Ordering Back Issues

Contents of Recent Issues

Scope and Contents of Recent Issues

92:3 July 2009
Philosophy and Engineering

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Advisory Editors: Peter Simons, University of Leeds and Sir Duncan Michael, Arup Group

The discipline of engineering provides an interesting family of problems for philosophical investigation, and ideas deriving from the ontology of action, process, and structure are increasingly being applied to engineering specifications of complex artefacts, their production and their functions. This issue addresses itself to philosophically interested engineers as well as to philosophers and the general reader, and aims to further the growing fruitful interaction between the two disciplines. Topics to be explored may include the following: How does engineering differ from science? How does design relate to function? What is acceptable risk and how should it impinge on engineering decisions? Who bears responsibility for engineering failures and disasters in complex projects? What special skills are required by engineers and how are they imparted? What is the nature of technical artefacts? Does engineering require or underwrite a particular ontology? Can philosophy help in the design, creation and deployment of engineering products, for example by providing the ontological framework for computer representations of complex artefacts?


92:2 April 2009
Europa!

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Advisory Editors: Maurizio Ferraris and Luca Morena, University of Turin

The topics of national identity, national character and even national consciousness have once more become the focus of philosophical discussion. But what are national characters or national identities? And does it make sense to want to foster or preserve them? Are such questions even meaningful? As against the new (‘American’) ideals of globalization and of multiculturalism, the idea that preservation of national cultures is a good thing was until recently associated primarily with the countries of Europe. Arguments both for and against the fostering of national identities have thus acquired a new poignancy with the (unsteady) onward march of European unification, and our goal here is to readdress these arguments in light of new European developments. What does ‘European’ mean? Is philosophy itself, as represented by almost all of the papers published in a journal like The Monist, something European? Is this so because philosophy was born in Turkey? Could there be a European identity? Could it make sense to advocate a transfer of national allegiances on the part of the people of Europe to a new European supranational entity? Contributers are invited to address these and related questions from a philosophical perspective.


92:1 January 2009
Singular Causation

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Advisory Editor: Michael Moore, University of Illinois

Whether causation is a genuine relation between particular events has been a much disputed matter since David Hume. The post-Humean answers have generally been in the negative, conceiving singular causal statements – like: ‘the striking of the match caused it to ignite’ – in terms of some dependence on more basic truths about laws connecting types (e.g., ‘striking matches causes them to ignite’). Such more basic truths may be cast in terms of mere uniformities of nature or primitive nomic relations between universals, or in terms of counterfactual or probabilistic dependence. Standardly it is some general relation between types of events that is regarded as basic (although the counterfactual theories can be ambiguous on this). Within the past several decades, however, this post-Humean orthodoxy has been challenged by the proposal of singularist theories that regard causation as first and foremost a relation between particular events. Only secondarily (if at all) is it a matter of uniformities, nomic sufficiency, or counterfactual or probabilistic dependence. The new singularist theories, unlike their predecessors, have not been merely negative in their rejection of Hume; nor have they merely pronounced causation to be an ‘unanalyzable primitive.’ Rather, they have proposed various ideas about what the causal relation might be, in terms of energy transfer, causal processes, trope persistence, and the like. The topic to be addressed is the viability of such singularist theories of causation. Contributors are invited either to defend or to criticize such theories, or to propose new alternatives.

91:3-4 July-October 2008
Marriage (Double Issue)

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Advisory Editor: Robert P. George, Princeton University

Does philosophy have anything to contribute to contemporary debates about the meaning, value, and proper definition of marriage? Can those who defend the traditional view of marriage as an intrinsically valuable union of sexually complementary spouses, or those who reject the traditional view in favor of alternatives that would recognize same-sex, polygamous, or polyamorous unions as “marriages,” cogently defend their positions philosophically? Do defenders of the traditional view contradict their own principles when they accept as marriages the unions of couples who are physiologically incapable of conceiving children? And do supporters of same-sex marriage endorse a basic understanding of marriage that removes any ground of moral principle for opposing polygamy or polyamory? In this issue of The Monist, philosophers are invited to consider whether marriage should be regarded as an institution worth preserving in any form. Some will attack, and others will defend, the proposition that marriage is intrinsically heterosexual and monogamous. Some will argue that the intelligibility of marriage is linked to its providing a uniquely apt context for human procreation and the rearing of children. Others will insist that the intelligibility of marriage is linked to procreation, if at all, only contingently. Some will suggest that marriage is a comprehensive sharing of life (emotional, rational, spiritual) that is necessarily founded on bodily (biological) unity; others will depict marriage as essentially an emotional or spiritual unity, one whose meaning does not depend on how, or even whether, the spouses engage in sexual relations with each other.


91:2 April 2008
Intentionality and Phenomenal Consciousness

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Advisory Editors: Terence Horgan and Uriah Kriegel, University of Arizona

While intentionality and phenomenal consciousness were traditionally conceived as the two most central dimensions of the mind, they were almost always treated independently. Over the past decade, however, several philosophers have attempted to account for consciousness in terms of intentionality. More recently, a view has developed according to which intentionality is itself somehow dependent on consciousness. On this view, the intentionality of unconscious intentional states is merely derivative of, or otherwise dependent upon, the intentionality of phenomenally conscious states. This issue of The Monist will explore the question of the relationship between intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. In particular, we are interested in (i) whether phenomenally conscious states have a form of intentionality or of intentional content that is distinctive or sui generis, and (ii) whether the intentionality of conscious states enjoys some kind of primacy over other forms of intentionality. Other questions to be addressed include: Are phenomenally conscious states inherently intentional? Is the intentionality of phenomenally conscious states - or ‘phenomenal intentionality’ - different from the intentionality of other mental and non-mental representations? If so, what are its distinctive characteristics?

91:1 January 2008
Privacy

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Advisory Editor: Mariam Thalos, University of Utah

The US Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. Still, Justice Harry Blackmun, writing in 1973 for the majority in Roe v. Wade, acknowledged that ‘the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution.’ He enumerated cases in which the Court had upheld the right of personal privacy in matters to do with marriage, family relationships, contraception, childbirth, child rearing, and education, noting also constitutional protections against government intrusion into the privacy of the home without a legal cause and a warrant. Even so, he rejected ‘an unlimited right to do with one’s body as one pleases.’

What is this privacy that appears to be protected? Is it (as Blackmun suggests) a matter of control over certain zones (for example one’s person, one’s bedroom, or one’s home)? If so, how can the concept of privacy extend to such categories of information as for example one’s sexual orientation, one’s health or one’s genetic endowment? Is the term "privacy" a kind term, with many species falling under it? If so, how are the species related to each other? Do rights to privacy exist? If so, what kind of rights are they, and what kind of entity is the rights bearer in the first instance? Do these rights rest on empirical facts, and what relations do they bear to other rights? Whether or not rights to privacy exist as such, are protections of privacy or practices of privacy worth having?

