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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

The nature of intention

Percival, G. A. January 2014 (has links)
Imagine you face the following choice: either spending the evening at a party, or going to the library and continuing with the paper you have been working on. You have been working hard recently and have a strong desire to go to the party. On the other hand, you have an important deadline coming up and need to make progress with the paper. Whichever way you decide, once the decision is made you will enter into new kind of state, adopting a particular kind of attitude towards your own future. This is the state of intention. What is the nature of this state? The central thesis that I argue for is that intention is a primitive and irreducible mental state, non-analyzable in terms of any other, supposedly more basic, folk-psychological states or attitudes, or combination thereof, such as desire and belief. However, while I argue that intentions are primitive and irreducible, I do not adopt a position of quietism about intentions. I do believe that there are interesting things to be said about what intentions are. I make two important further claims about intention. One is that intention is a state that, like belief, has an aim. However, whereas the aim of belief is knowledge, the aim of intention is self-control, or determining what one will do in the future. I argue that it is the fact that intention aims at self-control that explains certain distinctive normative features of intention that distinguish intention from desire and belief. The other claim is that intention is a kind of disposition – the disposition of an agent to pursue an aim or goal. I argue that this explains certain distinctive causal and descriptive features of intention that distinguish it from desire and belief.

Arts and facts : fiction, non-fiction and the photographic medium

Atencia-Linares, P. January 2014 (has links)
In this thesis, I deal with the rarely discussed issue of how the nature of a representational medium—in this case photography—affects or contributes to the classification of works as fiction or non-fiction, and I provide a novel view on the relation between photographs and documentary works. Part I focuses on issues concerning the nature of photographic representation, its special relation with the real and its purported fictional incompetence. Part II takes up issues concerning the nature of fiction and non-fiction with an emphasis on the category of non-fiction/documentary, and examines its application to photography. Firstly, I discuss the claim, put forward by Kendall Walton, according to which photographs, in virtue of being depictive, are or favour fiction. I deny that this is so, although I argue that Walton’s claim is frequently misunderstood. Then, I address the more intuitive claim that photographs favour non-fiction. I argue that, if this is so, it is not because photographs are fictionally incapable. Photographs, I claim, can depict ficta by photographic means. However, this is consistent with saying that photographs bear a special relation with the real: (1) photographs are typically natural ‘signals’; they are handicaps and indices (Green 2007, Maynard-Smith and Harper 2004)—and thereby typically factive; and (2) photographs are documental images, images that support an experience that preserves the particularity of the original scene. These features contribute to non-fiction/documentary. To see how, I discuss various views on the nature of documentary and I propose an alternative account based on Stacie Friend’s ‘Genre Theory’. Finally, I discuss the application of the categories of fiction and non-fiction to photography. I claim that although these are active genres in the medium, it is more accurate to speak about factual and non-factual photography, where the former is a more basic category. This, in turn, is a consequence of the nature of the medium itself.

Deliberative democracy, public reason and the allocation of clinical care resources

Badano, G. January 2014 (has links)
This thesis discusses how societies should allocate clinical care resources. The first aim of the thesis is to defend the idea that clinical care resource allocation is a matter for deliberative democratic procedures. I argue that deliberative democracy is justified because of its ability to implement equal respect and autonomy. Furthermore, I address several in-principle objections to the project of applying deliberative democracy to clinical care resource allocation. Most notably, I respond to the narrow view of the scope of deliberative democracy and the critiques of explicit rationing. The second aim of the thesis is to determine what is required by deliberative democracy in clinical care resource allocation. I identify the general requirements that resource allocation agencies should meet, namely public reason, public involvement, transparency, accuracy and revisability. I then examine what is required by deliberative democracy with regard to two particularly salient specific topics, namely the substantive values that should govern resource allocation and the involvement of scientific experts in decision-making. I demonstrate that public reason imposes severe constraints on the substantive values that should be employed. Most of these constraints are rooted in the idea that, under a regime of scarcity, public reason requires that resources be allocated so as to minimise the strongest complaint anyone may have. Out of the variety of values that are commonly proposed as relevant, only priority to the worst-off, ability to benefit, specialness of clinical care and cost are consistent with public reason. Turning to expert involvement, I argue that deliberative democracy can overcome several formidable threats, such as the opacity of expert opinions to laypersons and the tendency to hide uncertainty and disagreement from the public. I also discuss how my proposals on substantive values and expert involvement could be implemented, in order to add to the plausibility of my theory.

