Arthur C. Danto is the Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University and the most influential philosopher of art in the last half-century. As an art critic for the Nation and frequent contributor to other widely read outlets such as the New York Review of Books, Danto also has become one of the most respected public intellectuals of his generation. He is the author of some two dozen important books, along with hundreds of articles and reviews that have been (...) the center of both controversy and discussion. In this volume Danto offers his intellectual autobiography and responds to essays by 27 of the keenest critics of his thought from the worlds of philosophy and the arts. (shrink)
In the 1980s, when the American art market flourished, critics were heavily concerned with theory. In T_he Aesthete in the City_ David Carrier offers a personal view on the artistic activity of that decade. He begins with a theoretical perspective on the relationship between two very different forms of artwriting: art criticism and art history writing. Carrier surveys the developments within theory during the 1980s, focusing on constructive critical analysis of the then fashionable work of Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, T. (...) J. Clark, and Jacques Derrida. He provides detailed accounts of a number of painters, among them Thomas Nozkowski, David Reed, and SeanScully, whose development he followed closely. Carrier argues that the greatest American artistic tradition,Expressionism, provides the basis for an ongoing tradition of abstract painting, a rich system whose potential has not yet been exhausted. Carrier's earlier work was concerned with a philosophical study of the methods of art criticism. This book turns to the theory and practice of art criticism, concentrating on a concrete discussion of individual theorists and artists. (shrink)
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." --Genesis 1:24-26 In this crucial passage from the Old Testament, God grants mankind power over animals. But with this privilege comes the grave responsibility to respect life, to treat animals with (...) simple dignity and compassion. Somewhere along the way, something has gone wrong. In Dominion , we witness the annual convention of Safari Club International, an organization whose wealthier members will pay up to $20,000 to hunt an elephant, a lion or another animal, either abroad or in American "safari ranches," where the animals are fenced in pens. We attend the annual International Whaling Commission conference, where the skewed politics of the whaling industry come to light, and the focus is on developing more lethal, but not more merciful, methods of harvesting "living marine resources." And we visit a gargantuan American "factory farm," where animals are treated as mere product and raised in conditions of mass confinement, bred for passivity and bulk, inseminated and fed with machines, kept in tightly confined stalls for the entirety of their lives, and slaughtered in a way that maximizes profits and minimizes decency. Throughout Dominion , Scully counters the hypocritical arguments that attempt to excuse animal abuse: from those who argue that the Bible's message permits mankind to use animals as it pleases, to the hunter's argument that through hunting animal populations are controlled, to the popular and "scientifically proven" notions that animals cannot feel pain, experience no emotions, and are not conscious of their own lives. The result is eye opening, painful and infuriating, insightful and rewarding. Dominion is a plea for human benevolence and mercy, a scathing attack on those who would dismiss animal activists as mere sentimentalists, and a demand for reform from the government down to the individual. Matthew Scully has created a groundbreaking work, a book of lasting power and importance for all of us. (shrink)
Mitochondrial replacement techniques are intended to avoid the transmission of mitochondrial diseases from mother to child. MRT represent a potentially powerful new biomedical technology with ethical, policy, economic and social implications. Among other ethical questions raised are concerns about the possible effects on the identity of children born from MRT, their families, and the providers or donors of mitochondria. It has been suggested that MRT can influence identity directly, through altering the genetic makeup and physical characteristics of the child, or (...) indirectly through changing the child's experience of disease, and by generating novel intrafamilial relationships that shape the sense of self. In this article I consider the plausibility and ethical implications of these proposed identity effects, but I focus instead on a third way in which identity may be affected, through the mediating influence of the wider social world on MRT effects on identity. By taking a narrative approach, and examining the nature and availability of identity narratives, I conclude that while neither direct genetic nor indirect experiential effects can be excluded, social responses to MRT are more likely to have a significant and potentially damaging influence on the generation of MRT children's narratives of identity. This conclusion carries some implications for the collective moral responsibility we hold to ensure that MRT, if implemented, are practised in ethically justifiable ways. (shrink)
