Friday, February 23, 2018

The Tesla Revolution Why Big Oil is Losing the Energy War

The Tesla Revolution Why Big Oil Is Losing The Energy War


Nearly 10 years ago, I started investigating the history of oil and how its depletion could impact our postindustrial society. The situation concerned  me after I learned about it f irsthand from the experienced geologist Colin Campbell (PhD, formerly at BP) who had studied the issue for decades. Would there be enough oil around to fuel society in the centuries or even decades to come?

The book Willem and I coauthored in 2008, The Permanent Oil Crisis, emerged from this concern. Our aim was to raise awareness  of the issue of peak oil and the need to transition to alternative forms of energy. Its basic premise was that a structural undersupply of cheap oil would disrupt the world economy, because the peak in conventional oil production was at hand. Oil supplies had been f lat for several years, and oil prices were on the rise, with limited new sources of supply in sight. The situation was urgent given the lack of alternatives at the time, and we needed to transition to clean sources of energy.

In this new book, The Tesla Revolution, we examine what has happened in oil markets since then, with almost 10 years of learning added to the mix. Thanks to large-scale shifts towards alternatives over the last decade, our view is more positive now.

The world of clean energy is advancing rapidly thanks to the efforts of countless people who, like us, are concerned about the end of cheap oil, about how fossil fuel-based carbon emissions are linked to climate change, or both. Just as Nikola Tesla, together with Thomas Edison, revolutionized the world 120 years ago by sparking the electrical age, we are now enter- ing a revolution in clean transport, electricity, and heating.

This new ‘Tesla Revolution’ in clean energy is driven primarily by the urgency to scale alternatives to oil in transportation, as signaled by high oil prices.

We know that oil is and will continue to be more expen- sive than in the early 2000s and prior, since we now need to extract either lesser-quality oil, or at more remote locations, or at far greater depths. The recent rise of shale oil in the United States is not changing this situation, since most of it is also costly to extract, as we explore in Chapter 4. Shale oil took the world by storm, and just like the oil industry, we did not see it coming early enough.

The shale oil boom is drying up, however, since the Mid- dle East started pumping f lat out in 2014, and oil prices have recently dropped even lower, to $40-$50 per barrel (still three times higher than in the early 2000s and prior). Since March 2015, shale oil production has fallen by 15%–in just 16 months. Since the costs of extraction are high—shale oil is not the cheap oil we’re used to—major investments have been scrapped, well drilling has halted, and company bankruptcies are growing.

This situation is not unique to shale oil; if we look at oil production globally, we now need hundreds of billion-dollar investments every year in deep-water f ields and oil sands to increase oil production, and many projects have recently been postponed.

Our key message is still valid. We cannot rely on continued smooth growth in (cheap) oil production. There is a large downside risk that oil supply will slump within the next 10 years, bringing substantial economic repercussions as almost all transportation today depends on oil. Not to mention the risk of severe geopolitical instability, since history teaches us that Western countries secure oil supplies via covert opera- tions or military means, which we elaborate on in Chapter 3.

In this post cheap-oil era, we believe we need to work on reducing oil dependency and risk. In a f igurative sense, sourcing transportation energy from clean sources where possible is an economic ‘pension policy’ that anyone who cares about their future should buy into. The faster we can scale alternative energy sources for transportation, the more likely it is that suff icient energy will be available.

The second driver of the Tesla Revolution is the urgency to scale alternatives for all fossil fuels—especially coal—to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Carbon reductions are needed to halt the chemical alteration of the earth’s atmosphere and thereby minimize the disruptive risks of climate change.

Reducing carbon pollution is currently a big driver of many government energy policies and a factor in the investment strategies of many companies and f inancial institutions. In our view, climate change is just as big a risk as cheap oil depletion in the next decades, and much greater for 2050 and beyond, since increasing climate disruptions will affect the world’s economies. We just don’t know what the effects will be in our lifetimes, let alone closer to the year 2100 and beyond.

Many people working to transform our fossil fuel-based economy, including the CEOs of Tesla Motors and Toyota, share our concerns. In our view, any book on energy pub- lished today needs to look at the extent to which carbon emission reductions are driving the world away from fossil fuels, as we discuss in Chapter 5. We will also update you on last year’s Paris Agreement on Climate Change, carbon reduction policies, and Big Oil’s underground carbon stock and the investment implications of it.

The key questions we explore are at the heart of coal and natural gas: Has coal begun its long-term demise, as carbon reductions require? Will natural  gas play a major role in the future as a bridge to a clean energy world?

