Epistemic Permissivists face a special problem about the relationship between our first- and higher-order attitudes. They claim that rationality often permits a range of doxastic responses to the evidence. Given plausible assumptions about the relationship between your first- and higher-order attitudes, it can't be rational to adopt a credence on the edge of that range. But Permissivism says that, for some such range, any credence in that range is rational. Permissivism, in its traditional form, cannot be right. I consider some (...) new ways of developing Permissivism to avoid this argument, but each has problems of its own. (shrink)
Stalnaker's Thesis about indicative conditionals is, roughly, that the probability one ought to assign to an indicative conditional equals the probability that one ought to assign to its consequent conditional on its antecedent. The thesis seems right. If you draw a card from a standard 52-card deck, how confident are you that the card is a diamond if it's a red card? To answer this, you calculate the proportion of red cards that are diamonds -- that is, you calculate the (...) probability of drawing a diamond conditional on drawing a red card. Skyrms' Thesis about counterfactual conditionals is, roughly, that the probability that one ought to assign to a counterfactual equals one's rational expectation of the chance, at a relevant past time, of its consequent conditional on its antecedent. This thesis also seems right. If you decide not to enter a 100-ticket lottery, how confident are you that you would have won had you bought a ticket? To answer this, you calculate the prior chance--that is, the chance just before your decision not to buy a ticket---of winning conditional on entering the lottery. The central project of this article is to develop a new uniform theory of conditionals that allows us to derive a version of Skyrms' Thesis from a version of Stalnaker's Thesis, together with a chance-deference norm relating rational credence to beliefs about objective chance. (shrink)
This essay proposes a new theory of agentive modals: ability modals and their duals, compulsion modals. After criticizing existing approaches—the existential quantificational analysis, the universal quantificational analysis, and the conditional analysis—it presents a new account that builds on both the existential and conditional analyses. On this account, the act conditional analysis, a sentence like ‘John can swim across the river’ says that there is some practically available action that is such that if John tries to do it, he swims across (...) the river. The essay argues that the act conditional analysis avoids the problems faced by existing accounts of agentive modality and shows how the act conditional analysis can be extended to an account of generic agentive modal claims. The upshot is a new vantage point on the role of agentive modal ascriptions in practical discourse: ability ascriptions serve as a kind of hypothetical guarantee, and compulsion ascriptions as a kind of nonhypothetical guarantee. (shrink)
The literature on counterfactuals is dominated by strict accounts and variably strict accounts. Counterexamples to the principle of Antecedent Strengthening were thought to be fatal to SA; but it has been shown that by adding dynamic resources to the view, such examples can be accounted for. We broaden the debate between VSA and SA by focusing on a new strengthening principle, Strengthening with a Possibility. We show dynamic SA classically validates this principle. We give a counterexample to it and show (...) that extra dynamic resources cannot help SA. We then show VSA accounts for the counterexample if it allows for orderings on worlds that are not almost-connected, and that such an ordering naturally falls out of a Kratzerian ordering source semantics. We conclude that the failure of Strengthening with a Possibility tells strongly against Dynamic SA and in favor of an ordering source-based version of VSA. (shrink)
We propose a new analysis of ability modals. After briefly criticizing extant approaches, we turn our attention to the venerable but vexed conditional analysis of ability ascriptions. We give an account that builds on the conditional analysis, but avoids its weaknesses by incorporating a layer of quantification over a contextually supplied set of actions.
Approaching Plato is a comprehensive research guide to all (fifteen) of Plato’s early and middle dialogues. Each of the dialogues is covered with a short outline, a detailed outline (including some Greek text), and an interpretive essay. Also included (among other things) is an essay distinguishing Plato’s idea of eudaimonia from our contemporary notion of happiness and brief descriptions of the dialogues’ main characters.
