This volume contains contributions on different aspects of practical conflicts by: Peter Baumann Monika Betzler Ruth Chang Jon Elster Barbara Guckes Christine M. Korsgaard Isaac Levi Alfred R. Mele Joseph Raz Henry S. Richardson Peter Schaber J. David Velleman Nicholas White.
In Baumann (American Philosophical Quarterly 42: 71–79, 2005) I argued that reflections on a variation of the Monty Hall problem throws a very general skeptical light on the idea of single-case probabilities. Levy (Synthese, forthcoming, 2007) puts forward some interesting objections which I answer here.
Peter Baumann develops and defends a distinctive version of epistemic contextualism, the view that the truth conditions or the meaning of knowledge attributions of the form "S knows that p" can vary with the context of the attributor. The first part of the book examines arguments for contextualism and develops Baumann's version. It begins by dealing with the argument from cases and ordinary usage, and then addresses "theoretical" arguments, from reliability and from luck. The second part of the book discusses (...) the problems contextualism faces, to which it must respond, and provides an extension of contextualism beyond epistemology. The third part of the book is focused on some major objections to contextualism and alternative views, namely subject-sensitive invariantism, contrastivism and relativism. (shrink)
Epistemological contextualism - the claim that the truth-value of knowledge-attributions can vary with the context of the attributor - has recently faced a whole series of objections. The most serious one, however, has not been discussed much so far: the factivity objection. In this paper, I explain what the objection is and present three different versions of the objection. I then show that there is a good way out for the contextualist. However, in order to solve the problem the contextualist (...) has to accept a relationalist version of contextualism. (shrink)
Hájek has recently presented the following paradox. You are certain that a cable guy will visit you tomorrow between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. but you have no further information about when. And you agree to a bet on whether he will come in the morning interval (8, 12] or in the afternoon interval (12, 4). At first, you have no reason to prefer one possibility rather than the other. But you soon realise that there will definitely be a future (...) time at which you will (rationally) assign higher probability to an afternoon arrival than a morning one, due to time elapsing. You are also sure there may not be a future time at which you will (rationally) assign a higher probability to a morning arrival than an afternoon one. It would therefore appear that you ought to bet on an afternoon arrival. The paradox is based on the apparent incompatibility of the principle of expected utility and principles of diachronic rationality which are prima facie plausible. Hájek concludes that the latter are false, but doesn't provide a clear diagnosis as to why. We endeavour to further our understanding of the paradox by providing such a diagnosis. (shrink)
In his recent book Moral Skepticisms Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues in great detail for contrastivism with respect to justified moral belief and moral knowledge. I raise three questions concerning this view. First, how would Sinnott-Armstrong account for constraints on admissible contrast classes? Secondly, how would he deal with notorious problems concerning relevant reference classes? Finally, how can he account for basic features of moral agency? It turns out that the last problem is the most serious one for his account.
Suppose someone hears a loud noise and at the same time sees a yellow flash. It seems hard to deny that the person can experience loudness and yellowness together. However, since loudness is experienced by the auditory sense whereas yellowness is experienced by the visual sense it also seems hard to explain how.
One of the most important views in the recent discussion of epistemological scepticism is Neo-Mooreanism. It turns a well-known kind of sceptical argument (the dreaming argument and its different versions) on its head by starting with ordinary knowledge claims and concluding that we know that we are not in a sceptical scenario. This paper argues that George Edward Moore was not a Moorean in this sense. Moore replied to other forms of scepticism than those mostly discussed nowadays. His own anti-sceptical (...) position turns out to be very subtle and complex; furthermore it changed over time. This paper follows Moore's views of what the sceptical problem is and how one should respond to it through a series of crucial papers with the main focus being on Moore's 'Proof of an External World'. An appendix deals with the much neglected relation between epistemological scepticism and moral scepticism in Moore. (shrink)
Most contextualists agree that contexts differ with respect to relevant epistemic standards. In this paper, I discuss the idea that the difference between more modest and stricter standards should be explained in terms of the closeness or remoteness of relevant possible worlds. I argue that there are serious problems with this version of contextualism. In the second part of the paper, I argue for another form of contextualism that has little to do with standards and a lot with the well-known (...) problem of the reference class. This paper also illustrates the fact that contextualism comes in many varieties. (shrink)
According to reliabilist conceptions of knowledge, knowledge implies reliable true belief. Since reliability is an irreducibly probabilistic notion, one's view of knowledge also depends on one's view of probability. If one believes that all probability is subjective probability, knowledge becomes a relativized concept: knowledge is relative to a given body of beliefs of a given person at a given time. Since such a relativized conception of knowledge is extremely implausible and since reliabilism seems to capture at least part of the (...) truth, one should rather give up a purely subjective view of probability. -/- . (shrink)
1. Here is a very simple game. You come up with a number and I come up with a number. If I come up with the higher number, I win; otherwise you win. You go first. Call this ‘The Very Simple Game’. Few would play it if they had to go first and many if they are guaranteed to go second.2. Here is another one. You come up with a number n and I come up with a number m. If (...) m times 1/ n > 1, then I win; if not, then you win. You go first. Call this ‘Still The Very Simple Game’. Since I win just in case m is greater than n, this game collapses into The Very Simple Game. Few people will play it if they have to go first.3. Here is a third one. Let us call it ‘Looks Like A Tricky Game’. Suppose you have a choice between exactly two actions: keep holding on to some thing t ; hand t over to me and accept my offer to give you, with some probability p , some thing with utility m .Suppose, you are a maximizer of expected utility with …. (shrink)
