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)
La recepción durante el siglo XX se preguntó si la filosofía nietzscheana era a-, im- o anti-política, es decir, si podía ser asimilada por la democracia, o si era antimoderna, elitista y reaccionaria. El italiano Roberto Esposito ha propuesto leerla como formando e informando el paradigma de la biopolítica. Se discuten cuatro lecturas de esa biopolítica: como formadora del paradigma de la inmunidad, como tanatopolítica, como liberal y neoliberal, y como biopolítica afirmativa. Twentieth-century readers wondered if Nietzschean philosophy was apolitical, (...) impolitic, or anti-political; that is, if it could be assimilated by democracy or if it was antimodern, elitist, and reactionary. The Italian philosopher Robert Esposito has proposed reading Nietzsche's philosophy as forming and informing the biopolitical paradigm. Four readings of these biopolitics are discussed: as part of the paradigm of immunity, as thanatopolitics, as liberal and neoliberal, and as affirmative biopolitics. (shrink)
Franklin G. Miller and colleagues have stimulated renewed interest in research ethics through their work criticizing clinical equipoise. Over three years and some twenty articles, they have also worked to articulate a positive alternative view on norms governing the conduct of clinical research. Shared presuppositions underlie the positive and critical dimensions of Miller and colleagues' work. However, recognizing that constructive contributions to the field ought to enjoy priority, we presently scrutinize the constructive dimension of their work. We argue (...) that it is wanting in several respects. (shrink)
This new edition of Alexander Miller’s highly readable introduction to contemporary metaethics provides a critical overview of the main arguments and themes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century contemporary metaethics. Miller traces the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent arguments between naturalism and non-naturalism, cognitivism and non-cognitivism. From Moore’s attack on ethical naturalism, A. J. Ayer’s emotivism and Simon Blackburn’s quasi-realism to anti-realist and best opinion (...) accounts of moral truth and the non-reductionist naturalism of the ‘Cornell realists’, this book addresses all the key theories and ideas in this field. As well as revisiting the whole terrain with revised and updated guides to further reading, Miller also introduces major new sections on the revolutionary fictionalism of Richard Joyce and the hermeneutic fictionalism of Mark Kalderon. The new edition will continue to be essential reading for students, teachers and professional philosophers with an interest in contemporary metaethics. (shrink)
Purpose Prescription stimulant use as “cognitive enhancers” has been described among undergraduate college students. However, the use of prescription stimulants among future health care professionals is not well characterized. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of prescription stimulant misuse among students at an academic health sciences center. -/- Method Electronic surveys were e-mailed to 621 medical, pharmacy, and respiratory therapy students at East Tennessee State University for four consecutive weeks in fall 2011. Completing the survey was voluntary and (...) anonymous. Surveys asked about reasons for, frequency of, and side effects of nonprescription misuse of prescription stimulants. Given the sensitive material, an opportunity to win one of ten $50 gift cards was used as an incentive. -/- Results Three hundred seventy-two (59.9%) students completed the survey from three disciplines (47.6% medical, 70.5% pharmacy, and 57.6% respiratory therapy). Overall, 11.3% of responders admitted to misusing prescription stimulants. There was more misuse by respiratory therapy students, although this was not statistically significant (10.9% medicine, 9.7% pharmacy, 26.3% respiratory therapy; P = .087). Reasons for prescription stimulant misuse included to enhance alertness/ energy (65.9%), to improve academic performance (56.7%), to experiment (18.2%), and to use recreationally/get high (4.5%). -/- Conclusions Prescription stimulant misuse was prevalent among participating students, but further research is needed to describe prevalence among future health care workers more generally. The implications and consequences of such misuse require further study across professions with emphasis on investigating issues of academic dishonesty (e.g., “cognitive enhancement”), educational quality, and patient safety or health care quality. (shrink)