How is privacy, as well as violations of it, experienced? Is privacy a human need? And if so, is the need for privacy special to the human species? Are rights to privacy (if they exist) culturally dependent, or dependent upon legal or moral practices? Do they evolve, with developments in soci technology and culture? And if so, how?


90:4 October 2007
Biomedical Ontologies

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Advisory Editor: Steffen Schulze-Kremer

The rapidly increasing wealth of genomic data has driven the development of tools to assist in the task of representing and processing information about the biology and chemistry of life with an eye to medical applications. Ontologies have come to play an indispensable part in this development, with ambitious projects such as the Gene Ontology™ attempting to produce controlled vocabularies for the description of biological phenomena that can be applied in consistent fashion across a range of different disciplines. Biomedical ontologies seek both to classify the entities within given domains and also to specify the types of relations between these entities. In this, however, they encounter problems familiar to philosophers, problems having to do with the proper handling of types and tokens, of continuants and occurrents, of change and causality. They need to confront also problematic matters such as the proper treatment of information, expression, function, pattern, system and the like, which play an important role in the life sciences. The present issue of The Monist is designed to serve as a forum within which biologists and philosophers can address such problems in a way that is both philosophically rigorous and of practical significance.


90:3 July 2007
Lesser Kinds

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Advisory Editors: Roberto Casati, Institut Nicod, Paris and Achille Varzi, Columbia, NY

Metaphysicians tend to deal with large categories – substance, universals – and oversize issues-the nature of being, existence, necessity, causation. But there is plenty of room at the bottom for lesser categories and entities. Small or undersize problems can be interesting entry points for deep metaphysical enquiries. What is a sound? Do holes exist? Are events fact-like or object-like? Do shadows have a causal structure? What is the nature of the boundary that separates water from air – is it water, is it air? By looking into such questions, this issue of the Monist plans to explore the thesis that metaphysical concerns can be domain-specific without ceasing to be metaphysical in an important sense.


90:2 April 2007
The Scottish Philosophical Tradition: Empirical, Phenomenological, Intuitionist

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Advisory Editor: J. J. Haldane

In his study of The Scottish Philosophy - From Hutcheson to Hume (1875) James McCosh identifies three characteristics of the Scottish School: “It proceeds on the method of observation, professedly and really ... It employs self-consciousness as the instrument of observation ... By the observations of consciousness, principles are reached which are prior to and independent of experience”. Whether this adequately characterizes a tradition that reaches from the middle ages (Scotus, Lawrence of Lindores, John Mair) through to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Sir William Hamilton, James Ferrier, Edward Caird) and includes the likes of Hume, Smith and Reid along the way, is itself a matter deserving of discussion. There is no doubt, however, that others, including Hegel, Brentano, and Victor Cousin, have likewise felt that there were distinctive aspects of Scottish philosophy, whether an inclination to realism, a sympathy for common sense, or a resistance to ungrounded abstraction.

This issue of The Monist is devoted to the ideas and doctrines advanced by Scots philosophers in the fields of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology and moral philosophy. Essays are invited which explore aspects of Scottish philosophy as these might be described as being empirical, phenomenological and/or intuitionist. The last category might be understood, for example, in terms of the sentimentalist tradition contributed to in different ways by Hutcheson, Smith and Hume; or in terms of the realist idea, associated with Reid and others, that there are necessities antecedent to thought which we encounter in experience and reflection: either extra-mental structures or laws of thought.


90:1 January 2007
Sovereignty

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Advisory Editor: John Laughland

An important trend in the current thinking of Western policy-makers and political philosophers is the abandonment of the notion of sovereignty and the substitution of internationalist doctrines predicated upon the idea of an eventual withering away of the state. Sovereignty is attacked as being both politically unviable and morally repugnant. This development is clearest in the impetus given to supranational institutions like the European Union, as well as in the new philosophical credence lent to doctrines of universal human rights and to projects directed towards a world-wide integrated economy. These theories go hand in hand with the cosmopolitan project of creating a single post-national global polity, a project itself fuelled by the view that the unifying forces of economic globalisation render independent statehood meaningless.

In the light of these developments, this issue of The Monist will seek to analyse the essence of sovereignty and its relationship to power, human freedom, justice and the nature of man. Essays are invited on the metaphysical and ethical theories implied or presupposed by sovereignist and anti-sovereignist positions; on the relationship between statehood and the economy; and on the ways in which conceptions of sovereignty intersect with the practice of politics, with particular reference to the doctrine of universal human rights.


89:4 October 2006
Genetics and Ethics

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Advisory Editor: David Oderberg, University of Reading

The explosion of the science of genetics in general and of biotechnology in particular has captured the attention of policy-makers, lawyers and ethicists. It has also become of increasing concern to a public attracted by the potential for radical new therapies but also concerned by the implications of genetics for individual liberty and autonomy and its potential threat to the dignity of the human being. This issue of The Monist will focus on the ethical issues raised by new developments in genetics, with emphasis on such questions as the following: How do discoveries in genetics affect, if at all, our understanding of freedom and moral responsibility? Is genetic screening of individuals or groups something society should accept? Is the use of genetics for enhancement (eugenics) or for eliminating defects (dysgenics) of body or mind morally acceptable? Is human cloning permissible either in its so-called 'reproductive' or 'therapeutic' forms, and in particular how would its practice affect individual and family identity and other social relations? Should society tolerate the use of genetic information in, for example, the evaluation of a person's suitability for certain kinds of work or other activity, or of their eligibility for insurance? How should information from the Human Genome Project be used and protected? What access should government have to an individual's genetic profile?


89:3 July 2006
Coming Into Being and Passing Away

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Advisory Editor: David Hershenov, University at Buffalo

Philosophers investigating the processes of coming to be and passing away soon find themselves entangled in a number of semantic, logical, and ontological puzzles that are familiar from other contexts. These problems then appear even less tractable when the topic is existence than when other, more mundane predicates are involved. Thus processes of change in persisting substance lend themselves more readily to explanation than do those changes that result in substances themselves coming into or going out of existence. And likewise for vagueness. Even those theorists convinced that existence is a property and that there is vagueness in the world find assertions to the effect that an individual exists indeterminately, or exists only to some degree, far more counterintuitive than claims, for example, to the effect that it is vague whether or not someone is rich. Despite all the problems of indeterminate existence, it is also philosophically disconcerting to posit a first, perhaps unknowable, determinate moment at which something has come to exist or ceases to exist. Problems arise, too, when it comes to the issue of how we can succeed in referring to what does not exist at times prior to or posterior to its existence. Some philosophers believe that the solution is to allow into our ontology real individuals which do not determinately have the property of existence. Others admit into their ontology possible but nonexistent individuals which may acquire the property of existence.

Contributions are invited on these and related topics. Discussions of historical treatments and of biomedical and other applications are welcome. The primary focus should however be in each case on the solution of the problems themselves.


