The paper attempts to establish the importance of addressing what Chalmers calls the ‘easy problems’ of consciousness, at the expense of the ‘hard problem’. One pragmatic argument and two philosophical arguments are presented to defend this approach to consciousness, and three major theories of consciousness are criticized in this light. Finally, it is shown that concentration on the easy problems does not lead to eliminativism with respect to consciousness.
For forty years, acclaimed photographer and native Minnesotan Tom Arndt has been documenting the faces of Minnesota with unparalleled skill and candor. In Home, Arndt presents what he calls "a poem to my home state" through a series of poignant and compelling photographs that highlight the unique character of Minnesota. From Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis to Main Street in Willmar, from carnival workers at the state fair to drag racing fans in Anoka, and from small town street dances to the (...) sidewalks of Minneapolis, Home captures everyday life in the North Star State. By allowing people's lives to speak for themselves, Arndts photographs reveal the often forgotten moments that build common bridges across a diverse and ever-changing state. Enriched with more than 100 photographs, along with a personal and insightful preface by the author and a foreword by Garrison Keillor, Home is a landmark testimony to the people and culture of Minnesota. Arndt approaches his subjects - he would call them neighbors - with honesty, empathy, and humanity, and what emerges is a portrait of Minnesota that is at once achingly familiar and surprisingly new. (shrink)
This article develops an unconventional perspective on the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill in at least four areas. First, it is shown that both authors conceived of utility as irreducibly multi-dimensional, and that Bentham in particular was very much aware of the ambiguity that multi-dimensionality imposes upon optimal choice under the greatest happiness principle. Secondly, I argue that any attribution of intrinsic worth to any form of human behaviour violates the first principles of Bentham's and Mill's utilitarianism, and that this (...) renders both authors immune to the claim by G. E. Moore that they committed a ‘naturalistic fallacy’. Thirdly, in light of these contentions, I find no flaw in Mill's ‘proof of utility’. Fourthly, I use the notion of intrapersonal utility weights to provide an interpretation of Mill's qualitative hedonism that is entirely consistent with his value monism. (shrink)
Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...) vulnerable to the type of argument used against ethical non-cognitivism, and the Kantian position is further confirmed by Blackburn's acknowledgment that modality is 'antinaturalistic to its core'. The position is further elaborated to show that it can accommodate the famous Kripkean categories of the empirically necessary and the contingent a priori, and finally defended against the criticisms used by Quine against Carnap. (shrink)
The principal thesis in this book is that bioethics emerged—in the 1960s through the 1980s—under the influence of philosophers who claimed to have universally valid principles that could steer medicine and research to the solution of ethical problems, including even those arising at the bedside of patients. Tom Koch contends that these philosophers and their allied bioethicists “stole medicine” and its traditional values, substituting a philosophical discourse generally inaccessible to the average person. Philosophers thereby refashioned medical ethics in accordance with (...) their vision of a morally and intellectually robust new field. Koch maintains that philosophers have failed to deliver on their promises and that .. (shrink)
More than twenty years after its original publication, The Case for Animal Rights is an acknowledged classic of moral philosophy, and its author is recognized as the intellectual leader of the animal rights movement. In a new and fully considered preface, Regan responds to his critics and defends the book's revolutionary position.
Tom Stoneham offers a clear and detailed study of Berkeley's metaphysics and epistemology, as presented in his classic work Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, originally published in 1713 and still widely studied. Stoneham shows that Berkeley is an important and systematic philosopher whose work is still of relevance to philosophers today.
