According to Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, Wittgenstein’s On Certainty presents a theory of hinges, and hinges have a role to play in a foundationalist epistemology (2013, this journal). Michael Williams (2005) and Annalisa Coliva (2013, this journal) have claimed that the hinges are not suitable to play such a role as they are not shared universally. Moyal-Sharrock has replied that a subset of the hinges is suitable to play such a role: the “universal” hinges, an account of which she developed in her 2004 book Understanding on Certainty (2013, this journal). I argue that for Moyal-Sharrock’s reply to be sustained, she must construe the set of universal hinges much more narrowly than she does currently. For instance, Moyal-Sharrock claims that “I have a brain” is a universal hinge, which consigns people who know nothing about brains to stand outside the bounds of sense. I also provide a novel way of thinking about the universal hinges, which I argue is better textually motivated than Moyal-Sharrock’s own way, and which provides a set of hinges more suitable to play a role in foundationalist epistemology.
Although Darwinian models are rampant in the social sciences, social scientists do not face the problem that motivated Darwin’s theory of natural selection: the problem of explaining how lineages evolve despite that any traits they acquire are regularly discarded at the end of the lifetime of the individuals that acquired them. While the rationale for framing culture as an evolutionary process is correct, it does not follow that culture is a Darwinian or selectionist process, or that population genetics provides viable starting points for modeling cultural change. This paper lays out step-by-step arguments as to why a selectionist approach to cultural evolution is inappropriate, focusing on the lack of randomness, and lack of a self-assembly code. It summarizes an alternative evolutionary approach to culture: self-other reorganization via context-driven actualization of potential.
I argue that our best science supports the rationalist idea that, independent of reasoning, emotions aren’t integral to moral judgment. There’s ample evidence that ordinary moral cognition often involves conscious and unconscious reasoning about an action’s outcomes and the agent’s role in bringing them about. Emotions can aid in moral reasoning by, for example, drawing one’s attention to such information. However, there is no compelling evidence for the decidedly sentimentalist claim that mere feelings are causally necessary or sufficient for making a moral judgment or for treating norms as distinctively moral. I conclude that, even if moral cognition is largely driven by automatic intuitions, these shouldn’t be mistaken for emotions or their non-cognitive components. Non-cognitive elements in our psychology may be required for normal moral development and motivation but not necessarily for mature moral judgment.
Socialism is a rich tradition of political thought and practice, the
history of which contains a vast number of views and theories, often
differing in many of their conceptual, empirical, and normative
commitments. In his 1924 Dictionary of Socialism, Angelo
Rappoport canvassed no fewer than forty definitions of socialism,
telling his readers in the book’s preface that “there are
many mansions in the House of Socialism” (Rappoport 1924: v,
34–41). To take even a relatively restricted subset of socialist
thought, Leszek Kołakowski could fill over 1,300 pages in his
magisterial survey of Main Currents of Marxism
(Kołakowski 1978 ).
On the standard view, when we forgive, we overcome or renounce future blaming responses to an agent in virtue of what the forgiver understands to be, and is in fact, an immoral action he has performed. Crucially, on the standard view the blaming response is understood as essentially involving a reactive attitude and its expression. In the central case in which the forgiver has been wronged by the party being forgiven, this reactive attitude is moral resentment, that is, anger with an agent due to a wrong he has done to oneself. When someone other than the forgiver has been wronged by the one being forgiven, the attitude is indignation, anger with an agent because of a wrong he has done to a third party. Such a position was developed by Joseph Butler (1749/1900), and in more recent times endorsed by P. F. Strawson (1962), Jeffrie Murphy (1982), and Jay Wallace (1994). Wallace (1994: 72), for example, claims that “in forgiving people we express our acknowledgment that they have done something that would warrant resentment and blame, but we renounce the responses that we thus acknowledge to be appropriate.”
This paper analyzes important elements in the reception of Hegel’s philosophy in the present. In order to reach this goal we discuss how analytic philosophy receives Hegel’s philosophy. For that purpose, we reconstruct the reception of analytic philosophy in the face of Hegel, especially from those authors who were central in this movement of reception and distance of his philosophy, namely, Bertrand Russell, Frege and Wittgenstein. Another central point of this paper is to review the book of Paul Redding, Analytic Philosophy and the Return of Hegelian Thought, in comparison with the reception of Hegel, developed here by analytic philosophy. Finally, we show how a dialogue can be productive of these apparently opposing currents.
