The Wide-Scope approach to instrumental reason holds that the requirement to intend the necessary means to your ends should be understood as a requirement to either intend the means, or else not intend the end. In this paper I explain and defend a neglected version of this approach. I argue that three serious objections to Wide-Scope accounts turn on a certain assumption about the nature of the reasons that ground the Wide-Scope requirement. The version of the Wide- (...) class='Hi'>Scope approach defended here allows us to reject this assumption, and so defuse the objections. (shrink)
I argue that given standard deontic logic, wide-scope rational requirements entail narrow-scope rational requirements. In particular, the widely-embraced Enkratic Principle entails that if a particular combination of attitudes is rationally forbidden, it is also rationally forbidden to believe that that combination of attitudes is required.
Deontological evidentialism is the claim that we ought to form and maintain our beliefs in accordance with our evidence. In this paper, I criticize two arguments in its defense. I begin by discussing Berit Broogard’s use of the distinction between narrow-scope and wide-scope requirements against W.K. Clifford’s moral defense of. I then use this very distinction against a defense of inspired by Stephen Grimm’s more recent claims about the moral source of epistemic normativity. I use this distinction once (...) again to argue that Hilary Kornblith’s criticism of Richard Feldman’s defense of is incomplete. Finally, I argue that Feldman’s defense is insensitive to the relation between normative requirements and privileged values: values that have normative authority over us. (shrink)
I propose the first strictly compositional semantic account of same. New data, including especially NP-internal uses such as two men with the same name, suggests that same in its basic use is a quantificational element taking scope over nominals. Given type-lifting as a generally available mechanism, I show that this follows naturally from the fact that same is an adjective. Independently-motivated assumptions extend the analysis to standard examples such as Anna and Bill read the same book via a mechanism (...) I call PARASITIC SCOPE, in which the scope of same depends on the scope of some other scopetaking element in the sentence. Although I will initially discuss the analysis in terms of a familiar Quantifier Raising framework, I go on to implement the analysis within an innovative continuation-based Type-Logical Grammar. The empirical payoff for dealing in continuations is that a simple generalization of the basic analysis gives the first ever formal account of cases in which same distributes over objects other than NP denotations, as in the relevant interpretation of John hit and killed the same man. (shrink)
Instrumental rationality prohibits one from being in the following state: intending to pass a test, not intending to study, and believing one must intend to study if one is to pass. One could escape from this incoherent state in three ways: by intending to study, by not intending to pass, or by giving up one’s instrumental belief. However, not all of these ways of proceeding seem equally rational: giving up one’s instrumental belief seems less rational than giving up an end, (...) which itself seems less rational than intending the means. I consider whether, as some philosophers allege, these “asymmetries” pose a problem for the wide-scope formulation of instrumental rationality. I argue that they do not. I also present an argument in favor of the wide-scope formulation. The arguments employed here in defense of the wide-scope formulation of instrumental rationality can also be employed in defense of the wide-scope formulations of other rational requirements. (shrink)
You are irrational when you are akratic. On this point most agree. Despite this agreement, there is a tremendous amount of disagreement about what the correct explanation of this data is. Narrow-scopers think that the correct explanation is that you are violating a narrow-scope conditional requirement. You lack an intention to x that you are required to have given the fact that you believe you ought to x. Wide-scopers disagree. They think that a conditional you are required to make (...) true is false. You aren’t required to have any particular attitudes. You’re just required to intend to x or not believe you ought to x. Wide-scope accounts are symmetrical insofar as they predict that you are complying with the relevant requirement just so long as the relevant conditional is true. Some narrow-scopers object to this symmetry. However, there is disagreement about why the symmetry is objectionable. This has led wide-scopers to defend their view against a number of different symmetry objections. I think their defenses in the face of these objections are, on the whole, plausible. Unfortunately for them, they aren’t defending their view against the best version of the objection. In this paper I will show that there is a symmetry objection to wide-scope accounts that both hasn’t been responded to and is a serious problem for wide-scope accounts. Moreover, my version of the objection will allow us to see that there is at least one narrow-scope view that has been seriously underappreciated in the literature. (shrink)
This paper presents and discusses a range of counterexamples to the common view that quantifiers cannot take scope over epistemic modals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for ‘force modifier’ theories of epistemic modals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for Robert Stalnaker’s theory of counterfactuals, according to which a special kind of epistemic modal must be able to scope over a whole counterfactual. Finally, some of the counterexamples suggest that David Lewis must countenance ‘would’ counterfactuals in which (...) a covert ‘would’ scopes over the whole consequent of the counterfactual, including an overt ‘might.’. (shrink)
