I Argue (i + argue)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Humanities and Social Sciences

Kinds of I Argue

  • article i argue
  • paper i argue

  • Selected Abstracts

    On the Compatibility of a Conservation Ethic with Biological Science

    Darwinismo; estética; ética de conservación; teología Abstract:,If value entails or implies purpose, it follows that natural objects (e.g., endangered species) lack value and thus cannot be worth protecting except for a purpose they may serve,either the end for which God created the world (according to natural theology) or some use to which human beings may put them (according to a consequentialist or utilitarian ethic). If value requires purpose, the refutation of natural theology after Darwin implies that humanity has no obligation to respect or preserve the natural world except insofar as it is economically efficient to do so. Drawing on the distinction between explanation and communication found in Calvinist theology, I argue that value does not entail purpose. The expressive, aesthetic, or communicative aspects of nature may be valuable or endow natural objects with value apart from any use or purpose these objects may serve. The crucial distinction between explanation and communication,one scientific, the other aesthetic,offers a rationale for an obligation to protect the natural world that may appeal to members of faith communities and to biologists and other scientists. This approach also helps resolve the "lurking inconsistency" some scholars see in the relationship between a deterministic biological science and a conservationist ethic. Resumen:,Si el valor conlleva o implica propósito, se entiende que los objetos naturales (e.g., especies en peligro) carecen de valor y por lo tanto no merecen ser protegidos excepto porque pueden servir para el fin por el que Dios creó al mundo (de acuerdo con la teología natural) o para algún uso asignado por humanos (de acuerdo con la ética consecuentalista o utilitaria). Si el valor requiere propósito, la refutación de la teología natural después de Darwin implica que la humanidad no tiene obligación para respetar o preservar el mundo natural excepto si es económicamente eficiente hacerlo. Con base en la distinción entre explicación y comunicación encontrada en la teología Calvinista, argumento que el valor no implica propósito. Los aspectos expresivos, estéticos o comunicativos de la naturaleza pueden ser valiosos o proveer valor a los objetos naturales independientemente de cualquier uso o propósito que puedan tener estos objetos. La distinción crucial entre explicación y comunicación,una científica y la otra estética,ofrece un fundamento para la obligación de proteger el mundo natural que pueda interesar a miembros de comunidades religiosas, a biólogos y otros científicos. Este método también ayuda a resolver la "inconsistencia al acecho" en la relación entre una ciencia biológica determinista y una ética conservacionista que algunos académicos ven. [source]


    CRIMINOLOGY, Issue 4 2007
    This study analyzes the work of William H. Sheldon, the psychologist, physician, and advocate of the study of body types. It investigates how he arrived at his much-repeated finding that a correlation exists between mesomorphy (a stocky, muscular body build) and delinquency and how his ideas were validated and perpetuated. It reviews what Sheldon actually said about the causes of crime; identifies his goals in searching for a relationship between body shape and criminality; explains how he found audiences for his biological theory at a time when sociological approaches dominated criminology; and attempts to understand the current criminological ambivalence about the scientific status of Sheldon's work, despite its discreditation decades ago. I argue that the tripartite structure of Sheldon's thought attracted three different audiences,methodologists, social scientists, and supporters,and that it encouraged the supporters to fund his research without reference to the critiques of the social scientists. I also argue that somatotyping was part of a broader antimodernist reaction within international scientific communities against the dislocations of twentieth-century life. To understand the origins, acceptance, and maintenance of criminological ideas, we need a historical perspective on figures of the past. Positivism may inform us about what is true and false, but we also need to know how truth and falsity have been constructed over time and how the ideas of earlier criminologists were shaped by their personal and social contexts. [source]


    Research Summary: This article examines a chain of policy directives concerning self-injury inside federal correctional facilities in Canada. Specific attention is paid to the impact of these policies on federally sentenced women. I argue that the Correctional Service of Canada's focus on risk assessment fails to address the needs of the women they confine. Instead, women's needs are reconceptualized as institutional risk factors. Policy Implications: Women who self-injure are still routinely disciplined for their behaviour in Federal Canadian prisons through admittance to administrative segregation. This policy challenges two sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (s. 7 and s. 15) and must be changed. In this article, I will recommend a new women-centered approach to replace current practice. [source]


