Tim Crane addresses the ancient question of how it is possible to think about what does not exist. He argues that the representation of the non-existent is a pervasive feature of our thought about the world, and that to understand thought's representational power ('intentionality') we need to understand the representation of the non-existent.
Much recent work on the ethics of new biomedical technologies is committed to hidden, contestable views about the nature of biological reality. This selection of essays by Tim Lewens explores and scrutinises these biological foundations, and includes work on human enhancement, synthetic biology, and justice in healthcare decision-making.
In Against Moral Responsibility, Bruce Waller launches a spirited attack on a system that is profoundly entrenched in our society and its institutions, deeply rooted in our emotions, and vigorously defended by philosophers from ancient times to the present. Waller argues that, despite the creative defenses of it by contemporary thinkers, moral responsibility cannot survive in our naturalistic-scientific system. The scientific understanding of human behavior and the causes that shape human character, he contends, leaves no room for moral (...) responsibility. Waller argues that moral responsibility in all its forms--including criminal justice, distributive justice, and all claims of just deserts--is fundamentally unfair and harmful and that its abolition will be liberating and beneficial. What we really want--natural human free will, moral judgments, meaningful human relationships, creative abilities--would survive and flourish without moral responsibility. In the course of his argument, Waller examines the origins of the basic belief in moral responsibility, proposes a naturalistic understanding of free will, offers a detailed argument against moral responsibility and critiques arguments in favor of it, gives a general account of what a world without moral responsibility would look like, and examines the social and psychological aspects of abolishing moral responsibility. Waller not only mounts a vigorous, and philosophically rigorous, attack on the moral responsibility system, but also celebrates the benefits that would result from its total abolition. (shrink)
Richard Waller, Fellow and Secretary of the Royal Society, is probably best remembered for editing Robert Hooke’s posthumously published works. Yet, Waller also created numerous drawings, paintings, and engravings for his own work and the Society’s publications. From precisely observed grasses to allegorical frontispieces, Waller’s images not only contained a diverse range of content, they are some of the most beautiful, colorful, and striking from the Society’s early years. This article argues that Waller played a distinctly (...) important role in shaping the visual program of the Royal Society by virtue of his multiple functions as reliable administrator and translator, competent natural philosopher, and skilled image-maker. It analyzes Waller’s visual works in the context of his graphic training—in part influenced by his mother Mary More—and situates them within the context of English image-making traditions and Waller’s own natural philosophical interests. Examined as a functional whole, Waller’s career as a Fellow of the Royal Society emerges as an important case study in the fusion of visual and scientific practices in early-modern England. (shrink)
In this paper we respond to Benjamin Crowe's criticisms in this issue of our discussion of the grounds of worship. We clarify our previous position, and examine Crowe's account of what it is about God's nature that might ground our obligation to worship Him. We find Crowe's proposals no more persuasive than the accounts that we examined in our previous paper, and conclude that theists still owe us an account of what it is in virtue of which we have obligations (...) to worship God. (shrink)
John McDowell's contribution to philosophy has ranged across Greek philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and ethics. His writings have drawn on the works of, amongst others, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Sellars, and Davidson. His contributions have made him one of the most widely read, discussed and challenging philosophers writing today. This book provides a careful account of the main claims that McDowell advances in a number of different areas of philosophy. The interconnections between the different (...) arguments are highlighted and Tim Thornton shows how these individual projects are unified in a post-Kantian framework that articulates the preconditions of thought and language. Thornton sets out the differing strands of McDowell's work prior to, and leading up to, their combination in the broader philosophical vision revealed in "Mind and World" and provides an interpretative and critical framework that will help shape ongoing debates surrounding McDowell's work. An underlying theme of the book is whether McDowell's therapeutic approach to philosophy, which owes much to the later Wittgenstein, is consistent with the substance of McDowell's discussion of nature that uses the vocabulary of other philosophers including, centrally, Kant. (shrink)
In this work Tim Ingold provides a persuasive new approach to the theory behind our perception of the world around us. The core of the argument is that where we refer to cultural variation we should be instead be talking about variation in skill. Neither genetically innate or culturally acquired, skills are incorporated into the human organism through practice and training in an environment.They are as much biological as cultural.