Miller, D., G. Nadathur, F. Pfenning and A. Scedrov, Uniform proofs as a foundation for logic programming, Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 51 125–157. A proof-theoretic characterization of logical languages that form suitable bases for Prolog-like programming languages is provided. This characterization is based on the principle that the declarative meaning of a logic program, provided by provability in a logical system, should coincide with its operational meaning, provided by interpreting logical connectives as simple and fixed search instructions. (...) The operational semantics is formalized by the identification of a class of cut-free sequent proofs called uniform proofs. A uniform proof is one that can be found by a goal-directed search that respects the interpretation of the logical connectives as search instructions. The concept of a uniform proof is used to define the notion of an abstract logic programming language, and it is shown that first-order and higher-order Horn clauses with classical provability are examples of such a language. Horn clauses are then generalized to hereditary Harrop formulas and it is shown that first-order and higher-order versions of this new class of formulas are also abstract logic programming languages if the inference rules are those of either intuitionistic or minimal logic. The programming language significance of the various generalizations to first-order Horn clauses is briefly discussed. (shrink)
Despite growing scientific interest in the placebo effect and increasing understanding of neurobiological mechanisms (Finniss et al. 2010), theoretical conceptualization of the placebo effect remains primitive (Miller, Colloca, and Kaptchuk 2009). Mechanistic research on this phenomenon appears largely free-floating, with little guidance by any systematic theoretical paradigm. A partial explanation is the pervasive conceptual confusion that characterizes thinking about the placebo effect. The philosopher of science Adolf Grunbaum noted that "the medical and psychiatric literature on placebos and their effects (...) is conceptually bewildering, to the point of being a veritable Tower of Babel" (Grunbaum 1994, p. 286). .. (shrink)
We consider embeddings of structures which preserve spectra: if g: M → S with S computable, then M should have the same Turing degree spectrum (as a structure) that g(M) has (as a relation on S). We show that the computable dense linear order L is universal for all countable linear orders under this notion of embedding, and we establish a similar result for the computable random graph G. Such structures are said to be spectrally universal. We use our results (...) to answer a question of Goncharov, and also to characterize the possible spectra of structures as precisely the spectra of unary relations on G. Finally, we consider the extent to which all spectra of unary relations on the structure L may be realized by such embeddings, offering partial results and building the first known example of a structure whose spectrum contains precisely those degrees c with c′ ≥T 0″. (shrink)
Literary criticism at the present moment seems ready to open its doors once again to the outside world, even if that world is only a series of other academic disciplines, each cloistered in its own way. For the reader of black African literature in French, the opening comes none too soon. The program for reading Camara Laye, Ahmadou Kourouma, and Yambo Ouologuem should never have been the program prescribed for Rousseau, Wordsworth, or Blanchot. If one is willing to read a (...) literature that might not be a rewriting of Hegel , and if the negative knowledge of recent theoretical criticism is questioned in the universality of its applications, then what is really open to a Western reader of non-Western literature? Claiming a break with his/her own culture and critical upbringing, can he/she the Other, the African, as if from an authentically African point of view, interpreting Africa in African terms, perceiving rather than projecting?The goal of breaking through the nets of Western criticism, of reading African literature in a nonethnocentric, nonprojective fashion, will remain both indisputably desirable and ultimately unattainable. No matter how many languages I learn or ethnologies I study, I cannot make myself into an African. The Western scholar’s claim to mastery of things African, albeit motivated by xenophilia rather than xenophobia, risks subjugation of the object to a new set of Western models. J. P. Makouta-M’Boukou rightly scolds Western critics who refuse to take into account the distance between themselves and African culture, and who read African literature only in function of their own cultural context.1 Wole Soyinka, more forbiddingly, complains: “We black Africans have been blandly invited to submit ourselves to a second epoch of colonisation—this time by a universal-humanoid abstraction defined and conducted by individuals whose theories and prescriptions are derived from the apprehension of their world and their history, their social neuroses and their value systems.”2 1. See J. P. Makouta-M’Boukou, Introduction à l’étude du roman négro-africain de langue française , p. 9.2. Wole Soyinka, Myth, Literature, and the African World , p. x. Christopher L. Miller, Charles B. G. Murphy Assistant Professor of French and of African and Afro-American Studies at Yale University, is author of Blank Darkness: Africanist Discourse in French . He is working at present on a study of francophone black African literature, for which he will have a Fulbright Africa Research grant. (shrink)
The existential proposition is treated as the unit of meaning in this analysis of cognitive meaning; the notion of a physical field is the principle ingredient in the analysis. Such problems as meaning, reference, belief, and the unity of a judgment are also discussed in the light of contemporary logic and the psychology of perception. Stephen Pepper contributes a helpful introduction to this short but perspicacious work.--G. B.