    ABSTRACT This essay examines inmate "crucifixion protests" in Ecuador's largest prison during 2003,04. It shows how the preventively incarcerated,of whom there are thousands,managed to effectively denounce their extralegal confinement by embodying the violence of the Christian crucifixion story. This form of protest, I argue, simultaneously clarified and obscured the multiple layers of sovereign power that pressed down on urban crime suspects, who found themselves persecuted and forsaken both outside and within the space of the prison. Police enacting zero-tolerance policies in urban neighborhoods are thus a key part of the penal state, as are the politically threatened family members of the indicted, the sensationalized local media, distrustful neighbors, prison guards, and incarcerated mafia. The essay shows how the politico-theological performance of self-crucifixion responded to these internested forms of sovereign violence, and were briefly effective. The inmates' cross intervention hence provides a window into the way sovereignty works in the Ecuadorean penal state, drawing out how incarceration trends and new urban security measures interlink, and produce an array of victims. [source]


    ABSTRACT This essay considers the process of remediation in two North American reproductions of the song-and-dance sequence Jaan Pehechaan Ho from the 1965 "Bollywood" film Gumnaam. The song was used in the opening sequence of the 2001 U.S. independent film Ghost World as a familiar-but-strange object of ironic bewilderment and fantasy for its alienated teenage protagonist Enid. But a decade before Ghost World's release, Jaan Pehechaan Ho had already become the lynchpin of a complex debate about cultural appropriation and multicultural identity for an "alternative" audience in the United States. I illustrate this through an ethnographic analysis of a 1994 videotape of the Heavenly Ten Stems, an experimental rock band in San Francisco, whose performance of the song was disrupted by a group of activists who perceived their reproduction as a mockery. How is Bollywood film song, often itself a kitschy send-up of American popular culture, remediated differently for different projects of reception? How do these cycles of appropriation create overlapping conditions for new identities,whether national, diasporic, or "alternative",within the context of transcultural media consumption? In drawing out the "ghost world" of Bollywood's juxtapositions, I argue that the process of remediation produces more than just new forms and meanings of media, but is constitutive of the cosmopolitan subjects formed in its global circulations. [source]

    DISLOCATING SOUNDS: The Deterritorialization of Indonesian Indie Pop

    ABSTRACT Anthropologists often read the localization or hybridization of cultural forms as a kind of default mode of resistance against the forces of global capitalism, a means through which marginalized ethnic groups maintain regional distinctiveness in the face of an emergent transnational order. But then what are we to make of musical acts like Mocca and The Upstairs, Indonesian "indie" groups who consciously delocalize their music, who go out of their way, in fact, to avoid any references to who they are or where they come from? In this essay, I argue that Indonesian "indie pop," a self-consciously antimainstream genre drawing from a diverse range of international influences, constitutes a set of strategic practices of aesthetic deterritorialization for middle-class Indonesian youth. Such bands, I demonstrate, assemble sounds from a variety of international genres, creating linkages with international youth cultures in other places and times, while distancing themselves from those expressions associated with colonial and nationalist conceptions of ethnicity, working-class and rural sensibilities, and the hegemonic categorical schema of the international music industry. They are part of a new wave of Indonesian musicians stepping onto the global stage "on their own terms" and insisting on being taken seriously as international, not just Indonesian, artists, and in the process, they have made indie music into a powerful tool of reflexive place making, a means of redefining the very meaning of locality vis-à-vis the international youth cultural movements they witness from afar. [source]

    CONSUMING CLASS: Multilevel Marketers in Neoliberal Mexico

    ABSTRACT Since the 1980s, Mexican leaders have followed other Latin American countries in pursuing neoliberal economic policies designed to stimulate foreign investment, reduce public spending, and promote free trade. Recent studies of indigenous movements and popular protests challenge the idea that these market-based economic reforms enjoy a broad consensus and suggest that elites impose them by force. By turning the focus to middle-class Mexicans, I argue that some nonelite sectors of society avidly welcome the reign of the free market. Although they do not profit directly from unregulated capitalism, the middle class looks to neoliberalism to ensure access to the material markers of class status. The rising popularity of multilevel marketing companies in Mexico, which glorify consumption and celebrate the possibilities of entrepreneurship, demonstrates the appeal of neoliberalism to citizens fearful of diminished purchasing power. By tying consumption to globalized free markets, neoliberalism does not need coercion to win acceptance. [source]

