An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that thinking (...) and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
This work presents the basic arguments and fundamental themes of the political and moral thought of the seventeenth-century philosopher, Samuel Pufendorf--one of the most widely read natural lawyers of the pre-Kantian era. Selections from the texts of Pufendorf's two major works, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence and The Law of Nature and of Nations, have been brought together to make Pufendorf's moral and political thought more accessible. The selections included have received a new English translation, the first for both works (...) in roughly sixty years. The editor, a political scientist, and the translator, a philosopher, have developed a volume that is comprehensive and representative of Pufendorf's thought without being repetitive, fragmented, or obscure. (shrink)
This article seeks to demonstrate the influence of J. G. Fichte's philosophy on Søren Kierkegaard's theory of the self as he develops it in The Sickness unto Death and to interpret his theory of the self as a religious critique of autonomy. Following Michelle Kosch, it argues that Kierkegaard's theory of the self was developed in part as a critique of idealist conceptions of agency. Moreover, Kierkegaard's view of agency provides a powerful way of understanding human freedom and finitude that (...) has implications for contemporary debates about autonomy, normativity, and agency. (shrink)
Samuel Kerstein’s recent (2013) How To Treat Persons is an ambitious attempt to develop a new, broadly Kantian account of what it is to treat others as mere means and what it means to act in accordance with others’ dignity. His project is explicitly nonfoundationalist: his interpretation stands or falls on its ability to accommodate our pretheoretic intuitions, and he does an admirable job of handling carefully a range of well fleshed out and sometimes subtle examples. In what follows, (...) I shall give a quick summary of the chapters and then say two good things about the book and one critical thing. (shrink)
What are the features of a good scientific theory? Samuel Schindler's book revisits this classical question in the philosophy of science and develops new answers to it. Theoretical virtues matter not only for choosing theories 'to work with', but also for what we are justified in believing: only if the theories we possess are good ones can we be confident that our theories' claims about nature are actually correct. Recent debates have focussed rather narrowly on a theory's capacity to (...) predict new phenomena successfully, but Schindler argues that the justification for this focus is thin. He discusses several other theory properties such as testability, accuracy, and consistency, and highlights the importance of simplicity and coherence. Using detailed historical case studies and careful philosophical analysis, Schindler challenges the received view of theoretical virtues and advances arguments for the view that science uncovers reality through theory. (shrink)
This paper rereads David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion as dramatising a distinctive, naturalistic account of toleration. I have two purposes in mind: first, to complete and ground Hume's fragmentary explicit discussion of toleration; second, to unearth a potentially attractive alternative to more recent, Rawlsian approaches to toleration. To make my case, I connect Dialogues and the problem of toleration to the wider themes of naturalism, scepticism and their relation in Hume's thought, before developing a new interpretation of Dialogues part (...) 12 as political drama. Finally, I develop the Humean theory of toleration I have discovered by comparison between Rawls's and Hume's strategies for justification of a tolerant political regime. (shrink)
Abstract The debate in the philosophy of perception between direct realists and representationalists should influence the debate in epistemology between internalists and externalists about justification. If direct realists are correct, there are more consciously accessible justifiers for internalists to exploit than externalists think. Internalists can retain their distinctive internalist identity while accepting this widened conception of internalistic justification: even if they welcome the possibility of cognitive access to external facts, their position is still quite distinct from the typical externalist position. (...) To demonstrate this, Alvin Goldman’s critique of internalism is shown to ignore important lessons from the case for direct realism about perception. In particular, it unjustifiably assumes that internalism entails that only facts simultaneous with the justification of a belief can justify the belief. Goldman’s definition of a “justifier” is also inconsistent with the overall guidance conception of epistemology he takes for granted in his critique of internalism. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0146-4 Authors Benjamin Bayer, Department of Philosophy, Loyola University, New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 046, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150. (shrink)
Samuel Newlands presents a sweeping new interpretation of Spinoza's metaphysical system and the way in which his metaphysics shapes, and is shaped by, his moral program. Engaging with contemporary metaphysics and ethics, Newlands reveals just how exciting and vibrant Spinoza's philosophical outlook remains for philosophers today.
