Before I leave this subject I shall employ the same principles to explain that distinction of reason, which is so much talk’d of, and is so little understood, in the schools. Of this kind is the distinction betwixt figure and the body figur’d; motion and the body mov’d. The difficulty of explaining this distinction arises from the principle above explain’d, that all ideas, which are different, are separable. For it follows from thence, that if the figure be different from the body, their ideas must be separable as well as distinguishable: if they be not different, their ideas can neither be separable nor distinguishable. What then is meant by a distinction of reason, since it implies neither a difference nor separation? (T 220.127.116.11; SBN 24-25) In this paragraph, Hume poses the problem of how to understand the “distinction of reason” that figures in the philosophies of the medievals, Descartes, and the Port Royalists. The problem in a nutshell is that a distinction of reason is supposed to be a distinction in thought between things that are inseparable in reality; yet according to Hume’s own principles, whatever things are distinct are distinguishable, whatever things are distinguishable are separable in thought, and whatever things are separable in thought are separable in reality. It follows that things inseparable in reality should be neither distinguishable in thought nor distinct, period, so a distinction of reason ought on Hume’s principles to be impossible. Yet Hume goes on to try to make room for it in his philosophy, to the consternation of many commentators. I argue that he can indeed make room for it; the key is to recognize that ‘distinction of reason’ is an incomplete symbol.
According to the oft-cited IPAT formula (I = P 9 A 9 T), environmental impact (I) is the product of complex interactions between three basic factors: population (P), affluence (A), and technology (T). Contemporary debates about climate justice have largely focused on the latter two factors, stressing the need to curb wasteful consumption and encouraging investment in green technologies that may enable us to maintain a high standard of living while leaving a smaller environmental footprint. However, while much attention has been paid to the A and T parts of the equation, relatively little attention has been paid to P. This omission, of course, is hardly surprising, for as a brief survey of twentieth-century history reminds us, state-sanctioned attempts to control population size – whether for environmental or nonenvironmental purposes – have often proved disastrous from a human rights perspective. However, as Sarah Conly argues in her new book, given the environmental calamity that sits at our doorstep, we no longer have the luxury of ignoring what has ostensibly become the elephant in the room in contemporary debates about climate justice. In addition to curbing consumption and boosting investment in green technology, we also need to start thinking seriously about curbing population growth, at least for the foreseeable future.
In August 2019, a bill was passed in Victoria, Australia making it possible for people to change their official record of sex in the birth register by making a statutory declaration that they believe their sex to be as nominated. From May 2020, any person observed male at birth will be able to change their legal sex to ‘female’, and any person observed female at birth will be able to change their legal sex to ‘male’. Similar bills have been considered in other countries (New Zealand, the UK), and have already passed into law in other states of Australia (Tasmania) and in other countries (Ireland, Malta, Norway, Argentina, Portugal, and Belgium).
I argue that racism is essentially a civic character trait: to be a racist is to have a character that rationally reflects racial supremacist sociopolitical values. As with moral vice accounts of racism, character is my account’s primary evaluative focus: character is directly evaluated as racist, and all other racist things are racist insofar as, and because, they cause, are caused by, express or are otherwise suitably related to racist character. Yet as with political accounts of racism, sociopolitical considerations provide my account’s primary evaluative standard: satisfying the sociopolitical standard of racial supremacy is what makes racist character racist.
Anna Stilz's Territorial Sovereignty covers an impressively wide terrain, from the state's right to rule over a territory to the right to secede, from cultural neutrality to equitable access to natural resources, from collective self-determination to cooperation with international institutions, from coercive to noncoercive responses to the commission of injustice. In this paper, I examine Stilz's account and defence of territorial sovereignty in the light of the view that there are landmarks (monuments, geological structures, and landscapes) which are located in and subject to the jurisdiction of sovereign states, but which are deemed to be of outstanding value to humankind as a whole, irrespective of whatever economic value they might have. Put differently, I am interested in bringing Stilz's account to bear on the notion of humankind's common heritage.