The Qualitative Thesis says that if you are not sure that ¬φ, then you are sure of the indicative conditional φ > ψ just in case you are sure of the material conditional φ ⊃ ψ. We argue that The Qualitative Thesis provides compelling reasons to accept a thesis that we call Conditional Locality, which says, roughly, that the interpretation of an indicative conditional depends, in part, on the conditional’s local embedding environment. In the first part of the paper, we (...) present an argument—due to Ben Holguín—showing that, without Conditional Locality, the Qualitative Thesis is in tension with a plausible margin for error principle on rational sureness. We show that Conditional Locality reconciles the Qualitative Thesis with the margin for error principle. In the second part of the paper, we argue that the full range of data supports what we call the Strong Qualitative Thesis. We show that, without Conditional Locality, the Strong Qualitative Thesis has unacceptable trivializing consequences. But with Conditional Locality, the Strong Qualitative Thesis is tenable. (shrink)
Any philosophy of science ought to have something to say about the nature of mathematics, especially an account like constructive empiricism in which mathematical concepts like model and isomorphism play a central role. This thesis is a contribution to the larger project of formulating a constructive empiricist account of mathematics. The philosophy of mathematics developed is fictionalist, with an anti-realist metaphysics. In the thesis, van Fraassen's constructive empiricism is defended and various accounts of mathematics are considered and rejected. Constructive empiricism (...) cannot be realist about abstract objects; it must reject even the realism advocated by otherwise ontologically restrained and epistemologically empiricist indispensability theorists. Indispensability arguments rely on the kind of inference to the best explanation the rejection of which is definitive of constructive empiricism. On the other hand, formalist and logicist anti-realist positions are also shown to be untenable. It is argued that a constructive empiricist philosophy of mathematics must be fictionalist. Borrowing and developing elements from both Philip Kitcher's constructive naturalism and Kendall Walton's theory of fiction, the account of mathematics advanced treats mathematics as a collection of stories told about an ideal agent and mathematical objects as fictions. The account explains what true portions of mathematics are about and why mathematics is useful, even while it is a story about an ideal agent operating in an ideal world; it connects theory and practice in mathematics with human experience of the phenomenal world. At the same time, the make-believe and game-playing aspects of the theory show how we can make sense of mathematics as fiction, as stories, without either undermining that explanation or being forced to accept abstract mathematical objects into our ontology. All of this occurs within the framework that constructive empiricism itself provides the epistemological limitations it mandates, the semantic view of theories, and an emphasis on the pragmatic dimension of our theories, our explanations, and of our relation to the language we use. (shrink)
The paper aims to explore what it means for something to be a social cycle, for a theory to be a social cycle theory, and to offer a suggestion for a simple, yet, we believe, fundamentally grounded schema for categorizing them. We show that a broad range of cycle theories can be described within the concept of disruption and adjustments. Further, many important cycle theories are true endogenous social cycle theories in which the theory provides a reason why the cycle (...) should recur. We find that many social cycle theories fit with a two-population disruption and adjustment model similar to the well-known predator-prey model. This implies that a general modeling framework could be established for creating agent-based models of many social cycle theories. (shrink)
An important objection to signaling approaches to representation is that, if signaling behavior is driven by the maximization of usefulness, then signals will typically carry much more information about agent-dependent usefulness than about objective features of the world. This sort of considerations are sometimes taken to provide support for an anti-realist stance on representation itself. The author examines the game-theoretic version of this skeptical line of argument developed by Donald Hoffman and his colleagues. It is shown that their argument (...) only works under an extremely impoverished picture of the informational connections that hold between agent and world. In particular, it only works for cue-driven agents, in Kim Sterelny’s sense. In cases in which the agents’ understanding of what is useful results from combining pieces of information that reach them in different ways, and that complement one another, maximizing usefulness involves construing first a picture of agent-independent, objective matters of fact. (shrink)