That brings me to the impact that the two drivers—ex- pensive oil and climate change—is having on the global energy picture.

In 2008, when writing our previous book, Tesla Motors was a small player with its Roadster electric sports car, and its Chinese counterpart Build Your Dreams (BYD) only sold mini electric city cars. Now, thanks to many innovations, especially in lithium-ion batteries, the entire car world is changing rapidly.

In the wake of Tesla Motors’ rise, major car companies around the world, from the United States to Germany to Japan, are aggressively pursuing electric cars, hybrid cars, or fuel-cell car models. Soon, they may follow further in the footsteps of Tesla and BYD which, at the time of publication, are the f irst two fully integrated electric car—battery— solar-energy companies, bringing renewable driving to your garage or front door.

Thanks to their efforts, it is likely that, not too long from now, car companies will take away transportation market share from Big Oil as electric cars in all segments become both desired and cost competitive. That will not put oil companies out of business (at least not for the foreseeable future), but it will push them to provide oil increasingly for trucking, shipping, f light, and chemicals, which are still more challenging uses to tackle. We examine this and a lot more in Chapters 1 and 6, not just for batteries and electric cars, but also for fuel cells, solar photovoltaic cells, wind power, electricity grids, and other technologies.

So much is happening around the world daily that the news is diff icult to keep up with. Did you know that over 40,000 German households have battery systems connected to their solar panels? Or that more than 200 million electric bikes, scooters, and motorcycles are being driven on China’s streets already? Or that solar panels power at least 40 mil- lion households in regions without electricity grids?

The lack of good information has led to a lot of confu- sion when it comes to how fast renewables are entering the world’s energy system. In our experience, many opinions and so-called facts are vented on the Internet and in newspapers based on outdated information and data, usually limited to experience within the country in which people live, or are ridden with bias. Part of this confusion comes from a lack of up-to-date information on the scale of renewables in the world’s energy system as a whole.

To reduce some of this confusion, we paint a picture of the pace of change of the clean energy transition relative to the world’s energy system in Chapter 1. Based on the most up-to-date data, up to the end of 2016, we explain how much fossil fuel and clean energy is used, for different energy uses, and the differences across continents and climates.

This provides a bird’s-eye view of the current situation seen from the perspective of where we are headed and the scaling that is needed to accelerate the Tesla Revolution—a key part of the book—as we need to know whether the world is moving fast enough and how it could move faster to accelerate the rise of clean energy in the world’s energy mix.

We hope that if you aren’t already enthusiastic about clean energy, our book will inspire you to join and accelerate the Tesla Revolution. We all have a role to play in bringing the earth closer to a clean energy world. Without people buying electric cars or solar panels, building great tech in- novations, shaping energy policies, or f inancing large-scale clean energy infrastructure, not much will change. We also hope that you f ind the content useful and that its clarity contributes to your thinking on energy, to help you make better energy decisions in your daily life. We have more decision power than we think.

Rembrandt Koppelaar ( London, November 2016

Source:The Tesla Revolution Why Big Oil is Losing the Energy War by Willem Middelkoop & Rembrandt Koppelaar

The Role of Self-Esteem in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching

The Role of Self-Esteem in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (March 2018)

The Role of Self-Esteem in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (March 2018)


Any class of learners, regardless of the stage of education, type of school and its location (in a metropolitan or rural area), comprises an amazing variety of individuals who are distinct in the name, height, weight, possibly in ethnic background, etc. What bears particular relevance to an instructor, though, is the fact that each of the students displays special talents, aptitudes or attitudes that account for the more or less rapid progress, or, in some cases, lack of progress and serious learning difïculties. There will be students who are keen to work, who stay in good relationships with the teacher and classmates, and others, who are easily demotivated, withdrawn and remain a matter of constant concern for the teacher.

The theory and practice of English language teaching has come a long way from the days when success or failure in learning was attributed solely to cognitive processes. The recent years have seen a growing appreciation of the role of affective factors that determine how the learner feels about the subject, the learning activities and themselves. These feelings translate into the sense of agency, motivation and commitment on the learner's part. The acknowledgement of the role of the emotional aspects of learning has become part of the foundations of applied linguistics.

Compared to other areas of study, language learning is far more ego-involving, which means that it vastly engages the emotional sphere, whose crucial constituents are the learner's unique self-beliefs. These beliefs account for how the learner views their past experience, their current performance and their future goals. The book is concerned with the role of foreign language self-esteem in learning as a facet of self-beliefs that exerts a notable influence on learner attitudes and behaviours. The construct refers to the learner self-perception in the domain of language learning, i.e. how they feel about themselves in both cognitive and affective terms. Despite its asserted  importance,  many  questions  about  the  impact  of  foreign  language self-esteem on learner attainment have not been thoroughly answered yet. It is believed by the author that by integrating elements of linguistic and psychological exploration, the current research will attend to the characteristics of the construct, its dynamics and its interplay with other factors.

