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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.

A theory of minimal morality

Moehler, Michael January 2007 (has links)
The idea of the theory of minimal morality is simple. The two-level contractarian theory aims to justify a system of morality that can secure mutually beneficial and globally stable cooperation between individuals living in a pluralistic world. The theory entails three components: local rules of cooperation, a global rule of conflict resolution, and the principle of subsidiarity. The principle of subsidiarity, applied to the theory of minimal morality, dictates the priority of the rules of cooperation and has no further function. The rules of cooperation define the local moralities of different groups of cooperation and are exogenously given. That is, as long as the members of different groups agree with their local rules of cooperation, and the rules do not negatively affect other individuals' interests within or outside the group, the group members can establish any rules that advance their interests. The individuals' agreement with these lower-level rules of cooperation represents the first contract that they enter into, assuming that each individual is at least a member of one such group of cooperation. In order to secure stability of cooperation globally, however, there needs to be, in situations of dispute that cannot be settled by the local moralities, a further rule that is agreed upon by all individuals independently of which group they belong to, to resolve the remaining conflicts. To determine this rule of conflict resolution, the individuals will be hypothetically placed within a rational choice framework, in which they decide un-veiled about a possible mediation rule. I will argue that as a result of this procedure, each individual endowed with a minimal form of reasoning, the rationality of homo prudens, will agree with the weak principle of universalisation as the unique rule of conflict resolution. The individuals' agreement with this higher-level rule of mediation represents the second contract that they enter into. Once the rule of conflict resolution is derived, the regulating institutions of the local groups of cooperation and a specifically established supra-group institution will apply and enforce the rule in order to settle any otherwise un-resolvable intra-and inter-group conflicts. A rational individual will follow the solutions specified, because she can expect that such rule-compliant behaviour is likely to be beneficial for her, or so I will argue.

Blanchot, Derrida, Gadamer and the anarchy of style

Aquilina, Mario January 2012 (has links)
This dissertation examines the possibilities of thinking and reading style nonteleocratically through the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida. The title evokes the non-foundational aspect of style—style as that which is not conceptualisable and which defies categorisation by previously established rules. Chapter 1 shows how traditional theories and definitions of style are essentially teleocratic in being always directed towards some external function. Style is considered as a signifier of social, biographical or political signifieds, or else it is discussed as a representation of linguistic, generic, formal, or cognitive structures. Style as an event, on the other hand, cannot be fully understood theoretically but must be encountered always singularly and in performance. Style as an event does not simply represent something that exists before it but creates the possibilities of its readability. Style is then also anachronic, suspending teleocratic conceptions of the temporality of style in terms of original and more essential sources. It is oriented towards the future, the aleatory, that which is always still to come. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 explore the subject through successive, focused discussions of the thinking and performance of style in Gadamer’s, Blanchot’s, and Derrida’s work. Each chapter finishes with a discussion of the respective thinker’s encounter with Paul Celan’s poetry, which, it is argued, demands non-teleocratic readings. For comparative purposes, in Chapter 5, these readings are contrasted to teleocratic theories of style by Fredric Jameson and by various contemporary stylisticians. What results from this comparison is not a new method to be applied in an improved theory of style but an ethical consideration of the singularity of every reading of style marked by moments of interruption and intensification that arise in the performance of style.

Visual perception as a means of knowing

French, C. January 2012 (has links)
This thesis falls into two parts, a characterizing part, and an explanatory part. In the first part, I outline some of the core aspects of our ordinary understanding of visual perception, and how we regard it as a means of knowing. What explains the fact that I know that the lemon before me is yellow is my visual perception: I know that the lemon is yellow because I can see it. Some explanations of how one knows specify that in virtue of which one genuinely knows, as opposed to merely believes, some content. Such explanations are epistemically satisfactory explanations. We think that visual perceptual explanations of knowledge can be epistemically satisfactory. I argue that that is what it is to regard visual perception as being among our means of knowing. In the second part, I explore how we might explain the fact that visual perception is a means of knowing (assuming that it is a fact). I ask what makes it the case that visual perception is a means of knowing (in the way we ordinarily think that it is)? I suggest that part of the answer to this question is that visual perception, given the nature it has, has a reason giving role. And that is just to say that the nature of visual perception is such that visually perceiving can ensure the satisfaction of some important condition on knowledge (namely, that if one knows that something is the case one must have a good reason to believe that it is the case). In concluding I suggest that giving this sort of explanation doesn't require a specific theory of perception.