Since many years national and international science organizations have recommended the inclusion of philosophy, history, and ethics courses in science curricula at universities. Chemists may rightly ask: What is that good for? Don’t primary and secondary school provide been taught to you to be the edifice of science, and take it only as a provisional state in the course of the ongoing research process of which your work is meant to become a part. Next let’s see what kind of philosophy, history, and enough general education such that universities can ethics is needed for chemical research, and what not. back to an antiquated form of higher education? Or do they want us to learn some “soft skills” that can at best improve our eloquence at the dinner table but is entirely useless in our chemical work?
The study of psychological and cognitive mechanisms is an interdisciplinary endeavor, requiring insights from many different domains (from electrophysiology, to psychology, to theoretical neuroscience, to computer science). In this paper, I argue that philosophy plays an essential role in this interdisciplinary project, and that effective scientific study of psychological mechanisms requires that working scientists be responsible metaphysicians. This means adopting deliberate metaphysical positions when studying mechanisms that go beyond what is empirically justified regarding the nature of the phenomenon being studied, the conditions of its occurrence, and its boundaries. Such metaphysical commitments are necessary in order to set up experimental protocols, determine which variables to manipulate under experimental conditions, and which conclusions to draw from different scientific models and theories. It is important for scientists to be aware of the metaphysical commitments they adopt, since they can easily be led astray if invoked carelessly. On the other hand, if we are cautious in the application of our metaphysical commitments, and careful with the inferences we draw from them, then they can provide new insights into how we might find connections between models and theories of mechanisms that appear incompatible.
Imagine that, in the future, humans develop the technology to construct humanoid robots with very sophisticated computers instead of brains and with bodies made out of metal, plastic, and synthetic materials. The robots look, talk, and act just like humans and are able to integrate into human society and to interact with humans across any situation. They work in our offices and our restaurants, teach in our schools, and discuss the important matters of the day in our bars and coffeehouses. How do you suppose you’d respond if you were to discover one of these robots attempting to steal your wallet or insulting your friend? Would you regard them as free and morally responsible agents, genuinely deserving of blame and punishment?
[This is the extended text version of a lecture I delivered at the University of Otago, Dunedin on the 11th July 2019. As I explained to the audience, the lecture is a riff off my forthcoming book Automation and Utopia. …
I argue that we can visually perceive others as seeing agents. I start by characterizing perceptual processes as those that are causally controlled by proximal stimuli. I then distinguish between various forms of visual perspective-taking, before presenting evidence that most of them come in perceptual varieties. In doing so, I clarify and defend the view that some forms of visual perspective-taking are “automatic”—a view that has been marshalled in support of dual-process accounts of mindreading.
It's interesting to compare the ways we talk and think about political vs non-political (civic/philanthropic or market) agents, advocacy, and organization. Consider the common objection to Effective Altruism, that it allegedly "neglects the need for systemic change." …
Since each of those acts plausibly fulfils the instruction, anyone trying to say something summary about what substantial features they share has a problem. The profusion and diversity of imagination’s putative kinds, roles, and capabilities might well lead you to think that nothing interesting or important unites them. Nonetheless, much recent work implicitly shares a quite general approach to imaginative phenomena: the imitation theory, according to which imaginative experiences are imitations of other experiences, and the attitudes they involve are likewise imitations of counterpart attitudes.
One of the central debates in contemporary metaphysics is the debate about the persistence of substances through time. One of the most popular views in this debate is fourdimensionalism, according to which substances persist through time by having different temporal parts at different times.
Adam of Wodeham (c. 1295–1358) was one of the most significant
philosophers and theologians working at Oxford in the second quarter
of the fourteenth century. A student of Ockham, Wodeham is best known
for his theory of the complexe significabile and his
distinctively English approach to questions of philosophical theology. His philosophy and theology were influential throughout the late
medieval and early modern periods.
This paper portrays the later Wittgenstein’s conception of contradictions and his therapeutic approach to them. I will focus on and give relevance to the Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics (LFM 1976), plus the Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics (RFM 2001). First, I will explain why Wittgenstein’s attitude towards contradictions is rooted in: (a) a rejection of the debate about realism and anti-realism in mathematics; and (b) Wittgenstein’s endorsement of logical pluralism. Then, I will explain Wittgenstein’s therapeutic approach towards contradictions, and why it means that a contradiction is not a problem for logic and mathematics. Rather, contradictions are problematic when we do not know what to infer from them. Once a meaning is established through a new rule of inference, the contradiction becomes a usable expression like many others in our inferential apparatus. Thus, the apparent problem is dissolved. Finally, I will take three examples of dissolved contradictions from Wittgenstein to clarify further his notion. I will conclude considering why his position on contradictions led him to clash with Alan Turing, and whether the latter was convinced by the Wittgensteinian proposal.
