This paper defends the Limited Use Viewof our duties to save. The Limited Use View holds that the duty to save is a duty to treat oneself, and perhaps one’s resources, as a means for preventing harm to others. But the duty to treat oneself as a means for the sake of others is limited. One need not treat oneself as a means when doing so is either very costly, or conflicts with one’s more stringent duties to others. This provides an agent-neutral account of the duty to save. When the cost of saving passes a certain threshold, one is permitted to fail to save, and it is impermissible for others to force one to save, if doing so will force one to incur an equal or greater cost. I argue that the Limited Use View is to be preferred to agent-relative accounts of the duty to save, which hold that the limit on our duty to save is grounded in an agent-relative prerogative to weight our own interests (and those of special others) more heavily than other people’s interests.
Can young children such as 3-year-olds represent the world objectively? Some prominent developmental psychologists (Perner, Tomasello) assume so. I argue that this view is susceptible to a prima facie powerful objection: to represent objectively, one must be able to represent not only features of the entities represented but also features of objectification itself, which 3-year-olds can’t do yet. Drawing on Tyler Burge’s work on perceptual constancy, I provide a response to this objection and motivate a distinction between three different kinds of objectivity. This distinction helps advance current research on both objectivity and teleological action explanations in young children.
: Many of us hold false beliefs about matters that are relevant to public policy such as climate change and the safety of vaccines. What can be done to rectify this situation? This question can be read in two ways. According to the descriptive reading, it concerns which methods will be effective in persuading people that their beliefs are false. According to the normative reading, it concerns which methods we are permitted to use in the service of persuading people. Some effective methods—a programme of brainwashing, say—would not be permissible. In this paper I compare “methods of rational persuasion” with what you might call “marketing methods” such as how one frames the problem of climate change. My aim is to show that “marketing methods” are preferable to “methods of rational persuasion”. My argument has two parts. First, I argue that the evidence suggests that “marketing methods” are more effective in persuading people to change their minds. Second, I argue that “marketing methods” are an acceptable response to the normative question.
(150 words): Moral, social, political, and other “nonepistemic” values can lead to bias in science, from prioritizing certain topics over others to the rationalization of questionable research practices. Such values might seem particularly common or powerful in the social sciences, given their subject matter. However, I argue first that the well-documented phenomenon of motivated reasoning provides a useful framework for understanding when values guide scientific inquiry (in pernicious or productive ways). Second, this analysis reveals a parity thesis: values influence the social and natural sciences about equally, particularly because both are so prominently affected by desires for social credit and status, including recognition and career advancement. Ultimately, bias in natural and social science is both natural and social— that is, a part of human nature and considerably motivated by a concern for social status (and its maintenance). Whether the pervasive influence of values is inimical to the sciences is a separate question.
The following gives an overview of my beliefs about what it is to live an ethical life. At no point do I defend the beliefs or elaborate in sufficient detail to really persuade, I am simply trying to state them roughly and indicate how they interrelate. Often the claims are more an expression of mood or sentiment than anything to be taken too literally. Even the citations are not generally to defences of the views they are attached to, and in some cases the author’s views may be opposed to mine. Rather, at some point in writing this the bibliography became something like an intellectual auto-biography. The citations are thus to indicate pieces on the topic in question, which I have at some point over many years I read at least part of, and which made a noticeable impression on me. My views on ethics are not especially interesting, novel, or coherent. I imagine this document will mainly be of interest to me, but I share it on the encouragement of friends. I intend to return to this at some point and make the writing more aesthetically pleasing.
There is a rich and growing philosophical literature on humility and modesty, but, as Sara Rushing observes, “a fair number of professional philosophers … conflate humility with modesty without critically reflecting on the implications of treating the two terms as equivalent.” This conflation is unsurprising, because in ordinary language the terms are often used synonymously and interchangeably. Nonetheless, the concepts are distinct. Rushing herself does not do the work to distinguish between the concepts of humility and modesty, but her reflection on humility in Christian and Confucian traditions does gesture at the difference that I will argue for: Humility is internal; it is a matter of thought and feeling. Modesty is external; it is a matter of expression. The term ‘humility’ is etymologically connected with the Latin humus, meaning earth or soil. Although it can have connotations of lowliness, the concept of humility is perhaps better understood as being “down to earth” in one’s perspective. The term ‘modesty’ comes from the Latin modestia and connotes moderation, propriety, and correctness of conduct, which, as we will see, is appropriate to the concept of modesty.
