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Many have been attracted to the idea that for something to be good there just have to be reasons to favour it. This view has come to be known as the buck-passing account of value. According to this account, for pleasure to be good there need to be reasons for us to desire and pursue it. Likewise for liberty and equality to be values there have to be reasons for us to promote and preserve them. Extensive discussion has focussed on some of the problems that the buck-passing account faces, such as the 'wrong kind of reason' problem. Less attention, however, has been paid as to why we should accept the buck-passing account or what the theoretical pay-offs and other implications of accepting it are. The Normative and the Evaluative provides the first comprehensive motivation and defence of the buck-passing account of value. Richard Rowland argues that the buck-passing account explains several important features of the relationship between reasons and value, as well as the relationship between the different varieties of value, in a way that its competitors do not. He shows that alternatives to the buck-passing account are inconsistent with important views in normative ethics, uninformative, and at odds with the way in which we should see practical and epistemic normativity as related. In addition, he extends the buck-passing account to provide an account of moral properties as well as all other normative and deontic properties and concepts, such as fittingness and 'ought', in terms of reasons.
At the heart of Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy is an epistemological and metaphysical position he calls transcendental idealism; the aim of this book is to understand this position. Despite the centrality of transcendental idealism in Kant's thinking, in over two hundred years since the publication of the first Critique there is still no agreement on how to interpret the position, or even on whether, and in what sense, it is a metaphysical position. Lucy Allais argue that Kant's distinction between things in themselves and things as they appear to us has both epistemological and metaphysical components. He is committed to a genuine idealism about things as they appear to us, but this is not a phenomenalist idealism. He is committed to the claim that there is an aspect of reality that grounds mind-dependent spatio-temporal objects, and which we cannot cognize, but he does not assert the existence of distinct non-spatio-temporal objects. A central part of Allais's reading involves paying detailed attention to Kant's notion of intuition, and its role in cognition. She understands Kantian intuitions as representations that give us acquaintance with the objects of thought. Kant's idealism can be understood as limiting empirical reality to that with which we can have acquaintance. He thinks that this empirical reality is mind-dependent in the sense that it is not experience-transcendent, rather than holding that it exists literally in our minds. Reading intuition in this way enables us to make sense of Kant's central argument for his idealism in the Transcendental Aesthetic, and to see why he takes the complete idealist position to be established there. This shows that reading a central part of his argument in the Transcendental Deduction as epistemological is compatible with a metaphysical, idealist reading of transcendental idealism.
The dead are gone. They count for nothing. Yet, if we count the dead, their number is staggering. And they account for most of what is great about civilization. Compared to the greatness of the dead, the accomplishments of the living are paltry. Which is it then: are the dead still there to be counted or not? And if they are still there, where exactly is "there"? We are confronted with the ancient paradox of nonexistence bequeathed us by Parmenides. The mystery of death is the mystery of nonexistence. A successful attempt to provide a metaphysics of death, then, must resolve the paradox of nonexistence. That is the aim of this study. At the same time, the metaphysics of death, of ceasing to exist, must serve as an account of birth, of coming to exist; the primary thesis of this book is that this demands going beyond existence and nonexistence to include what underlies both, which one can call, following tradition, "being." The dead and the unborn are therefore objects that lack existence but not being. Nonexistent objects - not corpses, or skeletons, or memories, all of which are existent objects - are what are "there" to be counted when we count the dead.
This book presents a new way to understand human-animal interactions. Offering a profound discussion of topics such as human identity, our relationship with animals and the environment, and our culture, the author channels the vibrant Italian traditions of humanism, materialism, and speculative philosophy. The research presents a dialogue between the humanities and the natural sciences. It challenges the separation and oppression of animals with a post-humanism steeped in the traditions of the Italian Renaissance. Readers discover a vision of the human as a species informed by an intertwining with animals. The human being is not constructed by an onto-poetic process, but rather by close relations with otherness. The human system is increasingly unstable and, therefore, more hybrid. The argument it presents interests scholars, thinkers, and researchers. It also appeals to anyone who wants to delve into the deep animal-human bond and its philosophical, cultural, political instances. The author is a veterinarian, ethologist, and philosopher. He uses cognitive science, zooanthropology, and philosophy to engage in a series of empirical, theoretical, and practice-based engagements with animal life. In the process, he argues that animals are key to human identity and culture at all levels.
Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility is a series of volumes presenting outstanding new work on a set of connected themes, investigating such questions as: * What does it mean to be an agent? * What is the nature of moral responsibility? Of criminal responsibility? What is the relation between moral and criminal responsibility (if any)? * What is the relation between responsibility and the metaphysical issues of determinism and free will? * What do various psychological disorders tell us about agency and responsibility? * How do moral agents develop? How does this developmental story bear on questions about the nature of moral judgment and responsibility? * What do the results from neuroscience imply (if anything) for our questions about agency and responsibility? No one has written more insightfully on the promises and perils of human agency than Gary Watson, who has spent a career thinking about issues such as moral responsibility, blame, free will, weakness of will, addiction, and psychopathy. This special edition of OSAR pays tribute to Watson's work by taking up and extending themes from his pioneering essays.
The Reason for all Existence endeavours to explain why there is existence, rather than nothingness, by dissecting the fundamental principles/concepts of all existence, such as infinity, absolute zero and the ideas of good and evil. Familiar, earthly examples of these concepts are used along with their basic descriptions, so that the reader can better see how these concepts work and relate to the entirety of existence. The Reason for all Existence should give individuals a clear idea of the reason why they exist at all, while aiding them to direct their life in a positive way.
Thomas Pink offers a new approach to the problem of free will. Do we have control of how we act, so that we are free to act in more than one way, and does it matter to morality whether we do? Pink argues that what matters to morality is not in fact the freedom to do otherwise, but something more primitive - a basic capacity or power to determine for ourselves what we do. This capacity might or might not take the form of a freedom to act in more than one way, and it might or might not be compatible with causal determinism. What really matters to morality is that it is we who determine what we do. What we do must not simply be a function of powers or capacities for which we are not responsible, or a matter of mere chance. At the heart of moral responsibility is a distinctive form of power that is quite unlike ordinary causation - a power by which we determine outcomes in a way quite differently from the way ordinary causes determine outcomes. Pink examines how this power is involved in action, and how the nature of action permits the operation of such a power to determine it.
Who am I? What is a person? What does it take for a person to persist from one time to another? What is the relation between the mind and the body? These are just some of the questions that constitute the problem of personal identity, one of the oldest and most fundamental of philosophical questions. Personal Identity, Third Edition is a clear and comprehensive introduction to these questions and more. Harold Noonan places the problem of personal identity in the context of more general puzzles about identity, discussing the major historical theories and more recent debates. The book also includes essential historical and philosophical background to the problem of personal identity as found in the arguments of Locke, Reid and Hume among others. The third edition of Personal Identity has been thoroughly reviewed in light of advances in the latest literature and research. This includes significant revision to the important problems of the simple and complex distinction and its relation to reductionism; temporal parts; and the distinction between perdurance and endurance theorists. Noonan also includes an up to date examination of personal identity and memory and personal identity and animalism, particularly the work of Shoemaker, Parfit, Olson and hybrid theorists. Including helpful chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Personal Identity, Third Edition is essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind and metaphysics, as well as students interested in ethics.
In Geontologies Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower, which operates through the regulation of the distinction between Life and Nonlife and the figures of the Desert, the Animist, and the Virus. Geontologies examines this formation of power from the perspective of Indigenous Australian maneuvers against the settler state. And it probes how our contemporary critical languages-anthropogenic climate change, plasticity, new materialism, antinormativity-often unwittingly transform their struggles against geontopower into a deeper entwinement within it. A woman who became a river, a snakelike entity who spawns the fog, plesiosaurus fossils and vast networks of rock weirs: in asking how these different forms of existence refuse incorporation into the vocabularies of Western theory Povinelli provides a revelatory new way to understand a form of power long self-evident in certain regimes of settler late liberalism but now becoming visible much further beyond.
This volume of Danish Yearbook of Philosophy contains articles read as papers at the Symposium on Social Constructivism held in Copenhagen in 1992.
