Books by Members of the CPA

Hume's True Scepticism
Donald Ainslie, University of Toronto


David Hume is famous as a sceptical philosopher but the nature of his scepticism is difficult to pin down. Hume's True Scepticism provides the first sustained interpretation of Part 4 of Book 1 of Hume's Treatise, his deepest engagement with sceptical arguments. Hume notes there that, while reason shows that we ought not to believe the verdicts of reason or the senses, we do so nonetheless. Donald C. Ainslie argues that Hume uses our reactions to the sceptical arguments as evidence in favour of his model of the mind. If we were self-conscious subjects, superintending our rational and sensory beliefs, nothing should stop us from embracing the sceptical conclusions. But instead our minds are bundles of perceptions with our beliefs being generated, not by reflective assent, but by the imagination's association of ideas. We are not forced into the sceptical quagmire. Nonetheless, we can reflect and philosophy uses this capacity to question whether we should believe our instinctive rational and sensory verdicts. It turns out that we cannot answer this question because the reflective investigation of the mind interferes with the associative processes involved in reason and sensation. We thus must accept our rational and sensory capacities without being able to vindicate or undermine them philosophically. Hume's True Scepticism addresses Hume's theory of representation; his criticisms of Locke, Descartes, and other predecessors; his account of the imagination; his understanding of perceptions and sensory belief; and his bundle theory of the mind and his later rejection of it.

Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 11, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199593868
ISBN-13: 978-0199593866


The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition
Kristin Andrews, York University


The study of animal cognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language.

In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates as they cut across animal cognition and philosophy of mind. She addresses the following key topics:

  • what is cognition, and what is it to have a mind? What questions should we ask to determine whether behaviour has a cognitive basis?
  • the science of animal minds explained: ethology, behaviourist psychology, and cognitive ethology
  • rationality in animals
  • animal consciousness: what does research into pain and the emotions reveal? What can empirical evidence about animal behaviour tell us about philosophical theories of consciousness?
  • does animal cognition involve belief and concepts; do animals have a `Language of Thought'?
  • animal communication
  • other minds: do animals attribute `mindedness' to other creatures?
  • moral reasoning and ethical behaviour in animals
  • animal cognition and memory.

Extensive use of empirical examples and case studies is made throughout the book. These include Cheney and Seyfarth's ververt monkey research, Thorndike's cat puzzle boxes, Jensen's research into humans and chimpanzees and the ultimatum game, Pankseep and Burgdorf's research on rat laughter, and Clayton and Emery's research on memory in scrub-jays.

Additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind, animal cognition. It will also be an excellent resource for those in fields such as ethology, biology and psychology.

Publisher: Routledge (November 19, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0415809606
ISBN-13: 978-0415809603


Beyond the Binary: Thinking about Sex and Gender
Shannon Dea, University of Waterloo


How many sexes are there? What is the relationship between sex and gender? Is gender a product of nature, or nurture, or both? In Beyond the Binary, Shannon Dea addresses these questions while introducing readers to evidence and theoretical perspectives from a range of cultures and disciplines, and from sources spanning three millennia.

Dea's central emphasis is the relationship between gender, understood as a psycho-socio-cultural category, and sex, understood as a type of physiological classification. One of the abiding lessons conveyed within the book is that questions about sex and gender are not new products of modern Western culture; they have been discussed for centuries and across many traditions by some of the greatest thinkers of history. Excerpts and examples from historical and contemporary sources are included throughout, as are a number of illustrations demonstrating varied depictions of human anatomy from different cultures and contexts. Dea's pluralistic and historically-informed approach offers readers a timely background to current debates about sex and gender in the media, health sciences, and public policy.

