Stephen Morse seems to have adopted a controversial position regarding the mindbody relationship: John Searle’s non-reductivism, which claims that conscious mental states are causal yet not reducible to their underlying brain states. Searle’s position has been roundly criticized, with some arguing the theory taken as a whole is incoherent. In this paper I review these criticisms and add my own, concluding that Searle’s position is indeed contradictory, both internally and with regard to Morse's other views. Thus I argue that (...) Morse ought to abandon Searle’s non-reductive theory. Instead, I claim Morse ought to adopt a non-eliminative reductive account that can more easily support his realism about folk psychological states, and the existence of causally effective mental states in a purely physical world. (shrink)
Stephen Davis has argued that the second ontological argument fails as a theistic proof because it ignores the logical possibility of what he calls an ontologically impossible being. By an “ontologically impossible being” he means a being that does not exist, logically-possibly exists, and would exist necessarily if it existed. In this brief essay, I argue, first, that even if an OIB is logically possible, its logical possibility is irrelevant to the OA at issue; and second, that an OIB (...) is in fact logically impossible, because the predicates which define it are inconsistent. The concept of an OIB may be coherent if necessity is understood as ontological self-sufficiency, but even so the OIB is irrelevant to the OA. (shrink)
Kalam cosmological arguments have recently been the subject of criticisms, at least inter alia, by physicists---Paul Davies, Stephen Hawking---and philosophers of science---Adolf Grunbaum. In a series of recent articles, William Craig has attempted to show that these criticisms are “superficial, iII-conceived, and based on misunderstanding.” I argue that, while some of the discussion of Davies and Hawking is not philosophically sophisticated, the points raised by Davies, Hawking and Grunbaum do suffice to undermine the dialectical efficacy of kalam cosmological arguments.
According to Stephen Finlay, ‘A ought to X’ means that X-ing is more conducive to contextually salient ends than relevant alternatives. This in turn is analysed in terms of probability. I show why this theory of ‘ought’ is hard to square with a theory of a reason’s weight which could explain why ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es. I develop two theories of weight to illustrate my point. I first look (...) at the prospects of a theory of weight based on expected utility theory. I then suggest a simpler theory. Although neither allows that ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es, this price may be accepted. For there remains a strong pragmatic relation between these claims. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism argues that the probability of our possessing reliable cognitive faculties, given the truth of evolution and naturalism, is low, and that this provides a defeater for naturalism, if the naturalist in question holds to the general truths of evolutionary biology. Stephen Law has recently objected to Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism by suggesting that there exist conceptual constraints governing the content a belief can have given its relationships to other things, including behaviour . (...) I show that Law’s objection fails, since it offers an auxiliary hypothesis to naturalism which is itself improbable. I consider multiple variants of the CC thesis, demonstrating that each is improbable, and that any weaker version with greater prior probability is compromised by a failure to render the relevant datum – the reliability of our cognitive faculties – probable. Thus, Law’s objection to Plantinga’s argument fails. (shrink)
This review commemorates the 20th anniversary of Stephen Clark’s explication of ecological thought. After appraising both philosophical and theological perspectives, Clark argues that society must awaken to Earth’s “Otherness.” I describe Clark’s ecological consciousness and highlight the significance of his book for 21st-century readers.
Stephen Hetherington é um dos mais proeminentes epistemólogos a defender que é possível ter conhecimento segundo as condições de crença verdadeira e justificada, apesar dos contraexemplos elaborados por Edmund Gettier. Ele fundamentou sua perspectiva no pressuposto de falibilidade do conhecimento e naquilo que ele chamou de "falácia de contrafactuais epistêmicos", segundo a qual não se deve assumir impossibilidade do conhecimento factual apenas em virtude da sua impossibilidade contrafactual - o que é reiterado por Anthony Booth. As críticas apresentadas por (...) Brent Madison, John Turri e Duncan Prtichard apontaram para a relevância das suas ideias, mas também para o fato de que Hetherington ignorou que há diferentes tipos de sorte que podem interferir no processo de aquisição de conhecimento. Palavras-chave: Falácia de contrafactuais epistêmicos. Falibilismo. Infalibilismo. Sorte epistêmica. Stephen Hetherington. (shrink)
Is there a contradiction in Stephen Colbert’s attitudes towards race? How can he consistently claim to be colorblind and yet hold a national search for a new "black friend"? I argue that Stephen is trying to claim rights and shirk responsibilities on matters of race relations in America, and that his famous notion of "truthiness" is an extension of this attitude to other areas of social and political discourse.