The Poverty of Conceptual Truth is based on a simple idea. Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments underwrites a powerful argument against the metaphysical program of his Leibnizian-Wolffian predecessors-an argument from fundamental limits on its expressive power. In that tradition, metaphysics promised to reveal the deep rational structure of the world through a systematic philosophy consisting of strictly conceptual truths, which flow from a logically perspicuous relation of 'containment' among concepts. That is, all truths would be 'analytic,' in Kant's sense. Kant's distinction shows to the contrary that far reaching and scientifically indispensable parts of our knowledge of the world (including mathematics, the foundations of natural science, all knowledge from experience, and the central principles of metaphysics itself) are essentially synthetic and could never be restated in analytic form. Thus, the metaphysics of Kant's predecessors is doomed, because knowledge crucial to any adequate theory of the world cannot even be expressed in the idiom to which it restricts itself (and which was the basis of its claim to provide a transparently rational account of things). Traditional metaphysics founders on the expressive poverty of conceptual truth. To establish these claims, R. Lanier Anderson shows how Kant's distinction can be given a clear basis within traditional logic, and traces Kant's long, difficult path to discovering it. Once analyticity is framed in clear logical terms, it is possible to reconstruct compelling arguments that elementary mathematics must be synthetic, and then to show how similar considerations about irreducible syntheticity animate Kant's famous arguments against traditional metaphysics in the Critique of Pure Reason.
Katherin A. Rogers presents a new theory of free will, based on the thought of Anselm of Canterbury. We did not originally produce ourselves. Yet, according to Anselm, we can engage in self-creation, freely and responsibly forming our characters by choosing 'from ourselves' (a se) between open options. Anselm introduces a new, agent-causal libertarianism which is parsimonious in that, unlike other agent-causal theories, it does not appeal to any unique and mysterious powers to explain how the free agent chooses. After setting out Anselm's original theory, Rogers defends and develops it by addressing a series of standard problems levelled against libertarianism. These include the problem of 'internalism-in that an agent is not the source of his original motivations, how can the structure of his choice ground his responsibility?; the problem of Frankfurt-style counterexamples-Do we really need open options to choose freely?; and the problem of luck-If nothing about an agent before he chooses explains his choice, then isn't the choice just dumb luck? (The Anselmian answer to this perennial criticism is especially innovative, proposing that the critic has the relationship between choices and character exactly backwards.) Finally, as a theory about self-creation, Anselmian Libertarianism must defend the tracing thesis, the claim that an agent can be responsible for character-determined choices, if he, himself, formed his character through earlier a se choices. Throughout, the book defends and exemplifies a new methodological suggestion: someone debating free will ought to make his background world view explicit. In the on-going debate over the possibility of human freedom and responsibility, Anselmian Libertarianism constitutes a new and plausible approach.
This book presents a new view of the relation between metaphysics and the theory of meaning, broadly construed. Christopher Peacocke develops a general claim that metaphysics is always involved, either as explanatorily prior, or in a no-priority relationship, to the theory of meaning and content. Meaning and intentional content are never explanatorily prior to the metaphysics. He aims to show, in successive chapters of The Primacy of Metaphysics, how the general view holds for magnitudes, time, the self, and abstract objects. For each of these cases, the metaphysics of the entities involved is explanatorily prior to an account of the nature of our language and thought about them. Peacocke makes original contributions to the metaphysics of these topics, and offers consequential new treatments of analogue computation and representation. In the final chapter, he argues that his approach generates a new account of the limits of intelligibility, and locates his account in relation to other treatments of this classical conundrum.
Causation is the main foundation upon which the possibility of science rests. Without causation, there would be no scientific understanding, explanation, prediction, nor application in new technologies. How we discover causal connections is no easy matter, however. Causation often lies hidden from view and it is vital that we adopt the right methods for uncovering it. The choice of methods will inevitably reflect what one takes causation to be, making an accurate account of causation an even more pressing matter. This enquiry informs the correct norms for an empirical study of the world. In Causation in Science and the Methods of Scientific Discovery, Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford propose nine new norms of scientific discovery. A number of existing methodological and philosophical orthodoxies are challenged as they argue that progress in science is being held back by an overly simplistic philosophy of causation.
This profound exploration of one of the core notions of philosophy the concept of existence itself reviews, then counters (via Meinongian theory), the mainstream philosophical view running from Hume to Frege, Russell, and Quine, summarized thus by Kant: Existence is not a predicate. The initial section of the book presents a comprehensive introduction to, and critical evaluation of, this mainstream view. The author moves on to provide the first systematic survey of all the main Meinongian theories of existence, which, by contrast, reckon existence to be a real, full-fledged property of objects that some things possess, and others lack. As an influential addition to the research literature, the third part develops the most up-to-date neo-Meinongian theory called Modal Meinongianism, applies it to specific fields such as the ontology of fictional objects, and discusses its open problems, laying the groundwork for further research.