    GOOD GIFTS FOR THE COMMON GOOD: Blood and Bioethics in the Market of Genetic Research

    This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with the Indian community in Houston, as part of a NIH,NHGRI-sponsored ethics study and sample collection initiative entitled "Indian and Hindu Perspectives on Genetic Variation Research." At the heart of this research is one central exchange,blood samples donated for genetic research,that draws both the Indian community and a community of researchers into an encounter with bioethics. I consider the meanings that come to be associated with blood donation as it passes through various hands, agendas, and associated ethical filters on its way to the lab bench: how and why blood is solicited, how the giving and taking of blood is rationalized, how blood as material substance is alienated, processed, documented, and made available for the promised ends of basic science research. Examining corporeal substances and asking what sorts of gifts and problems these represent, I argue, sheds some light on two imbricated tensions expressed by a community of Indians, on the one hand, and of geneticists and basic science researchers, on the other hand: that gifts ought to be free (but are not), and that science ought to be pure (but is not). In this article, I explore how experiences of bioethics are variously shaped by the histories and habits of Indic giving, prior sample collection controversies, commitments to "good science" and the common "good of humanity," and negotiations of the sites where research findings circulate. [source]

    REMEDIATION AND LOCAL GLOBALIZATIONS: How Taiwan's "Digital Video Knights-Errant Puppetry" Writes the History of the New Media in Chinese

    This article analyzes the Pili International Multimedia Company's "digital video knights-errant puppetry" serials, a popular culture genre unique to Taiwan, to answer two questions. First, how do digital technologies, originally developed to meet the needs of the American military and entertainment industries, become embedded in a different cultural context? Second, how does this embedding allow media technologies to become something through which distinctly local models of globalization itself may be imagined? Analyzing both the style of the serials and the discourse of producers and fans, I argue that new media technologies, despite their foreign origins, may not only be adapted or resisted, but may also come to be imagined as emerging from local aesthetics and local needs. Through the specific ways they utilize both digital and traditional technologies, the Pili producers and fans construct a utopian vision of what globalization might look like if Taiwan were at the center. [source]

    Longing for the Kollektiv: Gender, Power, and Residential Schools in Central Siberia

    Alexia Bloch
    Interpretations of post-Soviet subjectivities have tended to emphasize the ways in which subjects experience these with a sense of liberation from a monolithic socialist state; however, local responses to post-Soviet forms of power have varied widely. In the case of indigenous Siberians in the 1990s, an older generation of Evenk women expressed positive feelings about their experience as students in the Soviet-era residential schools that continue to shape their subjectivity in the post-Soviet present. Evenk subjectivities, as with those of other indigenous Siberians, have been significantly formed through the institution of the residential school and, by extension, through a range of interactions with state power as it has been locally remade and interpreted in the 1990s. In this article, I explore the widespread nostalgia associated with the residential school. Drawing on the narratives of elderly Evenk women, I argue that such expressions of Evenk nostalgia for the socialist era are a form of critique of the neoliberal logics emerging in Russia today. In this respect, Evenk women's accounts allow us to explore negotiations of power in a post-Soviet era and to examine how ideologies shape conceptions of self and the social order more broadly. [source]

    Geeks, Social Imaginaries, and Recursive Publics

    Christopher Kelty
    This article investigates the social, technical, and legal affiliations among "geeks" (hackers, lawyers, activists, and IT entrepreneurs) on the Internet. The mode of association specific to this group is that of a "recursive public sphere" constituted by a shared imaginary of the technical and legal conditions of possibility for their own association. On the basis of fieldwork conducted in the United States, Europe, and India, I argue that geeks imagine their social existence and relations as much through technical practices (hacking, networking, and code writing) as through discursive argument (rights, identities, and relations). In addition, they consider a "right to tinker" a form of free speech that takes the form of creating, implementing, modifying, or using specific kinds of software (especially Free Software) rather than verbal discourse. [source]