The paper proposes a novel solution to the problem of scope posed by natural language indefinites that captures both the difference in scopal freedom between indefinites and bona fide quantifiers and the syntactic sensitivity that the scope of indefinites does nevertheless exhibit. Following the main insight of choice functional approaches, we connect the special scopal properties of indefinites to the fact that their semantics can be stated in terms of choosing a suitable witness. This is in contrast to (...) bona fide quantifiers, the semantics of which crucially involves relations between sets of entities. We provide empirical arguments that this insight should not be captured by adding choice/Skolem functions to classical first-order logic, but in a semantics that follows Independence-Friendly Logic, in which scopal relations involving existentials are part of the recursive definition of truth and satisfaction. These scopal relations are resolved automatically as part of the interpretation of existentials. Additional support for this approach is provided by dependent indefinites, a cross-linguistically common class of special indefinites that can be straightforwardly analyzed in our semantic framework. (shrink)
Hintikka claimed in the 1970s that indefinites and disjunctions give rise to ‘branching readings’ that can only be handled by a ‘game-theoretic’ semantics as expressive as a logic with (a limited form of) quantification over Skolem functions. Due to empirical and methodological difficulties, the issue was left unresolved in the linguistic literature. Independently, however, it was discovered in the 1980s that, contrary to other quantifiers, indefinites may scope out of syntactic islands. We claim that branching readings and the island-escaping (...) behaviour of indefinites are two sides of the same coin: when the latter problem is considered in full generality, a mechanism of ‘functional quantification’ (Winter 2004) must be postulated which is strictly more expressive than Hintikka's, and which predicts that his branching readings are indeed real, although his own solution was insufficiently general. Furthermore, we suggest that, as Hintikka had seen, disjunctions share the behaviour of indefinites, both with respect to island-escaping behaviour and (probably) branching readings. The functional analysis can thus naturally be extended to them. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to propose a unified approach to the split scope readings of negative indefinites, comparative quantifiers, and numerals. There are two main observations that justify this approach. First, split scope shows the same kinds of restrictions across these different quantifiers. Second, split scope always involves low existential force. In our approach, following Sauerland, natural language determiner quantifiers are quantifiers over choice functions, of type <<,t>,t>. In split readings, the quantifier over choice functions (...) scopes above other operators (such as intensional verbs like must or can). Determiner quantifiers leave a choice-function trace when they move and this trace combines with the noun restriction, which is interpreted low. That split scope always involves low existential force is derived, without stipulation, from Kratzer’s idea that low existential force can be achieved via binding (into the noun restriction). (shrink)
I make the observation that English sentences such as “You have reason to take the bus or to take the train” do not have the logical form that they superficially appear to have. I find in these sentences a conjunctive use of “or,” as found in sentences like “You can have milk or lemon in your tea,” which gives you a permission to have milk, and a permission to have lemon, though no permission to have both. I argue that a (...) confusion of genuine disjunctions with sentences of the above form has motivated the mistaken acceptance by some philosophers of principles like the one I call “Liberal Transmission.” This is the principle that if you have a reason to do something, then you have a reason to do it in each of the possible ways in which it can be done (though not more than one of them). I argue that Liberal Transmission and its close relatives are false. Wide-scope reasons are defined as reasons that have a conditional or other logical connective within the scope of the reason operator. For example, a wide-scope instrumental reason might be: reason(if you have an end, take the means). By refuting Liberal Transmission, I show that you could have wide-scope instrumental reasons like this while nevertheless lacking any narrow-scope reason to take the means, or narrow-scope reason to not have the end. This enables me to respond to two major objections to the wide-scope approach to the instrumental principle that have been developed by Joseph Raz and by Niko Kolodny. (shrink)
Theories of well-being that give an important role to satisfied pro-attitudes need to account for the fact that, intuitively, the scope of possible objects of pro-attitudes seems much wider than the scope of things, states, or events that affect our well-being. Parfit famously illustrated this with his wish that a stranger may recover from an illness: it seems implausible that the stranger’s recovery would constitute a benefit for Parfit. There is no consensus in the literature about how to (...) rule out such well-being-irrelevant pro-attitudes. I argue, first, that there is no distinction in kind between well-being-relevant and irrelevant pro-attitudes. Instead, well-being-irrelevant pro-attitudes are the limiting cases on the scale measuring how much of a difference pro-attitudes make to the subject’s well-being. Second, I propose a particular scalar model according to which the well-being-relevance of pro-attitudes is measured by either their hedonic tone, or by the subject’s conative commitment. (shrink)