89:2 April 2006
The Foundations of International Order

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Advisory Editor: Bruce Kuklick, University of Pennsylvania

Ever since the rise of the modern state system the issue of the foundations of international order has attracted much discussion. We invite submissions furthering this discussion and focusing especially on the role and nature of communal violence and coercion and also of diplomacy and other non-violent means in the resolution and avoidance of international conflict. We are interested in the analysis of ideas pertinent to the study of international relations – for example notions of international law, raison d’État the balance of power, or of realism and idealism in foreign policy. Papers are also invited on the issue of cultural, religious, or moral constraint on policy. The Monist hopes to publish a range of essays that touch on connected areas in a range of disciplines, including history, political science, strategic studies, and philosophy. Also welcome are substantive articles on theoreticians of international politics such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Kant, Clausewitz and also on practitioners such as Napoleon, Bismarck, Wilson, Stalin, Kissinger.


89:1 January 2006
Truth

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Advisory Editor: J. C. Beall, University of Connecticut

The present issue of The Monist is devoted to the so-called robust theories of truth which have been advanced in recent years by philosophers who maintain that truth affords an illuminating philosophical analysis. Such philosophers are counterposed to the so-called deflationists, who maintain that truth is not the sort of property that affords an analysis at all. Rather, the deflationists maintain, the predicate ‘is true’ merely augments the expressive power of our language, for example by allowing us to express in convenient fashion generalizations like ‘A conjunction is true if and only if both its conjuncts are true’. Like Aristotle and his followers, contemporary robust truth theorists tend to invoke a view of truth as correspondence to reality. A recent trend invokes “truthmakers”, maintaining that all truths (or all truths of some specified kind) are true because there is something in the world that makes them true. Tasks for robust truth theorists then include the specification of the relata of correspondence and the formulation of the principles that govern them. A further set of tasks consists in addressing criticisms from those, such as Quine, Horwich, Field and David Lewis, who argue that any explanatory work achieved by correspondence theories is achieved equally well by the simpler deflationary theories.

Potential topics include: the motivation for robust truth theories, recent criticisms of such theories, the issue of negative truthmakers, the relation between correspondence truth and varieties of deflationary truth, and the perennial issues arising from truth-theoretic paradoxes.


88:4 October 2005
Ordinary Objects

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Advisory Editor: Laurie Paul, University of Arizona

Ordinary objects such as apples, statues and cats can be understood philosophically in different ways: as bundles of properties, as Aristotelian substances, as substrates having attributes, or as hunks of matter. There are familiar puzzles associated with each of these alternative conceptions. Consider: Is my apple identical to the matter it is made of? My apple could not, after all, survive being squashed, yet its matter could. This difference in modal properties suggests that the apple and its matter are not identical. Some have suggested that the matter constitutes, but is not identical to, the apple. But what, then, is the apple? If it is merely a bundle of properties, does it have all its properties essentially? And if so, then how does this square with the common-sense opinion that the apple could have had a slightly different color or shape? And if the apple is a bundle of properties or a substrate that has properties, then are these properties themselves universals, or tropes, or something else? Perhaps we must find out what concept my apple falls under before these questions can be answered. But would then our concept of the apple determine what the apple is? Or would the apple still exist independently of whatever concepts we apply to it?

Papers are invited on the metaphysics of objects which provide an analysis of what objects such as apples, statues and cats are in a way which will yield solutions to problems of these sorts, including problems concerning material constitution, the identity of indiscernibles, essentialism, and the role of ordinary objects in cognition.


88:3 July 2005
Time Travel

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Advisory Editor: Achille Varzi, Columbia University

Might we some day be in a position to move about in time, just as we can already move about in space? Few would question that deliberate change in temporal location is logically possible. But is it also metaphysically possible? Is there a possible world in which one might freely change one's location in time? Here is where puzzlement and bewilderment lead to philosophical controversy. Someone traveling into the past could shoot her grandfather's identical twin but not her own grandfather. Someone traveling from the future could help you win your next game of poker, but not the one you have just lost. To some philosophers asymmetries such as these must be unacceptable, and so they conclude that time travel is impossible, physically as well as metaphysically. To others the paradoxes of time travel are only apparent. Time travel would be peculiar, to be sure, but not absurd; it would be strange, but not impossible.

Quarrels on these matters are gaining new interest today as a result of recent work in cosmology and on the theory of causation. They bear also on recent discussions of the problems of free will and personal identity. The present number of The Monist aims to promote further progress in this debate, with emphasis on questions such as the following. Would travel to the past require reverse causation? Would travel to the future entail determinism? Is the apparent asymmetry between a fixed past and an open future merely an epistemic illusion? Does the possibility of time travel entail a realist attitude toward past and future facts? Does it entail commitment to entities that do not presently exist? Does it entail that things may be wholly present in several places at once?


88:2 April 2005
Conformism

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Advisory Editor: Francisco Gil-White, University of Pennsylvania

This issue of The Monist is devoted to the phenomenon of conformism. It will focus especially on the effects of conformism on social processes, which have been brought to light in recent years through game-theoretic analyses (summarized here). It matters little whether we drive on the right, or on the left, but it matters greatly that we all drive on the same side. All sorts of social interactions are likewise maximally beneficial when the players involved share the same signaling system and expectations. Conformism allows us to profit from the convergence upon solutions reached by those who have gone before through trial-and-error learning, by allowing us to simply copy their solutions. It allows us also to maximize the number of our potential interactants by adopting the interactional norms that are most common in the local population. Conformism is thus adaptive; it saves us time in learning and it improves our chances of reproductive (and other types of) success. But conformism also has its price: it will tend to sustain even suboptimal patterns of behavior.

Issues to be dealt with may include: How do conformist processes help to determine social (including ethnic) boundaries and how do they contribute to the associated phenomena of ethnic prejudice and xenophobia? What is the role of conformism in our susceptibility to propaganda? Can a better understanding of conformism lead to institutional improvements in the organization of modern democratic societies that may mitigate the negative effects of silent majorities remaining quiescent in the face of political activity by extremists?


88:1 January 2005
Humor

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Advisory Editor: Laurence Goldstein, Hong Kong University

‘An unarmed man has been shot dead by police in London for the second time this week.’ Interesting. Both Russellians, who give a quantificational analysis of sentences containing indefinite descriptions, and anti-Russellians, who say that such descriptions typically pick out an individual, seem to be wrong about the indefinite description occurring in the quoted sentence. And talking of the police, I got knocked down by a bus the other day, and there I was, lying injured in the road, when a policeman came up to me and said, ‘Let me have your name, sir, and I’ll inform your relatives.’ I said ‘But my relatives already know my name.’ Here the policeman’s utterance invites misinterpretation, yet it does not contain any ambiguous expressions. The policeman was optimistically relying on my having mastered those principles of interpretation, on which all competent speakers depend, which would have delivered his intended meaning. The theoretical challenge is to identify those principles. Nonsense and absurdity are frequently amusing, and a certain kind of nonsense springs from conceptual (‘grammatical’) error of just the sort that philosophy aims to expose. Wittgenstein went so far as to identify the depth of philosophy with the depth of a grammatical joke (Philosophical Investigations, 111). He himself made much of utterances such as ‘It is raining and I don t believe it’ (op. cit., p. 192), and ‘I know that I am in pain’ – which, he held, can’t be said, except perhaps as a joke (op. cit., 246). But Wittgenstein aside, there has until now been little investigation of humor as a stimulus to philosophy, and little investigation of the forms and varieties of humor and of how these relate to the forms and varieties of language-use in general.