Born to secular Jewish parents and raised in Camden, New Jersey, Andrea Dworkin became a radical second-wave feminist. By Dworkin’s own account, her work is informed by a series of negative personal experiences, including sexual assault at age nine, again by doctors at the Women's House of Detention in New York in 1965, work as a prostitute, and marriage to a battering husband whom she left in 1971. While Dworkin self-identified as a lesbian, since 1974 she lived with a gay (...) male partner, writer John Stoltenberg, whom she married in 1998. Understandably, the main theme of Dworkin's work is male violence against women. This violence is a defining feature of our male-supremacist culture, in which rape, prostitution, and pornography are inevitable expressions of gender norms. Dworkin's writings are primarily aimed at social change rather than intellectualizing. She describes her first book as "a political action where revolution is the goal". What one finds in her writings is not so much philosophical theorizing as calls to action. Thus it is difficult to summarize the abstract theory to which she is committed and from which she draws arguments against the sexism she finds in our culture. What is clear is her desire to eliminate binary concepts of gender and their oppressive effects. In particular, Dworkin urges the destruction of a female gender role that involves masochism, self-hatred, and passivity. She sees male supremacy constructed and reinforced in our culture through the sexist structuring of public institutions and private interactions, locating three crucial foci of male supremacy in action: pornography, sexual intercourse, and rape. These are her central concerns. Her work includes seven monographs, three collections of essays and speeches, a memoir, two novels, and a book of short stories, all of which explore these themes. (shrink)
Commentators such as Kemp Smith (1941), Mendelbaum (1974), and Bricke (1980) have taken the distinctions of reason to pose either a counterexample to or a limitation of scope on the Separability Principle. This has been convincingly addressed by various accounts such as Garrett (1997), Hoffman (2011), and Baxter (2011). However, I argue in this paper that there are two notions of ‘distinction of reason’, one between particular instantiations (token distinctions of reason) and one between general ideas (type distinctions of (...) reason). Discussion of the distinctions of reason in the secondary literature has without fail focused on token distinctions of reason, but I will argue that type distinctions of reason prove problematic for Hume’s Separability Principle. I find a way around this problem that is consonant with Hume’s account of general ideas, but which can hardly be said to be an account which he explicitly or even implicitly endorsed. (shrink)
An inverse akratic act is one who believes X, all things considered, is the correct act, and yet performs ~X, where ~X is the correct act. A famous example of such a person is Huck Finn. He believes that he is wrong in helping Jim, and yet continues to do so. In this paper I investigate Huck’s nature to see why he performs such acts contrary to his beliefs. In doing so, I explore the nature of empathy and show how (...) powerful Huck’s empathic feelings are. Drawing from Martin L. Hoffman, I show the relationship between empathy and a principle of justice. This relationship leads to Huck acting virtuously, as Rosalind Hursthouse maintains. (shrink)
As short a time ago as 1992, political scientist Francis Fukuyama was optimistically (and wrongly, as it turned out) predicting “the end of history”, a stable future where liberal democracies would be the norm throughout the world, leading to lasting peace and economic prosperity. A few years later we have Eric Li, who equally gingerly predicts (for example in the pages of Foreign Affairs magazine) a “post-democratic” future, beginning with the success of China. Oh boy.
Equality and identity. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. 19 (2013) 255-6. (Coauthor: Anthony Ramnauth) Also see https://www.academia.edu/s/a6bf02aaab This article uses ‘equals’ [‘is equal to’] and ‘is’ [‘is identical to’, ‘is one and the same as’] as they are used in ordinary exact English. In a logically perfect language the oxymoron ‘the numbers 3 and 2+1 are the same number’ could not be said. Likewise, ‘the number 3 and the number 2+1 are one number’ is just as bad from a logical point (...) of view. In normal English these two sentences are idiomatically taken to express the true proposition that ‘the number 3 is the number 2+1’. Another idiomatic convention that interferes with clarity about equality and identity occurs in discussion of numbers: it is usual to write ‘3 equals 2+1’ when “3 is 2+1” is meant. When ‘3 equals 2+1’ is written there is a suggestion that 3 is not exactly the same number as 2+1 but that they merely have the same value. This becomes clear when we say that two of the sides of a triangle are equal if the two angles they subtend are equal or have the same measure. -/- Acknowledgements: Robert Barnes, Mark Brown, Jack Foran, Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Forest Hansen, David Hitchcock, Spaulding Hoffman, Calvin Jongsma, Justin Legault, Joaquin Miller, Tania Miller, and Wyman Park. -/- ► JOHN CORCORAN AND ANTHONY RAMNAUTH, Equality and identity. Philosophy, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-4150, USA E-mail: [email protected] The two halves of one line are equal but not identical [one and the same]. Otherwise the line would have only one half! Every line equals infinitely many other lines, but no line is [identical to] any other line—taking ‘identical’ strictly here and