anscombe thesis

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Anscombe thesis


My answer is: the whole thing. The entire essay is shot through with polemic, and with polemical hyperbole. It is not for nothing that Anscombe begins MMP by saying that, in it, she presents three theses. That is not a sign that there is no argument in MMP. But it is a sign of what often predominates, namely polemic; and often polemical hyperbole.

To be clear, I do not mean that every single claim that Anscombe makes in MMP is polemic, and therefore cannot be assessed for sober literal truth or argumentative form; indeed, by the end of this essay, I will have rather moved away from considering its polemical aspects, and will be focusing much more on its serious historical and factual claims.

As already pointed out, writing that is polemical can be other things as well, including assertoric and even, though not simultaneously, peirastic. But I do mean that a polemical tone is pervasive, and therefore that hyperbole is frequent, in MMP; and that it is crucial to bear in mind this stylistic feature when attempting to assess the content of MMP. We academic philosophers today are much too apt to treat every and any philosophical text alike: with plodding literalism, as a list of asserted propositions that stand, or so one hopes, in various kinds of relevance and inferential relations to each other.

Despite the enormous sociological, institutional, and structural pressures upon us to model our practice upon the practice of our university colleagues who work in the scientific disciplines, that is not the only or necessarily the best way to read or write even texts in natural science, let alone any other kind of text.

In the humanities in general and in ethical philosophy in particular, precisely because these inquiries do not or at least should not aim at impersonal neutrality or objectivity, the distinctive voice, tone, style, and standpoint of the individual researcher is an essential part of what she has to say. And what she has to say may not always be straightforward factual assertion or parade-ground-logical argument.

It can be various other things too. One of them, as in MMP, is polemic. The dangers of polemical philosophy are self-evident and uncontroversial. And there are specific dangers in the particular kinds of emotions that polemic characteristically produces, such as anger, scorn, abhorrence, and contempt, none of which is a passion that tends readily towards sweetness, and perhaps not towards light either. A little polemic can be good entertainment, but doing philosophy would not be much fun if polemic was the normal mode of philosophical exchange.

Most people reading this, unfortunately, will 6Or, come to that, Papal authority. Certainly, then, polemic has its dangers. Yet perhaps there is a danger, too, in thinking that just every interlocutor can be appropriately dealt with by non-polemical philosophy.

Maybe sometimes polemic is deserved. Whether or not that is right, Anscombe clearly thought so. III I have said that polemic is philosophical discourse driven, not by curiosity as peirastic is, but by anger. What were the features that appalled Anscombe? I believe they were exactly those mentioned in MMP Most appalling to her of all, perhaps, was the similarity noted in MMP3. In her own words: The overall similarity is made clear if you consider that every one of the best known English moral philosophers [since Sidgwick]8 has put out a philosophy according to which, e.

The English moral philosophers from Sidgwick on are all the same—at least to Anscombe— because they all deny or disregard a thesis central to the Judaeo-Christian ethic: the thesis of moral absolutes, the thesis that some action-types are forbidden just as such. Four questions arise here. Anscombe herself was well enough known to be one exception, and Geach another. Hare is, strictly, an exception from her generalisation.

We know who she has in her sights— Hare, Nowell-Smith, G. Moore, Harold Prichard, and the like. But what she actually says is too strong. Does it, indeed, affirm moral absolutes? Plenty of moral theologians have thought otherwise, and it is a significant exegetical task in biblical theology to prove the point either way.

Certainly some arguments against absolutism rest merely on misunderstandings, e. In this sense enemy soldiers are, pace e. Crisp 76, paradigm non-innocents. But there are good arguments too for a non-absolutist version of the Hebrew-Christian ethic, starting e.

For Hillel or Jesus, if there are absolute prohibitions, this will require further argument, perhaps e. I think further argument to exactly that effect can be given, and succeeds. The point remains that the absolutism of the Judaeo- Christian ethic is not as completely obvious and indisputable as Anscombe makes it look.

Debates between them might, in fact, look rather like the kind of debates that late antiquity saw, between Christians, Jews, Stoics and others— though, one might perhaps hope, with rather less polemic than those debates and indeed rather less than there is in Anscombe. And fourthly, why do the modern moralists all, or so many of them, reject moral absolutes? Certainly Utilitarianism espouses what we now call rule utilitarianism rather than act, but on the other hand the System of Logic Bk.

This] enables us, by establishing the general axiom that all causes are liable to be counteracted in their effects by one another, to dispense with the notion of negative conditions entirely, and limit the notion of cause to the assemblage of the positive conditions of the phenomenon. But there are others.

N might even be zero—though the resulting view of the moral assessment of possible actions is a pretty crazy one. The trumping consideration might even be the intrinsic goodness or badness of the actions proposed—and it is not obvious this time that the resulting view is crazy at all.

So Anscombe-consequentialism does not entail standard consequentialism; though the move from one to the other is natural, and Anscombe is surely right that it was in fact made. For Anscombe-consequentialists says Anscombe , if someone is given a choice between doing something disgraceful and being imprisoned with the side-effect that it will then be impossible for him to look after his children, then since this latter consequence is just as much his responsibility as any other, he has to take it just as much into account as any other.