Against Organicism : a defence of an ontology of everyday objects

Jennings, S. L. M. January 2010 (has links)
This thesis claims that attempts to eliminate everyday objects from ontology on the basis of a priori reasoning about the composition relation fail. The thesis focuses on the positions of 'Organicist' philosophers; philosophers who argue that all that exists are organisms and microscopic (or smaller) mereological simples. Organicist positions have two key foundations: 1) arguments from compositional failure, which conclude that there are no everyday objects because (it is argued) there are no non-living composite entities. 2) A rhetorical move, the 'O-arranging manoeuvre', whereby it is claimed that the elimination of everyday objects from our ontology would make 'no-difference' because object-wise arrangements of mereological simples take their place. The thesis maintains that arguments from compositional failure should be reinterpreted as arguments to the conclusion that the notion of 'composition' being employed by Organicists is inadequate for the purposes of metaphysics. A minimal alternative account of everyday objects is posited. It is shown that by deploying the O-arranging manoeuvre Organicists (and other Eliminativists) commit themselves to all that is required on the presented account to entail the conclusion that everyday objects exist. The thesis concludes that there are everyday objects. It suggests that we should reject the idea that composition is what matters in ontology, but if one does not then the thesis gives reasons for rejecting compositional ontologies that entail the non-existence of everyday objects.

Causation, colour and secondary qualities

Brown, M. C. January 2012 (has links)
This thesis examines Price and Menzies’ defence of an agential theory of causation by analogy with the dispositional theory of colour, and their claim that causation should be treated as a secondary quality. Exploration of the objections to their theory that Price and Menzies discuss shows that causation should not be treated as a secondary quality. These objections are that the agential theory of causation confuses metaphysics with epistemology, that it is unavoidably circular, that it cannot account for causation in cases where agential manipulation is impossible, and that it is unacceptably anthropocentric. It is argued that although understanding causation as a secondary quality is supposed by Price and Menzies to solve these problems, this understanding does not in fact provide adequate responses to the four objections, and hence that treating causation as a secondary quality is under-motivated. It is argued, however, that the analogy made between causation and colour is nevertheless useful, because an idea from a different theory of colour presents a better option for understanding causation. This alternative idea uses agency, but does not bring the disadvantage of making causation metaphysically dependent on agency. The alternative idea is built on the argument for selectionism about colour. It is ultimately argued that although causation is not a secondary quality, it may yet be a tertiary quality.

Experience and knowledge

Tang, R. January 2010 (has links)
Experience is the source of empirical knowledge. Does this require that experience itself be knowledge? My answer to the question is affirmative. Experience, in so far as it is the source of empirical knowledge, has to be itself knowledge. Following the traditional understanding of knowledge, this means that experience as the source of knowledge is a kind of justified true belief. This I call the gnostic conception of experience, or gnosticism for short. The aim of the thesis is to argue for gnosticism. The thesis consists of nine chapters. Chapter 1 proposes gnosticism and examines some historical traditions from the gnosticist point of view. Chapter 2 defends a version of traditional understanding of knowledge on which gnosticismis based. Chapter 3 rejects nongnosticism by arguing against nonconceptualism. It is argued that nonconceptual experience cannot play a justificatory role for thought, since there is no systematic relation between nonconceptual experience and thought. Chapter 4 rejects quasi-gnosticism by arguing against conceptualism. Based on the doxastic criterion of justification, the chapter challenges the justificatory role of nondoxatic conceptual experience. Chapter 5 explores the relationship between experience and concept and argues that experience and concept are constitutive of each other. Chapter 6 proposes and argues for doxasticism which says that experience is belief about the world. Chapter 7 defends doxasticism against the disbelief objection which says we do not always believe what we experience. Chapter 8 argues that the voluntariness of belief does not undermine doxasticism since experience is an active, rational exploration of the world. With doxasticism established, chapter 9 returns to gnosticism by tackling the problem of the justification of experience. It is argued that experience can be justified as true without being inferential and is in this sense the foundation of empirical knowledge.

