Sur les problemes moraux de la transplantation d'organes, le type de donation des personnes vivantes ou post-mortem, les attitudes culturelles a l'egard de la mort du cerveau, les politiques de l'obtention d'organes
In a number of earlier writings, I have outlined what may be called a game-theoretical semantics. This semantics can be applied
both to formal (but interpreted) first-order languages, with or without modalities, and to certain fragments of English. The
strategy on which this semantics is based is to associate with each sentence S under consideration a two-person game G(S) by reference to which the basic semantical attributes of S can be defined.
The standard mathematical approaches to topology, point-set topology and algebraic topology, treat points as the fundamental, undefined entities, and construct extended spaces as sets of points with additional structure imposed on them. Point-set topology in particular generalises the concept of a `space' far beyond its intuitive meaning. Even algebraic topology, which concentrates on spaces built out of `cells' topologically equivalent to n-dimensional discs, concerns itself chiefly with rather abstract reasoning concerning the association of algebraic structures with particular spaces, rather than the kind of topological reasoning which is required in everyday life, or which might illuminate the metaphorical use of topological concepts such as `connection' and `boundary'. This paper explores an alternative to these approaches, RCC theory, which takes extended spaces (`regions') rather than points as fundamental. A single relation, C (x; y) (read `Region x connects with reg...
This paper is concerned with the contrast between simulation- and deduction-based approaches to reasoning about physical objects. We show that linear logic can give a unified account of both simulation and deduction concerning physical objects; it also allows us to draw a principled distinction between simulation and deduction, since simulations correspond to cut-free proofs, whereas deductions correspond to proofs in general. During the preparation of this work, the author was paid by Project Dynamo, supported by the United Kingdom Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under grant number GR/K 19266. The views expressed in this paper are the author's own, and the principal investigators of the project -- John Bell and Wilf Hodges -- bear no responsibility for them. Thanks for intellectual stimulation and support are due to David Pym, Peter O'Hearn and Edmund Robinson, and to Pat Hayes who asked me the question that led to this paper. Contents 1 Introduction 2 2 Simula...
What is the computational notion of "implementation"? It is not individuation, instantiation, reduction, or supervenience. It is, I suggest, semantic interpretation. This document is Technical Report 97-15 (Buffalo: SUNY Buffalo Department of Computer Science) and Technical Report 97-5 (Buffalo: SUNY Buffalo Center for Cognitive Science). 1 INTRODUCTION Consider the relationships among algorithms, computer programs, and the computers that execute them. An algorithm is (roughly) a procedure for computing a function (for more details, see Soare 1996; Rapaport, forthcoming). A program is a more specific and detailed textual expression of an algorithm, expressed in a programming language. Often, it is said that the program "implements" the algorithm. A computer process is an algorithm being executed (see Rapaport 1988, 1995; Smith 1997). It is a physical device (a computer) behaving in a certain way ; the way is described (or specified) by the program, and the physical device running the ...
Dynamical-systems analysis is nowadays ubiquitous. From engineering (its point of origin and natural home) to physiology, and from psychology to ecology, it enjoys surprisingly wide application. Sometimes the analysis rings decisively false—as, for example, when adopted in certain treatments of historical narrative;1 other times it is provocative and controversial, as when applied to the phenomena of mind and cognition.2 Dynamical systems analysis (or "Systems" with a capital "S," as I shall sometimes refer to it) is simply a tool of analysis. It mobilizes the language and mathematical technology of differential equations, and brings into play the distinctive concepts of equilibrium and attractor, as well as gain, coupling and neighborhood, that are not obviously proprietary property of any particular domain of objects or regime in the world.3 It is the ecumenical language of engineers, universal in scope.
I argue that so-called 'absence causation' must be treated in terms of counterfactuals about causation such as 'had a occurred, a would have caused W. First, I argue that some theories of causation that accept absence causation are unattractive because they undermine the idea of possible causation. And second, I argue that accepting absence causation violates a principle commonly associated with relativity.
Analytic philosophy requires the existence of cognitive norms, both in the sense of epistemic norms of belief formation and in the sense of norms apt to be known. Hence the difference between the analytic philosopher and the continental philosopher is not purely stylistic.