Publisher: Broadview Press (April 15, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1554812836
ISBN-13: 978-1554812837


Catching Capital - The Ethics of Tax Competition
Peter Dietsch, Département de Philosophie de l'Université de Montréal


Rich people stash away trillions of dollars in tax havens like Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, or Singapore. Multinational corporations shift their profits to low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland or Panama to avoid paying tax. Recent stories in the media about Apple, Google, Starbucks, and Fiat are just the tip of the iceberg. There is hardly any multinational today that respects not just the letter but also the spirit of tax laws. All this becomes possible due to tax competition, with countries strategically designing fiscal policy to attract capital from abroad. The loopholes in national tax regimes that tax competition generates and exploits draw into question political economic life as we presently know it. They undermine the fiscal autonomy of political communities and contribute to rising inequalities in income and wealth. Building on a careful analysis of the ethical challenges raised by a world of tax competition, this book puts forward a normative and institutional framework to regulate the practice. In short, individuals and corporations should pay tax in the jurisdictions of which they are members, where this membership can come in degrees. Moreover, the strategic tax setting of states should be limited in important ways. An International Tax Organisation (ITO) should be created to enforce the principles of tax justice. The author defends this call for reform against two important objections. First, Dietsch refutes the suggestion that regulating tax competition is inefficient. Second, he argues that regulation of this sort, rather than representing a constraint on national sovereignty, in fact turns out to be a requirement of sovereignty in a global economy. The book closes with a series of reflections on the obligations that the beneficiaries of tax competition have towards the losers both prior to any institutional reform as well as in its aftermath.

Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 29, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0190251514
ISBN-13: 978-0190251512


Global Tax Governance - What Is Wrong with It and How to Fix It
Peter Dietsch, Département de Philosophie de l'Université de Montréal, and Thomas Rixen, University of Bamberg (Eds.)


Commercial banks such as UBS and HSBC embroiled in scandals that in some cases exposed lawmakers themselves as tax evaders, multinationals such as Google and Apple using the Double Irish and other tax avoidance strategies, governments granting fiscal sweetheart deals behind closed doors as in Luxembourg - the stream of news items documenting the crisis of global tax governance is not about to dry up.Much work has been done in individual disciplines on the phenomenon of tax competition that lies at the heart of this crisis. Yet, the combination of issues of democratic legitimacy, social justice, economic efficiency, and national sovereignty that tax competition raises clearly requires an interdisciplinary analysis. This book offers a rare example of this kind of work, bringing together experts from political science, philosophy, law, and economics whose contributions combine empirical analysis with normative and institutional proposals. It makes an important contribution to reforming international taxation.

Publisher: ECPR Press (February 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1785521268
ISBN-13: 978-1785521263


Poetic Fragments
Karoline von Günderrode - Author. Anna C. Ezekiel - Translated and with introductory essays by.


The second collection of writings by the German poet, dramatist, and philosopher Karoline von Günderrode (1780–1806), *Poetic Fragments* was published in 1805 under the pseudonym “Tian.” Günderrode’s work is an unmined source of insight into German Romanticism and Idealism, as well as into the reception of Indian, Persian, and Islamic thought in Europe. Anna C. Ezekiel’s introductions highlight the philosophical significance of the texts, demonstrating their radical and original consideration of the nature of the universe, death, religion, power, and gender roles. The dramas “Hildgund” and “Muhammad, the Prophet of Mecca” are two of Günderrode’s most important works for her accounts of agency, recognition, and the status of women. The three poems included in the collection, “Piedro,” “The Pilgrims,” and “The Kiss in the Dream,” represent the wide range of forms in which Günderrode wrote. They reflect themes of erotic longing and union with the divine, and point to her radical reimagining of death. This bilingual English-German edition is the first volume of Günderrode’s work to appear in English, and will help unearth this rich, complex, and innovative writer for English readers.

Bilingual English-German edition of second collection published by the German poet, dramatist, and philosopher Karoline von Günderrode (1780–1806).

Publisher: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy (2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: N/A
ISBN-13: 978-1-4384-6197-7


Meanings of Art: Essays in Aesthetics
Jason Holt, Acadia University


The perspective unfolded and defended here is a philosophical theory of art grounded in particular understandings of the creative process, aesthetic experience, and interpretive practice. The thematic link among all of these is the concept of meaning: what it means to make art, how the meanings we attach to artworks in interpretation shape our appreciation, the nature and value of aesthetic experience, and ultimately the definition of art itself. On this view, creating art is an expressive process that, as such, may be left incomplete. Aesthetic experience is understood as a special kind of resolution of conflict between the intellect and the emotions, one resonant with a very old tradition in aesthetics as well as cutting-edge neuroaesthetics. It is because of the deep human need for such experience that this book champions the interpretive openness of artworks and pluralism when it comes to interpretive and critical practice.