The fundamental question of political reparation is: why should a state provide redress for an injustice? The predominant answer justifies redress in terms of debts—the perpetration of an injustice creates a debt, and a state is required to make redress for the same reasons that it is required to repay its debts . Other approaches justify redress on the grounds that it will facilitate the achievement of some broader political goal, like the fair distribution of social resources or political reconciliation.In (...) Transitional Justice in Established Democracies, Stephen Winter provides a novel answer to this fundamental question in terms of political legitimacy. On Winter’s “legitimating account,” the state’s perpetuation of certain injustices compromises its political legitimacy. Redress is a required for a (liberal, democratic) state to bolster its legitimacy and to live up to its political commitments.Winter’s book makes a number of contributions to thinking about redress and transitional .. (shrink)
[Stephen Makin] Aristotle draws two sets of distinctions in Metaphysics 9.2, first between non-rational and rational capacities, and second between one way and two way capacities. He then argues for three claims: [A] if a capacity is rational, then it is a two way capacity [B] if a capacity is non-rational, then it is a one way capacity [C] a two way capacity is not indifferently related to the opposed outcomes to which it can give rise I provide explanations (...) of Aristotle's terminology, and of how [A]-[C] should be understood. I then offer a set of arguments which are intended to show that the Aristotelian claims are plausible. \\\ [Nicholas Denyer] In De Caelo 1: 11-12 Aristotle argued that whatever is and always will be true is necessarily true. His argument works, once we grant him the highly plausible principle that if something is true, then it can be false if and only if it can come to be false. For example, assume it true that the sun is and always will be hot. No proposition of this form can ever come to be false. Hence this proposition cannot be false. Hence it is necessarily true, and so too is anything that follows from it. In particular, it is necessarily true that the sun is hot. Moreover, if the sun not only is and always will be hot, but also always has been, then it follows by similar reasoning that the sun not only cannot now fail to be hot, but also never could have failed. Anything everlastingly true is therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, necessarily true. (shrink)
In this essay I will attempt to explain the significance of Stephen Bantu Biko's life. This I will do in terms of his intellectual contribution to the liberation of black people from the radically unjust apartheid society in South Africa. Firstly, I will discuss his contribution to liberate blacks psychologically from the political system of apartheid, pointing out how he broke through the normative and pragmatic acceptance of the situation in the radically unjust apartheid society. He experienced black people (...) as being defeated people, and he wanted to direct their attention to the fact that the cause of their unjust situation was other human beings and thus they could change it. Secondly, I point out how he gave black people a new self-understanding and self worth. One way of doing this was by means of community projects which fostered self-reliance. For Biko it was important that black people should act autonomously, and not let other people make decisions on their behalf. They also had to re-evaluate their cultural heritage to discover the positive aspects thereof. Lastly, I focus on his views on his ideal for a future just South Africa and show how important he regarded dialogue as a political tool. (shrink)
Stephen Finlay’s Confusion of Tongues is a bold and sophisticated book. The overarching goal is metaphysical: to reductively analyze normative facts, properties, and relations in terms of non-normative facts, properties, and relations. But the method is linguistic: to first provide a reductive analysis of the corresponding bits of normative language, with a particular focus on ‘good’, ‘ought’, and ‘reason’. The gap between language and reality is then bridged by taking linguistic analysis as a guide to conceptual analysis, and conceptual (...) analysis as a guide to metaphysical analysis. In this review, I consider three challenges to Finlay’s project that deserve more attention than they receive in the book. The first concerns Finlay’s claim to have provided a *reductive* theory of normative language, the second concerns his claim to have provided a *unified* theory of normative language, and the third concerns his claim to have provided a *correct* theory of normative language. (shrink)
