' is not a referring expression are, if meaningful, false. It also implies that ill formed constructions like: 'The' is 'the' are well formed tautologies. Such sentences make apparent the need for (...) what is commonly explicit, a genuine referring expression, a noun phrase, usually a description, to which the quotation is appositional. A quotation is not itself a word, though it may contain such. The markers signal that the enquoted material is like a sentence-embedded color patch, material displayed to facilitate reference to something identifiable by/with it specified by the noun phrase it subserves. (shrink)
View more Abstract If logical truth is necessitated by sheer syntax, mathematics is categorially unlike logic even if all mathematics derives from definitions and logical principles. This contrast gets obscured by the plausibility of the Synonym Substitution Principle implicit in conceptions of analyticity: synonym substitution cannot alter sentence sense. The Principle obviously fails with intercepting: nonuniform term substitution in logical sentences. ‘Televisions are televisions’ and ‘TVs are televisions’ neither sound alike nor are used interchangeably. Interception synonymy gets assumed because logical (...) sentences and their synomic interceptions have identical factual content, which seems to exhaust semantic content. However, intercepting alters syntax by eliminating term recurrence, the sole strictly syntactic means of ensuring necessary term coextension, and thereby syntactically securing necessary truth. Interceptional necessity is lexical, a notational artifact. The denial of interception nonsynonymy and the disregard of term recurrence in logic link with many misconceptions about propositions, logical form, conventions, and metalanguages. Mathematics is distinct from logic: its truth is not syntactic; it is transmitted by synonym substitution; term recurrence has no essential role. The ‘=’ of mathematics is an objectual relation between numbers; the ‘=’ of logic marks a syntactic relation of coreferring terms. -/- . (shrink)
Animal protectionists condemn speciesism for motivating the practices protectionists condemn. This misconceives both speciesism and the morality condoning those practices. Actually, animal protectionists can be and generally are speciesists. The specifically speciesist aspects of people’s beliefs are in principle compatible with all but the most radical protectionist proposals. Humanity’s speciesism is an inclusivist ideal encompassing all human beings, not an exclusionary ethos opposing moral concern for nonhumans. Anti-speciesist rhetoric is akin to anti-racist rhetoric that condemned racists for regarding people as (...) moral inferiors because of their skincolor. Actually, racists never thought that skin color is itself a reason for discounting someone’s interests, just as humans have never thought that only a human can be a proper object of moral concern. Some speciesists have great concern for animal suffering; some don’t. Animal protectionists have yet to show that a lack of concern is due to some false assumptions. (shrink)
Responding to increasing global anxiety over the ethics education of military personnel, this volume illustrates the depth, rigour and critical acuity of Professional Military Ethics Education (PMEE) with contributions by distinguished ethical theorists. It refreshes our thinking about the axioms of just war orthodoxy, the intellectual and political history of just war theorizing, and the justice of recent military doctrines and ventures. The volume also explores a neglected moral dimension of warfare, jus ante bellum (the ethics of pre-war practices) – (...) particularly jus in disciplina bellica (the ethics of educating for warfare). Using metaphor to exemplify the professionalization of the military, the book exposes ambivalences within military professionals' concepts of their professional responsibilities, analyzes issues of self-respect posed by service in an unjust cause, and surveys the deep conflicts inherent in PMEE. While primarily focused on US military academies, the volume will resonate with those responsible for education in military academies across the globe. (shrink)
The identity "relation" is misconceived since the syntax of "=" is misconceived as a relative term. Actually, "=" is syncategorematic; it forms (true) sentences with a nonpredicative syntax from pairs of (coreferring) flanking names, much as "&" forms (true) conjunctive sentences from pairs of (true) flanking sentences. In the conaming structure, nothing is predicated of the subject, other than, implicitly, its being so conamed. An identity sentence has both an objectual reading as a necessity about what is named, and also (...) a metalinguistic reading as a contingency about the names. Either way the claim about the subject referent has no extralinguistic content. The necessity of alteridentity (non-self-identity) statements is "lexical", due to contingencies of the names' reference, much like the necessity of analytic statements, due to contingencies of the predicates' sense, and unlike the necessity of logical truths (e.g., self-identities) whose truth is secured by syntax alone. Both alter-identity and analytic sentences are readable as objectual necessities and metalinguistic contingencies. Epistemically, alter-identity statements are not essentially unlike analyticities. "Greece is Hellas"/"g=h" and "Greeks are Hellenes"/"(x)(Gx<=>Hx)" are equally (un)informative; so too for "Azure is cobalt"/"a=c" and "Everything azure is cobalt"/"(x)(Ax<=>Cx)". The real epistemic contrast is between proper names (terms without predicative sense) and terms with a predicative sense (names and predicates of properties). Proper names refer to concrete objects, property names refer to abstract objects. That contrast is metaphysical and thus epistemic. (shrink)
