Faced with the choice between creating a risk of harm and taking a precaution against that risk, should I take the precaution? Does the proper analysis of this trade-off require a maximizing, utilitarian approach? If not, how does one properly analyze the trade-off? These questions are important, for we often are uncertain about the effects of our actions. Accordingly, we often must consider whether our actions create an unreasonable risk of injury — that is, whether our actions are negligent.
Although the relationship of part to whole is one of the most fundamental there is, this is the first full-length study of this key concept. Showing that mereology, or the formal theory of part and whole, is essential to ontology, Simons surveys and critiques previous theories--especially the standard extensional view--and proposes a new account that encompasses both temporal and modal considerations. Simons's revised theory not only allows him to offer fresh solutions to long-standing problems, but also has far-reaching consequences for (...) our understanding of a host of classical philosophical concepts. (shrink)
The relationship of part to whole is one of the most fundamental there is; this is the first and only full-length study of this concept. This book shows that mereology, the formal theory of part and whole, is essential to ontology. Peter Simons surveys and criticizes previous theories, especially the standard extensional view, and proposes a more adequate account which encompasses both temporal and modal considerations in detail. 'Parts could easily be the standard book on mereology for the next twenty (...) or thirty years.' Timothy Williamson, Grazer Philosophische Studien. (shrink)
In a compelling chronicle of her search to understand Beauvoir's philosophy in The Second Sex, Margaret A. Simons offers a unique perspective on Beauvoir's wide-ranging contribution to twentieth-century thought. She details the discovery of the origins of Beauvoir's existential philosophy in her handwritten diary from 1927; uncovers evidence of the sexist exclusion of Beauvoir from the philosophical canon; reveals evidence that the African-American writer Richard Wright provided Beauvoir with the theoretical model of oppression that she used in The Second Sex; (...) shows the influence of The Second Sex in transforming Sartre's philosophy and in laying the theoretical foundations of radical feminism; and addresses feminist issues of racism, motherhood, and lesbian identity. Simons also draws on her experience as a Women's Liberation organizer as she witnessed how women used The Second Sex in defining the foundations of radical feminism. Bringing together her work as both activist and scholar, Simons offers a highly original contribution to the renaissance of Beauvoir scholarship. (shrink)
Change blindness is the striking failure to see large changes that normally would be noticed easily. Over the past decade this phenomenon has greatly contributed to our understanding of attention, perception, and even consciousness. The surprising extent of change blindness explains its broad appeal, but its counterintuitive nature has also engendered confusions about the kinds of inferences that legitimately follow from it. Here we discuss the legitimate and the erroneous inferences that have been drawn, and offer a set of requirements (...) to help separate them. In doing so, we clarify the genuine contributions of change blindness research to our understanding of visual perception and awareness, and provide a glimpse of some ways in which change blindness might shape future research. (shrink)
The debate between 3- and 4-dimensionalists is one of the most lively and pervasive in current metaphysics. At stake is a glittering prize: the correct metaphysical analysis of material things and other objects commonly thought to persist in time by enduring. Since we count ourselves among such objects the outcome of the debate is of more than merely academic interest to us. Obviously the ramifications of the debate, even of the points raised by Kit Fine, go far beyond what I (...) can discuss here, so I shall simply select some salient issues and comment on them from my own somewhat heterodox point of view. (shrink)
[Peter Simons] Commonsense ontology contains both continuants and occurrents, but are continuants necessary? I argue that they are neither occurrents nor easily replaceable by them. The worst problem for continuants is the question in virtue of what a given continuant exists at a given time. For such truthmakers we must have recourse to occurrents, those vital to the continuant at that time. Continuants are, like abstract objects, invariants under equivalences over occurrents. But they are not abstract, and their being invariants (...) enables us to infer both their lack of temporal parts and that non-invariant predications about them must be relativized to times. \\\ [Joseph Melia] In this paper I try to eliminate occurrents from our ontology. I argue against Simons' position that occurrents are needed to supply truthmakers for existential claims about continuants. Nevertheless, those who would eliminate occurrents still need some account of our willingness to assert sentences that logically entail their existence. Though it turns out to be impossible to paraphrase away our reference to occurrents, I show that the truthmakers for such sentences are facts that involve only continuants. This is enough to allow us to regard our ordinary talk about occurrents as fictional. Finally, I argue that a proper conception of the underlying temporal facts about continuants can both avoid the problematic tensed theory of time and the problem of temporary intrinsics. (shrink)
Commonsense ontology contains both continuants and occurrents, but are continuants necessary? I argue that they are neither occurrents nor easily replaceable by them. The worst problem for continuants is the question in virtue of what a given continuant exists at a given time. For such truthmakers we must have recourse to occurrents, those vital to the continuant at that time. Continuants are, like abstract objects, invariants under equivalences over occurrents. But they are not abstract, and their being invariants enables us (...) to infer both their lack of temporal parts and that non-invariant predications about them must be relativized to times. \\\ [Joseph Melia] In this paper I try to eliminate occurrents from our ontology. I argue against Simons' position that occurrents are needed to supply truthmakers for existential claims about continuants. Nevertheless, those who would eliminate occurrents still need some account of our willingness to assert sentences that logically entail their existence. Though it turns out to be impossible to paraphrase away our reference to occurrents, I show that the truthmakers for such sentences are facts that involve only continuants. This is enough to allow us to regard our ordinary talk about occurrents as fictional. Finally, I argue that a proper conception of the underlying temporal facts about continuants can both avoid the problematic tensed theory of time and the problem of temporary intrinsics. (shrink)
