This essay sets out from the strain of liberal political thought which, in recent years, has come to the defence of nationalism, and raises some preliminary thoughts concerning its appropriate application to the very concrete issue of national territorial rights. It asks what type of justifications could be morally acceptable to “liberal nationalism” for the acquisition and holding of territory. To this end, the paper takes a brief look at five central arguments for territorial entitlement which have become predominant in (...) political debates. These are: so called “historical rights” to territory; demands for territorial restitution; efficiency arguments; claims of entitlement to territories settled by co‐nationals; and lastly, territorial demands based on claims of equal entitlement to the earth's natural resources. These popular arguments point towards several potential criteria for the arbitration of territorial conflicts. The paper attempts to outline the morally relevant guidelines for thinking about territorial issues that flow from, or are at least consistent with, applying liberal values to the national phenomenon. It places the territorial aspect of nationalism at the head of the liberal nationalist agenda and offers an initial common ground for discussion among liberals, and for the mediation of claims between nations. (shrink)
This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...) and neighbouring fields, including those of mathematics, psychology, literature and film, and neuroscience. (shrink)
Tamar Gendler argues that, for those living in a society in which race is a salient sociological feature, it is impossible to be fully rational: members of such a society must either fail to encode relevant information containing race, or suffer epistemic costs by being implicitly racist. However, I argue that, although Gendler calls attention to a pitfall worthy of study, she fails to conclusively demonstrate that there are epistemic (or cognitive) costs of being racist. Gendler offers three supporting (...) phenomena. First, implicit racists expend cognitive energy repressing their implicit biases. I reply, citing Ellen Bialystok’s research, that constant use of executive functioning can be beneficial. Second, Gendler argues that awareness of a negative stereotype of one’s own race with regard to a given task negatively affects one’s performance of that task. This phenomenon, I argue, demonstrates that those against whom the stigma is directed suffer costs, but it fails to demonstrate that the stigmatizers suffer cognitively. Finally, Gendler argues that racists are less competent when recognizing faces of other races than when recognizing faces of their own race because, in the first instance, they encode the race of the face (taking up cognitive space that could have been used to encode fine-grained distinctions), whereas in the second instance they encode no race. I argue that in-group/out-group categorization rather than racism is the cognitive cost. I conclude that Gendler has failed to demonstrate that there are cognitive costs associated with being a racist. (shrink)
In cases of imaginative contagion, imagining something has doxastic or doxastic-like consequences. In this reply to Tamar Szabó Gendler's article in this collection, I investigate what the philosophical consequences of these cases could be. I argue (i) that imaginative contagion has consequences for how we should understand the nature of imagination and (ii) that imaginative contagion has consequences for our understanding of what belief-forming mechanisms there are. Along the way, I make some remarks about what the consequences of the (...) contagion cases are for the relation between knowledge and imagination. (shrink)
This paper motivates, explains, and defends a new account of the content of thought experiments. I begin by briefly surveying and critiquing three influential accounts of thought experiments: James Robert Brown’s Platonist account, John Norton’s deflationist account that treats them as picturesque arguments, and a cluster of views that I group together as mental model accounts. I use this analysis to motivate a set of six desiderata for a new approach. I propose that we treat thought experiments primarily as aesthetic (...) objects, specifically fictions, and then use this analysis to characterize their content and ultimately assess their epistemic success. Taking my starting point from Kendall Walton’s account of representation (Mimesis as make-believe, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1990), I argue that the best way to understand the content of thought experiments is to treat them as props for imagining fictional worlds. Ultimately, I maintain that, in terms of their form and content, thought experiments share more with literary fictions and pictorial representations than with either argumentation or observations of the Platonic realm. Moreover, while they inspire imaginings, thought experiments themselves are not mental kinds. My approach redirects attention towards what fixes the content of any given thought experiment and scrutinizes the assumptions, cognitive capacities and conventions that generate them. This view helps to explain what seems plausible about Brown’s, Norton’s, and the mental modelers’ views. (shrink)
What is terrorism and can it ever be defended? Beginning with its definition, proceeding to its possible justifications, and culminating in proposals for contending with and combating it, this book offers a full theoretical analysis of the issue of terrorism. Tamar Meisels argues that, regardless of its professed cause, terrorism is diametrically opposed to the requirements of liberal morality and can only be defended at the expense of relinquishing the most basic of liberal commitments. Meisels opposes those who express (...) sympathy and justification for Islamist terrorism and terrorism allegedly carried out on behalf of developing nations, but, at the same time, also opposes those who would tolerate any reduction in civil liberties in exchange for greater security. Calling wholeheartedly for a unanimous liberal front against terrorism, this is a strong and provocative attempt to address the tension between liberty and security in a time of terror. (shrink)
The Elements of Philosophy: Readings from Past and Present is a comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary readings across the major fields of philosophy. With depth and quality, this introductory anthology offers a selection of readings that is both extensive and expansive; the readings span twenty-five centuries. They are organized topically into five parts: Religion and Belief, Moral and Political Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind and Language, and Life and Death. The product of the collaboration of three highly (...) respected scholars in their fields - Tamar Szabó Gendler, Susanna Siegel, and Steven M. Cahn - The Elements of Philosophy also includes introductions from the editors, explanatory footnotes, and a glossary. (shrink)
