Sarah Moss argues that in addition to full beliefs, credences can constitute knowledge. She introduces the notion of probabilistic content and shows how it plays a central role not only in epistemology, but in the philosophy of mind and language. Just you can believe and assert propositions, you can believe and assert probabilistic contents.
In the first Russian Roulette scene in the Deer Hunter, do the circumstances giving rise to Mike's and Nick's "rebellion" merely document Kahneman-Tversky-type glitches in the reasoning of their Vietcong captors, or does the scene also reveal a genuine inadequacy in our current understanding of interactive rationality--the resolution of which would have profound implications for rational choice theory and its myriad applications? I argue the latter.
In this incisive study Sarah Broadie gives an argued account of the main topics of Aristotle's ethics: eudaimonia, virtue, voluntary agency, practical reason, akrasia, pleasure, and the ethical status of theoria. She explores the sense of "eudaimonia," probes Aristotle's division of the soul and its virtues, and traces the ambiguities in "voluntary." Fresh light is shed on his comparison of practical wisdom with other kinds of knowledge, and a realistic account is developed of Aristototelian deliberation. The concept of pleasure (...) as value-judgment is expounded, and the problem of akrasia is argued to be less of a problem to Aristotle than to his modern interpreters. Showing that the theoretic ideal of Nicomachean Ethics X is in step with the earlier emphasis on practice, as well as with the doctrine of the Eudemian Ethics, this work makes a major contribution towards the understanding of Aristotle's ethics. (shrink)
Since Mill's seminal work On Liberty, philosophers and political theorists have accepted that we should respect the decisions of individual agents when those decisions affect no one other than themselves. Indeed, to respect autonomy is often understood to be the chief way to bear witness to the intrinsic value of persons. In this book, Sarah Conly rejects the idea of autonomy as inviolable. Drawing on sources from behavioural economics and social psychology, she argues that we are so often irrational (...) in making our decisions that our autonomous choices often undercut the achievement of our own goals. Thus in many cases it would advance our goals more effectively if government were to prevent us from acting in accordance with our decisions. Her argument challenges widely held views of moral agency, democratic values and the public/private distinction, and will interest readers in ethics, political philosophy, political theory and philosophy of law. (shrink)
We have been teaching gender issues and feminist theory for many years, and we know that there is certainly a diversity of views among women, and men, about what counts as feminist or as good for women. Some may see a competent woman running for V.P as inevitably a step forward for women's equality. But consider this.
The Archival and Constructive views of memory offer contrasting characterizations of remembering and its relation to memory errors. I evaluate the descriptive adequacy of each by offering a close analysis of one of the most prominent experimental techniques by which memory errors are elicited—the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm. Explaining the DRM effect requires appreciating it as a distinct form of memory error, which I refer to as misremembering. Misremembering is a memory error that relies on successful retention of the targeted event. It (...) differs from both successful remembering and from confabulation errors, where the representation produced is wholly inaccurate. As I show, neither the Archival nor the Constructive View can account for the DRM effect because they are insensitive to misremembering’s unique explanatory demands. Fortunately, the explanatory limitations of the Archival and Constructive Views are complementary. This suggests a way.. (shrink)
Confabulation is a symptom central to many psychiatric diagnoses and can be severely debilitating to those who exhibit the symptom. Theorists, scientists, and clinicians have an understandable interest in the nature of confabulation—pursuing ways to define, identify, treat, and perhaps even prevent this memory disorder. Appeals to confabulation as a clinical symptom rely on an account of memory’s function from which cases like the above can be contrasted. Accounting for confabulation is thus an important desideratum for any candidate theory of (...) memory. Many contemporary memory theorists now endorse Constructivism, where memory is understood as a capacity for constructing plausible representations of past events. Constructivism’s aim is to account for and normalize the prevalence of memory errors in everyday life. Errors are plausible constructions that, on a particular occasion have led to error. They are not, however, evidence of malfunction in the memory system. While Constructivism offers an uplifting repackaging of the memory errors to which we are all susceptible, it has troubling implications for appeals to confabulation in psychiatric diagnosis. By accommodating memory errors within our understanding of memory’s function, Constructivism runs the risk of being unable to explain how confabulation errors are evidence of malfunction. After reviewing the literature on confabulation and Constructivism, respectively, I identify the tension between them and explore how different versions of Constructivism may respond. The paper concludes with a proposal for distinguishing between kinds of false memory—specifically, between misremembering and confabulation—that may provide a route to their reconciliation. (shrink)