Among the contemporary philosophers using the concept of the Anthropocene, Bruno Latour and Isabelle Stengers are prominent examples. The way they use this concept, however, diverts from the most common understanding of the Anthropocene. In fact, their use of this notion is a continuation of their earlier work around the concept of a ‘parliament of things.’ Although mainly seen as a sociology or philosophy of science, their work can be read as philosophy of technology as well. Similar to Latour’s claim (...) that science is Janus-headed, technology has two faces. Faced with the Anthropocene, we need to shift from technologies of control to technologies of negotiations, i.e., a parliament of things. What, however, does a ‘parliament of things’ mean? This paper wants to clarify what is conceptually at stake by framing Latour’s work within the philosophy of Michel Serres and Isabelle Stengers. Their philosophy implies a ‘postlinguistic turn,’ where one can ‘let things speak in their own name,’ without claiming knowledge of the thing in itself. The distinction between object and subject is abolished to go back to the world of ‘quasi-objects’ (Serres). Based on the philosophy of science of Latour and Stengers the possibility for a politics of quasi-objects or a ‘cosmopolitics’ (Stengers) is opened. It is in this framework that their use of the notion of the Anthropocene must be understood and a different view of technology can be conceptualized. (shrink)
This is the first major study of Michel Foucault as a political thinker. Written in clear prose, Foucault and the Political explores the ramifications for political theory of the whole range of Foucault's writing, including materials only recently made available. Jon Simons argues that Foucault's work is animated by a tension between his presentation of modern life as "unbearably heavy" and his temptation to escape its limitations by aiming for "unbearable lightness." Through expositions of Foucault's ideas on power/knowledge, subjectification, governmentality, (...) political rationality and the aesthetics of existence, Simons demonstrates how Foucault resists both extremes. Foucault's thought entails an ethic of permanent resistance, best embodied in radical democracy. Simons relates Foucault's work both to contemporary political thinkers, such as Michael Walzer, Charles Taylor and Jurgen Habermas, as well as to scholars challenging conventional political categories, especially feminist and gay theorists such as Judith Butler. (shrink)
The empirical phenomenon at the center of this paper is projection, which we define (uncontroversially) as follows: (1) Definition of projection An implication projects if and only if it survives as an utterance implication when the expression that triggers the implication occurs under the syntactic scope of an entailment-cancelling operator. Projection is observed, for example, with utterances containing aspectual verbs like stop, as shown in (2) and (3) with examples from English and Paraguayan Guaraní (Paraguay, Tupí-Guaraní).1 The Guaraní example in (...) (2) and its English translation have at least the following implications: (i) Carla has previously smoked, and (ii) Carla stopped smoking. The first but not the second of these implications is also conveyed by the question version of sentence (2), as in (3a), or when (2) is embedded under entailment-cancelling sentential operators, such as negation, as in (3b), the antecedent of a conditional, as in (3c), or an epistemic modal, as in (3d). Hence, by the definition in (14), the first but not the second implication of (2) projects. (shrink)
It seems a generally acknowledged view that physics is confined to the investigation of events that can be reproduced. “The natural scientist — says Pauli1 — is concerned with a particular kind of phenomena … he has to confine himself to that which is reproducible… I do not claim that the reproducible by itself is more important than the unique. But I do claim that the unique exceeds the treatment by scientific method. Indeed it is the aim of this method (...) to find and to test natural laws…” Here for Pauli as for everybody else a natural law is a statement expressing a regularity more or less directly related to repeatable events. And one may add that it is not only the possibility of testing that is responsible for our demand of reproducibility. Rather it is the very fact of regularity expressed in it that gives a natural law its dignity and makes it a subject worth studying on its own account. (shrink)
In this paper, the meanings of sentences containing the word or and a modal verb are used to arrive at a novel account of the meaning of or coordinations. It is proposed that or coordinations denote sets whose members are the denotations of the disjuncts; and that the truth conditions of sentences containing or coordinations require the existence of some set made available by the semantic environment which can be ‘divided up’ in accordance with the disjuncts. The relevant notion of (...) ‘dividing things up’ is made explicit in the paper. Detailed attention is given to the question of how the proposed truth conditions are derived from the syntactic input. The account offered allows for the derivation of both the disjunctive and the nondisjunctive readings of modal/or sentences, including the much-discussed free choice readings of may/or sentences. (shrink)
The metaphysics of relations is still in its infancy. We use the idea of truthmaking to gain purchase on this metaphysics. Assuming a modest supervenience conception of truthmaking, where true relational predications require multiply dependent truthmakers, these are indispensable relations. Though some such relations are required, none are needed for internal relatedness, nor for several other kinds of relational predication. Discerning the metaphysically basic kinds of relations is fraught with uncertainties, but must be tackled if progress is to be made.