Philosophy written in English is overwhelmingly analytic philosophy, and the techniques and predilections of analytic philosophy are not only unhistorical but anti-historical, and hostile to textual commentary. Analytic usually aspires to a very high degree of clarity and precision of formulation and argument, and it often seeks to be informed by, and consistent with, current natural science. In an earlier era, analytic philosophy aimed at agreement with ordinary linguistic intuitions or common sense beliefs, or both. All of these aspects of (...) the subject sit uneasily with the use of historical texts for philosophical illumination. In this book, ten distinguished philosophers explore the tensions between, and the possibilities of reconciling, analytic philosophy and history of philosophy. Contributors: M. R. Ayers, John Cottingham, Daniel Garber, Gary Hatfield, Anthony Kenny, Steven Nadler, G. A. J. Rogers, Tom Sorell, Catherine Wilson, Yves Charles Zarka. (shrink)
Tom Regan argues that human beings and some non-human animals have moral rights because they are “subjects of lives,” that is, roughly, conscious, sentient beings with an experiential welfare. A prominent critic, Carl Cohen, objects: he argues that only moral agents have rights and so animals, since they are not moral agents, lack rights. An objection to Cohen’s argument is that his theory of rights seems to imply that human beings who are not moral agents have no moral rights, but (...) since these human beings have rights, his theory of rights is false, and so he fails to show that animals lack rights. Cohen responds that this objection fails because human beings who are not moral agents nevertheless are the “kind” of beings who are moral agents and so have rights, but animals are not that “kind” of being and so lack rights. Regan argues that Cohen’s “kind” arguments fail: they fail to explain why human beings who are not moral agents have rights and they fail to show that animals lack rights. Since Cohen’s “kind” arguments are influential, I review and critique Regan’s objections . I offer suggestions for stronger responses to arguments like Cohen’s. (shrink)
Bioethics claimed to offer a set of generally applicable, universally accepted guidelines that would simplify complex situations. In Thieves of Virtue, Tom Koch argues that bioethics has failed to deliver on its promises.
Tom Regan's seafaring dog that is justifiably thrown out of the lifeboat built for four to save the lives of four humans has been the topic of much discussion. Critics have argued in a variety of ways that this dog nips at Regan's Achilles heel. Without reviewing previous discussions, with much of which I certainly agree, this article develops an unexplored approach to exposing the vulnerability of the position that Regan takes on sacrificing the dog to save the humans. It (...) argues that when dealing with the seafaring dog, Regan abandons his own principles, and that this is exactly what he should do. Regan should abandon his view that all subjects-of-a-life have equal inherent worth. (shrink)
According to sensorimotor theory perceiving is a bodily skill involving exercise of an implicit know-how of the systematic ways that sensations change as a result of potential movements, that is, of sensorimotor contingencies. The theory has been most successfully applied to vision and touch, while perceptual modalities that rely less on overt exploration of the environment have not received as much attention. In addition, most research has focused on philosophically grounding the theory and on psychologically elucidating sensorimotor laws, but the (...) theory’s ramifications for neuroscience still remain underexamined. Here we sketch the beginnings of a research program that could address these two outstanding challenges in terms of auditory perception. We review the neuroscience literature on passive listening, which is defined as listening without overt bodily movement, and conclude that sensorimotor theory provides a unique perspective on the consistent finding of motor system activation. In contrast to competing theories, this activation is predicted to be involved not only in the perception of speech- and action-related sounds, but in auditory perception in general. More specifically, we propose that the auditory processing associated with supplementary motor areas forms part of the neural basis of the exercise of sensorimotor know-how: these areas’ recognized role in facilitating spontaneous motor responses to sound and supporting flexible engagement of sensorimotor processes to guide auditory experience and enable auditory imagery, can be understood in terms of two key characteristics of sensorimotor interaction, its “alerting capacity” and “corporality”, respectively. We also highlight that there is more to the inside of the body than the brain: there is an opportunity to develop sensorimotor theory into new directions in terms of the still poorly understood active processes of the peripheral auditory system. (shrink)
I argue that it is possible for a subject to undergo experiences of emotional absence, during which she becomes aware of her own failure to be moved by the world around her. Just as a part of one's body feels numb when it manifestly fails to incur the ordinary sensory consequences of transactions at the surface of the skin, so an individual feels emotional absence when her affective condition manifestly fails to vary in predictable ways as she navigates her surroundings. (...) Experiences of emotional absence, such as feeling numb with shock or grief, feeling unamused, or feeling fearless, are not simply flat or neutral states of awareness, but can bear psychological and epistemic significance for the agent. (shrink)
Tyler conducted a longitudinal study of 1,575 Chicago inhabitants to determine why people obey the law. His findings show that the law is obeyed primarily because people believe in respecting legitimate authority, not because they fear punishment. The author concludes that lawmakers and law enforcers would do much better to make legal systems worthy of respect than to try to instill fear of punishment.