87:4 October 2004
Personal Identity

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Advisory Editors: Dean Zimmerman, Rutgers, and Tamar Gendler, Cornell University

For the last three centuries, discussions of personal identity have taken a familiar form: both the basic space of positions (physical vs. psychological continuity) and the basic methodology (consideration of imaginary cases) can be traced back to Locke. But while ingenious arguments continue to be offered and refuted, the ground-level debate seems to the non-connoisseur to have reached something of a stalemate.

In response to this apparent deadlock, attention has turned to questions of methodology. Some have criticized the "method of cases"-- i.e., reliance upon our intuitions about personal identity in hypothetical cases as the primary test of proposed necessary and sufficient conditions for a person's persistence over time. They hold that this method is unsuitable for developing a positive theory of personal identity. Others have come to the method's defense, in more or less limited ways. Some have suggested that questions about personal identity are intertwined with issues in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. Others insist that such topics are irrelevant to a problem they see as purely metaphysical.

This issue of The Monist will be devoted to discussions of the problem of personal identity -- that is, to discussions of the question of how the question ought properly to be approached. Authors need not remain agnostic on first-order questions about personal identity, but the primary focus of papers should be methodological.


87: 3 July 2004
Simples

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Advisory Editor: Hud Hudson, Western Washington University

Much recent work in metaphysics has been focused on identifying the conditions under which a plurality of objects can be said to compose some further object. Comparatively little attention has been directed, on the other hand, to the issue of whether any parts of such composite objects might themselves be partless. Are there, or could there be, absolute simples? And what would such simples have to be like? Or might we be living in a world in which it is turtles all the way down, a world made up of objects all of whose parts have further parts, or of what David Lewis has termed 'atomless gunk'? Answers to these questions promise to advance not only our understanding of the metaphysics of material objects but also many other disputes in contemporary metaphysics -- including disputes over the foundations of set theory and mereology and controversies in the philosophy of physics, for example concerning whether spacetime is discrete or continuous.


87: 2 April 2004
Self-Consciousness

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Advisory Editor: José Luis Bermúdez, Stirling

We are conscious of ourselves in a distinctively first-personal way. What is the source of this distinctive type of self-consciousness? Is it grounded in a particular type of awareness of an object that is the self? If so, is this awareness best viewed as a form of inner perception or as a matter of propositional attitudes? Is it conceptual or non-conceptual? Is it unique to language-using humans or can it be found more widely in the animal kingdom? Contributions are solicited on these and related topics, including: the relation between self-consciousness and mastery of the first-person pronoun; comparisons between the different sources of self-consciousness (memory, introspection, proprioception etc); the relation between theories of self-consciousness and theories of consciousness; the functional role of self-consciousness; the significance of sources of self-specifying information with certain formal properties such as immunity to error through misidentification or representation-independence.


87: 1 January 2004
On Function

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Advisory Editors: Randall Dipert, University at Buffalo, and Anthonie Meijers, Delft/Eindhoven

The concept of function plays a crucial role in engineering. It figures also in biology, cognitive science, the social sciences (economics, sociology, law), and, under the heading 'functionalism', in the philosophy of mind. The concept is related to the notion of the purpose of an artifact, but also to associated notions of the ends or purposes of human action, and thus to the concepts of intentionality and normativity. A general, unified analysis of function, however, remains elusive. Recent work in the philosophy of biology seeks to explain function in terms of survival value or selected effects in evolution, but this approach cannot so easily be transferred to other domains. For example, the functions of technical artifacts such as computers or cars, or the functions of social institutions such as universities or courts of justice, are hard to explain in biological terms. This issue of The Monist focuses on the ontology and intentionality of functions. Among the topics to be considered are: technical functions versus social and biological functions; function and design; the ontology of function and purpose, and their relationship to natural properties; the taxonomy of functions and the idea of simple, bare functions; functional versus structural part-whole relationships; functions and relational properties; and the normativity of functions.


86:4 October 2003
Art and the Mind

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Advisory Editors: N. J. Bullot and P. Ludwig, Institut Jean Nicod, Paris

Works of art are cognitive devices aimed at the production of rich cognitive effects. Thus it can be argued, in the light of what is known about human cognition, that aesthetic experience is a by-product of the exercise of more fundamental cognitive faculties such as perception and imagination. Works of art, on this view, are never grasped directly. Rather, in an aesthetic experience, a subject directly perceives a certain object or event (a canvas, a display of pixels, a series of sounds), and this perception gives rise to a cognitive activity of a special, aesthetic type. Theories of art should thus address questions about the interplay of the cognitive faculties. Papers are invited on all aspects of the relation between perception, imagination, the emotions, and aesthetic experience, and on the way in which findings in cognitive science can shed new light on art, its appreciation, and its evaluation.


86:3 July 2003
Moral Distance

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Advisory Editor: Deen Chatterjee, University of Utah

The distance between one person and another can be assessed in a variety of ways. Persons can be physically, or geographically, distant. But they can also be affectively distant, for example when they are related to each other by no special ties of family or friendship or community. Intuitively, we have stronger moral obligations to those who are physically or affectively near than to those who are physically or affectively remote. Distance seems to set moral boundaries, and distant strangers seem to be of minimal moral concern.

In his "Famine, Affluence and Morality" of 1972, Peter Singer initiated the contemporary discussion of moral distance and moral boundaries by arguing that the interests of strangers, near or far, should count as much as those of friends and geographic neighbors. But if distance is irrelevant, does this not make morality excessively demanding or excessively impersonal? If, on the other hand, moral obligation does indeed vary with distance, does this not imply a callous indifference to many in need?

The present issue of The Monist is devoted to the question of how we are to gauge the moral significance of physical or affective distance. Are we to be guided solely by our moral intuitions? Can moral distance be measured? Are there, besides utilitarianism, also deontological or virtue theories which challenge the intuitive idea that obligation diminishes with distance? Does temporal distance raise moral concerns which are similar to those raised by physical and affective distance? Contributions are invited which seek answers to questions such as these in ways which will throw light on the concepts of moral distance and moral boundaries.


