In recent years, a series of bestselling atheist manifestos by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens has thrust the topic of the rationality of religion into the public discourse. Christian moderates of an intellectual bent and even some agnostics and atheists have taken umbrage and lashed back. In this paper I defend the New Atheists against three common charges: that their critiques of religion commit basic logical fallacies (such as straw man, false dichotomy, or hasty generalization), that their own (...) atheism is just as “faith-based” as the religious beliefs they criticize, and that their expressed disrespect for religious belief is immoral. (shrink)
The publication of Harry Frankfurt’s 1986 essay “On Bullshit,” and especially its republication as a book in 2005, have sparked a great deal of interest in the philosophical analysis of the concept of bullshit. The present essay seeks to contribute to the ever-widening discussion of the concept by applying it to the realm of advertising. First, it is argued that Frankfurt’s definition of bullshit is too narrow, and an alternative definition is defended that accommodates both Frankfurt’s truth-indifferent bullshit and what (...) is here termed “culpably confused bullshit.” Second, it is explained why a great deal of advertising constitutes bullshit so defined.The essay concludes by making the case that bullshitting in general is clearly unethical on both Utilitarian and Kantian grounds. (shrink)
pseudo-Master's thesis Since Jacques Derrida’s 1989 essay “Force of Law: the Mystical Foundations of Authority,” Carl Schmitt has been a perennial subject of Derrida’s political critique. I will argue that Derrida’s concept of auto-immunity is uniquely applicable to Derrida’s interpretation of Schmitt’s political philosophy. Therefore, my argument will consist of two interrelated but equally divergent parts; the digressive structure will attempt to mimic Derrida’s complex style of weaving opposed concepts into a coherent whole. First, I will demonstrate the many forms (...) of Derrida’s concept of auto-immunity. Second, I will exhibit how this schema uniquely applies to Derrida’s criticisms of Schmitt and the contemporary state of politics. (shrink)
I propose that a sociological and historical examination of nanotechnologists can contribute more to an understanding of nanotechnology than an ontological definition. Nanotechnology emerged from the convergent evolution of numerous "technical knowledge communities"-networks of tightly-interconnected people who operate between disciplines and individual research groups. I demonstrate this proposition by sketching the co-evolution of computational chemistry and computational nanotechnology. Computational chemistry arose in the 1950s but eventually segregated into an ab initio, basic research, physics-oriented flavor and an industry-oriented, molecular modeling and (...) visualization, biochemical flavor. Computational nanotechnology arose in the 1990s as a synthesis of these two subgroups, infused by people and practices from computational materials science, engineering, computer science, and elsewhere. I show that to understand the aims and outcomes of computational nanotechnology-and nanotechnology more generally-we need to understand relationships between different, but related, nano knowledge communities and their dependence on particular practices, artifacts, and theories. (shrink)
Eusebius' magisterial Praeparatio Evangelica (written sometime between AD 313 and 324) offers an apologetic defence of Christianity in the face of Greek accusations of irrationality and impiety. Though brimming with the quotations of other (often lost) Greek authors, the work is dominated by a clear and sustained argument. Against the tendency to see the Praeparatio as merely an anthology of other sources or a defence of monotheistic religion against paganism, Aaron P. Johnson seeks to appreciate Eusebius' contribution to the discourses (...) of Christian identity by investigating the constructions of ethnic identity (especially Greek) at the heart of his work. Analysis of his `ethnic argumentation' exhibits a method of defending Christianity by construing its opponents as historically rooted nations, whose place in the narrative of world history serves to undermine the legitimacy of their claims to ancient wisdom and piety. (shrink)
The practice of clinical medicine is inextricably linked with the need for moral values and ethical principles. The study of medical ethics is, therefore, rightly assuming an increasingly significant place in undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses and in allied health curricula. Making Sense of Medical Ethics offers a no-nonsense introduction to the principles of medical ethics, as applied to the everyday care of patients, the development of novel therapies and the undertaking of pioneering basic medical research. Written from a practical (...) rather than a philosophical perspective, the authors call upon their extensive experience of clinical practice, research and teaching to illustrate how ethical principles can be applied in different "real-life" situations. Making Sense of Medical Ethics encourages readers to understand the principles of medical ethics as they apply to clinical practice; explore and evaluate common misconceptions; consider the ethics underlying any medical decision; and as a result, to realize that a good appreciation of medical ethics will help them to practice more effectively in the future. (shrink)
The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which the review of corporate ethics codes is associated with individuals’ perceptions of the importance of virtue ethics, or more specifically, employee incorruptibility. A convenience sample of individuals working for a university or one of several business organizations located in the Mountain West region of the United States was compiled with a self-report questionnaire. A usable sample of 143 persons representing both the public and private industries was secured for (...) use in this study. The results of an analysis of covariance showed that reviewing ethics codes during employee orientation was positively related to individuals’ beliefs that incorruptibility is an important individual virtue. The managerial implications of the findings are discussed along with suggestions for future research. (shrink)
Although we find Gangestad & Simpson's argument intriguing, we question some of its underlying assumptions, including: (1) that fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is consistently heritable; (2) that symmetry is driving the effects; (3) that use of parametric tests with FA is appropriate; and (4) that a short-term mating strategy produces more offspring than a long-term strategy.