    Discipline and the Arts of Domination: Rituals of Respect in Chimborazo, Ecuador

    Barry J. Lyons
    Mestizo and indigenous authorities on 20th-century highland Ecuadorian haciendas exercised authority through culturally hybrid practices of ritual discipline. Rather than opposing force to persuasion, I argue that hacienda discipline used coercion as part of a strategy of persuasion. This argument is tied to a social-structural as well as cultural notion of hegemony: By regulating internal social relations, authorities linked their power to the notion of morality and "respect" held by subordinates, thereby also shaping the latter's understanding of resistance. [source]

    The Artist in Society: Understandings, Expectations, and Curriculum Implications

    CURRICULUM INQUIRY, Issue 3 2008
    ABSTRACT Disparate and contradicting assumptions about culture play a significant role in how the artist is constructed in the public imagination. These assumptions have important implications for how young artists should be educated and for the curriculum of artistic education. In this article, I theorize three conceptions of the role of the artist in society and the challenge they present for artistic education. I discuss three theoretical conceptions: the artist as Cultural "Civilizer," the artist as "Border Crosser," and the artist as "Representator." Although markedly different, these three conceptions all view the artist as an agent playing an active role in society, or a type of "cultural worker." I argue that these different views of the artist are grounded on different cultural discourses, that each of these discourses constructs the artist as an individual in a particular way, and that each view of the artist corresponds to specific institutions that mediate the role of the artist in society. Furthermore, I suggest the implications that each of these views has for the curriculum of artistic education and the preparation of cultural workers. I suggest that a contemporary artistic education grounded on these views should affirm the role of the artist in the public sphere of a democratic society. [source]

    Drifters and the Dancing Mad: The Public School Music Curriculum and the Fabrication of Boundaries for Participation

    CURRICULUM INQUIRY, Issue 3 2008
    ABSTRACT Recent reforms in the general music curriculum have, for the most part, failed to lessen the attrition rates of African Americans from public school music programs. In this article I assert that an embodied ideal of cultural nobility, exemplified by Auguste Rodin's famous statue, The Thinker, has unconsciously operated as a template for participation. As a model comportment in the Western musical tradition, The Thinker has a broader relevance insofar as other school subjects emerged from similar cultural ideals. Beginning with the early period of public music instruction up to the present, I examine the construction of racial boundaries by linking a specific body comportment hailed as worthy by the music curriculum to historically constructed notions of Whiteness. This issue has been underexplored in research in both music and general education. For that reason, this article examines overlapping systems of reasoning about music, comportment, class, religion, language, nationality, and race in professional and popular texts from the early 1800s to the present. This positions public music instruction as authored, not by pedagogical insight alone, but through changes in musical taste, social practices, strategies of governing populations, and definitions of worthy citizenship. There are three levels of analysis. The first is a personal account of the early manifestations of attrition of African Americans from school music programs. The second level of analysis brings the problem of equity into proximity with the tradition of genteel comportment that permeated the training of the good ear or listener and the fabrication of the bona fide citizen. These, I argue are congruent with the historical construction of Whiteness as a standard mark of worthiness. At the third level of analysis, I take up present-day curriculum designs. This section discusses how the language of the music curriculum continues to draw boundaries for participation through protocols that regulate musical response. Here, I argue that the exclusion of popular genres such as hip-hop should be rethought in light of the evidence that shifting historical definitions for music fabricated an overly restrictive template for comportment, recognizing the prototype of Whiteness as the sole embodiment of merit. [source]

    Rereading the Dominant Narrative of Mentoring

    CURRICULUM INQUIRY, Issue 4 2000
    Alexandra Semeniuk
    Mentoring is currently being promoted as an effective means of easing new teachers' transition from preservice programs to the profession.. At the same time it is seen as a way of providing teacher development for those teachers with more experience. Furthermore researchers promote mentoring as a force for change to diminish isolation and promote teacher collaboration. In this article I present an overview,the dominant narrative,of some recent research on formalized mentoring programs in education. Bringing this material together reveals that researchers are virtually unanimous in their enthusiasm for these initiatives. A dialogue which took place between me and a colleague/friend about what we construed as our mentoring relationshippotentially serves as a counternarrative to this prevalent story. Through an analysis of the educational research and the personal narrative, I suggest that the widely accepted view of mentoring may need to be reread, particularly in relation to language: mentoring's meaning is now imprecise because it is used as an umbrella term for many kinds of affiliations in teaching. Inrereading our narrative I argue that my colleague/friend and I did not act as each other's mentor. Rather, our professional association became entwined with the friendship we developed over time. I maintain that by doing a similar rereading of the research on mentoring in education we might find richer and more precise language to describe how we as teachers can assist one another in becoming sophisticated professionals. [source]

