In this course we will examine several philosophical puzzles concerning time. We all seem to experience time in a very fundamental and direct way. Yet once we begin to reflect on what time really is, it is easy to feel as puzzled as St Augustine was, who wrote: “If no one asks me, I know what [time] is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks me, I do not know.” The first set of issues we will discuss (...) concern the question whether time is ‘real.’ Time appears to consist of past, present and future. But do the past and the future exist in the same way as the present or is only the present real? Does time ‘flow’? In what ways is time different from space? What would it be to ‘spatialize’ time? Next we will ask whether certain views of time imply that there can be no freedom of the will. One might worry that if facts about the future (including facts about what I will do tomorrow) already existed in the same way as facts about the present exist, then I could not be free to choose what I will do. After all, how can I be free to decide to skip class tomorrow, if it is ‘already’ a fact today that I will attend class? What, if anything, is the connection between various views of time and ‘fatalism’? The third topic we will discuss is time travel. First we will ask whether time travel is a conceptual possibility. As we will see, there are certain conceptual puzzles associated with the possibility of time travel. For example, one might think that if time travel is possible, then I should be able to travel back in time and kill my father before the date of my conception. But this scenario seems to lead to a contradiction. Some have taken considerations such as these to argue that the very idea of time travel is incoherent. Is this right? If not, why not? Then we will look at what the theory of relativity says about the nature of time in general and about the physical possibility of time travel more specifically. Finally we will examine several issues concerning the asymmetry of time.. (shrink)
A staff photographer for the Ketchikan Daily News, Hall Anderson counted among his early influences photographers like Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who understood the visual bounty to be found in photographing the candid side of life. For more than twenty-five years, Anderson has brought this perspective to his photographic endeavors, both personal and professional, in the small town of Ketchikan in southeast Alaska. Still Rainin' Still Dreamin' showcases one hundred of Anderson's prize-winning black-and-white images, which collectively chronicle three (...) decades of life in Ketchikan, spanning its transition from a timber- and fishing-based economy to one built on a booming tourism industry. From timber carnivals to election coverage to Fourth of July parades, Still Rainin' Still Dreamin' is a poignant celebration of the uncanny juxtapositions found in everyday life. (shrink)
Stuart Hall, in whose honour this volume is compiled, has made significant contributions to contemporary social and political discourse. Constantly praised for his scholarly prescience, he was at the helm of the forging and definition of the discipline of Cultural Studies and nurtured an entire cadre of young intellectuals who continuee to make remarkable contributions in the fields of Cultural Studies and Social Criticism. The essays that constitue this collection, all, in different ways, contend with Hall's methodology, his (...) philosophy, as well as many other dimensions of his rich and textured intellectual career. More importantly however, they serve to reconnect his work to the social context of his island of birth, Jamaica, and the wider Caribbean. (shrink)
We give an analysis of the Monty Hall problem purely in terms of confirmation, without making any lottery assumptions about priors. Along the way, we show the Monty Hall problem is structurally identical to the Doomsday Argument.
Suppose a diner says, 'Can you pass the salt?' Although her utterance is literally a question (about the physical abilities of the addressee), most would take it as a request (that the addressee pass the salt). In such a case, the request is performed indirectly by way of directly asking a question. Accordingly this utterance is known as an indirect speech act. On the standard account of such speech acts, a single utterance constitutes two distinct speech acts. On this account (...) then, 'Can you pass the salt?' is both a question and a request. In a provocative essay, Rod Bertolet argues that there are no indirect speech acts. According to Bertolet, 'Can you pass the salt?' is only a question. It is a question that merely functions as a request (without also being one). In this paper we respond to Bertolet's skeptical argument. Appealing to Searle's theory of speech acts and to certain features of linguistic communication, we argue that, despite Bertolet's challenge, there is good reason to countenance indirect speech acts. (shrink)
The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward, has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist causal-explanatory scheme, as presently (...) formulated it is either unable to prefer high-level explanations to low, or systematically overshoots, recommending explanations at so high of a level as to be virtually vacuous. (shrink)
Causation is at once familiar and mysterious. Neither common sense nor extensive philosophical debate has led us to anything like agreement on the correct analysis of the concept of causation, or an account of the metaphysical nature of the causal relation. Causation: A User's Guide cuts a clear path through this confusing but vital landscape. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of (...) examples as landmarks. They clarify the central themes of the debate about causation, and cover questions about causation involving omissions or absences, preemption and other species of redundant causation, and the possibility that causation is not transitive. Along the way, Paul and Hall examine several contemporary proposals for analyzing the nature of causation and assess their merits and overall methodological cogency.The book is designed to be of value both to trained specialists and those coming to the problem of causation for the first time. It provides the reader with a broad and sophisticated view of the metaphysics of the causal relation. (shrink)