86:2 April 2003
Responsibility

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Advisory Editor: Catherine Wilson, University of British Columbia

Many political philosophers regard it as right to compensate people for deprivations that are not their own faults, but not for deprivations which are the consequences of their own free choices and for which they are responsible. It is held for example that those who have severe visual impairments, limited mobility, or cerebral pathologies have a claim to extra resources to enable them to live happier lives, but not those who suffer from chronic laziness, low motivation, or “bad habits” that contribute to an agent’s lack of economic success or worldly achievement. The problem with this position is that responsibility as thus conceived does not appear to be an empirical concept. There is little scientific basis for a sharp distinction between determined and freely-embraced and self-cultivated traits; responsibility-attributions have been noted by social scientists to be influenced by contextual features of situations, and they are held by some to be demonstrably irrational. Many economists and sociologists accordingly regard the attempt to distinguish between the deserving and the undeserving poor as doomed to fail. On the other hand, the notion of responsibility is taught, learned and understood, arguably with beneficial consequences.

Is responsibility more than a useful, perhaps an essential fiction? Has the Strawsonian attempt to rescue responsibility from the criticisms of determinists been successful? Can responsibility be salvaged as an autobiographically-available concept even if it has no reference-conditions applicable by a third-person? Or are quasi-empirical attempts to capture the notion with the help of partitions and reference classes a step in the right direction? More generally, under what conditions are moral and social philosophers permitted to make use of concepts of folk-psychology, even if contemporary science does not acknowledge them? The present issue of The Monist will deal with these and related questions on the topic of responsibility.


86:1 January 2003
Perversion

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Advisory Editors: Graham Priest, Melbourne, and Roger Lamb, Queensland

The notion of perversion is one that we all operate with in a variety of different contexts. We speak of fetishism as a perversion, or we speak of the course of justice as being perverted. But what does it mean to say of some person, or action, or practice, or institution, that it is perverse, a perversion, or perverts something? What sorts of things can be perverted, and why? Does the existence of perversion require things in the world to have a telos or nature? Is any particular theory of morality necessary to make sense of the notion? Which sexual acts are perverted and why? And are sexual perversions sui generis, or do they fall under a general account of perversion? This issue of The Monist welcomes papers that address the above, and related, issues. The aim is to cast light on this important but relatively neglected aspect of the human world.


85:4 October 2002
Consequences

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Advisory Editor: Greg Restall, Macquarie

The concept of deductive consequence has enjoyed a central role in philosophy since Aristotle. It received its first formal treatment in the work of Bolzano, but it was Tarski’s model-theoretic analysis which has done most to shape our contemporary understanding of the concept and of its role in determining the bounds of logic. Tarski’s analysis yielded great insight into the semantics of the propositional connectives and quantification, and it has led many to conclude that logical consequence is to be identified with validity in classical predicate logic. This consensus is at best an apparent one, however, and quite recently many criticisms of Tarski’s analysis of logical consequence have come to prominence.

Defenders of constructive, relevant and paraconsistent accounts of logic agree with Tarski that there is a distinction between the particles of a language which are logical constants and those which are not. But they disagree with Tarski and classical logic on the behaviour of those logical constants. Other critics disagree with Tarski on the boundary between the logical and the non-logical. Thus they argue in favor of conceiving identity, second-order quantification and modal operators as logical constants. Still other critics question the very distinction between the logical and the non-logical parts of a language, or they call into question the assumption that logical consequence must deal merely with linguistic representation. Thus some have sought recently to analyse consequence relations of other types, for example, between visual representations.

This issue of The Monist will examine these different analyses of logical consequence, concentrating on those which extend or diverge from classical predicate logic, such as those involving constructive or relevant reasoning, second-order quantification, and reasoning involving diagrammatic or other forms of representation. In what senses are these divergent systems ‘logic’? What can they teach us about the notion of consequence? In what ways are they useful in philosophy and in allied disciplines?


85:3 July 2002
Controlling Belief

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Advisory Editor: Ward E. Jones, Rhodes University, South Africa

To what extent, if any, do we have direct control over what we believe? Answers to this question have been surprisingly various. On one end of the spectrum are the voluntarists (perhaps Aquinas and Descartes), who argue that believing is, in fact, subject to the will. Opposing the voluntarists are those who find it obvious that there is no interesting sense in which we have control over our beliefs, and who have been more vexed by the problem of explaining why this is so (Bernard Williams and Jonathan Bennett are recent examples). The present issue of the Monist is designed to further this discussion, by addressing one or more of the following questions: (1) If there is any sense in which beliefs are under the believer’s immediate or direct control, then how precisely should we describe such control? (2) What is the right explanation of our doxastic control, or lack thereof? Will the right explanation make reference to the nature of belief, or is our doxastic control a property not of beliefs per se but of certain types of believers? (3) Williams famously contrasts our inability to believe at will with our inability to blush at will, claiming that the former cannot be a merely contingent property of human beings. Is this right? More generally, how do we determine the modal status of mental relations like that between believing and the will? (4) How does the extent of our doxastic control affect the epistemic assessment of belief? From whence does the notion of ‘epistemic responsibility’ arise, and what is its relation to our degree of doxastic control? Broader issues to be discussed in relation to the topic of doxastic control may include: voluntariness and free will, irrationality and self-deception, the dichotomy between pragmatic and epistemic rationality, as well as persuasion and brainwashing.


85:2 April 2002
Evil

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Advisory Editor: Adam Morton, Bristol

Some acts are wrong, some outcomes are bad, some people are unworthy. Philosophical theories differ about the meanings and grounds for these claims. But, whatever their status, such claims do not entail that any acts or people are evil. Consider, for example, a utilitarian who miscalculates what act will have the best consequences, or a contractarian who thinks that one convention has optimal properties when in fact another does, or even a Kantian who misjudges what act-types can consistently be projected into general maxims. The actions of all these people may be wrong, by their own accounts, but they seem to lack the whiff of brimstone required by evil. Are moral theories missing anything important if they do not define and give a significant role to some concept of evil? Is the concept a morally useful one? Might it even be pernicious? Does it have any place outside a religious context? If the answer to the first of these questions is Yes, then what are the distinguishing marks of evil? Does evil apply to acts or to people, to individuals or to societies? This issue of The Monist invites submissions addressing these and similar questions from a variety of points of view. Contributors will include Raimund Gaita, Colin McGinn, Hillel Steiner and Paul Thompson.


85: 1 January 2002
The Philosophy of Biology

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Advisory Editor: Kim Sterelny, Wellington, New Zealand

Since the mid-1980’s there has been an explosion of interest in philosophy of biology. Some of this work has involved the traditional themes of philosophy of science being worked through in a new domain. For example, ideas about reduction have been revisited and revised through a consideration of the relationship between molecular and classical genetics. But much of this work has involved new philosophical problems provoked by debates within biology itself. For many of these debates seem to have both conceptual and empirical elements; they are neither simply empirical nor settled by definitional tidiness. That is true, for example, of many of the debates about the large scale history of life, and it is equally true of the different identifications of the ‘unit of selection’ and of the various ideas about the nature of species. Until recently, most of this work was focused on evolutionary biology, but it is increasingly clear that there are similar problems, problems that fuse conceptual and empirical issues, in ecology and developmental biology. What is an ecological community? Does individual development consist of the execution of a genetic program? Contributions are solicited on the conceptual aspects of questions of this kind; especially contributions which extend the range of philosophy of biology from its heartland in evolutionary theory.