Moral philosophy has long been dominated by the aim of understanding morality and the virtues in terms of principles. However, the underlying assumption that this is the best approach has received almost no defence, and has been attacked by particularists, who argue that the traditional link between morality and principles is little more than an unwarranted prejudice. In Principled Ethics, Michael Ridge and Sean McKeever meet the particularist challenge head-on, and defend a distinctive view they call "generalism as a (...) regulative ideal.". (shrink)
On one popular view, the general covariance of gravity implies that change is relational in a strong sense, such that all it is for a physical degree of freedom to change is for it to vary with regard to a second physical degree of freedom. At a quantum level, this view of change as relative variation leads to a fundamentally timeless formalism for quantum gravity. Here, we will show how one may avoid this acute ‘problem of time’. Under our view, (...) duration is still regarded as relative, but temporal succession is taken to be absolute. Following our approach, which is presented in more formal terms in, it is possible to conceive of a genuinely dynamical theory of quantum gravity within which time, in a substantive sense, remains. 1 Introduction1.1 The problem of time1.2 Our solution2 Understanding Symmetry2.1 Mechanics and representation2.2 Freedom by degrees2.3 Voluntary redundancy3 Understanding Time3.1 Change and order3.2 Quantization and succession4 Time and Gravitation4.1 The two faces of classical gravity4.2 Retaining succession in quantum gravity5 Discussion5.1 Related arguments5.2 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
Model theory is an important area of mathematical logic which has deep philosophical roots, many philosophical applications, and great philosophical interest in itself. The aim of this book is to introduce, organise, survey, and develop these connections between philosophy and model theory, for the benefit of philosophers and logicians alike.
Population health has recently grown from a series of loosely connected critiques of twentieth-century public health and medicine into a theoretical framework with a corresponding field of research—population health science. Its approach is to promote the public’s health through improving everyday human life: affordable nutritious food, clean air, safe places where children can play, living wages, etc. It recognizes that addressing contemporary health challenges such as the prevalence of type 2 diabetes will take much more than good hospitals and public (...) health departments. -/- Blending philosophy of science/medicine, public health ethics and history, this book offers a framework that explains, analyses and largely endorses the features that define this relatively new field. Presenting a philosophical perspective, Valles helps to clarify what these features are and why they matter, including: searching for health’s “upstream” causes in social life, embracing a professional commitment to studying and ameliorating the staggering health inequities in and between populations; and reforming scientific practices to foster humility and respect among the many scientists and non- scientists who must work collaboratively to promote health. -/- Featuring illustrative case studies from around the globe at the end of all main chapters, this radical monograph is written to be accessible to all scholars and advanced students who have an interest in health—from public health students to professional philosophers. (shrink)
I discuss "Poetic Naturalism" -- there is only one world, the natural world, but there are many ways of talking about it -- both as a general concept, and how it accounts for our actual world. I talk about emergence, fundamental physics, entropy and complexity, the origins of life and consciousness, and moral constructivism.
Some modern cosmological models predict the appearance of Boltzmann Brains: observers who randomly fluctuate out of a thermal bath rather than naturally evolving from a low-entropy Big Bang. A theory in which most observers are of the Boltzmann Brain type is generally thought to be unacceptable, although opinions differ. I argue that such theories are indeed unacceptable: the real problem is with fluctuations into observers who are locally identical to ordinary observers, and their existence cannot be swept under the rug (...) by a choice of probability distributions over observers. The issue is not that the existence of such observers is ruled out by data, but that the theories that predict them are cognitively unstable: they cannot simultaneously be true and justifiably believed. (shrink)
Effective Field Theory (EFT) is the successful paradigm underlying modern theoretical physics, including the "Core Theory" of the Standard Model of particle physics plus Einstein's general relativity. I will argue that EFT grants us a unique insight: each EFT model comes with a built-in specification of its domain of applicability. Hence, once a model is tested within some domain (of energies and interaction strengths), we can be confident that it will continue to be accurate within that domain. Currently, the Core (...) Theory has been tested in regimes that include all of the energy scales relevant to the physics of everyday life (biology, chemistry, technology, etc.). Therefore, we have reason to be confident that the laws of physics underlying the phenomena of everyday life are completely known. (shrink)
This book provides an account of the nature of time, especially time's arrow and the role of entropy, at a semi-popular level. Special attention is given to statistical mechanics, the past hypothesis, and possible cosmological explanations thereof.