This article provides a history of private sector tracking technologies, examining how the advent of commercial surveillance centered around a logic of data capitalism. Data capitalism is a system in which the commoditization of our data enables an asymmetric redistribution of power that is weighted toward the actors who have access and the capability to make sense of information. It is enacted through capitalism and justified by the association of networked technologies with the political and social benefits of online community, (...) drawing upon narratives that foreground the social and political benefits of networked technologies. I examine its origins in the wake of the dotcom bubble, when technology makers sought to develop a new business model to support online commerce. By leveraging user data for advertising purposes, they contributed to an information environment in which every action leaves behind traces collected by companies for commercial purposes. Through analysis of primary source materials produced by technology makers, journalists, and business analysts, I examine the emergence of data capitalism between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s and its central role in the contemporary information economy. (shrink)
In the earliest phase of his logical investigations, Peirce adopts Mill's doctrine of real Kinds as discussed in the System of Logic and adapts it to the logical conceptions he was then developing. In Peirce's definition of natural class, a crucial role is played by the notion of information: a natural class is a class of which some non-analytical proposition is true. In Peirce's hands, Mill's distinction between connotative and non-connotative terms becomes a distinction between symbolic and informative and pseudo-symbolic (...) and non-informative forms of representation. A symbol is for Peirce a representation which has information. Just as for Mill all names of Kind connote their being such, so for Peirce all symbols profess to correspond to a natural class. (shrink)
This is a contribution to the symposium on Herman Cappelen’s book Fixing Language. Cappelen proposes a metasemantic framework—the “Austerity Framework”—within which to understand the general phenomenon of conceptual engineering. The proposed framework is austere in the sense that it makes no reference to concepts. Conceptual engineering is then given a “worldly” construal according to which conceptual engineering is a process that operates on the world. I argue, contra Cappelen, that an adequate theory of conceptual engineering must make reference to concepts. (...) This is because concepts are required to account for topic continuity, a phenomenon which lies at the heart of projects in conceptual engineering. I argue that Cappelen’s own account of topic continuity is inadequate as a result of the austerity of his metasemantic framework, and that his worldly construal of conceptual engineering is untenable. (shrink)
Words change meaning over time. Some meaning shift is accompanied by a corresponding change in subject matter; some meaning shift is not. In this paper I argue that an account of linguistic meaning can accommodate the first kind of case, but that a theory of concepts is required to accommodate the second. Where there is stability of subject matter through linguistic change, it is concepts that provide the stability. The stability provided by concepts allows for genuine disagreement and ameliorative change (...) in the context of conceptual engineering. (shrink)
Plato's Timaeus is one of the most influential and challenging works of ancient philosophy to have come down to us. Sarah Broadie's rich and compelling study proposes new interpretations of major elements of the Timaeus, including the separate Demiurge, the cosmic 'beginning', the 'second mixing', the Receptacle and the Atlantis story. Broadie shows how Plato deploys the mythic themes of the Timaeus to convey fundamental philosophical insights and examines the profoundly differing methods of interpretation which have been brought to (...) bear on the work. Her book is for everyone interested in Ancient Greek philosophy, cosmology and mythology, whether classicists, philosophers, historians of ideas or historians of science. It offers new findings to scholars familiar with the material, but it is also a clear and reliable resource for anyone coming to it for the first time. (shrink)
This paper provides an externalist account of talk and thought that clearly distinguishes the two. It is argued that linguistic meanings and concepts track different phenomena and have different explanatory roles. The distinction, understood along the lines proposed, brings theoretical gains in a cluster of related areas. It provides an account of meaning change which accommodates the phenomenon of contested meanings and the possibility of substantive disagreement across theoretical divides, and it explains the nature and value of conceptual engineering in (...) a way that addresses recent prominent concerns. (shrink)
Conceptual engineering is to be explained by appeal to the externalist distinction between concepts and conceptions. If concepts are determined by non-conceptual relations to objective properties rather than by associated conceptions (whether individual or communal), then topic preservation through semantic change will be possible. The requisite level of objectivity is guaranteed by the possibility of collective error and does not depend on a stronger level of objectivity, such as mind-independence or independence from linguistic or social practice more generally. This means (...) that the requisite level of objectivity is exhibited not only by natural kinds, but also by a wide range of philosophical kinds, social kinds and artefactual kinds. The alternative externalist accounts of conceptual engineering offered by Herman Cappelen and Derek Ball fall back into a kind of descriptivism which is antithetical to externalism and fails to recognise this basic level of objectivity. (shrink)