This article examines the affect of acquiescentia in Spinoza’s Ethics, presenting an original interpretation of acquiescentia which illuminates the account of blessedness developed in Part V of the Ethics. It also shows how Spinoza’s complex but coherent account of acquiescentia has been obscured by inconsistent translations of acquiescentia, and forms of the verb acquiescere, in the standard English edition of the Ethics. Spinoza’s discussion of acquiescentia both draws on and critiques the equivalent Cartesian passion, la satisfaction de soi-même, which is translated as ‘acquiescentia in se ipso’ in the Latin edition of the Passions of the Soul. For Spinoza, acquiescentia is an inherently cognitive affect, since it involves an idea of oneself (as the cause of one’s joy). As such, the affect is closely correlated to the three kinds of cognition identified by Spinoza in Ethics II. Just as there are three kinds of cognition, so there are three kinds of acquiescentia – a point that has hitherto been missed by commentators. Two qualities – stillness and obedience – provide the criteria for distinguishing true or genuine acquiescentia from its false, “empty” counterpart, corresponding to imaginatio. According to Spinoza, Descartes’s conception of acquiescentia belongs entirely to this inadequate, confused kind of cognition. The qualities of stillness and obedience also distinguish between two kinds of true acquiescentia, corresponding to ratio and scientia intuitiva.
Augustine famously claims every word is a name. Some readers take Augustine to thereby maintain a purely referentialist semantic account according to which every word is a referential expression whose meaning is its extension. Other readers think that Augustine is no referentialist and is merely claiming that every word has some meaning. In this paper, I clarify Augustine’s arguments to the effect that every word is a name and argue that ‘every word is a name’ amounts to the claim that for any word, there exist tokens of that word which are autonymous nouns. Augustine takes this to be the result of universal lexical ambiguity or equivocity (that is, the fact that every word has more than one literal meaning) and I clarify how Augustine’s account of metalinguistic discourse, which is one of the most detailed to have survived from antiquity, differs from some ancient and modern theories.
The goal of this article is to counter a belief, still widely held in the secondary literature, that Anne Conway espoused a theory of monads. By exploring her views on the divisibility of both bodies and spirits, I argue that monads could not possibly exist in her system. In addition, by offering new evidence about the Latin translation of Conway’s Principles, and the possible authorship of its annotations, I argue that she never even suggested that there could be such things as monads. Alongside this, I explore the theories of monads that did get developed by the philosophers closest to Conway—Henry More, Francis Mercury van Helmont, and Christian Knorr von Rosenroth—thereby further underlining Conway’s originality and philosophical daring.
During pregnancy, birth and, the early days of parenthood, we do amazing things with our bodies, easily comparable to the achievements of any marathon runner. When we are pregnant, we use our bodies to shelter and nourish the growing human from microscopic blastocyst to full-term foetus. We push the boundaries of human endurance with peaks of energy use comparable to elite athletes. In labour, the cervix dilates to ten centimetres wide, roughly the size of a bagel , while the uterus exerts 100-400 Newtons of downwards force with each contraction during birth, equivalent to the force exerted by many men’s Olympic weightlifting record holders (and outdoing some of them). When lactating, we might produce over 1000g of milk a day. This milk is tailor made to meet our babies’ needs, becoming higher in calories when the baby signals a growth spurt by feeding frequently throughout the day and contains antibodies to protect the baby when either the mother or the baby gets sick.
F. A. Hayek and the Epistemology of Politics is primarily intended as a contribution to the philosophy and methodology of the Austrian School of economics (pp. 1-2). However, as the symposium participants are all quick to note, several of the book’s central arguments, especially those advanced in the first chapter, are of potential significance far beyond Austrian economics. The arguments of the first chapter present an important methodological challenge to multiple fields of political inquiry, to traditional political philosophy and theory, and to modern political science, as well as a significant practical problem for anyone concerned with the effectiveness of political action. Professional political thinkers and laypersons alike conceive the basic political problem to concern the motivations, reasons, incentives, etc., of policymakers. On this way of thinking, the fundamental problem to be solved, analytically, by the disciplines of political inquiry, and, practically, in political life, is how to ensure that policymakers are adequately motivated to pursue policy goals either that are in constituents’ interests or that constituents’ want pursued. I do not deny the significance of this problem or the value of the proposed solutions, whether analytical or practical-constitutional, that have been offered in the long course of the history of politics and political thought. The book does not suggest that we should scrap thousands of years of political inquiry and start all over again.