I recently became a father. Well, when I say recently, I mean just over a year ago (October 2019). Being a parent raises a number of practical and philosophical questions. Should you have children in the first place? …
To what extent are factors that are extrinsic to the artwork relevant to judgements of artistic value? One might approach this question using traditional philosophical methods, but one can also approach it using empirical methods; that is, by doing experimental philosophical aesthetics. This paper provides an example of the latter approach. We report two empirical studies that examine the significance of three sorts of extrinsic factors for judgements of artistic value: the causal-historical factor of contagion, the ontological factor of uniqueness, and the contextual factor of appreciative environment.
multimethod experiments (total N ⫽ 4,065 participants) investigated the nature of perceiving sexual harassment by testing whether perceptions of sexual harassment and its impact are facilitated when harassing behaviors target those who fit with the prototype of women (e.g., those who have feminine features, interests, and characteristics) relative to those who fit less well with this prototype. Studies A1–A5 demonstrate that participants’ mental representation of sexual harassment targets overlapped with the prototypes of women as assessed through participant-generated drawings, face selection tasks, reverse correlation, and self-report measures. In Studies B1–B4, participants were less likely to label incidents as sexual harassment when they targeted nonprototypical women compared with prototypical women. In Studies C1 and C2, participants perceived sexual harassment claims to be less credible and the harassment itself to be less psychologically harmful when the victims were nonprototypical women rather than prototypical women. This research offers theoretical and methodological advances to the study of sexual harassment through social cognition and prototypicality perspectives, and it has implications for harassment reporting and litigation as well as the realization of fundamental civil rights. For materials, data, and preregistrations of all studies, see https://osf.io/xehu9/.
of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus should reconsider their equation of “throwing away the ladder” with the “end of philosophy.” To do this, I will show that an inconsistency arises in Wittgenstein’s view regarding the relationship of philosophy and science since he associates “the correct method of philosophy” with the propositions of science at the end of the aforementioned text. Due to this, I will maintain that it is reasonable to posit that the sharp distinction that Wittgenstein makes between philosophy and science in the Tractatus is merely illusory. An interesting consequence of this is that if this interpretation holds then this provides sufficient grounds to maintain that what some scholars refer to as “the end of philosophy” may actually be the beginning of “Wittgenstein’s naturalism.”
This paper develops a conception of misandrogyny that is analogous to Kate Manne’s account of misogyny. On Manne’s view, misogyny is a system of mechanisms that together police and enforce the gendered hierarchy of a patriarchal order. The patriarchal gender hierarchy is constituted by norms that call women to give femininecoded goods to men. On the account developed here, misandrogyny is a system of mechanisms that together police and enforce the gender binary of a patriarchal order. The gender binary is constituted by norms that preclude the existence of persons who aren’t consistently ‘read’ either as a man (and only a man) or as a woman (and only a woman). Misandrogyny thus polices and enforces exactly the nonexistence of people who are neither women (only) nor men (only). While misogyny pushes women down into their patriarchal place, misandrogyny pushes gender nonconforming persons out of existence—either by pushing the person out of literal or social existence or by pushing the person into a stable, patriarchal gendered position. Section 1 articulates and motivates the overall account of misandrogyny; section two characterizes three kinds of misandrogynist mechanism.
Partisanship continues to divide Americans. Using data from the American National Election Studies (ANES), we find that partisans not only feel more negatively about the opposing party, but also that this negativity has become more consistent and has a greater impact on their political participation. We find that while partisan animus began to rise in the 1980s, it has grown dramatically over the past two decades. As partisan affect has intensified, it is also more structured; ingroup favoritism is increasingly associated with outgroup animus. Finally, hostility toward the opposing party has eclipsed positive affect for ones’ own party as a motive for political participation.
In present times, around the globe, we are witnessing a public sphere in crisis, distorted through fake news, lies, threats of violence and call for constraints. This has occurred not only in states of authoritarian rule, but also in liberal societies. Thus, one of the great challenges for critical thought today is to be able to maintain sound methods of reflection when the public space, which since the enlightenment has been called upon to maintain a legacy of critical reflection and freedom, appears undermined. For Kant, Arendt, Habermas and others the public sphere was expected to sustain a measure of soundness of thought. But when the public sphere can no longer do so, and thought retreats into itself, what means do we have to engage in the world and develop a thought that is congruent with political possibilities? The concept of “critical thought” in this context refers not to the school of critical theory, but to the kind of thought that Arendt advocates—a thought that is socially, ethically and poli— tically astute. It means to scrutinise opinions and beliefs and to practice a certain “Socratic midwifery”.l It is in this context that the inner voice is heard.
