64 research outputs found

    Anscombe on Intentions and Commands

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    The title of this essay describes its topic. I open by discussing the two-knowledges/one-object worry that Anscombe introduces through her famous example of the water-pumper. This sets the context for my main topic, viz., Anscombe’s remarks in _Intention_ on the similarities and differences between intentions and commands. These remarks play a key role in her argument’s shift from practical knowledge to the form of practical reasoning and in its subsequent shift back to practical knowledge. The remarks should be seen as framing her account of practical reasoning’s distinctive logical form: they motivate the need for the account, and they then are then illuminated by the account in order to resolve the two-knowledges/one-object puzzle. I tackle these exegetical issues over the course of the essay, but my goals are not limited to exegesis. I think there are lessons both in the philosophy of mind and in ethics to be gleaned from a close study of these remarks on intentions and commands. Intentions, we discover, must not be understood as self-commands; once we see why, we can better understand Anscombe’s rather cryptic dismissal of Kantian ethics in "Modern Moral Philosophy ." The essay closes on this last point

    Protest and Speech Act Theory

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    This paper attempts to explain what a protest is by using the resources of speech-act theory. First, we distinguish the object, redress, and means of a protest. This provided a way to think of atomic acts of protest as having dual communicative aspects, viz., a negative evaluation of the object and a connected prescription of redress. Second, we use Austin’s notion of a felicity condition to further characterize the dual communicative aspects of protest. This allows us to distinguish protest from some other speech acts which also involve a negative evaluation of some object and a connected prescription of redress. Finally, we turn to Kukla and Lance’s idea of a normative functionalist analysis of speech acts to advance the view that protests are a complex speech act constituted by dual input normative statuses and dual output normative statuses

    The Rational Unity of the Self

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    The topic of my dissertation is selfhood. I aim to explain what a self is such that it can sometimes succeed and other times fail at thinking and acting autonomously. I open by considering a failure of autonomy to which I return throughout the dissertation. The failure is that of self-deception. I show that in common cases of self-deception the self-deceived individual fails, due to a motive on his part, to be able to explain the cause of some belief or action of his. There are several philosophical projects that arise when one reflects on this failure. They are presented by the following questions: what are our minds like, such that this failure is possible? For what should we criticize the self-deceived individual, given that he has a motivated lack of self-knowledge but does not know he is so motivated? Is the self-deceived individual epistemically criticizable for lacking explanatory self-knowledge in a way that he is not criticizable for lacking knowledge that would help him explain another's thoughts and actions? By answering these questions I provide an account of the rational unity that goes missing in self-deception and in the related phenomenon of epistemic akrasia. This unity can—and I argue, should—be present in bodily action as well. When a person acts without this unity, he acts in a weak-willed, akratic way. I provide an account of this disunity, which, when added to my account of the disunity of self-deception, reveals the rational unity of an autonomous agent, the rational unity of the self

    Transparency, Corruption, and Democratic Institutions

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    This essay examines some of the institutional arrangements that underlie corruption in democracy. It begins with a discussion of institutions as such, elaborating and extending some of John Searle’s remarks on the topic. It then turns to an examination of specifically democratic institutions; it draws here on Joshua Cohen’s recent Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals. One of the central concerns of Cohen’s Rousseau is how to arrange civic institutions so that they are able to perform their public functions without being easily abused by their members for individual gain. The view that Cohen sketches on behalf of Rousseau offers a clear framework for articulating institutional corruption in democracy. With this account of democratic institutions in place, the essay turns the discussion to the role of transparency in deterring institutional corruption. The basic thought here is perhaps unsurprising: to ensure that a democratic institution is serving its public function and not being manipulated for self-interested gain, its activities must be subject to public scrutiny, and so these activities must be transparent to the public. Saying this makes the role of transparency in a well-functioning democracy clear, but it does not settle how transparency is to be realized. The essay argues that transparency can be realized in a democracy only by an extra-governmental institution that has several of the familiar features of the press. If this is correct, it follows that in its design and in many, though not all, of its activities, WikiLeaks provides a contemporary example of such an institution

    Speaking and listening to acts of political dissent

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    Reef fish hybridization: lessons learnt from butterflyfishes (genus Chaetodon)