In the December 2015 Issue of the Police Journal Sam Poyser and Rebecca Milne addressed the subject of miscarriages of justice. Cold case investigations can address some of these wrongs. The salient points for attention are those just before his sudden death: Milligan was appointed Private Secretary to Jonathan Aitken, the then Minister of Arms in the Conservative government in 1994. The known facts are as follows: 1. Stephen David Wyatt Milligan was found deceased on Tuesday 8th February 1994 (...) at his Chiswick, West London house where he lived alone. His body was found by his secretary Vera Taggart who was told by Julie Kirkbride where a spare key to his London house was kept and who decided to go to his house that day because he was not answering his telephone. Police said he had made one last telephone call on Saturday evening at 9.00pm. 2. Stephen David Wyatt Milligan had been the elected Member of Parliament (‘MP’) for Eastleigh in Hampshire since 1992. 3. The important topics this MP was addressing in 1994 at the time of his death included: (i) rail privatization plans and the impact through job losses on communities, especially his own constituency of Eastleigh; (ii) arms dealings with Saudi Arabia, especially with his previous intelligence gathered as an economics journalist for esteemed publications; (iii) the UK military industry; (iv) homosexuality among senior government Ministers, as revealed by British footballer Fasanu; (v) personal relationship and planned marriage to his fiancée (Julie Kirkbride) who at the time was a political journalist. 4. Stephen Milligan was also appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jonathan Aitken, Arms Minister and this position must have required that he came ‘up to speed’ on international arms trade and indeed its relation to bribery and corruption across jurisdictions. Milligan’s experience and knowledge as a former high-level political and economics journalist must have been of huge benefit to government minister Jonathan Aitken who was later imprisoned for perjury. 5. Regarding Stephen Milligan’s death in 1994, the Guardian newspaper in their immediate obituary said that ‘The death of one of the government's most outspoken and loyal supporters will pose a stiff electoral test for the Tories to surmount. He was on the left of the Tory party - he had even had a brief flirtation with the SDP when it was formed - and was a noted Euro-enthusiast… the death of one of the government's most outspoken and loyal supporters will pose a stiff electoral test for the Tories to surmount. Regarding Stephen Milligan’s sudden and unexpected death in 1994, MP David Willetts (Conservative, Havant) said in March 2015, in his address in the House of Commons. ‘…The inevitable ups and downs and triumphs and disasters of politics are among the great features of this place. There are colleagues in all parts of the House who are tolerant and understanding. There are friendships that keep the downs as well as the ups of politics in perspective. Having entered the House in 1992, I think particularly of two good friends, Judith Chaplin and Stephen Milligan, who both died within two years of being elected; that loss stayed with me for a long time...’ 6. On 28 February 2000, in the House of Commons, at Column 106, Mr Mike Hancock (Portsmouth) said, on the deaths of Michael Colvin and of Stephen Milligan MP: ‘I knew Michael Colvin for nearly 30 years, from when he was first elected to Hampshire county council. During my time as leader of that council, he and the late former Member of Parliament for Eastleigh, Stephen Milligan, were usually the only Members of Parliament who readily supported the council when necessary. Michael Colvin supported many ventures in the county of Hampshire. He will be missed here, in his constituency, and in Europe, and I stress that Hampshire has lost a staunch supporter. I am sure that the county will at some stage want to record its regret at his death and its deepest appreciation of the part that he played in its life....’ -/- Mike Hancock had, like Stephen Milligan, served on the Select Committee on Defence. It is interesting that he mentioned Stephen Milligan’s support as MP for Eastleigh when Milligan had only been so appointed a couple of years before his sudden death, as compared to 30 years of support from Mike Colvin. 7. Mr Andrew Robathan (for Blaby) said in the House of Commons Hansard Debates on 27 January1997, (Column 62) (on the registering of sex offenders): ‘I remember the death of my honourable friend Stephen Milligan, who represented Eastleigh. The press reports of the time stated that each Metropolitan police station had a police officer in the pay of newspapers. I do not know whether that is true, but I am aware that the police are not renowned for being entirely secure with their information…’ This statement is mischievous and it has been demonstrated time and time again, as being untrue, especially during the recent press inquiry leading to the four-volume Leveson Report, published in November 2012, into phone hacking and the ethics and culture of the UK media, pursuant to section 26 of the Inquiries Act 2005, and ordered by the House of Commons to be printed on 29 November 2012, ISBN: 9780102981063, by the Stationery Office Limited on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. In Volume 4 of the 2012 Leveson Report, chapter 4 concluded on the Press Complaints Commission (‘PCC’) and its effectiveness and revealed that the PCC does not initiate its own investigations other than those ‘needed to head off criticism of the press or self-regulation- or to accept complaints from third parties across the board and on a transparent basis… and the report states that ‘the resources of the police are limited’ in terms of being able to fully inspect the Press and media reports. (shrink)
Review Essay: Exemplary Stories: On the Uses of Biography in Recent Sociology: Alan Sica and Stephen Turner The Disobedient Generation: Social Theorists in the Sixties ; Mathieu Deflem Sociologists in a Global Age: Biographical Perspectives ; Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert, The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization.
In this paper, I critically examine Stephen Turner's critique of practice theory in light of recent neurophysiological discoveries regarding the “mirror neuron system” in the pre-frontal mo-tor cortex of humans and other primates. I argue that two of Turner's strongest objections against the sociological version of the practice-theoretical account, the problem of transmission and the problem of sameness, are substantially undermined when examined from the perspective of re-cently systematized accounts of embodied learning and intersubjective action understanding in-spired by these (...) developments. In addition, I show that the practice-theoretical framework out-lined by Pierre Bourdieu in the Logic of Practice and other works is, in contrast to Turner's por-trayal of a confused hodgepodge of logical errors and empirical impossibilities, largely consistent with the latest neurophysiological evidence and as such fundamentally foreshadowed more recent understandings of the neurocognitive foundations of the perception, understanding and structure of the motor schemes productive of action in the world. Also in line with these newer neurosci-entific developments, the practice-theoretical focus on the body as the central matrix generative of tacit understandings and analogical operations responsible for “higher order” systems of classi-fication emerges as the key to solving some of the thorniest problems in the theory of action: eliminating to need to resort to unwarranted “collective object” explanations for the origins of shared presuppositional frameworks. (shrink)
Reviews : Zygmunt Bauman, Intimations of Postmodernity ; Steven Seidman and David G. Wagner , Postmodernism and Social Theory ; Stephen Crook, Jan Pakulski and Malcolm Wa ters, Postmodernization: Change in Advanced Society ; Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity—Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Post-modern Culture.
In Squaring the Circle in Descartes’ Meditations, Stephen Wagner aims to show that Descartes’ project in the Meditations is best understood as a ‘strong validation of reason’ i.e., as proving in a non-circular way that human reason is a reliable, truth-conducive faculty. For such an enterprise to qualify as a ‘strong’ validation, Wagner contends, skeptical doubt must be given its strongest force. The most stringent doubt available in the Meditations is the deceiving God. To rule out the possibility that (...) an omnipotent God created humans so that their best functioning cognitive faculties provide misleading information about what the world is like, Descartes must prove that a non-deceiving God exists. Furthermore, only a non-circular proof will count as a ‘validation.’ Wagner spells out the requirements of non-circularity as involving a proof for God’s existence that is not deductive, does not simply achieve a clear and distinct perception of God’s existence, and proceeds on the basis of perceptions that remain true even when the reasons underlying them are not attended to any longer by the meditator. (shrink)
In our paper, “The Free-Will Intuitions Scale and the question of natural compatibilism” , we seek to advance empirical debates about free will by measuring the relevant folk intuitions using the scale methodology of psychology, as a supplement to standard experimental methods. Stephen Morris raises a number of concerns about our paper. Here, we respond to Morris's concerns.
This is a response to Stephen Maitzen’s paper. ‘Moral Conclusions from Nonmoral Premises’. Maitzen thinks that No-Ought-From-Is is false. He does not dispute the formal proofs of Schurz and myself, but he thinks they are beside the point. For what the proponents of No-Ought-From-Is need to show is not that you cannot get SUBSTANTIVELY moral conclusions from FORMALLY non-moral premises but that you cannot get SUBSTANTIVELY moral conclusions from SUBSTANTIVELY non-moral premises. And he believes that he can derive substantively (...) moral conclusions from FORMALLY moral but SUBSTANTIVELY nonmoral premises. However his argument relies on what I call ‘taxonomic essentialism’, the thesis that sentences do not change their semantic characters from context to context or from world to world. In particular, they do not change their META-ETHICAL status from context to context or world to world. If a sentence is non-moral at one world it is non-moral at all the rest. This thesis leads to contradictions (with some propositions as both moral and non-moral) and even if (as is perhaps possible) these contradictions can be avoided, it leads to further consequences that are palpably absurd. Thus It may be possible to derive substantively moral conclusions from premises that are not substantively moral, but if it is, Maitzen has failed to prove the point. (shrink)
In his book Welfare and Rational Care, Stephen Darwall proposes to give an account of human welfare. Or rather, he offers two accounts, a metaethical and a normative account. The two accounts, he suggests, are somewhat supportive of each other though they are logically independent.