So very quickly—maybe, as Anscombe perhaps suggests, inevitably—he ends up considering only consequences, and the only question for deliberation is the question of how these consequences are to be evaluated. At first sight this looks polemical indeed, and not in a good way; actually it looks like mere old- fashioned sexist harrumphing. Considering that sort of thought is a temptation. Hence her final verdict on Anscombe-consequentialism, in which she enounces her notorious refusal to argue with its adherents: …if someone really thinks, in advance, that it is open to question whether such an action as procuring the judicial execution of the innocent should be quite excluded from consideration—I do not want to argue with him: he shows a corrupt mind.

Well, first, here too there is a whiff of polemical hyperbole. She must think so; for she herself raises that question. Of course her own answer to it is emphatically that such action-types should be excluded. But MMP itself opens up the question of how a model for practical deliberation should be designed. Why is Anscombe so fierce and polemical about this? Why does she at least ostensibly refuse even to engage with those who offer such models?

So it might be said we should reserve our denunciations for those for whom these bad alternatives are the output of their deliberations, not one input. It is characteristic of [the] morality [system] that it tends to overlook the possibility that some concerns are best embodied in this way, in deliberative silence.

So we do that, and by hypothesis we thereby maximise the good. And by the argument just given, there is absolutely nothing wrong with our deliberation. By that argument, in fact, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with me as a deliberator if stuff like this happened all the time. Suppose, for example, that I always consider puppy-burning as one of my alternatives, in every piece of deliberation that I ever do.

If no puppies or matches or petrol are readily available, I of course think about how to procure some; when I am making what for most people is a two-way choice in the Breakfast Preserves aisle, the option of nipping out of the supermarket to torch a few baby spaniels is always there for me, alongside jam and marmalade, as a third possibility. And suppose that I share all my deliberating with you. Is it not even slightly likely that you will start to think that I am not quite a normal deliberator?

Is there not even a small chance that you will be at first uneasy in my company—wondering if I am labouring a bad-taste running joke or something—then increasingly angry with me, and finally appalled at what you have come to think is a none too well buried sadistic obsession of mine? She chooses jam and the walk in the park and the rest of it.

She never actually burns any puppies. And puppy-burning is a really bad option, so pretty certainly she never will. This is disgusting. She shows a sick mind. It is not actually terribly nice to be made to consider the option of puppy-burning, and I apologise to my readers for forcing it on them.

It is, alas, obvious that I could easily have picked much more horrible possibilities; indeed when I started writing this I did, then toned them down to the relatively innocuous, but still extremely nasty, example of puppy- burning, because the even-worse examples left a seriously bad taste in my mouth. Following on from this experience, I resolve henceforth to stop bringing lethal threats to miners into trolleyology. Miners are humans. All this banging on about how to kill them or not is at least distressing and distasteful, and if Anscombe is right, corrupting too.

So from now on, at least when I discuss it, every being at lethal risk from that runaway underground train is going to be either an adorable puppy, or a cute kitten, or perhaps a big-eyed baby seal. And what are all these puppies, kittens, and above all seal-cubs doing down a mine?

That is just the kind of question that consequentialists never ask. So neither will I. The puppy-burning example does its work—and then, thank goodness, we can stop thinking about it—if it gets the point home that there are some action-types for which we have pretty much the same reaction as Anscombe. The author is exceedingly fond of dogs, including infant ones, particularly spaniels, and except in philosophical thought-experiments, she never ever sets them even slightly on fire.

The two thoughts are not identical, but they are spectrum-related. And consequentialism has the remarkable feature that, at least in its basic form, it cannot make good sense of either thought. It is because consequentialism has this sort of effect on our practical reasoning, and on our account of practical reasoning, that Anscombe thinks that it deserves polemical denunciation.

And on that, I suggest, she is close to right. In the age of the internet troll it should come as no surprise to us to hear that there really are some moral positions to which the appropriate response is not argument, but simple disengagement and perhaps polemical denunciation too. But that is anything but a new thought.

It does not take Dorothy Parker to teach us that there are books that deserve not to be read, nor even to be tossed lightly aside, but to be hurled with the greatest possible force. And as Rachel Barney has recently reminded us,14 Aristotle knew about trolls too. Throughout the Organon and elsewhere, he is deeply concerned with the examination of bad and perverse arguments, just as such.

Indeed, at Topics a, he is explicit that there are times when even a philosopher ought to stop arguing: It is not necessary to look every problem over, or every thesis, but only the ones that might be puzzles for someone who stands in need of argument rather than of castigation or perception. Those who are puzzled whether or not we should honour the gods or love our parents need castigation; those who are puzzled whether or not snow is white need perception.

But more skilful investigations, for which I thank Michael Morris, made it clear that Dorothy Parker never said this about any book at all. The case is an example of what we may call Attribution Magnetism: the real author of the bon mot was someone much less well-known called Sid Ziff.