A prolonged debate about the nature of norms has been conducted in terms of the scope of a modal operator. Here I argue that the features of what I call Normative Focus are more fundamental than scope. We shall see limitations of scope contrasted with better analysis in terms of Normative Focus. Some authors address such limitations by extending what they mean by scope. I show that scope is still not doing the work: what does (...) it is their elicitation of our tacit knowledge of Normative Focus. Finally, I show that scope cannot capture Normative Focus because scope allows us to make only one distinction where we need to make three. So we should leave scope to the philosophers of language and turn instead to the ontology of Normative Focus. (shrink)
The traditional scope theory of intensionality (STI) (see Russell 1905; Montague 1973; Ladusaw 1977; Ogihara 1992, 1996; Stowell 1993) is simple, elegant, and, for the most part, empirically adequate. However, a few quite troubling counterexamples to this theory have lead researchers to propose alternatives, such as positing null situation pronouns (Percus 2000) or actuality operators (Kamp 1971; Cresswell 1990) in the syntax of natural language. These innovative theories do correct the undergeneration of the original scope theory, but at (...) a cost: the situation pronoun and operator theories overgenerate, as argued extensively by Percus (2000) and Keshet (2008). This paper presents new data that supports the STI over other analyses, such as structures where DPs lose their de re readings in positions where syntactic movement is blocked. These data point the way to a new theory of intensionality. This new theory, called split intensionality, is a modification of the STI which aims to solve the problems raised for the original scope theory without overgenerating. The proposal calls for an additional intensional abstraction operator that creates an expression denoting an intension from an expression denoting an extension. When a DP moves to a position above this operator, it is interpreted de re; otherwise it is de dicto. The crucial part of the new proposal is that a DP may move above this operator and yet remain, for instance, below an intentional verb or inside an if-clause. Therefore, a DP within an island for syntactic movement may be de re and yet not move out of the island when the intensional abstraction operator is also within the island. (shrink)
This paper focuses on children’s interpretation of sentences containing negation and a quantifier (e.g., The detective didn’t find some guys). Recent studies suggest that, although children are capable of accessing inverse scope interpretations of such sentences, they resort to surface scope to a larger extent than adults. To account for children’s behavioral pattern, we propose a new factor at play in Truth Value Judgment tasks: the Question–Answer Requirement (QAR). According to the QAR, children (and adults) must interpret the (...) target sentence that they evaluate as an answer to a question that is made salient by the discourse. (shrink)
Our paper presents a novel theory of weak crossover effects, based entirely on quantifier scope preferences and their consequences for variable binding. The structural notion of 'crossover' play no role. We develop a theory of scope preferences which ascribes a central role to the AGR-P System.
This paper addresses the question of whether the preverbal even (VP-even) embedded in a nonfinite clause can take wide scope (e.g., Bill refused to even drink WATER). The paper presents novel evidence for wide scope VP-even that is independent of the presuppositions of even. The evidence is based on examples of antecedent-contained deletion (ACD), where embedded VP-even associates with a nominal constituent (or part of it) that raises out of the embedded clause via quantifier raising. Assuming that even (...) must c-command the focus that it associates with, the case at issue forces VP-even to have wide scope, and further shows that VP-even in NPI-licensing contexts is not necessarily an NPI. (shrink)
One of the big questions about indefinites is why they can escape scope islands. In the recent approach of Brasoveanu and Farkas :1–55, 2011) scopal relations with syntactically dominating quantifiers are hard wired into the semantic definition of the existential quantifier, which immediately explains why the semantic scope of indefinites may exceed their syntactic scope. In this paper, I argue for the revival of an alternative approach which places the explanatory burden on the idea that indefinites are (...) essentially referential expressions, similar to definites, and not plain existential quantifiers. I propose one fully explicit variant of such theories and argue that it comes with a number of conceptual and empirical advantages over competing theories. (shrink)
William Kingdon Clifford proposed a vigorous ethics of belief, according to which you are morally prohibited from believing something on insufficient evidence. Though Clifford offers numerous considerations in favor of his ethical theory, the conclusion he wants to draw turns out not to follow from any reasonable assumptions. In fact, I will argue, regardless of how you propose to understand the notion of evidence, it is implausible that we could have a moral obligation to refrain from believing something whenever we (...) lack sufficient evidence. I will argue, however, that there are wide-scope conditional requirements on beliefs but the beliefs in question need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. I then argue that we are epistemically, but not morally, required to form epistemically valuable beliefs. However, these beliefs, too, need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. (shrink)