Just shy of virtue

Harley, D. January 2014 (has links)
In the 'Nicomachean Ethics' Aristotle presents four categories regarding character: vice, incontinence, continence and virtue. The question I will raise is whether these categories exhaust the possibilities of the psychological states that agents can find themselves in with regard to morality. Are we able to conceive of an agent who cannot be said to fall under any of the categories that Aristotle has presented, and is this state a plausible phenomenon? If such a scenario is not only conceivable, but highly plausible, then it would seem that Aristotle's account is unsatisfactory to the extent that he fails to account for this state in his ethical theory. The aim of this thesis is to raise a particular case of moral conversion where it will be argued that the agent depicted in the scenario fails to fall under the categories of character that Aristotle sets out. This agent, I will argue, possesses a set of psychological features that does not match the features that make up the other categories, and, to this extent, Aristotle's account is inadequate. The agent I describe is someone who does not experience the motivational conflict that characterises the continent agent, despite possessing some vicious appetites that have been weakened by means of reason. He is capable of taking the proper pleasure in the fineness of his act even though he has these residual appetites that are vicious. Consequently, this agent cannot be said to be either continent or virtuous, and falls under a distinct category that I will name good-willed. Even though Aristotle does not explicitly endorse this further category, it will be argued that the case I will raise (and what is to be said about it) is not inconsistent with Aristotle's account as a whole, and may even be suggested by it.

Idealism and realism in early German Romanticism

Stenseth, O. N. January 2015 (has links)
The early German romantics Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schlegel were united in their attempt to combine idealism and realism. However, contemporary interpretations of early German romanticism have, as far as idealism and realism is concerned, found two major strands of interpretation in Manfred Frank and Frederick C. Beiser that respectively characterise the romantics as epistemological and metaphysical realists and as absolute idealists. Against both of these interpretations I will argue that we both can and should interpret the Frühromantiker as finding some middle path between idealism and realism. In order to motivate this claim I will begin by summarising what I take to be the main features of the positions of the three major early German romantics (Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schlegel) as well as making it apparent that finding some way of combining idealism and realism was in fact their goal. In light of these features I will then critique both Frank and Beiser's one-sided interpretations as well as offer an interpretation that does take into account the romantics' self-proclaimed aim. Having gone through Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schlegel in turn, summarised the major elements of their philosophy, shown how the three can be interpreted as neither idealists nor realists, and rejected any absolute idealist readings, as well as having given a reading of these philosophers consistent with their attempt to combine idealism and realism, I will end by concluding that we both can and should interpret the Frühromantiker as finding a middle path between idealism and realism.

Thought without illusion

Aasen, S. January 2014 (has links)
This thesis targets the part of Gareth Evans’s and John McDowell’s view of singular thought which involves the claim that there can be illusions of thought. Singular thought is, according to Evans and McDowell, an object-dependent thought-content; such thought-content could not be entertained unless the object it is about exists. Nevertheless, in a case of perceptual hallucination, where a subject mistakenly takes it that there is an object in front of him or her, Evans and McDowell think that it can seem to a subject exactly as though he or she is having an object-dependent thought, although the subject is in fact not thinking at all due to the absence of any object to think about. The thesis argues for a rejection of this idea of illusions of object-dependent thought. It is further argued that the idea of illusions of thought can be eliminated from Evans’s and McDowell’s view without abandoning their fundamental insight about how singular thought-content is object-dependent. Following specifically McDowell’s development of the view, it is suggested that singular thought is about the world in virtue of how things cognitively appear to the subject. It is suggested that in an alleged case of illusion of thought, the subject has an object-dependent thought about an object whose existence in part is due to the mind’s directedness in that very episode of singular thinking. Furthermore, Evans’s and McDowell’s respective views of acquaintance are criticised, and an idea about acquaintance as awareness of a wider range of objects than just perceivable objects is put forward. In general, the thesis outlines a revised version of Evans’s and McDowell’s view, a version according to which singular thought, although externalistically individuated, is transparent to the thinker.