David Lewis's influential work on the epistemology and metaphysics of objective chance has convinced many philosophers of the central importance of the following two claims: First, it is a serious cost of reductionist positions about chance (such as that occupied by Lewis) that they are, apparently, forced to modify the Principal Principle--the central principle relating objective chance to rational subjective probability--in order to avoid contradiction. Second, it is a perhaps more serious cost of the rival non-reductionist position that, unlike reductionism, (...) it can give no coherent explanation for why the Principal Principle should hold. I argue that both of these claims are fundamentally mistaken. (shrink)
Both realist and anti-realist accounts of natural kinds possess prima facie virtues: realists can straightforwardly make sense of the apparent objectivity of the natural kinds, and anti-realists, their knowability. This paper formulates a properly anti-realist account designed to capture both merits. In particular, it recommends understanding natural kinds as ‘categorical bottlenecks,’ those categories that not only best serve us, with our idiosyncratic aims and cognitive capacities, but also those of a wide range of alternative agents. By endorsing an ultimately subjective (...) categorical principle, this view sidesteps epistemological difficulties facing realist views. Yet, it nevertheless identifies natural kinds that are fairly, though not completely, stance-independent or objective. (shrink)
In this paper I show that Elga’s argument for a restricted principle of indifference for self-locating belief relies on the kind of mistaken reasoning that recommends the ‘staying’ strategy in the Monty Hall problem.
This paper critiques the new mechanistic explanatory program on grounds that, even when applied to the kinds of examples that it was originally designed to treat, it does not distinguish correct explanations from those that blunder. First, I offer a systematization of the explanatory account, one according to which explanations are mechanistic models that satisfy three desiderata: they must 1) represent causal relations, 2) describe the proper parts, and 3) depict the system at the right ‘level.’ Second, I argue that (...) even the most developed attempts to fulfill these desiderata fall short by failing to appropriately constrain explanatorily apt mechanistic models. -/- *This paper used to be called "The Emperor's New Mechanisms". (shrink)
Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a principled (...) solution to it. After sketching that solution, it is applied to a few biological examples, including to a debate concerning the ‘causal democracy’ of organismal development, with an anti-democratic (though not a gene-centric) moral. (shrink)
In “Judy Benjamin is a Sleeping Beauty” (2010) Bovens recognises a certain similarity between the Sleeping Beauty (SB) and the Judy Benjamin (JB). But he does not recognise the dissimilarity between underlying protocols (as spelled out in Shafer (1985). Protocols are expressed in conditional probability tables that spell out the probability of coming to learn various propositions conditional on the actual state of the world. The principle of total evidence requires that we not update on the content of the proposition (...) learned but rather on the fact that we learn the proposition in question. Now attention to protocols drives a wedge between the SB and the JB. We have shown that the solution to a close variant of the SB which involves a clear protocol is P*(Heads) = 1/3 and since Beauty’s has precisely the same information at her disposal in the original SB at the time that she is asked to state her credence for Heads, the same solution should hold. The solution to the JB, on the other hand, is dependent on Judy’s probability distribution over protocols. One reasonable protocol yields P(Red) = 1/2, but Judy could also defend alternative values or a range of values in the interval [1/3, 1/2] depending on her probability distribution over protocols. (shrink)
When students read Difference and Repetition for the first time, they face two main hurdles: the wide range of sources that Deleuze draws upon and his dense writing style. This Edinburgh Philosophical Guide helps students to negotiate these hurdles, taking them through the text step by step. It situates Deleuze within Continental philosophy more broadly and explains why he develops his philosophy in his unique way. Seasoned Deleuzians will also be interested in Somers-Hall's novel interpretation of Difference and Repetition.
The philosophical problem of the relation of symbol to truth is far from solved, but there have been significant advances toward its solution. It is the common Christian understanding that God is Truth , and that all truths must ultimately find union in him. This is to say that all genuine truths must be compatible. The true conclusions of genuine science must be compatible with the true conclusions of genuine theology. Or, to bring this general statement to a more particular (...) level, the true conclusions of Biblical scholarship must be compatible with the true conclusions of the natural sciences. When this compatibility is lacking, and it so often is, we must assume that the conclusions of one field of truth-seeking or the other do not partake of the Truth which is God. And there is no guarantee that theology as a field of truth-seeking cannot err. Another characteristic of genuine truth is that it is not dependent upon any particular environment or milieu —either social, cultural, philosophical, or even theological. Unless we are to make the common but dangerous division of sacred and secular, of holy and profane, claim that these areas of human experience have nothing to do the one with the other, compartmentalise our thought, and ask, ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’, it must be concluded that there is no one specifically Christian milieu . Genuine truths must be true at all times, in all places, and for all men. But since we are not gods, we must hold these truths in what St Paul called earthen vessels , vessels shaped and moulded by our particular milieu. (shrink)
This paper sketches a causal account of scientific explanation designed to sustain the judgment that high-level, detail-sparse explanations—particularly those offered in biology—can be at least as explanatorily valuable as lower-level counterparts. The motivating idea is that complete explanations maximize causal economy: they cite those aspects of an event’s causal run-up that offer the biggest-bang-for-your-buck, by costing less (in virtue of being abstract) and delivering more (in virtue making the event stable or robust).