We characterize pairs of monotone generalized quantifiers Q1 and Q2 over finite domains that give rise to an entailment relation between their two relative scope construals. This relation between quantifiers, which is referred to as scope dominance, is used for identifying entailment relations between the two scopal interpretations of simple sentences of the form NP1–V–NP2. Simple numerical or set-theoretical considerations that follow from our main result are used for characterizing such relations. The variety of examples in which they (...) hold are shown to go far beyond the familiar existential-universal type. (shrink)
A significant part of the debate concerning the nature of rational requirements centers on disambiguating ordinary articulations of conditional requirements of rationality. Particular focus has been put on the question of whether conditional requirements of rationality take a wide or a narrow logical scope. However, this paper shows that this focus is misguided and harmful to the debate. I argue that concentrating on syntactic scope renders us more likely to arrive at incorrect formulations of rational requirements and to (...) overlook questions of greater philosophical importance. (shrink)
This paper reports on an experimental investigation of the scope of English a indefinites and a certain indefinites. Three experiments test whether native English speakers allow indefinites to scope out of syntactic islands, and to take intermediate as well as widest scope. The experimental findings indicate that a indefinites and a certain indefinites have different ranges of interpretations available to them. Experiment 1 shows that a certain indefinites, unlike a indefinites, cannot be interpreted in the scope (...) of an intensional operator, and further shows that functional readings are available to a certain indefinites but not to a indefinites. Experiment 2 focuses on the availability of long-distance readings of indefinites out of scope islands, and shows that the most accessible reading for a certain indefinites is the widest-scope reading, while the most accessible reading for a indefinites is the narrow-scope reading. Experiment 3 shows that modification of an a indefinite by a relative clause does not facilitate long-distance readings, as long as it does not restrict the domain to a singleton set. Overall, these findings are consistent with the proposal of Schwarz (Proceedings of the Thirteenth Amsterdam Colloquium, ILCC, University of Amsterdam, 192–197, 2001) that a certain indefinites and a indefinites are derived by different semantic mechanisms. The behavior of a certain indefinites is shown to be consistent with the contextually determined choice function approach Kratzer (Events in grammar, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 165–196, 1998) and the singleton indefinite approach Schwarzschild (J Semant 19:289–314, 2002). In contrast, a indefinites are most compatible with a purely quantificational approach, contra much recent theoretical literature. These findings highlight the value of conducting experimental studies testing the predictions of semantic theories. (shrink)
This paper uses a partially ordered set of syntactic categories to accommodate optionality and licensing in natural language syntax. A complex but well-studied data set pertaining to the syntax of quantifier scope and negative polarity licensing in Hungarian is used to illustrate the proposal. The presentation is geared towards both linguists and logicians. The paper highlights that the main ideas can be implemented in different grammar formalisms, and discusses in detail an implementation where the partial ordering on categories is (...) given by the derivability relation of a calculus with residuated and Galois-connected unary operators. (shrink)
On social equality, individuals ought to relate on terms of equality. An important issue concerning this theory, which has not received much attention, is its scope: which individuals ought to relate on egalitarian terms? The answer depends on the theory’s grounds: the basis upon which demands of social equality arise when they do. In this chapter, I consider how we ought to construe the scope and the grounds of social equality. I argue that underlying the considerations social egalitarians (...) advance for taking demands of social equality to arise in the context of the state are relational facts that can obtain beyond state borders. So, my argument suggests an account of the grounds of social equality, and this account provides support for the scope of social equality potentially transcending the state. (shrink)
I defend the claim that Kant held a wide-scope view of hypothetical imperatives, against objections raised by Mark Schroeder . There is an important objection, now commonly known as the ‘bootstrapping’ problem, to the alternative, narrow-scope, view which Schroeder attributes to Kant. Schroeder argues that Kant has sufficient resources to reply to the bootstrapping problem, and claims that this leaves us with no good reason to attribute to Kant the wide-scope view. I show that Schroeder's Kantian reply (...) to the bootstrapping problem cannot fully answer it. Schroeder also offers three main textual arguments for attributing to Kant the narrow-scope view: from Kant's claim that the moral imperative is unique in virtue of its categoricity, from Kant's distinction between ‘problematic’ and ‘assertoric’ hypothetical imperatives, and from Kant's conception of analyticity together with his claim that hypothetical imperatives are analytic. I argue that each of these views can be understood as cohering with the.. (shrink)
