:: The End Times

Robust published 30/09/2016

robust-ss8-900x950

Models in science are based on assumptions, which are simplifications of real-world systems, in a similar way as with the model of the bridge. How can we apply the result of a model to real-world phenomena, where the initial simplifications do not hold? The idea behind robustness analysis is that if the result of a model holds under different assumptions, each of which captures certain possible aspects of the real world phenomenon, then our confidence in the result of the model is higher than before we proved its robustness.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Chiara Lisciandra.

» Read more...

Epicureanism, Early Mods and The Moral Animal published 23/09/2016

epicurus

Even if the gods did exist, the Epicureans argued, they didn’t care about us. Rather, everything comes from nature, and all that really exists are atoms and void, moving and congregating. The life-world of human and animal experience, with colours, tastes, solid objects, is a perceptual effect of massed atoms.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Catherine Wilson.

» Read more...

The Virtue Epistemologist published 16/09/2016

C.O.S.T - Copy

Either we squelch our curiosity or we will have to fall into the circularity or regress to which the skeptic objects. Since the actual infinite regress is of reach for finite humans, we must fall into the circularity, the Cartesian sort of circularity, wherein we use our fundamental faculties (intuition and deduction, as they might be) in order to attain a picture of ourselves and the world around us (ourselves in the lap of a benevolent omnipotence) that enables us to endorse our use of those very faculties. There is no hope for a properly supportive perspective on our basic faculties that is not acquired by means of such inquiry.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ernest Sosa.

Painting: Harry Adams.

» Read more...

The Constitution of Selves: Locke and the Person Led View published 08/09/2016

13_7_mirror_big_1000_420_90_c1

Our lives are unified, ongoing events that unfold over time and constitute a single, persisting person who is the right kind of entity to be the target of different kinds of practical concerns at different phases of her life. Infants are to be taught and nurtured and adults to be held morally responsible. So it is true of persons as wholes that they are beings who can be held morally responsible for what they do, but not throughout the whole of their lives.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Marya Schechtman.

» Read more...

Keeping It Real: The Colour of Mind published 02/09/2016

championnewsnet

Social scientists tell us that some white people (especially liberal ones) do indeed feel collective guilt for past racial injustice. I have nothing to say about whether they should feel this way or are right to feel this way. Some social psychologists including one that I have co-authored two papers with (Nyla R. Branscombe) find that tapping into white guilt can have social justice-promoting positive benefits. But playing the guilt and blame game when it comes to race matters is, and has always been, tricky business in America. Martin Luther King Jr. certainly appreciated this, which explains why he worried (after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, were passed) that eradicating racial inequality in America was going to be even more challenging than putting an end to formal racial discrimination.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Derrick Darby.

» Read more...

On The Nature Of Normativity published 26/08/2016

mirror

I just got gripped by the central question of ethics, which Socrates poses so insistently: How should we live? While this is the central question of ethics, in my view answering this question also involves epistemology – since to know how we should live, we need to understand what we should believe, and how we should form and revise our beliefs in response to experience and reflection; and the question as I see it also involves the theory of rational choice or decision—since to know how we should live, we need to understand how we should make choices or decisions, and how we should revise our plans or intentions as we acquire new information over time.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ralph Wedgwood.

» Read more...

Having Cake and Eating it With Hume and Spinoza published 19/08/2016

Hume makes both a metaphysical claim and a psychological claim. The metaphysical claim is that the mind is in fact a complex bundle of different perceptions standing in causal relations to one another. A consequence of this is that, while the bundle may be made possible by a continuing but changing human brain, a person is not an immaterial soul or self underlying and in addition to the bundle itself. The psychological claim is that we ascribe unity (simplicity at a time and identity through time) to this complex bundle only because of the power of mental association operating on perceived relations of causation and resemblance.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Don J Garrett.

Painting by Mark Manning aka Z.

» Read more...

On Pope’s Philosophical Poem: ‘An Essay on Man’ published 18/08/2016

255312-1

I knew that Pope, like many others, put sexual desire at the heart of human sociability: people are attracted to one another sexually, reproduce, discover the intergenerational contract that gives us an interest in loving children and loving parents. But I was surprised to see him present sexual desire as one of the appetites that is thwarted by scarcity of resources – but that need not be if things were only slightly different. Pope imagines an earlier stage in social life where nature’s resources are sufficient to satisfy all the wants of a community, including sexual wants. He says that ‘half the cause of Contest was remov’d, / When Beauty could be kind to all who lov’d.’

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Tom Jones.

Painting by Mark Manning aka Z

» Read more...

Thought in Action, Panpsychism (and Not Using the F-word) published 12/08/2016

255336

I think that the type of high level of expertise demonstrated by professional athletes, performing artists, grandmaster chess players and other individuals is (generally) infused with conscious concepts. This is not to say, of course, that every aspect of expert action is conscious—it’s not permeated with consciousness. When athletes consciously focus on one aspect of their movement, other aspects run offline. But I do think that the conscious mind in expert action is typically directed at some aspect or aspects of skill. This might be a high-level aspect, such as speed, or low-level, such as hip rotation.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Barbara Gail Montero.

Painting: Mark Manning aka Z

» Read more...

What We Owe Each Other published 05/08/2016

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

I agree that science is the best way of understanding the natural world, and therefore that we have reason to believe what the best science tells us about the objects in that world and the relations between them. But this does mean that the natural world is the only thing we can have true beliefs about. The status of material objects such as the desk I am writing on as things that are “real” is a matter of their having physical properties, such as weight, solidity, and spatio-temporal location. In order to be real, such things need not have, in addition to these properties, some further kind of metaphysical existence.

Continuing the End Times series Richard Marshall interviews T.M. Scanlon.

Painting: Mark Manning aka Z

» Read more...