In this superb introduction, Samuel Freeman introduces and assesses the main topics of Rawls' philosophy. Starting with a brief biography and charting the influences on Rawls' early thinking, he goes on to discuss the heart of Rawls's philosophy: his principles of justice and their practical application to society. Subsequent chapters discuss Rawls's theories of liberty, political and economic justice, democratic institutions, goodness as rationality, moral psychology, political liberalism, and international justice and a concluding chapter considers Rawls' legacy. Clearly setting (...) out the ideas in Rawls' masterwork, _A Theory of Justice_, Samuel Freeman also considers Rawls' other key works, including _Political Liberalism_ and _The Law of Peoples_. An invaluable introduction to this deeply influential philosopher, _Rawls_ is essential reading for anyone coming to his work for the first time. (shrink)
Both traditional and naturalistic epistemologists have long assumed that the examination of human psychology has no relevance to the prescriptive goal of traditional epistemology, that of providing first-person guidance in determining the truth. Contrary to both, I apply insights about the psychology of human perception and concept-formation to a very traditional epistemological project: the foundationalist approach to the epistemic regress problem. I argue that direct realism about perception can help solve the regress problem and support a foundationalist account of justification, (...) but only if it is supplemented by an abstractionist theory of concept-formation, the view that it is possible to abstract concepts directly from the empirically given. Critics of direct realism like Laurence BonJour are correct that an account of direct perception by itself does not provide an adequate account of justification. However a direct realist account of perception can inform the needed theory of concept-formation, and leading critics of abstractionism like McDowell and Sellars, direct realists about perception themselves, fail to appreciate the ways in which their own views about perception help fill gaps in earlier accounts of abstractionism. Recognizing this undercuts both their objections to abstractionism and (therefore) their objections to foundationalism. (shrink)
First published Sat Apr 5, 2003; most recent substantive revision Wed Aug 22, 2018. -/- Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) was the most influential British philosopher in the generation between Locke and Berkeley. His philosophical interests were mostly in metaphysics, theology, and ethics.
Samuel Freeman was a student of the influential philosopher John Rawls, he has edited numerous books dedicated to Rawls' work and is arguably Rawls' foremost interpreter. This volume collects new and previously published articles by Freeman on Rawls. Among other things, Freeman places Rawls within historical context in the social contract tradition, and thoughtfully addresses criticisms of this position. Not only is Freeman a leading authority on Rawls, but he is an excellent thinker in his own right, and these (...) articles will be useful to a wide range of scholars interested in Rawls and the expanse of his influence. (shrink)
During the last 25 years, researchers studying human reasoning and judgment in what has become known as the “heuristics and biases” tradition have produced an impressive body of experimental work which many have seen as having “bleak implications” for the rationality of ordinary people (Nisbett and Borgida 1975). According to one proponent of this view, when we reason about probability we fall victim to “inevitable illusions” (Piattelli-Palmarini 1994). Other proponents maintain that the human mind is prone to “systematic deviations from (...) rationality” (Bazerman & Neale 1986) and is “not built to work by the rules of probability” (Gould 1992). It has even been suggested that human beings are “a species that is uniformly probability-blind” (Piattelli-Palmarini 1994). This provocative and pessimistic interpretation of the experimental findings has been challenged from many different directions over the years. One of the most recent and energetic of these challenges has come from the newly emerging field of evolutionary psychology, where it has been argued that it’s singularly implausible to claim that our species would have evolved with no “instinct for probability” and, hence, be “blind to chance” (Pinker 1997, 351). Though evolutionary psychologists concede that it is possible to design experiments that “trick our probability.. (shrink)
This paper highlights an important distinction underlying the possibility of inquiry, between first _identifying the subject of inquiry and ultimately _explaining it: that the former can be achieved before and without the latter is a presupposition of inquiry. I believe Aristotle is keenly aware of this in _Posterior Analytics, II.8, where he shows how a scientific demonstration can "manifest" a definition. I argue that such a demonstration consists of two sorts of syllogisms, one identifying the definiendum, the other explaining it. (...) Further, this distinction is tied in crucial ways to two others: between existence and essence, and between particular and universal. (shrink)
Body and World is the definitive edition of a book that shouldnow take its place as a major contribution to contemporary existentialphenomenology. Samuel Todes goes beyond Martin Heidegger and MauriceMerleau-Ponty in his description of how independent physical natureand experience are united in our bodily action. His account allows himto preserve the authority of experience while avoiding the tendencytoward idealism that threatens both Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty.Todes emphasizes the complex structure of the human body ;front/back asymmetry, the need to balance in (...) a gravitational field, and so forth ;and the role that structure plays in producing the spatiotemporal field of experience and in making possible objective knowledge of the objects in it. He shows that perception involves nonconceptual, but nonetheless objective forms of judgment. One can think of Body and World as fleshing out Merleau-Ponty's project while presciently relating it to the current interest in embodiment, not only in philosophy but also in psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and anthropology. Todes's work opens new ways of thinking about problems such as the relation of perception to thought and the possibility of knowing an independent reality ;problems that have occupied philosophers since Kant and still concern analytic and continental philosophy. (shrink)
Samuel J. Kerstein develops a new, broadly Kantian account of the ethical issues that arise when a person treats another merely as a means. He explores how Kantian principles on the dignity of persons shed light on pressing issues in modern bioethics, including the distribution of scarce medical resources and the regulation of markets in organs.