According to the Causal Theory of Memory, remembering a particular past event requires a causal connection between that event and its subsequent representation in memory, specifically, a connection sustained by a memory trace. The CTM is the default view of memory in contemporary philosophy, but debates persist over what the involved memory traces must be like. Martin and Deutscher argued that the CTM required memory traces to be structural analogues of past events. Bernecker and Michaelian, contemporary CTM proponents, reject structural (...) analogues in favor of memory traces as distributed patterns of event features. The proposals are understood as distinct accounts of how memory traces represent past events. But there are two distinct questions one could ask about a trace’s representational features. One might ask how memory traces, qua mental representations, have their semantic properties. Or, what makes memory traces, qua mental representations of memories, distinct from other mental representations. Proponents of the CTM, both past and present, have failed to keep these two questions distinct. The result is a serious but unnoticed problem for the CTM in its current form. Distributed memory traces are incompatible with the CTM. Such traces do not provide a way to track the causal history of individual memories, as the CTM requires. If memory traces are distributed patterns of event features, as Bernecker and Michaelian each claim, then the CTM cannot be right. (shrink)
In a volume devoted to philosophy, religion and the spiritual life, I would like to focus the later part of my essay on a comparison of two Christian spiritual writings of the fourteenth century, the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing in the West, and the Triads of Gregory Palamas in the Byzantine East. Their examples, for reasons which I shall explain, seem to me rich with implications for some of our current philosophical and theological aporias on the nature of the self. (...) Let me explain my thesis in skeletal form at the outset, for it is a complex one, and has several facets. (shrink)
How fragile is our knowledge of morality, compared to other kinds of knowledge? Does knowledge of the difference between right and wrong fundamentally differ from knowledge of other kinds? Sarah McGrath offers new answers to these questions as she explores the possibilities, sources and characteristic vulnerabilities of moral knowledge.
A compelling argument for the morality of limitations on procreation in lessening the harmful environmental effects of unchecked populationWe live in a world where a burgeoning global population has started to have a major and destructive environmental impact. The results, including climate change and the struggle for limited resources, appear to be inevitable aspects of a difficult future. Mandatory population control might be a possible last resort to combat this problem, but is also a potentially immoral and undesirable violation of (...) human rights. Since so many view procreation as an essential component of the right to personal happiness and autonomy, the dominant view remains that the government does not have the right to impose these restrictions on its own citizens, for the sake of future people who have yet to exist.Sarah Conly is first to make the contentious argument that not only is it wrong to have more than one child in the face of such concerns, we do not even retain the right to do so. In One Child, Conly argues that autonomy and personal rights are not unlimited, especially if one's body may cause harm to anyone, and that the government has a moral obligation to protect both current and future citizens. Conly gives readers a thought-provoking and accessible exposure to the problem of population growth and develops a credible view of what our moral obligations really are, to generations present and future. (shrink)
The Ethics of Need: Agency, Dignity, and Obligation argues for the philosophical importance of the notion of need and for an ethical framework through which we can determine which needs have moral significance. In the volume, Sarah Clark Miller synthesizes insights from Kantian and feminist care ethics to establish that our mutual and inevitable interdependence gives rise to a duty to care for the needs of others. Further, she argues that we are obligated not merely to meet others’ needs (...) but to do so in a manner that expresses "dignifying care," a concept that captures how human interactions can grant or deny equal moral standing and inclusion in a moral community. She illuminates these theoretical developments by examining two cases where urgent needs require a caring and dignifying response: the needs of the elderly and the needs of global strangers. Those working in the areas of feminist theory, women’s studies, aging studies, bioethics, and global studies should find this volume of interest. (shrink)
As a number of high profile companies have found to their cost, corporate reputations can be significantly affected by firms' management of sustainability issue, including those that are outside their direct control, such as the environmental and social impacts of their supply networks. This paper begins by examining the relationship between corporate social responsibility, reputation, and supply network conditions. It then looks at the effectiveness of one tool for managing supply network sustainability issues, ethical sourcing codes of conduct, by examining (...) how the characteristics of three supply networks branded clothes, DIY wood products and branded confectionary affects the implementation ethical sourcing codes of conduct. It ends by setting out conclusions on why implementation of such codes has been so much more successful in some sectors than others and recommendations on effective approaches to managing sustainability issues in supply networks. (shrink)
Juhani Yli-Vakkuri has argued that the Twin Earth thought experiments offered in favour of semantic externalism can be replaced by a straightforward deductive argument from premisses widely accepted by both internalists and externalists alike. The deductive argument depends, however, on premisses that, on standard formulations of internalism, cannot be satisfied by a single belief simultaneously. It does not therefore, constitute a proof of externalism. The aim of this article is to explain why.