People espousing human moral equality encompassing every conspecific have been unumbrageous being labeled ‘speciesists’ and likened to Nazis and Klansmen, despite the insult’s being indefensible, and, if meant seriously, enraging. Perhaps their equanimity is unruffled because anti-speciesist acquaintances are remarkably chummier with them than with real racists. -/- Anti-speciesists confuse two questions: (1) Is the bare fact of an individual’s being a human in itself a reason for us humans to deal with it as we'd like to be dealt with? (...) (2) Have we enough reason, apart from human well-being, to impose on each other protections of other animals? Speciesism, perspicuously specified, says ‘yes’ to (1) and nothing about (2). World-wide, human fantasy is filled with nonhuman persons, alien morally accountable agents, thought worthy of being treated as we would wish to be treated, or better. The idea of human equality is consistent with both rapaciously using animals and radical animal protectionism. We meat-eaters discount animal interests, not because they’re nonhuman, but because we know no compelling reason to count them more. -/- Anti-speciesist literature is surveyed and seen to specify ‘speciesism’ capriciously. Terminology aside, anti-speciesist criticisms are specious. Anti-speciesists hope to shift the justificatory burden by denying species membership any moral relevance, but that denial cannot motivate their protectionism. Their ad hominem dismissal of speciesism as a self-serving prejudice is unsustainable. Their avowed inability to imagine any justification of speciesism is hardly probative. Their alleged refutations are baldly question-begging assertions of theses of hallowed ethical theories speciesism denies. They derive anti-speciesism from “anti-biologism” (a radical denial of any biological relation’s having any intrinsic moral relevance), which is fallaciously extrapolated from anti-racist and anti-sexist ideas. Appeals to taxonomical controversies glibly and disingenuously assume the relevance of those controversies, which anti-biologism denies. (shrink)
Neither M. Walzer's collectivist conception of the "moral equality" of combatants, nor its antithetical individualist conceptions of responsibility are compatible with the ethos of military professionalism and its conception(s) of the responsibility of military professionals for service in an unjust war.
Critique of Alonzo Church's Translation Test. Church's test is based on a common misconception of the grammar of (so-called) quotations. His conclusion (that metalogical truths are actually contingent empirical truths) is a reductio of that conception. Chruch's argument begs the question by assuming that translation must preserve reference despite altering logical form of statements whose truth is explained by their form.
Post-Fregean theorists use 'quotation' to denote indifferently both colloquially called quotations (repetitions of prior utterances) and what I call 'displays': 'Rot' means red. Colloquially, quotation is a strictly historical property, not semantic or syntactic. Displays are semantically and syntactically distinctive sentential elements. Most displays are not quotations. Pure echo quotations (Cosmological arguments involve "an unnecessary shuffle") aren't displays. Frege-inspired formal languages stipulate that enquotation forms a singular term referring to the enquoted expression (type). Formalist enquotations differ semantically and syntactically from (...) natural language displays. Call them autonomes, and mark them with stars: *Rot* means red. In formal languages, an unenstarred expression has only one meaning, and an autonome has only one meaning viz., a name (or indexical) designating the unenstarred expression (type). Stars have semantic content and can’t disambiguate. Display punctuation only disambiguates; it says only: This material is displayed. Displays have a semantic function; their marks don't.nDisplays are not terms or lexical items. Displays are objects incorporable into utterances. Such incorporation enables them to be linguistically appropriated much as we appropriate speech-external objects by extrasentential supplementation (e.g., gesturing) to identify the extension of a term by ostending the object -- but now without any extrasentential supplement. Displays are always adjunctive to an (implicit or explicit) ostensionable term, a term whose extension is identifiable by ostending an object. The display-ostensionable term extension relations are various. A display may (1) be the term's referent, or (2) represent the term's extension by (a) replicating or (b) instantiating or (c) expressing the term's referent, or (e) instantiating the property the term predicates. (shrink)
The Socratic Paradox (that only Socrates is wise, and only because only he recognizes our lack of wisdom) is explained, elaborated and defended. His philosophical scepticism is distinguished from others (Pyrrhonian, Cartesian, Humean, Kripkean Wittgenstein, etc.): the doubt concerns our understanding of our beliefs, not our justification for them; the doubt is a posteriori and inductive, not a priori. Post-Socratic philosophy confirms this scepticism: contra-Descartes, our ideas are not transparent to us; contra-Verificationism, no criterion distinguishes sense from nonsense. The import (...) of this scepticism for professional ethicists is examined. (shrink)