A chance for possibility : an investigation into the grounds of modality

Steinberg, A. T. January 2011 (has links)
The thesis defends the view that the (non-epistemic) modal realm is tripartite: truths about possible worlds supervene on modal truths, which in turn supervene on truths about objective chances. An understanding of supervenience is developed which—unlike the standard understanding of supervenience as a purely modal notion—allows the question of what modal truths supervene on to have a non-trivial answer. Relying on this understanding, a negative result is established: modal truths do not supervene on truths about possible worlds, whether possible worlds are conceived of as Lewisian mereological sums of concrete individuals or as abstract objects of some kind. Instead, a conception of abstract possible worlds is developed and defended according to which the direction of supervenience is the reverse. This leaves the question of whether modal truths themselves supervene on still more basic truths. It is argued that it should be answered in the affirmative. Our use of natural language ‘might’ and ‘might have’ sentences—of those sentences with which we express non-epistemic possibility before we enter the philosophy classroom—provide evidence that modal truths supervene on truths about objective chances.

Global poverty, human rights and development

Reeve, D. E. January 2013 (has links)
This thesis examines how effectively political philosophy contributes to solving the world’s biggest problems. It does this by considering one such problem – global poverty – and exploring the two major initiatives of the last seventy years - the Human Rights Approach and the Human Development Approach. It finds that both approaches have merit thanks in part to important philosophical input. However, it also concludes that progress has been disappointing and considers apparent gaps in both disciplines and possibilities for closure. It concludes that philosophers may have missed an important factor in overlooking the work of social scientists on cultural values. These values might explain why many developed countries fail to meet their transnational duties to developing countries. Put simply, we might make more progress on global poverty by focussing on the values of rich countries. The thesis concludes with proposals to reclaim and extend the scope of political philosophy to better equip it for the challenge of addressing society’s biggest issues.

The intimate connexion : bodily awareness and bodily agency

Wong, H. Y. January 2009 (has links)
This thesis examines the relation between bodily awareness and bodily agency. Descartes‘s observation that we are not in our bodies as pilots in vessels suggests two thoughts about the special role of the body in experience and agency. The first is that we experience our bodies ‗from the inside‘ and not just as one more material body amongst other material objects of perception (Feeling). The second is that we are able to act with our bodies in ways in which we are not with any other bodies or objects (Direct Control). My goal is to articulate the proper relationship between Feeling and Direct Control. There are three broad options: they are independent (Independence); Feeling is because of Direct Control (Enaction); and Direct Control is because of Feeling (Necessity). Independence cannot make sense of the rational role of experience in guiding action. Finding Independence unsatisfactory is the force of intuition toward articulating some kind of intimate connexion between bodily awareness and bodily agency. Enaction is subject to counterexamples from paralysed subjects, pain in body parts (such as internal organs) that we cannot act with, and double dissociations between bodily awareness and bodily action. The most attractive option is Necessity, but it is still empirically inadequate. Whilst the intimacy between bodily awareness and agency is not in doubt, the counterexamples suggest that their relation cannot quite be understood in the way that Necessity claims. I develop a view on which bodily awareness is necessary for bodily agency, but not for the online control of actions (as Necessity claims). Rather, bodily awareness plays an essential role in action planning, since to plan an action is to have some conception of what you can do – which requires body schemata and awareness of current bodily dispositions.

Rectifying wrongs : the problem of historical injustice

Vaca Paniagua, M. January 2012 (has links)
This thesis is concerned with the problem of rectification in the theory of justice. We are faced with examples of great historical injustice over the last few centuries. A proper regard for the demands of rectification seems required of us in the face of the overwhelming importance that victims place on it; without it, no society can hope to sustain mutual respect among its citizens, the non-victims and the victims, nor probably foster the self-respect of the victims. I argue that the problem of rectification poses a distinctive and fundamental problem for classical theories of justice and specifically for John Rawls’s account of justice-as-fairness. Defenders of Rawls might claim, first, that rectification falls outside the scope of his theory of justice, since that is intended as ideal theory, and thus formulated against the fictional assumption that no historical wrongs have taken place. In this view, rectification is a concern of real political theory but not of ideal theory of justice. I argue that this defence is mistaken. Secondly, defenders of Rawls who concede that rectification is a proper part of the ideal theory of justice might claim that the principles of justice-as-fairness provide a basis for determining the extent to which justice requires rectification of wrongs. This too, I argue, is mistaken. In light of the demands that rectification places on us, I propose an alternative picture of equality as conceived of within the liberal tradition.

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