Given  the  absence  of  studies  examining  foreign  language  self-esteem  in a developmental perspective, the current research embraces an investigation of                                                                                                                     

a sample that represents three stages of education—from lower secondary to tertiary, distinguishing further between varied proïciency levels and demographic characteristics of the participants. The insight into the developmental dynamics, major correlates and predictors of foreign language self-esteem may enable to transform the findings into practical pedagogical advice applicable in foreign lan- guage classrooms, catering for ego-protecting, learner-friendly atmosphere.
The study is divided into a theoretical and practical part, further subdivided into chapters, each of them concluded with a résumé of the main points. The first chapter begins with a brief reminder of the inseparability and reciprocity of cognitive and affective domains in learning, followed by an outline of the major constituent processes belonging to each of the domains. The next section addresses the question of ‘what is self-esteem’ and explicates the definitional concerns in distinguishing between the main self-related concepts. The major theoretical models of the core construct are reviewed, departing from the historical perspective towards developing its working definition for the purposes of the volume. The chapter also describes the structure of self-esteem, followed by its most prominent typologies. In view of the subsequent parts, the section which presents the multidimensional and multifaceted nature of self-esteem seems crucial as it depicts the position of foreign language self-esteem in the hierarchy of self-views. The next parts explain the sources of high or low self-esteem, its dependence on cultural background and its development across lifespan (with special emphasis on adolescence and the onset of adulthood) as well as its influence on psychological functioning, as it is viewed by modern psychology. A broad theoretical background to the construct having been introduced, the analysis of its relevance to learning follows. Self-esteem is then situated in SLA context, and its relation to other important constructs in the domain of FL learning is considered. It is also discussed why self-esteem bears importance for attainment in FL learning.

The aim of Chap. 2 is to present a review of empirical research on self-esteem in its  various  dimensions. It  opens  with  an  overview  of  designs,  methods  and instruments that have been developed by other researchers and a discussion of challenges and pitfalls in measuring self-esteem that researchers need to be aware of. There follows an inventory of researches into the impact of self-esteem on a range of aspects of psychological functioning, selected on the basis of their rele- vance to educational context. The chapter continues by outlining the findings of studies into the interaction between self-esteem and learning, and it contains a separate section on the interplay between the focal construct in a multidimensional perspective and some important aspects of FL learning. The chapter ends with considerations of correlates of foreign language self-esteem scrutinized in reference to different age groups, educational settings and proficiency levels. The part also pertains to  skill-specific correlates of  self-esteem. Each  section closes  with  a summary of findings that partly informed the research design used in this study.

Chapter 3 opens the empirical part, and its initial paragraphs present the general aim of the research conducted for the purposes of the study. The rationale for the current  study  encompasses  three  major  goals.  The  first  one  is  to  observe the dynamics of foreign language self-esteem across three stages of education in the Polish system, and between varied levels of proficiency. The second one is to examine selected correlates and predictors of the central construct, and the third one is to present a profile of a high and low self-esteem learner, enhancing the symptoms of either of the types of experience and its possible antecedents. The next parts contain detailed descriptions of the method adopted, specifications of instruments, procedures and analyses, as well as an account of the sample and research design. The remaining sections contain a thorough report of the results obtained in the quantitative and qualitative research. The chapter is concluded with a summary of findings and the specification of limitations of the study.

Chapter 4 is devoted to the discussion of the results. It commences with the analysis of changes that foreign language self-esteem is subject to according to changing proficiency (operationalized for the purposes of the book as the growing length of exposure, intensity of instruction or achievement in L2). The middle part features considerations on some important correlates and predictors of L2 self-esteem, divided into demographic or educational. The final section is an analysis of characteristics of students who hold either high or low foreign language self-esteem.

The final chapter recapitulates the main aims pursued by the book and its main hypotheses. It strives to propose a comprehensive framework for understanding foreign language self-esteem against the Polish secondary and tertiary educational background. There is also an outline of directions for further studies into the construct with proposals of  alternative research designs, sample or  instrument selections. Further, the chapter contains an extensive set of implications for FL teaching practices, all of which could engender class atmosphere conducive to developing an optimal level of foreign language self-esteem.