This chapter explores the tension between the belief-desire thesis and the principle of psychological autonomy. The belief-desire thesis refers to the expectation that psychological theory, which explains human behavior, will invoke the concepts of belief and desire in a substantive way. The principle of psychological autonomy is a widely held assumption about the nature of explanatory psychological theories, an assumption that serves as a fundamental regulative principle for much of contemporary psychological theorizing. The chapter first focuses on the principle of psychological autonomy. It then elaborates on how the belief-desire thesis is to be interpreted, and tries to extract from it a principle to serve as a premise in the argument to follow. Next, it sets out the argument that large numbers of belief-desire explanations of action are incompatible with the principle of autonomy. It fends off a possible objection to the argument and, in the process, attempts to clarify just why the argument works and what price should be paid in order to avoid its consequences.
This is an uncorrected author's draft of a paper published in The Monist issue on neuroethics, Volume 95, Issue 3 (July 2012). For citation and quoting purposes, please use the published version.Recent work in moral theory has seen the refinement of theories of moral standing, which increasingly recognize a position of intermediate standing between fully self-conscious entities and those which are merely conscious. Among the most sophisticated concepts now used to denote such intermediate standing is that of primitive self-consciousness, which has been used to more precisely elucidate the moral standing of human newborns. New research into the structure of the avian brain offers a revised view of the cognitive abilities of birds. When this research is approached with a species-specific focus, it appears likely that one familiar species, the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), also exhibits primitive self-consciousness. Given the likelihood that they are primitively self-consciousness, chickens warrant a degree of moral standing that falls short of that enjoyed by persons, but which exceeds the minimal standing of merely conscious entities.
This paper, written for a special issue of The Monist 91 (2008) on marriage, offers a fundamental account of marriage as a basic human good and institution, with some reflections on the moral and social implications of the good’s exigencies (requirements), not least its heterosexual character.
Could I have had different parents? In practice, no, but in principle, yes. And could I have been born at a different time? Again, in practice no, but in principle, yes. These are, perhaps, common sense verdicts on such questions. But they go against what may be seen as some prevailing philosophical orthodoxies. I defend versions of the common sense verdicts, and argue against the orthodoxies here.
L'A. souleve la question de la difference epistemologique et de la difference metaphysique entre la nature ceteris paribus des lois economiques et la nature reguliere des lois physiques. L'A. montre que la metaphysique des lois naturelles n'etablit pas une difference entre economie et physique, mais plutot une difference entre la methode legale et la methode analytique
Defenders of duties of justice to compatriots sometimes criticize the aspirations of cosmopolitans to develop accounts of justice that that are global in scope. The criticisms are many and varied, including in particular concerns about whether cosmopolitanism can allow for appropriate patriotic regard for fellow-citizens, whether cosmopolitanism can allow for the political self-determination of states, and whether cosmopolitanism can account for the basis of duties of justice absent the existence of political communities.
In this contribution to a symposium on "Conformism," I comment on two of the many mechanisms producing conformity: coordination and esteem. First, I set forth one point about conformity in coordination settings - that there can be a strong stability to conventions in which the required behavior varies by the observable physical differences among human beings, such as sex and those that come to be associated with race. In a certain class of important games, observable personal differences work to "break symmetry," which significantly changes the possible outcomes to the game. Second, I explain the claim that human beings desire the esteem of others and then discuss how this simple preference can produce significant conformity. As with coordination, one implication is that esteem-seeking among strangers is likely to make behaviorally relevant the distinctions among individuals that even a stranger will know, i.e., observable physical traits, including sex and race. In both cases - coordination and esteem - I emphasize some inegalitarian (and illiberal) types of conformity.
Recent work in personal identity has emphasized the importance of various conventions, or "person-directed practices" in the determination of personal identity. An interesting question arises as to whether we should think that there are any entities that have, in some interesting sense, conventional identity conditions. We think that the best way to understand such work about practices and conventions is the strongest and most radical. If these considerations are correct, persons are, on our view, conventional constructs: they are in part constituted by certain conventions. A person exists only if the relevant conventions exist. A person will be a conscious being of a certain kind combined with a set of conventions. Some of those conventions are encoded in the being itself, so requiring the conventions to exist is requiring the conscious being to be organized in a particular way. In most cases the conventions in question are settled. There is no dispute about what the conventions are, and thus no dispute about which events a person can survive. These are cases where we take the conventions so much for granted, that it is easy to forget that they are there, and that they are necessary constituents of persons. Sometimes though, conventions are not settled. Sometimes there is a dispute about what the conventions should be, and thus a dispute about what events a person can survive. These are the traditional puzzle cases of personal identity. That it appears that conventions play a part in determining persons' persistence conditions only in these puzzle cases is explained by the fact that only in these cases are the conventions unsettled. Settled or not though, conventions are necessary constituents of persons.