fusion theory challenges efforts to see theory as inhibiting by presenting an approach that is innovative, eclectic, and subtle in order to draw out competing and constellating ideas and opinions. This collected volume of essays examines fusion theory and demonstrates how the theory can be applied to the reading of various works of Indian English novelists.
Michael Ryan (d. 1840) remains one of the most mysterious figures in the history of medical ethics, despite the fact that he was the only British physician during the middle years of the 19th century to write about ethics in a systematic way. Michael Ryan’s Writings on Medical Ethics offers both an annotated reprint of his key ethical writings, and an extensive introductory essay that fills in many previously unknown details of Ryan’s life, analyzes the significance of (...) his ethical works, and places him within the historical trajectory of the field of medical ethics. (shrink)
Ryan Wasserman explores a range of fascinating puzzles raised by the possibility of time travel, with entertaining examples from physics, science fiction, and popular culture, and he draws out their implications for our understanding of time, tense, freedom, fatalism, causation, counterfactuals, laws of nature, persistence, change, and mereology.
"When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties." "Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his (...) scholarship had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one." "Ryan argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
Ted Warfield has argued that if Ockhamism and Molinism offer different responses to the problems of foreknowledge and prophecy, it is the Molinist who is in trouble. I show here that this is not so – indeed, things may be quite the reverse.
In epistemology and the philosophy of science, there has been an increasing interest in the social aspects of belief acquisition. In particular, there has been a focus on the division of cognitive labor in science. This essay explores several different models of the division of cognitive labor, with particular focus on Kitcher, Strevens, Weisberg and Muldoon, and Zollman. The essay then shows how many of the benefits of the division of cognitive labor flow from leveraging agent diversity. The essay concludes (...) by examining the benefits and burdens of diversity, particularly in the evaluative diversity that can be found in interdisicplinary science. (shrink)
: In recent literature supporting a hybrid view between metaethical cognitivism and noncognitivist expressivism, much has been made of an analogy between moral terms and pejoratives. The analogy is based on the plausible idea that pejorative slurs are used to express both a descriptive belief and a negative attitude. The analogy looks promising insofar as it encourages the kinds of features we should want from a hybrid expressivist view for moral language. But the analogy between moral terms and pejorative slurs (...) is also problematic. In this paper, I argue for two main ways in which we should distinguish between two different types of pejorative terms: slurs, on the one hand, and what I call general pejorative terms, on the other. I examine the problems with the analogy between slurs and moral terms and conclude that general pejorative terms like ‘jerk’ are a better candidate on which to model the potential dual-use behavior of moral terms. So if hybrid theorists are looking for a dual-use model for moral language, they should be careful to base their analogies on general pejoratives, rather than slurs. (shrink)
The debate over persistence is often cast as a disagreement between two rival theories—the perdurantist theory that objects persist through time by having different temporal parts at different times, and the endurantist theory that objects persist through time by being wholly present at different times. This way of framing the debate over persistence involves both an important insight and an important error. Unfortunately, the error is often embraced and the insight is often ignored. This paper aims to correct both of (...) these mistakes, and thus clarify the debate over persistence. (shrink)
That the successful development of fully autonomous artificial moral agents (AMAs) is imminent is becoming the received view within artificial intelligence research and robotics. The discipline of Machines Ethics, whose mandate is to create such ethical robots, is consequently gaining momentum. Although it is often asked whether a given moral framework can be implemented into machines, it is never asked whether it should be. This paper articulates a pressing challenge for Machine Ethics: To identify an ethical framework that is both (...) implementable into machines and whose tenets permit the creation of such AMAs in the first place. Without consistency between ethics and engineering, the resulting AMAs would not be genuine ethical robots, and hence the discipline of Machine Ethics would be a failure in this regard. Here this challenge is articulated through a critical analysis of the development of Kantian AMAs, as one of the leading contenders for being the ethic that can be implemented into machines. In the end, however, the development of Kantian artificial moral machines is found to be anti-Kantian. The upshot of all this is that machine ethicists need to look elsewhere for an ethic to implement into their machines. (shrink)
This paper examines a series of Schelling-like models of residential segregation, in which agents prefer to be in the minority. We demon- strate that as long as agents care about the characteristics of their wider community, they tend to end up in a segregated state. We then investigate the process that causes this, and conclude that the result hinges on the similarity of informational states amongst agents of the same type. This is quite di erent from Schelling-like behavior, and sug- (...) gests (in his terms) that segregation is an instance of macro behavior which can arise from a wide variety of micro motives. (shrink)
