This article discusses some of the most important recent controversies in the psychology of Plato’s Republic. These include its views on akratic action, the capacities of the parts of the soul, and the distinction between the rational part of the soul and the nonrational parts. It argues that the Republic accepts the possibility of synchronic akratic action, that is, action contrary to the agent’s belief about what is overall best at the time of action. It then considers some recent arguments that the lower parts of the soul, especially the Appetitive part, are cognitively primitive. Against these views, this article argues that the Appetitive part is capable of means-end reasoning and of forming a conception of its own good. Finally, this article argues that Plato’s distinction between the rational and the nonrational parts of the soul is to be understood in terms of the intelligible versus sensible distinction.
This essay attempts to answer three questions about Aristotle’s account of agency: (1) What is an action? (2) Under what conditions is an action voluntary or intentional? (3) What is the relation between an agent and an action when he or she acts voluntarily? This article focuses on those actions that are processes, taking as its starting point Aristotle’s account of processes and capacities in the Physics to suggest that this account underlies his discussion of actions there and elsewhere. In the second part, it is argued that, in the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle, is concerned with analyzing intentional action in terms of an agent’s capacities (or skills) and their desired goals and knowledge. The final part of the essay contrasts Aristotle’s views of agency with some recent proposals in the philosophy of action.
Christopher C. W. Taylor
For Aristotle,phronēsis, the excellence of the practical intellect, is two-fold, consisting of a true conception of the end to be achieved by action and correct deliberation about the means to achieve that end. Three accounts have been given as to how that true conception of the end is acquired: i) by virtue of character, ii) by dialectic, i.e. critical reasoning concerning authoritative beliefs, and iii) by induction from data of experience. Virtue of character is the proper responsiveness of the appetitive element in the soul to reason; it is itself a rational state, presupposing a prior grasp of the end by the intellect. Dialectic and experience are each required for the attainment of that grasp, the role of the former being apparently to formulate more or less indeterminate principles that it is the task of moral experience to make determinate.
Mitchell S. Green
Assertion is here approached as a social practice developed through cultural evolution. This perspective will facilitate inquiry into questions concerning what role assertion plays in communicative life, what norms it is subject to, and whether every viable linguistic community must have a practice of assertion. The author’s evolutionary perspective will further enable us to ask how assertion relates to other communicative practices such as conversational implicature, indirect speech acts, presupposition, and, more broadly, the kinematics of conversation. It will also motivate a resolution of debates between conventionalist and intentionalist approaches to this speech act by explaining how those who make assertions can embody their intentions to perform an act of a certain kind. The chapter closes with a discussion of how assertoric practice can be compromised by patterns of malfeasance on the part of a speaker and by injustice within her milieu.
Dorit Bar-On and Kate Nolfi
A fundamental puzzle about self-knowledge is this: spontaneous, unreflective self-attributions of beliefs and other mental states (avowals) appear to be at once epistemically groundless and epistemically privileged. On the one hand, it seems that avowals simply do not require justification or evidence. On the other hand, avowals seem to represent a substantive epistemic achievement. Several authors have tried to explain away avowals’ groundlessness by appeal to the so-called transparency of present-tense self-attributions. After a critical discussion of two extant construals of transparency, this article presents an alternative reading of transparency (based on neo-expressivism about avowals) that explains, without explaining away, the apparent groundlessness of avowals. The article goes on to explore a way of coupling this alternative reading with a plausible account of how it is that ordinary avowals can represent genuine knowledge of present states of mind.
Maria van der Schaar
This article was commissioned as a supplement to theOxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy, edited by Michael Beaney. It focuses on the psychological origins of analytic philosophy. Analytic psychology influenced the emergence of a new method in philosophy and the crucial changes to the notions of judgement and intentionality at the end of the nineteenth century. In particular, G. F. Stout’s analytic psychology played an important role in the formation of Moore’s and Russell’s early analytic philosophy. Through Stout, the account of judgement and intentionality given by Brentano and Twardowski also had a significant influence on the development of early analytic philosophy.
The fact that the term ‘feminism’ was only coined at the end of the 19th century and that there was no generally recognized founding figure in the battle for women’s rights makes it hard to delineate any widely accepted feminist tradition. Extensive interest in the ‘woman question’ across the century, however, led to widespread debate about sexual difference, gender hierarchy and the rights and duties of women. What would now be considered feminist ideas covered a wide range of issues including the meaning of sexual difference, the intellectual and practical capacities of women, the oppressive nature of marital and family life as well as the entitlement of women to education and to legal and political rights. Feminist ideas were articulated in many different forms: in literature, periodical essays, and increasingly in the second half of the century in polemical pamphlets and journals. These ideas underwent considerable change across the century as the radicalism of the late 18th and early 19th centuries gave way to a more moderate approach in the mid 19th century - and then to a reassertion of sexual radicalism as part of feminism in the later 19th century. The figure of Mary Wollstonecraft — first as a source of inspiration, then as a pariah figure and finally as one anticipating the ‘new woman’ of the 19th century is seen here as encapsulating the pattern of feminist ideas across the century.