Then the absolutists nominate puppy-burning or whatever—usually something much worse , and much ingenuity is deployed in inventing counter-examples, and the result is a kind of obsessive focusing of our deliberative attention on some truly terrible action-type. On this casuistical game Anscombe comments, in a tone of ironic mildness but with an edge of acerbity to it, that the point of considering hypothetical situations, sometimes very improbable ones, seems to be to elicit from yourself or someone else a hypothetical decision to do something of a bad kind.

At other times, however, consequentialists are not open to the charge that Anscombe here presses about this sort of casuistry, that by making us focus on truly horrible alternatives, they are directly and immediately corrupting our characters. At other times consequentialists do not focus on any alternatives, because they try to include all alternatives.

And here the charge against consequentialism—which I think can be recovered from MMP, though it is certainly not in the foreground—is not that it gives us corrupted characters, but that it gives us no characters at all.

When applied successfully the model is supposed to be universal—the agent really will deliberate over all her options—and also objective—the option-range that she deliberates over really will include all and only those options that are actually there in the world. For consequentialism to work it needs to be both universal and objective; otherwise, consequentialist deliberation could only hit on the best option by chance.

The trouble for these two aspirations is that they are in conflict with a third aspiration which is at least as non-negotiable as they are: namely completability. For anything to be recognisable as a model of deliberation at all, and for anyone who operates according to the model ever to hit on any options at all, it must depict deliberation as typically completable in a finite time.

The requirement of objectivity, in the consequentialist model, is the requirement that the world should just give us our option-range—that we should be able to read off our option-range, immediately, simply from the way things are. And the requirement of universality is the requirement that the world should give us our entire option-range—that the option-range that we thus read immediately off the way things are should be complete.

Indeed it is usually supposed— either explicitly or implicitly—that it is the great strength of consequentialism to be objective and universal in this way: consequentialism is supposed to have the advantage over every other approach to ethics, that it gets us immediately to the way things are in the world. The trouble with this is completely obvious the moment you think about it.

Or at any rate, it gives us no finite option-range. I revisit the issue in Ethics and Experience ref. To have all the options that there are in your option-range means, if it means anything at all, to have an infinitely large option-range. But if that is what I have in my option-range, then I can never complete the deliberation whereby I am supposed to choose between my options. But for consequentialist deliberation to be objective and universal, this disjunction has to mention every option that I actually have; whereas for consequentialist deliberation to be completable, it has to be finitely long.

Nothing would be in principle ruled out for her; as people used to say, she would have no backbone; in her there would be no resistances. Except of course a resistance to acting less than maximisingly. But if that is indeed the one moral absolute that consequentialists actually do recognise, as Crisp 76, fn. For maximising is what the consequentialist is committed to doing. But in practice, maximising is never going to happen. What is needed here is a doctrine of salience: an account of what the option-ranges are that good deliberators will characteristically recognise.

The main trouble for the consequentialist here is that her form of the question prompts a regress up the orders. To be consistent with her own maximising principles she has to be asking, not what option-ranges it is good for deliberators to have, but what option-ranges it is optimal for them to have. For reasons already given, it is guaranteed not to be both. Of course she can still postpone dialectical checkmate by moving up another order. But by now, a sense of futility should be dawning.

Alternatively she can prevent the regress by giving up on maximising at some stage—and no doubt the earlier the better. So in particular with option-ranges, it seems very likely to turn out that there is no distinctively consequentialist way of thinking about them; at this point as at others, what consequentialism tells us to do is stop reasoning like consequentialists, and think, instead, in roughly the way that virtue ethics recommends. This is the familiar phenomenon that is usually called the self-effacement of consequentialism, and often recognised with a rather puzzling complacency by consequentialists themselves, as if it were a minor wrinkle in the consequentialist position.

Such complacency seems entirely misplaced; it seems to rest on a failure to take the phenomenon seriously. For if what consequentialism itself tells us is that there is no room in our deliberation for consequentialism, then we have to take that as meaning literally no room for it; no room at all. Or not, at any rate, for any other purpose than to watch it get reduced to absurdity.

VII This is a quick sketch of where I think the dialectic takes us if we consider consequentialism in the second of the two ways that I offered in Section V, as offering us, not a game played with specific casuistical cases, but a general model for practical deliberation. I have been saying something, in brief outline, about why I think that general model must fail.

Though she does not follow this dialectic out in MMP, I see no reason to think that Anscombe herself would not endorse it. If Anscombe would be willing to endorse this dialectic or something like it, how do we square this willingness with MMP1?

Two answers suggest themselves. The other is that MMP1 too is not to be taken too literally: it too should be understood to have a polemical force, as a kind of shock-tactic. Just try and solve the problem this way. There is something, I think, in both these answers. When Anscombe recommends, in MMP1, that we stop doing moral philosophy, she is not at all recommending that we stop these inquiries. VIII Is there then anything that Anscombe literally and non-polemically means the moral philosophers of should just stop doing—not just for a moment, for the purposes of pedagogy or heuristics or as argumentative shock-tactics, but altogether?