This paper discusses the semantically parenthetical use of clauseembedding verbs such as see, hear, think, believe, discover and know. When embedding verbs are used in this way, the embedded clause carries the main point of the utterance, while the main clause serves some discourse function. Frequently, this function is evidential, with the parenthetical verb carrying information about the source and reliability of the embedded claim, or about the speaker’s emotional orientation to it. Other functions of parenthetical uses of verbs are (...) discussed. (shrink)
The current literature on presupposition focuses almost exclusively on the projection problem: the question of how and why the presuppositions of atomic clauses are projected to complex sentences which embed them. Very little attention has been paid to the question of how and why these presuppositions arise at all. As Kay (1992, p.335) observes, “treatments of the presupposition inheritance problem almost never deal with the reasons that individual words and constructions give rise, in the first place, to the particular presuppositions (...) that they do.”1 This is the question on which this paper will focus. (shrink)
The pragmatic framework developed by H.P. Grice in “Logic and Conversation” explains how a speaker can mean something more than, or different from, the conventional meaning of the sentence she utters. But it has been argued that the framework cannot give a similar explanation for cases where these pragmatic effects impact the understood content of an embedded clause, such as the antecedent of a conditional, a clausal disjunct, or the clausal complement of a verb. In this paper, I show that (...) such an explanation is available. One of the central arguments of the paper is that in a significant subset of cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of a global pragmatic requirement. In these cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of ‘acting locally’ to resolve a potential global pragmatic violation. These cases do not require us to posit application of pragmatic principles to the contents of embedded clauses. The account does, though, require the assumption that interpreters can identify and reason about the contents of unasserted sub-parts of sentences, an assumption that I motivate in section 3. Building on this, in section 4 of the paper, I argue that once we have recognized that interpreters can, and do, reason independently about the contents of non-asserted clauses, it becomes unproblematic to assume that in some cases, Gricean conversational principles do apply directly to these contents, providing an alternative route to account for local pragmatic effects. In revisiting the ideas of this paper in my response to the commentaries, I consider in more detail the revisions to Grice’s broader program that are necessitated by these moves, in particular acknowledging the problematicity of Grice’s notion of what is said. I argue that the starting point for Gricean reconstructions should instead be merely what is expressed, which carries no pragmatic commitments regarding what is speaker meant. (shrink)
We study a Weyl geometric scalar tensor theory of gravity with scalar field \ and scale invariant “aquadratic” kinematical Lagrange density. The Weylian scale connection in Einstein gauge induces an additional acceleration. In the weak field, static, low velocity limit it acquires the deep MOND form of Milgrom/Bekenstein’s gravity. The energy momentum of \ leads to another add on to Newton acceleration. Both additional accelerations together imply a MOND-ian phenomenology of the model. It has unusual transition functions \, \nu _w\). (...) They imply higher phantom energy density than in the case of the more common MOND models with transition functions \, \, \mu _2\). A considerable part of it is due to the scalar field’s energy density which, in our model, gives a scale and generally covariant expression for the self-energy of the gravitational field. (shrink)
I argue that the assumptions that physically basic things are either mereologically atomic, or that they are continuous and there are no atoms, both face difficult conceptual problems. Both views tend to presuppose a largely unquestioned assumption, that things have parts corresponding to the geometric parts of the regions they occupy. To avoid these problems I propose a third view, that physically simple things occupy a finite volume without themselves having parts. This view is examined enough to tease out some (...) of its consequences and show that it withstands the obvious questions it faces. I conclude by mentioning some precedents for this view in Democritus, Kant, and Whitehead, with close variants in Boscovich, Harré, and Markosian. (shrink)
The aim of this chapter is to show how Francophone PS, or what is called French (historical) epistemology, embodies this interconnectedness. Moreover, a novel approach to what constitutes French epistemology will be developed here, going beyond a purely historical survey or a reevaluation of a range of concepts found in this tradition.7 The aim is instead to highlight two methodological principles at work in French epistemology that are often in tension with one another, but are not recognized as such in (...) the literature. (shrink)
