Advertisement

Synthese

pp 1–23 | Cite as

How genealogies can affect the space of reasons

  • Matthieu Queloz
Article
  • 145 Downloads

Abstract

Can genealogical explanations affect the space of reasons? Those who think so commonly face two objections. The first objection maintains that attempts to derive reasons from claims about the genesis of something commit the genetic fallacy—they conflate genesis and justification. One way for genealogies to side-step this objection is to focus on the functional origins of practices—to show that, given certain facts about us and our environment, certain conceptual practices are rational because apt responses. But this invites a second objection, which maintains that attempts to derive current from original function suffer from continuity failure—the conditions in response to which something originated no longer obtain. This paper shows how normatively ambitious genealogies can steer clear of both problems. It first maps out various ways in which genealogies can involve non-fallacious genetic arguments before arguing that some genealogies do not invite the charge of the genetic fallacy if they are interpreted as revealing the original functions of conceptual practices. However, they then incur the burden of showing that the conditions relative to which practices function continuously obtain. Taking its cue from the genealogies of E. J. Craig, Bernard Williams, and Miranda Fricker, the paper shows how model-based genealogies can avoid continuity failures by identifying bases of continuity in the demands we face.

Keywords

Genealogy Normativity Vindicatory explanation Functionality Genetic fallacy Continuity failures E. J. Craig Bernard Williams Miranda Fricker 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the editors of Synthese and to three anonymous referees for their helpful comments. I would also like to thank Markus Wild, Martin Kusch, Rebekka Hufendiek, Damian Cueni, Jelscha Schmid, Lucius Caviola, Andreas Schönenberger, and audiences in Basel and Linescio for discussions and for their valuable feedback. Work on this paper was supported by Grant P0BSP1_162025 of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