This paper develops a semantics with control over scope relations using Vermeulen’s stack valued assignments as information states. This makes available a limited form of scope reuse and name switching. The goal is to have a general system that fixes available scoping effects to those that are characteristic of natural language. The resulting system is called Scope Control Theory, since it provides a theory about what scope has to be like in natural language. The theory is (...) shown to replicate a wide range of grammatical dependencies, including options for, and constraints on, ‘donkey’, ‘binding’, ‘movement’, ‘Control’ and ‘scope marking’ dependencies. (shrink)
Many things evolve: species, languages, sports, tools, biological niches, and theories. But are these real instances of natural selection? Current assessments of the proper scope of Darwinian theory focus on the broad similarity of cultural or non-organic processes to familiar central instances of natural selection. That similarity is analysed in terms of abstract functional descriptions of evolving entities (e.g. replicators, interactors, developmental systems etc). These strategies have produced a proliferation of competing evolutionary analyses. I argue that such reasoning ought (...) not to be employed in arbitrating debates about whether particular phenomena count as instances of natural selection. My argument is based on hierarchical functional descriptions of natural selection. I suggest that natural selection ought not to be thought of as a single process but rather as a series of processes which can be analysed in terms of a hierarchy of functional descriptions (in much the same way as many people think of cognition). This, in turn, casts doubt on the idea that it is possible in principle to settle debates about whether particular phenomena count as instances of natural selection. (shrink)
Standard theories of scope are semantically blind. They employ a single logico-syntactic rule of scope assignment quantifying in Quantifier Raising, storage, or type change etc which roughly speaking prefixes an expression \aplha.
According to James McCawley (1981) and Richard Larson and Gabriel Segal (1995), the following sentence is three-ways ambiguous: -/- Harry wants to be the mayor of Kenai. -/- According to them also, the three-way ambiguity cannot be accommodated on the Russellian view that definite descriptions are quantified noun phrases. In order to capture the three-way ambiguity of the sentence, these authors propose that definite descriptions must be ambiguous: sometimes they are predicate expressions; sometimes they are Russellian quantified noun phrases. After (...) explaining why the McCawley-Larson-Segal solution contains an obvious flaw, I discuss how an effort to correct the flaw brings to light certain puzzles about the individuation of desires, about quantifying in, and about the disambiguation of desire ascriptions. (shrink)
The last few decades have given rise to the study of practical reason as a legitimate subfield of philosophy in its own right, concerned with the nature of practical rationality, its relationship to theoretical rationality, and the explanatory relationship between reasons, rationality, and agency in general. Among the most central of the topics whose blossoming study has shaped this field, is the nature and structure of instrumental rationality, the topic to which Kant has to date made perhaps the largest contribution, (...) under the heading of his treatment of hypothetical imperatives. (shrink)
We give a complete characterization of the class of upward monotone generalized quantifiers Q1 and Q2 over countable domains that satisfy the scheme Q1 x Q2 y φ → Q2 y Q1 x φ. This generalizes the characterization of such quantifiers over finite domains, according to which the scheme holds iff Q1 is ∃ or Q2 is ∀ (excluding trivial cases). Our result shows that in infinite domains, there are more general types of quantifiers that support these entailments.
This squib reports the results of two experimental studies, a binary choice and a self-paced reading study, that provide strong support for the hypothesis in Tunstall that the distinct scopal properties of each and every are at least to some extent the consequence of an event-differentiation requirement contributed by each. However, we also show that the emerging picture is more complex than Tunstall suggests: English speakers seem to fall into at least three groups regarding the scopal properties of each and (...) every. (shrink)
Syntactic and semantic theories of quantificational phenomena traditionally treat all noun phrases alike, thus predicting that noun phrases exhibit a uniform behavior. It is well-known that this is an idealization: in any given case, some noun phrases will support a desired reading more readily than others. Anyone who has lectured on quantifier scope ambiguities to a class of unbrainwashed undergraduates will recall the amount of preparation time that goes into coming up with two or three examples that the class (...) will judge to be ambiguous in exactly the ways the theory under discussion predicts. The same experience with ``good citizens'' and ``bad citizens'' repeats itself in connection with branching, anaphora, distributive versus collective readings, extraction, event quantification, pair-list questions, and so on. (shrink)
How do we know what we "know"? How did we –as individuals and as a society – come to accept certain knowledge as fact? In _Human Knowledge,_ Bertrand Russell questions the reliability of our assumptions on knowledge. This brilliant and controversial work investigates the relationship between ‘individual’ and ‘scientific’ knowledge. First published in 1948, this provocative work contributed significantly to an explosive intellectual discourse that continues to this day.
