governed by Newtonian laws. In standard quantum mechanics only the wave function or the results of measurements exist, and to answer the question of how the classical world can be part of the quantum world is a rather formidable task. However, this is not the case for Bohmian mechanics, which, like classical mechanics, is a theory about real objects. In Bohmian terms, the problem of the classical limit becomes very simple: when do the Bohmian trajectories look Newtonian?
Most people believe that there are limits to the sacrifices that morality can demand. Although it would often be meritorious, we are not, in fact, morally required to do all that we can to promote overall good. What's more, most people also believe that certain types of acts are simply forbidden, morally off limits, even when necessary for promoting the overall good. In this provocative analysis Kagan maintains that despite the intuitive appeal of these views, they cannot be adequately defended. (...) In criticizing arguments for limited moral requirements as well as those for unconditionally prohibited acts, Kagan offers a sustained attack on two of the most basic features of ordinary common sense morality. (shrink)
Abraham ibn Ezra the Spaniard was one of the foremost transmitters of Arabic science to the West. His astrological and astronomical works, written in Hebrew and later translated into Latin, were considered authoritative by many medieval Jewish and Christian scholars. Some of the works he translated from Arabic are no longer extant in their original form, and on occasion his treatises provide information about earlier sources that is otherwise poorly preserved, if at all. Ibn Ezra seems to be the earliest (...) scholar to record one of the seven methods for setting up the astrological houses, and this method was subsequently used by Levi ben Gerson in southern France. (shrink)
There is one thing we can be sure of: we are all going to die. But once we accept that fact, the questions begin. In this thought-provoking book, philosophy professor Shelly Kagan examines the myriad questions that arise when we confront the meaning of mortality. Do we have reason to believe in the existence of immortal souls? Or should we accept an account according to which people are just material objects, nothing more? Can we make sense of the idea (...) of surviving the death of one’s body? If I won’t exist after I die, can death truly be _bad_ for me? Would immortality be desirable? Is fear of death appropriate? Is suicide ever justified? How should I _live_ in the face of death? Written in an informal and conversational style, this stimulating and provocative book challenges many widely held views about death, as it invites the reader to take a fresh look at one of the central features of the human condition—the fact that we will die. (shrink)
Shelly Kagan argues for a hierarchical position in animal ethics where people count more than animals do, and some animals count more than others. In arguing for his account of morality, Kagan sets out what needs to be done to establish our obligations toward animals and to fulfil our duties to them.
According to the dominant philosophical tradition, intrinsic value must depend solely upon intrinsic properties. By appealing to various examples, however, I argue that we should at least leave open the possibility that in some cases intrinsic value may be based in part on relational properties. Indeed, I argue that we should even be open to the possibility that an object''s intrinsic value may sometimes depend (in part) on its instrumental value. If this is right, of course, then the traditional contrast (...) between intrinsic value and instrumental value is mistaken. (shrink)
Peter Singer famously argued in Animal Liberation that almost all of us are speciesists, unjustifiably favoring the interests of humans over the similar interests of other animals. Although I long found that charge compelling, I now find myself having doubts. This article starts by trying to get clear about the nature of speciesism, and then argues that Singer's attempt to show that speciesism is a mere prejudice is unsuccessful. I also argue that most of us are not actually speciesists at (...) all, but rather accept a view I call modal personism. Although I am not confident that modal personism can be adequately defended, it is, at the very least, a philosophical view worthy of further consideration. (shrink)
According to the dominant philosophical tradition, intrinsic value must depend solely upon intrinsic properties. By appealing to various examples, however, I argue that we should at least leave open the possibility that in some cases intrinsic value may be based in part on relational properties. Indeed, I argue that we should even be open to the possibility that an object's intrinsic value may sometimes depend on its instrumental value. If this is right, of course, then the traditional contrast between intrinsic (...) value and instrumental value is mistaken. (shrink)
What are the limits of well-being? This question nicely captures one of the central debates concerning the nature of the individual human good. For rival theories differ as to what sort of facts directly constitute a person's being well-off. On some views, well-being is limited to the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain. But other views push the boundaries of well-being beyond this, so that it encompasses a variety of mental states, not merely pleasure alone. Some theories then (...) draw the line here, limiting well-being to the presence of the appropriately broadened set of mental states. But still others extend the limits of well-being even further, so that it is constituted in part by facts that are not themselves mental states at all; on such views, well-being is partly constituted by states of affairs that are “external” to the individual's experiences. In this essay, I want to explore some of this debate by focusing on a particular stretch of the dialectic. That is, I want to think hard about a particular connected series of arguments and counterarguments. These arguments – or, at least, the concerns they seek to express – emerge naturally in the give and take of philosophical discussion. Together they make up a rather simple story, whose plot, in very rough terms, is this: first there is an attempt to push the limits of well-being outward, moving from a narrow to a broader conception; then comes the claim that the resulting notion is too broad, and so we must retreat to a narrower conception after all. (shrink)
Moral desert -- Fault forfeits first -- Desert graphs -- Skylines -- Other shapes -- Placing peaks -- The ratio view -- Similar offense -- Graphing comparative desert -- Variation -- Groups -- Desert taken as a whole -- Reservations.
