This paper presents the hypothesis that linguistic capacity evolved through the action of natural selection as an instrument which increased the efficiency of the cultural transmission system of early hominids. We suggest that during the early stages of hominization, hominid social learning, based on indirect social learning mechanisms and true imitation, came to constitute cumulative cultural transmission based on true imitation and the approval or disapproval of the learned behaviour of offspring. A key factor for this transformation was the development (...) of a conceptual capacity for categorizing learned behaviour in value terms - positive or negative, good or bad. We believe that some hominids developed this capacity for categorizing behaviour, and such an ability allowed them to approve or disapprove of their offsprings- learned behaviour. With such an ability, hominids were favoured, as they could transmit to their offspring all their behavioural experience about what can and cannot be done. This capacity triggered a cultural transmission system similar to the human one, though pre-linguistic. We suggest that the adaptive advantage provided by this new system of social learning generated a selection pressure in favour of the development of a linguistic capacity allowing children to better understand the new kind of evaluative information received from parents. (shrink)
: Standing before one of Ada Medina's works in a museum recently, I knew myself to be in the company of a distinct presence. The exquisite form was so novel, yet its layers of organicity were deeply familiar. The piece effectively conveyed complex relationality, and pointed toward innovative forms of being, without resorting to didacticism, melodrama, or cliché. I had a strong urge to hug it. I needed to step back and figure it out.
Law, Economics, and Morality examines the possibility of combining economic methodology and deontological morality through explicit and direct incorporation of moral constraints into economic models. Economic analysis of law is a powerful analytical methodology. However, as a purely consequentialist approach, which determines the desirability of acts and rules solely by assessing the goodness of their outcomes, standard cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is normatively objectionable. Moderate deontology prioritizes such values as autonomy, basic liberties, truth-telling, and promise-keeping over the promotion of good outcomes. (...) It holds that there are constraints on promoting the good. Such constraints may be overridden only if enough good (or bad) is at stake. While moderate deontology conforms to prevailing moral intuitions and legal doctrines, it is arguably lacking in methodological rigor and precision. -/- Eyal Zamir and Barak Medina argue that the normative flaws of economic analysis can be rectified without relinquishing its methodological advantages and that moral constraints can be formalized so as to make their analysis more rigorous. They discuss various substantive and methodological choices involved in modeling deontological constraints. Zamir and Medina propose to determine the permissibility of any act or rule infringing a deontological constraint by means of mathematical threshold functions. Law, Economics, and Morality presents the general structure of threshold functions, analyzes their elements and addresses possible objections to this proposal. It then illustrates the implementation of constrained CBA in several legal fields, including contract law, freedom of speech, antidiscrimination law, the fight against terrorism, and legal paternalism. (shrink)
This paper uses the conceptual apparatus of Wittgensteins later philosophy to tackle a foundational issue in the philosophical literature on group identity, namely, the problem of difference. This problem suggests that any appeal to a collective identity is oppressive because it imposes a shared identity on the members of a group and suppresses the internal differences of the group. I develop a Wittgensteinian view of identity that dissolves this problem by showing the conceptual confusions on which it rests. My Wittgensteinian (...) view of identity tries to establish two main theses: first, that identity is bound up with difference and presupposes heterogeneity; and second, that the solidarity of identity groups, far from being obstructed by differences, actually requires diversity. Drawing from gender and sexuality studies, I use the mechanism of disidentification to show how there can be shared identities and identity-based solidarity without the erasure of differences. Key Words: community difference ethnicity familial view gender identity race sexuality solidarity Wittgenstein. (shrink)
This paper is a critical examination of Wittgenstein's view of the limits of intelligibility. In it I criticize standard analytic readings of Wittgenstein as an advocate of transcendental or behaviourist theses in epistemology; and I propose an alternative interpretation of Wittgenstein's view as a social contextualism that transcends the false dichotomy between Kantianism and psychologism. I argue that this social contextualism is strikingly similar to the social account of epistemic practices developed by Pierre Bourdieu. Through a comparison between Wittgenstein's and (...) Bourdieu's view and an analysis of the notion of habitus , I try to show how social contextualism can account for the distinction between sense and nonsense without falling into transcendental constructivism or social behaviourism. (shrink)
Through a new interpretation of Wittgenstein's rule-following discussions, this article defends a negotiating model of normativity according to which normative authority is always subject to contestation. To refute both individualism and collectivism, I supplement Wittgenstein's Private Language Argument with a Social Language Argument, showing that normativity cannot be monopolized either individually or socially (i.e. it cannot be privatized or collectivized). The negotiating view of normativity here developed lays the foundations of a politics of radical contestation which converges with Chantal Mouffe's (...) framework of 'radical democracy', while departing from her agonism in preserving the structuring and constraining role that tacit agreement in action plays in rule-following practices. My account of the 'burdens of eccentricity' elucidates how the normative force of dissidence can be properly recognized and used effectively for social transformations. I argue that there is a 'presumption of normalcy' in favour of the established consensus of action, but that this presumption is defeasible: in normative disagreements, a violation of expected normalcy shifts the burden onto the shoulders of rebellious agents who must show that their dissenting behaviour can be a legitimate extension, revision, or transformation of the practice in question. (shrink)
As third wave feminist philosophers attending graduate schools in different parts of the country, we decided to use our e-mail discussion as the format for presenting our thinking on the subject of third wave feminism. Our dialogue takes us through the subjects of postmodernism, the relationship between theory and practice, the generation gap, and the power relations associated with feminist philosophy as an established part of the academy.