Very diverse societies pose real problems for Rawlsian models of public reason. This is for two reasons: first, public reason is unable accommodate diverse perspectives in determining a regulative ideal. Second, regulative ideals are unable to respond to social change. While models based on public reason focus on the justification of principles, this book suggests that we need to orient our normative theories more toward discovery and experimentation. The book develops a unique approach to social contract theory that focuses on (...) diverse perspectives. It offers a new moral stance that author Ryan Muldoon calls, "The View From Everywhere," which allows for substantive, fundamental moral disagreement. This stance is used to develop a bargaining model in which agents can cooperate despite seeing different perspectives. Rather than arguing for an ideal contract or particular principles of justice, Muldoon outlines a procedure for iterated revisions to the rules of a social contract. It expands Mill's conception of experiments in living to help form a foundational principle for social contract theory. By embracing this kind of experimentation, we move away from a conception of justice as an end state, and toward a conception of justice as a trajectory. (shrink)
This book explores the constraints which justice imposes on immigration policy. Like liberal nationalists, Ryan Pevnick argues that citizens have special claims to the institutions of their states. However, the source of these special claims is located in the citizenry's ownership of state institutions rather than in a shared national identity. Citizens contribute to the construction and maintenance of institutions, and as a result they have special claims to these institutions and a limited right to exclude outsiders. Pevnick shows (...) that the resulting view justifies a set of policies - including support for certain types of guest worker programs - which is distinct from those supported by either liberal nationalists or advocates of open borders. His book provides a framework for considering a number of connected topics including issues related to self-determination, the scope of distributive justice and the significance of shared national identity. (shrink)
The puzzle of petitionary prayer: if we ask for the best thing, God was already going to do it, and if we ask for something that's not the best, God's not going to grant our request. In this paper, we give a new solution to the puzzle.
The emerging discipline of Machine Ethics is concerned with creating autonomous artificial moral agents that perform ethically significant actions out in the world. Recently, Wallach and Allen (Moral machines: teaching robots right from wrong, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009) and others have argued that a virtue-based moral framework is a promising tool for meeting this end. However, even if we could program autonomous machines to follow a virtue-based moral framework, there are certain pressing ethical issues that need to be taken (...) into account, prior to the implementation and development stages. Here I examine whether the creation of virtuous autonomous machines is morally permitted by the central tenets of virtue ethics. It is argued that the creation of such machines violates certain tenets of virtue ethics, and hence that the creation and use of those machines is impermissible. One upshot of this is that, although virtue ethics may have a role to play in certain near-term Machine Ethics projects (e.g. designing systems that are sensitive to ethical considerations), machine ethicists need to look elsewhere for a moral framework to implement into their autonomous artificial moral agents, Wallach and Allen’s claims notwithstanding. (shrink)
From an evolutionary standpoint, a default presumption is that true beliefs are adaptive and misbeliefs maladaptive. But if humans are biologically engineered to appraise the world accurately and to form true beliefs, how are we to explain the routine exceptions to this rule? How can we account for mistaken beliefs, bizarre delusions, and instances of self-deception? We explore this question in some detail. We begin by articulating a distinction between two general types of misbelief: those resulting from a breakdown in (...) the normal functioning of the belief formation system (e.g., delusions) and those arising in the normal course of that system's operations (e.g., beliefs based on incomplete or inaccurate information). The former are instances of biological dysfunction or pathology, reflecting limitations of evolutionary design. Although the latter category includes undesirable (but tolerable) by-products of limited design, our quarry is a contentious subclass of this category: misbeliefs best conceived as design features. Such misbeliefs, unlike occasional lucky falsehoods, would have been systematically adaptive in the evolutionary past. Such misbeliefs, furthermore, would not be reducible to judicious action policies. Finally, such misbeliefs would have been adaptive in themselves, constituting more than mere by-products of adaptively biased misbelief-producing systems. We explore a range of potential candidates for evolved misbelief, and conclude that, of those surveyed, only positive illusions meet our criteria. (shrink)
This paper attempts to describe and address a specific puzzle related to compositionality in artificial networks such as Deep Neural Networks and machine learning in general. The puzzle identified here touches on a larger debate in Artificial Intelligence related to epistemic opacity but specifically focuses on computational applications of human level linguistic abilities or properties and a special difficulty with relation to these. Thus, the resulting issue is both general and unique. A partial solution is suggested.
David Lewis has long defended an analysis of counterfactuals in terms of comparative similarity of possible worlds. The purpose of this paper is to reevaluate Lewis’s response to one of the oldest and most familiar objections to this proposal, the future similarity objection.
Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the (...) very concept of qualitative change is inconsistent. Change in any respect is impossible, they argued, since change requires difference and nothing differs from itself.1 Few today would accept the Eleatic conclusion that change is impossible. But the topic of change continues to be a source of much debate, as it brings together various issues that are central to metaphysics, language and logic – including identity, persistence, time, tense, and temporal logic. As we consider various approaches to our topic, it will become clear that one’s perspective on change is often determined by one’s position in the broader philosophical landscape. (shrink)
Much of the recent work in action theory can be organized around a set of objections facing the Simple View and other intention-based accounts of intentional action. In this paper, I review three of the most popular objections to the Simple View and argue that all three objections commit a common fallacy. I then draw some more general conclusions about the relationship between intentional action and moral responsibility.
David Lewis famously defends a counterfactual theory of causation and a non-causal, similarity-based theory of counterfactuals. Lewis also famously defends the possibility of backward causation. I argue that this combination of views is untenable—given the possibility of backward causation, one ought to reject Lewis's theories of causation and counterfactuals.
This paper is a small contribution to two large subjects. The first large subject is that of exploitation—what it is for somebody to be exploited, in what ways people can be and are exploited, whether exploitation necessarily involves coercion, what Marx's understanding of exploitation was and whether it was adequate: all these are issues on which I merely touch, at best. My particular concern here is to answer the two questions, whether Marx thought capitalist exploitation unjust and how the answer (...) to that question illuminates Marx's conception of morality in general. The second large subject is that of the nature of morality—whether there are specifically moral values and specifically moral forms of evaluation and criticism, how these relate to our explanatory interests in the same phenomena, what it would be like to abandon the ‘moral point of view’, whether the growth of a scientific understanding of society and ourselves inevitably undermines our confidence in the existence of moral ‘truths’. These again are issues on which I only touch if I mention them at all, but the questions I try to answer are, what does Marx propose to put in the place of moral judgment, and what kind of assessment of the horrors of capitalism does he provide if not a moral assessment? (shrink)
John Stuart Mill is—surprisingly—a difficult writer. He writes clearly, non-technically, and in a very plain prose which Bertrand Russell once described as a model for philosophers. It is never hard to see what the general drift of the argument is, and never hard to see which side he is on. He is, none the less, a difficult writer because his clarity hides complicated arguments and assumptions which often take a good deal of unpicking. And when we have done that unpicking, (...) the task of analysing the merits and deficiencies of the arguments is still only half completed. This is true of all his work and particularly true of Liberty. It is an essay whose clarity and energy have made it the most popular of all Mill's work. Yet it conceals philosophical, sociological and historical assumptions of a very debatable kind. In his introduction, Mill says the object of this essay is to defend one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. (shrink)
There are at least three tolerably distinct views about the connections between liberty and property; two of these I shall discuss fairly briefly in order to get on to Mill's central claims about the relationship between property rights and freedom, but in conclusion I shall return to them to show how they bear on what Mill has to say.
This is a paper about the nature of metaphysical laws and their relation to the phenomenon of vagueness. Metaphysical laws are introduced as analogous to natural laws, and metaphysical indeterminism is modeled on causal indeterminacy. This kind of indeterminacy is then put to work in developing a novel theory of vagueness and a solution to the sorites paradox.
In Perceiving God, William Alston briefly suggests the possibility of perceiving God indirectly through the perception of another object. Following recent work by C. Stephen Evans, we argue that Thomas Reid’s notion of “natural signs” helpfully illuminates how people can perceive God indirectly through natural beauty. First, we explain how some natural signs enable what Alston labels “indirect perception.” Second, we explore how certain emotions make it possible to see both beauty and the excellence of the minds behind beauty. Finally, (...) we explain how aesthetic emotions can involve indirect perception of God via the natural sign of natural beauty. (shrink)
There are two intriguing paradoxes in molecular biology-the inconsistent relationship between organismal complexity and (1) cellular DNA content and (2) the number of protein-coding genes-referred to as the C-value and G-value paradoxes, respectively. The C-value paradox may be largely explained by varying ploidy. The G-value paradox is more problematic, as the extent of protein coding sequence remains relatively static over a wide range of developmental complexity. We show by analysis of sequenced genomes that the relative amount of non-protein-coding sequence increases (...) consistently with complexity. We also show that the distribution of introns in complex organisms is non-random. Genes composed of large amounts of intronic sequence are significantly overrepresented amongst genes that are highly expressed in the nervous system, and amongst genes downregulated in embryonic stem cells and cancers. We suggest that the informational paradox in complex organisms may be explained by the expansion of cis-acting regulatory elements and genes specifying trans-acting non-protein-coding RNAs. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that there is a kind of moral disagreement that survives the Rawlsian veil of ignorance. While a veil of ignorance eliminates sources of disagreement stemming from self-interest, it does not do anything to eliminate deeper sources of disagreement. These disagreements not only persist, but transform their structure once behind the veil of ignorance. We consider formal frameworks for exploring these differences in structure between interested and disinterested disagreement, and argue that consensus models offer us a (...) solution concept for disagreements behind the veil of ignorance. (shrink)
Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the (...) very concept of qualitative change is inconsistent. Change in any respect is impossible, they argued, as change requires difference and nothing differs from itself. Few today would accept the Eleatic conclusion that change is impossible. But the topic of change continues to be a source of much debate, as it brings together various issues that are central to metaphysics, language, and logic – including identity, persistence, time, tense, and temporal logic. Author Recommends Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Problem of Change.' Philosophy Compass 1 (2006): 1–10. This article presents the problem of change and provides a brief survey of potential solutions. Haslanger, Sally. 'Persistence Through Time.' The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics . Eds. M. Loux and D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. This article presents the problem of change and provides a detailed survey of potential solutions. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. This article presents, explains, and defends the temporal parts solution to the problem of change. Hinchliff, Mark. 'The Puzzle of Change.' Philosophical Perspectives 10 (1996): 119–36. This article presents, explains, and defends the presentist solution to the problem of change. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. This article presents, explains, and defends the relationist solution to the problem of change. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. This book provides an introduction to various issues related to the problem of change, including the nature of time, tense, and persistence. Chapter 5 presents, explains, and defends the stage-view solution to the problem of change. Online Materials Change. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/change/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on change, by Chris Mortensen. Time. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on time, by Ned Markosian. Temporal Parts. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/temporal-parts/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on temporal parts, by Katherine Hawley. Material Constitution. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/material-constitution/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on material constitution, by Ryan Wasserman. Persistence Bibliography. URL: http://tedsider.org/teaching/pp_bibliography.pdf A bibliography on change and related issues, by Theodore Sider. Sample Syllabus Books on Syllabus Rea, Michael. Material Constitution: A Reader . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. 2008. Metaphysics: The Big Questions . 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Week 1: Time and Tense Four-Dimensionalism , chapters 1 and 2. Markosian, Ned. 'A Defence of Presentism.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 47–82. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 116-123. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 124-129. Week 2: Time and Persistence Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 3. McGrath, Matthew. 'Temporal Parts.' Philosophy Compass 2 (2007): 730–48. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 265-267. Hawthorne, J, Scala, M., and Wasserman, R. 'Recombination, Humean Supervenience, and Causal Constraints: An Argument for Temporal Parts?' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 301-318. Week 3: Change and Presentism In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 141-149. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 267-269. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 269-281. Week 4: Change and Temporal Parts Four-Dimensionalism , pp. 92–8. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. Lombard, Lawrence. 'The Doctrine of Temporal Parts and the "No Change" Objection.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 365–72. Week 5: Change, Relationism, and Adverbialism Hawley, Katherine. 'Why Temporary Properties are not Relations between Physical Objects and Times.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1998): 211–16. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. Lewis, David. 'Tensing the Copula.' Mind 111 (2002): 1–13. Caplan, Ben. 'Why so Tense about the Copula?' Mind 114 (2007): 703–8. Week 6: Change and Tropes Ehring, Douglas. 'Lewis, Temporary Intrinsics and Momentary Tropes.' Analysis 57 (1997): 254–8. MacBride, Fraser. 'Four New Ways to Change Your Shape.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2001): 81–9. Simons, Peter. 'On Being Spread Out in Time: Temporal Parts and the Problem of Change.' Existence and Explanation . Eds. W. Spohn, B.C. van Fraassen, and B. Skyrms. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991: 131-147. Weeks 7 and 8: Special Topic – Material Change Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 5. Selections from Material Constitution: A Reader. Week 9: Special Topic – Change of Position In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 186-195. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 195-215. Week 10: Special topic – Changing the Past In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 224-235. van Iwagen, Peter. 'Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5 . Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 1-22. Hudson, H. and Wasserman, R. 'Van Inwagen on Time Travel and Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 41-49. (shrink)
: In 1856, Michael Faraday (1791–1867) conducted nearly a year's worth of research on the optical properties of gold, in the course of which he discovered the first metallic colloids. Following our own discovery of hundreds of the specimens prepared by Faraday for this research, the present paper describes the cognitive role of these "epistemic artifacts" in the dynamics of Faraday's research practices. Analysis of the specimens, Faraday's Diary records, and replications of selected procedures (partly to replace missing kinds of (...) specimens and partly to understand the "tacit knowledge" implicated in Faraday's research) are outlined, and a reconstruction of the events surrounding the initial discovery of metallic colloids is presented. (shrink)
Humeans hold that the nomological features of our world, including causal facts, are determined by the global distribution of fundamental properties. Since persistence presupposes causation, it follows that facts about personal identity are also globally determined. I argue that this is unacceptable for a number of reasons, and that the doctrine of Humean supervenience should therefore be rejected.