Typically, discussions of well-being focus almost exclusively on the positive aspects of well-being, those elements which directly contribute to a life going well, or better. It is generally assumed, without comment, that there is no need to explicitly discuss ill-being as well—that is, the part of the theory of well-being that specifies the elements which directly contribute to a life going badly, or less well—since (or so it is thought) this raises no special difficulties or problems. But this common assumption (...) is a mistake, since it is far from obvious how to extend even familiar theories of well-being so as to explicitly cover ill-being as well. This paper acts as an introduction to ill-being, noting some of the interesting and overlooked problems ill-being raises for qualitative hedonism, preference theory, and objective list theories. Particular attention is paid, by way of illustration, to the claim that knowledge is an objective good. Assuming this is so, what exactly is the opposite of knowledge, the objective bad which lowers one’s well-being in the same way that knowledge raises it? (shrink)
Anyone who reflects on the way we go about arguing for or against moral claims is likely to be struck by the central importance we give to thinking about cases. Intuitive reactions to cases—real or imagined—are carefully noted, and then appealed to as providing reason to accept various claims. When trying on a general moral theory for size, for example, we typically get a feel for its overall plausibility by considering its implications in a range of cases. Similarly, when we (...) try to refine the statement of a principle meant to cover a fairly specific part of morality, we guide ourselves by testing the various possible revisions against a carefully constructed set of cases. And when arguing against a claim, we take ourselves to have shown something significant if we can find an intuitively compelling counterexample, and such counterexamples almost always take the form of a description of one or another case where the implications of the claim in question seem implausible. Even when we find ourselves faced with a case where we have no immediate and clear reaction, or where we have such a reaction, but others don't share it and we need to persuade them, in what is probably the most common way of trying to make progress we consider various analogies and disanalogies; that is to say, we appeal to still other cases, and by seeing what we want to say there, we discover what it is plausible to say in the original case. In these and other ways, then, the appeal to cases plays a central and ubiquitous role in our moral thinking. (shrink)
Many proposed moral principles are such that it would be difficult or impossible to always correctly identify which act is required by that principle in a given situation. To deal with this problem, theorists typically offer various methods of determining what to do in the face of epistemic limitations, and we are then told that the right thing to do – given these limitations – is to perform the act identified by the given method. But since the method and the (...) underlying principle can diverge, it would seem that in such cases we are being given contradictory advice: some particular act will be both right and not right. Various attempts to resolve this apparent paradox are surveyed, but none are completely satisfactory. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that there is a preface paradox for intention. The preface paradox for intention shows that intentions do not obey an agglomeration norm, requiring one to intend conjunctions of whatever else one intends. But what norms do intentions obey? I will argue that intentions come in degrees. These partial intentions are governed by the norms of the probability calculus. First, I will give a dispositional theory of partial intention, on which degrees of intention are the degrees (...) to which one possesses the dispositions characteristic of full intention. I will use this dispositional theory to defend probabilism about intention. Next, I will offer a more general argument for probabilism about intention. To do so, I will generalize recent decision theoretic arguments for probabilism from the case of belief to the case of intention. (shrink)
000000001. Introduction Call a theory of the good—be it moral or prudential—aggregative just in case (1) it recognizes local (or location-relative) goodness, and (2) the goodness of states of affairs is based on some aggregation of local goodness. The locations for local goodness might be points or regions in time, space, or space-time; or they might be people, or states of nature.1 Any method of aggregation is allowed: totaling, averaging, measuring the equality of the distribution, measuring the minimum, etc.. Call (...) a theory of the good finitely additive just in case it is aggregative, and for any finite set of locations it aggregates by adding together the goodness at those locations. Standard versions of total utilitarianism typically invoke finitely additive value theories (with people as locations). A puzzle can arise when finitely additive value theories are applied to cases involving an infinite number of locations (people, times, etc.). Suppose, for example, that temporal locations are the locus of value, and that time is discrete, and has no beginning or end.2 How would a finitely additive theory (e.g., a temporal version of total utilitarianism) judge the following two worlds? Goodness at Locations (e.g. times) w1:..., 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, ..... w2:..., 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ..... Example 1 At each time w1 contains 2 units of goodness and w2 contains only 1. Intuitively, we claim, if the locations are the same in each world, finitely additive theorists will want to claim that w1 is better than w2. But it's not clear how they could coherently hold this view. For using standard mathematics the sum of each is the same infinity, and so there seems to be no basis for claiming that one is better than the other.3 (Appealing to Cantorian infinities is of no help here, since for any Cantorian infinite N, 2xN=1xN.). (shrink)