I defend the extremist position that the fundamental ontology of the world consists of a vector in Hilbert space evolving according to the Schrödinger equation. The laws of physics are determined solely by the energy eigenspectrum of the Hamiltonian. The structure of our observed world, including space and fields living within it, should arise as a higher-level emergent description. I sketch how this might come about, although much work remains to be done.
A number of authors have argued recently that the content of perceptual experience can, and even must, be characterized in conceptual terms. Their claim, more precisely, is that every perceptual experience is such that, of necessity, its content is constituted entirely by concepts possessed by the subject having the experience. This is a surprising result. For it seems reasonable to think that a subject’s experiences could be richer and more fine-grained than his conceptual repertoire; that a subject might be able, (...) for example, to discriminate in experience more shades of colors than he has color concepts. The key move in their argument, therefore, is to articulate the conceptual content of experience using demonstrative, instead of general, concepts. For instance, these authors argue that the content of my perceptual experience of a particular shade of green is properly characterized in terms of the concept expressed by the linguistic utterance “that shade”. Even if I don’t possess a general concept for the shade I’m seeing—a concept of the kind typically expressed using color names like ‘chartreuse’ or ‘lime’—nevertheless, these authors argue, the content of the experience can still be characterized conceptually using a demonstrative concept that I do possess. (shrink)
There you are at the opera house. The soprano has just hit her high note – a glassshattering high C that fills the hall – and she holds it. She holds it. She holds it. She holds it. She holds it. She holds the note for such a long time that after a while a funny thing happens: you no longer seem only to hear it, the note as it is currently sounding, that glass-shattering high C that is loud and (...) high and pure. In addition, you also seem to hear something more. It is difficult to express precisely what this extra feature is. One is tempted to say, however, that the note now sounds like it has been going on for a very long time. Perhaps it even sounds like a note that has been going on for too long. In any event, what you hear no longer seems to be limited to the pitch, timbre, loudness, and other strictly audible qualities of the note. You seem in addition to experience, even to hear, something about its temporal extent. (shrink)
This book reconceives disability as a set of social relations and practices, as experienced embodiment, and as an emancipatory movement, as well as a biomedical phenomenon. The author brings new attention to complex ethical questions surrounding disability, looking at not only the biomedical understanding of impairment, but also its cultural representations and social organization.
Cosmological models that invoke a multiverse - a collection of unobservable regions of space where conditions are very different from the region around us - are controversial, on the grounds that unobservable phenomena shouldn't play a crucial role in legitimate scientific theories. I argue that the way we evaluate multiverse models is precisely the same as the way we evaluate any other models, on the basis of abduction, Bayesian inference, and empirical success. There is no scientifically respectable way to do (...) cosmology without taking into account different possibilities for what the universe might be like outside our horizon. Multiverse theories are utterly conventionally scientific, even if evaluating them can be difficult in practice. (shrink)
The passage above comes from the opening pages of Merleau-Ponty’s essay on Edmund Husserl. It proposes a risky interpretive principle. The main feature of this principle is that the seminal aspects of a thinker’s work are so close to him that he is incapable of articulating them himself. Nevertheless, these aspects pervade the work, give it its style, its sense and its direction, and therefore belong to it essentially. As Martin Heidegger writes, in a passage quoted by Merleau-Ponty: " The (...) greater the work of a thinker – which in no way coincides with the breadth and number of writings – the richer is what is un-thought in this work, which means, that which emerges in and through this work as having not yet been thought. 2 " The goal of Merleau-Ponty’s essay, he says, is “to evoke this un-thought-of element in Husserl’s thought”. 3. (shrink)
