Published by Oxford University Press (OUP)
Online ISSN: 1467-8284
Print ISSN: 0003-2638
I clarify some ambiguities in blame-talk and argue that blame's potential for irrationality and propensity to sting vitiates accounts of blame that identify it with consciously accessible, personal-level judgements or beliefs. Drawing on the cognitive psychology of emotion and appraisal theory, I develop an account of blame that accommodates these features. I suggest that blame consists in a range of hostile, negative first-order emotions, towards which the blamer has a specific, accompanying second-order attitude, namely, a feeling of entitlement—a feeling that these hostile, negative first-order emotions are what the blamed object deserves.
According to Christopher Boorse's Bio-Statistical Theory (BST), 'health' is statistically normal function in a reference class, and 'health' and 'disease' are empirical, objective and value-free concepts. I demonstrate that the success of the BST depends on its choice of reference classes; different reference classes result in different accounts of health. I argue that nothing in nature empirically or objectively dictates the use of reference classes Boorse proposes. Reference classes in the BST, and the concept of health, are therefore not value-free. Nor is there a reason to favour the BST over accounts of health that use different reference classes.
Anthropic reasoning often begins with the premise that we should expect to find ourselves typical among all intelligent observers. However, in the infinite universe predicted by inflation, there are some civilizations which have spread across their galaxies and contain huge numbers of individuals. Unless the proportion of such large civilizations is unreasonably tiny, most observers belong to them. Thus anthropic reasoning predicts that we should find ourselves in such a large civilization, while in fact we do not. There must be an important flaw in our understanding of the structure of the universe and the range of development of civilizations, or in the process of anthropic reasoning.
Externalism about psychological kinds is the thesis that certain of a subject’s mental states and events are dependent for their individuation on the subject’s environment. The thesis opens up the possibility that a subject’s mental state and event kinds might vary with variations in the subject’s environment, even while her physical properties, including her functional properties and her physical history, all individualistically and non-intentionally described, remain constant. Hence psychological externalism opens up the possibility that physically indistinguishable subjects could nevertheless be distinguishable psychologically. In this paper I will examine one argument against natural kind externalism. However, my interest is not primarily either with the particular argument, or even with the defence of externalism against it. Rather, I am concerned to show that reflection on the general form of the argument brings to light a surprising and important fact about supervenience, namely that subvenient bases must be construed as involving absences. This fact
Among philosophers, there are at least two prevalent views about the core concept of intentional action. View I (Adams 1986, 1997; McCann 1986) holds that an agent S intentionally does an action A only if S intends to do A. View II (Bratman 1987; Harman 1976; and Mele 1992) holds that there are cases where S intentionally does A without intending to do A, as long as doing A is foreseen and S is willing to accept A as a consequence of S’s action. Joshua Knobe (2003a) presents intriguing data that may be taken to support the second view. 1 Knobe’s data show an asymmetry in folk judgements. People are more inclined to judge that S did A intentionally, even when not intended, if A was perceived as causing a harm (e.g. harming the environment). There is an asymmetry because people are not inclined to see S’s action as intentional, when not intended, if A is perceived as causing a benefit (e.g. helping the environment). In this paper we will discuss Knobe’s results in detail. We will raise the question of whether his ordinary language surveys of folk judgments have accessed core concepts of intentional action. We suspect that instead Knobe’s surveys are tapping into pragmatic aspects of intentional language and its role in moral praise and blame. We will suggest alternative surveys that we plan to conduct to get at this difference, and we will attempt to explain the pragmatic usage of intentional language. We suspect that folk notions of intentional action are not clearly articulated. There are many factors required for an action to be performed intentionally. One of them involves the causal relation between an intention and the intended action. Not many folk would have very clear notions of counterfactual causal dependency of action upon intention necessary for intentional action on either view above. If an intention is connected by causal deviance to its conditions of satisfaction, the action is not done intention
As a result, your credal state cannot really be modeled by a single probability function at all. A better model is provided by a set of such probability functions - what van Fraassen (1990) has called a representor. Each function in your representor agrees with your opinion as far as it goes, but then goes further, precisifying that opinion in some permissible way. (This can be thought of as analogous to the supervaluational approach to vagueness.) According to van Fraassen, your explicit judgments determine which precisifications get admitted into your representor. For example, if you judge that the Democrats are at least as likely to win as not, then for each probability function p that gives 0.5 < p(Democrats win) < 1, and that is consistent with all your other such judgments, p is in your representor. In his highly influential Laws and Symmetry, van Fraassen advocates (a version of) Bayesianism, and also constructive empiricism, an anti-realist position regarding scientific theories according to which 'acceptance of a theory [that postulates unobservables] involves a certain amount of agnosticism, or suspension of belief' (1989: 193). He is thus naturally led to ask whether Bayesianism has the resources to represent agnosticism, and he argues that it does. More than that, he gives an analysis:1 agnosticism is 1 He does not explicitly say that he is giving an analysis of agnosticism, nor explicitly state the analysis, but it is apparent from context that this is exactly what he has in mind. Furthermore, van Fraassen agrees that this is indeed the case (personal
First-order Peano Arithmetic (PA) is incomplete. So the question naturally arises: what kinds of sentences belonging to PA's language LA can we actually establish to be true even though they are unprovable in PA? There are two familiar classes of cases. First, there are sentences like the canonical Godel sentence for PA. Second, there are sentences like the arithmetization of Good- stein's Theorem. In the first sort of case, we can come to appreciate the truth of the Godelian undecidable sentences by reflecting on PA's consistency or by coming to accept the instances of the 1 reflection schema for PA. And those routes involve deploying ideas beyond those involved in accepting PA as true. To reason to the truth of the Godel sentence, we need not just to be able to do basic arithmetic, but to be able to reflect on our practice. In the second sort of case, we come to appreciate the truth of the sentences which are undecidable in PA by deploying transfinite induction or other infinitary ideas. So the reasoning again involves ideas which go beyond what's involved in grasping basic arithmetic. Thinking about these sorts of cases suggests a plausible general conjecture. Given the arguments of Daniel Isaacson (1987, 1992), let's call it
Externalists about mental content are supposed to face the following dilemma. Either they must give up the claim that we have privileged access to our own mental states or they must allow that we have privileged access to the world. The dilemma is posed in its most precise form through the McKinsey-Brown argument (McKinsey 1991; Brown 1995). Over the years since it was first published in 1991, our understanding of the precise character of the premisses which constitute the argument has been refined. It is based on three claims (where A partially serves to characterise the content of some belief state for which Externalism is true and E is some proposition about the external world).
Top-cited authors
Andy Clark
  • University of Sussex
Joshua Knobe
  • Yale University
Fred Adams
  • University of Delaware
David Papineau
  • King's College London