In accordance with the latest trends in analytic ontology, the author prioritizes a meta-ontological viewpoint, adopting a dual definition of meta-ontology as the discourse on the meaning of being, and as the discourse on the tools and methods of ontological enquiry. This allows a balanced assessment of philosophical views on a cost-benefit basis, following multiple criteria for theory evaluation. Compelling and revealing, this new publication is a vital addition to contemporary philosophical ontology."
An innovative reassessment of philosopher P. F. Strawson's influential "Freedom and Resentment" P. F. Strawson was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century, and his 1962 paper "Freedom and Resentment" is one of the most influential in modern moral philosophy, prompting responses across multiple disciplines, from psychology to sociology. In Freedom, Resentment, and the Metaphysics of Morals, Pamela Hieronymi closely reexamines Strawson's paper and concludes that his argument has been underestimated and misunderstood. Line by line, Hieronymi carefully untangles the complex strands of Strawson's ideas. After elucidating his conception of moral responsibility and his division between "reactive" and "objective" responses to the actions and attitudes of others, Hieronymi turns to his central argument. Strawson argues that, because determinism is an entirely general thesis, true of everyone at all times, its truth does not undermine moral responsibility. Hieronymi finds the two common interpretations of this argument, "the simple Humean interpretation" and "the broadly Wittgensteinian interpretation," both deficient. Drawing on Strawson's wider work in logic, philosophy of language, and metaphysics, Hieronymi concludes that his argument rests on an implicit, and previously overlooked, metaphysics of morals, one grounded in Strawson's "social naturalism." In the final chapter, she defends this naturalistic picture against objections. Rigorous, concise, and insightful, Freedom, Resentment, and the Metaphysics of Morals sheds new light on Strawson's thinking and has profound implications for future work on free will, moral responsibility, and metaethics. The book also features the complete text of Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment."
Addiction argues that addiction should be understood not as a disease but as a phenomenon that must be understood on many levels at once. Employing a complex dynamic systems approach and philosophical methodology, Shelby explains addiction as an irreducible neurobiological, psychological, developmental, environmental, and sociological phenomenon.
Between Logic and the World presents a theory of generic sentences and the kind-directed modes of thought they express. The theory closely integrates compositional semantics with metaphysics to solve the problem that generics pose: what do generics mean? Generic sentences are extremely simple, yet if there are patterns to be discerned in terms of which are true and which are false, these patterns are subtle and complex. Ravens are black, lions have manes, sea-turtles are long-lived, and bishops in chess move along diagonals. Statistical measures cannot do justice to the facts, but what else is there that at least has a hope of giving us insight into what we are capturing across so many domains? Bernhard Nickel argues that generics are the top of a fundamentally explanatory iceberg. By focusing on blackness in ravens and manes in lions, for instance, we can place the kinds into a framework structured by explanatory considerations. Between Logic and the World argues that this explanatory framework is deeply intertwined with the semantics of the language we use to express them, and in giving its integrated semantic and metaphysical theory of generics, it aims to solve old puzzles and draw attention to new phenomena.
The doctrine of materialism is one of the most controversial in the history of ideas. For much of its history it has been aligned with toleration and enlightened thinking, but it has also aroused strong, often violent, passions amongst both its opponents and proponents. This book explores the development of materialism in an engaging and thought-provoking way and defends the form it takes in the twenty-first century. Opening with an account of the ideas of some of the most important thinkers in the materialist tradition, including Epicurus, Lucretius, Hobbes, Hume, Darwin and Marx, the authors discuss materialism's origins, as an early form of naturalistic explanation and as an intellectual outlook about life and the world in general. They explain how materialism's beginnings as an imaginative vision of the true nature of things faced a major challenge from the physics it did so much to facilitate, which now portrays the microscopic world in a way incompatible with traditional materialism. Brown and Ladyman explain how out of this challenge materialism developed into the new doctrine of physicalism. Drawing on a wide range of colourful examples, the authors argue that although materialism does not have all the answers, its humanism and commitment to naturalistic explanation and the scientific method is our best philosophical hope in the ideological maelstrom of the modern world.
This book argues that a silent axis of the unconscious world rests largely undiscovered. It recasts foundational concepts in the psychology of Freud, Jung, Carol Gilligan and R.D. Laing, as well as in cognitive science, to highlight this hidden unconscious axis: primordial spaces of diametric and concentric structures. The author generates fresh approaches to understanding the philosophy of early Heidegger and Derrida, with the idea of cross-cultural diametric and concentric spaces fuelling a radical reinterpretation of early Heidegger's transcendental project, and challenging a postmodern consensus that reduces truths and experiences to mere socially constructed playthings of culture. The book, which also examines projected structures in modernist art, suggests a systematic refashioning of many Western assumptions, but it is more than a deconstruction. It also attempts to offer a new interplay between structures and meaning, as a spatial phenomenology. This significant expansion of the boundaries of human subjectivity opens alternative pathways for imagining what it means to be human, in order to challenge the reduction of experience to instrumental reason.
Joshua Gert presents an original and ambitious theory of the
normative. Expressivism and non-reductive realism represent two
very widely separated poles in contemporary discussions of
normativity. But the domain of the normative is both large and
diverse; it includes, for example, the harmful, the fun, the
beautiful, the wrong, and the rational. It would be extremely
surprising if either expressivism or non-reductive realism managed
to capture all--or even the most important--phenomena associated
with all of these notions. Normative Bedrock defends a
response-dependent account of the normative that accommodates the
kind of variation in response that some non-reductive realists
downplay or ignore, but that also allows for the sort of
straightforward talk of normative properties, normative truth, and
substantive normative disagreement that expressivists have had a
hard time respecting.
Current knowledge of the genetic, epigenetic, behavioural and symbolic systems of inheritance requires a revision and extension of the mid-twentieth-century, gene-based, 'Modern Synthesis' version of Darwinian evolutionary theory. We present the case for this by first outlining the history that led to the neo-Darwinian view of evolution. In the second section we describe and compare different types of inheritance, and in the third discuss the implications of a broad view of heredity for various aspects of evolutionary theory. We end with an examination of the philosophical and conceptual ramifications of evolutionary thinking that incorporates multiple inheritance systems.
In his book, philosopher and law professor Ken Levy explains why he agrees with most people, but not with most other philosophers, about free will and responsibility. Most people believe that we have both - that is, that our choices, decisions, and actions are neither determined nor undetermined but rather fully self-determined. By contrast, most philosophers understand just how difficult it is to defend this "metaphysical libertarian" position. So they tend to opt for two other theories: "responsibility skepticism" (which denies the very possibility of free will and responsibility) and "compatibilism" (which reduces free will and responsibility to properties that are compatible with determinism). In opposition to both of these theories, Levy explains how free will and responsibility are indeed metaphysically possible. But he also cautions against the dogma that metaphysical libertarianism is actually true, a widespread belief that continues to cause serious social, political, and legal harms. Levy's book presents a crisp, tight, historically informed discussion, with fresh clarity, insight, and originality. It will become one of the definitive resources for students, academics, and general readers in this critical intersection among metaphysics, ethics, and criminal law. Key features: Presents a unique, qualified defense of "metaphysical libertarianism," the idea that our choices, decisions, and actions can be fully self-determined. Written clearly, accessibly, and with minimal jargon - rare for a book on the very difficult issues of free will and responsibility. Seamlessly connects philosophical, legal, psychological, and political issues. Will be provocative and insightful for professional philosophers, students, and non-philosophers.
First published in 1985, D. M. Armstrong's original work on what laws of nature are has continued to be influential in the areas of metaphysics and philosophy of science. Presenting a definitive attack on the sceptical Humean view, that laws are no more than a regularity of coincidence between stances of properties, Armstrong establishes his own theory and defends it concisely and systematically against objections. Presented in a fresh twenty-first-century series livery, and including a specially commissioned preface written by Marc Lange, illuminating its continuing importance and relevance to philosophical enquiry, this influential work is available for a new generation of readers.
Common-sense philosophy is important because it maintains that we can know many things about the world, about ourselves, about morality, and even about things of a metaphysical nature. The tenets of common-sense philosophy, while in some sense obvious and unsurprising, give rise to powerful arguments that can shed light on fundamental philosophical issues, including the perennial problem of scepticism and the emerging challenge of scientism. This Companion offers an exploration of common-sense philosophy in its many forms, tracing its development as a concept and considering the roles it has been assigned to play throughout the history of philosophy. Containing fifteen newly commissioned chapters from leading experts in the history of philosophy, epistemology, the philosophy of science, moral philosophy and metaphysics, the volume will be an essential guide for students and scholars hoping to gain a greater understanding of the value and enduring appeal of common-sense philosophy.
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