References

  1. Anderson, E. (2001). Unstrapping the straitjacket of ‘preference’: A comment on Amartya Sen’s contributions to philosophy and economics. Economics and Philosophy, 17(1), 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blackburn, S. (2016). The Oxford dictionary of philosophy (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brennan, G., Eriksson, L., Goodin, R. E., & Southwood, N. (2013). Explaining norms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Craig, E. (1990). Knowledge and the State of Nature: An essay in conceptual synthesis. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Craig, E. (1993). Was wir wissen können: Pragmatische Untersuchungen zum Wissensbegriff. Wittgenstein-Vorlesungen der Universität Bayreuth. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  6. Craig, E. (2007). Genealogies and the State of Nature. In A. Thomas (Ed.), Bernard Williams (pp. 181–200). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crouch, M. A. (1991). Feminist philosophy and the genetic fallacy. Hypatia, 6(2), 104–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crouch, M. A. (1993). A ‘limited’ defense of the genetic fallacy. Metaphilosophy, 24(3), 227–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dennett, D. C. (1995). Darwin’s dangerous idea: evolution and the meanings of life. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  10. Descartes, R. (1996). Oeuvres de Descartes. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  11. Dutilh Novaes, C. (2015). Conceptual genealogy for analytic philosophy. In J. A. Bell, A. Culrofello, & P. M. Livingston (Eds.), Beyond the analytic-continental divide (pp. 75–110). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Finken, B. (2012). Nietzsche versus the genetic fallacy. Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 43(2), 305–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Foucault, M. (1971). Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire. In S. Bachelard (Ed.), Hommage à Jean Hyppolite (pp. 145–172). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  14. Fraser, N. (1981). Foucault on modern power: Empirical insights and normative confusions. In N. Fraser (Ed.), Unruly practices: Power, discourse and gender in contemporary social theory (pp. 17–34). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fricker, M. (1998). Rational authority and social power: Towards a truly social epistemology. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 98(2), 159–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fricker, M. (2016). What’s the point of blame? A Paradigm Based Explanation. Noûs, 50(1), 165–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fricker, M. (Forthcoming). Forgiveness: An ordered pluralism. Australasian Philosophical Review.Google Scholar
  19. Gauthier, D. (1986). Morals by agreement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Glock, H.-J. (2008a). Analytic philosophy and history: A mismatch? Mind, 117(468), 867–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glock, H.-J. (2008b). What is analytic philosophy?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goudge, T. A. (1961). The genetic fallacy. Synthese, 13(1), 41–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Greene, J. (2013). Moral tribes: emotion, reason, and the gap between us and them. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gutting, G. (2005). Foucault. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haidt, J. (2012). The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  26. Hamblin, C. L. (2004). Fallacies. Newport News: Vale Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hanson, N. R. (1967). The genetic fallacy revisited. American Philosophical Quarterly, 4(2), 101–113.Google Scholar
  28. Hoy, D. C. (1994). Nietzsche, hume, and the genealogical method. In R. Schacht (Ed.), Nietzsche, genealogy, morality: Essays on Nietzsche’s on the genealogy of morals (pp. 249–267). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hufendiek, R. (Forthcoming). The essentialist fallacy: A misguided critique of naturalism in the nature–nurture debate.Google Scholar
  30. Hume, D. (2000). A treatise of human nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Joyce, R. (2006). The evolution of morality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. Kaplan, A. (2002). The conduct of inquiry: Methodology for behavioural sciences. New Brunswick: Transaction.Google Scholar
  33. Kim, C.-T. (1990). A critique of genealogies. Metaphilosophy, 21(4), 391–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kitcher, P. (2011). The ethical project. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Klement, K. C. (2002). When is genetic reasoning not fallacious? Argumentation, 16(4), 383–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kolodny, N. (2005). Why be rational? Mind, 114(455), 509–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Koopman, C. (2013). Genealogy as critique: Foucault and the problems of modernity. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kusch, M. (2009). Testimony and the value of knowledge. In A. Haddock, A. Millar, & D. Pritchard (Eds.), Epistemic value (pp. 60–94). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kusch, M. (2011). Knowledge and certainties in the epistemic State of Nature. Episteme, 8(1), 6–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kusch, M. (2013). Naturalized epistemology and the genealogy of knowledge. In M. Lenz & A. Waldow (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on early modern philosophy: Nature and norms in thought (pp. 87–100). Dordrecht and New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kusch, M., & McKenna, R. (2018). The genealogical method in epistemology. Synthese.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-018-1675-1 Google Scholar
  42. Lange, P. A. M. V., Klapwijk, A., & Munster, L. M. V. (2011). How the shadow of the future might promote cooperation. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 14(6), 857–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lavine, T. Z. (1962). Reflections on the genetic fallacy. Social Research, 29(3), 321–337.Google Scholar
  44. McGinn, C. (2003). Isn’t it the truth? The New York Review of Books, L(6), 70–73.Google Scholar
  45. Müller, O. L. (2003). Can they say what they want? A transcendental argument against utilitarianism. Southern Journal of Philosophy, 41(2), 241–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nagel, T. (1997). The last word (philosophical essays). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Nagel, T. (2009). Williams: Philosophy and humanity. In Secular philosophy and the religious temperament (pp. 139–146). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Pashman, J. (1970). Is the genetic fallacy a fallacy? Southern Journal of Philosophy, 8(1), 57–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Prinz, J. J. (2007). The emotional construction of morals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Queloz, M. (2017a). Does philosophy have a vindicatory history? Bernard Williams on the history of philosophy. Studia Philosophica, 76, 137–152.Google Scholar
  51. Queloz, M. (2017b). Nietzsche’s pragmatic genealogy of justice. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 25(4), 727–749.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2016.1266462.Google Scholar
  52. Queloz, M. (Forthcoming-a). Nietzsches affirmative genealogien. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie.Google Scholar
  53. Queloz, M. (Forthcoming-b). Williams’s pragmatic genealogy and self-effacing functionality. Philosophers’ Imprint.Google Scholar
  54. Queloz, M. (Manuscript). Nietzsche’s vindicatory english genealogy of truthfulness.Google Scholar
  55. Reisner, A. (2009). The possibility of pragmatic reasons for belief and the wrong kind of reasons problem. Philosophical Studies, 145(2), 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Reisner, A. (Forthcoming). Pragmatic reasons for belief. In D. Star (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of reasons and normativity (ch. 30). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Reynolds, S. L. (2017). Knowledge as acceptable testimony. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency, irony, and solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rosenbaum, S. (2002). Sustaining pragmatism’s critique of epistemology. In P. B. A. J. Geller (Ed.), Conversations with pragmatism. New York: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  60. Rosenberg, A. (2016). Functionalism. In L. McIntyre & A. Rosenberg (Eds.), The Routledge companion to philosophy of social science. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Salmon, W. C. (1973). Logic. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  62. Sinclair, N. (2012). Metaethics, teleosemantics and the function of moral judgements. Biology and Philosophy, 27(5), 639–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Smyth, N. (2017). The function of morality. Philosophical Studies, 174(5), 1127–1144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sober, E. (1994). Prospects for an evolutionary ethics. In From a biological point of view (pp. 93–113). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Srinivasan, A. (2015). The archimedean urge. Philosophical Perspectives, 29(1), 325–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Thornhill, R., & Thornhill, N. (1983). Human rape. An Evolutionary Analysis. Ethology and Sociobiology, 4, 137–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Thornhill, R., & Thornhill, N. (1992). The evolutionary psychology of men’s coercive sexuality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 15, 363–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tolstoy, L. (2014). Anna Karenina (M. Schwartz, Trans.). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Tomasello, M. (2016). A natural history of human morality. Cambridge and New York: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Ward, A. C. (2010). The value of genetic fallacies. Informal Logic, 30(1), 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wiener, P. P. (1946). Logical significance of the history of thought. Journal of the History of Ideas, 7(3), 366–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Williams, B. (1973). Egoism and altruism. In Problems of the self (pp. 250–265). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Williams, B. (1981). Conflicts of values. In Moral luck (pp. 71–82). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Williams, B. (1993). Shame and necessity. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  75. Williams, B. (2000). Naturalism and genealogy. In E. Harcourt (Ed.), Morality, reflection, and ideology (pp. 148–161). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Williams, B. (2002). Truth and truthfulness: An essay in genealogy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Williams, B. (2005a). Descartes: the project of pure enquiry. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  78. Williams, B. (2005b). From freedom to liberty: The construction of a political value. In G. Hawthorne (Ed.), In the beginning was the deed: Realism and moralism in political argument (pp. 75–96). Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Williams, B. (2006). Philosophy as a humanistic discipline. In A. W. Moore (Ed.), Philosophy as a humanistic discipline (pp. 180–199). Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  80. Williams, B. (2011). Ethics and the limits of philosophy. Oxford: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  81. Williams, B. (2014a). The last word, by Thomas Nagel. In M. Woods (Ed.), Essays and reviews 1959–2002 (pp. 371–387). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Williams, B. (2014b). Why philosophy needs history. In M. Woods (Ed.), Essays and reviews 1959–2002 (pp. 405–412). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Williams, B., & Smart, J. J. C. (1973). Utilitarianism: For and against. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Wittgenstein, L. (2009). Philosophical investigations. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Arts, Media and PhilosophyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations