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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 paradox of exploitation : a new solution

Ferguson, Benjamin January 2013 (has links)
In this thesis I present a rights-based theory of exploitation. I argue that successful conceptions of exploitation should begin with the ordinary language claim that exploitation involves `taking unfair advantage'. Consequently, they must combine an account of what it means to take advantage of another with an account of when transactions are unfair. Existing conceptions of exploitation fail to provide adequate accounts of both aspects of exploitation. Hillel Steiner and John Roemer provide convincing accounts of the unfairness involved in exploitation, but because they fail to provide restrictive `advantage taking' conditions, their theories of exploitation include cases that we would not ordinarily describe as exploitations. Ruth Sample and Robert Goodin provide accounts that place a stronger emphasis on the attitudes involved in exploitation and the processes that bring it about. Unfortunately, these theories do not properly incorporate the unfairness aspect of exploitation. Consequently, they are either self-frustrating or incomplete. I provide a conception of exploitation that combines both aspects.

Counterfactuals and counterparts : defending a neo-Humean theory of causation

McDonnell, Neil January 2015 (has links)
Whether there exist causal relations between guns firing and people dying, between pedals pressed and cars accelerating, or between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming, is typically taken to be a mind-independent, objective, matter of fact. However, recent contributions to the literature on causation, in particular theories of contrastive causation and causal modelling, have undermined this central causal platitude by relativising causal facts to models or to interests. This thesis flies against the prevailing wind by arguing that we must pay greater attention to which elements of our causal talk vary with context and which elements track genuine features of the world around us. I will argue that once these elements are teased apart we will be in a position to better understand some of the most persistent problems in the philosophy of causation: pre-emption cases, absence causation, failures of transitivity and overdetermination. The result is a naturalist account of causation, concordant with the contextual variability we find in our ordinary causal talk, and parsimonious with respect to the theoretical entities posited.

A natural view of perceptual experience

MacGregor, Andrew Scott January 2015 (has links)
I offer a novel defence of radically externalist theories of perception, via a strikingly spare and broadly physicalist metaphysics. The core, motivating claim is what I call a natural view of perception, according to which perception involves direct awareness of our environment, such that the phenomenology of experience consists of the worldly things perceived, as they appear to the perspective of the subject. To underpin this natural view, I propose a simple metaphysical picture of perception, which identifies the perceptual experience with the relation of awareness holding between subject and object, a relation that can be described in familiar physical terms as a causal process involving the thing perceived and the perceiver. Distinctively, the simple metaphysical picture has no place for the notion of ‘experiences’ understood as distinctively ‘mental’ states or events internal or otherwise belonging to the subject. Although there is some limited precedent for the simple metaphysical picture of perception, I offer the first detailed argument for its role in underpinning the natural view. The thesis offers new and detailed arguments to show that the simple metaphysical picture can not only account for normal perceptual experiences, but can also accommodate and explain other forms of sensory experience that have widely been considered to undermine the natural view of perception. These ‘problem’ cases include perceptual illusion, hallucination, and the role of memory and beliefs in influencing how things appear perceptually. In all of these cases, the simple metaphysical picture accounts for the phenomenology of the experience purely in terms of awareness of worldly objects, albeit in some cases objects that are not currently present in the subject’s environment. The simple metaphysical picture thus promises to explain not just perceptual experience but phenomenal consciousness more generally. The natural view is explicitly a commitment of some varieties of naïve realism, but I argue that the two theses come apart. For one thing, the simple metaphysical picture offers a solution to hallucination and other ‘problem’ cases quite different to the (chiefly disjunctivist) solutions offered by naïve realists. However, the most striking and novel claim advanced here is that the natural view can be defended without a commitment to realism. In this regard, I cite evidence for the subject-relativity or experience-dependence of certain perceived qualities, notably colour, and show the simple metaphysical picture allows us to square this with the natural view that colours are ‘out there’ in the environment. I discuss the metaphysical implications of rejecting realism while adhering to the simple metaphysical picture, and outline a radical – and radically simple – metaphysics of the world in general that might preserve the natural view and accommodate the simple metaphysical picture of phenomenal consciousness more generally. This metaphysics takes the form of a process monism in which the governing metaphysical structuring principle is one of top-down determination, such that whole processes determine the nature of their constituent parts.

Realization and causal powers

Baysan, Umut January 2015 (has links)
In this thesis, I argue that physicalism should be understood to be the view that mental properties are realized by physical properties. In doing this, I explore what the realization relation might be. Since realization is the relation that should help us formulate physicalism, I suggest that the theoretical role of realization consists in explaining some of the things that physicalists wish to explain. These are: (i) How are mental properties metaphysically necessitated by physical properties? (ii) How are mental properties causally efficacious? A theory of realization should provide resources for answering these questions. Having identified the theoretical role of realization, I discuss several theories of realization, but then focus on the subset view of realization. According to the subset view, a property P realizes a property Q if and only if the causal powers of Q are a proper subset of the causal powers of P. I argue that the realization relation as it is formulated by the subset view is a promising candidate to play the theoretical role that I want realization to play. I then investigate how this theoretical role is occupied. In doing so, I provide a general metaphysical framework that the defenders of the subset view can appeal to. This framework specifies in what ways properties are related to their causal powers. Discussing some problems that the subset view faces, I propose my own version of the subset view. I argue that a property P realizes a property Q if and only if (i) the causal powers of Q are a proper subset of the causal powers of P, and (ii) P is more fundamental than Q. Thanks to the requirement that a realized property is less fundamental than its realizers, two things that the original version of the subset view cannot explain are guaranteed: first, fundamental properties are not realized; second, arbitrary conjunctions of properties do not realize their conjuncts. By showing how a theory of realization can help us explain some of the things that physicalists typically wish to explain, I also show that a non-reductive variety of physicalism does not face the problems that it is commonly thought to face.