Scott Scheall has done an admirable job of making the occasionally dry and complicated issues of Hayekian political theory readable and even amusing. And he shows that he is an attentive student of Friedrich Hayek, particularly in the emphasis he places on epistemic humility which is certainly Hayek’s own principal teaching. But the result of Scheall’s skillful presentation is to lay bare just how flimsy that teaching really is as a guide to political wisdom, shorn of a normative framework.
This paper examines Heidegger’s position on a foundational distinction for Kantian and post- Kantian philosophy: that between acting ‘in the light of’ a norm and acting ‘merely in accordance with it’. In section 1, I introduce the distinction and highlight several relevant similarities between Kant and Heidegger on ontology and the first-person perspective. In section 2, I press the Kantian position further, focusing on the role of inferential commitments in perception: this provides a foil against which Heidegger’s account can be In section 3, I contrast this Kantian approach with Crowell’s highly sophisticated reading of Heidegger on care: I argue that, subject to certain conditions on how we view explanation, the two approaches are compatible and indeed mutually supporting. I close in section 4 by addressing an importantly distinct dimension of normativity, that marked by critique, broadly construed. I argue that we ultimately need to locate Heidegger in a context that runs from Kant’s ‘What is Enlightenment’ through Nietzsche’s Genealogy.
This paper uses the example of the Covid-19 pandemic to analyse the danger associated with insufficient pluralism in evidence-based public health policy. Drawing on certain elements in Paul Feyerabend’s political philosophy of science, it discusses reasons for implementing more pluralism as well as challenges to be tackled on the way forward.
According to the Psychological-Continuity Account of What Matters, you are justified in having special concern for the well-being of a person at a future time if and only if that person will be psychologically continuous with you as you are now. On some versions of the account, the psychological continuity is required to be temporally ordered, whereas, on other versions, it is allowed to be temporally unordered. In this paper, I argue that the account is implausible if the psychological continuity is allowed to be temporally unordered. I also argue that, if the psychological continuity is required to be temporally ordered, it cannot plausibly be purely psychological (in the sense that the psychological continuity is not required to be caused through spatio-temporal continuity of a brain). The upshot is that no plausible version of the Psychological- Continuity Account of What Matters is purely psychological. So, psychological continuity is not what matters in survival.
The philosophical impact of early German romanticism in general and
Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis) in particular has
typically been traced back to a series of fragments and reflections on
poetry, art, and beauty. Moreover, his name has been associated with
an aestheticization of philosophy, an illegitimate valorizing of the
medieval, and a politically reactionary program. This view of von
Hardenberg, however, is to a large extent rooted in the image created
posthumously by his increasingly conservative friends within the
romantic circle. Furthermore, von Hardenberg’s philosophical
reputation has been shaped by his critics, the most prominent of whom
was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
According to Aristotle, the medical art aims at health, which is a virtue of the body, and does so in an unlimited way. Consequently, medicine does not determine the extent to which health should be pursued, and “mental health” falls under medicine only via pros hen predication. Because medicine is inherently oriented to its end, it produces health in accordance with its nature and disease contrary to its nature—even when disease is good for the patient. Aristotle’s politician understands that this inherent orientation can be systematically distorted, and so would see the need for something like the Hippocratic Oath.
Imagine you are an untenured Professor and the only woman and person of color amongst the faculty in a Philosophy department. You are frequently approached by students, typically women or members of other underrepresented groups, looking for mentorship and emotional support as they navigate their academic experience. While you believe this service work is valuable with a view to increasing the representation of minorities in philosophy, it is also emotionally draining and takes significant time away from your own research. You feel trapped. If you do this sort of mentorship work, you help diversify the field in a way that will be better for you and other members of underrepresented groups. Moreover, if you refuse to do this work, you indirectly help to maintain a status quo in which women and people of color like yourself remain dramatically underrepresented and under-served. But, by doing this service work, you compromise your own research, and reinforce a system where disproportionate burdens are placed on women and people of color, making them less likely to succeed in the profession.