[Correction Notice: An erratum for this article was reported in Vol 109 of Psychological Review. Due to circumstances that were beyond the control of the authors, the studies reported in "Models of Ecological Rationality: The Recognition Heuristic," by Daniel G. Goldstein and Gerd Gigerenzer overlap with studies reported in "The Recognition Heuristic: How Ignorance Makes Us Smart," by the same authors and with studies reported in "Inference From Ignorance: The Recognition Heuristic". In addition, Figure 3 in the Psychological Review (...) article was originally published in the book chapter and should have carried a note saying that it was used by permission of Oxford University Press.] One view of heuristics is that they are imperfect versions of optimal statistical procedures considered too complicated for ordinary minds to carry out. In contrast, the authors consider heuristics to be adaptive strategies that evolved in tandem with fundamental psychological mechanisms. The recognition heuristic, arguably the most frugal of all heuristics, makes inferences from patterns of missing knowledge. This heuristic exploits a fundamental adaptation of many organisms: the vast, sensitive, and reliable capacity for recognition. The authors specify the conditions under which the recognition heuristic is successful and when it leads to the counter-intuitive less-is-more effect in which less knowledge is better than more for making accurate inferences. (shrink)
In this article, the author explores the gendered dynamics of “grinding,” sexualized dancing common at college parties. Drawing on the observations of student participant observers, the author describes the common script for initiating this behavior. At these parties, men initiated more often and more directly than women, whose behaviors were shaped by a sexual double standard and relational imperative. The heterosexual grinding script enacts a gendered dynamic that reproduces systematic gender inequality by limiting women’s access to sexual agency and pleasure, (...) privileging men’s pleasure and confirming their higher status. (shrink)
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Ludwig Boltzmann explained how irreversible macroscopic laws, in particular the second law of thermodynamics, originate in the time-reversible laws of microscopic physics. Boltzmann’s analysis, the essence of which I shall review here, is basically correct. The most famous criticisms of Boltzmann’s later work on the subject have little merit. Most twentieth century innovations – such as the identiﬁcation of the state of a physical system with a probability distribution on its phase space, (...) of its thermodynamic entropy with the Gibbs entropy of , and the invocation of the notions of ergodicity and mixing for the justiﬁcation of the foundations of statistical mechanics – are thoroughly misguided. (shrink)
Social relationships are intricately tied to health and well-being and people are motivated to form and maintain interpersonal bonds. While it is clear that social relationships can be highly rewarding, it is equally clear that social relationships or the lack thereof can be the source of much distress. In this article a conceptualization of social motivation that reflects the basic necessity for people to simultaneously manage approaching the incentives and avoiding the threats in social relationships is presented. We then review (...) evidence that the strength of approach and avoidance social motives and goals is strongly linked to social outcomes through several behavioral, cognitive, and affective processes. (shrink)
Bohmian mechanics, which is also called the de Broglie-Bohm theory, the pilot-wave model, and the causal interpretation of quantum mechanics, is a version of quantum theory discovered by Louis de Broglie in 1927 and rediscovered by David Bohm in 1952. It is the simplest example of what is often called a hidden variables interpretation of quantum mechanics. In Bohmian mechanics a system of particles is described in part by its wave function, evolving, as usual, according to Schrödinger's equation. However, the (...) wave function provides only a partial description of the system. This description is completed by the specification of the actual positions of the particles. The latter evolve according to the.. (shrink)
In The Geometry of Desert I used graphs to explore two common ideas about moral desert, namely, that people differ in terms of how deserving they are, and that it is a good thing if people get what they deserve. I argued that desert is a more complex value than we normally recognize, and I laid out a number of alternative possible views, defending some of them. In a pair of critical discussions published in this journal, Victor Tadros and Kasper (...) Lippert-Rasmussen offer a variety of objections to several of the ideas I have put forward. In this essay I welcome their criticisms and respond to some of the main points they raise. (shrink)
Interviews with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) growers in Iowa, a majority of whom are women, shed light on the relationship between gender and CSA as a system of resource management. Growers, male and female alike, are differentiated by care and caring-practices. Care-practices, historically associated with women, place priority on local context and relationships. The concern of these growers for community, nature, land, water, soil, and other resources is manifest in care-motives and care-practices. Their specific mix of motives differs: providing safe (...) and nutritious food, educating self and others, and building relationships with other growers, shareholder-members, and the land. Care-practices include reducing or eliminating chemical usage, encouraging or accepting beneficial insects and wildlife, building soil, and creating resource management partnerships with shareholder members. CSA, viewed through a lens of care, may offer a means of transcending gender stereotypes. (shrink)
Canguilhem is known to have regretted, with some pathos, that Life no longer serves as an orienting question in our scientific activity. He also frequently insisted on a kind of uniqueness of organisms and/or living bodies – their inherent normativity, their value-production and overall their inherent difference from mere machines. In addition, Canguilhem acknowledged a major debt to the German neurologist-theoretician Kurt Goldstein, author most famously of The Structure of the Organism in 1934; along with Merleau-Ponty, Canguilhem was the (...) main figure who introduced the work of Goldstein and his ‘phenomenology of embodiment’ into France. In this paper I inquire if we should view Canguilhem and Goldstein as ‘biochauvinists’, that is, as thinkers who consider that there is something inherently unique about biological entities as such, and if so, of what sort. (shrink)