Imperative sentences like Dance! do not seem to represent the world. Recent modal analyses challenge this idea, but its intuitive and historical appeal remain strong. This paper presents three new challenges for a non-representational analysis, showing that the obstacles facing it are even steeper than previously appreciated. I will argue that the only way for the non-representationalist to meet these three challenges is to adopt a dynamic semantics. Such a dynamic semantics is proposed here: imperatives introduce preferences between alternatives. This (...) characterization of meaning focuses on what function a sentence serves in discourse, rather than what that sentence refers to (e.g., a state of the world). By representing the meaning of imperatives, connectives and declaratives in a common dynamic format, the challenges posed for non-representationalism are met. (shrink)
A uniform theory of conditionals is one which compositionally captures the behavior of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals without positing ambiguities. This paper raises new problems for the closest thing to a uniform analysis in the literature (Stalnaker, Philosophia, 5, 269–286 (1975)) and develops a new theory which solves them. I also show that this new analysis provides an improved treatment of three phenomena (the import-export equivalence, reverse Sobel-sequences and disjunctive antecedents). While these results concern central issues in the study (...) of conditionals, broader themes in the philosophy of language and formal semantics are also engaged here. This new analysis exploits a dynamic conception of meaning where the meaning of a symbol is its potential to change an agent’s mental state (or the state of a conversation) rather than being the symbol’s content (e.g. the proposition it expresses). The analysis of conditionals is also built on the idea that the contrast between subjunctive and indicative conditionals parallels a contrast between revising and consistently extending some body of information. (shrink)
"Nothing Better Than Death" is a comprehensive analysis of the near-death experiences profiled on my website at www.near-death.com. This book provides complete NDE testimonials, summaries of various NDEs, NDE research conclusions, a question and answer section, an analysis of NDEs and Christian doctrines, famous quotations about life and death, a NDE bibliography, book notes, a list of NDE resources on the Internet, and a list of NDE support groups associated with IANDS.org - the International Association for Near-Death Studies. -/- The (...) unusual title of this book, "Nothing Better Than Death," was inspired by NDE experiencer Dr. Dianne Morrissey who once said, "If I lived a billion years more, in my body or yours, there's not a single experience on Earth that could ever be as good as being dead. Nothing." -/- Having read every NDE book I could get my hands on, I didn't want to create just another NDE book. My motivation was to give readers a large variety of information about NDEs challenging both the seasoned NDE enthusiast as well as the novice. This book gives readers the means to understand the NDE phenomenon from the perspective of a large number of some of the most profound NDEs ever documented. My hope is that you will enjoy this book, my labor of love, and that you will be truly blessed by the heavenly insights within it. (shrink)
This paper proposes a semantics for free choice permission that explains both the non-classical behavior of modals and disjunction in sentences used to grant permission, and their classical behavior under negation. It also explains why permissions can expire when new information comes in and why free choice arises even when modals scope under disjunction. On the proposed approach, deontic modals update preference orderings, and connectives operate on these updates rather than propositions. The success of this approach stems from its capacity (...) to capture the difference between expressing the preferences that give rise to permissions and conveying propositions about those preferences. (shrink)
If forced to state Feuerbach’s philosophical genealogy, one would have to say that he was son of Hegel, father of Marx, and half-brother of Comte. In his own day he had many a celebratory and many a vilifier. His philosophy has received very little direct treatment in the English language. Feuerbach’s contribution was in his writings on religion and philosophy, each of them a manifesto to humanity, telling us that the desires of men can be satisfied here below. The object (...) of this book, first published in 1941, is twofold. It is its intention to pay humble tribute to a little understood philosopher whose stature grows with the years, and in so doing perhaps to provide a key to the question of religion and personal immortality for those who reject philosophical idealism and a personal God. (shrink)
No existing conditional semantics captures the dual role of 'if' in embedded interrogatives — 'X wonders if p' — and conditionals. This paper presses the importance and extent of this challenge, linking it to cross-linguistic patterns and other phenomena involving conditionals. Among these other phenomena are conditionals with multiple 'if'-clauses in the antecedent — 'if p and if q, then r' — and relevance conditionals — 'if you are hungry, there is food in the cupboard'. Both phenomena are shown to (...) be problematic for existing analyses. Surprisingly, the decomposition of conditionals needed to capture the link with interrogatives provides a new analysis that captures all three phenomena. The model-theoretic semantics offered here relies on a dynamic conception of meaning and compositionality, a feature discussed throughout. (shrink)
Biodiversity and genetic resources have become the focal point of major national and international biological and political debates regarding control, ownership, access, and erosion of critical resources. While these issues are key to environmental sustainability and food security, biodiversity and genetic resources must be seen in the broader context of their inextricable relationship to cultural diversity and to humans' view of nature. Nature is assumed to be constituted socially through a wide variety of human processes described collectively as culture. Three (...) significant cultural factors, technology, science, and capitalism, are largely responsible for the secularization and homogenization of food and agriculture and the remaking of nature. These processes and forces may simultaneously and unwittingly create the problems of declines in biodiversity, cultural diversity, and food equity. Indeed, it may well be that the only way to conserve cultural biodiversity in the field is to conserve cultural diversity among peoples. This reunification of biodiversity and cultural diversity and food and agriculture will require new paradigms and institutional mechanisms that allow us to show our care for each other through our reverence for nature. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine various popular notions concerning the ethics of investing. I first consider and reject the absolutist view that it is always wrong to invest in evil companies and the view that what makes investments in evil companies morally objectionable is the fact that by making such investments, investors are taking steps to benefit from the wrongdoing of others. I then defend the view that what makes certain investments morally objectionable is the fact that by making such (...) investments, investors enable others to do wrong. According to this view, when weighing the purchase of a certain company's stock, investors should ask themselves the following question: Would this sort of investment, if made by many people, enable others to do wrong? If the answer to this question is yes, and if an investor nevertheless makes the investment in question, he can justifiably be accused of moral wrongdoing. (shrink)
How have the world's great thinkers, politicians, mathematicians, and religious figures reached their transformative moments of insight? Are there lessons to be learned from their experiences? William B. Irvine takes up these questions and others that relate to what he calls "aha moments," guiding us through the most striking examples of instantaneous intellectual breakthroughs that have shaped human civilization.