Scientists warn us that we are living in an era of human—induced mass extinc— tion of species caused by our social practice of “co—opting resources, fragment— ing habitats, introducing non—native species, spreading pathogens, killing species directly, and changing global climate”.1 Mass extinction is characterised by a dramatic reduction in species during a geologically short interval. This kind of species extinction has happened five times over the last half billion years—referred to as the Big Five. And now we are entering into a sixth, expected to be the most detrimental since the asteroid impact eradicated the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.2 Today, over 26,500 species are threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN Red list.3 Even without the impact of humans, species would die out, but, as an example, the extinction of anthro— pogenic vertebrae is estimated to be up to 100 times higher than what scientists refer to as “the background rate”.4
Neuroscientists have located brain activity that prepares or encodes action plans before agents are aware of intending to act. On the basis of these findings and broader agency research, activity in these regions has been proposed as the neural realizers of practical intention. My aim in this paper is to evaluate the case for taking these neural states to be neural representations of intention. I draw on work in philosophy of action on the role and nature of practical intentions to construct a framework of the functional profile of intentions fit for empirical investigation. With this framework, I turn to the broader empirical neuroscience literature on agency to assess these proposed neural representations of intention. I argue that while these neural states in some respects satisfy the functions of intention in planning agency prospective of action, their fit with the role of intention in action execution is not well supported. I close by offering a sketch of which experimental task features could aid in the search for the neural realizer of intention in action.
Research Professor, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA); Professor, Medical Anthropology Research Center-DAFITS, Rovira i Virgili University email@example.com aBstract: Tracheostomy with invasive ventilation (TIV) may be required for the survival of patients at advanced stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In Japan it has been shown that a proactive approach toward TIV may prolong the survival of ALS patients by over 10 years by preventing the lethal respiratory failure that generally occurs within 3-5 years of the onset of the disease. Measures to prolong life expectancy without foregoing quality of life have produced better results in Japan than in other developed countries. This ‘Japanese bias’ has been attributed to socio-cultural and religious factors as well as to the availability of material resources in Japan. In this article, we use the concepts of onozukara in kadō (Japanese traditional flower art, also called ikebana) and amae (passive love) to illuminate features of patient care that may contribute to this ‘Japanese bias’.
It is commonly accepted that what we ought to do collectively does not imply anything about what each of us ought to do individually. According to this line of reasoning, if cooperating will make no difference to an outcome, then you are not morally required to do it. And if cooperating will be personally costly to you as well, this is an even stronger reason to not do it. However, this reasoning results in a self-defeating, yet entirely predictable outcome. If everyone is rational, they will not cooperate, resulting in an aggregate outcome that is devastating for everyone. This dismal analysis explains why climate change and other collective action problems are so difficult to ameliorate. The goal of this paper is to provide a different, exploratory framework for thinking about individual reasons for action in collective action problems. I argue that the concept of commitment gives us a new perspective on collective action problems. Once we take the structure of commitment into account, this activates requirements of diachronic rationality that give individuals instrumental reasons to cooperate in collective action problems.
If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the 21st century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. Yet, it is within the philosophy of medicine that one particular conceptual debate has overshadowed all others: the long-standing dispute between so-called ‘naturalists’ and ‘normativists’ about the concepts of health and disease. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has, so far, not drawn on the tools of XPhi. I shall use this opportunity to defend and advocate the use of empirical methods to inform and advance this and other debates within the philosophy of medicine.
