This book develops novel accounts of many of the most controversial topics in the philosophy of Socrates. The authors first develop Socrates' methodological, epistemological, and psychological views before examining his ethical, political, and religious convictions. The results reveals both the richness and the remarkable coherence of the philosophy of Plato's Socrates.
This book argues that science and metaphysics are closely and inseparably interwoven in the work of Descartes, such that the metaphysics cannot be understood without the science and vice versa. In order to make his case, Thomas Vinci offers a careful philosophical reconstruction of central parts of Descartes' metaphysics and of his theory of perception, each considered in relation to Descartes' epistemology. Many authors of late have written on the relation between Descartes' metaphysics and his physics, especially insofar as (...) the former was intended to justify the latter. Vinci's work does not focus on this relation. It takes as a broad interpretive principle that Descartes wanted to justify a certain picture of matter with his metaphysics, but it focuses its own efforts on the way in which metaphysics and science meet in Descartes' theory of sense-perception. Vinci aims to show that Descartes gave an important positive role to sense-perception in his epistemology, and also that he used his reflections on sense-perception to frame his criticism of previous theories of the sensory qualities of objects. (shrink)
The essays in this volume critically analyze and revitalize agrarian philosophy by tracing its evolution in the classical American philosophy of key figures such as Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, Thoreau, Dewey, and Royce.
This book is without doubt the most meticulously researched, carefully argued, and comprehensive study of Socratic religion to date. When McPherran refers to the religion of Socrates, he means the religion of the historical Socrates. Like many contemporary scholars, McPherran thinks that Plato’s early dialogues are generally reliable sources for the views of the historical Socrates. With uncommon clarity, the author develops the philosophical and religious commitments of this Socrates and shows how they are really complementary parts of a single (...) outlook. Not surprisingly, the very nature of the project generates a multitude of puzzles. McPherran does a masterful job of developing these paradoxes and showing how Socrates was prepared to disarm them. (shrink)
Socrates' moral psychology is widely thought to be 'intellectualist' in the sense that, for Socrates, every ethical failure to do what is best is exclusively the result of some cognitive failure to apprehend what is best. Until publication of this book, the view that, for Socrates, emotions and desires have no role to play in causing such failure went unchallenged. This book argues against the orthodox view of Socratic intellectualism and offers in its place a comprehensive alternative account that explains (...) why Socrates believed that emotions, desires and appetites can influence human motivation and lead to error. Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith defend the study of Socrates' philosophy and offer an alternative interpretation of Socratic moral psychology. Their novel account of Socrates' conception of virtue and how it is acquired shows that Socratic moral psychology is considerably more sophisticated than scholars have supposed. (shrink)
Artificial intelligence research and regulation seek to balance the benefits of innovation against any potential harms and disruption. However, one unintended consequence of the recent surge in AI research is the potential re-orientation of AI technologies to facilitate criminal acts, term in this article AI-Crime. AIC is theoretically feasible thanks to published experiments in automating fraud targeted at social media users, as well as demonstrations of AI-driven manipulation of simulated markets. However, because AIC is still a relatively young and inherently (...) interdisciplinary area—spanning socio-legal studies to formal science—there is little certainty of what an AIC future might look like. This article offers the first systematic, interdisciplinary literature analysis of the foreseeable threats of AIC, providing ethicists, policy-makers, and law enforcement organisations with a synthesis of the current problems, and a possible solution space. (shrink)
Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith offer a comprehensive historical and philosophical interpretation of, and commentary on, one of Plato's most widely read works, the Apology of Socrates. Virtually every modern interpretation characterizes some part of what Socrates says in the Apology as purposefully irrelevant or even antithetical to convincing the jury to acquit him at his trial. This book, by contrast, argues persuasively that Socrates offers a sincere and well-reasoned defense against the charges he faces. First, the authors establish (...) a consensus of ancient reports about Socrates ' moral and religious principles and show that these prohibit him from needlessly risking the condemnation of the jury. Second, they consider each specific claim made by Socrates in the Apology and show how each can be construed as an honest effort to inform the jurors of the truth and to convince them of his blamelessness. The arguments of this book are informed by a critical review of the scholarly literature and careful attention to the philosophy expressed in Plato's other early dialogues. (shrink)
Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in (...) the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process). (shrink)
Journal of Business Ethics recently published a critique of ethical practices in quantitative research by Zyphur and Pierides. The authors argued that quantitative research prevents researchers from addressing urgent problems facing humanity today, such as poverty, racial inequality, and climate change. I offer comments and observations on the authors’ critique. I agree with the authors in many areas of philosophy, ethics, and social research, while making suggestions for clarification and development. Interpreting the paper through the pragmatism of William James, I (...) suggest that the authors’ arguments are unlikely to change attitudes in traditional quantitative research, though they may point the way to a new worldview, or Jamesian “sub-world,” in social research. (shrink)