84:4 October 2001
Physics Before Newton

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Advisory Editor: Karl Schuhmann, Utrecht)

This issue of The Monist deals with the theories of physics which were dominant in the centuries before Newton’s Principia. Special attention will be given to late Scholastic views of physics, for example in the work of the Conimbricenses and Toletus, and also in the work of such early Protestant Scholastics as Melanchthon, Keckermann and Alstedius. Consideration may be given also to Renaissance views of nature, for example as proposed by Telesio, Patrizi, Ramus; and to mechanicistic views of nature such as those of Descartes, Gassendi, Hobbes, and Malebranche. Galileo, Kepler and other prominent scientists may also be considered. Contributions are invited which expound and criticize the works of these and related thinkers, or which offer general surveys and elucidations of the philosophical significance of work in fields such as optics, astronomy and medicine in the period in question.


84:3 July 2001
The Epidemiology of Ideas

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Advisory Editor: Dan Sperber, CREA, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris

Both in the psychological and in the social sciences, the notion of representation plays a major role. But how are the psychological notion of a mental representation and the sociological notion of a collective or cultural representation related? While there has been a naturalistic turn in cognitive science, proposals for the naturalization of mental representations have had little or no impact on the social sciences. This may be due in part to the fact that these naturalistic proposals typically focus on the individual cognizer. Yet, a large proportion of the mental representations of a human individual are, in fact, mere individual versions of representations widely distributed in human groups.

By embracing the hypothesis that populations of representations (somewhat like populations of bacteria or viruses) are hosted by human populations, it becomes possible to apply to the distribution and evolution of mental representations models derived from epidemiology, population genetics, and evolutionary theory. Cultural representations are then seen as strains of mental representations of very similar content widely distributed across a population. To approach cultural representations in this way is to look for the causal explanation of macro-scale cultural phenomena in the micro-processes of cognition and transmission. It is to engage in a kind of epidemiology of ideas. Philosophers, biologists, and anthropologists have developed a variety of such epidemiological or evolutionary models, with particular application to cultural diffusion and to the history and philosophy of science. Both philosophers and social scientists with a serious interest in philosophy are invited to contribute papers on these and related topics.


84: 2 April 2001
Probability as a Guide to Life

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Advisory Editors: Henry Kyburg, Rochester, and Mariam Thalos, Buffalo

Fifty percent of all college graduates, but only twenty percent of all churchgoers, drink alcohol. What is the probability that Alma, a church-going college graduate, drinks alcohol? There is, as yet, no general solution to the problem of the reference class, of which Alma's case is an instance. The problem is pervasive in the application of statistical knowledge. It is philosophical in nature: what grounds inference to single-case probabilities from knowledge about the classes in which they fall?

According to Richard von Mises, a founder of the philosophical study of probability, the very question is nonsense: probabilities apply only to classes. But the probabilities of classes are, in themselves, of no help in decision and action, for it is single cases we face, and we face them one at a time.

Will recent developments in the area of probabilistic causality help solve this problem? Or is the relationship between the reference class problem and causality entirely superficial? Is the problem purely a problem for epistemology, as Hans Reichenbach suggested? Does the Bayesian treat the reference class problem in a distinctive way? Can analysis of Simpson's paradox throw light on the problem? The present issue of The Monist will be devoted to these and related issues in the foundations of probability. Contributors will include Nancy Cartwright, Wesley Salmon, Clark Glymour and Deborah Mayo.


84:1 January 2001
Civic Republicanism as Political Philosophy

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Advisory Editor: Philip Pettit, ANU/Columbia

Republican political theory has been identified by a number of recent historical and philosophical commentators as a political philosophy with distinctive themes and a distinctive stance. In particular, it has been presented as an alternative both to liberalism, broadly conceived, and to the communitarianism that many have represented as the antonym of liberalism. This issue of The Monist will be devoted to the exploration of this approach to political philosophy and submissions that seek to characterise, develop or criticise republicanism are welcome. Authors are particularly invited to focus on aspects of the republican approach that make for a contrast with any of the various forms of liberalism and communitarianism.


83:4 October 2000
Philosophy as a Way of Life

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Advisory Editor: James Miller, New School, NYC

There has been a recent surge of interest in selfhood, and in the therapeutic uses of philosophy, a renaissance associated with, among other philosophers, Michel Foucault, Charles Taylor, Martha Nussbaum, Alexander Nehamas and Stanley Cavell. Many other philosophers nevertheless remain suspicious about approaching philosophy as a way of life. They are reluctant to dwell on the injunction that Socrates received from the oracle at Delphi. It was not to found an academy, or to teach a course in logic; it was, rather, "to live the life of a philosopher, to examine myself and others." What - if anything - can that Delphic injunction mean today? How, if at all, is philosophy related to therapy? Does the ability to lead an examined life presuppose rules, or principles, as to how this examination should proceed? Or, on the contrary, is the philosophical examination of life best pursued (as Montaigne, for one, implies) in the absence of fixed rules and principles? And in any case, how - if at all - does the pursuit of philosophy as a way of living relate to the content of philosophy as it is currently taught in the classroom? These and related questions will be the focus of the present issue of The Monist.


83:3 July 2000
Temporal Parts

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Advisory Editor: Achille Varzi, Columbia, New York

On the one hand there are entities, such as processes and events, which have temporal parts: the beginning of the race; the middle of the concert; the delicate part of the conversation. On the other hand there are entities, such as material objects, which are always present in their entirety at any time at which they exist at all. The categorial distinction between entities which do, and entities which do not, have temporal parts is grounded in common sense. Yet various philosophers have been inclined to oppose it. Some – for instance reists like Kotarbinski – have defended an ontology consisting exclusively of things with no temporal parts. Whiteheadians have favored ontologies including only temporally extended processes. Quine has endorsed a four-dimensional ontology in which the distinction between objects and processes vanishes and every entity comprises simply the content of some arbitrarily demarcated portion of space-time. One further option, embraced by philosophers such as David Lewis, accepts the opposition between objects and processes, while still finding a way to allow that all entities have both spatial and temporal parts. Each of the different views reflects a different conception of the scope and nature of mereology. The present issue of The Monist is devoted to the clarification of these different views and to the working out of their implications for such problems as identity through time, spatiotemporal coincidence, and the possibility of a merging and splitting of substances.