Stephen T. Casper and Steve Fuller’s commentaries on my paper “Completing Circle of the Social Sciences? William Beveridge and Social Biology at the London School of Economics during the 1930s” raises important questions about the historical entanglement of the political left, welfarism, biology, and social science. In this response, I clarify questions about my analysis of events at the London School of Economics in the early twentieth century and identify ways in which they are important in the present. I (...) suggest that there is much to be learned from the school’s failed experiment with social biology, not least when it comes to thinking about the historical contingency of relationships between progressive politics and biology. (shrink)
This paper explores the significance of the concept of power/knowledge in educational theory. The argument proceeds in two main parts. In the first, I consider aspects of Stephen J. Ball's highly influential work in educational theory. I examine his reception of Foucault's concept of power/knowledge and suggest that there are problems in his adoption of Foucault's thought. These problems arise from the way that he settles interpretations into received ideas. Foucault's thought, I try to show, is not to be (...) seen in a confined way. In the second part, I seek a different reading of Foucault's notion of power/knowledge in order to break with this tendency to confine, referring to the work of Gilles Deleuze. I draw particularly on Deleuze's thought of the outside as a means of manifesting the significance of power/knowledge in relation to processes of subjectification. At the end of the paper, I suggest how educational theory might be reconceived in the light of potencies of power/knowledge that the paper has demonstrated. (shrink)
I argue that Stephen Houlgate misstates an element in the Kantian background to my reading of “Lordship and Bondage” (§2). He misreads my remarks about the need to see Hegel’s moves there in the context of the progression towards absolute knowing (§3), and, partly consequently, he fails to engage with the motivation for my reading (§4). And he does not understand the way my reading exploits the concept of allegory (§5).
In his 2010 work, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking, argues that ‘… philosophy is dead’. While not a Philosopher, Hawking provides strong argument for his thesis, principally that philosophers have not taken science sufficiently seriously and so Philosophy is no longer relevant to knowledge claims. In this paper, Hawking’s claim is appraised and critiqued, becoming a meta-philosophical discussion. It is argued that Philosophy is dead, in some sense, due to particular philosophers having embarked on an intellectual path no longer (...) in keeping with the ancient definition of Philosophy. Philosophy as the seeking of wisdom necessarily includes the consideration of findings of other intellectual pursuits, including physical and natural science. While Philosophy has justifiably evolved through its long history, is it unrecognisable in the terms by which it historically defined itself? Seeking consistency, Hawking is critiqued for appearing to practise ‘dead’ Philosophy. Indeed, Hawking’s appeal to multiverse theory and his core discussion of the metaphysical problem of being are philosophical. The question of the death of Philosophy has contemporary relevance for the discipline which is particularly under threat for its survival in the academy, oftentimes assumed to be irrelevant. (shrink)
This is a response to issues raised by Stephen Houlgate in his article “Hegel, Desmond, and the Problem of God’s Transcendence,” dealing with Hegel’s God: A Counterfeit Double? The response focuses especially on the hermeneutical finesse we need in reading Hegel on religion, on the nature of “release” in Hegel, on the need for an agapeic God, and on the differences between Hegel’s speculative philosophy and Desmond’s metaxological approach to the practice of philosophy.
The latter half of nineteenth-century England was rife with the evolution question. As English imperialism also reached its pinnacle during this time, racial gradations and superiority of the white race in the newly formed human chain loomed large culturally. In 1849, Thomas Carlyle anonymously published his anti-emancipationist perspective in “The Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question,” followed by John Stuart Mill’s divergent response to him in 1850 titled, “The Negro Question.” In 1878, The Westminster Review also published a woman’s perspective, (...) “The Importance of Race and Its Bearing on the Negro Question” by Alice Bodington, which resembled the Carlyle essay in various ways. Although Mill’s essay was a direct attack on Carlyle’s explosive article and is overtly against Carlyle and Bodington’s ideas, this paper argues that an imperialist agenda underlies Mill’s views and in fact poses the same theories of Carlyle and Bodington. The paper first proceeds to interrogate Mill’s hegemonic subtext through a comparison of these three essays by situating them within the scientific discourse of the era, arguing that science, especially phrenology and evolution theories, didn’t exist in a vacuum, but was used to perpetrate the normative racial ideologies of the period. The paper also uses Edward Said’s theory of ‘Othering the Orient’ in Culture and Imperialism to show that while Mill seemingly diverges from Carlyle’s stance, this ‘othering’ is in fact present in all three writers’ works. (shrink)
