Materialists about human persons think that we are material through and through—wholly material beings. Those who endorse materialism more widely think that everything is material through and through. But what is it to be wholly material? In this article, I answer that question. I identify and defend a definition or analysis of ‘wholly material’.
According to theists, God is an immaterial thinking being. The main question of this article is whether theism supports the view that we are immaterial thinking beings too. I shall argue in the negative. Along the way, I will also explore some implications in the philosophy of mind following from the observation that, on theism, God’s mentality is in a certain respect magical.
The animalist says we are animals. This thesis is commonly understood as the universal generalization that all human persons are human animals. This article proposes an alternative: the thesis is a generic that admits of exceptions. We defend the resulting view, which we call generic animalism, and show its aptitude for diagnosing the limits of eight case-based objections to animalism.
Many say that ontological disputes are defective because they are unimportant or without substance. In this paper, we defend ontological disputes from the charge, with a special focus on disputes over the existence of composite objects. Disputes over the existence of composite objects, we argue, have a number of substantive implications across a variety of topics in metaphysics, science, philosophical theology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. Since the disputes over the existence of composite objects have these substantive implications, they are (...) themselves substantive. (shrink)
For good or for ill, we have animal bodies. Through them, we move around, eat and drink, and do many other things besides. We owe much – perhaps our very lives – to these ever-present animals. But how exactly do we relate to our animals? Are we parts of them, or they of us? Do we and these living animals co-inhere or constitute or coincide? Or what? Animalism answers that we are identical to them. There are many objections to animalism, (...) and a dizzying array of rival views. In this article, we do not propose to evaluate those objections and rivals. We will instead present a new argument for that view. The argument begins with the fact that we have emotions. (shrink)
We uncover a surprising discovery about the basis of thoughts. We begin by giving some plausible axioms about thoughts and their grounds. We then deduce a theorem, which has dramatic ramifications for the basis of all thoughts. The theorem implies that thoughts cannot come deterministically from any purely “thoughtless” states. We expect this result to be too dramatic for many philosophers. Hence, we proceed to investigate the prospect of giving up the axioms. We show that each axiom’s negation itself has (...) dramatic consequences that should be of interest to philosophers of mind. Our proof of the theorem provides a new guiderail for thinking about the nature and origin of thoughts. (shrink)
Among your closest associates is a certain human animal – a living, breathing, organism. You see it when you look in the mirror. When it is sick, you don't feel too well. Where it goes, you go. And, one thinks, where you go, it must follow. Indeed, you can make it move through sheer force of will. You bear, in short, an important and intimate relation to this, your animal. So too rest of us with our animals. Animalism says that (...) this relation is nothing short of identity. According to animalists, we do not only coincide with or constitute or inhabit or otherwise hang out with these close associates, our animals: we are them. In this article, I offer an opinionated take on what animalism might be and situate it against contemporary rivals. Then, I outline a simple case for animalism. Finally, I sketch non-standard routes for animalists to take in light of standard challenges. My goal in all of this is to open up some new avenues of animalist thinking. (shrink)
There are predicates and subjects. It is thus tempting to think that there are properties on the one hand, and things that have them on the other. I have no quarrel with this thought; it is a fine place to begin a theory of properties and property-having. But in this paper, I argue that one such theory—bare particularism—is false. I pose a dilemma. Either bare particulars instantiate the properties of their host substances or they do not. If they do not, (...) then bare particularism is both unmotivated and false. If they do, then the view faces a problematic—and, I shall argue, false—crowding consequence. (shrink)
Here's an interesting question: what are we? David Barnett has claimed that reflection on consciousness suggests an answer: we are simple. Barnett argues that the mereological simplicity of conscious beings best explains the Datum: that no pair of persons can itself be conscious. In this paper, I offer two alternative explanations of the Datum. If either is correct, Barnett's argument fails. First, there aren't any such things as pairs of persons. Second, consciousness is maximal; no conscious thing is a proper (...) part of another conscious thing. I conclude by showing how both moves comport with materialist theories of what we are and then apply them to another anti-materialist argument. (shrink)
I introduce and argue for a Priority Principle, according to which we exemplify certain of our mental properties in the primary or non-derivative sense. I then apply this principle to several debates in the metaphysics and philosophy of mind.
Animalism is the view that we are animals: living, breathing, wholly material beings. Despite its considerable appeal, animalism has come under fire. Other philosophers have had much to say about objections to animalism that stem from reflection on personal identity over time. But one promising objection (the `Elimination Argument') has been overlooked. In this paper, I remedy this situation and examine the Elimination Argument in some detail. I contend that the Elimination Argument is both unsound and unmotivated.
Animalism is at once a bold metaphysical theory and a pedestrian biological observation. For according to animalists, human persons are organisms; we are members of a certain biological species. In this article, I introduce some heretofore unnoticed data concerning the interlocking interests of human persons and human organisms. I then show that the data support animalism. The result is a novel and powerful argument for animalism. Bold or pedestrian, animalism is true.