The main objective of immunology is to establish why and when an immune response occurs, that is, to determine a criterion of immunogenicity. According to the consensus view, the proper criterion of immunogenicity lies in the discrimination between self and nonself. Here we challenge this consensus by suggesting a simpler and more comprehensive criterion, the criterion of continuity. Moreover, we show that this criterion may be considered as an interpretation of the immune ‘‘self.’’ We conclude that immunologists can continue to speak of the self, provided that they admit that the self兾nonself discrimination is not an adequate criterion of immunogenicity.
I've been binge-watching Doctor Who, and two days ago I finished Susanna Clarke's new novel Piranesi. I love them both! Doctor Who is among my favorite TV series ever, and the images of Piranesi will probably linger with me for the rest of my life. …
Debate about the epistemic prowess of historical science has focused on local underdetermination problems generated by a lack of historical data; the prevalence of information loss over geological time, and the capacities of scientists to mitigate it. Drawing on Leonelli’s recent distinction between ‘phenomena-time’ and ‘data-time’ I argue that factors like data generation, curation and management significantly complexifies and undermines this: underdetermination is a bad way of framing the challenges historical scientists face. In doing so, I identify circumstances of ‘epistemic scarcity’ where underdetermination problems are particularly salient, and discuss cases where ‘legacy data’—data generated using differing technologies and systems of practice—are drawn upon to overcome underdetermination. This suggests that one source of overcoming underdetermination is our knowledge of science’s past. Further, data-time makes agnostic positions about the epistemic fortunes of scientists working under epistemic scarcity more plausible. But agnosticism seems to leave philosophers without much normative grip. So, I sketch an alternative approach: focusing on the strategies scientists adopt to maximize their epistemic power in light of the resources available to them.
May 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Miguel Sánchez-Mazas, founder of Theoria. An International Journal of Theory, History and Foundations of Science, and regarded as the person who brought mathematical logic to Spain. Here we present some of his biographical features and a summary of his contributions, from his early work in the 1950s - introducing contemporary advances in logic and philosophy of science in a philosophically backward milieu dominated by the scholasticism of that era in Spain - to the development of a project of Lebnizian lineage aimed at producing an arithmetic calculation that would elude some of the difficulties confronting Leibniz’s calculus. KEYWORDS: Miguel Sánchez-Mazas, Leibniz, numerical characteristic, calculation of norms, jurisprudence.
Studies on Platonic ‘Theoria motus abstracti’ are often focused on dynamics rather than kinematics, in particular on psychic self-motion. This state of affairs is, of course, far from being a bland academic accident: according to Plato, dynamics is the higher science while kinematics is lower on the ‘scientific’ spectrum . Furthermore, when scholars investigate Platonic abstract kinematics, in front of them there is a very limited set of texts . Among them, one of the most interesting undoubtedly remains a passage of Parmenides in which Plato challenges the puzzle of the ‘instant of change’, namely the famous text about the ‘sudden’ (τὸ ἐξαίφνης).
Biologists like to think of themselves as properly scientific behaviourists, explaining and predicting the ways that proteins, organelles, cells, plants, animals and whole biota behave under various conditions, thanks to the smaller parts of which they are composed. ey identify causal mechanisms that reliably execute various functions such as copying DNA, attacking antigens, photosynthesising, discerning temperature gradients, capturing prey, finding their way back to their nests and so forth, but they don’t think that this acknowledgment of functions implicates them in any discredited teleology or imputation of reasons and purposes or understanding to the cells and other parts of the mechanisms they investigate.
This thematic section of Biological Theory is focused on development; it raises the problem of the temporal and spatial boundaries of development. From a temporal point of view, when does development start and stop? From a spatial point of view, what is it exactly that ‘‘develops,’’ and is it possible to delineate clearly the developing entity? This section explores the possible answers to these questions, and thus sheds light on the definition of development itself.