We extend research on the effects of local audit office characteristics on audit quality by investigating whether audit offices in highly religious U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas exhibit going concern decisions that reflect heightened professional skepticism relative to audit offices in less religious MSAs. Prior research links religiosity to risk aversion and ethical development and suggests audit practice offices in more religious MSAs are more likely to issue going concern opinions because they will assess the effects of mitigating factors in a (...) more skeptical manner. Our results indicate that audit practice offices located in highly religious MSAs are more likely to issue going concern audit opinions, consistent with a more skeptical assessment of mitigating factors. Additional tests provide direct evidence consistent with the argument that these audit offices are more risk averse in issuing going concern opinions. Our findings are relevant to auditors, audit clients, researchers, and regulators. (shrink)
Critically analyzes and revitalizes agrarian philosophy by tracing its evolution. Today, most historians, philosophers, political theorists, and scholars of rural America take a dim view of the agrarian ideal that farmers and farming occupy a special moral and political status in society. Agrarian rhetoric is generally seen as special pleading on the part of farmers seeking protection from labor reform and environmental regulation while continuing to receive direct payments and subsidies from the public till. Agrarianism should not be viewed as (...) a set of immutable claims about farming and political order, but as a tradition of moral and political philosophy that has evolved and deepened over the centuries. Agrarian naturalism--the belief that culture and conduct are conditioned by nature because they are of a piece with nature--becomes pragmatic naturalism, giving way to a new set of puzzles about how we are to understand the rural landscape and our responsibilities for its use. The agrarian idea that personality and sociability are integrated with the material transformation of the landscape can serve as the basis for a new, pragmatically grounded ethic of natural resources and rural development. The essays in this volume critically analyze and revitalize agrarian philosophy by tracing its evolution in the classical American philosophy of key figures such as Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, Thoreau, Dewey, and Royce. Three chapters address the belief that farming peoples develop moral virtue and a taste for democracy as it evolved in the American context, and four examine how a reconstitution of agrarian themes might invigorate our nation's thinking on environment, food, and rural development policy. The Agrarian Roots of Pragmatism will be of broad interest to scholars of American philosophy, rural history, history of ideas, geography, and agricultural or natural resource policy. (shrink)
Though it enjoys widespread support, the claim that perceptual experiences possess nonconceptual content has been vigorously disputed in the recent literature by those who argue that the content of perceptual experience must be conceptual content. Nonconceptualism and conceptualism are often assumed to be well-defined theoretical approaches that each constitute unitary claims about the contents of experience. In this paper I try to show that this implicit assumption is mistaken, and what consequences this has for the debate about perceptual experience. I (...) distinguish between two different ways that nonconceptualist proposals about perceptual content can be understood: as claims about the constituents that compose perceptual contents or as claims about whether a subject’s undergoing experiences with those contents requires them to possess the concepts that characterize those contents. I maintain that these ways of understanding conceptualism and nonconceptualism are orthogonal to one another. This is revealed by the conceptual coherence of positions in which the contents of experiences have both conceptual and nonconceptual features; positions which possess their own distinctive sources of philosophical motivation. I argue that the fact that there is a place in conceptual space for such positions, and that there may be good reason for theorists to adopt them, creates difficulties for both the central argument for nonconceptualism and the central argument for conceptualism. I set out each of these arguments; the Argument from Possession-Independence and the Epistemically-Driven Argument. I then try to show how the existence of mixed positions about perceptual content derived from a clear distinction between compositional and possessional considerations constitutes a significant obstacle for those arguments as they stand. The takehome message of the paper is that unless one clearly acknowledges the distinction between issues about the composition of perceptual content and issues about how subject’s capacities to undergo certain experiences relates to their possession of concepts one runs the risk of embracing unsatisfying philosophical arguments in which conclusions relevant to one conception of nonconceptual and conceptual content are grounded on arguments that concern only the other; arguments that cannot, in themselves, sustain them. (shrink)
Examines the connections among believing, saying, and expressing in situations where the sentence used is a declarative sentence containing at least one proper name. Proposes a new way of understanding these connections. Develops an argument for the thesis that, although we typically believe the singular propositions expressed by our uses of name sentences, we rarely use such sentences because we believe those propositions.