In a series of recent articles, Robin Jeshion has developed a theory of singular thought which she calls ‘cognitivism’. According to Jeshion, cognitivism offers a middle path between acquaintance theories—which she takes to impose too strong a requirement on singular thought, and semantic instrumentalism—which she takes to impose too weak a requirement. In this article, I raise a series of concerns about Jeshion's theory, and suggest that the relevant data can be accommodated by a version of acquaintance theory that distinguishes (...) unsuccessful thoughts of singular form from successful singular thoughts, and in addition allows for ‘trace-based’ acquaintance. (shrink)
Returning to the in/articulations of the death drives in 'Beyond the Pleasure Principle', this paper speculates about a literary debt that appears and disappears in Freud's essay. It follows the various modes of play within the text: the playing of a child's game, the staging of a tragic play, the magical play of examples, and the animate, incessant play of language—particularly the play of a single letter, O.
The study explores the influence of relative pronouns WHO or THAT on attributions of humanness across four categories of entities. Eighty-three university students performed an attribution task where they saw a priming phrase containing one category item with either WHO or THAT and then two trait attribute items, from which they selected the trait attribute most meaningfully suited to the phrase. Data were analyzed with a repeated measures 2 × 2 × 4 ANOVA. Participants responded relatively faster to HN trait (...) attributes than to UH traits, and responded faster to named animals than to all other entities. Faster responses also ensued for people-WHO pairings than people-THAT pairings, and vice versa for named animals. (shrink)
Traditionally, discussions of moral participation – and in particular moral agency – have focused on fully formed human actors. There has been some interest in the development of morality in humans, as well as interest in cultural differences when it comes to moral practices, commitments, and actions. However, until relatively recently, there has been little focus on the possibility that nonhuman animals have any role to play in morality, save being the objects of moral concern. Moreover, when nonhuman cases are (...) considered as evidence of moral agency or subjecthood, there has been an anthropocentric tendency to focus on those behaviors that inform our attributions of moral agency to humans. For example, some argue that the ability to evaluate the principles upon which a moral norm is grounded is required for full moral agency. Certainly, if a moral agent must understand what makes an action right or wrong, then most nonhuman animals would not qualify (and perhaps some humans too). However, if we are to understand the evolution of moral psychology and moral practice, we need to turn our attention to the foundations of full moral agency. We must first pay attention to the more broadly normative practices of other animals. Here, we begin that project by considering evidence that great apes and cetaceans participate in normative practices. (shrink)
Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life examines construction, manipulation and re-definition of life in contemporary technoscientific culture. It takes a critical political view of the concept of life as information, tracing this through the new biology and the changing discipline of artificial life and its manifestation in art, language, literature, commerce and entertainment. From cloning to computer games, and incorporating an analysis of hardware, software and 'wetware', Sarah Kember demonstrates how this relatively marginal field connects with, and connects up global networks (...) of information systems. As well as offering suggestions for the evolution of [cyber]feminism in Alife environments, the author identifies the emergence of posthumanism; an ethics of the posthuman subject mobilized in the tension between cold war and post-cold war politics, psychological and biological machines, centralized and de-centralized control, top-down and bottom-up processing, autonomous and autopoietic organisms, cloning and transgenesis, species-self and other species. Ultimately, this book aims to re-focus concern on the ethics rather than on the 'nature' of life-as-it-could-be. (shrink)