A successor relation between theories T und T₁ express that T₁, the successor of T, has justifiably superseded T. In physics, for instance, Newton's theory of gravitation has superseded Kepler's laws and, in turn, Einstein's theory has become the successor of Newton's. By now there is no agreement on how a general concept of successor relation would have to be construed. In the present paper attention is drawn to two types of such relations, one deductive the other confirmatory. It seems (...) that what most people are looking for is the deductive type of relation. However, a deductive successor relation has to be justified by showing that if it holds then another, confirmatory relation holds, saying roughly that the actual empirical success of the deducing theory is at least as good as the corresponding success of the deduced theory. Under certain restrictions such a justification is given in the paper. (shrink)
The work of Michel Serres is often presented as a radical break with the work of Gaston Bachelard. The aim of this paper is to partly correct this image, by focusing on Serres’s early Hermes series (1969-1980). In these books Serres portrays himself as a follower of Bachelard, exemplarily shown in his neologism of the ‘new new scientific spirit’ (le nouveau nouvel esprit scientifique), updating Bachelard in the light of more recent scientific developments. This allows a reinterpretation of the relation (...) between both authors, one where there is room to acknowledge how the roots of Serres’s philosophy lie not in a radical break with Bachelard, but can be partly understood as a Bachelardian criticism of Bachelard himself. This Bachelardian criticism consists in what could be called his ‘surrationalism’: the sciences do not follow the categories imposed by philosophers, but are always more flexible and open than these categories allow. Specific critiques of Serres, such as those concerning the novelty of Bachelard’s thought, the role of epistemology and finally the political dimension of science will be evaluated through a reappraisal of this Bachelardian move that underlies Serres’s criticism. (shrink)
Concluding with four philosophical essays, this volume of case studies demonstrates how the inventive and persuasive dimensions of scholarly discourse point the way to forms of argument appropriate to our postmodern age.
Substantial research examines the follower consequences of leader alignment of words and deeds, but no research has quantitatively reviewed these effects. This study examines extant research on behavioral integrity and contrasts it with two other constructs that focus on alignment: moral integrity and psychological contract breaches. We compare effect sizes between the three constructs, and find that BI has stronger effects on trust, in-role task performance and citizenship behavior than moral integrity and stronger effects on commitment and OCB than psychological (...) contract breach. These stronger attitudinal consequences run counter to our initial expectations, but they provide evidence of important conceptual distinctions and mechanisms that we articulate. BI theory suggests that BI’s greater performance impact is due to the notion that BI affects communication clarity in addition to attitudes. Results of meta-analytic structural equation modeling are consistent with this proposed dual path of BI’s impact. We highlight avenues for future research on BI and discuss how our findings inform the broader research on leader alignment. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical analysis ofStalnaker''s work on presupposition (Stalnaker1973, 1974, 1979, 1999, 2002). The paperexamines two definitions of speakerpresupposition offered by Stalnaker – the familiar common ground view, and the earlier,less familiar, dispositional account – and howStalnaker relates this notion to the linguisticphenomenon of presupposition. Special attentionis paid to Stalnaker''s view of accommodation. Iargue that given Stalnakers views,accommodation is not rightly seen as driven bythe presuppositional requirements ofutterances, but only by the interests ofspeakers in eliminating perceived differencesamong presuppositions. (...) I also consider therevisions which are needed either to thedefinition of speaker presupposition or to thedefinition of sentence presupposition in lightof the possibility of informativepresupposition. In the concluding section, Idiscuss the ways in which some recent accountsof context and speaker presupposition departfrom their Stalnakerian foundations. (shrink)
In this book, Alston articulates and argues for a use-based and normative account of sentence meaning. He proposes that sentence meaning consists in illocutionary act potential, the usability of a sentence for the performance of a certain illocutionary act type. This potential is itself explained in terms of illocutionary rules, normative rules governing the acceptable use of sentences.