In conclusion, as the author of the book, I strongly hope that the findings of my research reflect some aspects of the complex and manifold reality that every teacher faces in a classroom and that it will increase the sensitivity of educationalists to the immense diversity of self-related issues that learners of all ages bring with them to lessons. For both practitioners and academics, I hope it might be a humble inspiration for future work towards optimization of ELT methodologies from the global and local point of view. It needs to be admitted that the work on the research has given me invaluable opportunities to enrich the understanding of the affective domain and discover some fascinating mechanisms or relationships that may amplify or invalidate the outcomes of the efforts of the learner, their teachers, course book writers, syllabus designers, etc. The insights gained in the process of writing the book have intimidated me with the immense complexity of the domain, impossible to embrace by the research, but at the same time they have helped me to develop new sensitivity to foreign language learner differences and their diverse needs.

Source:  The Role of Self-Esteem in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (March 2018)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Argument from Rational Action

Rationality, Time, and Self

Rationality, Time, and Self

In this chapter I will take up and defend an argument mentioned in Chap. 3. There we saw that many actions will only be rational if their agents have tensed and/or first-personal beliefs. Mellor tried to account for this need in terms of the causal role of beliefs. However, I raised some doubts about the adequacy of this answer because it presupposed an asymmetry that did not in fact exist and it seemed to neglect the manner in which these actions are responsive to reasons, or rational. I took up this theme in the subsequent chapters. I argued that reasons, both in their role of justifying and motivating, are facts. I then argued that acting for a reason was a matter of being aware of that reason, and then forming a goal, choosing to act, and acting in response to that reason. I used this notion of acting for a reason to clarify the notion of rationality. A rational action, in the paradigm or non-error case, is an action which an agent does for reasons which provide all things considered reason for that action. In an error case, when an agent mistakenly takes a reason to obtain which does not obtain, then that agent may qualify as rational on the basis of the similarity between that case and a paradigm case.

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I will bring these elements together in this chapter to argue that if rationality demands tensed and first-personal beliefs in place of tenseless and non-first-personal beliefs, then this must be because the former involve an awareness of facts that the latter does not. Both tenseless and non-first-personal  beliefs can be involved in acting for reasons. What dis- tinguishes them from tensed and first-personal beliefs in the eyes of ratio- nality is simply the reasons they are an awareness of. It follows from this that the tenseless theory of time is wrong because it denies that tensed beliefs capture facts not captured by tenseless beliefs. In addition, we are moved towards an emergentist theory of the self according to which it is something over and above the body which can be readily captured by third-personal language. This does require a realist and pluralist ontology which I will also show to be independently plausible.

7.1     The Argument from Action

My first argument against the tenseless theory of time and towards the emergence of the self concerns rational actions and runs as follows:

P1. In some cases an agent must have a tensed belief in order to act ratio- nally and no tenseless belief can satisfy this requirement.
P2. In some cases an agent must have a first-personal belief in order to act rationally and no non-first-personal belief can fulfil this requirement.
P3. The reasons that motivate actions (m-reasons) and the reasons that justify actions (j-reasons) are facts.
P4. In non-error cases of rational action if an agent is required to have a belief and another belief cannot satisfy that requirement, then the for- mer must be an awareness of a j-reason that the latter is not.
C1/P5. If there are non-error cases of rational action in which an agent is required to have a tensed belief and a tenseless belief cannot satisfy that requirement, then the former must be an awareness of a j-reason that the latter is not. (From P4.)
C2/P6. If there are non-error cases of rational action in which an agent is required to have a first-personal belief and a non-first-personal belief cannot satisfy that requirement, then the former must be an awareness of a j-reason that the latter is not. (From P4.)
C3/P7. If there are non-error cases of rational action in which an agent is required to have a tensed belief and a tenseless belief cannot satisfy that
The Argument from Rational Action requirement, then the former must be an awareness of a fact that the latter is not. (From P3 & P5.)
C4/P8. If there are non-error cases of rational action in which an agent is required to have a first-personal belief and a non-first-personal belief cannot satisfy that requirement, then the former must be an awareness of a fact that the latter is not. (From P3 & P6.)
P9. There are non-error cases of rational action in which an agent is required to have a tensed belief and no tenseless belief can fulfil that requirement.
P10. There are non-error cases of rational action in which an agent is required to have a first-personal belief and no non-first-personal belief can fulfil that requirement.
C5/P11. Agents are aware of facts in tensed beliefs that they are not aware of in any tenseless beliefs. (From P7 & P9.)
C6. Agents are aware of facts in first-personal beliefs that they are not aware of in any non-first-personal beliefs. (From P8 & P10.)
P12. According to the tenseless theory of time there are no facts captured by tensed beliefs that cannot be captured by tenseless ones.
C7. The tenseless theory of time is wrong. (From P11 & P12.)