In Plato’s Protagoras, Socrates clearly indicates that he is a cognitivist about the emotions—in other words, he believes that emotions are in some way constituted by cognitive states. It is perhaps because of this that some scholars have claimed that Socrates believes that the only way to change how others feel about things is to engage them in rational discourse, since that is the only way, such scholars claim, to change another’s beliefs. But in this paper we show that Socrates (...) is also responsive to, and has various non-rational strategies for dealing with, the many ways in which emotions can cloud our judgment and lead us into poor decision-making. We provide an account of how Socrates can consistently be a cognitivist about emotion and also have more than purely rational strategies for dealing with emotions. (shrink)
Given the growing importance of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), it is surprising that there is no consensus of what the term SRI means to an investor. Further, most studies of this question rely solely on the views of investors who already invest in SRI funds. Our study surveys a unique pool of approximately 5,000 investors that contains both investors who have used SRI criteria in investment decisions and those who have not, and involves a broad array of criteria associated with (...) SR investing. Our findings offer new insight into the SRI debate. For both sets of investors, environmental and sustainability issues dominate as the major category associated with SR investing. We find strong agreement in the ranking of the relative importance of various SRI factors despite differences between these two groups in their opinion of their overall importance. We also find that investors prefer to consider the SRI question in more holistic terms rather than using the exclusionary format favored by most SRI funds. Investors seem to prefer to reward firms who display overall positive social behavior rather than to exclude firms on the basis of certain products or practices. These findings can help providers of SR investment vehicles to improve the SRI products that they offer to the general investor, thus both encouraging the initial adoption of SR criteria by investors and increasing overall investment in SR choices. (shrink)
This text provides an introduction to Socrates—both the charismatic, controversial historical figure and the essential Socratic philosophy. Written at a beginning level but incorporating recent scholarship, The Philosophy of Socrates offers numerous translations of pertinent passages. As they present these passages, Nicholas Smith and Thomas Brickhouse demonstrate why these passages are problematic, survey the interpretive and philosophical options, and conclude with brief defenses of their own proposed solutions. Throughout, the authors rely on standard translations to parallel accompanying assigned primary (...) source readers. Each chapter concludes with an annotated bibliography of suggested readings. (shrink)
Evidence for incubation effects in problem-solving is increasing, but the mechanisms that underlie incubation are unclear. An experiment tested two hypotheses about incubation: Spreading activation and opportunistic assimilation. Participants solved easy or difficult remote associates tasks without incubation period, or with an incubation period filled with high or low cognitive load tasks. A lexical decision task with cue and neutral words was given either before or after a second problem attempt. When solving difficult problems, the low-load incubation group benefitted more (...) from the presence of a cue than the high-load incubation group, and the opposite was found with easy problems. Neither incubation nor an initial problem attempt affected lexical decision times to cue words. The results favour opportunistic assimilation as an explanation of incubation effects. They also suggest a differential role for attentional allocation depending on problem difficulty, easy problems benefitting from focused attent.. (shrink)
In the Protagoras, Socrates argues that each of the virtue-terms refers to one thing (: 333b4). But in the Laches (190c8–d5, 199e6–7), Socrates claims that courage is a proper part of virtue as a whole, and at Euthyphro 11e7–12e2, Socrates says that piety is a proper part of justice. But A cannot be both identical to B and also a proper part of B – piety cannot be both identical to justice and also a proper part of justice. In this (...) paper we argue that coherent sense can be made of Socrates'' apparently conflicting claims. The key to understanding Socrates'' position, we will argue, is the central role of wisdom among the virtues. It is through the relationship of each virtue to wisdom that each may be said to be the same as all of the others, on the one hand, and also that some virtues may be regarded as proper parts of some other virtues, or as proper parts of virtue in general, on the other. (shrink)
In this paper I explore a version of standard (expected utility) decision theory in which the probability parameter is interpreted as an objective chance believed by agents to obtain and values of this parameter are fixed by indicative conditionals linking possible actions with possible outcomes. After reviewing some recent developments centering on the common-cause counterexamples to the standard approach, I introduce and briefly discuss the key notions in my own approach. (This approach has essentially the same results as the causal (...) approach in common-cause cases.) I then discuss the Rule of Dominance and find, in the context of the present proposal, that it cannot serve as an independent source of action justification. Turning next to Newcomb''s Problem, I argue that the much discussed issue of back-tracking counterfactuals is something of a red herring for decision theory. Once the twin distractions of back-tracking counterfactuals and Dominance Reasoning are set aside the 1-box solution emerges as a natural consequence of the present proposal. It is of interest that this proposal agrees with the causal approach in the standard common-cause examples and the expected-utility approach in the Newcomb case: one can be smart and rich and keep on smoking. (shrink)
A prominent scholar sets forth in plain, uncomplicated language the essence of two millennia of Christian thinking on the existence and nature of God, how Jesus reveals God, and what this means for the faithful today.