Yes, there is. Sign In. Advanced Search. Search Menu. Skip Nav Destination Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Navigation. Garcia J. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Cite J. Select Format Select format. Permissions Icon Permissions. Issue Section:. You do not currently have access to this article.

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Esl curriculum vitae writers website gb She herself agrees that a divine command ethics is likely to be uninhabitable by most modern sensibilities, and recommends a revived Aristotelian eudaimonism, or something like it, as an alternative for secular people. Those who are puzzled whether or not we should honour the gods or love our parents need castigation; those who are puzzled whether or not snow is white need perception. That being said, it is worth repeating that Anscombe does not reject all talk anscombe thesis moral obligation. They do not, as they might think, believe in the theory because unbiased reflection on experience tells us that this kind of theory is true. It looks straightforward that if I loaned you money and you promised to pay it back then you owe me money, but you might not owe me anything if we were both anscombe thesis joking when the loan was made, or if I have died and left no family behind, or if the planet is about the be destroyed by meteors, or …. Anscombe is in general most fastidious about the truth.
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Quoted in Wang In summary:. These include the following 75—76 :. Turing argued that, given his various assumptions about human computers, the work of any human computer can be taken over by a Turing machine. Therefore argument I concludes any humanly computable number—or, more generally, sequence of symbols—is also computable by Turing machine. See Turing A significant recent contribution to the area has been made by Kripke Kleene gave an early expression of this now conventional view:.

Since our original notion of effective calculability of a function … is a somewhat vague intuitive one, the thesis cannot be proved. Rejecting the conventional view, Kripke suggests that, on the contrary, the Church-Turing thesis is susceptible to mathematical proof. Furthermore he canvasses the idea that Turing himself sketched an argument that serves to prove the thesis.

Put somewhat crudely, the latter theorem states that every valid deduction couched in the language of first-order predicate calculus with identity is provable in the calculus. The first step of the Kripke argument is his claim that error-free, human computation is itself a form of deduction:.

One is given a set of instructions, and the steps in the computation are supposed to follow—follow deductively—from the instructions as given. So a computation is just another mathematical deduction, albeit one of a very specialized form. Kripke The execution of this two-line program can be represented as a deduction:. In the case of Turing-machine programs, Turing developed a detailed logical notation for expressing all such deductions Turing In fact, the successful execution of any string of instructions can be represented deductively in this fashion—Kripke has not drawn attention to a feature special to computation.

The instructions do not need to be ones that a computer can carry out. Nachum Dershowitz and Yuri Gurevich and independently Wilfried Sieg have also argued that the Church-Turing thesis is susceptible to mathematical proof. Dershowitz and Gurevich According to Turing, his thesis is not susceptible to mathematical proof. He said:. The statement is … one which one does not attempt to prove. Propaganda is more appropriate to it than proof, for its status is something between a theorem and a definition.

Are rhubarb and tomatoes vegetables or fruits? Is coal vegetable or mineral? What about coal gas, marrow, fossilised trees, streptococci, viruses? Has the lettuce I ate at lunch yet become animal? Turing in Copeland b: This myth has passed into the philosophy of mind, theoretical psychology, cognitive science, computer science, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Life, and elsewhere—generally to pernicious effect.

Turing showed that his very simple machine … can specify the steps required for the solution of any problem that can be solved by instructions, explicitly stated rules, or procedures. Richard Gregory writing in his Turing had proven—and this is probably his greatest contribution—that his Universal Turing machine can compute any function that any computer, with any architecture, can compute That is, it can display any systematic pattern of responses to the environment whatsoever. These various quotations are typical of writing on the foundations of computer science and computational theories of mind.

In reality Turing proved that his universal machine can compute any function that any Turing machine can compute; and he put forward, and advanced philosophical arguments in support of, the thesis that effective methods are to be identified with methods that the universal Turing machine is able to carry out. The Church-Turing thesis is a thesis about the extent of effective methods, and therein lies its mathematical importance. Putting this another way, the thesis concerns what a human being can achieve when working by rote, with paper and pencil ignoring contingencies such as boredom, death, or insufficiency of paper.

Essentially, then, the Church-Turing thesis says that no human computer, or machine that mimics a human computer, can out-compute the universal Turing machine. This loosening of established terminology is unfortunate, since it can easily lead to misunderstandings and confusion.

Some examples from the literature of this loosening are:. Smolensky 3. Newell Church-Turing thesis: If there is a well defined procedure for manipulating symbols, then a Turing machine can be designed to do the procedure. Henry Geroch and Hartle Odifreddi Deutsch Turing and Church were talking about effective methods, not finitely realizable physical systems. First, some terminology. A machine m will be said to be able to generate a certain function e.

Mutatis mutandis for functions that, like addition, demand more than one argument. Maximality thesis : All functions that can be generated by machines working in accordance with a finite program of instructions are computable by effective methods. It is worth noting the existence in the literature of another practice with the potential to mislead the unwary.