Cartesianism constitutes a particular and crucial moment in the history of the relations between the aims of philosophy and feminist claims. This is explained by theoretical reasons (the new Cartesian science posits a human being that is fundamentally non-sexual and ungendered) and by practical reasons (the importance of the philosophical vocations for women and the feminist vocations for men that Cartesianism has permitted). Recent readings of Descartes (which see him either as a misogynist or as a philogynist) show that the theoretical connections between Cartesianism and feminism are strong: Cartesianism powerfully questions the relation of women to philosophy, both as subjects and as philosophical objects.
Daniel Z. Korman and Chad Carmichael
This article is intended as an introduction to the central questions about composition and a highly selective overview of various answers to those questions. §1 reviews some formal features of parthood that are important for understanding the nature of composition. §2 examines the special composition question: which pluralities of objects together compose something? §§3–4 examines the argument from vagueness for unrestricted composition. §5 addresses questions concerning the uniqueness of composition, coincident objects, hylomorphism, and the so-called grounding problem. §6 concernes the question of which composites existfundamentally.
Confucianism is an ethics tied intimately with political philosophy. According to the text that is the most reliable guide to the teachings of Confucius, the Analects (Lunyu), he took the Mandate of Heaven (tianming) as a guide. The Mandate was formulated during the early period of the Zhou dynasty to justify the overthrow of the Shang dynasty and to legitimate the rule of the Zhou kings. The Confucian diagnosis of China's troubles suggests that the way out of the turmoil required a moral transformation led by the top ranks of Chinese society, a return to the virtue of the early Zhou kings. This article discusses Confucianism and its relation to political philosophy, the role of ritual in the cultivation of goodness, the concepts of ren and junzi, filial piety, the debate between Mozi and Mencius over filial loyalty versus impartial concern, family as the paradigm in a relational and communal conception of political society, the goodness or badness of human nature and its relation to morality, perfectionism and harmony, democracy, rights, and gender equality.
In epistemology, contextualism is the view that the truth-conditions of knowledge claims vary with the contexts in which those claims are made. This article surveys the main arguments for contextualism, describes a variety of different approaches to developing the view, and discusses how contextualism has been used to treat the problem of radical skepticism. Many different objections to contextualism have appeared since the view first achieved prominence. This article explores and responds to a range of objections to contextualism, focusing particularly those arising from aspects of the linguistic behavior of the word “know” and its cognates. Finally, several alternatives to contextualism are described, including: traditional invariantism, contextualism’s original opponent; subject-sensitive invariantism, which emerged as a way of accommodating the primary data that motivates contextualism within an invariantist framework; and relativism, a new competitor according to which the truth-conditions of knowledge claims vary not with the context in which they are made, but the context in which they are assessed.
Inspired by Castañeda’s work, Perry and Lewis argued that first-personal thoughts (those we would naturally express by using the first person) have special features that call for a distinctive account and suggested rival explanations. In this chapter, the author first revises Perry’s and Lewis’s considerations and rival accounts from the perspective of recent debates on semantic content and reference. In part influenced by Castañeda’s and Perry’s and Lewis’s work, but also on independent bases, linguists have argued that the phenomenon has traces in the semantics of natural languages. The second section revises this aspect of the discussion, together with some recent skeptical considerations. Section three examines one of the epistemological issues that many think should be illuminated by an adequate account of first-personal thoughts, the distinction that Wittgenstein made between uses of “I” “as object” and “as subject” and a related phenomenon that Shoemaker introduced,immunity to error through misidentification(IEM).
This article examines the epistemic significance of peer disagreement. It pursues the following questions: (1) How does discovering that an epistemic equal disagrees with you affect your epistemic justification for holding that belief? (e.g., does the evidence of it give you a defeater for you belief?) and (2) Can you rationally maintain your belief in the face of such disagreement? This article explains and motivates each of the central positions, including steadfast views and conciliatory views of peer disagreement, while at the same time raising challenges for each of them. It concludes by speculating about new directions that the debate will take.
This article focuses on foundational issues in dynamic and static semantics, specifically on what is conceptually at stake between the dynamic framework and the truth-conditional framework, and consequently what kinds of evidence support each framework. The article examines two questions. First, it explores the consequences of taking the proposition as central semantic notion as characteristic of static semantics, and argues that this is not as limiting in accounting for discourse dynamics as many think. Specifically, it explores what it means for a static semantics to incorporate the notion of context change potential in a dynamic pragmatics and denies that this conception of static semantics requires that all updates to the context be eliminative and distributive. Second, it argues that the central difference between the two frameworks is whether semantics or pragmatics accounts for dynamics, and explores what this means for the oft-heard claim that dynamic semantics blurs the semantics/pragmatics distinction.