There is a new objection to the Consequence Argument for incompatibilism. I argue that the objection is more wide-ranging than originally thought. In particular: if it tells against the Consequence Argument, it tells against other arguments for incompatibilism too. I survey a few ways of dealing with this objection and show the costs of each. I then present an argument for incompatibilism that is immune to the objection and that enjoys other advantages.
Many have thought that there is a problem with causal commerce between immaterial souls and material bodies. In Physicalism or Something Near Enough, Jaegwon Kim attempts to spell out that problem. Rather than merely posing a question or raising a mystery for defenders of substance dualism to answer or address, he offers a compelling argument for the conclusion that immaterial souls cannot causally interact with material bodies. We offer a reconstruction of that argument that hinges on two premises: Kim’s Dictum (...) and the Nowhere Man principle. Kim’s Dictum says that causation requires a spatial relation. Nowhere Man says that souls can’t be in space. By our lights, both premises can be called into question. We’ll begin our evaluation of the argument by pointing out some consequences of Kim’s Dictum. For some, these will be costs. We will then present two defeaters for Kim’s Dictum and a critical analysis of Kim’s case for Nowhere Man. The upshot is that Kim’s argument against substance dualism fails. (shrink)
Some strange cases have gripped philosophers of mind. They have been deployed against materialism about human persons, functionalism about mentality, the possibility of artificial intelligence, and more. In this paper, I cry “foul”. It’s not hard to think that there’s something wrong with the cases. But what? My proposal: their proponents ignore questions about composition. And ignoring composition is a mistake. Indeed, materialists about human persons, functionalists about mentality, and believers in the possibility of artificial intelligence can plausibly deploy moderate (...) theories of composition in defense of their views. And as it turns out, these strange cases are an interesting source of evidence for moderate theories of composition. (shrink)
Background: Many people participating in dementia research may lack capacity to give informed consent and the relationship between cognitive function and capacity remains unclear. Recent changes in the law reinforce the need for robust and reproducible methods of assessing capacity when recruiting people for research.Aims: To identify numbers of capacitous participants in a pragmatic randomised trial of dementia treatment; to assess characteristics associated with capacity; to describe a legally acceptable consent process for research.Methods: As part of a pragmatic randomised controlled (...) trial of Ginkgo biloba for mild-moderate dementia, we used a consenting algorithm that met the requirements of existing case law and the exigencies of the new Mental Capacity Act. We decided who had capacity to give informed consent for participation in the trial using this algorithm and sought predictors of capacity.Results: Most participants with mild-moderate dementia in this trial were unable to give informed consent according to the legal criteria. When adjusted for confounding, the Mini Mental State examination did not predict the presence of capacity.Conclusion: Cognitive testing alone is insufficient to assess the presence of capacity. Researchers and clinicians need to be aware of the challenging processes regarding capacity assessment. We outline a procedure which we believe meets the ethical and legal requirements. (shrink)
Aristotle famously held that objects are comprised of matter and form. That is the central doctrine of hylomorphism (sometimes rendered “hylemorphism”—hyle, matter; morphe, form), and the view has become a live topic of inquiry today. Contemporary proponents of the doctrine include Jeffrey Brower, Kit Fine, David Hershenov, Mark Johnston, Kathrin Koslicki, Anna Marmodoro, Michael Rea, and Patrick Toner, among others. In the wake of these contemporary hylomorphic theories the doctrine has seen application to various topics within mainstream analytic metaphysics. Here, (...) appeals to form and matter are used to shed light on problems about ontology, personal identity, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion. The current entry documents this resurgence of interest in hylomorphism, the ways it has been applied, and its reception. (shrink)
Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this paper, I show that the doctrine is inconsistent with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go.
Substance dualism is on the move. Though the view remains unfashionable, a growing and diverse group of philosophers endorse it on impressive empirical, religious, and purely metaphysical grounds. In this note, I develop and evaluate one conceptual argument for substance dualism. According to that argument, we may derive a conclusion about our nature from the mere fact that we have the concept of a spirit. The argument is intriguing and fruitful; but I shall contend that it is, nonetheless, unsound.