Reproducibility of empirical findings : experiments in philosophy and beyond

Seyedsayamdost, Hamid January 2014 (has links)
The field of experimental philosophy has received considerable attention, essentially for producing results that seem highly counter-intuitive and at the same time question some of the fundamental methods used in philosophy. A substantial part of this attention has focused on the role of intuitions in philosophical methodology. One of the major contributions of experimental philosophy on this topic has been concrete evidence in support of intuitional diversity; the idea that intuitions vary systematically depending on variables such as ethnicity, socioeconomic background, or gender. Because of the important implications, these findings have been the subject of extensive debate. Despite the seeming significance of the findings and despite all the debates that the experimental philosophy movement has prompted, what has not been examined systematically is the reproducibility of the results. Instead, the reported findings have been simply accepted as established facts. We set out to replicate a wide range of experiments and surprisingly failed to reproduce many of the reported findings, some of which are from the most cited and attention grabbing papers of the field. We draw two conclusions from our findings. The first is that the instability of intuitions has been exaggerated by experimental philosophers. Intuitions appear to be more uniform across different demographic groups. The argument that intuitions need to be discarded because they depend on arbitrary factors such as ethnicity, socioeconomic background, or gender does not seem tenable anymore. The second conclusion is that experimental philosophy needs a better system to ensure the reproducibility of published findings. The current research-publication system of various empirical fields, especially those employing statistical methods, leads to an overproduction of false-positive findings in the published literature. Unless changes are made to the current research-publication system, this overproduction is likely to continue, in experimental philosophy as well as other disciplines.

A rights-based perspective on permissible harm

Burri, Susanne January 2015 (has links)
This thesis takes up a rights-based perspective to discuss a number of issues related to the problem of permissible harm. It appeals to a person’s capacity to shape her life in accordance with her own ideas of the good to explain why (i) her death can be bad for her, and why (ii) each of us should have primary say over what may be done to her. The thesis begins with an investigation of the badness of death for the person who dies. If death is bad for us, this helps explain the wrongness of killing. The thesis defends the deprivation account—i.e. the idea that death is bad for us when and because it deprives us of good life—against two Epicurean challenges. It adds that death is also bad when and because it thwarts our agency. Next, the thesis deals with the logic of our moral rights to non-interference. It proposes a conception of rights according to which the stringency of our rights derives from and is justified by the rational aspect of our human nature. It argues that this conception of moral rights solves the paradox of deontology. While our rights to non-interference are stringent, they are not absolute. The thesis considers two possible exceptions to the general rule that it is impermissible to harm an innocent person against her consent. First, using an actual case from WWII, it investigates the circumstances under which a government may expose some parts of its population to an increased risk of harm in order to decrease the risk to others. Second, it considers the permissibility of self-defence against an innocent threat. It argues that the potential victim of an innocent threat has a justice-based reason to treat her own interests as on a par with those of the threat.

Richard Rorty's anti-representationalism : a critical study

Taylor, George Benedict January 2014 (has links)
In this study I argue that Richard Rorty’s anti-representationalist philosophy arises from a misguided belief that realists are compelled to argue that we need a single and exclusive “mirror-like” form of representation to capture reality. I argue that Rorty fails to appreciate the fact that realists do not have to absolutely identify reality with a particular mirror-like representation of it and nor do they have to fall prey to an invidious distinction between reality and the various ways that we do represent it. I argue that we need not associate realism with the kind of absolutism that Rorty associates it with. To illustrate this I challenge Rorty’s attempt to claim that Nietzsche also rejects realism and interpret Nietzsche’s perspectivism as a form of realism. I also challenge Rorty’s anti-representationalism in the context of his political philosophy. In order to do this I assess the role that Rorty assigns to the poet in his liberal utopia by examining the work of Sylvia Plath and Tony Harrison. I also discuss the various positions that Hilary Putnam has adopted in order to explore different possibilities within realism and representationalism. I conclude that Putnam’s internal realism concedes too much to Rorty and that his earlier external realism is a better alternative.