I shall refer to this as the argument from action. In this chapter I will focus on the temporal case. It is slightly less clear what conclusions we should draw about the self and I will say more about these in Chap. 10.1

I will now set about justifying the premises that I take to need external support, namely P1-4, P9, P10 and P12. The other premises gain their support from one or more of these.

P12 comes straight forwardly from the definition of the tenseless the- ory that was given in Chap. 2 and the manner in which beliefs are char- acterized. A tensed belief will be a belief an agent has when that agent is disposed to honestly express or affirm uses of tensed language. It will be a belief that an agent communicates by using tensed language. It is there- fore natural to take the beliefs and the language to share contents and to capture the same facts. Therefore, if tensed beliefs capture facts that tense- less ones do not,  then  tensed language captures facts that  tenseless language does not. The definition of the tenseless theory is that it denies that tensed language captures facts that tenseless  language does not. Therefore, we arrive at P12.

P1 and P2 come from Chap. 3. There we saw that Perry’s argument for the essential indexical has showed that some actions require their agent to have tensed beliefs. A consideration of this and Mellor’s arguments led to the conclusion that the tensed beliefs were essential specifically for some rational actions. If an agent is going to act rationally and in a timely fash- ion, then that agent must have a tensed belief. For instance, I must believe that ‘it is now 1pm’ or something similar and tensed if I am going to act rationally to fulfil my goal of listening to the 1 o’clock news. I might have tenseless beliefs such as ‘listening to the news requires the radio to be on’ and ‘in order for the radio to be on at 1 o’clock it must be turned on before 1 o’clock’ all morning, but in order to act rationally in turning on the radio I must also gain a tensed belief. No tenseless belief can fulfil this role. Therefore, P1 is correct.

Chapter 3 also showed that analogous remarks apply for a first-personal indexicals. An agent must have a first-personal belief if that agent is going to act rationally and for considerations that apply to him or her in par- ticular. For instance, if I am going to collect my order I must believe ‘I have ticket 114’ or something similar and first-personal. No non-first- personal belief can fulfil this role. For example, the belief ‘Olley has ticket 114’ will not suffice because I might not know that I am Olley. Therefore, P2 is correct.

The discussion of Chap. 4 showed that reasons are facts. More specifi- cally, it was shown that the reasons that make an action appropriate or justified are facts, and that the reasons that an agent acts for are facts. It is the fact that cycling gives me pleasure that justifies and motivates me to go cycling on a particular occasion. This gives us P3.

7.2     Justification of P9 & P10

P9 and P10 say that there are non-error cases of rational action which require tensed and first-personal beliefs. My reason for taking these prem- ises to be correct is that denying them leaves one in an unacceptable position.

A great majority of our actions are timely actions and/or actions done for reasons specific to ourselves. That is, a great many of our actions fall
The Argument from Rational Action within the scope of Perry’s essential indexical arguments. (I have argued in Chap. 3 that all of Perry’s examples—so those concerning ‘here’, ‘this’, or ‘you’ beliefs too—can be interpreted as concerning tensed and/or first- personal beliefs, and few of our actions escape all of his arguments.) To deny P9 and P10 would thus entail that a great majority of our actions are error cases.

Because reasons are facts saying that the great majority of our actions are error cases implies that they are cases in which we are mistaken about what facts obtain. It would follow that people were generally mistaken in their world view. But, this is something that we should deny and that the tenseless theory has been careful to deny. In its old form this denial occurred in the idea that tensed beliefs are reducible to tenseless ones. In its new form it occurs in the idea that tensed beliefs have tenseless truth- conditions. Either way we are encouraged to think that our tensed char- acterizations get the world right.

If the tenseless theorist tried to avoid my argument by insisting that most of our actions are error cases, then this means the contents of our tensed and first-personal beliefs are mistaken. (Essential indexical cases can be constructed using all sorts of tensed or first-personal beliefs.) If, as it seems, the content of our perceptual beliefs are all present tensed,2 it follows that most or all of our perceptual beliefs are mistaken. Our per- ceptual beliefs get the world wrong. This mistake would thus infect all of our empirical data and hence even the sciences—commonly  revered by tenseless theorists—would  be shown to be built on error. Whilst I am ready to admit that we do not get everything right, error on this scale is surely unacceptable.