    Learning from Difference: Considerations for Schools as Communities

    CURRICULUM INQUIRY, Issue 3 2000
    Carolyn M. Shields
    In today's highly complex and heterogeneous public schools, the current notion of schools as homogeneous communities with shared beliefs, norms, and alues is inadequate. Drawing on Barth's (1990) question of how to use ifference as a resource, I take up ideas from feminism, multiculturalism, and inclusive education to consider the development of community in schools. I argue that despite the valuable contributions of these theoretical perspectives, each lso includes the potential for increased fragmentation and polarization. As we consider how to use differences as a foundation for community, it is important ot to reify any particular perspective, thus marginalizing others and erecting new barriers. Explicitly embracing the need to identify and respect difference, being open to new ideas without taking an exclusionary position, and committing to ongoing participation in dialogical processes may help schools to develop as more authentic communities of difference. Among the dominant issues identified in today's climate of turbulent educational reform are concerns about how to restructure schools to ensure equality of student opportunity and excellence of instruction (Elmore, 1990; Lieberman, 1992; Murphy, 1991). Many proposals include modifying present leadership and governance structures, overcoming the hegemony of existing power bases, developing mechanisms for accountability, enhancing professionalism, and co-ordinating community resources. One of the suggestions frequently made to address these issues is to change from a focus on schools as organizations to a recognition of schools as communities (Barth, 1990; Fullan, 1993; Lupart & Webber, 1996; Senge, 1990). However, despite the widespread use of the metaphor of community as an alternative to the generally accepted concept of schools as rational or functional organizations, there seems to be little clarity about the concept of community, what it might look like, how it might be implemented, or what policies might sustain it. Indeed, theories about schools as communities have often drawn from Tönnies (1887/1971) concept of gemeinschaft,a concept which perhaps evokes a more homogeneous and romanticized view of the past than one which could be helpful for improving education in today's dynamic, complex, and heterogeneous context (Beck & Kratzer, 1994; Sergiovanni, 1994a). More recently, several writers (Fine et al., 1997; Furman, 1998; Shields & Seltzer, 1997) have advanced the notion of communities of otherness or difference. These authors have suggested that rather than thinking of schools as communities that exist because of a common affiliation to an established school ethos or tradition, it might be more helpful to explore an alternative concept. A school community founded on difference would be one in which the common centre would not be taken as a given but would be co-constructed from the negotiation of disparate beliefs and values as participants learn to respect, and to listen to, each other. In this concept, bonds among members are not assumed, but forged, and boundaries are not imposed but negotiated. Over the past eight years, as I have visited and worked with a large number of schools trying earnestly to address the needs of their diverse student bodies, I have become increasingly aware of the limitations of the concept of community used in the gemeinschaft sense with its emphasis on shared values, norms, and beliefs, and have begun to reflect on the question framed by Barth (1990): ,How can we make conscious, deliberate use of differences in social class, gender, age, ability, race, and interest as resources for learning?' (p. 514). In this article, I consider how learning from three of these areas of difference: gender, race, and ability, may help us to a better understanding of educational community. This article begins with some illustrations and examples from practice, moves to consider how some theoretical perspectives may illuminate them, and concludes with reflections on how the implications of the combined reflections on practice and theory might actually help to reconceptualize and to improve practice. While it draws heavily on questions and impressions which have arisen out of much of my fieldwork, it is not intended to be an empirical paper, but a conceptual one,one which promotes reflection and discussion on the concept of schools as communities of difference. The examples of life in schools taken from longitudinal research studies in which I have been involved demonstrate several common ways in which difference is dealt with in today's schools and some of the problems inherent in these approaches. Some ideas drawn from alternative perspectives then begin to address Barth's question of how to make deliberate use of diversity as a way of thinking about community. Taken together, I hope that these ideas will be helpful in creating what I have elsewhere called ,schools as communities of difference' (Shields & Seltzer, 1997). [source]