Although, unlike the terminological practices complained about above, this one is in itself perfectly acceptable. Thus a function is said to be computable if and only if there is an effective method for obtaining its values.

Boolos and Jeffrey However, to a casual reader of the technical literature, this statement and others like it may appear to say more than they in fact do. That a function is uncomputable , in this sense, by any past, present, or future real machine, does not entail that the function in question cannot be generated by some real machine past, present, or future. No possible computing machine can generate a function that the universal Turing machine cannot.

But the question of the truth or falsity of the maximality thesis itself remains open. Although the terminological decision, if accepted, does prevent one from describing any machine putatively falsifying the maximality thesis as computing the function that it generates. For example, statements like the following are to be found:. Mendelson The stronger-weaker terminology is intended to reflect the fact that the stronger form entails the weaker, but not vice versa.

The stronger form of the maximality thesis is known to be false. Although a single example suffices to show that the thesis is false, two examples are given here. An ETM is exactly like a standard Turing machine except that, whereas a standard Turing machine stores only a single discrete symbol on each non-blank square of its tape e.

The method of storing real numbers on the tape is left unspecified in this purely logical model. As previously explained, Turing established the existence of real numbers that cannot be computed by standard Turing machines Turing Abramson also proved that ETMs are able to generate functions not capable of being computed by any standard Turing machine.

Therefore, ETMs form counterexamples to the stronger form of the maximality thesis. Accelerating Turing machines ATMs are exactly like standard Turing machines except that their speed of operation accelerates as the computation proceeds Stewart ; Copeland a,b, a; Copeland and Shagrir : an ATM performs the second operation called for by its program in half the time taken to perform the first, the third in half the time taken to perform the second, and so on.

This enables ATMs to generate functions that cannot be computed by any standard Turing machine. One example of such a function is the halting function h. The ATM then proceeds to simulate the actions of the n th Turing machine. The weaker form of the maximality thesis would be falsified by the actual existence of a physical hypercomputer. Speculation stretches back over at least five decades that there may be real physical processes—and so, potentially, real machine-operations—whose behaviour conforms to functions not computable by any standard Turing machine.

At the close of the 20 th century Copeland and Sylvan gave an evangelical survey of the emerging field in their To summarize the situation with respect to the weaker form of the maximality thesis: At the present time, it remains unknown whether hypercomputation is permitted or excluded by the contingencies of the actual universe. It is, therefore, an open empirical question whether or not the weaker form of the maximality thesis is true. As previously mentioned, this convergence of analyses is generally considered very strong evidence for the Church-Turing thesis, because of the diversity of the analyses.

However, this convergence is sometimes taken to be evidence for the maximality thesis. Allen Newell, for example, cites the convergence as showing that. Yet the analyses Newell is discussing are of the concept of an effective method, not of the concept of a machine-generatable function. The equivalence of the analyses bears only on the question of the extent of what is humanly computable, not on the question of whether the functions generatable by machines could extend beyond the functions generatable by human computers even human computers who work forever and have access to unlimited quantities of paper and pencils.

The error of confusing the Church-Turing thesis properly so called with one or another form of the maximality thesis has led to some remarkable claims in the foundations of psychology. For example, one frequently encounters the view that psychology must be capable of being expressed ultimately in terms of the Turing machine e. To one who makes this error, conceptual space will seem to contain no room for mechanical models of the mind that are not equivalent to Turing machines. Yet it is certainly possible that psychology will find the need to employ models of human cognition transcending Turing machines.

A similar confusion is found in Artificial Life. Christopher Langton, the leading pioneer of A-Life, said the following when writing about foundational matters:. Turing proved that no such machine can be specified. Langton However, Turing certainly did not prove that no such machine can be specified.

It is also worth mentioning that, although the Halting Problem is very commonly attributed to Turing as Langton does here , Turing did not in fact formulate it. Another example is the simulation thesis. For example, the entry on Turing in the Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Mind contains the following claims:.

Sam Guttenplan writing in his Can the operations of the brain be simulated on a digital computer? Searle Simulation thesis : Any process that can be given a mathematical description or that is scientifically describable or scientifically explicable can be simulated by a Turing machine.

Paul and Patricia Churchland and Philip Johnson-Laird also assert versions of the simulation thesis, with a wave towards Church and Turing by way of justification:. Assuming, with some safety, that what the mind-brain does is computable, then it can in principle be simulated by a computer.

Churchland and Churchland 6. If you assume that [consciousness] is scientifically explicable … [and] [g]ranted that the [Church-Turing] thesis is correct, then the final dichotomy rests on … functionalism. If you believe [functionalism] to be false … then … you hold that consciousness could be modelled in a computer program in the same way that, say, the weather can be modelled … If you accept functionalism, however, then you should believe that consciousness is a computational process.