Why should we care what happens to future generations? Samuel Scheffler argues that we are more invested in the fate of our descendants than we may realize. Implicit in our own attachments are powerful reasons for wanting the chain of human generations to persist into the indefinite future under conditions conducive to human flourishing.
The UK Chief Medical Officer’s 2016 Annual Report, Generation Genome, focused on a vision to fully integrate genomics into all aspects of the UK’s National Health Service. This process of integration, which has now already begun, raises a wide range of social and ethical concerns, many of which were discussed in the final Chapter of the report. This paper explores how the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project —the catalyst for Generation Genome, and for bringing genomics into the NHS—is negotiating these ethical (...) concerns. The UK’s 100 kGP, promoted and delivered by Genomics England Limited, is an innovative venture aiming to sequence 100,000 genomes from NHS patients who have a rare disease, cancer, or an infectious disease. GEL has emphasised the importance of ethical governance and decision-making. However, some sociological critique argues that biomedical/technological organisations presenting themselves as ‘ethical’ entities do not necessarily reflect a space within which moral thinking occurs. Rather, the ‘ethical work’ conducted by organisations is more strategic, relating to the politics of the organisation and the need to build public confidence. We set out to explore whether GEL’s ethical framework was reflective of this critique, and what this tells us more broadly about how genomics is being integrated into the NHS in response to the ethical and social concerns raised in Generation Genome. We do this by drawing on a series of 20 interviews with individuals associated with or working at GEL. (shrink)
The processes underwriting the acquisition of culture remain unclear. How are shared habits, norms, and expectations learned and maintained with precision and reliability across large-scale sociocultural ensembles? Is there a unifying account of the mechanisms involved in the acquisition of culture? Notions such as “shared expectations,” the “selective patterning of attention and behaviour,” “cultural evolution,” “cultural inheritance,” and “implicit learning” are the main candidates to underpin a unifying account of cognition and the acquisition of culture; however, their interactions require greater (...) specification and clarification. In this article, we integrate these candidates using the variational approach to human cognition and culture in theoretical neuroscience. We describe the construction by humans of social niches that afford epistemic resources called cultural affordances. We argue that human agents learn the shared habits, norms, and expectations of their culture through immersive participation in patterned cultural practices that selectively pattern attention and behaviour. We call this process “thinking through other minds” – in effect, the process of inferring other agents’ expectations about the world and how to behave in social context. We argue that for humans, information from and about other people's expectations constitutes the primary domain of statistical regularities that humans leverage to predict and organize behaviour. The integrative model we offer has implications that can advance theories of cognition, enculturation, adaptation, and psychopathology. Crucially, this formal treatment seeks to resolve key debates in current cognitive science, such as the distinction between internalist and externalist accounts of theory of mind abilities and the more fundamental distinction between dynamical and representational accounts of enactivism. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that sentences that contain ‘omission’ tokens that appear to function as singular terms are meaningful while maintaining the view that omissions are nothing at all or mere absences. I take omissions to be fictional entities and claim that the way in which sentences about fictional characters are true parallels the way in which sentences about omissions are true. I develop a pragmatic account of fictional reference and argue that my fictionalist account of omissions implies a (...) plausible account of the metaphysics of omissions. (shrink)
This paper evaluates recent proposals for compatibilism about doxastic freedom, and attempts to refine them by applying Fischer and Ravizza’s moderate reasons-responsiveness compatibilism to doxastic freedom. I argue, however, that even this refined version of doxastic compatibilism is subject to challenging counter-examples and is more difficult to support than traditional compatibilism about freedom of action. In particular, it is much more difficult to identify convincing examples of the sort Frankfurt proposed to challenge the idea that responsibility requires alternative possibilities.