What conditions on a person’s knowledge must be satisfied in order for them to be morally responsible for something they have done? The first two decades of the twenty-first century saw a surge of interest in this question. Must an agent, for example, be aware that their conduct is all-things-considered … Continue reading Epistemic Conditions of Moral Responsibility →.
In this book—the first large-scale survey of the complex relationship between Hegel’s idealism and Anglo-American analytic philosophy—Tom Rockmore argues that analytic philosophy has consistently misread and misappropriated Hegel. According to Rockmore, the first generation of British analytic philosophers to engage Hegel possessed a limited understanding of his philosophy and of idealism. Succeeding generations continued to misinterpret him, and recent analytic thinkers have turned Hegel into a pragmatist by ignoring his idealism. Rockmore explains why this has happened, defends Hegel’s idealism, and (...) points out the ways that Hegel is a key figure for analytic concerns, focusing in particular on the fact that he and analytic philosophers both share an interest in the problem of knowledge. (shrink)
From Platonism to phenomenology -- Kant's epistemological shift to phenomenology -- Hegel's phenomenology as epistemology -- Husserl's phenomenological epistemology -- Heidegger's phenomenological ontology -- Kant, Merleau-Ponty's descriptive phenomenology, and the primacy of perception -- On overcoming the epistemological problem through phenomenology.
Martin Heidegger's impact on contemporary thought is important and controversial. However in France, the influence of this German philosopher is such that contemporary French thought cannot be properly understood without reference to Heidegger and his extraordinary influence. Tom Rockmore examines the reception of Heidegger's thought in France. He argues that in the period after the Second World War, due to the peculiar nature of the humanist French Philosophical tradition, Heidegger became the master thinker of French philosophy. Perhaps most importantly, he (...) contends that this reception - first as philosophical anthropology and later as postmetaphysical humanism - is systematically mistaken. (shrink)
Nearly everyone prefers pain to be in the past rather than the future. This seems like a rationally permissible preference. But I argue that appearances are misleading, and that future-biased preferences are in fact irrational. My argument appeals to trade-offs between hedonic experiences and other goods. I argue that we are rationally required to adopt an exchange rate between a hedonic experience and another type of good that stays fixed, regardless of whether the hedonic experience is in the past or (...) future. (shrink)
So-called money pump arguments aim to show that intransitive preferences are irrational because they will lead someone to accept a series of deals that leaves his/her financially worse off and better off in no respect. A common response to these arguments is the foresight response, which counters that the agent in question may see the exploitation coming, and refuse to trade at all. To obviate this response, I offer a “deluxe money pump argument” that applies dominance reasoning to a modified (...) money pump case. (shrink)
In the one-for-one business model, a purchaser of, for example, a pair of shoes simultaneously purchases a pair of shoes for a child in need. This model, popularized by TOMS shoe company in 2006, has been remarkably successful. The driving force behind the success is most likely the emotional appeal of the one-for-one idea. The TOMS model has been criticized, however—not just for being less effective than advertised, but for arguably doing more harm than good. Whether or not this latter (...) charge is true, the TOMS story serves as an illustrative starting point for an exploration of the ways in which commonsense thinking about charity and philanthropy is often wrong. Examining these criticisms will set the stage for an examination of the influential “effective altruism” movement and invite the reader to think more deeply about different ways of doing good in the world. (shrink)