: We discuss the role that transnational corporations should play in developing global governance, creating a framework of rules and regulations for the global economy. The central issue is whether TNCs should provide global rules and guarantee individual citizenship rights, or instead focus on maximizing profits. First, we describe the problems arising from the globalization process that affect the relationship between public rules and private firms. Next we consider the position of economic and management theories in relation to the social (...) responsibility of the firm. We argue that instrumental stakeholder theory and business and society research can only partially solve the global governance issue, and that more recent concepts of corporate citizenship and republican business ethics deliver theoretically and practically helpful, fresh insights. However, even these need further development, especially with regard to the legitimacy of corporate political activity. (shrink)
Peter Baumann uses the Monty Hall game to demonstrate that probabilities cannot be meaningfully applied to individual games. Baumann draws from this first conclusion a second: in a single game, it is not necessarily rational to switch from the door that I have initially chosen to the door that Monty Hall did not open. After challenging Baumann's particular arguments for these conclusions, I argue that there is a deeper problem with his position: it rests on the false assumption that what (...) justifies the switching strategy is its leading me to win a greater percentage of the time. In fact, what justifies the switching strategy is not any statistical result over the long run but rather the "causal structure" intrinsic to each individual game itself. Finally, I argue that an argument by Hilary Putnam will not help to save Baumann's second conclusion above. (shrink)
Definition of the problem: The following article presents the model for a structured decision-making process in intensive neonatal care. The model has been developed during the last 3 years by an interdisciplinary group of physicians, nurses and a hospital minister under the guidance of an ethicist. The model is an alternative to the decision-making process either through static guidelines and rules or through situational ethics with no general rules at all. The model is meant to be a realm of security (...) for the premature or handicapped newborn against the arbitrary decision-making of the doctors or parents. At present, the model for a structured decision-making process is being evaluated within the context of an interdisciplinary project sponsored by the National Foundation of Science of Switzerland. (shrink)
Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
The great contribution Marcus has made to several of intensely discussed topics in philosophy might not have been noticed fully without this collection of some of her most important articles that makes it evident that her achievement is not limited to inventing the famous Barcan formula.
The Philosophy Now series promises to combine rigorous analysis with authoritative expositions. Ruth Abbey’s book lives up to this demand by being a clear, reliable and more than up-to-date introduction to Charles Taylor ’s philosophy. Although it is an introductory book, the amount of footnotes and references ought to please those who want to study the original texts more closely. Abbey’s book is structured thematically: morality, selfhood, politics and epistemology get 50 pages each. The focus is on the internal (...) coherence of Taylor ’s work, not in its critique of or defence against other positions. The chapters are self-containing, but together they give a good total picture of Taylor ’s position. The concluding chapter is a highly interesting preview of Taylor ’s unpublished work-in-progress on secularity, which according to Abbey is comparable in magnitude to Sources of the Self. (shrink)
Baumann (2008a) raises three main concerns for epistemic contrastivism. These lead him to a more complicated re-conception of knowledge, involving varying numbers of argument places for varying sorts of arguments. I will argue that these complications are unneeded. The more elegant and uniform contrastive treatment can resolve all of Baumann’s concerns, in a straightforward way.
Ruth Millikan is one of the most interesting and influential philosophers alive. Her work is also hard to penetrate. In this review, I try to present and assess her work on the nature of language, which is collected in this anthology. I also criticize her analysis of “natural convention” as well as her discussion of illocutionary acts.
This article is a defence of the Fact-Value distinction against considerations brought up by Ruth Anna Putnam in three articles in Philosophy, especially her ‘Perceiving Facts and Values’ January 1998. I defend metaphysical realism about facts and anti-realism about values against Putnam' intermediate position about both and I relate the matter to the logic of imperatives. The motivations of scientists or historians to select fields of investigation are irrelevant to the objectivity of their hypotheses, and so is the goodness (...) or badness of the social consequences of their work though these may affect their motivations. (shrink)
Every body cell of an animal or human being contains the same complete set of genes. In theory any of these cells can be used to start a new embryo. The technique has been employed in the case of frogs. The nucleus is taken out of a body cell of a frog and implanted in an enucleated frog's egg. The resulting egg cell is stimulated to develop into a normal frog, and will be an exact copy of that frog which (...) provided the nucleus with all the genetic information. In normal sexual reproduction, two parents each contribute half their genes, but in the case of cloning, one parent passes on all his or her genes. (shrink)
In philosophy textbooks for undergraduates the cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict is often cited as a proponent of moral relativism, and her writings are not infrequently excerpted to illustrate the view that the individual’s moral values are culturally determined. Because Benedict established that significant differences can exist in the underlying cultural patterns of different societies, her work is commonly construed as providing evidence for the arbitrary and non-rational basis of morals. The author of the present essay argues that this popular (...) reading of Benedict is mistaken. He draws a distinction between two different forms of moral relativism—the objective and the subjective—and then contends that Benedict is widely viewed as a subjective relativist when in fact her relativism was of the objective variety. He shows that her position actually has much in common with the pragmatic meliorism of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. (shrink)
Although the Book of Ruth is in many respects a classic example of biblical Hebrew narrative, with its stripped-down style and the opaqueness of its character's inner lives and motivations, there are two examples of formal poetry in the book (1:16–17 and 1:20–21). Biblical poetry works with a very different set of literary conventions than narrative, and by taking note of those conventions, we can see the distinctive contributions made by these poems to the book as a whole.
Ruth Ginzberg has proposed a model for a gynocentric science that might constitute a paradigm as described by Kuhn. The author argues that Ginzberg's model lacks certain essential features of paradigms as described by Kuhn. The differences may stem from more fundamental disagreements between them, including the possibility that some essential features of Ginzberg's gynocentric science place it outside the intended scope of Kuhn's analysis.