Emmanuel Levinas has been Professor of Philosophy at the Sorbonne and the director of the Ecole Normale Israelite Orientale. Through such works as "Totality and Infinity" and "Otherwise than Being", he has exerted a profound influence on twentieth-century continental philosophy, providing inspiration for Derrida, Lyotard, Blanchot and Irigaray. "The Levinas Reader" collects, often for the first time in English, essays by Levinas encompassing every aspect of his thought: the early phenomenological studies written under the guidance and inspiration of Husserl and (...) Heidegger; the fully developed ethical critique of such totalizing philosophies; the pioneering texts on the moral dimension to aesthetics; the rich and subtle readings of the Talmud which are an exemplary model of an ethical, transcendental philosophy at work; the admirable meditations on current political issues. Sean Hand's introduction gives a complete overview of Levinas's work and situates each chapter within his general contribution to phenomenology, aesthetics, religion, politics and, above all, ethics. Each essay has been prefaced with a brief introduction presenting the basic issues and the necessary background, and suggesting ways to study the text further. (shrink)
The practice of taking hand-written notes in lectures has been rediscovered recently because of several studies on its learning efficacy in the mainstream media. Students are enjoined to ditch their laptops and return to pen and paper. Such arguments presuppose that notes are taken in order to be revisited after the lecture. Learning is seen to happen only after the event. We argue instead that student’s note-taking is an educational practice worthy in itself as a way to relate to the (...) live event of the lecture. We adopt a phenomenological approach inspired by Vilém Flusser’s phenomenology of gestures, which assumes that a gesture like note-taking is always an event of thinking with media in which a certain freedom is expressed. But Flusser’s description of note-taking focusses on the individual note-taker. What about students’ note-taking in a lecture hall as a collective gesture? Nietzsche considered note-taking ‘mechanical,’ as if students were automatons who mindlessly transcribed a verbal flow, while Benjamin considered it an inaesthetic gesture: at best, boring; at worst, ‘painful to watch.’ In contrast, we argue that the educational potentiality of note-taking—or better, note-making—can be grasped only if we account for its mediaticity, together with but distinct from its political potentiality as a collective mediality. Note-taking enables us to see how collective thinking emerges in the lecture, a kind of thinking that belongs neither to the lecturer nor the student, but emerges in the relation of attention established between the lecturer, students and their object of thought. (shrink)
Companies offer ethics codes and training to increase employees’ ethical conduct. These programs can also enhance individual work attitudes because ethical organizations are typically valued. Socially responsible companies are likely viewed as ethical organizations and should therefore prompt similar employee job responses. Using survey information collected from 313 business professionals, this exploratory study proposed that perceived corporate social responsibility would mediate the positive relationships between ethics codes/training and job satisfaction. Results indicated that corporate social responsibility fully or partially mediated the (...) positive associations between four ethics program variables and individual job satisfaction, suggesting that companies might better manage employees’ ethical perceptions and work attitudes with multiple policies, an approach endorsed in the ethics literature. (shrink)
The identity theory’s rise to prominence in analytic philosophy of mind during the late 1950s and early 1960s is widely seen as a watershed in the development of physicalism, in the sense that whereas logical behaviourism proposed analytic and a priori ascertainable identities between the meanings of mental and physical-behavioural concepts, the identity theory proposed synthetic and a posteriori knowable identities between mental and physical properties. While this watershed does exist, the standard account of it is misleading, as it is (...) founded in erroneous intensional misreadings of the logical positivists’—especially Carnap’s—extensional notions of translation and meaning, as well as misinterpretations of the positivists’ shift from the strong thesis of translation-physicalism to the weaker and more liberal notion of reduction-physicalism that occurred in the Unity of Science programme. After setting the historical record straight, the essay traces the first truly modern identity theory to Schlick’s pre-positivist views circa 1920 and goes on to explore its further development in Feigl, arguing that the fundamental difference between the Schlick-Feigl identity theory and the more familiar and influential Place-Smart-Armstrong identity theory has resurfaced in the deep and seemingly unbridgeable gulf in contemporary philosophy of consciousness between inflationary mentalism and deflationary physicalism. (shrink)