In this book, Bruce Waller attacks two prevalent philosophical beliefs. First, he argues that moral responsibility must be rejected; there is no room for such a notion within our naturalist framework. Second, he denies the common assumption that moral responsibility is inseparably linked with individual freedom. Rejection of moral responsibility does not entail the demise of individual freedom; instead, individual freedom is enhanced by the rejection of moral responsibility. According to this theory of "no-fault naturalism," no one deserves either (...) blame or reward.In the course of arguing against moral responsibility, Waller critiques major compatibilist arguments-by Dennett, Frankfurt, Strawson, Bennett, Wolf, Hampshire, Glover, Rachels, Sher, and others. In addition, the implications of denying moral responsibility-for individual freedom, for moral judgments and moral behavior, and for social justice-are examined; the supposed dire consequences of the denial of moral responsibility are challenged; and the benefits of denying moral responsibility are described. Author note: Bruce N. Waller, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio, is the author of Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict. (shrink)
Tim Bayne draws on philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in defence of the claim that consciousness is unified. He develops an account of what it means to say that consciousness is unified, and then applies this account to a variety of cases - drawn from both normal and pathological forms of experience - in which the unity of consciousness is said to break down. He goes on to explore the implications of the unity of consciousness for theories of consciousness, for the (...) sense of embodiment, and for accounts of the self. The Unity of Consciousness draws on a wide range of findings within philosophy and the sciences of the mind to construct an account of the unity of consciousness that is both conceptually sophisticated and scientifically informed. (shrink)
Many nonhuman animals produce facial expressions which sometimes bear clear resemblance to the facial expressions seen in humans. An understanding of this evolutionary continuity between species, and how this relates to social and ecological variables, can help elucidate the meaning, function, and evolution of facial expression. This aim, however, requires researchers to overcome the theoretical and methodological differences in how human and nonhuman facial expressions are approached. Here, we review the literature relating to nonhuman facial expressions and suggest future directions (...) that could facilitate a better understanding of facial expression within an evolutionary context. (shrink)
Elements of Mind provides a unique introduction to the main problems and debates in contemporary philosophy of mind. Author Tim Crane opposes those currently popular conceptions of the mind that divide mental phenomena into two very different kinds (the intentional and the qualitative) and proposes instead a challenging and unified theory of all the phenomena of mind. In light of this theory, Crane engages students with the central problems of the philosophy of mind--the mind-body problem, the problem of intentionality (or (...) mental representation), the problem of consciousness, and the problem of perception--and attempts to find solutions to these problems. A fresh and engaging exploration of the main issues in the philosophy of mind, Elements of Mind is easily accessible to students with no background in the subject. (shrink)
Ruling Passion is the only book-length study of tyranny, statesmanship, and civic virtue in three major Platonic dialogues, the Georgias, the Symposium, and the Republic. It is also the first extended interpretation of eros as the key to Plato's understanding of both the depths of human vice and the heights of human aspirations for virtue and happiness. Through his detailed commentary and eloquent insights on the three dialogues, Waller Newell demonstrates how, for Plato, tyranny is a misguided longing for (...) erotic satisfaction that can be corrected by the education of eros toward the proper objects of its pleasure: civic virtue and philosophy. (shrink)
A modest proposal concerning laws, counterfactuals, and explanations - - Why be Humean? -- Suggestions from physics for deep metaphysics -- On the passing of time -- Causation, counterfactuals, and the third factor -- The whole ball of wax -- Epilogue : a remark on the method of metaphysics.
This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Maudlin explains special relativity using a geometrical approach, emphasizing intrinsic space-time structure rather than (...) coordinate systems or reference frames. He gives readers enough detail about special relativity to solve concrete physical problems while presenting general relativity in a more qualitative way, with an informative discussion of the geometrization of gravity, the bending of light, and black holes. Additional topics include the Twins Paradox, the physical aspects of the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, the constancy of the speed of light, time travel, the direction of time, and more.Introduces nonphysicists to the philosophical foundations of space-time theory Provides a broad historical overview, from Aristotle to Einstein Explains special relativity geometrically, emphasizing the intrinsic structure of space-time Covers the Twins Paradox, Galilean relativity, time travel, and more Requires only basic algebra and no formal knowledge of physics. (shrink)
Does thought have distinctive experiential features? Is there, in addition to sensory phenomenology, a kind of cognitive phenomenology--phenomenology of a cognitive or conceptual character? Leading philosophers of mind debate whether conscious thought has cognitive phenomenology and whether it is part of conscious perception and conscious emotion.