This paper is a response to ‘Why Be Rational?’ by Niko Kolodny. Kolodny argues that we have no reason to satisfy the requirements of rationality. His argument assumes that these requirements have a logically narrow scope. To see what the question of scope turns on, this comment provides a semantics for ‘requirement’. It shows that requirements of rationality have a wide scope, at least under one sense of ‘requirement’. Consequently Kolodny's conclusion cannot be derived.
Allow me to rehearse a familiar scenario. We all know that which ends you have has something to do with what you ought to do. If Ronnie is keen on dancing but Bradley can’t stand it, then the fact that there will be dancing at the party tonight affects what Ronnie and Bradley ought to do in different ways. In short, (HI) you ought, if you have the end, to take the means. But now trouble looms: what if you have (...) dreadful, murderous ends? Ought you to take the means to them? Seemingly not. But fortunately, an assumption made by deontic logics1 comes to the rescue. Since ‘‘ought’’, according to this assumption, is a sentential operator, HI must really be ambiguous. It could be read either as (Narrow) You have the end ! O(you take the means) or as (Wide) O(you have the end ! you take the means). Now if Narrow is true, then you really ought to take the means to your murderous ends. But this doesn’t follow from Wide. All that follows from Wide is that you ought to either take the means to these ends or else give them up. Conclusions: (1) Since HI is on some reading true, but Narrow isn’t, Wide is true. (2) Wide accounts for the relationship between your ends and what you ought to do. This elegant scenario repeats itself in many other domains in which it seems like something can have a bearing on what some particular agent ought to do. Does what you know affect what you ought to do? Do your beliefs about what you ought to do affect what you ought to do? Do your promises affect what you ought to do? Do your beliefs affect what you ought to believe? On each of these counts, the intuitive answer is ‘‘yes’’. And so each of these questions leaves something for the moral philosopher or the epistemologist to investigate. On each count, it seems that what we all know, is that (Account) you ought, if p, to do A. But on each count, the Narrow-scope reading of the ‘‘ought’’ in this claim yields unintuitive consequences. So since Account is true, it must be true on the Wide-scope reading.. (shrink)
In The Order of Public Reason (2011a), Gerald Gaus rejects the instrumental approach to morality as a viable account of social morality. Gaus' rejection of the instrumental approach to morality, and his own moral theory, raise important foundational questions concerning the adequate scope of instrumental morality. In this article, I address some of these questions and I argue that Gaus' rejection of the instrumental approach to morality stems primarily from a common but inadequate application of this approach. The (...) class='Hi'>scope of instrumental morality, and especially the scope of pure moral instrumentalism, is limited. The purely instrumental approach to morality can be applied fruitfully to moral philosophy only in situations of extreme pluralism in which moral reasoning is reduced to instrumental reasoning, because the members of a society do not share, as assumed by traditional moral theories, a consensus on moral ideals as a basis for the derivation of social moral rules, but only an end that they aim to reach. Based on this understanding, I develop a comprehensive two-level contractarian theory that integrates traditional morality with instrumental morality. I argue that this theory, if implemented, is most promising for securing mutually beneficial peaceful long-term cooperation in deeply pluralistic societies, as compared to cooperation in a non-moralized state of nature. (shrink)
While philosophers of mind have devoted abundant time and attention to questions of content and consciousness, philosophical questions about the nature and scope of mental action have been relatively neglected. Galen Strawson’s account of mental action, arguably the most well-known extant account, holds that cognitive mental action consists in triggering the delivery of content to one’s field of consciousness. However, Strawson fails to recognize several distinct types of mental action that might not reduce to triggering content delivery. In this (...) paper, we argue that meditation provides a useful model for understanding a wider range of types of mental action than heretofore recognized. Conclusions yielded by two distinct bodies of current psychological research on meditation and cognition, and meditation and introspection, buttress meditation’s suitability for this role. (shrink)