To the best of our current understanding, quantum mechanics is part of the most fundamental picture of the universe. It is natural to ask how pure and minimal this fundamental quantum description can be. The simplest quantum ontology is that of the Everett or Many-Worlds interpretation, based on a vector in Hilbert space and a Hamiltonian. Typically one also relies on some classical structure, such as space and local configuration variables within it, which then gets promoted to an algebra of (...) preferred observables. We argue that even such an algebra is unnecessary, and the most basic description of the world is given by the spectrum of the Hamiltonian and the components of some particular vector in Hilbert space. Everything else—including space and fields propagating on it—is emergent from these minimal elements. (shrink)
Propositionalism is the view that intentional attitudes, such as belief, are relations to propositions. Propositionalists argue that propositionalism follows from the intuitive validity of certain kinds of inferences involving attitude reports. Jubien (2001) argues powerfully against propositions and sketches some interesting positive proposals, based on Russell’s multiple relation theory of judgment, about how to accommodate “propositional phenomena” without appeal to propositions. This paper argues that none of Jubien’s proposals succeeds in accommodating an important range of propositional phenomena, such as the (...) aforementioned validity of attitude-report inferences. It then shows that the notion of a predication act-type, which remains importantly Russellian in spirit, is sufficient to explain the range of propositional phenomena in question, in particular the validity of attitude-report inferences. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether predication act-types are really just propositions by another name. (shrink)
Companies offer ethics codes and training to increase employees' ethical conduct. These programs can also enhance individual work attitudes because ethical organizations are typically valued. Socially responsible companies are likely viewed as ethical organizations and should therefore prompt similar employee job responses. Using survey information collected from 313 business professionals, this exploratory study proposed that perceived corporate social responsibility would mediate the positive relationships between ethics codes/training and job satisfaction. Results indicated that corporate social responsibility fully or partially mediated the (...) positive associations between four ethics program variables and individual job satisfaction, suggesting that companies might better manage employees' ethical perceptions and work attitudes with multiple policies, an approach endorsed in the ethics literature. (shrink)
Organizations constitute morally-complex environments, requiring organization members to possess levels of moral courage sufficient to promote their ethical action, while refraining from unethical actions when faced with temptations or pressures. Using a sample drawn from a military context, we explored the antecedents and consequences of moral courage. Results from this four-month field study demonstrated that authentic leadership was positively related to followers’ displays of moral courage. Further, followers’ moral courage fully mediated the effects of authentic leadership on followers’ ethical and (...) pro-social behaviors. Theoretical and practical implications for further integrating the work on moral courage, authentic leadership and ethics are discussed. (shrink)
Quine's set theory, New Foundations, has often been treated as an anomaly in the history and philosophy of set theory. In this book, Sean Morris shows that it is in fact well-motivated, emerging in a natural way from the early development of set theory. Morris introduces and explores the notion of set theory as explication: the view that there is no single correct axiomatization of set theory, but rather that the various axiomatizations all serve to explicate the notion of (...) set and are judged largely according to pragmatic criteria. Morris also brings out the important interplay between New Foundations, Quine's philosophy of set theory, and his philosophy more generally. We see that his early technical work in logic foreshadows his later famed naturalism, with his philosophy of set theory playing a crucial role in his primary philosophical project of clarifying our conceptual scheme and specifically its logical and mathematical components. (shrink)
It seems natural to ask why the universe exists at all. Modern physics suggests that the universe can exist all by itself as a self-contained system, without anything external to create or sustain it. But there might not be an absolute answer to why it exists. I argue that any attempt to account for the existence of something rather than nothing must ultimately bottom out in a set of brute facts; the universe simply is, without ultimate cause or explanation.