Worlds apart : a Copernican critique of Kantian idealism

Ryall, Julian January 2013 (has links)
In spite of his claim to have established with certainty and without omission the many transcendental grounds of experience, there is something fundamental pertaining to every possible experience which the ‘critical’ philosophy of Immanuel Kant fails to explain. The obstacle blocking the path to a solution is the critical method itself and the ingenious but misguided orientation which informed the Kantian enterprise from its inception. Kant compared this new orientation to ‘the first thoughts of Copernicus’ and indeed, ever since, ‘The Copernican Revolution in Philosophy’ has stood as title for that seismic shift in philosophical consciousness. Yet it is to Copernicus that we owe our problem and it is the Copernican world–view, acknowledged by Kant to be ‘true’, which requires us to reverse his dictum that ‘objects conform to our cognition’. The necessity for this rests on the most basic of observations: human beings – together with their faculties of apprehension – travel through space and time in a non–apprehensible way, implying that spatiotemporality exists independently of the observing subject since it is in virtue of this true movement alone that all apparent motion is generated, which appearances, however, ‘contradict’ the reality. The ‘something’ which Kant cannot explain, therefore, is the phenomenon of observer motion (in contrast to observed motion, the most his approach accommodates) since his ontological denial regarding space and time and his equivalence thesis in respect of ‘experience’ and ‘objectivity’ requires that he discount this phenomenon on principle. In determining, therefore, the ontological and epistemological implications of the opposing Copernican principle that it is our cognition that conforms to objects, it is argued that space and time are transcendentally real and the apprehending subject physically (rather than ‘empirically’ or ‘noumenally’) constituted, leaving the reader with a simple choice: Kant or Copernicus, but not both.

Alien theory : the decline of materialism in the name of matter

Brassier, Ray January 2001 (has links)
The thesis tries to define and explain the rudiments of a 'nonphilosophical' or 'non-decisional' theory of materialism on the basis of a theoretical framework provided by the 'non-philosophy' of Francois Laruelle. Neither anti-philosophical nor anti-materialist in character, non-materialism tries to construct a rigorously transcendental theory of matter by using certain instances of philosophical materialism as its source material. The materialist decision to identify the real with matter is seen to retain a structural isomorphy with the phenomenological decision to identify the real with the phenomenon. Both decisions are shown to operate on the basis of a methodological idealism; materialism on account of its confusion of matter and concept; phenomenology by virtue of its confusion of phenomenon and logos. By dissolving the respectively 'materiological' and 'phenomenological' amlphibolies which are the result of the failure to effect a rigorously transcendental separation between matter and concept on the one hand; and between phenomenon and logos on the other, non-materialist theory proposes to mobilise the non-hybrid or non-decisional concepts of a 'matter-without-concept' and of a 'phenomenon-without-logos' in order to effect a unified but non-unitary theory of phenomenology and materialism. The result is a materialisation of thinking that operates according to matter's foreclosure to decision. That is to say, a transcendental theory of the phenomenon that licenses limitless phenomenological plasticity, unconstrained by the apparatus of eidetic intuition or any horizon of apophantic disclosure; yet one which is simultaneously a transcendental theory of matter, uncontaminated by the bounds of empirical perception and free of all phenomenological circumscription.

Affirming divergence : Deleuze's reading of Leibniz

Tissandier, Alex January 2014 (has links)
This thesis argues that key aspects of Deleuze's philosophy can be explained by looking closely at his relationship to Leibniz. By confining itself to the particular context and set of terminology which Leibniz's philosophy provides, it hopes to avoid many of the dangers of a more general, and necessarily abstract, interpretation or reconstruction of Deleuze's philosophy. I identify, across Deleuze's career, three distinct, important engagements with Leibniz. In each of these, I argue, Deleuze presents Leibniz as an ambiguous figure, caught somewhere between two opposing tendencies. On the one hand, Deleuze characterises Leibniz's philosophy as the last attempt by theology to ground an ordered world, demonstrated by his preoccupation with questions of harmony and sufficient reason, as well as his insistence that to each kind of problem there must respond a rational principle (the principle of non-contradiction, the principle of the identity of indiscernibles, and so on). But on the other hand, beneath this conservative, theological sentiment, Deleuze also discerns the obscured outlines of a philosophy shot through with dynamism, whose 'dizzying creation' of principles and Baroque complexity reveal an alternative, radicalised image of Leibniz. I argue that from this second, radical Leibniz, Deleuze takes two ideas, returning to them again and again in order to express key aspects of his own philosophy. First, Deleuze believes he has found in Leibniz's theory of 'incompossibility' a concept of difference which is not reducible to a form of opposition between two identities. This theory becomes a crucial component of Deleuze's account of a subrepresentational transcendental field. Second, Deleuze draws on Leibniz's theory that individual monads clearly express a certain region of the world in order to explain how the singular points or events which populate this transcendental field are expressed or actualised by individuals. Explaining how Deleuze appropriates and uses these two ideas provides a narrow point of access into one of the most important areas of his philosophy. At the same time, however, I show that eventually there is always a point where Leibniz's conservative, theological commitments force Deleuze to leave him behind. I thus argue that it is precisely Leibniz's ambiguous status for Deleuze which makes an investigation into their relationship so fruitful: by not only explaining Leibniz's positive influence on Deleuze, but also pinpointing the precise grounds for their eventual divergence, we can better articulate Deleuze's own philosophical priorities.

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