Anthropocentrism can intelligibly be criticised as an ontological error, but attempts to conceive of it as an ethical error are liable to conceptual and practical confusion. After noting the paradox that the clearest instances of overcoming anthropocentrism involve precisely the sort of objectivating knowledge which many ecological critics see as itself archetypically anthropocentric, the article presents the follwoing arguments: there are some ways in which anthropocentrism is not objectionable; the defects associated with anthropocentrism in ethics are better understood as instances (...) of speciesism and human chauvinism; it is unhelpful to call these defects anthropocentrism because there is an ineliminable element of anthropocentrism in any ethic at all; moreover, because the defects do not typically involve a concern with human interests as such, the rhetoric of anti-anthropocentrism is counterproductive in practice. (shrink)
What are the types of action at issue in the free will and moral responsibility debate? Are the neuroscientists who make claims about free will and moral responsibility studying those types of action? If not, can the existing paradigm in the field be modified to study those types of action? This paper outlines some claims made by neuroscientists about the inefficacy of conscious intentions and the implications of this inefficacy for the existence of free will. It argues that, typically, the (...) types of actions at issue in the philosophical literature require proximal or distal conscious decisions and have the right kind of connection to reasons. It points out that neuroscientists are not studying this class of actions, as their studies focus on simple commanded actions (e.g., finger flex) and simple Buridan choices (e.g., push the left or right button). Finally, it argues that neuroscience already has the resources to study the types of action relevant for free will and moral responsibility and outlines two experiments which focus on skilled actions and moral choices that could be run using the available technology. (shrink)
Tim Button explores the relationship between minds, words, and world. He argues that the two main strands of scepticism are deeply related and can be overcome, but that there is a limit to how much we can show. We must position ourselves somewhere between internal realism and external realism, and we cannot hope to say exactly where.
Abstract The only biologically respectable notion of human nature is an extremely permissive one that names the reliable dispositions of the human species as a whole. This conception offers no ethical guidance in debates over enhancement, and indeed it has the result that alterations to human nature have been commonplace in the history of our species. Aristotelian conceptions of species natures, which are currently fashionable in meta-ethics and applied ethics, have no basis in biological fact. Moreover, because our folk psychology (...) finds this misleading Aristotelian conception highly tempting, we are in fact better off if we refrain from mentioning human nature altogether in debates over enhancement. Content Type Journal Article Category Special Issue Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s13347-012-0063-x Authors Tim Lewens, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
In this article the author makes the case for a hybrid sourcehood–leeway compatibilist account of free will. To do so, she draws upon Lehrer’s writing on free will, including his preference-based compatibilist account and Frankfurt-style cases from the perspective of the cognizant agent. The author explores what distinguishes kinds of intentional influence in manipulation cases and applies this distinction to a new perspectival variant of Frankfurt cases, those from the perspective of the counterfactual intervenor. She argues that it matters what (...) kind of intentional influence is at issue in the counterfactual intervention and, further, that our judgments about desert of praise are affected by occupying the POV of the counterfactual intervenor. The author concludes that such attention to perspectival variants of Frankfurt cases supports the view that compatibilist sourcehood accounts of moral responsibility require an additional compatibilist could-have-done-otherwise condition to capture a more robust sense of moral responsibility. (shrink)
In recent work, we have argued that a number of disputes of interest to philosophers – including some disputes amongst philosophers themselves – are metalinguistic negotiations. Prima facie, many of these disputes seem to concern worldly, non-linguistic issues directly. However, on our view, they in fact concern, in the first instance, normative questions about the use of linguistic expressions. This will strike many ordinary speakers as counterintuitive. In many of the disputes that we analyze as metalinguistic negotiations, speakers might quite (...) strongly resist the idea that their debate is in any sense about language. In this paper, we explore and provide responses to what we take to be the best versions of an objection that our view involves an unacceptable attribution of false beliefs to ordinary speakers. (shrink)
This book on the philosophy of science argues for an empiricism, opposed to the tradition of David Hume, in which singular rather than general causal claims are primary; causal laws express facts about singular causes whereas the general causal claims of science are ascriptions of capacities or causal powers, capacities to make things happen. Taking science as measurement, Cartwright argues that capacities are necessary for science and that these can be measured, provided suitable conditions are met. There are case studies (...) from both econometrics and quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The idea that psychiatry contains, in principle, a series of levels of explanation has been criticised both as empirically false but also, by Campbell, as unintelligible because it presupposes a discredited pre-Humean view of causation. Campbell’s criticism is based on an interventionist-inspired denial that mechanisms and rational connections underpin physical and mental causation respectively and hence underpin levels of explanation. These claims echo some superficially similar remarks in Wittgenstein’s Zettel. But attention to the context of Wittgenstein’s remarks suggests a reason (...) to reject explanatory minimalism in psychiatry and reinstate a Wittgensteinian notion of level of explanation. Only in a context broader than the one provided by interventionism is the ascription of propositional attitudes, even in the puzzling case of delusions, justified. Such a view, informed by Wittgenstein, can reconcile the idea that the ascription mental phenomena presupposes a particular level of explanation with the rejection of an a priori claim about its connection to a neurological level of explanation. (shrink)
Tim Mulgan presents a penetrating examination of consequentialism: the theory that human behavior must be judged in terms of the goodness or badness of its consequences. The problem with consequentialism is that it seems unreasonably demanding, leaving us no room for our own aims and interests. In response, Mulgan offers his own, more practical version of consequentialism--one that will surely appeal to philosophers and laypersons alike.
