Philosophical Review

Published by Duke University Press
Online ISSN: 1558-1470
Print ISSN: 0031-8108
Capitalist societies are full of unacceptable inequalities. Freedom is of paramount importance. These two convictions are widely shared across the world. Yet they often seem in complete contradiction with each other. Fighting inequality jeopardizes freedom; taking freedom seriously boosts inequality. What can be done? Can the circle be squared? Philippe Van Parijs offers a ground breaking solution to the dilemma. Assessing and rejecting the claims of both socialism and conventional capitalism, he presents a clear and compelling alternative vision of the just society: a capitalist society offering a substantial unconditional basic income to all its members. Moving beyond pure political theory, Van Parijs shows what his ideal of free society means in the real world by drawing out its controversial policy implications. Real Freedom for All will be essential reading for anyone concerned about the just society and the welfare state as we move into the twenty first century. Available in OSO:
In this book, Paul Anand examines the normative interpretation of Subjective Expected Utility (SEU). He tests the philosophical and logical basis for associating SEU with rational choice. Decision theorists have increasingly come to accept the experimental evidence that subjects systematically violate the axiomatic assumptions of SEU, and as a result the past decade has witnessed an explosion of mathematical models that seek to capture this behaviour. A current issue is whether axioms of SEU really are canons of rationality. Anand discusses whether the new decision-theoretic models are more than just accounts of irrational behaviour. The main themes of the book are that, empirically, SEU is false, and that normatively it imposes unnecessary constraints on rational agency. Problems with Bayesianism are introduced and it is shown that useful distinctions between risk and uncertainty (in a Keynesian sense) can be made. Some of the radical methodological changes in economics that underpin theoretical developments in decision theory and economics are also discussed.
This important new study presents a systematic and definitive critique of Ronald Dworkin's highly influential theory of liberal equality. Focusing on the connection Dworkin attempts to establish between economic markets and liberal egalitarian political morality, the study examines his contention that markets have an indispensable role to play in the articulation of liberal ideals of distributive justice, individual liberty, and state neutrality. Subjecting the central tenents of this theory to sustained critical analysis, the author argues that Dworkin's attempt to establish deep affinities between the market and equality is unsuccessful and his proposed solutions to some central controversies in political theory are seriously flawed. This powerful examination of the work of America's leading public philosopher reveals some timely lessons about the hazards and limitations of the market as a device for the articulation and realization of egalitarian justice. Available in OSO:
Moral philosophers agree that welfare matters. But they do not agree about what it is, or how much it matters. Wayne Sumner presents an original theory of welfare, investigating its nature and discussing its importance. He considers and rejects all notable rival theories of welfare, both objective and subjective, including hedonism and theories founded on desire or preference. His own theory connects welfare closely with happiness or life satisfaction. Professor Sumner then proceeds to defend welfarism, that is, to argue (against the value pluralism that currently dominates moral philosophy) that welfare is the only basic ethical value, the only thing which we have a moral reason to promote for its own sake. He concludes by discussing the implications of this thesis for ethical and political theory.
This is a systematic evaluation of the main arguments for and against the market as an instrument of social organization, balancing efficiency and justice . It links the distinctive approaches of philosophy and economics to this evaluation.
This book brings together and develops some of the most important economic, social, and ethical ideas Sen has explored over the last two decades. It examines the claims of equality in social arrangements, stressing that we should be concerned with people's capabilities rather than either their resources or their welfare. Sen also looks at some types of inequality that have been less systematically studied than those of class or wealth. Available in OSO:
This classic book by one of America's preeminent legal theorists is concerned with the conflict between the goals of justice and economic efficiency in the allocation of risk, especially risk pertaining to safety. The author approaches his subject from the premise that the market is central to liberal political, moral, and legal theory. In the first part of the book, he rejects traditional rational choice liberalism in favor of the view that the market operates as a rational way of fostering stable relationships and institutions within communities of individuals with broadly divergent conceptions of the good. However, markets are needed most where they are most difficult to create and sustain, and one way to understand contract law in liberal legal theory, according to Professor Coleman, is as an institution designed to reduce uncertainty and thereby make markets possible. Available in OSO:
this paper, however, we will for the most part ignore intentions. But see the last section.