A fundamental assumption of theories of decision-making is that we detect mismatches between intention and outcome, adjust our behavior in the face of error, and adapt to changing circumstances. Is this always the case? We investigated the relation between intention, choice, and introspection. Participants made choices between presented face pairs on the basis of attractiveness, while we covertly manipulated the relationship between choice and outcome that they experienced. Participants failed to notice conspicuous mismatches between their intended choice and the outcome (...) they were presented with, while nevertheless offering introspectively derived reasons for why they chose the way they did. We call this effect choice blindness. (shrink)
What is it about a person's becoming an adult that makes it generally inappropriate to treat that person paternalistically any longer? The Standard View holds that a mere difference in age or stage of life cannot in itself be morally relevant, but only matters insofar as it is correlated with the development of capacities for mature practical reasoning. This paper defends the contrary view: two people can have all the same general psychological attributes and yet the mere fact that one (...) person is at the beginning of a life and another in the middle of one can justify treating the younger person more paternalistically than the older one. Recognising the moral relevance of age, moreover, is crucial if one is to accommodate both the liberal moral ideal of respect for autonomy and our demanding educational aims, given that these otherwise come into conflict with one another. (shrink)
The importance of preserving trust in physicians and in medical institutions has received widespread attention in recent years. Primarily, this is due to the threats to trust posed by managed care, but there is a general and growing recognition that trust deserves more attention than it traditionally has received in all aspects of medical ethics, law, and public policy. Trust has both intrinsic and instrumental value. Trust is intrinsically important because it is a core characteristic that affects the emotional and (...) interpersonal aspects of the physician/patient relationship. As an instrumental value, trust is widely believed to be essential for effective therapeutic encounters. It has been hypothesized or shown to affect a host of important behaviors and attitudes relating to care, including seeking care, disclosing private information, complying with treatment, and being satisfied with care. Moreover, trust may be a mediator of measurable clinical outcomes and a key factor in the mind–body interactions that underlie placebo/nocebo effects and the effectiveness of alternative medicine. It is no surprise, then, that preserving, justifying, and enhancing trust is the fundamental goal of much of medical ethics, and is a prominent objective in healthcare law and public policy. Discussions of trust and related concepts were commonplace in professionally based medical ethics prior to the 1970s. a 1 2. (shrink)
Peter Baumann uses the Monty Hall game to demonstrate that probabilities cannot be meaningfully applied to individual games. Baumann draws from this first conclusion a second: in a single game, it is not necessarily rational to switch from the door that I have initially chosen to the door that Monty Hall did not open. After challenging Baumann's particular arguments for these conclusions, I argue that there is a deeper problem with his position: it rests on the false assumption (...) that what justifies the switching strategy is its leading me to win a greater percentage of the time. In fact, what justifies the switching strategy is not any statistical result over the long run but rather the "causal structure" intrinsic to each individual game itself. Finally, I argue that an argument by Hilary Putnam will not help to save Baumann's second conclusion above. (shrink)
Composed more than 2,000 years ago during a turbulent period of Chinese history, the Dao de jing set forth an alternative vision of reality in a world torn apart by violence and betrayal. Daoism, as this subtle but enduring philosophy came to be known, offers a comprehensive view of experience grounded in a full understanding of the wonders hidden in the ordinary. Now in this luminous new translation, based on the recently discovered ancient bamboo scrolls, China scholars Roger T. Ames (...) and David L. Hall bring the timeless wisdom of the Dao de jing into our contemporary world. Though attributed to Laozi, “the Old Master,” the Dao de jing is, in fact, of unknown authorship and may well have originated in an oral tradition four hundred years before the time of Christ. Eschewing philosophical dogma, the Dao de jing set forth a series of maxims that outlined a new perspective on reality and invited readers to embark on a regimen of self-cultivation. In the Daoist world view, each particular element in our experience sends out an endless series of ripples throughout the cosmos. The unstated goal of the Dao de jing is self-transformation–the attainment of personal excellence that flows from the world and back into it. Responding to the teachings of Confucius, the Dao de jing revitalizes moral behavior by recommending a spontaneity made possible by the cultivated “habits” of the individual. In this elegant volume, Ames and Hall feature the original Chinese texts of the Dao de jing and translate them into crisp, chiseled English that reads like poetry. Each of the eighty-one brief chapters is followed by clear, thought-provoking commentary exploring the layers of meaning in the text. The book’s extensive introduction is a model of accessible scholarship in which Ames and Hall consider the origin of the text, place the emergence of Daoist philosophy in its historical and political context, and outline its central tenets. The Dao de jing is a work of timeless wisdom and beauty, as vital today as it was in ancient China. This new version will stand as both a compelling introduction to the complexities of Daoist thought and as the classic modern English translation. (shrink)