This article is a response to the challenge with which Zachary Schrag concluded his article, ‘The case against ethics review in social sciences’ − that ‘the burden of proof for its continuation rests on its defenders’ (Schrag, 2011). This article acknowledges that there is substance in the charges he lays against some reviews of social sciences and that these are of sufficient quantity and seriousness to justify his challenge. Instead of favouring abandonment of ethical review of social sciences, the author (...) of this article draws upon his experience as Research Ethics Officer for Social Sciences and Law in a research intensive UK university to identify the sources of some of the problems and suggest potential remedies. These start with reviewing the warrant for ethical review as the basis for understanding reviewer’s role concerning the core ethical issues of rigour, respect and responsibility in the proposed research. This response concludes by considering the implications of a warrant for enhancing trust between scientists and the public as the context in which ethical review is only one component in a number of ethical strategies designed to promote ethical mindfulness as integral to social science research. (shrink)
According to a Moorean response to skepticism, the standards for knowledge are invariantly comparatively low, and we can know across contexts all that we ordinarily take ourselves to know. It is incumbent upon the Moorean to defend his position by explaining how, in contexts in which S seems to lack knowledge, S can nevertheless have knowledge. The explanation proposed here relies on a warranted-assertability maneuver: Because we are warranted in asserting that S doesn’t know that p, it can seem that (...) S does in fact lack that piece of knowledge. Moreover, this warranted-assertability maneuver is unique and better than similar maneuvers because it makes use of H. P. Grice’s general conversational rule of Quantity—“Do not make your contribution more informative than is required”—in explaining why we are warranted in asserting that S doesn’t know that p. (shrink)
Autonomy is good for you. A strong sense of competent self-control and effective choice-making promotes both physical and psychological well-being. Loss of autonomous control—and a sense of helplessness—causes depression, increased sensitivity to pain, greater vulnerability to disease, and death. Well established by a wide range of psychological and physiological studies, the positive effects of patient autonomy are well known to competent physicians, nurses, and therapists. Conscientious caregivers are thus moving beyond grudging acceptance of informed consent toward clinical respect for patient (...) autonomy. (shrink)
This book provides an in-depth analysis of consumerism that draws from a wide range of theoretical, clinical and methodological approaches. Contributors demonstrate that consumerism and the culture that surrounds it exert profound and often undesirable effects on both people's individual lives and on society as a whole. Far from being distant influences, advertising, consumption, materialism and the capitalistic economic system affect personal, social and ecological well-being on many levels. Contributors also provide a variety of potential interventions for counteracting the negative (...) influence of consumerism. (shrink)
What do we owe to our descendants? How do we balance their needs against our own? Tim Mulgan develops a new theory of our obligations to future generations, based on a new rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. He also brings together several different contemporary philosophical discussions, including the demands of morality and international justice. His aim is to produce a coherent, intuitively plausible moral theory that is not unreasonably demanding, even when extended to cover future people. While (...) the book focuses on developing this new account, there are also substantial discussions of alternative views, especially contract-based accounts of intergenerational justice and competing forms of consequentialism. (shrink)