For Jerry Fodor, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature is “the foundational document of cognitive science” whose significance transcends mere historical interest: it is a source of theoretical inspiration in cognitive psychology. Here I am going to argue that those reading Hume along Fodor’s lines rely on a problematic, albeit inspiring, construction of Hume’s science of mind. My strategy in this paper is to contrast Fodor’s understanding of the Humean mind (consonant with the widely received view of Hume in both cognitive science and much of Hume scholarship) with an alternative understanding that I propose. I thereby intend to show that the received view of Hume’s science of mind can be fruitfully revised while critically engaging with Fodor’s contemporary appropriation. Consequently, I use this occasion to put forward a rather unorthodox interpretation of Hume’s theory in dialogue with Fodor as my guide.
This paper is a response to a recent paper by Bobier and Omelianchuk in which they argue that the critics of Giubilini and Minerva’s defence of infanticide fail to adequately justify a moral difference at birth. They argue that such arguments would lead to an intuitively less plausible position: that late-term abortions are permissible, thus creating a dilemma for those who seek to argue that birth matters. I argue that the only way to resolve this dilemma, is to bite the naturalist bullet and accept that the intuitively plausible idea that birth constitutes a morally relevant event is simply mistaken and biologically misinformed.
I'm delighted that Eden Lin agreed to contribute the following post to my "philosopher spotlight" series. Enjoy! * * *Most of my work
has focused on the normative ethics of well-being
or welfare, which investigates (i)
what counts as a life that is going well or badly for the individual whose life
it is, (ii) what determines how well or badly someone’s life is going, and
(iii) what things are good or bad for individuals in the most basic way.Theories of
well-being typically purport to identify the basic goods and bads—the kinds of things that it is ultimately in
or against an individual’s interests to possess and whose presence in a life
makes it go well or badly. …
Democracies around the world are suffering paroxysms of populist rage. Obviously this has many contributing causes and individuals, from rising inequality to social media to political entrepreneurs like Trump. …
Is suffering really bad? The late Derek Parfit argued that we all have reasons to want to avoid future agony and that suffering is in itself bad both for the one who suffers and impersonally. Nietzsche denied that suffering was intrinsically bad and that its value could even be impersonal. This paper has two aims. It argues against what I call ‘Realism about the Value of Suffering’ by drawing from a broadly Nietzschean debunking of our evaluative attitudes, showing that a recently influential response to the debunking challenge (the appeal to phenomenal introspection) fails. It also argues that a Nietzschean approach is well suited to support the challenge and is bolstered by the empirical literature. As strangers to ourselves, we cannot know whether suffering is really intrinsically bad for us.
In my talk I shall try to present some of the key features of an intricate collection of ideas in biology, physics and chemistry that seem to me to have revolutionary implications for philosophy of science (including biology), philosophy of mind and philosophy of mathematics, including implications concerning the nature of consciousness, especially spatial consciousness, in many intelligent species. Number competences will not be discussed, except to note that many researchers in psychology and neuroscience who try to investigate innateness of number competences don’t understand that a full grasp of natural numbers depends on understanding the necessary transitivity of one-to-one correspondence, which does not develop until age 5 or 6 as Piaget discovered many years ago (Piaget, 1952). Spatial consciousness formed the basis of ancient human mathematical consciousness in topology and geometry centuries before Euclid, and even longer before the development of logic-based formal foundations for (some) mathematics.
This chapter develops an account of epistemic nihilism—roughly, the rejection of truth’s intrinsic or instrumental value in favor of statements that reject or obscure truth to secure an advantage for the speaker—by examining three instances of such nihilism: lying, bullshit, and trolling. It further argues that epistemic nihilism, exacerbated by changes in the media landscape, can pose a significant threat to liberal democratic institutions and ideals by undermining the democratic ideal of good faith engagement on a level playing field, while also encouraging undemocratic actions (e.g., terrorism) among interlocutors who take the nihilist’s claims seriously. Finally, this chapter argues that in extreme cases, we are justified in denying epistemic nihilists a platform from which to speak by drawing a parallel with vexatious litigant laws that deny individuals the right to petition courts for redress on the grounds that abuse of that right results in significant harm to both individuals and the legal system itself.
The Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu (4th to 5th
century C.E.) was a great light at the peak of India’s
empire.[ 1 ]
His works display his mastery of Buddhist as well as non-Buddhist
thought of the day, and he made his mark, successively, upon three
Buddhist scholastic traditions that are traditionally considered
distinct: Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, and
Yogācāra.[ 2 ]
His master work of Abhidharma thought, the Commentary on the
Treasury of the Abhidharma
(Abhidharmakośabhāṣya), is to this day the
primary resource for knowledge of “Śrāvaka” or
non-Mahāyāna philosophy among Tibetan and East Asian
schools.[ 3 ]
His concise works on Yogācāra philosophy set a new standard
for that school, which became mainstream Buddhist metaphysics in India
for half a millennium
thereafter.[ 4 ]
Venerated as he is across the Buddhist world, he has always been a
subject of disputation.
We live in the era of culinary spectacles. Chefs populate our media portrayed as creative geniuses. Food and cooking performances are by now standard within the artworld, e.g. in art museums, art fairs, and exhibitions. In short, as some scholars have already suggested, they are highly valued and rewarding aesthetic practices, possibly counting as artforms. Philosophers Dom Lopes (2014) and Yuriko Saito (2008), for example, challenge the divide between traditional art kinds and culinary practices, contending that value ought not to be confined to the former; rather, to say it with Lopes’s words, “a paradigm example of everyday appreciation is cooking and eating food” (Lopes 2014: 121).
Philosophers commonly make claims about words or the concepts they are taken to express. Often the focus is on “ordinary” words (or concepts), although philosophers have also been concerned with technical terms. Sometimes engagement with concepts is the purpose of the research, as when a philosopher offers a conceptual analysis. Sometimes it serves as background, with philosophers laying out a concept in order to argue that it should be revised. And sometimes it is more instrumental, with conceptual issues arising while philosophers pursue non-conceptual questions.
It is widely believed that democracies require knowledgeable citizens to function well. But the most politically knowledgeable individuals also tend to be the most partisan, and the strength of partisan identity tends to corrupt political thinking. This creates a conundrum. On one hand, an informed citizenry is allegedly necessary for a democracy to flourish. On the other hand, the most knowledgeable and passionate voters are also the most likely to think in corrupted, biased ways. What to do? This paper examines this tension and draws out several lessons. First, it is not obvious that more knowledgeable voters will make better political decisions. Second, worries about voter ignorance may be misguided because partisans tend to become more dogmatic when they acquire more information. Third, ‘epistocratic’ solutions that emphasize voter knowledge are troubling, in part, because they increase the political power of the most dogmatic and biased individuals. Fourth, I suggest that solutions to citizen incompetence should focus less on voter knowledge and more on the intellectual virtue of objectivity. Unfortunately, a likely way to foster political objectivity is by encouraging political apathy.
time, the law is normative for all reasoners. That is, the Stoics don’t draw a distinction that is characteristic of later philosophy, between the laws of physics and the laws that hold for human action. The very same law shapes the movements of the cosmos and governs our actions. The Stoics’ conception of the law contributes to the age-old debate about nomos and phusis, law and nature. There is only one nature, the thought goes, and thus there is only one law. That there is only one nature means that there is only one natural way to live. It also, and more fundamentally, means that there is only one world. The world, rather than some particular state, is where reasoners are to lead lawful lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents us with the question of how healthcare systems can be prevented from being overwhelmed while avoiding general lockdowns. We focus on two strategies that show promise in achieving this, by targeting certain segments of the population, while allowing others to go about their lives unhindered. The first would selectively isolate those who most likely suffer severe adverse effects if infected – in particular the elderly. The second would identify and quarantine those who are likely to be infected through a contact tracing app that would centrally store users’ information. We evaluate the ethical permissibility of these strategies, by comparing, first, the ways in which they target segments of the population for isolation. We argue that the way in which selective isolation targets salient groups discriminates against these groups. While the contact tracing strategy cannot plausibly be objected to in terms of discrimination, its individualized targeting raises privacy concerns, which we argue can be overcome. Second, we compare the ethical implications of their respective aims. Here, we argue that a prominent justification of selective isolation policies – that it is in the best interests of the individuals affected – fails to support this strategy, but rather exacerbates its discriminatory nature.