The legacy of Nisbett and Wilson’s classic article, Telling More Than We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes , is mixed. It is perhaps the most cited article in the recent history of consciousness studies, yet no empirical research program currently exists that continues the work presented in the article. To remedy this, we have introduced an experimental paradigm we call choice blindness [Johansson, P., Hall, L., Sikström, S., & Olsson, A. . Failure to detect mismatches between intention (...) and outcome in a simple decision task. Science, 310, 116–119.]. In the choice blindness paradigm participants fail to notice mismatches between their intended choice and the outcome they are presented with, while nevertheless offering introspectively derived reasons for why they chose the way they did. In this article, we use word-frequency and latent semantic analysis to investigate a corpus of introspective reports collected within the choice blindness paradigm. We contrast the introspective reasons given in non-manipulated vs. manipulated trials, but find very few differences between these two groups of reports. (shrink)
The Tree of Life has traditionally been understood to represent the history of species lineages. However, recently researchers have suggested that it might be better interpreted as representing the history of cellular lineages, sometimes called the Tree of Cells. This paper examines and evaluates reasons offered against this cellular interpretation of the Tree of Life. It argues that some such reasons are bad reasons, based either on a false attribution of essentialism, on a misunderstanding of the problem of lineage identity, (...) or on a limited view of scientific representation. I suggest that debate about the Tree of Cells and other successors to the traditional Tree of Life should be formulated in terms of the purposes these representations may serve. In pursuing this strategy, we see that the Tree of Cells cannot serve one purpose suggested for it: as an explanation for the hierarchical nature of taxonomy. We then explore whether, instead, the tree may play an important role in the dynamic modeling of evolution. As highly-integrated complex systems, cells may influence which lineage components can successfully transfer into them and how they change once integrated. Only if they do in fact have a substantial role to play in this process might the Tree of Cells have some claim to be the Tree of Life. (shrink)
Objective: Little empirical evidence exists to support either side of the ongoing debate over whether legalising physician aid in dying would undermine patient trust.Design: A random national sample of 1117 US adults were asked about their level of agreement with a statement that they would trust their doctor less if “euthanasia were legal [and] doctors were allowed to help patients die”.Results: There was disagreement by 58% of the participants, and agreement by only 20% that legalising euthanasia would cause them to (...) trust their personal physician less. The remainder were neutral. These attitudes were the same in men and women, but older people and black people had more agreement that euthanasia would lower trust. However, overall, only 27% of elderly people and 32% of black people thought that physician aid in dying would lower trust. These views differed with physical and mental health, and also with education and income, with those having more of these attributes tending to view physician aid in dying somewhat more favourably. Again, however, overall views in most of these subgroups were positive. Views about the effect of physician aid in dying on trust were significantly correlated with participants’ underlying trust in their physicians and their satisfaction with care. In a multivariate regression model, trust, satisfaction, age, and white/black race remained independently significant.Conclusion: Despite the widespread concern that legalising physician aid in dying would seriously threaten or undermine trust in physicians, the weight of the evidence in the USA is to the contrary, although views vary significantly. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore Deleuze's use of Kant's argument from incongruent counterparts, which Kant uses to show the existence of what he calls an “internal difference” within things. I want to explore how Deleuze draws out an important distinction between the concept and the Idea, and provides an incisive account of his relationship to both the Kantian and Leibnizian projects. First, I look at Kant's use of the argument to provide a refutation of the Leibnizian account (...) of space, before showing how this criticism in fact rests on the question of the conceptual determination of object. Second, I show how Deleuze develops a taxonomy of difference on the basis of his reading of Kant's argument. Finally, I look at what Deleuze sees as the limitations in Kant's understanding of this concept and Deleuze's attempt to overcome these limitations through the introduction of the notion of the Idea, which will provide a genetic and nonconceptual account of the object. In doing so, I show why Deleuze takes the formulation of an adequate account of difference to be one of the central aims of his own metaphysics. (shrink)