In this paper I intend to discuss some of the views put forward by Stephen Kemp in his recent critique of the Strong Program . In particular I will try to defend David Bloor’s SSK against the charge of weak idealism brought up by Stephen Kemp in his paper. The widely held accusation, namely, according to which the social constructionist approach to scientific knowledge is strongly idealist, is already rejected by Kemp himself. He argues, however that Bloor’s attempts (...) to divert the charge of idealism from the Strong Programme were not successful with respect to the kind of idealism that Kemp calls ‘weak idealism’, that is, treating scientific discourse as free-floating and unrelated to the world of things. I intend to argue that Kemp’s charges are unfounded when levelled at Bloor’s views on meaning and reference. Kemp deals with two issues of the Bloorian program: with the social constructionist approach to concepts as self-referential social institutions, and with the actor/analyst distinction introduced by the Strong Programmers. I will focus only on the first issue in my paper.Keywords: Strong Programme; David Bloor; Social constructionism; Self-reference; Idealism; Reference to external reality. (shrink)
I offer an interpretation of the connection between judging and intuiting in Kant (§2). Next I try to clarify how the movement in the self-consciousness chapter, as I read it, fits in the Phenomenology’s progression towards absolute knowing (§3). In some detailed responses to Stephen Houlgate, I reiterate how my reading is motivated by the wish not to discard, or ignore, Hegel’s first formulation of what is to be achieved by the movement in the self-consciousness chapter, and I object (...) to Houlgate’s equation of thinking consciousness with Stoicism (§4). Finally, I try to clarify the point of my invocation of allegory (§5). (shrink)
Anyone who wishes to talk about angels has to respond to the mocking question, how many of them can dance on the point of a pin. The answer is: ‘just as many as they please’. Angels being immaterial intellects do not occupy space to the exclusion of any other such intellectual substance, and their being ‘on’ the point of a pin can only mean that they attend to it. The question, however, is not one that concerned our mediaeval predecessors, although (...) it seems as difficult to persuade anyone of this as it is to clear Canute of the charge of insane conceit. (shrink)
Philosophers of earlier ages have usually spent time in considering thenature of marital, and in general familial, duty. Paley devotes an entire book to those ‘relative duties which result from the constitution of the sexes’,1 a book notable on the one hand for its humanity and on the other for Paley‘s strange refusal to acknowledge that the evils for which he condemns any breach of pure monogamy are in large part the result of the fact that such breaches are generally (...) condemned. In a society where an unmarried mother is ruined no decent male should put a woman in such danger: but why precisely should social feeling be so severe? Marriage, the monogamist would say, must be defended at all costs, for it is a centrally important institution of our society. Political community was, in the past, understood as emerging from or imposed upon families, or similar associations. The struggle to establish the state was a struggle against families, clans and clubs; the state, once established, rested upon the social institutions to which it gave legal backing. (shrink)
Stephen Jay Gould’s monumental The Structure of Evolutionary Theory ‘‘attempts to expand and alter the premises of Darwinism, in order to build an enlarged and distinctive evolutionary theory . . . while remaining within the tradition, and under the logic, of Darwinian argument.’’ The three branches or ‘‘fundamental principles of Darwinian logic’’ are, according to Gould: agency (natural selection acting on individual organisms), efﬁcacy (producing new species adapted to their environments), and scope (accumulation of changes that through geological time (...) yield the living world’s panoply of diversity and morphological complexity). Gould’s efforts to contribute something important to each of these three fundamental components of Darwinian Theory are far from successful. (shrink)
P.F. Strawson’s Individuals contains a condensed version of an ontology of art. According to this ontology, musical and literary compositions are similar to types. They are abstract entities, instantiated in the performances of the piece of music or the copies of the literary work. Musical and literary compositions are “well-entrenched”, Strawson says – we cannot eliminate these abstractions, or perhaps we have no need to do so. Strawson’s ontology of art forms an integral part of what he calls his “descriptive (...) metaphysics”, and his resistance to the elimination of types and type-like entities is one example of his reservations against “revisionary metaphysics”.Nowadays, Strawson’s name is seldom mentioned in connection with the philosophy of art. Yet the general view of the ontology of art advocated in Individuals is still probably the one most widely held in analytical aesthetics today. Thus, for example, Stephen Davies adopts the same general position as Strawson in his article “Ontology of Art” , the best informed contemporary overview of the complex of problems surrounding the mode of existence of works of art. Unlike Strawson, Davies also adduces explicit reasons why concepts of musical and literary compositions cannot be successfully eliminated.Critically reviewing Strawson’s and Davies’ standpoints and arguments, I maintain that concepts of artworks can in fact be successfully eliminated, and that the bracketing of such notions leads to a better theoretical perspective on musical and literary communication. Throughout the paper, I speak for an open-minded approach to conceptual revision. (shrink)