Johnson-Laird But Turing had no result entailing what the Churchlands say. In fact, he had a result entailing that there are patterns of responses that no standard Turing machine is able to generate. One example of such a pattern is provided by the function h , described earlier. In reality the Church-Turing thesis does not entail that the brain or the mind, or consciousness can be modelled by a Turing machine program, not even in conjunction with the belief that the brain or mind, or consciousness is scientifically explicable, or rule-governed, or scientifically describable, or characterizable as a set of steps Copeland c.

The simulation thesis is much stronger than the Church-Turing thesis: as with the maximality thesis, neither the Church-Turing thesis properly so called nor any result proved by Turing or Church entails the simulation thesis. This is equally so if the simulation thesis is taken narrowly, as concerning processes that conform to the physics of the real world. If, on the other hand, the thesis is taken as ranging over all processes, including merely possible or notional processes, then the thesis is known to be false, for exactly the same reasons that the stronger form of the maximality thesis is false.

Any device or organ whose internal processes can be described completely by means of what Church called effectively calculable functions can be simulated exactly by a Turing machine providing that the input into the device or organ is itself computable by Turing machine. But any device or organ whose mathematical description involves functions that are not effectively calculable cannot be so simulated. As Turing showed, there are uncountably many such functions.

It is an open question whether a completed neuroscience will need to employ functions that are not effectively calculable. We may compare a man in the process of computing a … number to a machine. The Turing machine is a model, idealized in certain respects, of a human being calculating in accordance with an effective method. These machines are humans who calculate. Wittgenstein []: A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine.

Computers always spend just as long in writing numbers down and deciding what to do next as they do in actual multiplications, and it is just the same with ACE [the Automatic Computing Engine] … [T]he ACE will do the work of about 10, computers … Computers will still be employed on small calculations … Turing , The electronic stored-program digital computers for which the universal Turing machine was a blueprint are, each of them, computationally equivalent to a Turing machine, and so they too are, in a sense, models of human beings engaged in computation.

Turing chose to emphasise this when explaining these electronic machines in a manner suitable for an audience of uninitiates:. The idea behind digital computers may be explained by saying that these machines are intended to carry out any operations which could be done by a human computer.

He made the point a little more precisely in the technical document containing his design for the ACE:. The class of problems capable of solution by the machine [the ACE] can be defined fairly specifically. They are [a subset of] those problems which can be solved by human clerical labour, working to fixed rules, and without understanding.

Turing went on to characterize this subset in terms of the amount of paper and time available to the human clerk. Electronic computers are intended to carry out any definite rule of thumb process which could have been done by a human operator working in a disciplined but unintelligent manner. Turing c 1. It was not some deficiency of imagination that led Turing to model his L.

The purpose for which he invented the Turing machine demanded it. At one point he explicitly draws attention to this usage:. Turing —9. Unless his intended usage is borne in mind, misunderstanding is likely to ensue. Especially liable to mislead are statements like the following, which a casual reader might easily mistake for a formulation of the maximality thesis:. The importance of the universal machine is clear.

Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth or the best possible state of your soul.

It emerges a bit further on that this concern for one's soul, that one's soul might be in the best possible state, amounts to acquiring moral virtue. So Socrates' pointing out that the Athenians should care for their souls means that they should care for their virtue, rather than pursuing honour or riches.

Virtues are states of the soul. When a soul has been properly cared for and perfected it possesses the virtues. Moreover, according to Socrates, this state of the soul, moral virtue, is the most important good. The health of the soul is incomparably more important for eudaimonia than e. Someone with a virtuous soul is better off than someone who is wealthy and honoured but whose soul is corrupted by unjust actions.

This view is confirmed in the Crito , where Socrates gets Crito to agree that the perfection of the soul, virtue, is the most important good:. And is life worth living for us with that part of us corrupted that unjust action harms and just action benefits? Or do we think that part of us, whatever it is, that is concerned with justice and injustice, is inferior to the body? Not at all. It is much more valuable…? Much more… 47e—48a. Here, Socrates argues that life is not worth living if the soul is ruined by wrongdoing.

A person who is not virtuous cannot be happy, and a person with virtue cannot fail to be happy. We shall see later on that Stoic ethics takes its cue from this Socratic insight. Plato's great work of the middle period, the Republic , is devoted to answering a challenge made by the sophist Thrasymachus , that conventional morality, particularly the 'virtue' of justice, actually prevents the strong man from achieving eudaimonia.

Thrasymachus's views are restatements of a position which Plato discusses earlier on in his writings, in the Gorgias , through the mouthpiece of Callicles. The basic argument presented by Thrasymachus and Callicles is that justice being just hinders or prevents the achievement of eudaimonia because conventional morality requires that we control ourselves and hence live with un-satiated desires.

This idea is vividly illustrated in book 2 of the Republic when Glaucon, taking up Thrasymachus' challenge, recounts a myth of the magical ring of Gyges. According to the myth, Gyges becomes king of Lydia when he stumbles upon a magical ring, which, when he turns it a particular way, makes him invisible, so that he can satisfy any desire he wishes without fear of punishment.