    ABSTRACT Relatively little has been written about the ethics of conducting early phase clinical trials involving subjects from the developing world. Below, I analyze ethical issues surrounding one of gene transfer's most widely praised studies conducted to date: in this study, Italian investigators recruited two subjects from the developing world who were ineligible for standard of care because of economic considerations. Though the study seems to have rendered a cure in these two subjects, it does not appear to have complied with various international guidelines that require that clinical trials conducted in the developing world be responsive to their populations' health needs. Nevertheless, policies devised to address large scale, late stage trials, such as the AZT short-course placebo trials, map somewhat awkwardly to early phase studies. I argue that interest in conducting translational research in the developing world, particularly in the context of hemophilia trials, should motivate more rigorous ethical thinking around clinical trials involving economically disadvantaged populations. [source]

    An Appeal to Aid Specialists

    Keith Horton
    The appeal I am making is (roughly speaking) for aid specialists to do more to help those of us who are not aid specialists to arrive at judgments about the effects of the work of (voluntary) aid agencies that we have at least some reason to think accurate. I argue that the fact that it is so difficult for us to arrive at such judgments at present has certain negative consequences, and that this gives those who are in a position to make it easier for us to arrive at such judgments strong reasons to do so. And I argue that (certain) aid specialists are in such a position. Hence my appeal to them to do so. [source]

    The evolutionary psychology of left and right: Costs and benefits of lateralization

    Giorgio VallortigaraArticle first published online: 2 AUG 200
    Abstract Why do the left and right sides of the vertebrate brain play different functions? Having a lateralized brain, in which each hemisphere carries out different functions, is ubiquitous among vertebrates. The different specialization of the left and right side of the brain may increase brain efficiency,and some evidence for that is reported here. However, lateral biases due to brain lateralization (such as preferences in the use of a limb or, in animals with laterally placed eyes, of a visual hemifield) usually occur at the population level, with most individuals showing similar direction of bias. Individual brain efficiency does not require the alignment of lateralization in the population. Why then are not left- and right-type individuals equally common? Not only humans, but most vertebrates show a similar pattern. For instance, in the paper I report evidence that most toads, chickens, and fish react faster when a predator approaches from the left. I argue that invoking individual brain efficiency (lateralization may increase fitness), evolutionary chance or direct genetic mechanisms cannot explain this widespread pattern. Instead, using concepts from mathematical theory of games, I show that alignment of lateralization at the population level may arise as an "evolutionarily stable strategy" when individually asymmetrical organisms must coordinate their behavior with that of other asymmetrical organisms. Thus, the population structure of lateralization may result from genes specifying the direction of asymmetries which have been selected under "social" pressures. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 48: 418,427, 2006. [source]

    Shadow-Experiences and the Phenomenal Structure of Colors

    DIALECTICA, Issue 2 2010
    René Jagnow
    It is a common assumption among philosophers of perception that phenomenal colors are exhaustively characterized by the three phenomenal dimensions of the color solid: hue, saturation and lightness. The hue of a color is its redness, blueness or yellowness, etc. The saturation of a color refers to the strength of its hue in relation to gray. The lightness of a color determines its relation to black and white. In this paper, I argue that the phenomenology of shadows forces us to consider illumination as an additional dimension of phenomenal colors. For this purpose, I will first introduce two different interpretations of shadow-experiences, which Chalmers has called the simple and the complex interpretations, and show that they both fail to account for important phenomenal facts about shadow-experiences. I will then introduce my own alternative interpretation based on the idea that illumination is a dimension of phenomenal colors and explain how it can account for these facts. [source]

    Should I Believe the Truth?

    DIALECTICA, Issue 2 2010
    Daniel Whiting
    Many philosophers hold that a general norm of truth governs the attitude of believing. In a recent and influential discussion, Krister Bykvist and Anandi Hattiangadi raise a number of serious objections to this view. In this paper, I concede that Bykvist and Hattiangadi's criticisms might be effective against the formulation of the norm of truth that they consider, but suggest that an alternative is available. After outlining that alternative, I argue that it is not vulnerable to objections parallel to those Bykvist and Hattiangadi advance, although it might initially appear to be. In closing, I consider what bearing the preceding discussion has on important questions concerning the natures of believing and of truth. [source]