Conscious attention and demonstrative thought

Williams, T. E. January 2014 (has links)
This thesis is concerned with the relation between attention and demonstrative thought. It focuses on John Campbell’s view of this relation which he defends in his book Reference and Consciousness and some other work. Campbell’s view is that conscious perceptual attention to an object explains how we are able to think perceptual demonstrative thoughts about that object. I will label this view ‘Campbell’s Thesis’. The main aim of this thesis is to assess Campbell’s Thesis by identifying the issues upon which the question of whether we should accept or reject it turns, and by revealing some of the commitments that must be taken on by those who wish to reject it. The first main claim of this thesis is that Campbell’s own arguments for his thesis are not entirely successful (largely because of his reliance on his notion of ‘knowledge of reference’). The second main claim is whether we should accept or reject Campbell’s Thesis really turns upon: (i) whether conscious perceptual attention is a unified psychological phenomena (I’ll argue there is a strong argument for Campbell’s thesis if this is so); (ii) whether it is acceptable to deny conscious perceptual experience of objects has an explanatory role with respect to our capacities to think perceptual demonstrative thoughts about objects (I’ll argue those who reject Campbell’s Thesis are committed to denying this). I won’t claim to have settled the question of whether we should accept or reject Campbell’s Thesis here. However I will claim to have clarified the issues upon which this question turns and revealed some of the commitments that must be taken on by those who wish to reject Campbell’s Thesis.

Resource egalitarianism as a realisation of relational justice in the distributive sphere : an analysis of personal and interpersonal responsibility

Shanahan, G. D. January 2015 (has links)
In this thesis I examine the role of personal and interpersonal responsibility in relational egalitarianism and argue that Dworkin’s resource egalitarianism should be understood as a means by which to realise this aspect of justice, rather than as a competing and incompatible comprehensive theory. I hope to show that resource egalitarianism neutralises the effects of brute luck, not merely so as to put “cosmic injustices” to rights, but to ensure, insofar as possible, that individuals can relate to one another on equitable terms by taking responsibility for the effects of their actions. I focus especially on Elizabeth Anderson’s criticisms of responsibility-catering distributive theories and attempt to demonstrate how the interpersonal conception of justification she identifies as the central feature of relational egalitarian theories underlies Dworkin’s hypothetical insurance mechanism. I argue that the distinction Dworkin draws between brute and option luck depends on a highly contextual conception of what it is reasonable to expect of one another under various circumstances, informed by the capabilities one cannot reasonably be expected to give up or risk losing. I draw out the relational egalitarian motivation of Dworkin’s True-Cost Principle and argue that these true costs cannot be identified without an appreciation for the social construction of the ‘dominant cooperative scheme’ and a similar concern for the benefits to the community of individual choices. This sets the terms for our reconception of hypothetical insurance as a mechanism, not only for neutralising brute luck beyond the reach of voluntary insurance, but of correctly allocating the diffuse costs and benefits of agents’ choices and behaviours.

Sexual autonomy, prostitution, and the law

Carnegy-Arbuthnott, H. M. January 2015 (has links)
Prostitution is a morally loaded word. More than just sex for money, it implies something debased, dishonourable, corrupt. But there is something puzzling about the wrong, if any, of prostitution. Intuition suggests there is something peculiar about sex that distinguishes prostitution from other bodily services. However, if we discount out-dated prejudice about promiscuity, it remains mysterious why adding money to sex should change the permissibility of the act. The current debate broadly falls into three camps: 1) Qualms about prostitution are based on mere social prejudice about sex; 2) Sex has a special value which is debased or degraded when exchanged for money; 3) Prostitution perpetuates skewed power relations that feed into wider gender inequalities. Too often these stances respectively ignore relevant points of disanalogy between sex and other bodily activities; rely on undefended essentialist views about the value of sex and how it is debased or destroyed; or focus too heavily on contingent empirical and sociological evidence, without analysing the nature of the activity itself. This thesis takes a step back, analysing the nature of sex and money to identify what sets prostitution apart from other bodily services. I suggest prostitution blurs the boundaries between a personal service and an exchange of the body as property. This raises the question to what extent individuals can willingly surrender powers over their body to others, as one might do with a piece of property. Should a liberal state allow individuals to freely transact with their bodies in this way or not? Closer examination of these puzzles serves to shed light on the tension inherent in prostitution and helps to clarify key notions in the debate, including the concept of sexual autonomy, the objectification and commodification of bodies, and the relevance of the particular risk of harm inherent in the activity.

Imaginary desires

Davis, J. F. January 2015 (has links)
This thesis assesses the case for introducing an imaginative counterpart to desire. The first chapter considers what an imaginative counterpart is, and some initial worries related to introducing an imaginative counterpart to desire. The second chapter considers whether our third person mindreading abilities, and a puzzle about what mental states motivate children’s pretend play, give us reason for introducing i - desires. The third chapter considers whether we have to introduce i - desires to make sense of the desires we apparently direct towards fictional characters. I will argue that introducing i - desires deepens the puzzles related to these three cases, and that genuine desire - based solutions do a better job of making sense of them. I will thus conclude that desire does not have an imaginative counterpart.

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