below. Knowing that two lines equaling a third are equal is useful; the condition “two lines equaling a third” often holds. In fact any two sides of an equilateral triangle is equal to the remaining side! But could knowing that two lines being [identical to] a third are identical be useful? The antecedent condition “two things identical to a third” never holds, nor does the consequent condition “two things being identical”. If two things were identical to a third, they would be the third and thus not be two things but only one. The plural predicate ‘are equal’ as in ‘All diameters of a given circle are equal’ is useful and natural. ‘Are identical’ as in ‘All centers of a given circle are identical’ is awkward or worse; it suggests that a circle has multiple centers. Substituting equals for equals [replacing one of two equals by the other] makes sense. Substituting identicals for identicals is empty—a thing is identical only to itself; substituting one thing for itself leaves that thing alone, does nothing. There are as many types of equality as magnitudes: angles, lines, planes, solids, times, etc. Each admits unit magnitudes. And each such equality analyzes as identity of magnitude: two lines are equal [in length] if the one’s length is identical to the other’s. Tarski [1] hardly mentioned equality-identity distinctions (pp. 54-63). His discussion begins: -/- Among the logical concepts […], the concept of IDENTITY or EQUALITY […] has the greatest importance. -/- Not until page 62 is there an equality-identity distinction. His only “notion of equality”, if such it is, is geometrical congruence—having the same size and shape—an equivalence relation not admitting any unit. Does anyone but Tarski ever say ‘this triangle is equal to that’ to mean that the first is congruent to that? What would motivate him to say such a thing? This lecture treats the history and philosophy of equality-identity distinctions. [1] ALFRED TARSKI, Introduction to Logic, Dover, New York, 1995. [This is expanded from the printed abstract.] . (shrink)
Kit Fine famously objected against the idea that essence can be successfully analyzed in terms of de re necessity. In response, I want to explore a novel, interesting, but controversial modal account of essence in terms of intrinsicality and grounding. In the first section, I will single out two theoretical requirements that any essentialist theory should meet—the essentialist desideratum and the essentialist challenge—in order to clarify Fine’s objections. In the second section, I will assess Denby’s improved modal account, which appeals (...) to the notion of intrinsicality, and argue that it is untenable. In the third section, I will explain how, when combined with a modal-existential criterion, a hyperintensional account of intrinsicality—in the same vein as Bader (J Philos 110(10): 525–563, 2013) and Rosen (in: Hale and Hoffman (eds) Modality: Metaphysics, logic, and epistemology, Oxford, OUP, 2010)—can help successfully address Fine’s counterexamples. In the fourth section, I will evaluate how this novel analysis of essence stands with respect to sortal, origin, and natural kinds essentialism and discuss potential objections and difficulties. (shrink)
In the age of globalization, and increased interdependence in the world that we face today, there is a question we may have to raise: Do we need and could we attain a world government, capable of insuring the peace and facilitating worldwide well-being in a just and efficient manner? In the twenty chapters of this book, some of the most prominent living philosophers give their consideration to this question in a provocative and engaging way. Their essays are not only of (...) wide theoretical interest but also provide a thought-provoking approach to this most timely and urgent issue. A wide range of perspectives are represented here. -/- The authors include Richard Falk, Michael Walzer, Thomas Pogge, Larry May, Alfred Rubin, Stanley Hoffman, Jan Narveson, Virginia Held, Pauline Kleingeld and Luis Cabrera. Jovan Babic is Professor of Ethics at the University of Belgrade and Visiting Professor at Portland State University. Petar Bojanic is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy (CELAP) as well as the Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory (Belgrade). (shrink)
The proposed paper presents an argument in favor of a Rawlsian approach to ethics for Internet technology companies (den Hoven & Rooksby, 2008; Hoffman, 2017). Ethics statements from such companies are analyzed and shown to be utilitarian and teleological in nature, and therefore in opposition to Rawls’ theories of justice and fairness. The statements are also shown to have traits in common with Confucian virtue ethics (Ames, 2011; Nylan, 2008).
Kants Musikästhetik wird weithin unterschätzt. Dabei bietet sie die entscheidenden Ansätze zur Befreiung der Musik aus den Fängen der Nachahmungsästhetik, wie sie vor allem E.T.A.Hoffman kongenial umgesetzt hat.
Susan Neiman pointed out to this reviewer the danger that Carl Jung studies pose to contemporary scholars. It is keeping in mind Neiman's cautionary advice that this review establishes Jung's contributions to Romanticism. "[Craig] Stephenson’s analysis of Aurélia has now superseded Arthur Lovejoy’s (1873–1962) and Mario Praz’s (1896–1982) contributions to the definitions of Romanticism.".
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