Concerns about philosophical methodology have emerged as a central issue in contemporary philosophical discussions. In this volume, Tamar Gendler draws together fourteen essays that together illuminate this topic. Three intertwined themes connect the essays. First, each of the chapters focuses, in one way or another, on how we engage with subject matter that we take to be imaginary. This theme is explored in a wide range of cases, including scientific thought experiments, early childhood pretense, thought experiments concerning personal identity, (...) fictional emotions, self-deception, Gettier and fake barn cases, the relation of belief to other attitudes, and the connection between conceivability and possibility. Second, each of the chapters explores, in one way or another, the implications of this for how thought experiments and appeals to intuition can serve as mechanisms for supporting or refuting scientific or philosophical claims. Third, each of the chapters self-consciously exhibits a particular philosophical methodology: that of drawing both on empirical findings from contemporary psychology, and on classic texts in the philosophical tradition By exploring and exhibiting the fruitfulness of these interactions, Gendler promotes the value of engaging in such cross-disciplinary conversations to illuminate philosophical questions. (shrink)
Tamar Gendler draws together in this book a series of essays in which she investigates philosophical methodology, which is now emerging as a central topic of philosophical discussions. Three intertwined themes run through the volume: imagination, intuition and philosophical methodology. Each of the chapters focuses, in one way or another, on how we engage with subject matter that we take to be imaginary--and they explore the implications of this for how thought experiments and appeals to intuition can serve as (...) mechanisms for supporting or refuting scientific or philosophical claims. Gendler promotes the value of engaging in such cross-disciplinary conversations in illuminating philosophical issues. (shrink)
We propose that children employ specialized cognitive systems that allow them to recover an accurate “causal map” of the world: an abstract, coherent, learned representation of the causal relations among events. This kind of knowledge can be perspicuously understood in terms of the formalism of directed graphical causal models, or “Bayes nets”. Children’s causal learning and inference may involve computations similar to those for learning causal Bayes nets and for predicting with them. Experimental results suggest that 2- to 4-year-old children (...) construct new causal maps and that their learning is consistent with the Bayes net formalism. (shrink)
I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate (...) control. (shrink)
In this paper I defend Kant’s Incorporation Thesis, which holds that we must “incorporate” our incentives into our maxims if we are to act on them. I see this as a thesis about what is necessary for a human being to make the transition from ‘having a desire’ to ‘acting on it’. As such, I consider the widely held view that ‘having a desire’ involves being focused on the world, and not on ourselves or on the desire. I try to (...) show how this view is connected with a denial of any deep distinction between reason and inclination. I then argue for an alternative view of what ‘having a desire’ involves, one according to which it involves being focused both on the world and on ourselves. I show how this view fits naturally with the Kantian distinction between reason and inclination, accounts for independent intuitions about ‘having a desire’, and supports the Incorporation Thesis. I then make some further suggestions about how we might conceive of the object of incorporation. (shrink)
The capacity to represent things to ourselves as possible plays a crucial role both in everyday thinking and in philosophical reasoning; this volume offers much-needed philosophical illumination of conceivability, possibility, and the relations between them.
A challenge we face in a world that has been shaped by, and continues to be shaped by, racist attitudes and institutions is that the evidence is often stacked in favor of racist beliefs. As a result, we may find ourselves facing the following conflict: what if the evidence we have supports something we morally shouldn’t believe? For example, it is morally wrong to assume, solely on the basis of someone’s skin color, that they’re a staff member. But, what if (...) you’re in a context where, because of historical patterns of discrimination, someone’s skin color is a very good indicator that they’re a staff member? When this sort of normative conflict looms, a conflict between moral considerations on the one hand and what you epistemically ought to believe given the evidence on the other, what should we do? It might be unfair to assume that they’re a staff member, but to ignore the evidence would mean risking inaccurate beliefs. Some, notably Tamar Gendler (2011), have suggested that we simply face a tragic irresolvable dilemma. In this chapter, I consider how these cases of conflict arise and I canvass the viability of suggested resolutions of the conflict. In the end, I argue that there’s actually no conflict here. Moral considerations can change how we epistemically should respond to the evidence. (shrink)
The problem of imaginative resistance holds interest for aestheticians, literary theorists, ethicists, philosophers of mind, and epistemologists. We present a somewhat opinionated overview of the philosophical discussion to date. We begin by introducing the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. We then review existing responses to the problem, giving special attention to recent research directions. Finally, we consider the philosophical significance that imaginative resistance has—or, at least, is alleged to have—for issues in moral psychology, theories of cognitive architecture, and modal epistemology.
To imagine is to form a mental representation that does not aim at things as they actually, presently, and subjectively are. One can use imagination to represent possibilities other than the actual, to represent times other than the present, and to represent perspectives other than one’s own. Unlike perceiving and believing, imagining something does not require one to consider that something to be the case. Unlike desiring or anticipating, imagining something does not require one to wish or expect that something (...) to be the case. // -/- Imagination is involved in a wide variety of human activities, and has been explored from a wide range of philosophical perspectives. Philosophers of mind have examined imagination’s role in mindreading and in pretense. Philosophical aestheticians have examined imagination’s role in creating and in engaging with different types of artworks. Epistemologists have examined imagination’s role in theoretical thought experiments and in practical decision-making. Philosophers of language have examined imagination’s role in irony and metaphor. // -/- Because of the breadth of the topic, this entry focuses exclusively on contemporary discussions of imagination in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition. (shrink)