In Paradoxes of Delusion, Sass aims to use passages from Wittgenstein to characterize the feeling of “mute particularity” that forms a part of delusional atmosphere. I argue that Wittgenstein’s discussion provides no helpful positive account. But his remarks on more everyday cases of the uncanny and the feeling of unreality might seem to promise a better approach via the expressive use of words in secondary sense. I argue that this also is a false hope but that, interestingly, there can be (...) no interesting or substantial explanation of this failure. (shrink)
The city of Cork experienced a political odyssey between Easter 1916 and the end of 1918. Wartime policies conceived in London manifested themselves unexpectedly in Cork--The Defence of the Realm Act was used to repress political speech; deficit spending generated massive inflation; mandatory arbitration encouraged workers to join trade unions; food rationing panicked a country scarred by the Potato Famine; and military conscription generated virtual rebellion. As a result, the Cork public increasingly turned against the war. The book examines the (...) political situation in Cork prior to the Easter Rising; local reactions to the rebellion; the rapid creation of the Republican mass movement; the dramatic decline of the Irish Party; the explosion of anti-authority street rioting; the mobilization of women in the independence struggle; disturbances against venereal disease treatments and visiting American sailors; the emergence of radical trade unionism; agitation over the retention of local food supplies; the nationalist mobilization during the Conscription Crisis; and Sinn Féin's triumph in the 1918 General Election. (shrink)
Much recent discussion has focused on the nature of artifacts, particularly on whether artifacts have essences. While the general consensus is that artifacts are at least intention-dependent, an equally common view is function essentialism about artifacts, the view that artifacts are essentially functional objects and that membership in an artifact kind is determined by a particular, shared function. This paper argues that function essentialism about artifacts is false. First, the two component conditions of function essentialism are given a clear and (...) precise formulation, after which counterexamples are offered to each. Second, ways to handle the counterexamples suggested by Randall Dipert and Simon Evnine are considered and rejected. Third, I then consider the prospects for restricting function essentialism to so-called technical artifacts, as Lynne Baker does, and argue that this, too, fails. This paper thereby consolidates the scattered literature on function essentialism and shows that, despite the seeming plausibility of the thesis, it should be rejected as an account of artifact essences. (shrink)
In this paper I begin by arguing that there are significant intellectual and normative continuities between pre-Victorian hereditarianism and later Victorian eugenical ideologies. Notions of mental heredity and of the dangers of transmitting hereditary ‘taints’ were already serious concerns among medical practitioners and laymen in the early nineteenth century. I then show how the Victorian period witnessed an increasing tendency for these traditional concerns about hereditary transmission and the integrity of bloodlines to be projected onto the level of national health. (...) Tracing the gradual emergence of eugenical thought, I also highlight some of the more fundamental social, political and intellectual factors that promoted this predilection for extrapolating from the individual lineage to the nation and race. In doing so I argue that fully fledged eugenical thought was always unlikely to emerge prior to the early Victorian period. However, I am also able to show that Francis Galton's 1865 eugenical proposals were far from innovative and that identifying him as the ‘father’ of the eugenics movement is highly misleading. (shrink)
In this ingenious and powerfully argued book Tim Maudlin sets out a novel account of logic and semantics which allows him to deal with certain notorious paradoxes which have bedevilled philosophical theories of truth. All philosophers interested in logic and language will find this a stimulating read.