The idea of Artificial Intelligence for Social Good (henceforth AI4SG) is gaining traction within information societies in general and the AI community in particular. It has the potential to address social problems effectively through the development of AI-based solutions. Yet, to date, there is only limited understanding of what makes AI socially good in theory, what counts as AI4SG in practice, and how to reproduce its initial successes in terms of policies (Cath et al. 2018). This article addresses this gap (...) by extrapolating seven ethical factors that are essential for future AI4SG initiatives from the analysis of 27 case studies of AI4SG projects. Some of these factors are almost entirely novel to AI, while the significance of other factors is heightened by the use of AI. From each of these factors, corresponding best practices are formulated which, subject to context and balance, may serve as preliminary guidelines to ensure that well-designed AI is more likely to serve the social good. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: a version in which on any given occasion desire, and then action, is determined by what we think will turn out best for us, that being what we all, always, really desire; a version in which on any given occasion action is determined by what we think will best satisfy our permanent desire for what is really best for us; a version formed by the (...) assimilation of to, labelled the ‘standard’ version’ by Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, and treated by them as a single alternative to their own interpretation; and Brickhouse and Smith’s own version. Section 2 considers, in particular, Brickhouse and Smith’s handling of the ‘appetites and passions’, which is the most distinctive feature of interpretation. Section 3 discusses Brickhouse and Smith’s defence of ‘Socratic studies’ in its historical context, and assesses the contribution made by their distinctive interpretation of ‘the philosophy of Socrates’. One question raised in this section, and one that is clearly fundamental to the existence of ‘Socratic studies’, is how different Brickhouse and Smith’s Socrates turns out to be from Plato himself, i.e., the Plato of the post-‘Socratic’ dialogues; to which the answer offered is that on Brickhouse and Smith’s interpretation Socratic moral psychology becomes rather less distinguishable from its ‘Platonic’ counterpart—as that is currently understood—than it is on the interpretation they oppose. (shrink)
HOW ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VICE in Aristotle’s ethics? As many commentators have noted, it is by no means obvious that Aristotle’s scattered remarks about vice really add up to a coherent account. In several places Aristotle clearly assigns the leading role in the explanation of vicious action to reason. We see this, for example, in the unequivocal claim that acts expressing intemperance are “in accordance with choice”. This is important, in part because it provides a basis (...) for the distinction between vice and akrasia. Although both the intemperate and the akratic do what they ought not, the intemperate pursue their goal guided by reason and with “little or no appetite”, whereas the akratic act from appetite. What both pursue—and what both ought not pursue—is bodily pleasure. The difference is that the vicious pursue bodily pleasure because they think it is the central component in the good life. Thus, they choose pleasure as a good, indeed as the most important good. The akratic, on the other hand, pursue bodily pleasure as such and do so contrary to their conception of the good. (shrink)
Socrates is one of the most important yet enigmatic philosophers of all time; his fame has endured for centuries despite the fact that he never actually wrote anything. In 399 B.C.E., he was tried on the charge of impiety by the citizens of Athens, convicted by a jury, and sentenced to death (ordered to drink poison derived from hemlock). About these facts there is no disagreement. However, as the sources collected in this book and the scholarly essays that follow them (...) show, several of even the most basic facts about these events were controversial in antiquity, and the questions persist today: How and why was Socrates brought to trial? Why did the jurors, members of the world's first democracy, find him guilty? When he was given an opportunity to escape execution, why did he refuse to do so and instead accept the punishment that he and his friends agreed was unjustly assigned to him? How exactly did Socrates die? Differences of opinion on these and other issues continue to arouse our curiosity and to challenge new generations of students and scholars. The Trial and Execution of Socrates: Sources and Controversies is the first work to collect in one place all of the major ancient sources on Socrates' death--those of both his critics and his defenders--as well as recent scholarly views. Part I includes new translations of Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and the death scene from Phaedo, as well as other ancient sources that shed light on Socrates' trial and execution. Part II features some of the most influential recent scholarship on this historically momentous event with work by M. F. Burnyeat, Robert Parker, Mark L. McPherran, Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, Richard Kraut, Christopher Gill, and Enid Bloch (whose essay is published here for the first time). Ideal for undergraduate surveys of ancient Greek philosophy and upper-level courses on Socrates and Socratic philosophy, this unique collection provides an unprecedented look into the many perplexing questions surrounding the trial and execution of this remarkable man. (shrink)