The leading reductive approaches to shared agency model that phenomenon in terms of complexes of individual intentions, understood as plan-laden commitments. Yet not all agents have such intentions, and non-planning agents such as small children and some non-human animals are clearly capable of sophisticated social interactions. But just how robust are their social capacities? Are non-planning agents capable of shared agency? Existing theories of shared agency have little to say about these important questions. I address this lacuna by developing a (...) reductive account of the social capacities of non-planning agents, which I argue supports the conclusion that they can enjoy shared agency. The resulting discussion offers a fine-grained account of the psychological capacities that can underlie shared agency, and produces a recipe for generating novel hypotheses concerning why some agents do not engage in shared agency. (shrink)
Samuel Alexander was one of the foremost philosophical figures of his day and has been argued by John Passmore to be one of ‘fathers’ of Australian philosophy as well as a novel kind of physicalist. Yet Alexander is now relatively neglected, his role in the genesis of Australian philosophy if far from widely accepted and the standard interpretation takes him to be an anti-physicalist. In this paper, I carefully examine these issues and show that Alexander has been badly, although (...) understandably, misjudged by most of his contemporary critics and interpreters. Most importantly, I show that Alexander offers an ingenious, and highly original, version of physicalism at the heart of which is a strikingly different view of the nature of the microphysical properties and associated view of emergent properties. My final conclusion will be that Passmore is correct in his claims both that Alexander is significant as one of the grandfather’s of Australian philosophy and that he provides a novel physicalist position. I will also suggest that Alexander’s emergentism is important for addressing the so-called ‘problem of mental causation’ presently dogging contemporary non-reductive physicalists. (shrink)
Over the past few decades, reasoning and rationality have been the focus of enormous interdisciplinary attention, attracting interest from philosophers, psychologists, economists, statisticians and anthropologists, among others. The widespread interest in the topic reflects the central status of reasoning in human affairs. But it also suggests that there are many different though related projects and tasks which need to be addressed if we are to attain a comprehensive understanding of reasoning.
From the end of the twelfth century until the middle of the eighteenth century, the concept of a right of necessity –i.e. the moral prerogative of an agent, given certain conditions, to use or take someone else’s property in order to get out of his plight– was common among moral and political philosophers, who took it to be a valid exception to the standard moral and legal rules. In this essay, I analyze Samuel Pufendorf’s account of such a right, (...) founded on the basic instinct of self-preservation and on the notion that, in civil society, we have certain minimal duties of humanity towards each other. I review Pufendorf’s secularized account of natural law, his conception of the civil state, and the function of private property. I then turn to his criticism of Grotius’s understanding of the right of necessity as a retreat to the pre-civil right of common use, and defend his account against some recent criticisms. Finally, I examine the conditions deemed necessary and jointly sufficient for this right to be claimable, and conclude by pointing to the main strengths of this account. Keywords: Samuel Pufendorf, Hugo Grotius, right of necessity, duty of humanity, private property. (shrink)
Samuel Clarke was by far the most gifted and influential Newtonian philosopher of his generation, and A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, which constituted the 1704 Boyle Lectures, was one of the most important works of the first half of the eighteenth century, generating a great deal of controversy about the relation between space and God, the nature of divine necessary existence, the adequacy of the Cosmological Argument, agent causation, and the immateriality of the soul. Together (...) with the other texts presented in this edition, it also provides the best introduction to Clarke's philosophical views, which, in addition to their intrinsic interest, are historically important for the light they shed both on the philosophical positions within the Newtonian circle and on the exchange between Clarke and Leibniz, the most famous philosophical controversy of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
Samuel Pufendorf is one of the most important moral and political philosophers of the seventeenth century. His theory, which builds on Grotius and Hobbes, was immediately recognized as a classic and taken up by writers as diverse as Locke, Hume, Rousseau, and Smith. Over the past twenty years there has been a renaissance of Pufendorf scholarship. On the Duty of Man and Citizen is Pufendorf's own epitome of his monumental On the Law of Nature and of Nations, and it (...) served as a basic text in European universities throughout the Enlightenment. This edition has a lucid and historically sensitive translation by Michael Silverthorne, the first since the early twentieth century. James Tully's introduction sets the text in its context, summarizes the main arguments, surveys recent literature on Pufendorf, and shows how Pufendorf transformed natural law theory into an independent discipline of juristic political philosophy that dominated reflection on politics until Kant. (shrink)
Can a belief source confer justification when we lack antecedent justification for believing that it’s reliable? A negative answer quickly leads to skepticism. A positive answer, however, seems to commit one to allowing pernicious reasoning known as “epistemic bootstrapping.” Puzzles surrounding bootstrapping arise because we illicitly assume either that justification requires doxastic awareness of a source’s epistemic credentials or that there is no requirement that a subject be aware of these credentials. We can resolve the puzzle by splitting the horns (...) and requiring a non-conceptual awareness of, or direct acquaintance with, a source’s legitimacy. Requiring non-conceptual as opposed to doxastic awareness halts the regress and avoids the skeptical results. On the other hand, requiring non-conceptual awareness also guarantees that we are aware of evidence for a source’s reliability prior to using that source to form justified beliefs; we thereby avoid the problem of allowing epistemic bootstrapping to generate the illicit gains in justification. (shrink)