Moreover, the tensed and/or first-personal beliefs are required for the actions at issue to be rational actions. This means that the reasons that they are an awareness of, or would be if these were not error cases, are reasons that are essential for the actions. They are reasons required to justify the actions. It follows that if all of these actions are error cases, then they are without reasons that would be essential for justifying them. In other words, essential justificatory reasons would fail to obtain for any of these actions. The actions would hence all be unreasonable actions. However, this sounds wrong. Furthermore, it also implies that we ought to be acting quite differently to the ways we do act. But, it is quite incomprehensible to fathom what such a radical change in people’s  actions ought to be. If I shouldn’t turn the radio on at 1pm, or go to the meeting at 2pm, or buy milk when I run out, or any of these mundane everyday actions, I am lost to imagine what I ought to do. (One could not avoid these consequences by denying that the actions at issue were rational actions, because, as I argued in Chap. 4, it is not possible for the majority of our actions to be irrational.3)

In short, I take it that P9 and P10 must be correct because to deny them is to insist that the great majority of our actions are unreasonable. Further, it would be to suggest that the great majority of our world view is mistaken. I do not think that these consequences are acceptable and hence P9 and P10 must be.

7.3     Justification of P4

Beliefs entered our discussion of rational action on the following basis. To act rationally an agent must act for a reason that justifies that action. (This might need to be altered to accommodate error cases but there is no need to add this complexity here.) To act for a reason an agent must be aware of it. Beliefs provide awareness. Therefore, beliefs are required for rational action.

This reveals the role beliefs have in our consideration of the rationality of actions. By considering this role that beliefs play we can uncover what their rational import is. More specifically, we can see that there are three elements to their rational import. First, beliefs must provide awareness. Second, the awareness  provided must be of justifying reasons. Third, beliefs must enable an agent to act for those reasons.

It follows that if two beliefs are of differing rational import they must differ in one or more of the following three ways. First, one must be a state of awareness whilst the other is not, RIB1. Second, one must be a state of awareness of a justifying reason whilst the other is not, RIB2. Third, one must enable the agent to act for a reason whilst the other does not, RIB3.
P4 simply states that RIB2 must occur when two beliefs are of differ- ing rational import. Therefore, one way to defend P4 is to rule out RIB1

The Argument from Rational Action

and RIB3. RIB1 is not actually an option at all. According to the umbrella notion of belief that has been assumed throughout this book beliefs sim- ply are states of awareness. In the rest of this section I will thus argue against RIB3. In short, I will argue that tensed and tenseless beliefs alike enable an agent to act for a reason, and first-personal and non-first- personal beliefs alike enable an agent to act for a reason.

We saw in Chaps. 5 and 6 that a paradigm case of rational action will involve an agent being aware of a reason for an action, and then choosing to perform that action for that reason, adopting the goal of performing that action, and acting. We thus have four components of acting for a reason: belief, choice, desire, and action. The question of whether a belief can enable an agent to act for a reason is hence the question of whether it can combine with choice, desire, and action in the right way. Accepting RIB3 would involve arguing that some beliefs cannot combine with choice, desire, and action in the right way. However, this is highly implau- sible. It would mean that an agent could be aware of a reason and yet for it to be impossible for that agent to act for that reason.

An agent can fail to recognize that he or she is aware of the same thing on two different occasions. One might hence wonder if this is enough to establish RIB3: in one state of awareness an agent is aware of a reason and is enabled to act for it; however, in the other state of awareness the agent fails to recognize that he or she is aware of the same thing or hence to act. But, this argument is no good. Crucially, an agent is not required to rec- ognize that he or she has been aware of a reason on another occasion in order to be able to act for that reason. Furthermore, even if we supposed such recognition was necessary it does not establish RIB3 or deny P4. Firstly, while it is possible to fail to recognize that one is aware of the same thing on two different occasions it is not necessary to do so. But, it would have to be necessary if it were to ground the impossibility of acting for reasons through specific beliefs. Secondly, such cases of misrecognition appear to be possible because different aspects of that thing are presented on each occasion. For example, I might not recognize that I am looking at the same house on two occasions because on one I was aware of the front aspect and on the other I was aware of the rear aspect. But, being presented with different aspects in this way just is being presented with different facts. For example, being close to the rear of a house is a different fact from being close to the front of a house. Therefore, we are left with the idea that the different beliefs provide awareness of different facts and hence we are led back to P4 and away from the idea that possible failures of recognition can justify RIB3.4