83:2 April 2000
Philosophy of Applied Mathematics

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Advisory Editor: Penelope Maddy, Irvine

The philosophy of applied mathematics begins with the age-old problem of how mathematics comes to be so strikingly useful in science. Contemporary investigators address issues at various levels, from metaphysical debates to more focused questions about particular uses of mathematics. Examples of the former include debates over what the successful application of mathematics tells us about mathematical ontology, over the relations between various levels of mathematized science (e.g., between fundamental theory and engineering), over the nature of mathematical idealizations and over the question whether the apparent omnipresence of such idealizations pushes us inevitably toward some form of anti-realism in the philosophy of science. Examples of the latter include questions about the extent to which we can insist that our treatments of physical phenomena use only 'well-behaved' mathematical representations, about which applications of continuum mathematics are really 'smoothed out' versions of something else, about the meaning of differential equations at various types of 'boundaries', and about renormalization and related problems in classical and quantum theories. Both philosophers of mathematics and philosophers of science are invited to contribute papers that will open up new perspectives on these and other issues in the philosophy of applied mathematics.


83:1 January 2000
Austrian Realism: From Aristotelian Roots to the Vienna Circle

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Advisory Editor: Herbert Hochberg, Austin, Texas

From the time of Bolzano there developed a tradition of realistic metaphysics that can be called "the Austrian tradition." Rooted in Aristotelian and Scholastic ideas about thoughts and their referents, this tradition flourished in the work of Brentano and his students and influenced the analytic realism of Russell and Moore in England and of the Uppsala School in Sweden. It consistently opposed the psychologism that has come to permeate contemporary philosophy, while recognizing the need to continue the phenomenological as well as the logical side of the analytic tradition. Ironically, while the earlier analytic realists opposed Kantian and Hegelian idealism, strains of idealism were spawned by the later writings of Husserl and Wittgenstein, as well as by the Neurath wing of the Vienna Circle. Today, as idealism spreads in the fashionable variants of anti-realism, pragmatism, post-modernism, instrumentalism, etc., realism in the Austrian tradition can still provide a valuable alternative. This issue of The Monist is devoted to papers on the history and the contemporary viability of analytic realism in logic and philosophy.


82:4 October 1999
Cognitive Theories of Mental Illness

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Advisory Editor: Joelle Proust, Paris

Cognitive models of the mind are based on the assumption that a mind is an assemblage of different sorts of functions, including those of extracting information from the environment, representing this information in various formats, and storing and retrieving it according to current needs and purposes. One way of learning more about the mind is to study variations and impairments in mental functioning. Cognitive neuropsychology has developed successful methods for exploring phenomena such as blindsight and aphasia. Cognitive psychopathology is still in its infancy. Its goal is that of understanding the cognitive processes associated with phenomena such as autism, schizophrenia, melancholy and depression. A wealth of new models emerge, offering promising areas of investigation for philosophers. Issues relevant to philosophical inquiry include the relations between perception, hallucination and judgment, agency and the self, consciousness, rationality and belief dynamics in the deluded, the understanding of other minds, and the control of action. Papers are invited on any of these and related topics. They should reflect current developments, but in such a way as to be intelligible to the general philosophical reader.


82:3 July 1999
Nationalism

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Advisory Editor: Nenad Miscevic

What is the proper place of ethnic, national or cultural identities within the network of institutions and political and cultural organizations that shape our lives? Nationalism claims that national identity should occupy the center-stage of political life, shaping the issues of state sovereignty (secession), of distribution of public goods, and of the nature of the cultural life a community may wish to create for itself. Different kinds of nationalisms differ as to the normative strength and universality of their claims.

In this decade nationalism has been resurrected as an important political force, both in its traditional guise (in Europe and Asia) and in its multi-culturalist reincarnations (in North America). Yet philosophers have been less attentive to the phenomenon of nationalism than it deserves, lagging in this respect behind both sociologists and political scientists. The present issue of The Monist is intended to spur the discussion by bringing together contributions from various political and even cultural backgrounds, including countries in which the issue of nationalism is a burning political problem of much more than academic interest.

In order to focus the discussion we suggest that authors concentrate especially on the following two topics: First, the very concept of nationalism: the long and arduous analytic task of delimiting the domain and distingushing various forms of nationalist claims not least as to their factual presuppositions, political content, normative strength, and universality. Understanding nationalism is a first step towards coming to terms with it, and if there is any issue where the lack of understanding is a clear impediment to intelligent political action, then nationalism is certainly an issue of this sort.

Second, nationalism is an obvious test-case in the debate between liberals and communitarians. The "ethno-national" community is an obvious candidate example of a non-voluntary association of common origin, culture and language, i.e. of the kind especially popular with contemporary communitarians. On the other hand, the nation is a modern variety of community and it would perhaps not be very appealing to more traditionally oriented communitarian thinkers who focus upon pre-modern kinds of community. How much prominence should communitarians accord it, and how much weight can liberals grant to it? Which varieties of nationalist (or multiculturalist) claims should be given credence and are there any that are justified in the eyes of both liberals and communitarians?


82:2 April 1999
Continental Philosophy: For and Against

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Advisory Editor: J. Claude Evans, St. Louis

Thirty years ago there was widespread hostility between representatives of 'analytic' and 'continental' philosophy. Today, in contrast, there is some significant positive interest in the work of thinkers such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty in contemporary philosophy of mind and in cognitive science. Yet even in these areas many philosophers still reject any positive contribution by 'continental' thinkers, and many continental philosophers reject the attempts to assimilate continental thinkers such as Heidegger to the concerns of analytic philosophy.

Against this background, The Monist calls for papers on the topic of "Continental Philosophy: For and Against". The aim is to generate dialogue when this is appropriate, but also to encourage fruitful confrontation. "Continental philosophy" can be defined broadly or more narrowly, but in each case what is being attacked and what is being defended should be clearly specified.


82:1 January 1999
Philosophy of Computer Science

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Advisory Editor: Giuseppe Longo, Paris

Computer science largely originated from mathematical logic in the thirties and forties, and it has to some degree retained - through logic - its links to philosophy. In the last few decades, however, computer science has become a firmly established discipline in its own right. New tasks of language- and system-design have meant that relevant areas of logic have been revitalized: computability and proof theory, especially, but also category theory, universal algebra and other areas of mathematics, as tools for semantics. Concrete problems have raised new abstract challenges which go well beyond the logical frame at the basis of early computer science. Thus the prevailing sequential view of logical reasoning seems no longer to be the core paradigm for computing, and parallelism and concurrency, distributed or asynchronous systems are affecting our understanding of both logic and computation.

It is time, then, to deepen our philosophical reflections on the methods, tools and aims of computer science as this has grown out of a blend of mathematical developments and engineering tasks. Logic in computer science has played the double role of foundation and tool. How has this modified our views about the foundations of knowledge and deduction or our understanding of constructive systems? Beyond logic, is mathematics or its philosophy affected?


81:4 October 1998
Rethinking Leibniz

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Advisory Editor: P. J. Phemister, Liverpool

In this collection of essays, scholars familiar with the Leibniz corpus will treat this corpus, not as an archive to be gleaned for purely historical information, but rather as a treasure chest of ideas and views, some of which are as alive and relevant now as they were in the seventeenth century. The contributors will make use of core Leibnizian concepts to shed fresh light on current debates. On some topics, for instance in modal logic and identity theory, the debt to Leibniz has long been explicitly acknowledged. In other areas, the value of Leibniz's contributions has only recently been recognised. For instance, current work on the nature of space has shown that Leibniz's views can be fruitfully applied in a twentieth-century context. Reappraisals of Leibniz's metaphysics of the mind and of the natural world have much to offer to current debates also in the philosophy of mind, both with respect to the nature of the mind and its relation to the body. Papers are invited on these and other areas of philosophy for which Leibniz's work is pertinent.