Many anticosmopolitan Rawlsians argue that since the primary subject of justice is society's basic structure, and since there is no global basic structure, the scope of justice is domestic. This paper challenges the anticosmopolitan basic structure argument by distinguishing three interpretations of what Rawls meant by the basic structure and its relation to justice, corresponding to the cooperation, pervasive impact, and coercion theories of distributive justice. On the cooperation theory, it is true that there is no global basic structure, (...) but the basic structure turns out to be only an instrumental condition for realizing justice, and not an existence condition that must be met before demands of justice arise. On the pervasive impact and coercion theories, the basic structure is indeed an existence condition, but there exists a global basic structure. The upshot is that on any plausible interpretation of Rawls's account of the basic structure, Rawlsian justice is global in scope. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that to properly understand our commitment to a principle of free speech, we must pay attention to what should count as speech for the purposes of such a principle. We defend the view that ‘speech’ here should be a technical term, with something other than its ordinary sense. We then offer a partial characterization of this technical sense. We contrast our view with some influential views about free speech , and show that our view has (...) distinct advantages. Finally, we consider racist hate speech. Here, we argue that if certain theorists are right about what some racist hate speech does, then such speech should fall outside the scope of the free speech principle, and so, should be as regulable as any non-speech action. (shrink)
Despite the renown of ‘On Denoting’, much criticism has ignored or misconstrued Russell's treatment of scope, particularly in intensional, but also in extensional contexts. This has been rectified by more recent commentators, yet it remains largely unnoticed that the examples Russell gives of scope distinctions are questionable or inconsistent with his own philosophy. Nevertheless, Russell is right: scope does matter in intensional contexts. In Principia Mathematica, Russell proves a metatheorem to the effect that the scope of (...) a single occurrence of a description in an extensional context does not matter, provided existence and uniqueness conditions are satisfied. But attempts to eliminate descriptions in more complicated cases may produce an analysis with more occurrences of descriptions than featured in the analysand. Taking alternation and negation to be primitive (as in the first edition of Principia), this can be resolved, although the proof is non-trivial. Taking the Sheffer stroke to be primitive (as proposed by Russell in the second edition), with bad choices of scope the analysis fails to terminate. (shrink)
Niko Kolodny has argued that some (local) rational requirements are narrow-scope requirements. Against this, I argue here that all (local) rational requirements are wide-scope requirements. I present a new objection to the narrow-scope interpretations of the four specific rational requirements which Kolodny considers. His argument for the narrow-scope interpretations of these four requirements rests on a false assumption, that an attitude which puts in place a narrow-scope rational requirement somewhere thereby puts in place a narrow- (...) class='Hi'>scope rational requirement everywhere. My argument against Kolodny is analogous to arguments which use holism about reasons to defend moral particularism. (shrink)
The study ascertained (1) whether an observer's scope of justice with reference to either the moral agent or the target person of a moral act, would affect his/her judgements of the ethicality of the act, and (2) whether observer judgements of ethicality parallel the moral agent's decision processes in systematically evaluating the intensity of the moral issue. A scenario approach was used. Results affirmed both research questions. Discussions covered the implications of the findings for the underlying cognitive processes of (...) moral judgements, for the link between judgements of fairness and ethicality, as well as for the debate of ethical absolutism versus relativism. (shrink)
Offers a conciliatory solution to one of the central contemporary debates in the theory of rationality, the debate about the proper formulation of rational requirements. Introduces a novel conception of the “symmetry problem” for wide scope rational requirements, and sketches a theory of rational commitment as a response.
The argument from species overlap has been widely used in the literature on animal ethics and speciesism. However, there has been much confusion regarding what the argument proves and what it does not prove, and regarding the views it challenges. This article intends to clarify these confusions, and to show that the name most often used for this argument (‘the argument from marginal cases’) reflects and reinforces these misunderstandings. The article claims that the argument questions not only those defences of (...) anthropocentrism that appeal to capacities believed to be typically human, but also those that appeal to special relations between humans. This means the scope of the argument is far wider than has been thought thus far. Finally, the article claims that, even if the argument cannot prove by itself that we should not disregard the interests of nonhuman animals, it provides us with strong reasons to do so, since the argument does prove that no defence of anthropocentrism appealing to non-definitional and testable criteria succeeds. (shrink)