Christina van Dyke
Attitudes toward healthy eating and dietary choices are increasingly important components of how people conceive of (and judge) both themselves and others. This chapter examines orthorexia—a condition in which the subject becomes obsessed with identifying and maintaining the ideal diet, rigidly avoiding foods perceived as unhealthy or harmful—and it argues that the condition represents an extreme manifestation of sociocultural norms that people are all being pushed toward. These norms are highly gendered, however, and women and men are thus sometimes portrayed as if they were striving toward radically different goals in the elusive quest for perfect health. Yet what makes orthorexia destructive to both men and women is ultimately a common urge to transcend rather than to embrace the realities of embodiment. In short, orthorexia is best understood as a manifestation of age-old anxieties about human finitude and mortality—anxieties that current dominant sociocultural forces prime people to experience and express in unhealthy attitudes toward healthy eating.
No single theory of the emotions dominated the Middle Ages. Instead, there were several competing accounts, and differences of opinion—sometimes quite dramatic—within each account. Yet there is consensus on the scope and nature of a theory of the emotions, as well as on its place in affective psychology generally. For most medieval thinkers, emotions are at once cognitively penetrable and somatic, which is to say that emotions are influenced by and vary with changes in thought and belief, and that they are also bound up, perhaps essentially, with their physiological manifestations. This ‘mixed’ conception of emotions was broad enough to anchor medieval disagreements over details, yet rich enough to distinguish it from other parts of psychology and medicine.
Richard J. Bonnie and Heather Zelle
This chapter explores ethical issues in mental health policy from a public health perspective, with a focus on the United States. Ethical discourse about mental health treatment has typically focused on paradigmatic concepts of individual autonomy, competence, paternalism, and appropriate justifications for overriding individual decision-making and restricting individual liberty. This chapter focuses on overarching ethical challenges in mental health policy at the population level—enhancing access of persons with mental illness to preventive services and community supports, and facilitating their successful community integration. Achieving these goals can reduce the need for coercion and ameliorate the social burden and stigma of mental illness. Shifting ethical discourse to the population level is an important step in the continuing transformation of mental health care and policy in the twenty-first century.
The chapter analyses some of the ways in which three prominent philosophers from the nineteenth century—Schelling, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard—may be considered to participate in the philosophical movement which later would be known as Existentialism. The chapter uses the problem of the ‘death of God’ and its implicit critique of modernity as a starting point in order to discuss different aspects of what tend to be regarded as ‘typical existentialist topics’, such as the problem of morality, the problem of ‘becoming who you are’, or the complex relation between freedom and necessity. Accordingly, while the chapter focuses on some of the most significant works of these three authors, in order to explore their affinities with the so called ‘existentialist’ from the twentieth century it also includes numerous references to the works of Sartre and Camus. At the same time, these references also bring to light the problems and difficulties of placing different philosophers under one single label.
Werner Güth and Hartmut Kliemt
The originally Hobbesian ideal of twentieth-century neoclassical economics as a discipline that studies human interaction “more geometrico” as a scenery of interactive rational decision making is rejected. “Explaining” overt behavior as (if it were) the equilibrium outcome of opportunity seeking rational choices is impossible if the requirement of approximate truth of the explanans is upheld. Stylized accounts of some central experiments (prisoner’s dilemma, ultimatum, dictator, impunity games, double oral auctions) show why this is so and illustrate basic contributions of experimental economics in an exemplary manner. A somewhat detailed account of an experiment concerning “equity” shows the explanatory potential and “workings” of experimental economics and how its findings can contribute to traditional philosophical and psychological discussions. Why the Humean “attempt to introduce the experimental method of reasoning into moral subjects” must remain incomplete until experimental economics and experimental psychology become fully complementary research strategies is indicated as well.
Experimental philosophy applies empirical methods to traditional philosophical debates. This article begins with a brief discussion of the historical antecedents of experimental philosophy. It goes on to examine various ways of defining experimental philosophy, pointing out advantages and disadvantages of each. The article then discusses two motivations of experimental philosophy: the positive program views experimental philosophy as a way of gaining information about folk concepts, which can then be used as inputs to philosophical theorizing; the negative program aims to establish that intuitions are unreliable and therefore unsuited to play a role in philosophical theory. In describing each of these approaches, reference is made to representative experimental work. The article concludes with a discussion of some critiques of experimental philosophy.