Arguments for substance dualism—the theory that we are at least partly non-material beings—abound. Many such arguments begin with our capacity to engage in conscious thought and end with dualism. Such are familiar. But there is another route to dualism. It begins with our moral value and ends with dualism. In this article, we develop and assess the prospects for this new style of argument. We show that, though one extant version of the argument does not succeed, there may yet be (...) a deep problem for standard physical accounts of our nature. (shrink)
Warrant is what fills the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. But a problem arises. Is there just one condition that satisfies this description? Suppose there isn’t: can anything interesting be said about warrant after all? Call this the uniqueness problem. In this paper, I solve the problem. I examine one plausible argument that there is no one condition filling the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. I then motivate and formulate revisions of the standard analysis of warrant. (...) Given these revisions, I argue that there is, after all, exactly one warrant condition. (shrink)
Drawing from a four-year study of US science institutions that support biological control of arthropods, this article examines the decline in biological control institutional capacity in California within the context of both declining public interest science and declining agricultural research activism. After explaining how debates over the public interest character of biological control science have shaped institutions in California, we use scientometric methods to assess the present status and trends in biological control programs within both the University of California Land (...) Grant System and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. We present available data on the number of scientific positions and the types of positions to discuss the impact on the amount of public interest research on biological control in California. We use sociograms to depict how biological control science networks have been reconfigured over time. Our quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate that the following factors contributed to the decline of biological control science in California over the 45-year period analyzed: (1) the institutional reconfiguration of university research priorities; (2) the fraying networks within and increasing specialization of biological control science; (3) the transformation of the social organization of the life science work, including privatization; and (4) the abandonment of this thematic area by civil society activist groups. This broad array of forces suggests that biological control, as a public interest science, will require a deliberate intervention, based on advocacy of clear public interest criteria. (shrink)
Rules and similarity refer to qualitatively different processes. The classification of a stimulus by rules involves abstract and usually domain-specific knowledge operating primarily on the target representation. In contrast, similarity is a relation between the target representation and another representation of the same type. It is also useful to distinguish associationist processes as a third type of cognitive process.
In The Ethics of Food, Gregory E. Pence brings together a collection of voices who share the view that the ethics of genetically modified food is among the most pressing societal questions of our time. This comprehensive collection addresses a broad range of subjects, including the meaning of food, moral analyses of vegetarianism and starvation, the safety and environmental risks of genetically modified food, issues of global food politics and the food industry, and the relationships among food, evolution, and human (...) history. (shrink)
The recently published Report of theAHAG on the Operation of NHS Research Ethics Committees advocates major reforms of the NHS research ethics committees system. The main implications of the proposed changes and their probable effects on the major stakeholders are described.The Ad Hoc Advisory Group on the operation of NHS research ethics committees, set up in November 2004 by Lord Warner on behalf of the Department of Health, submitted its report in June 2005.1 The report advocates major reforms of (...) the research ethics committee system. The primary aim of the report is to streamline the processes around the approval of research projects and to pursue conformity of governance across Europe. Implicit in the report is the contention that failure to achieve this objective would be harmful to everyone with vested interests in improving health and social care. Moreover, it is stated that the reforms will enhance the mechanisms that protect the interests of all parties concerned.1Being mindful of two published critiques of the Warner Report, we suggest that its alleged benefits should not be taken at face value.2,3 In fact, the reformed system will give rise to moral failings akin to those of the existing system, but will differ from the existing system in its effect on the stakeholders. Thus, whereas the outgoing system has given each stakeholder a unique mixture of benefit and harm, the incoming system offers benefit only to sponsors and researchers and nothing but detriment to participants in research and consumers of its products.In the light of this conclusion, we finally suggest that the Warner Report be construed not merely as an ill-considered document, but rather as an ideological reflection of a long-established hegemonic contract fine-tuning itself to contemporary global challenges.To avoid …. (shrink)
My project here is to argue for situating moral judgments about Indian surrogacy in the context of Reproductive Justice. I begin by crafting the best picture of Indian surrogacy available to me while marking some worries I have about discursive colonialism and epistemic honesty. Western feminists' responses to contract pregnancy fall loosely into two interrelated moments: post-Baby M discussions that focus on the morality of surrogacy work in Western contexts, and feminist biomedical ethnographies that focus on the lived dimensions of (...) reproductive technologies and how they are embodied and negotiated in specific cultural contexts. Both approaches have their shortcomings. Uncritically extending Western moral frameworks (for example, liberal feminist political values) to Indian surrogacy work raises the specter of discursive colonialism; with it, worries arise about how Western normative traditions can distort, erase, or misread non-Western subjects' lived experiences. Feminist biomedical ethnographic approaches correct this, but raise the specter of a weak moral absenteeism; with it, concerns arise about under-theorizing the structural harms and injustices shaping surrogacy worker's lives. I suggest that we might reduce these shortcomings by framing normative and ethnographic engagement with global surrogacy as questions of reproductive justice. (shrink)
Andrew Bailey's highly-regarded introductory anthology has been revised and updated in this new concise edition. First Philosophy : Knowing and Being brings together over thirty classic and contemporary readings in epistemology and metaphysics. Mindful of the intrinsic difficulty of the material, the editors provide comprehensive introductions both to each topic and to each individual selection. By presenting a detailed discussion of the historical and intellectual background to each piece, the editors enable readers to approach the material without unnecessary barriers (...) to understanding. A brief introduction to arguments is included, as are appendices on terminology and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. (shrink)