Hypocrites are often thought to lack the standing to blame others for faults similar to their own. Although this claim is widely accepted, it is seldom argued for. We offer an argument for the claim that nonhypocrisy is a necessary condition on the standing to blame. We first offer a novel, dispositional account of hypocrisy. Our account captures the commonsense view that hypocrisy involves making an unjustified exception of oneself. This exception-making involves a rejection of the impartiality of morality and (...) thereby a rejection of the equality of persons, which we argue grounds the standing to blame others. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that hypocrisy can undermine one’s moral standing to blame. According to the Nonhypocrisy Condition on standing, R has the standing to blame some other agent S for a violation of some norm N only if R is not hypocritical with respect to blame for violations of N. Yet this condition is seldom argued for. Macalester Bell points out that the fact that hypocrisy is a moral fault does not yet explain why hypocritical blame is standingless blame. (...) She raises a challenge: one must explain what is distinct about hypocritical blame such that the hypocritical blamer lacks the standing to blame, even if the arrogant or petty blamer does not. Of those writing on hypocrisy, only we offer a direct response to Bell’s challenge. Recently, however, our account has come under criticism. We argue here that (1) our account can handle these criticisms and that (2) no other rival account adequately addresses Bell’s challenge of explaining what is uniquely objectionable about hypocritical blame. Because answering Bell’s challenge is a necessary component of any plausible account of the relationship between hypocrisy and standing, our account remains the best on offer. (shrink)
Floridi and Sanders, seminal work, “On the morality of artificial agents” has catalyzed attention around the moral status of computer systems that perform tasks for humans, effectively acting as “artificial agents.” Floridi and Sanders argue that the class of entities considered moral agents can be expanded to include computers if we adopt the appropriate level of abstraction. In this paper we argue that the move to distinguish levels of abstraction is far from decisive on this issue. We also argue that (...) adopting certain levels of abstraction out of context can be dangerous when the level of abstraction obscures the humans who constitute computer systems. We arrive at this critique of Floridi and Sanders by examining the debate over the moral status of computer systems using the notion of interpretive flexibility. We frame the debate as a struggle over the meaning and significance of computer systems that behave independently, and not as a debate about the ‘true’ status of autonomous systems. Our analysis leads to the conclusion that while levels of abstraction are useful for particular purposes, when it comes to agency and responsibility, computer systems should be conceptualized and identified in ways that keep them tethered to the humans who create and deploy them. (shrink)
In our 2018 paper, “Hypocrisy and the Standing to Blame,” we offer an argument justifying the Nonhypocrisy Condition on the standing to blame. Benjamin Rossi (2018) has recently offered several criticisms of this view. We defend our account from Rossi’s criticisms and emphasize our account’s unique advantage: explaining why hypocritical blamers lack the standing to blame.
The basis of science is the hypothetico-deductive method and the recording of experiments in sufficient detail to enable reproducibility. We report the development of Robot Scientist "Adam," which advances the automation of both. Adam has autonomously generated functional genomics hypotheses about the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and experimentally tested these hypotheses by using laboratory automation. We have confirmed Adam's conclusions through manual experiments. To describe Adam's research, we have developed an ontology and logical language. The resulting formalization involves over 10,000 different (...) research units in a nested treelike structure, 10 levels deep, that relates the 6.6 million biomass measurements to their logical description. This formalization describes how a machine contributed to scientific knowledge. (shrink)