Metaphysics

Learning whether p by bringing it about that p

Alice is driving to an appointment she doesn’t care much about. She is, however, curious whether she will arrive on time. To satisfy her curiosity, she stops driving, since she knows that if she stops driving, she won’t arrive on time. ¶ It seems a bit perverse to bring it about that p in order to know whether p. Yet there are cases where people do that. ¶ A straightforward family of cases is very pragmatic. You can only make preparations for something if you know what will happen, so you force a particular thing to happen. For instance, you can only book vacation travel when you know where you will decide to go—so, you decide where to go. ¶ One family of cases is linked to anxiety. Not knowing whether p can induce a lot of anxiety, and knowing for sure can relieve that anxiety. This is, presumably, one of the reasons why peopel turn themselves in for crimes: to relieve the anxiety of not knowing whether one will be arrested today, one ensures that one is arrested today. ¶ Another family is scientific. One arranges a laboratory setup in part precisely to know what the experimental setup is like. ¶ But the Alice case is different from all these. In all of the above cases, you seek knowledge whether p for the sake of something other than knowledge whether p: to buy plane tickets, to relieve anxiety, or to learn some other scientific facts. ¶ What seems... -

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Ethics Review Forum: McGrath’s “Moral Knowledge”, Reviewed by Wiland

¶ Welcome to our Ethics review forum on Sarah McGrath’s Moral Knowledge (OUP 2020), reviewed by Eric Wiland. ¶ Below, you’ll find a description of the book, as well as a condensed version of Eric’s review. Sarah’s response will appear in the comments. Please join Eric and Sarah in continuing the discussion! ¶ Book Blurb: ¶ Compared to other kinds of knowledge, how fragile is our knowledge of morality? Does knowledge of the difference between right and wrong fundamentally differ from knowledge of other kinds, in that it cannot be forgotten? What makes reliable evidence in fundamental moral convictions? And what are the associated problems of using testimony as a source of moral knowledge? Sarah McGrath provides novel answers to these questions and many... -

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Killing and letting die

It is murder to disconnect a patient who can only survive with a ventilator without consent and in order to inherit from them. ¶ Every murder is a killing. ¶ So, it is a killing to disconnect a patient who can only survive with a ventilator without consent and... -

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THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE

There are two possibilities and I have not the slightest idea which one of them is correct, but we will find out quite soon. The first possibility is that Biden genuinely believes that he can reach out across the aisle and legislate in the way that he did 30... -

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Challenges to Metaphysical Realism [Revised entry by Drew Khlentzos on January 25, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, model-theory-completeness.html, model-theory.html, notes.html] According to metaphysical realism, the world is as it is independent of how humans or other inquiring agents take it to be. The objects the world contains, together with their properties and the relations they enter into, fix the world's nature and these objects [together with the properties they have and the relations they enter into] exist independently... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Killing and letting die It is murder to disconnect a patient who can only survive with a ventilator without consent and in order to inherit from them. Every murder is a killing. So, it is a killing to disconnect a patient who can only survive with a ventilator without consent and in order to inherit from them. Whether an act is a killing does not depend on consent or intentions. So, it is a killing to disconnect a patient... Alexander Pruss -


Learning whether p by bringing it about that p Alice is driving to an appointment she doesn’t care much about. She is, however, curious whether she will arrive on time. To satisfy her curiosity, she stops driving, since she knows that if she stops driving, she won’t arrive on time. It seems a bit perverse to bring it about that p in order to know whether p. Yet there are cases where people do that. A straightforward family of cases is very pragmatic. You... Alexander Pruss -


THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE There are two possibilities and I have not the slightest idea which one of them is correct, but we will find out quite soon. The first possibility is that Biden genuinely believes that he can reach out across the aisle and legislate in the way that he did 30 years ago, continuing to believe that despite the experience of the Obama administration in which he played a central role. If he believes that, then he... The Philosopher’s Stone -


Mini-Heap Recent additions to the Heap of Links… A philosophical framework for political hope — Joe Biden’s inauguration speech and David Estlund’s (Brown) critiques of “utopophobia” “Moral knowledge can be acquired in any of the ways in which we acquire ordinary empirical knowledge” — a discussion of Sarah McGrath’s (Princeton) book defending this idea “The aim of transitional justice is to fundamentally alter the basic terms of interaction, both horizontally among citizens and vertically between citizens and officials” —... Daily Nous -


The Kiki-Bouba effect Look at the picture above. Which one of the two figures would you call Kiki and which one would you call Bouba? I guess that you’ll say that the left one with jagged shapes is Kiki and the right one with round shapes is Bouba. If so, you are not alone. More than 95% of all people who were asked this question gave the same answer. Moreover, it’s an intercultural phenomenon and it’s also independent... Philosophy by the Way -


First as Farce, Then as Tragedy? We all know Marx’s remark that history repeats itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce. Marx had in mind the tragedy of the fall of Napoleon I and the later farce of the reign of his nephew Napoleon III. Back in the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse remarked that the lesson of Nazism seems to be the opposite one: first as a farce (throughout the 1920s, Hitler and his gang were mostly taken as... The Philosophical Salon -