When he discovers the power of the ring he kills the king, marries his wife and takes over the throne. The thrust of Glaucon's challenge is that no one would be just if he could escape the retribution he would normally encounter for fulfilling his desires at whim. But if eudaimonia is to be achieved through the satisfaction of desire, whereas being just or acting justly requires suppression of desire, then it is not in the interests of the strong man to act according to the dictates of conventional morality.

This general line of argument reoccurs much later in the philosophy of Nietzsche. Throughout the rest of the Republic , Plato aims to refute this claim by showing that the virtue of justice is necessary for eudaimonia. The argument of the Republic is lengthy and complex. In brief, Plato argues that virtues are states of the soul, and that the just person is someone whose soul is ordered and harmonious, with all its parts functioning properly to the person's benefit.

In contrast, Plato argues that the unjust man's soul, without the virtues, is chaotic and at war with itself, so that even if he were able to satisfy most of his desires, his lack of inner harmony and unity thwart any chance he has of achieving eudaimonia.

Plato's ethical theory is eudaimonistic because it maintains that eudaimonia depends on virtue. On Plato's version of the relationship, virtue is depicted as the most crucial and the dominant constituent of eudaimonia. Aristotle's account is articulated in the Nicomachean Ethics and the Eudemian Ethics. This conception of eudaimonia derives from Aristotle's essentialist understanding of human nature , the view that reason logos sometimes translated as rationality is unique to human beings and that the ideal function or work ergon of a human being is the fullest or most perfect exercise of reason.

Basically, well-being eudaimonia is gained by proper development of one's highest and most human capabilities and human beings are "the rational animal". According to Aristotle, eudaimonia actually requires activity , action, so that it is not sufficient for a person to possess a squandered ability or disposition.

Eudaimonia requires not only good character but rational activity. Aristotle clearly maintains that to live in accordance with reason means achieving excellence thereby. Moreover, he claims this excellence cannot be isolated and so competencies are also required appropriate to related functions.

For example, if being a truly outstanding scientist requires impressive math skills, one might say "doing mathematics well is necessary to be a first rate scientist". From this it follows that eudaimonia, living well, consists in activities exercising the rational part of the psyche in accordance with the virtues or excellency of reason [b22—a20]. Which is to say, to be fully engaged in the intellectually stimulating and fulfilling work at which one achieves well-earned success.

The rest of the Nicomachean Ethics is devoted to filling out the claim that the best life for a human being is the life of excellence in accordance with reason. Since reason for Aristotle is not only theoretical but practical as well, he spends quite a bit of time discussing excellence of character, which enables a person to exercise his practical reason i.

Aristotle's ethical theory is eudaimonist because it maintains that eudaimonia depends on virtue. However, it is Aristotle's explicit view that virtue is necessary but not sufficient for eudaimonia. So, a person who is hideously ugly or has "lost children or good friends through death" b5—6 , or who is isolated, is unlikely to be eudaimon.

In this way, "dumb luck" chance can preempt one's attainment of eudaimonia. Pyrrho was the founder of Pyrrhonism. A summary of his approach to eudaimonia was preserved by Eusebius , quoting Aristocles of Messene , quoting Timon of Phlius , in what is known as the "Aristocles passage. Whoever wants eudaimonia must consider these three questions: First, how are pragmata ethical matters, affairs, topics by nature?

Secondly, what attitude should we adopt towards them? Thirdly, what will be the outcome for those who have this attitude? Therefore, neither our sense-perceptions nor our doxai views, theories, beliefs tell us the truth or lie; so we certainly should not rely on them. Rather, we should be adoxastoi without views , aklineis uninclined toward this side or that , and akradantoi unwavering in our refusal to choose , saying about every single one that it no more is than it is not or it both is and is not or it neither is nor is not.

If one defines a system as an attachment to a number of dogmas that agree with one another and with appearances , and defines a dogma as an assent to something non-evident, we shall say that the Pyrrhonist does not have a system. Epicurus ' ethical theory is hedonistic. His view proved very influential on the founders and best proponents of utilitarianism , Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Hedonism is the view that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that pain is the only intrinsic bad.

An object, experience or state of affairs is intrinsically valuable if it is good simply because of what it is. Intrinsic value is to be contrasted with instrumental value. An object, experience or state of affairs is instrumentally valuable if it serves as a means to what is intrinsically valuable. To see this, consider the following example. Suppose a person spends their days and nights in an office, working at not entirely pleasant activities for the purpose of receiving money.

Someone asks them "why do you want the money? Epicurus identifies the good life with the life of pleasure. He understands eudaimonia as a more or less continuous experience of pleasure and, also, freedom from pain and distress. But it is important to notice that Epicurus does not advocate that one pursue any and every pleasure. Rather, he recommends a policy whereby pleasures are maximized "in the long run".

In other words, Epicurus claims that some pleasures are not worth having because they lead to greater pains, and some pains are worthwhile when they lead to greater pleasures. The best strategy for attaining a maximal amount of pleasure overall is not to seek instant gratification but to work out a sensible long term policy.