Resolution of Frege's Puzzle by denying that synonym substitution in logical truths preserves sentence sense and explaining how logical form has semantic import. Intensional context substitutions needn't preserve truth, because intercepting doesn't preserve sentence meaning. Intercepting is nonuniformly substituting a pivotal term in syntactically secured truth. Logical sentences and their synonym interceptions share factual content. Semantic content is factual content in synthetic predications, but not logical sentences and interceptions. Putnam's Postulate entails interception nonsynonymy. Syntax and vocabulary explain only the factual (...) content of synthetic predications; extrasentential reality explains their truth. Construction of logical factual content explains logical necessity. Terms retain objectual reference, but logical syntax preempts their function in explaining truth. Grasping the facts GG/gg assert entails understanding this. Understanding what GH states requires some recognition that GH must be true just because GmH, and GmH state an empirical fact. GH is standardly used to express that fact. Church's Test exposes puzzles. QMi sentences, and QTi sentences are metalogical necessities, true by syntax. Intercepting QMi creates empirical QM contingencies. Synonymy turns semantic contingencies into metalogical and lexical necessities. That transformation is syntactic, via the syntactic duality of definite descriptions. GmH is a contingent copredication, and a lexically necessary referential identity with rigidly codesignating indexicals. Metalogical sentences may be about expressional matter or what it expresses. GG has GG's semantic content, but the referent expression switches. Metalogical syntax secures truth by self-referential quotational indexing. Metalogically, referents are identified with intrasentential replica. Extrasentential identifications are metalogically irrelevant. (shrink)
Analyticity is a bogus explanatory concept, and is so even granting genuine synonomy. Definitions can't explain the truth of a statement, let alone its necessity and/or our a priori knowledge of it. The illusion of an explanation is revealed by exposing diverse confusions: e.g., between nominal, conceptual and real definitions, and correspondingly between notational, conceptual, and objectual readings of alleged analytic truths, and between speaking a language and operating a calculus. The putative explananda of analyticity are (alleged) truths about essential (...) properties. Real definitions (a la Socrates) are the (alleged) explananda, not the explanans of analyticity. Their truth can be explained neither by conceptual definitions (a la Kant), nor by nominal definitions (a la Frege). The Quinean assault on synonomy is unsuccessful and in any case misplaced, because analyticity turns on the explanatory import of synonomy, not its existence. Synonym substitution in a logical truth cannot yield a necessary truth for it doesn't preserve logical form. Self-identity statements (for properties and/or individuals) differ in logical form from alter-identity statements. (shrink)
Like '&', '=' is no term; it represents no extrasentential property. It marks an atomic, nonpredicative, declarative structure, sentences true solely by codesignation. Identity (its necessity and total reflexivity, its substitution rule, its metaphysical vacuity) is the objectual face of codesignation. The syntax demands pure reference, without predicative import for the asserted fact. 'Twain is Clemens' is about Twain, but nothing is predicated of him. Its informational value is in its 'metailed' semantic content: the fact of codesignation (that 'Twain' names (...) Clemens) that explains what fact it asserts and why it is necessary. Critiques of concepts of rigidity and elimination of singular terms result. (shrink)
Animal liberationists call speciesism their enemy, but speciesism, perspicuously specified, says only that being human is sufficient for having our moral status. No one thinks it necessary. Throughout history, people have imagined alter-specifics, like the crowd at a Star Wars cantina, whom they’d recognize as their moral equals. Speciesism says nothing about our treatment of nonhumans. Speciesism’s historic popularity justifies presuming it true, a presumption buttressed by the absence of sound objections to it when properly understood. Its rationality is explained (...) by combining two ideas. First, universalizations of our reasons require some category of self-identification. Second, our primary category of self-identification is our key concept for understanding ourselves biologically, metaphysically, psychologically and socially, namely our species concept. We’re rationally bound to conspecifics by the relational “accident” of their essence being our own. (shrink)
Talking about objects requires talking with objects, presenting objects in speech to identify a term's referent. I say This figure is a circle while handing you a ring. The ring is a prop, a perceptual object referenced by an extra-sentential event to identify the extension of a term, its director ('This figure'). Props operate in speech acts and their products, not in sentences. Intra-sentential objects we talk with are displays. Displayed objects needn't be words but must be like words, perceptually, (...) reproductively, and syntactically. Displays are presented by their syntactical position, as terms, with a term-like function. Semantically they are props. The O in FOD (This figure O is a circle) is a prop-like referent, not a term. The O in OD (O is a circle) may be that of FOD, but that display may have semantically and syntactically diverse directors, and without a specific one OD has no determinate sense Describing the display of quotations demands distinguishing displays from quotations. Quotations are repetitions of something said. Displays are perceptual objects, linguistic and non-linguistic, reproductions and originals, presented in sentences to identify a referent. Display markers are disambiguators that say: Read this as a prop. They may mark direct speech from indirect speech. Markers of quotation say: Someone said this. That historical claim is outside a sentence's propositional content. Those marks don't say: This is a display. They do make it true. Calling displays quotations muddies the study of speaking with speech. Calling both displays and intranyms quotations muddies the study of meaning and truth. Intranyms are terms, consisting of an expression flanked by lines, that denote that interior expression. Intranyms are created by stipulation to formalize a metalanguage. Formalization of a metalanguage replaces displays with intranyms. Formalized metalanguages lack the logical form and subject matter of our natural metalanguage. (shrink)