It  appears that  an agent’s  beliefs can vary independently of their choices, desires, and actions, contra RIB3. For example, I can believe that walking gives me pleasure, and can choose not to walk, desire not to walk, and not go walking for this reason (perhaps I feel in need of some self-discipline). Alternatively I might choose to go walking, desire to go walking, and go walking for this reason. Moreover, I might believe that walking  gives me pleasure and choose to cycle, desire to cycle, and go cycling. That is, I can choose to go cycling because walking gives me plea- sure. We can make this case appear plausible by adding in some other beliefs to the effect that people who gain pleasure from walking gain pleasure from cycling. However, there is no need to do this. If we do not, then I will be acting irrationally. The fact that one gains pleasure from walking is not a j-reason to go cycling. This makes it hard to understand such a case because we generally try to understand people by assuming them to be rational. But, this does not show that the case is impossible. The requirement that we take other agents to be rational in order to understand them is a proportional requirement. We must take another to be rational in a good proportion of cases, but we do not need to take that person to be rational in every case. It is clear we can understand others well enough to pick out their occasional irrational actions as irrational on the basis of a background of their rational actions. In fact, there are exam- ples in psychology of apparent widespread irrationality of this sort. It is common for people to perform actions for reasons that are not reasons to do those things or are not reasons that justify those actions.5

Acting for a reason or a fact one takes to be a reason has a certain phenomenology. Agents can normally tell you when they are acting for rea- sons and what those reasons are. In the terminology of Chap. 4, one might say having an m-reason has a certain phenomenology whether or not that m-reason is also a j-reason. This can enable one to know when another is acting for a reason and hence when he or she is acting irratio- nally. If I cannot make sense of another’s actions I might ask him what his reasons for performing those actions were. It might turn out that the facts he refers to are not j-reasons for those actions at all and I might hence judge him to be irrational. But, crucially, it is not necessary that I con- clude that he did not in fact decide or desire to act. It is clear people are sometimes wrong about what a particular fact justifies or what it is a j-reason for. If we can talk about being more or less off target in this respect, then each of these are as possible as the other even if they are not equally common. Irrational actions show just how freely beliefs can vary independently of choices, desires, and actions in a way that conflicts with RIB3. All manner of beliefs are capable of both combining with or not combining with desires, choices, and actions. Such combinations might not be expected, but they are possible.

It can be appropriate to take an agent’s movements to be simply non- rational so that it is inappropriate  to judge that agent in terms of rational- ity at all. Breathing is an example of a non-rational movement. Being manipulated by someone else is a different example. However, these cases are clearly different to the ones I just described as irrational. In the cases of irrational action the agents have their action as a goal and they choose to perform that action on the basis of a fact they are aware of (which as it happens is no j-reason for the action that they perform). These condi- tions are lacking in the examples of non-rational actions I outlined and it appears to be this very lack which renders them non-rational.

When considering the argument from rational action our focus is on tensed and first-personal beliefs. The relevant specifications of RIB3 are thus as follows. First, a tensed belief enables acting for a reason whilst a tenseless belief does not. Second, a first-personal belief enables acting for a reason whilst a non-first-personal one does not. But, both of these claims seem simply to be false. Perry’s arguments for the essential indexi- cals utilize specific sorts of cases. For example, we need a tensed belief when we must act at a specific time. It thus appears that there will be cases of rational actions in which an agent does not need a tensed belief. These might be cases in which an agent does not need to act at a specific time or in which the agent has a reason to do something at any time at all. If this is right, it shows that tensed beliefs are not required simply in order for a person to act rationally. It shows that beliefs other than tensed ones can combine with choices, desires, and actions in the relevant way in rational  cases of acting for a reason. Similarly, the need for first-personal beliefs appears to arise in cases where it is oneself in particular who has a reason to act. So if there are cases in which this is not so, cases in which anyone or everyone ought to act, then these will be cases where first- personal beliefs are not required for rational actions or acting for a reason. These will be cases in which non-first-personal beliefs combine with desires, beliefs and actions in the right way. Moreover, it is common for tenseless and non-first-personal beliefs to play roles in many actions. For example, when I am discussing mathematics with a friend I might well make use of a tenseless non-first-personal  belief such as ‘four plus four is equal to eight’. Tenseless and non-first-personal  beliefs readily combine with choices, desires and actions in an agent’s acting for a reason.

It is worth remembering that in thinking that an action is done for a reason we are not thinking that the action is caused by the reason or caused in a specific way.6 It follows that it is inappropriate  to say that only beliefs with a particular causal shape can combine with choices, desires, and actions in the right way to enable an agent to act for a reason. Rather, if we are able to say that an agent desires, chooses and acts on the basis of what they believe, then we can also say that if there are any causal require- ments, then these must also have been met.