    Conceptual Equivocation and Epistemic Relevance

    DIALECTICA, Issue 2 2009
    Mikkel Gerken
    Much debate has surrounded "switching" scenarios in which a subject's reasoning is said to exhibit the fallacy of equivocation (Burge 1988; Boghossian 1992, 1994). Peter Ludlow has argued that such scenarios are "epistemically prevalent" and, therefore, epistemically relevant alternatives (Ludlow 1995a). Since a distinctive feature of the cases in question is that the subject blamelessly engages in conceptual equivocation, we may label them ,equivocational switching cases'. Ludlow's influential argument occurs in a discussion about compatibilism with regards to anti-individualism (or content externalism) and self-knowledge. However, the issue has wide-reaching consequences for many areas of epistemology. Arguably, the claim that equivocational switching cases are epistemically relevant may bear on the epistemology of inference, testimony, memory, group rationality and belief revision. Ludlow's argument proceeds from a now well-known "down to Earth" switching-case of a subject, Biff, who travels between the US and the UK. I argue that Ludlow's case-based argument fails to support the general claim that conceptual equivocational switching cases are prevalent and epistemically relevant. Thus, the discussion addresses the basis of some poorly understood issues regarding the epistemological consequences of anti-individualism. Simultaneously, the discussion is broadened from the narrow focus on self-knowledge. Finally, the critical discussion serves as the basis for some general reflections on epistemic relevance and the epistemic risks associated with conceptual equivocation. Specifically, I suggest that philosophy is an area where the risk of conceptual equivocation is extraordinarily high. [source]

    Are There Passive Desires?

    DIALECTICA, Issue 2 2009
    David Wall
    What is the relation between desire and action? According to a traditional, widespread and influential view I call ,The Motivational Necessity of Desire' (MN), having a desire that p entails being disposed to act in ways that you believe will bring about p. But what about desires like a desire that the committee chooses you without your needing to do anything, or a desire that your child passes her exams on her own? Such ,self-passive' desires are often given as a counter-example to MN. If MN is true then self-passive desires seem absurd: if someone has a self-passive desire she will be disposed to act, thereby preventing her from getting what she desires. But it seems that we can reasonably, and often do, have such desires. However, I argue that self-passive desires are not, in fact, counter-examples to MN: close consideration of the content of these desires, the contexts in which we ascribe them, and what is claimed by MN show that they are not a problem for that view. I also argue that strengthened versions of the examples are unsuccessful, and I offer a diagnosis of why these kinds of case are commonly thought to raise a challenge to MN. [source]

    Against Universal Mereological Composition

    DIALECTICA, Issue 4 2008
    Crawford Elder
    This paper opposes universal mereological composition (UMC). Sider defends it: unless UMC were true, he says, it could be indeterminate how many objects there are in the world. I argue that there is no general connection between how widely composition occurs and how many objects there are in the world. Sider fails to support UMC. I further argue that we should disbelieve in UMC objects. Existing objections against them say that they are radically unlike Aristotelian substances. True, but there is a stronger objection. This is that they are characterized by no properties, and so fail to be like anything , even themselves. [source]

    Indirect Perceptual Realism and Multiple Reference

    DIALECTICA, Issue 3 2008
    Derek Brown
    Indirect realists maintain that our perceptions of the external world are mediated by our ,perceptions' of subjective intermediaries such as sensations. Multiple reference occurs when a word or an instance of it has more than one reference. I argue that, because indirect realists hold that speakers typically and unknowingly directly perceive something subjective and indirectly perceive something objective, the phenomenon of multiple reference is an important resource for their view. In particular, a challenge that A. D. Smith has recently put forward for indirect realists can be overcome by appreciating how multiple reference is likely to arise when a projectivist variety of indirect realism is interpreted by speakers adhering to a naïve direct realism. [source]