Publisher: Minkowski Institute Press (October 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 192776338X
ISBN-13: 978-1927763384


Ecology, Ethics, and the Future of Humanity
Adam Riggio, Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.


Humanity faces no greater long-term danger than climate change and the ecological destruction it entails. In this singular book, Adam Riggio argues that such a profound challenge requires a complete reorientation of morality, politics, and human identity along ecological lines. Bringing together concepts from environmental activism, moral philosophy, biological and ecological sciences, and innovative metaphysics, Ecology, Ethics, and the Future of Humanity lays out a radical new vision of a new type of humaneness: ecological humanity. Riggio argues that this new type of humanity is emerging from the problem of our current ecological crisis. With it, writes Riggio, will come new conceptions of self-interest, the human sense of home, and our material self-conception. Environmental philosophers have often maligned or dismissed arguments espousing nature's intrinsic value because they are incompatible with the moral intuitions of people who consider themselves essentially individuated and discrete. Asking what kind of person would find nature's intrinsic value intuitive is a guide to what new kind of human will emerge from the process of becoming ecological. Riggio illustrates how embracing this new model of humanity is the most effective path to political change precisely because the process so profoundly and inexorably transforms the guiding concepts of our lives. But he also warns that it is also necessarily a slow process because such change cannot be forced, only inspired.

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2015 edition (August 26, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1137540753
ISBN-13: 978-1137540751


Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy: Texts and Cases
Omid Payrow Shabani, University of Guelph and Monique Deveaux University of Guelph (Eds.)


Combining readings with Canadian case-law, this collection introduces students to the principles of social and political thought and their relevance to contemporary Canadian society, particularly in governmental and legal institutions. A unique volume, this text balances philosophical thought and practical application for an accessible and engaging introduction to social and political philosophy. Readership : Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy: Texts and Cases is intended to serve as a core text for social and/or political philosophy courses taught from first through third year at the university level.

Publisher: Oxford University Press (March 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195431316
ISBN-13: 978-0195431315


Emotions, Value, and Agency
Christine Tappolet, Université de Montréal


The emotions we experience are crucial to who we are, to what we think, and to what we do. But what are emotions, exactly, and how do they relate to agency? The aim of this book is to spell out an account of emotions, which is grounded on analogies between emotions and sensory experiences, and to explore the implications of this account for our understanding of human agency. The central claim is that emotions consist in perceptual experiences of values, such as the fearsome, the disgusting or the admirable. A virtue of this account is that it affords a better grasp of a variety of interconnected phenomena, such as motivation, values, responsibility and reason-responsiveness. In the process of exploring the implications of the Perceptual Theory of emotions, several claims are proposed. First, emotions normally involve desires that set goals, but they can be contemplative in that they can occur without any motivation. Second, evaluative judgements can be understood in terms of appropriate emotions in so far as appropriateness is taken to consist in correct representation. Third, by contrast with what Strawsonian theories hold, the concept of moral responsibility is not response-dependent, but the relationship between emotions and moral responsibility is mediated by values. Finally, in so far as emotions are perceptions of values, they can be considered to be perceptions of practical reasons, so that on certain conditions, acting on the basis of one's emotions can consist in responding to one's reasons.

Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 7, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199696519
ISBN-13: 978-0199696512


Intuitive Knowing as Spiritual Experience
Phillip H Wiebe, PhD Trinity Western University.


Intuitive Knowing as Spiritual Experience reaffirms the call to examine religious experience but shifts the focus in an unexpected way. The book is Phillip H. Wiebe's defense of the claim that a significant form of spiritual experience is found in 'intuitive knowing' or 'knowing something we have no right to know'. To illustrate his argument, Wiebe delves into the first-hand accounts of dozens of people who have reported experiencing moments of intuitive knowing. Chapters dissect and analyze these experiences, focusing on intuitive knowing as it relates to the experience of God, transformed values, and Christian experiences. According to Wiebe, the future of the study of spiritual experience as a neurological process will require close attention to detail. In solidarity with those whose personal accounts he offers, Wiebe relays his own personal experiences as they relate to his spiritual development over the last forty years. He argues that experiences of many other kinds are relevant to the central claim of the book, so intuitive knowing does not face the bar of reason on its own.