Since the 1950s, the common view of development has been internalist: development is seen as the result of the unfolding of potentialities already present in the egg cell. In this paper I show that this view is incorrect, because of the crucial influence of the environment on development. I focus on a fascinating example, that of the role played by symbioses in development, especially bacterial symbioses, a phenomenon found in virtually all organisms (plants, invertebrates, vertebrates). I claim that we must consequently modify our conception of the boundaries of the developing entity, and I show how immunology can help us in accomplishing this task. I conclude that the developing entity encompasses many elements traditionally seen as “foreign”, while I reject the idea that there is no possible distinction between the organism and its environment.
Compatibilist defenses of moral responsibility provide conditions under which an action can be blameworthy or praiseworthy even if that action is determined. It is often thought, however, that there are certain sorts of causal factors that should mitigate praise and blame attributions, notwithstanding that those conditions for responsibility are met. In other words, even for the compatibilist, there are certain causes that might lead one to act that would render typical punishments or rewards unfair, and require a different sort of moral response. A paradigmatic case is that of addiction, insofar as addicts may be seen, by the compatibilist, as lacking freedom in two senses: the usual one of existing in a determined universe, and an extraordinary one, resulting from their compulsive prioritization of using over all else. Often in the philosophical literature, as well as in popular media, the character of the addict is portrayed as compelled or “seduced” by their addiction, even as they are, in some sense, choosing when they act on it (Cummins 2014; Grim 2007, 191). The paradigm of addiction is therefore useful for philosophers interested in thinking about free will and moral responsibility, but worried about the possible scope of mitigating causal histories (Berofsky 2005, Kane 2020, Levy 2011, Shatz 1988, Yaffe 2011). The compulsive prioritization of using over other desires is taken to indicate a difference in kind between the addict and the rest of us, and gives grounds for delineating exceptional cases from typical ones when it comes to assigning desert.
No Face Ghost by Duangrat AnutaratanyaA picture of continuitySome beliefs are epistemically innocent when they are irrational but provide epistemic benefits that would not be available otherwise. We already saw some examples: delusion, confabulation, and optimistically biased beliefs. …
We are most grateful to Eugene Koonin for having accepted to write for Biology & Philosophy a target paper on such a major topic in current biology as CRISPR- Cas (CRISPR-Cas stands for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats”). There is indeed little doubt that the characterization of the CRISPR-Cas systems and their mechanisms constitutes a ground-breaking discovery in recent biological and biomedical sciences, from basic microbiology to technological applications (Doudna and Charpentier 2014). One sign of recognition among many has come from the leading journal Science, which chose CRISPR-Cas as its 2015 “breakthrough of the year” (McNutt 2015), described as “poised to revolutionize research” because of its role in genome editing.
This essay presents a novel approach to specifying the meaning of the concept of populism, on the political position it occupies and on the nature of populism. Employing analytic techniques of concept clarification and recent analytic ideology critique, it develops populism as a political kind in three steps. First, it descriptively specifies the stereotype of populist platforms as identified in extant research and thereby delimits the peculiar political position populism occupies in representative democracies as neither inclusionary nor fascist. Second, it specifies on this basis analytically–normatively the particular stance towards liberal representative democracy (in particular towards popular sovereignty and democratic legitimacy) that unifies populism’s political position and explains how populist politics can be compelling for democratic citizens. The normative core (populist ideology) turns out to require no more than two general principles of legitimizing political authority by elections. Surprisingly, it does not need a separate anti-pluralist or exclusionary commitment: it entails it. Third, this normative model allows a response to a contested question in the theoretical discussion, namely, whether populism (properly specified) can be democracy-enhancing. The article defends the negative answer in virtue of the normative core alone and does so as much vis-`a-vis a minimal (purely electoral) as vis-`a-vis a normatively ambitious (liberal) conception of democracy. The reconstruction of the normative core of populist ideology enables a novel argument to show that populism is incompatible with the continued democratic legitimation of political authority even in the normatively most austere conception of ‘electoral democracy’, not just with ‘liberal democracy’. Assuming a normatively more ambitious concept of democratic legitimation in terms of political autonomy, the model also produces an extremely direct argument showing that populists cannot fulfil their promise of ‘taking back control’ over political decision-making to the population.