1 This paper grew out of an invited commentary on papers by Adrian Cussins and Brian Cantwell-Smith, presented in a session on nonconceptual content at the Eastern APA, Washington, January 1998.Thanks to Adrian Cussins for encouraging me in this project and for granting permission to refer to his unpublished ms. Thanks also to various anonymous referees, to Jesse Prinz, Adrian Cussins, Brian Smith, Pete Mandik, Josefa Toribio and to my colleagues in the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology Program and the Washington University School of Medicine. Special thanks to Ned Block, Martin Davies, Greg Currie and Frank Jackson for valuable exchanges concerning several earlier drafts, and to Martin Davies and Chris Peacocke for a wonderful face-to-face discussion in London. Earlier versions of this paper were entitled "Experience and Action: A Tension in the Notion of Nonconceptual Content".
Reports of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions are regarded as relating to occurrences of a special category, namely mental acts. Ryle's view that mental acts are really hypothetical statements about overt behavior is specifically rejected. The author attacks abstractionism, the doctrine that concepts are formed by noticing recurrent features in experience. Other topics, such as Russell's theory of judgment, Descartes' cogito, and the possibility of attributing experience to other than living organisms (disembodied spirits or machines) are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Aristotle on ActionAristotle on Practical ReasonAristotle on Weakness of the WillNotesBibliography
Wisdom, happiness, and virtueSin, evil, and theodicyWill and personal agencyReason, understanding, and beliefMethod in philosophical theologyGodSoul, mind, and memory
In this book, which has been written for psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers, and others in related fields, the authors propose a . . . reconstruction of [the] traditional distinctions [between body and mind]. Throughout the discussion philosophical theories are brought to bear on the particular questions of the explanation of behaviour, the nature of mental causation, and eventually the origins of major disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorder. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Why do human beings move? In this lucid and humorous portrayal of human behavior, Fred Dretske provides an original account of the way reasons function in the causal explanation of behavior. Biological science investigates what makes our bodies move in the way they do. Psychology is interested in why persons—agents with reasons—move in the way they do. Dretske attempts to reconcile these different points of view by showing how reasons operate in a world of causes. He reveals in detail how the character of our inner states—what we believe, desire, and intend—determines what we do. In "Explaining Behavior," Dretske provides a direct response to the recent claims that what we believe has no genuine explanatory power. He develops a theory of what behavior is (contrasting it to simple bodily movements) and shows how behavior, so understood, can be causally explained by an agent's reasons. Dretske's investigation crosses a broad range of fields, from philosophy and cognitive science to evolution and neuroscience, and will appeal to scholars interested in the philosophy of mind, in action theory, in free will, in the structure of explanations of behavior, and in how explanations of behavior differ from causal explanations of bodily movement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
How images occur in the brain and are used in cognition is a subject much debated by psychologists. . . . In this book, a philosopher of science shows that there are no logical or methodological reasons why the brain cannot store information in pictures, and he proposes an original theory explaining how images function as representations. The first philosophical study to develop a systematic analysis of recent research on mental images, the book focuses on the imagery debate in order to provide an assessment of cognitive science in general. Mark Rollins reviews the research conducted by such psychologists as Kosslyn, Shepard, and Cooper on the nature and scientific status of mental images. Contending that no current theory can adequately account for the results of their experiments, he develops a theory that links studies of imagery with work on perceptual categories and picture perception and integrates them with the psychology of belief and desire. Rollins draws on research in artificial intelligence and biology, arguing for the viability and usefulness of the notion of nonlinguistic representation. His book challenges important presuppositions about cognitive processes and the methodological foundations of a science of the mind. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This paper argues that whether an utterance of a vague term makes any contribution to propositional content is context-sensitive and that attention to this fact allows for an attractive solution to the sorites paradox.