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2015 edition (September 17, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1137549483
ISBN-13: 978-1137549488


Is Legal Reasoning Irrational? An Introduction to the Epistemology of Law Volume Two of the Law and Society Series
John Woods, University of British Columbia and University of Lethbridge


Philosophy and the law share an interest in a good many of the same concepts. Some of these are moral and political ideas, such as justice, rights and freedoms, duty, responsibility, guilt and innocence, and punishment. Others are of a more epistemological and logical character - for example, proof, truth, evidence, justification, truthfulness, reasoning, decision-making and argument, judgement, certainty, probability, relevance, and others. Most undergraduate texts in the philosophy of law focus on the moral and political concepts, and have little to say about the epistemological ones. Is Legal Reasoning Irrational? is a significant departure from that norm. While far from stinting on moral and political notions, it gives sustained attention to the epistemological and logical issues that arise in all legal contexts, but especially in trials at the bar of justice. It is only natural to ask how will legal reasoning and decision-making stack up to the performance standards mandated by mainstream epistemologists and logicians. As the title of the book indicates, the law doesn't measure up at all well. When a theory says that human beings are acting irrationally, two things are possible. One is that the fault lies with us humans. The other is that theory has got the standards of human rationality wrong. Perhaps it is not customary in an introductory textbook to advance philosophical theses of the author's own. Is Legal Reasoning Irrational? is also a point of departure from that custom. In the case of legal reasoning and judgement, I argue that the established philosophical standards of rationality are the culprit, not the legal system itself. The book is suitable for undergraduate use in introductions to the philosophy of law, either as the main text or supplementary reading. The author holds the Honorary Professorial Chair of Logic at the University of British Columbia and is President Emeritus and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lethbridge.

Publisher: College Publications (September 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1848901623
ISBN-13: 978-1848901629


Inconsistency Robustness , (Volume 52 of the Studies in Logic Series)
Carl Hewitt, MIT and John Woods, UBC and U of L (Eds.)


Inconsistency robustness is information system performance in the face of continually pervasive inconsistencies---a shift from the previously dominant paradigms of inconsistency denial and inconsistency elimination attempting to sweep them under the rug. Inconsistency robustness is a both an observed phenomenon and a desired feature:

  • Inconsistency Robustness is an observed phenomenon because large information-systems are required to operate in an environment of pervasive inconsistency.
  • Inconsistency Robustness is a desired feature because we need to improve the performance of large information system.

This volume has revised versions of refereed articles and panel summaries from the first two International Symposia on Inconsistency Robustness conducted under the auspices of the International Society for Inconsistency Robustness (iRobust The articles are broadly based on theory and practice, addressing fundamental issues in inconsistency robustness. The field of Inconsistency Robustness aims to provide practical rigorous foundations for computer information systems dealing with pervasively inconsistent information.

Publisher: College Publications (May 20, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1848901593
ISBN-13: 978-1848901599


The Anthropocene Project: Virtue in the Age of Climate Change
Byron Williston, Wilfrid Laurier University.


The evidence presented in the recently released Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests strongly that continued failure to make meaningful cuts to greenhouse gas emissions could bring about disastrous results for the human community, especially for future generations. Summing up the findings of AR5, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, has stated that our persistent inaction on climate change presents a grave threat to 'the very social stability of human systems'.

The Anthropocene Project attempts to make philosophical sense of this, examining the reasons for the inaction highlighted by the IPCC, and suggests the normative bases for overcoming it. Williston identifies that we are now in 'the human age'-the Anthropocene-but he argues that this is no mere geological marker. It is instead best viewed as the latest permutation of an already existing moral and political project rooted in Enlightenment values. The author shows that it can be fruitful to do climate ethics with this focus because in so many aspects of our culture we already endorse broadly Enlightenment values about progress, equality, and the value of knowledge. But these values must be robustly instantiated in the dispositions of moral agents, and so we require a climate ethics emphasizing the virtues of justice, truthfulness, and rational hope.

One of the book's most original claims is that our moral failure on this issue is, in large part, the product of motivated irrationality on the part of the world's most prosperous people. We have failed to live up to our commitments to justice and truthfulness because we are, respectively, morally weak and self-deceived. Understanding this provides the basis for the rational hope that we might yet find a way to avoid climate catastrophe.

Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 5, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0198746717
ISBN-13: 978-0198746713



Pensées Canadiennes, the Canadian national undergraduate journal of philosophy.

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