Freedom and the good life Following from his distinction between freedom and necessity, Martin Hägglund tells us that “The rational aim, then, is to reduce the realm of necessity and increase the realm of freedom.” (223) The rational aim of politics, perhaps. But the Disengaged Buddhists remind us how many of life’s problems politics cannot solve. And these problems go right to Hägglund’s own core concepts of freedom and necessity. Hägglund misses the point expressed in Ashleigh Brilliant’s wonderful epigram:... Love of All Wisdom -


A LITTLE SPECULATION WITHOUT BENEFIT OF MODERN MONEY THEORY Biden wants to spend $1.9 trillion to address a variety of problems caused by the vaccine. Needless to say, Republicans are now objecting to spending so much money that the federal government does not have. It is worth asking what such an expenditure will actually cost the government.   Since the government does not have the money, it must borrow it. It does this by issuing IOUs which are called treasury bills and treasury bonds.... The Philosopher’s Stone -


My Ancestors Slept Here by Lawrence Rifkin MD When I, mild-mannered guy, journeyed to wild remote Africa, I made sure my mind was revved up with knowledge of evolution, and my body was revved up with vaccinations of typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A, tetanus, polio, meningococcus, and measles. With the best of romantic intentions, in a small gift box, I had surprised my wife on our 25th wedding anniversary with two blank airplane tickets and a pencil. “Write in wherever... Reason and Meaning -


Realities ≤ Universes ≤ Worlds ≤ Cosmos My new book project, The Weirdness of the World, engages big-picture metaphysics and cosmology. This has me thinking about solipsism and materialism (aka physicalism), among other things. According to solipsism, the only thing that exists is my own mind. According to materialism, the only things that exist are material things. These claims are ambiguous in scope. The only things that exist where? Consider ordinary cases of implicitly restricted quantifiers. If I say, "there's no beer!"... Splintered Mind -


Jews Don’t Count Forthcoming David BaddielJew hatredJewish Identityregressive left Man Without Qualities -


The Argument from Religious Experience: An Analysis Knock Shrine, IrelandOn the 21st of August 1879, in a small rural village called Knock in Ireland, an unusual event took place. At the gable end of the local church, the Virgin Mary, along with St Joseph and St John the Evangelist is alleged to have appeared to a group of villagers. According to their reports, she wore a large crown with a single golden rose, and her eyes and hands were raised toward heaven... Philosophical Disquisitions -


Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé and others on literature after Wittgenstein Another Zoom symposium on a Wittgenstein-related book, this one featuring Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé, Marjorie Perloff, et al.    Language Goes on Holiday -


AND YOU THOUGHT I COULD NOT GET ANY MORE TRIVIAL This morning, as I was idly scanning the front page of the online New York Times, scrolling down at the very bottom I came on a little story with this headline:   “Your cat isn’t just getting high off catnip.”   As I thought about that sentence the following thought occurred to me. You could make seven sentences with seven entirely different meanings merely by moving the location of the word “just.” Watch:   Just... The Philosopher’s Stone -


Ethics Review Forum: McGrath’s “Moral Knowledge”, Reviewed by Wiland Welcome to our Ethics review forum on Sarah McGrath’s Moral Knowledge (OUP 2020), reviewed by Eric Wiland. Below, you’ll find a description of the book, as well as a condensed version of Eric’s review. Sarah’s response will appear in the comments. Please join Eric and Sarah in continuing the discussion! Book Blurb: Compared to other kinds of knowledge, how fragile is our knowledge of morality? Does knowledge of the difference between right and wrong fundamentally... PEA Soup -


On the Rationality of the Capitol Rioters On what basis should we assess rational action? Should that judgment make space for things like false beliefs or moral considerations? The post On the Rationality of the Capitol Rioters appeared first on The Prindle Post. The Prindle Post -


Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (37) “I will never forget that, even without loving me, you married me.”I didn’t protest because the matter was so obvious that protest was impossible. But, filled with compassion, I embraced her.None of this was ever discussed again between Augusta and me because a marriage is far simpler than an engagement. Once married, you don’t talk… Man Without Qualities -


The Risk of Excessive Conservatism In 'Lessons from the Pandemic', I summarized what I took to be some of the biggest mistakes of the pandemic response, and tried to give a sense of the scale of the potential damage done, along with some concrete suggestions for how we might have done vastly better.  Some readers (e.g. here) seemed of the opinion that only those with "authority" should express such opinions, which I obviously disagree with.  But to better help such... Philosophy, et cetera -


What is memory? In a discussion yesterday with a group of eight- and nine-year-old children, we talked about what is most important for our identities; in other words, what could we not lose without ceasing to be ourselves? During the conversation, we began talking about the role of memory in making us the people we are. One child observed that "memory is what keeps us holding all our experiences over time," and another child commented that without memories... Wondering Aloud: Philosophy With Young People -