RIB3 is false. Tenseless and non-first-personal  beliefs can enable agents to act for reasons just as tensed and first-personal beliefs can. This becomes particularly clear when we consider irrational actions or actions outside the scope of Perry’s arguments. It follows that if tensed beliefs are required for a rational action in place of any tenseless beliefs, then the former must involve an awareness of reasons that the latter lacks. Similarly, if first- personal beliefs are required for rational actions in place of any non-first- personal beliefs then the former must involve an awareness of reasons that the latter lacks. P4 is correct.

Source: Rationality, Time, and Self Kindle Edition by Olley (F.O.C.H.) Pearson (Author)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere By ZZ Packer

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere By ZZ Packer is a Must-Read book.

Why you must read "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" By ZZ Packer?

Firstly allow me to introduce ZZ Packer

"ZZ Packer grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and Louisville, Kentucky. "ZZ" was a childhood nickname; Packer's given name is Zuwena (Swahili for "good", Arabic dialect for "beautiful"). She was recognized as a talented writer at an early age, publishing in Seventeen magazine at the age of 19. Packer is a 1990 graduate of Seneca High School, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Packer attended Yale University, where she received a BA in 1994. Her graduate work included an MA at Johns Hopkins University in 1995 and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop of the University of Iowa in 1999. She was named a Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University."

HERE ARE SIX REASONS why ZZ Packer’s collection of short stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere , is a Must-Read book, particularly should be read by every woman read in her 20s according to

On its website, wrote as follows:

1. ZZ Packer Herself Is Just Totally Inspiring.

From a debut publication in Seventeen magazine at the age of 19, to being selected as one of The New Yorker magazine's "20 Under 40" best fiction writers, to being listed as a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award, ZZ Packer's resume boasts a seriously impressive list of young accomplishments. (Plus, you know, she attended Yale, John's Hopkins, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Stanford.) Maybe some of that I-can-do-anything energy will rub off on you as you read Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. It's worth a shot.

2. Because You've Definitely Had Those Days When You Wish You Were Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.

This collection of stories is filled with characters who perfectly capture the feelings of being an outsider — those feelings of vague wonder about what life would be like if you were someone else, or somewhere else, or able to fast forward/rewind/skip over certain coming-of-age experiences. The title story of this collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, even begins with a description of first day of college “orientation games” (a phrase I think we can all agree strikes dread, fear, and paralyzing social anxiety into the hearts of college freshman everywhere, always.) We’ve all had those days when we wished we were drinking coffee (or perhaps something just a bit stronger) elsewhere. Packer just gets it.

3. It'll Make You Challenge The Assumptions Of Stereotypes.

Although each of the stories in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere presents a discussion of race, and the impact race has on our relationships with ourselves and others, Packer challenges the assumption that race is always going to be the strongest influencing factor in a given situation. From church ladies to handicapped campers to homeless teens, none of Packer's characters fit into any one particular mold. Most of her black characters encounter characters of different races who are enduring forms of social alienation other than blackness — physical and mental disabilities, gender discrimination, poverty — often flipping the script of the assumed paradigm.

4. You'll Realize You're Not Alone On Your Journey Of Self Discovery.

You'll encounter most of Packer's characters in the immediate urgency of a defining coming-of-age moment. Even if the characters aren't in their 20s themselves, their journeys of self discovery will speak sympathetically to your own 20-something winding road. Whether they're experiencing culture shock, meeting people from backgrounds that are polar opposite to their own, or revealing some unpleasant truths about themselves, the characters in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere are all immersed in discoveries from which they will emerge changed.

5. You'll Be Reminded That Your Parents Are Just People Too.

If you haven't been disappointed, at least a little, by your parents by the time you reach your 20s, then this will probably be the decade when you finally receive the wake up call that the 'rents, saintly as you may find them now, are really just people too. And sometimes, they mess up. A lot. But perhaps not quite as bad as the father in Packer's story The Ant of the Self, whose son bails him out of jail, for which he thanks him by getting him drunk, beating him up, and then stealing his car. Hopefully your own "parents are people too" moment isn't quite as dramatic.

6. You'll Feel Like You Just Had The Best Conversation With Your Very Best Friend.

Each of the stories in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere feel wholly lived in — as though you've met these characters, of some familiar version of them, before. Packer's voice is candid, unsentimental, clever, and peppered with surprising moments of quiet humor. There are no tricks to her writing; it's just straightforward storytelling with which you'll feel an immediate connection, and probably recognize a bit of your 20-something self. Packer will meet you exactly where you are and remind you that we've all been (or will be soon) there.


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