The purpose of this book is two-fold: first, to bring out some differences and similarities between symbols in a logical system and verb forms and implications in ordinary speech; second, to describe some general characteristics of formal logic. The roles of rules of defining, postulating, and theorizing are described, together with some systems: truth-functional, class, and predicative. The status of traditional Aristotelian logic is examined when expressed as a predicative system and conditions imposed for its self-consistency so expressed. The implications of deduction and induction are clarified. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
My central claim is that the plethora of explanatory strategies for the study of human behavior is no accidental feature of our epistemic situation. I offer an account of why a multitude of such theories is to be expected and why this situation is not to be regretted. I am not the first to endorse a pluralist approach to the interpretation of human behavior; my contribution is the argument I have charted to that conclusion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Physics and psychology are two science fields which are contrasted in this analysis of science from the philosophical standpoint of logical positivism. The three chapters of this book are titled "Deduction and definition," "Process and history," and "Configurations and reduction." "The first chapter… contains the minimum of philosophical ideas that one needs to understand the other two." The other two chapters are an exposition of the "more or less philosophical ideas… indispensable for a rather detailed logical analysis of psychology." Topics such as determinism, emergentism, holism, mechanism, operationism, phenomenalism, rationalism and vitalism are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
I have been supposing that for the theory of reasoning, explicit belief is an all-or-nothing matter, I have assumed that, as far as principles of reasoning are concerned, one either believes something explicitly or one does not; in other words an appropriate "representation" is either in one's "memory" or not. The principles of reasoning are principles for modifying such all-or-nothing representations. This is not to deny that in some ways belief is a matter of degree. For one thing implicit belief is certainly a matter of degree, since it is a matter of how easily and automatically one can infer something from what one believes explicitly. Furthermore, explicit belief is a matter of degree in the sense that one believes some things more strongly than others. Sometimes one is only somewhat inclined to believe something, sometimes one is not sure what to believe, sometimes one is inclined to disbelieve something, sometimes one is quite confident something is not so, and so forth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A collection of 17 essays exploring the central issues of the philosophy of the mind, and human interaction with psychology and evolutionary biology. This book questions the relationship between psychology and morality as well as exploring the concept of human intentionality. It argues that intentional attributes such as desires, goals, beliefs and knowledge are purely mechanistic. The author also considers the meaning of mental imagery, sensations, pain and other puzzling aspects of consciousness. Central to the discussion of the book is the question of whether psychology can support a vision of humans as moral agents, free to choose what they do and responsible for their actions.
A theory of personal identity.
An attempt to develop a theory of knowledge and philosophy of mind using ideas derived from the mathematical theory of communication developed by Claude Shannon. Information is seen as an objective commodity defined by the dependency relations between distinct events. Knowledge is then analyzed as information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information in analog form (experience) for conceptual utilization by cognitive mechanisms. The final chapters attempt to develop a theory of meaning (or belief content) by viewing meaning as a certain kind of information-carrying role.
Drawn from the Prussian Academy edition of Kant's collected works, these letters make it possible to trace the development of Kant's thought from his earliest worries about the topics discussed in the Critique of Pure Reason to his attempts in later life to meet the objections of his critics and erstwhile disciples. "Perhaps the major value of these writings is their demonstration of Kant's own attitude towards his philosophical works."—Paul Arthur Schilpp, Saturday Review
Suppose you and I are “human beings” in the sense of human animals , members of the genus Homo . Given this supposition, this article argues first and foremost that (it's at least very plausible that) we originated not at the moment of our biological conception but either before or after. For biological conception is most plausibly seen as a momentous event in the continuing life of a preexisting organism—the egg—rather than a cataclysmic event ending one life and creating another. This article considers and rebuts the most likely challenges to this claim. This metaphysical point carries moral freight concerning abortion. This article surveys familiar “pro-life” principles and argues that if any of them raises moral qualms about the permissibility of aborting zygotic pregnancies, then these qualms apply equally (or at least almost equally) to the permissibility of contraception and abstinence. Hence no such principle provides a justification for condemning zygotic abortion while condoning abstinence or contraception.