81:3 July 1998
Reunifying Epistemology

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Advisory Editor: Peter Hare, Buffalo

In recent years epistemological inquiry has gone in a bewildering variety of directions. This issue of The Monist will address the question whether these myriad inquiries can be unified. How far are the many types of epistemology trying to solve the same problems? In so far as the same questions are being addressed, how far are the answers given compatible, how far are they complementary? What sense can we make of the entire epistemological scene? What lessons can be drawn of use in future inquiry? Papers submitted should focus on specific problems or issues concerning relations between different types of epistemology.


81:2 April 1998
Vagueness

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Advisory Editor: Timothy Williamson, Edinburgh

The sorites paradox raises the philosophical problem of vagueness in its most intractable form. If the successive removal of grains turns a heap into a non-heap, standard reasoning seems to show that at some point the removal of one grain turned a heap into a non-heap, a conclusion which many dislike. One can label the problem by saying that the vagueness of the distinction between heaps and non-heaps is to blame. Many accounts treat vagueness as a semantic or pragmatic phenomenon; others treat it as epistemic or ontological. The paradox cannot be solved by means of a technical fix; what is needed is a philosophically well-motivated account of the underlying nature of vagueness. Such an account may engage with wider issues about deviance in logic, disquotational and verificationist theories of truth, and the idea that reality itself is indeterminate. Historical discussion, for example of the sorites paradox in antiquity or of the emergence of vagueness as a problem in early analytic philosophy, is also relevant. Contributors will include Stephen Schiffer and Roy Sorensen.


81:1 January 1998
Secondary Qualities Generalized

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Advisory Editor: Peter Menzies, Canberra

In recent years a number of philosophers have argued that the concepts of the secondary qualities represent a useful model for understanding other significant concepts. A secondary quality concept is one which is rooted essentially in human responses: more precisely, a statement that a secondary quality is exemplified by an object is a priori equivalent to a statement that the object would elicit a distinctive response from a suitable human subject under suitable conditions. It has been argued by Mark Johnston, John McDowell, Philip Pettit, Hilary Putnam, and Crispin Wright, among others, that a whole range of concepts, including those of value, intentionality, personal identity, modality, and meaning, can be usefully construed along these lines, as generalised secondary quality concepts. The purpose of this issue is to examine the truth of these claims and their implications for the more general philosophical issue of realism.


80:4 October 1997
Analytical Thomism

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Advisory Editor: John Haldane, St. Andrews

Thomism has always had the potential to exchange methods and ideas with other philosophical traditions. In this century versions of transcendental and phenomenological Thomism have developed out of encounters with Kantian and Husserlian thought. In English-language philosophy, however, the main tradition has been analytical. The question, therefore, arises: what forms of synthesis might result from interaction between analytic philosophy and the thought of Aquinas and other scholastics? The best analytical work has been in the areas of metaphysics; the philosophies of language, logic, mind and action; and moral and political philosophy. These are also central concerns of Thomism.

This issue of The Monist will collect contributions that seek to combine in fruitful ways the interests and methods of the two traditions. Contributors will include Brian Davies, Terence Irwin, Norman Kretzmann, Hilary Putnam and Eleonore Stump.


80:3 July 1997
Monist Interactive Issue

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Advisory Editor: Herbert Hrachovec, Vienna

Philosophy, like other intellectual disciplines, has been both constituted and constrained by the media available for the production and exchange of ideas. It is the inventions of writing and print which have made scholarly inquiry possible. And as for philosophy, some of its seemingly perennial problems in fact arose as a consequence of the fact that living (spoken) language had to be transformed into language fixed on paper. Writing created the isolated thinker, while also allowing the time to think and to organize thoughts into lapidary form; but it could not be interactive in the way that real-time conversation was, and certainly not among multiple interlocutors. Electronic networks now offer new conceptual challenges, a new framework for philosophy, perhaps even a new synthesis. This issue of The Monist is intended to serve as an experiment in new interactive methods of philosophical composition.


80:2 April 1997
Pantheism

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Advisory Editor: Michael Levine, University of Western Australia

Many people who do not believe in a theistic God nonetheless believe that everything is part of an all-inclusive divine unity. This issue examines the philosophical basis of pantheism. Pantheism has been the classical religious alternative to theism, but are there grounds - philosophical and religious - for believing that pantheism presents the genuine alternative to theism that many contemporary non-theists think it does? Rather than focusing on particular pantheists this issue addresses questions concerning the philosophical and religious viability of pantheism. What exactly is pantheism? What kind of "unity" are pantheists claiming? What formal or logical ideas are relevant to pantheism's central claim? Is contemporary scientific theory relevant to pantheism? How can philosophical problems associated with theism be recast in terms of pantheism, and can they be resolved? How might one practice pantheism and why hasn't pantheism been institutionalized? Contributors will include James Cargile, John Leslie, Timothy Sprigge and Robert Scharlemann.


80:1 January 1997
Quantum Mechanics and the Real World

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Advisory Editor: Barry Loewer, Rutgers

It has long been recognized that while Quantum Theory is a powerful and accurate instrment for modelling and predicting micro-physical phenomena, it seems to describe a world which is decidedly distant from the world we experience - the "real world". For example, it seems to predict that macroscopic systems (e.g. cats) sometimes evolve into states in which ordinary properties (e.g being alive/dead) are not well-defined and indeed that we (or our bodies) sometimes occupy such states. The task of attempting to square quantum theory with "the real world" is the problem of interpreting the theory. There are a number of recent proposals including many worlds, many minds, hidden variable, and stochastic collapse theories which have attracted philosophical attention. This issue of The Monist is devoted to the philosophical problems which arise from trying to reconcile quantum theory with the real world and especially to these recent proposals.


79:4 October 1996
Academic Ethics

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79:3 July 1996
Causality Before Hume

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79:2 April 1996
Forbidden Knowledge

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79:1 January 1996
Topology for Philosophers

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78:4 October 1995
The Mind in Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy

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78:3 July 1995
The Metaphysics of Economics

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78:2 April 1995
Prosthetic Epistemology

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78:1 January 1995
Cultural Universals

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77:4 October 1994
Feminist Epistemology

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77:3 July 1994
Uses and Abuses of Logic in Philosophy

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77:2 April 1994
Facts and Situations

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77:1 January 1994
The Ontology of Scientific Realism

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76:4 October 1993
Canons

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76:3 July 1993
Justification in Ethics

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76:2 April 1993
Philosophical Aspects of Death and Dying

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76:1 January 1993
Person-Relativity in Ethics

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