While most surveys, defenses, and critiques of embodied cognition proceed by treating it as a neatly delineated claim, such an approach soon becomes problematic due to the inherent plurality of this perspective on cognition. Embodied cognition is best treated as a research tradition, not as a single theory. This tradition has evolved in opposition to a certain kind of cognitive science, usually dubbed “cognitivism”. Cognitivism is typically characterized as a view that cognition may be fully explained in terms of transformations of mental representations, most commonly amodal symbols. The methodological and ontological commitments of embodied cognition follow research exemplars found in embodied cognitive linguistics, grounded cognition, ecological psychology, dynamical study of development, or neurophenomenology. Due to its inherent variety, this research tradition is not reducible to a single theory of cognitive phenomena (or to a single component subtradition). At the same time, all of these subtraditions share one feature: they reject cognitivism, in one way or another. They also feature fairly similar research heuristics for the discovery of how cognitive mechanisms work.
Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples (c. 1450–1536)
taught philosophy at the University of Paris from around 1490 to 1508,
and then applied his erudition and textual scholarship to biblical
studies and religious reform. Lefèvre traveled to Italy in
1491, 1500, and 1507. There he sought out Ermolao Barbaro, Giovanni
Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino, Angelo Poliziano, and other
famous humanists. He himself became famous for the many introductions,
commentaries, and editions relating to philosophical works he
published in Paris. These repackaged the full range of philosophical
studies, from his early interests in mathematics and natural magic, to
the entire curriculum of university logic, natural philosophy, moral
philosophy, and metaphysics.
“Fake News” of Animal Advocacy:
Response to the claim that only 2% (or less) of people in the United States are vegetarian
Guest Post ByVasile Stanescu
“Groups and advocates have been at this [vegan advocacy] for decades and yet the percentage of people in the United States who are vegetarian has basically not changed at all”
--Matt Ball; Co-founder of Vegan Outreach
Why are some of the most well-known and most influential vegans and animal rights activists telling people that animal right activism is inherently useless and even that calls for veganism may be hurting animal activism? …
Medieval theories of the transcendentals present an explication of
the concept of ‘being’ (ens) in terms of the
so-called ‘most common notions’ (communissima),
such as ‘one’ (unum), ‘true’
(verum), and ‘good’ (bonum), and explain
the inner relations and order between these concepts. In contrast to
early modern accounts of the transcendental, these medieval theories
regard the transcendental notions as properties of being and deal with
the transcendentals within a conception of metaphysics as a ‘real
science’ (scientia realis). The introduction of
the doctrine of the transcendentals fundamentally transformed the
medieval conception of metaphysics: it became the ‘common
science’, the ‘transcendental science’, and
‘first philosophy’ in a new sense.
Defenders of a traditional Christian conception of Hell as everlasting, harmful punishment for past sins will have to confront, at least, two charges of unfairness. The first has to do with the inequity of an eternal punishment. The never-ending punishment seems disproportionate to the finite sin (Kershnar: 2005, 2010; D. Lewis; M. Adams). A second and related problem is that boundary between sins that send one for all eternity to Hell and those sins that are just slightly less bad that are compatible with an eternity in Heaven is arbitrary and thus it is unfair that sinners so alike are treated so differently (Sider). Hell, as conceived by the tradition, is then claimed to be incompatible with God’s traditional attributes such as his commitment to justice, omniscience about what justice involves, and omnipotence to bring it about. Thus there can’t be such a Hell. I’ll argue that the two charges of unfairness can be avoided by appealing to a debt/atonement theory of punishment. This will allow the defense of the compatibility of God’s goodness with a Christian conception of Hell.