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    Natural hybridization is widespread among coral reef fishes. However, the ecological promoters and evolutionary consequences of reef fish hybridization have not been thoroughly evaluated. Butterflyfishes form a high number of hybrids and represent an appropriate group to investigate hybridization in reef fishes. This study provides a rare test of terrestrially derived hybridization theory in the marine environment by examining hybridization between Chaetodon trifasciatus and C. lunulatus at Christmas Island. Overlapping spatial and dietary ecologies enable heterospecific encounters. Nonassortative mating and local rarity of both parent species appear to permit heterospecific breeding pair formation. Microsatellite loci and mtDNA confirmed the status of hybrids, which displayed the lowest genetic diversity in the sample and used a reduced suite of resources, suggesting decreased adaptability. Maternal contribution to hybridization was unidirectional, and no introgression was detected, suggesting limited, localized evolutionary consequences of hybridization

    Assessing Historical Fish Community Composition Using Surveys, Historical Collection Data, and Species Distribution Models

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    Accurate establishment of baseline conditions is critical to successful management and habitat restoration. We demonstrate the ability to robustly estimate historical fish community composition and assess the current status of the urbanized Barton Creek watershed in central Texas, U.S.A. Fish species were surveyed in 2008 and the resulting data compared to three sources of fish occurrence information: (i) historical records from a museum specimen database and literature searches; (ii) a nearly identical survey conducted 15 years earlier; and (iii) a modeled historical community constructed with species distribution models (SDMs). This holistic approach, and especially the application of SDMs, allowed us to discover that the fish community in Barton Creek was more diverse than the historical data and survey methods alone indicated. Sixteen native species with high modeled probability of occurrence within the watershed were not found in the 2008 survey, seven of these were not found in either survey or in any of the historical collection records. Our approach allowed us to more rigorously establish the true baseline for the pre-development fish fauna and then to more accurately assess trends and develop hypotheses regarding factors driving current fish community composition to better inform management decisions and future restoration efforts. Smaller, urbanized freshwater systems, like Barton Creek, typically have a relatively poor historical biodiversity inventory coupled with long histories of alteration, and thus there is a propensity for land managers and researchers to apply inaccurate baseline standards. Our methods provide a way around that limitation by using SDMs derived from larger and richer biodiversity databases of a broader geographic scope. Broadly applied, we propose that this technique has potential to overcome limitations of popular bioassessment metrics (e.g., IBI) to become a versatile and robust management tool for determining status of freshwater biotic communities

    SELF-DECEPTIVE RESISTANCE TO SELF-KNOWLEDGE

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    Philosophical accounts of self-deception have tended to focus on what is necessary for one to be in a state of self-deception or how one might arrive at such a state. Less attention has been paid to explaining why, so often, self-deceived individuals resist the proper explanation of their condition. This resistance may not be necessary for self-deception, but it is common enough to be a proper explanandum of any adequate account of the phenomenon. The goals of this essay are to analyze this resistance, to argue for its importance to theories of self-deception, and to offer a view of self-deception that adequately accounts for it. The view’s key idea is that, in at least some familiar cases, self-deceived individuals maintain their condition by confusing a nonepistemic satisfaction they take in their self-deceived beliefs for the epistemic satisfaction that is characteristic of warranted beliefs. Appealing to this confusion can explain both why these self-deceived individuals maintain their unwarranted belief and why they resist the proper explanation of their condition. If successful, the essay will illuminate the nature of belief by examining the limits of the believable.Les explications philosophiques de l’auto-illusion ont eu tendance à mettre l’accent sur ce qui est nécessaire pour que quelqu’un soit considéré comme étant sous l’emprise de l’auto-illusion ou encore sur la façon dont quelqu’un parvient à un tel état. Moins d’efforts ont été dirigés vers les raisons pour lesquelles, si souvent, les individus sous l’emprise de l’auto-illusion opposent une résistance à l’explication véritable de leur condition. Cette résistance n’est peut-être pas essentielle à l’auto-illusion, mais elle est suffisamment courante pour constituer un explicandum approprié pour tout traitement adéquat du phénomène. Cet essai a pour buts d’analyser cette résistance, de défendre son importance pour les théories de l’auto-illusion, et de proposer une conception de l’auto-illusion qui en rend compte de manière adéquate. Cette conception repose sur l’idée suivante : au moins dans certains cas connus, les individus sous l’emprise de l’auto-illusion maintiennent leur condition en prenant la satisfaction non-épistémique qu’ils retirent de leurs croyances illusoires pour la satisfaction épistémique qui caractérise les croyances justifiées. C’est en faisant appel à cette confusion que l’on peut expliquer à la fois pourquoi ces individus conservent leur croyance infondée et pourquoi ils opposent une résistance à l’explication adéquate de leur condition. Si tant est qu’il y parvienne, cet essai éclairera la nature de la croyance en examinant les limites du croyable

    Age and Growth of Fishes

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