Business Ethics is intended for business practitioners and students of business at all levels and is written in a lively and accessible style. It redresses the balance of buisness ethics writing which, up to now, has been weighted heavily in favour of American cases. There are numerous references to real businesses - from multi-national chains to French restaurants, from manufacturing giants to driving schools. Ethically 'hot' topics such as the social chapter of the Maastricht Treaty, the new EC directives, entry (...) of the countries of the former Soviet Union into the world market economy, privatization and the 'green' environment are just some of the more general issues discussed. Companies covered in the book are: Allied Lyons, Apple Corporation, Avon, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Barlow Clowes, Benetton, Body Shop, British Airways, British Rail, Cadbury-Schweppes, Ecology Building Society, Fiat, Gateway Foodmarkets, Grand Metropolitan, Guinness, ICI, John Lewis, Kingfisher, Ladbrokes, Lloyds Bank, Management Week, Marks & Spencer, Mirror Group Newspapers, Nestle, Polly Peck, Price Waterhouse, Scott Bader, Securicor, Traidcraft, United Biscuits, Virgin, Worldwide Fund for Nature...and many more. Packed with excellent examples from many international companies Written in a lively and accessible style. (shrink)
This is a book about Hobbes's philosophy as a whole, viewed through the lens of his philosophy of science. Political philosophy is claimed to have a certain autonomy within Hobbes's scheme of philosophy and science as a whole, and in particular, a kind of autonomy in relation to natural sciences. Hobbes's moral and political philosophies guide action --of both individual subjects and sovereigns. They have a role in a special kind of rhetorical product called counsel. In natural science Hobbes probably (...) exaggerates the explanatory powers of mechanics --the theory of matter in motion-- including by an attempted assimilation of geometry to the sciences of motion. (shrink)
Since its publication in 1976, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America has been recognized as a classic study of the career of the foremost political pamphleteer of the Age of Revolution, and a model of how to integrate the political, intellectual, and social history of the struggle for American independence. Foner skillfully brings together an account of Paine's remarkable career with a careful examination of the social worlds within which he operated, in Great Britain, France, and especially the United States. He (...) explores Paine's political and social ideas and the way he popularized them by pioneering a new form of political writing, using simple, direct language and addressing himself to a reading public far broader than previous writers had commanded. He shows which of Paine's views remained essentially fixed throughout his career, while directing attention to the ways his stance on social questions evolved under the pressure of events. This enduring work makes clear the tremendous impact Paine's writing exerted on the American Revolution, and suggests why he failed to have a similar impact during his career in revolutionary France. And it offers new insights into the nature and internal tensions of the republican outlook that helped to shape the Revolution. In a new preface, Foner discusses the origins of this book and the influences of the 1960s and 1970s on its writing. He also looks at how Paine has been adopted by scholars and politicians of many stripes, and has even been called the patron saint of the Internet. (shrink)
Tom Sorell and Luc Foisneau bring together original essays by the world's leading Hobbes scholars to discuss Hobbes's masterpiece after three and a half centuries. The contributors address three different themes. The first is the place of Leviathan within Hobbes's output as a political philosopher. What does Leviathan add to The Elements of Law (1640) and De Cive (1642; 1647)? What is the relation between the English Leviathan and the Latin version of the book (1668)? Does Leviathan deserve its pre-eminence? (...) The second theme concerns the connections between Hobbes's psychology and Hobbes's politics. The essays discuss Hobbes's curious views on the significance of laughter, evidence that he connected life in the state with passionlessness; the ways in which such things as fear for one's life entitle subjects to rebel; and the question of how the sovereign's personal passions are to be squared with his personifying a multitude. The third theme is Hobbes's views on the Bible and the Church: contributors examine the tensions between any allowance for ecclesiastical and (differently) biblical authority on the one hand, and political authority on the other. This is a book which anyone working on Hobbes or on this period of intellectual history will want to read. (shrink)