Expertise is traditionally classified into perceptual, cognitive, and motor forms. I argue that the empirical research literature on expertise gives us compelling reasons to reject this traditional classification and accept an alternative. According to the alternative I support there is expertise in forming impressions, which further divides into expertise in forming sensory and intellectual impressions, and there is expertise in performing actions, which further divides into expertise in performing mental and bodily actions. The traditional category of cognitive expertise splits into two--expertise in forming intellectual impressions and expertise in performing mental actions. I consider and address a challenge to my case in favor of adopting this alternative classification of expertise that derives from dual process theories of cognition.
Creative thought is central to human life. It shapes everyday activities such as putting together an outfit or holding a conversation. It fuels cultural evolution, giving us technology, music, media, and art. It fosters a sense of personal and cultural identity. Yet although it is perhaps our most defining human trait, it is one of the most elusive aspects of human cognition.
In this article, I offer responses to five commentaries on my recently published book, Cosmopolitan Peace. Those articles address my conception of individual and collective agency, my account of self-determination (and its implication for the problem of annexation during and after the war), and my accounts of, respectively, reparations and remembrance after war. I revise or provide further defences of those accounts in the light of my commentators’ probing remarks.
There are people living among us who have done terrible things to other human beings – murder and rape, for example – yet who nonetheless deserve society’s forgiveness. They have been convicted for their crimes and punished by the laws we collectively agreed such moral transgressions deserve. …
The dominant framework for addressing procreative ethics has revolved around the notion of harm, largely due to Derek Parfit’s famous non- identity problem. Focusing exclusively on the question of harm treats what procreators owe their offspring as akin to what they would owe strangers (if they owe them anything at all). Procreators, however, usually expect (and are expected) to parent the persons they create, so we cannot understand what procreators owe their offspring without also appealing to their role as prospective parents. I argue that prospective parents can wrong their future children just by failing to act well in their role as parents, whether or not their offspring are ultimately harmed or benefitted by their creation. Their obligations as prospective parents bear on the motivations behind their reproductive choices, including the choice to select for some genetic trait in their offspring. Even when procreators’ motivations aren’t malicious, or purely selfish, they can still fail to recognize and act for the end of the parental role. Procreators can wrong their offspring by selecting for some genetic trait, then, when doing so would violate their obligations as prospective parents, or when their motivation for doing so is antithetical to the end of the parental role.
It is clear that, according to Kant, we have transcendental freedom. It is not so clear, however, how far this freedom extends. In particular, it is unclear whether there is freedom within the prudential realm: whether we can freely choose which ends of self-love to pursue as well as how to pursue them. Relatedly, it is clear that we can be practically irrational by ignoring the commands of pure practical reason and siding with self-love instead. However, it is not clear whether Kant recognises any other forms of practical irrationality, in particular whether there is room for weakness of will in terms of implementing one’s commitment to give priority to duty, as well as room for prudential irrationality. In short: What kinds of choices does transcendental freedom encompass? Can we fail to act morally despite having a good will? Is there freedom within the prudential realm? And can we be practically irrational in prudential matters?
Sometimes, philosophy drives science. Cosmology between 1932–48
provides an excellent example how explicitly philosophical
considerations directed the evolution of a modern science during a
crucial period of its development. The following article exhibits
these philosophical aspects of cosmological thinking in detail,
beginning with a brief sketch of the historical development of general
relativity cosmology until 1932. Following this, the historical
participants in the philosophical debate are introduced, along with
the basic ideas of their competing positions. Then the critical stages
of the debate — 1935–37 — are closely explored by
focussing directly upon the arguments of the participating scientists
[Editor’s Note: Much of the content in the following entry
originally appeared in the entry titled
The Concept of Evolution
to 1872. The latter has been split into two separate
entries.] “Evolution” in contemporary discussions denotes the theory
of the change of organic species over time. Prior to the second half
of the nineteenth century, the term was used primarily, if not
exclusively, in an embryological sense to designate the development of
the individual embryo. These same ambiguities of usage also surround
the German term “Entwicklungsgeschichte” which
originally was used in an embryological context.
Does time seem to us to pass, even though it doesn’t, really? Many philosophers think the answer is ‘Yes’ – at least when ‘time’s (really) passing’ is understood in a particular way. They take time’s passing to be a process by which each time in turn acquires a special status, such as the status of being the only time that exists, or being the only time that is present (where that means more than just being simultaneous with oneself). This chapter suggests that on the contrary, all we perceive is temporal succession, one thing after another, a notion to which modern physics is not inhospitable. The contents of perception are best described in terms of ‘before’ and ‘after’, rather than ‘past’, ‘present, and ‘future’.