There is a big difference between saying Maya is singing, Is Maya singing? and Sing Maya! This paper examines and criticizes two attempts to rigorously explain this difference: Searle’s speech act theory and the truth-conditional reductionism advocated by Davidson and Lewis. On the speech act analysis, each utterance contains a marker which says what kind of speech act the utterance counts as performing. The truth-conditional reductionists try to reanalyze the non-declaratives as complex declarative forms. The former analysis fails to recognize (...) the indirect relationship between sentence type and utterance force. The latter analysis fails to recognize the distinctive and thoroughly compositional contribution that the imperative, interrogative and declarative mood make to sentences containing them. (shrink)
Increasing pragmatic and ethical concerns have been raised about the inadequacies of conventional approaches to agricultural research and extension worldwide and the lack of integrated efforts among researchers, extension educators, and users. This paper examines three models of these relationships: the diffusion or supply model; the induced innovation or demand model; and the synthesis triangular or supply/demand model. The triangular model builds and improves upon the previous models by focusing on the role of clients or users in the broadest sense (...) in creating a demand for science and extension education, as well as on the role of scientists and extension educators in creating a supply. The triangular model views the relationship as an interactive partnership in which research and extension education are conducted in response to client needs and demands expressed through negotiation, persuasion, and coercion involving all partners. To implement this model will require significant organizational and managerial changes as well as reorientation in the values and attitudes of researchers, extension educators, clients, and their organizations. The remainder of the paper presents a brief discussion of suggested strategies at the individual, institutional, regional, national, and international levels for enhancing this partnership in order to more effectively meet the future needs of our food system. (shrink)
This paper reviews current trends in the development of agricultural biotechnology, including (1) the recent and potential biotechnology products and processes in the plant, animal and food sciences, and (2) the enormous increase in Federal and State government and industrial investments in biotechnology research. Next we analyze the impacts and possible consequences of agricultural biotechnology for public and private agricultural research and for the structure and nature of the food system in this country and around the world. We conclude with (...) a range of proposals for agricultural research policies. Among the possible consequences we discuss are: (1) a shift in disciplinary emphasis in the research community to molecular biology, (2) reduction of research on systems, ecology, and the social sciences, (3) increased concentration of research funds at a small number of institutions, (4) reduction of long-term research in the public sector, (5) increased collaboration between industry, government and universities with a restriction of scientific communication, and a potential for conflict of interest, favoritism and increased scientific misconduct, (6) a change of the primary goals and agenda of the public sector research community, and (7) increased concentration in the agribusiness sector and the industrialization of the food system. Our policy suggestions include: (1) maintaining and strengthening an independent public research and teaching system, (2) striking a balance between short-term proprietary biotechnology and long-term nonproprietary research, (3) maintaining an extension system that delivers biotechnology information and products to all potential users, (4) developing a regulatory system that adequately protects the public and provides clear guidelines to industry. (5) assisting developing nations to reap the benefits of the biotechnology revolution, and (6) establishing mechanisms to foster broad-based understanding of the social and ethical issues relating to agricultural biotechnology and to promote research on the social and ethical impacts. (shrink)
This article updates the author’s 1982 argument that lutetium and lawrencium, rather than lanthanum and actinium, should be assigned to the d-block as the heavier analogs of scandium and yttrium, whereas lanthanum and actinium should be considered as the first members of the f-block with irregular configurations. This update is embedded within a detailed analysis of Lavelle’s abortive 2008 attempt to discredit this suggestion.
American discourse in business ethics is steeped in the traditional ethical theories of Western philosophies, specifically the Greek classics, Kant, and the British Utilitarians. These theories may be largely uninterpretable or unacceptable to non-Western populations owing to different traditions, religious beliefs, or cultural histories. As economic boundaries collapse and markets become more global in scope, traditional Western ethical thought may lead to clashes among Western organizations and companies from differing cultural settings. Such clashes could lead to alienation of foreign customers, (...) firms and governments and resultant competitive disadvantage, or to an abandonment of ethical considerations altogether in the struggle to compete internationally. This paper puts forward two general alternatives to Western ethical philosophies as useful frameworks for the analysis of international ethical dilemmas. The first alternative uses new organizational economics, while the second emphasizes role relationships and organizational citizenship. (shrink)
As John Henry Newman reflected on 'The Idea of a University' more than a century and a half ago, Bradley C. S. Watson brings together some of the nation's most eminent thinkers on higher education to reflect on the nature and purposes of the American university today. Their mordant reflections paint a picture of the American university in crisis. This book is essential reading for thoughtful citizens, scholars, and educational policymakers.
The momentum of advances in biology is evident in the history of patents on life forms. As we proceed forward with greater understanding and technological control of developmental biology there will be many new and challenging dilemmas related to patenting of human parts and partial trajectories of human development. These dilemmas are already evident in the current conflict over the moral status of the early human embryo. In this essay, recent evidence from embryological studies is considered and the unbroken continuity (...) of organismal development initiated at fertilization is asserted as clear and reasonable grounds for moral standing. Within this frame of analysis, it is proposed that through a technique of Altered Nuclear Transfer, non-organismal entities might be created from which embryonic stem cells could be morally procured. Criteria for patenting of such non-organismal entities are considered. (shrink)