This paper is about a puzzle which lies at the heart of contemporary physicalist theories of mind. On the one hand, the original motivation for physicalism was the need to explain the place of mental causation in the physical world. On the other hand, physicalists have recently come to see the explanation of mental causation as one of their major problems. But how can this be? How can it be that physicalist theories still have a problem explaining something which their (...) physicalism was intended to explain in the first place? If physicalism is meant to be an explanation of mental causation, then why should it still face the problem of mental causation? (shrink)
Newcomers to the philosophy of mind are sometimes resistant to the idea that pain is a mental state. If asked to defend their view, they might say something like this: pain is a physical state, it is a state of the body. A pain in one’s leg feels to be in the leg, not ‘in the mind’. After all, sometimes people distinguish pain which is ‘all in the mind’ from a genuine pain, sometimes because the second is ‘physical’ while the (...) first is not. And we also occasionally distinguish mental pain (which is normally understood as some kind of emotional distress) from the ‘physical pain’ one feels in one’s body. So what can be meant by saying that pain is a mental state? Of course, it only takes a little reflection shows that this naive view is mistaken. Pain is a state of consciousness, or an event in consciousness, and whether or not all states of mind are conscious, it is indisputable that only minds, or states of mind, are conscious.2 But does the naive view tell us anything about the concept of pain, or the concept of mind? I think it does. In this paper, I shall give reasons for thinking that consciousness is a form of intentionality, the mind’s ‘direction upon its objects’. I shall claim that the consciousness involved in bodily sensations like pain is constituted by the mind’s direction upon the part or region of the body where the sensation feels to be. Given this, it is less surprising that the naive view of pain says what it does: the apparent ‘physicality’ of pain is a consequence of confusing the object of the intentional state—the part of the body in which the pain is felt—with the state of being in pain. (shrink)
Moving beyond the retributive system requires clearing away some of the basic assumptions that form the foundation of that system: most importantly, the assumption of moral responsibility, which is held in place by deep and destructive belief in a just world. Efforts to justify moral responsibility typically appeal to some version of self-making, and that appeal is only plausible through limits on inquiry. Eliminating moral responsibility removes a major impediment to deeper inquiry and understanding of the biological, social, and environmental (...) causes of both vicious and virtuous behavior. The resources for moving beyond the moral responsibility are already being developed in social democratic corporatist cultures as well as in workplace management models that nurture commitment and reject blame and shame. Without moral responsibility we must face the unpleasant fact that although punishment is sometimes unavoidable it is always unjust. That unpleasant fact motivates difficult but beneficial changes that minimize both the extent and the severity of punitive measures. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to understand the content of, and motivation for, a popular form of physicalism, which I call ‘non-reductive physicalism’. Non-reductive physicalism claims although the mind is physical (in some sense), mental properties are nonetheless not identical to (or reducible to) physical properties. This suggests that mental properties are, in earlier terminology, ‘emergent properties’ of physical entities. Yet many non-reductive physicalists have denied this. In what follows, I examine their denial, and I argue that on a plausible (...) understanding of what ‘emergent’ means, the denial is indefensible: non-reductive physicalism is committed to mental properties being emergent properties. It follows that the problems for emergentism—especially the problems of mental causation—are also problems for non-reductive physicalism, and they are problems for the same reason. (shrink)
Tim Lewens aims to understand what it means to take an evolutionary approach to cultural change, and why it is that these approaches are sometimes treated with suspicion. While making a case for the value of evolutionary thinking for students of culture, he shows why the concerns of sceptics should not dismissed as mere prejudice, confusion, or ignorance. Indeed, confusions about what evolutionary approaches entail are propagated by their proponents, as well as by their detractors. By taking seriously the problems (...) faced by these approaches to culture, he shows how such approaches can be better formulated, where their most significant limitations lie, and how the tools of cultural evolutionary thinking might become more widely accepted. (shrink)
In this invaluable book, Tim Lewens shows in a clear and accessible manner how important Darwin is for philosophy and how his work has shaped and challenged the very nature of the subject. Beginning with an overview of Darwin’s life and work, the subsequent chapters discuss the full range of fundamental philosophical topics from a Darwinian perspective. These include natural selection; the origin and nature of species; the role of evidence in scientific enquiry; the theory of Intelligent Design; evolutionary approaches (...) to the human mind; the implications of Darwin’s work for ethics and epistemology; and the question of how social and political thought needs to be updated in the light of a Darwinian understanding of human nature. A concluding chapter assesses the philosophical legacy of Darwin’s thought. _Darwin_ is essential reading for anyone in the humanities, social sciences and sciences seeking a philosophical introduction to Darwin, or anyone simply seeking a philosophical companion to Darwin’s own writings. (shrink)
Amie Thomasson and Eli Hirsch have both attempted to deflate metaphysics, by combining Carnapian ideas with an appeal to ordinary language. My main aim in this paper is to critique such deflationary appeals to ordinary language. Focussing on Thomasson, I draw two very general conclusions. First: ordinary language is a wildly complicated phenomenon. Its implicit ontological commitments can only be tackled by invoking a context principle; but this will mean that ordinary language ontology is not a trivial enterprise. Second: ordinary (...) language often points in different directions simultaneously, so that a wide variety of existence questions cannot be deflated merely by appealing to ordinary language. (shrink)
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