Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Christine Korsgaard has argued that Humean views about action and practical rationality jointly imply the impossibility of irrational action. According to the Humean theory of action, agents do what maximizes expected desire-satisfaction. According to the Humean theory of rationality, it is rational for agents to do what maximizes expected desire-satisfaction. Thus Humeans are committed to the impossibility of practical irrationality – an unacceptable consequence.I submitted to JESP before the other ethics journals in its class -- the Journal of Value Inquiry, the Journal of Ethics, the Journal of Moral Philosophy, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice -- because it's open source.
I respond by developing Humean views to explain how we can act irrationally. Humeans about action should consider the immediate motivational forces produced by an agent's desires. Humeans about rationality should consider the agent's dispositional desire strengths. When (for example) vivid sensory or imaginative experiences of desired things cause some of our desires to produce motivational force disproportional to their dispositional strength, we may act in ways that do not maximize expected desire- satisfaction, thus acting irrationally. I argue that this way of developing Humean views is true to the best reasons for holding them.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Okay, the picture at right depicts me dancing at a karaoke bar, but in my defense there are no less than three leading lights of the discipline (Daniel Nolan, a delighted Amie Thomasson, and Alan Hajek) behind me. This was a few weeks ago at the Australasian Association of Philosophy conference in Dunedin NZ.
After two great conferences in Auckland, I came down to Tasmania last week. Tomorrow I go up to Melbourne for two talks, and then to Brisbane. Then I return to Singapore, and before long the big lecture tour in the States will begin.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Probably the best thing I've put up this year is a puzzle about butts based on Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back."
Monday, June 06, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
To the Members of the Board of Regents,
Shortly after being sentenced to death by a jury of his fellow citizens, Socrates observes: "It is for the sake of a short time, gentlemen of the jury, that you will acquire the reputation and the guilt, in the eyes of those who want to denigrate the city, of having killed Socrates, a wise man, for they who want to revile you will say that I am wise even if I am not." You have no doubt heard many defenses recently of the "cash value" of Philosophy as an academic research discipline, and of the claim that Philosophy is the core of the humanities, and of the many ways in which students who are able to study Philosophy as undergraduates are more "well-rounded" and demonstrably more competitive than students in many other disciplines, across and outside of the humanities. All of these things are true and well worth bearing in mind as you confront your state's current fiscal crisis. But consider also Socrates' suggestion: even if none of these things were the case, the reputation of your state, your city, and your university system is likely to suffer just the same. In a state that allows women legally to practice "the oldest profession," you will become known for having killed off a Women's Studies program during International Women's Month, and for having at the same time having focused your efforts solely on ousting your practitioners of the oldest academic profession there is.
Because those who devote their lives to the academy as a career are among the most highly-trained professionals in our country, people whose expertise is not so easily transferred to other places or fields, your administration will become known for having ruined the lives of many faculty members when doing so could certainly have been avoided. The University of Nevada will find it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain excellent faculty members, in any discipline, or to recruit students from out of state. The loss of these programs will outrage alumni, whether or not they studied Philosophy as a major or minor, thereby alienating a number of would-be future contributors to the university. Finally, and most obviously, the intellectual reputation of the university-nationally and internationally-will suffer. What may appear to you to be the loss of one department will have substantial, long-term repercussions for the entire University of Nevada.
When the University System of Georgia faced a proposed second year of $3M cuts, even Republican Governor Sonny Perdue called a halt, saying that he would not allow the Legislature to dismantle a world-class university system that it took generations to build. I can say without exaggeration that I believe the proposal currently under consideration by the Board would clearly have that effect on your institution. I would urge you to look to the solutions adopted by other university systems around the country who have weathered times just as trying as those in Nevada, but without such far-reaching and catastrophic consequences.
Dr. Jessica N. Berry,
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Georgia State University
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Jetstar was having some kind of fare sale, so I got a pretty good deal on this flight. The one-way ticket cost SGD 315 (USD 246), which is good for a journey of over 5000 miles. I'm good at sleeping on planes overnight, especially if I gulp down some melatonin, so if you meet me in Christchurch I should be awake and alert. And since New Zealand's duty free allowance is 3 liters of hard liquor, I should have some good stuff to share.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Saturday, February 05, 2011
You are curious whether your butt is big or small. Unfortunately, you lack the ability to accurately assess the size of butts. Fortunately, there are three rappers before you. You are of their preferred gender, so they are willing to collectively entertain exactly one yes-or-no question from you, to which they will each give an answer.Perhaps you will enjoy hearing "Baby Got Back" while working on this puzzle.
One rapper likes big butts and cannot lie. One rapper likes small butts and always lies. One rapper likes all butts but shares your inability to assess butt size, and will answer yes or no at random if asked whether a butt is big or small. You do not know which rapper is which. All the rappers know all other facts relevant to the situation, including everyone's identity and butt preferences.
Before you are able to ask your question, one rapper receives a booty call (the size of the booty is unknown to you) and leaves the room. The other two rappers remain and are willing to pronounce on your question. You still do not know who any of the rappers are.
To determine the size of your butt, what question should you ask them? (You may assume that all butts can be classified as either big or small and ignore contextual factors, e.g. from the presence of Oakland booty.)
Thanks are due to Daniel Velleman for inspiring the puzzle, Rob Helpy-Chalk for pointing out an inconsistency since corrected, and Dennis Clark and Supriya Sinhababu for playtesting.