At the very heart of the mind-body problem is the question of the nature of consciousness. It is consciousness, and in particular phenomenal consciousness, that makes the mind-body relation so deeply perplexing. Many philosophers hold that no de nition of phenomenal consciousness is possible: any such putative de nition would automatically use the concept of phenomenal consciousness and thus render the de nition circular. The usual view is that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is one that must be explained by means of speci c examples and associated comments. The explanation typically proceeds along something like the fol-lowing lines: there is something it is like to taste Green Chartreuse, to hear a chainsaw, to smell a skunk, to see the clear, blue sky. Each of these states has a distinctive subjective character or raw "feel" to it. These raw "feels", qualia, as they are often called, resemble and differ from one another to varying degrees. The subjective "feel" of the experience of red, for example, is more like the subjective "feel" of the experience of orange than it is like the subjective "feel" of the experience of green. Subjective "feels" or qualia are what make the states possessing them phenomenally conscious. Further illumination is sometimes offered by noting that it is phe-nomenal consciousness that gives rise to talk of an explanatory gap and
This essay examines the thought that our right actions have moral worth only if we perform them for the right reasons. On the face of it, views about the conditions of moral worth seem independent of what first-order moral views we hold. That is, we can debate what else must be true of right actions for them to count as morally worthy without first settling the question of what it takes for them to be right. My initial aim will be to identify the conditions under which right actions have moral worth, and I believe the intuitive appeal of my account of moral worth and the force of most of the arguments I marshal in its support are independent of our adopting any particular first-order ethical standpoint. Nonetheless, the view of moral worth I defend turns out to have implausible implications when held in conjunction with any of a class of first-order ethical views that includes utilitarianism. Because utilitarians would, I think, be hardpressed to come up with an account of moral worth as independently plausible as the one I defend, my argument for this account turns out to provide an objection to utilitarianism. Thinking about moral worth may tell us something about which actions are right after all.
Counterexamples are constructed for the theory of rational choice that results from a direct application of classical decision theory to ordinary actions. These counterexamples turn on the fact that an agent may be unable to perform an action, and may even be unable to try to perform an action. An alternative theory of rational choice is proposed that evaluates actions using a more complex measure, and then it is shown that this is equivalent to applying classical decision theory to "conditional policies" rather than ordinary actions.
First published 30 years ago and long out of print, Aquinas: God and Action appears here for the first time in paperback. This classic volume by eminent philosopher and theologian David Burrell argues that Aquinas’s is not the god of Greek metaphysics, but a god of both being and activity. Aquinas’s plan in the Summa Theologiae, according to Burrell, is to instruct humans how to find eternal happiness through acts of knowing and loving. Featuring a new foreword by the author, this edition will be welcomed by philosophers and theologians alike.
Why care about objective value or ethical reality? The sanction is that if you do not, your inner states will fail to deserve folks theoretical names. Not a threat that will strike terror into the hearts of the wicked! But whoever thought. that philosophy could replace the hangman? -David Lewis
Acknowledgments Introduction: The Reappearing Self PART 1: ACTION AND THE UNITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS 1. Three Mistakes about Consciousness 2. Self-Consciousness, Spontaneity, and the Myth of the Giving 3. Unity, Objectivity, and Norms 4. Nonconceptual Self-Consciousness: Perspective, Access, and Agency 5. Unity, Neuropsychology, and Action PART 2: PERCEPTION AND ACTION 6. Wittgenstein on Practice and the Myth of the Giving 7. Content and Environment: Parallels between Perception and Action 8. Perception, Dynamic Feedback, and Externalism 9. Neuropsychology versus the Input-output Picture 10. Alternative Views of Perception and Action Appendix: Outline of the Arguments Bibliography Credits Index
Theories of justice, argues Virginia Held, are usually designed for a perfect, hypothetical world. They do not give us guidelines for living in an imperfect world in which the choices and decisions that we must make are seldom clear-cut. Seeking a morality based on actual experience, Held offers a method of inquiry with which to deal with the specific moral problems encountered in daily life. She argues that the division between public and private morality is misleading and shows convincingly that moral judgment should be contextual. She maps out different approaches and positions for various types of issues, including membership in a state, legal decisions, political activities, economic transactions, interpersonal relations, diplomacy, journalism, and determining our obligation to future generations. Issues such as these provide the true test of moral theory, since its success is seen in the willingness of conscientious persons to commit themselves to it by acting on it in their daily lives.
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