Moral particularists are united in their opposition to the codification of morality, and their work poses an important challenge to traditional ways of thinking about moral philosophy. Defenders of moral particularism have, with near unanimity, sought support from a doctrine they call “holism in the theory of reasons.” We argue that this is all a mistake. There are two ways in which holism in the theory of reasons can be understood, but neither provides any support for moral particularism. Moral particularists (...) are united in their opposition to the codification of morality in purely descriptive terms, but their opposition takes different forms. Sometimes particularists maintain that codifying the moral landscape is impossible. In other contexts particularists argue that moral principles are in any event unnecessary. In yet other contexts particularists contend that the codification of morality is undesirable, perhaps because it would encourage people to look less carefully at the case at hand.1 These are distinct theses, although particularists often endorse all three. As Jonathan Dancy, citing John McDowell puts it, “Particularism is at its crudest the claim that we neither need nor can see the search for an ‘evaluative outlook which one can endorse as rational as the search for a set of principles.’”2 On any interpretation, particularism poses an important challenge for traditional conceptions of moral philosophy.. (shrink)
We have a much better understanding of physics than we do of consciousness. I consider ways in which intrinsically mental aspects of fundamental ontology might induce modifications of the known laws of physics, or whether they could be relevant to accounting for consciousness if no such modifications exist. I suggest that our current knowledge of physics should make us skeptical of hypothetical modifications of the known rules, and that without such modifications it’s hard to imagine how intrinsically mental aspects could (...) play a useful explanatory role. Draft version of a paper submitted to Journal of Consciousness Studies, special issue responding to Philip Goff’s Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. (shrink)
I begin by examining a recent debate between John McDowell and Christopher Peacocke over whether the content of perceptual experience is non-conceptual. Although I am sympathetic to Peacocke’s claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual, I suggest a number of ways in which his arguments fail to make that case. This failure stems from an over-emphasis on the "fine-grainedness" of perceptual content - a feature that is relatively unimportant to its non-conceptual structure. I go on to describe two other features of (...) perceptual experience that are more likely to be relevant to the claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual. These features are 1) the dependence of a perceived object on the perceptual context in which it is perceived and 2) the dependence of a perceived property on the object it is perceived to be a property of. (shrink)
A corporate culture strengthened by ethical values and other positive business practices likely yields more favorable employee work responses. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess the degree to which perceived corporate ethical values work in concert with group creativity to influence both job satisfaction and turnover intention. Using a self-report questionnaire, information was collected from 781 healthcare and administrative employees working at a multi-campus education-based healthcare organization. Additional survey data was collected from a comparative convenience sample of (...) 127 sales and marketing employees working for a variety of firms operating in the south-central United States. The results indicated that group creativity and corporate ethical values were positively related, and that both variables were associated with increased job satisfaction. Conversely, corporate ethical values and job satisfaction were associated with decreased turnover intention. Sales managers should create work cultures that precipitate increased ethical values and group creativity, and suggestions about how they may institutionalize these factors are provided. (shrink)
The French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty claims that there are two distinct ways in which we can understand the place of an object when we are visually apprehending it. The first involves an intentional relation to the object that is essentially cognitive or can serve as the input to cognitive processes; the second irreducibly involves a bodily set or preparation to deal with the object. Because of its essential bodily component, Merleau-Ponty calls this second kind of understanding ‘motor intentional’. In this (...) paper I consider some phenomenological, conceptual, and cognitive neuro-scientific results that help to elucidate and defend the distinction between intentional and motor intentional activity. I go on to argue that motor intentional activity has a logical structure that is essentially distinct from that of the more canonical kinds of intentional states. In particular, the characteristic logical distinction between the content and the attitude of an intentional state does not carry over to the motor intentional case. (shrink)
Most large companies and many smaller ones have adopted ethics codes, but the evidence is mixed as to whether they have a positive impact on the behavior of employees. We suggest that one way that ethics codes could contribute to ethical behavior is by influencing the perceptions that employees have about the ethical values of organizations. We examine whether a group of sales professionals in organizations with ethics codes perceive that their organizational context is more supportive of ethical behavior than (...) sales professionals in companies without codes. After accounting for the effect of several covariates, our results indicated that sales professionals employed in organizations with codes of ethics perceived their work environments to have more positive ethical values than did other sales professionals. (shrink)
Ethics training is commonly cited as a primary method for increasing employees ethical decision making and conduct. However, little is known about how the presence of ethics training can enhance other components of an organization's ethical environment such as employees perception of company ethical values. Using a national sample of 313 business professionals employed in the United States, the relationship between ethics training and perceived organizational ethics was explored. The results of the analysis provide significant statistical support for the notion (...) that businesspersons employed in organizations that have formalized ethics training programs have more positive perceptions of their companies ethical context than do individuals employed in organizations that do not. The analysis also indicated that job satisfaction was related to employees attitudes about their ethical context. The managerial implications of the results are outlined, along with the limitations of the study and recommendations for future research. (shrink)