    Knowability, Closure, and Anti-Realism

    DIALECTICA, Issue 1 2008
    Sven Rosenkranz
    In light of the paradox of knowability anti-realists ought to revise their wholesale equation of truth and knowability, lest they be committed to the absurd conclusion that there are no truths that will never be known. The task accordingly becomes to identify the problematic statements the knowability of whose truth would force that conclusion and to restrict the equation in appropriate ways to all but the problematic statements. This restriction strategy was first implemented by Tennant. However, recently Williamson and Brogaard and Salerno have argued that the restriction strategy, and in particular Tennant's implementation of it, fail to avert the paradoxical conclusion. Here I argue, first, that the arguments devised by Brogaard and Salerno are ineffective because they rely on an invalid closure principle and, second, that while Williamson's argument may suffice to undermine Tennant's specific proposal, it fails to discredit the restriction strategy as such. To this end, I give a better characterisation of the problematic cases, which is immune to Williamson's criticism, and then show how the restricted anti-realist thesis fares in light of the meaning-theoretical arguments anti-realists typically advance in support of their view. [source]

    Seeing What is the Kind Thing to Do: Perception and Emotion in Morality

    DIALECTICA, Issue 3 2007
    Peter Goldie
    I argue that it is possible, in the right circumstances, to see what the kind thing is to do: in the right circumstances, we can, literally, see deontic facts, as well as facts about others' emotional states, and evaluative facts. In arguing for this, I will deploy a notion of non-inferential perceptual belief or judgement according to which the belief or judgement is arrived at non-inferentially in the phenomenological sense (in the sense of involving no conscious reasoning on the subject's part) and yet is inferential in the epistemic sense (in the sense of being justifiable by the subject after the belief or judgement has been arrived at). The ability to arrive at these kinds of beliefs and judgements is part of virtue, and is also part of what it is to grasp thick ethical concepts in an engaged way. When we come to thinner evaluative and deontic facts and thinner ethical concepts, however, the requirements for non-inferential perceptual belief and judgement are less easily met. Seeing what is the kind thing to do is one matter; seeing what is the right thing to do is another. [source]

    What Does the Conservation of Energy Have to Do with Physicalism?

    DIALECTICA, Issue 4 2006
    Barbara Montero
    The conservation of energy law, a law of physics that states that the total energy of any closed system is always conserved, is a bedrock principle that has achieved both broad theoretical and experimental support. Yet if interactive dualism is correct, it is thought that the mind can affect physical objects in violation of the conservation of energy. Thus, some claim, the conservation of energy grounds an argument for physicalism. Although critics of the argument focus on the implausibility of causation requiring the transference of energy, I argue that even if causation requires the transference of energy, once we accept the other required premises of the argument that lie behind any supposed argument from the conservation of energy the law of the conservation of energy is revealed as irrelevant to the question of whether the mental is physical. [source]

    Emotion, Perception and Perspective

    DIALECTICA, Issue 1 2006
    Julien A. Deonna
    The content of an emotion, unlike the content of a perception, is directly dependent on the motivational set of the subject experiencing the emotion. Given the instability of this motivational set, it might be thought that there is no sense in which emotions can be said to pick up information about the environment in the same way that perception does. Whereas it is admitted that perception tracks for us what is the case in the environment, no such tracking relation, it is argued, holds between one's emotions and what they are about. It is to this worry , that the construal of the emotions as perceptions inevitably raises , that this paper tries to respond. In this paper, I suggest that when it is realized that one dimension of perception itself is directly dependent on the perceiver's perspective on her environment, then emotion, which is also essentially perspectival in this sense, bears the comparison with perception very well. After having clarified the nature and the role that perspective plays in perception, I argue that, in the case of emotions, the same perspectival role can be played by agents' long-standing evaluative tendencies and character traits. The resulting conception of emotion as perception is then tested against possible objections. [source]

    On What Powers Cannot Do

    DIALECTICA, Issue 3 2005
    Joel Katzav
    Dispositionalism is the view that the world is, ultimately, just a world of objects and their irreducible dispositions, and that such dispositions are, ultimately, the sole explanatory ground for the occurrence of events. This view is motivated, partly, by arguing that it affords, while non-necessitarian views of laws of nature do not afford, an adequate account of our intuitions about which regularities are non-accidental. I, however, argue that dispositionalism cannot adequately account for our intuitions about which regularities are non-accidental. Further, I argue that, intuitions aside, if we suppose that our world contains objects along with their irreducible dispositions, we must suppose, on pain of logical incoherence, that it contains laws of nature that are incompatible with a dispositionalist ontology. Indeed, if we suppose a world of objects and irreducible dispositions, we will have to suppose that the most prominent views of laws of nature currently on offer are all inadequate. [source]