Ancient Greek ethics is eudaimonist because it links virtue and eudaimonia, where eudaimonia refers to an individual's well-being. Epicurus' doctrine can be considered eudaimonist since Epicurus argues that a life of pleasure will coincide with a life of virtue. Epicurus' basic doctrine is that a life of virtue is the life which generates the most amount of pleasure, and it is for this reason that we ought to be virtuous. This thesis—the eudaimon life is the pleasurable life—is not a tautology as "eudaimonia is the good life" would be: rather, it is the substantive and controversial claim that a life of pleasure and absence of pain is what eudaimonia consists in.

One important difference between Epicurus' eudaimonism and that of Plato and Aristotle is that for the latter virtue is a constituent of eudaimonia, whereas Epicurus makes virtue a means to happiness. To this difference, consider Aristotle's theory. Aristotle maintains that eudaimonia is what everyone wants and Epicurus would agree. He also thinks that eudaimonia is best achieved by a life of virtuous activity in accordance with reason.

The virtuous person takes pleasure in doing the right thing as a result of a proper training of moral and intellectual character See e. However, Aristotle does not think that virtuous activity is pursued for the sake of pleasure. Pleasure is a byproduct of virtuous action: it does not enter at all into the reasons why virtuous action is virtuous. Aristotle does not think that we literally aim for eudaimonia.

Rather, eudaimonia is what we achieve assuming that we aren't particularly unfortunate in the possession of external goods when we live according to the requirements of reason. Virtue is the largest constituent in a eudaimon life. By contrast, Epicurus holds that virtue is the means to achieve happiness. His theory is eudaimonist in that he holds that virtue is indispensable to happiness; but virtue is not a constituent of a eudaimon life, and being virtuous is not external goods aside identical with being eudaimon.

Rather, according to Epicurus, virtue is only instrumentally related to happiness. So whereas Aristotle would not say that one ought to aim for virtue in order to attain pleasure, Epicurus would endorse this claim.

Stoic philosophy begins with Zeno of Citium c. According to the Stoics, virtue is necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia. This thesis is generally regarded as stemming from the Socrates of Plato's earlier dialogues. We saw earlier that the conventional Greek concept of arete is not quite the same as that denoted by virtue , which has Christian connotations of charity, patience, and uprightness, since arete includes many non-moral virtues such as physical strength and beauty. However, the Stoic concept of arete is much nearer to the Christian conception of virtue, which refers to the moral virtues.

However, unlike Christian understandings of virtue, righteousness or piety, the Stoic conception does not place as great an emphasis on mercy, forgiveness, self-abasement i. Rather Stoicism emphasizes states such as justice, honesty, moderation, simplicity, self-discipline, resolve, fortitude, and courage states which Christianity also encourages.

The Stoics make a radical claim that the eudaimon life is the morally virtuous life. Moral virtue is good, and moral vice is bad, and everything else, such as health, honour and riches, are merely "neutral". Moral virtue is both necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia. In this, they are akin to Cynic philosophers such as Antisthenes and Diogenes in denying the importance to eudaimonia of external goods and circumstances, such as were recognized by Aristotle, who thought that severe misfortune such as the death of one's family and friends could rob even the most virtuous person of eudaimonia.

This Stoic doctrine re-emerges later in the history of ethical philosophy in the writings of Immanuel Kant , who argues that the possession of a "good will" is the only unconditional good. One difference is that whereas the Stoics regard external goods as neutral, as neither good nor bad, Kant's position seems to be that external goods are good, but only so far as they are a condition to achieving happiness.

Interest in the concept of eudaimonia and ancient ethical theory more generally had a revival in the 20th century. Anscombe in her article " Modern Moral Philosophy " argued that duty-based conceptions of morality are conceptually incoherent for they are based on the idea of a "law without a lawgiver. Julia Driver in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains:. Anscombe's article Modern Moral Philosophy stimulated the development of virtue ethics as an alternative to Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics, and Social Contract theories.

Her primary charge in the article is that, as secular approaches to moral theory, they are without foundation. They use concepts such as "morally ought", "morally obligated", "morally right", and so forth that are legalistic and require a legislator as the source of moral authority.

In the past God occupied that role, but systems that dispense with God as part of the theory are lacking the proper foundation for meaningful employment of those concepts. Models of eudaimonia in psychology and positive psychology emerged from early work on self-actualization and the means of its accomplishment by researchers such as Erik Erikson , Gordon Allport , and Abraham Maslow. Theories include Diener's tripartite model of subjective well-being , Ryff's Six-factor Model of Psychological Well-being , Keyes work on flourishing , and Seligman's [ specify ] contributions to positive psychology and his theories on authentic happiness and P.

Related concepts are happiness , flourishing , quality of life , contentment , [17] and meaningful life. The Japanese concept of Ikigai has been described as eudaimonic well-being, as it "entails actions of devoting oneself to pursuits one enjoys and is associated with feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ancient Greek term for happiness or welfare. For the moth, see Eudaemonia moth. For other uses, see Eudaemon disambiguation. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

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John Haldane: Anscombe on Mind and World (Royal Institute of Philosophy)

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