Radical feminists have argued that there are normative exclusions that have silenced certain voices and have rendered certain meanings unintelligible. Some Wittgensteinians (including some Wittgensteinian feminists) have argued that these radical feminists fall into a philosophical illusion by appealing to the notions of 'intelligible nonsense' and 'inexpressible meanings', an illusion that calls for philosophical therapy. In this paper I diagnose and criticize the therapeutic dilemma that results from this interpretation of Wittgenstein's contextualism. According to this dilemma, if something is meaningful, (...) it must be expressible from the perspective of the participant in language-games; and if it is not so expressible, it is not meaningful at all. I argue that this is a false dilemma that rests on the untenable internalist notion of a unified 'participant's perspective'. I propose an alternative contextualist view that underscores the polyphony of language-games, that is, the irreducible multiplicity of perspectives always present in discursive practices (if only implicitly and in embryo). Through a discussion of the different meanings of silence, my polyphonic contextualism tries to show that our linguistic practices always exhibit an irreducible diversity and heterogeneity of points of view that cannot be subsumed under a unified perspective. (shrink)
In this paper we present a new framework of idealization in biology. We characterize idealizations as a network of counterfactual and hypothetical conditionals that can exhibit different “degrees of contingency”. We use this idea to say that, in departing more or less from the actual world, idealizations can serve numerous epistemic, methodological or heuristic purposes within scientific research. We defend that, in part, this structure explains why idealizations, despite being deformations of reality, are so successful in scientific practice. For illustrative (...) purposes, we provide an example from population genetics, the Wright-Fisher Model. (shrink)
While in agreement with Miranda Fricker?s context-sensitive approach to hermeneutical injustice, this paper argues that this contextualist approach has to be pluralized and rendered relational in more complex ways. In the first place, I argue that the normative assessment of social silences and the epistemic harms they generate cannot be properly carried out without a pluralistic analysis of the different interpretative communities and expressive practices that coexist in the social context in question. Social silences and hermeneutical gaps are misrepresented if (...) they are uniformly predicated of an entire social context, instead of being predicated of particular ways of inhabiting that context by particular people in relation to particular others. I contend that a more nuanced?polyphonic?contextualization offers a more adequate picture of what it means to break social silences and to repair the hermeneutical injustices associated with them. In the second place, I argue that the particular obligations with respect to hermeneutical justice that differently situated subjects and groups have are interactive and need to be determined relationally. That is, whether individuals and groups live up to their hermeneutical responsibilities has to be assessed by taking into account the forms of mutual positionality, relationality, and responsivity (or lack thereof) that these subjects and groups display with respect to one another. The central argument is developed through an examination of what in race theory and in contemporary epistemologies of ignorance has been termed ?white ignorance?; that is, the kind of hermeneutical inability of privileged white subjects to recognize and make sense of their racial identities, experiences, and social positionality. (shrink)
This article discusses the [development and] use of a video life-world schema to explore alternative orientations to the shared health consultation. It is anticipated that this schema can be used by practitioners and consumers alike to understand the dynamics of videoed health consultations, the role of the participants within it and the potential to consciously alter the outcome by altering behaviour during the process of interaction. The study examines health consultation participation and develops an interpretative method of analysis that includes (...) image elicitation (via videos), phenomenology (to identify the components of the analytic framework), narrative (to depict the stories of interactions) and a reflexive mode (to develop shared meaning through a conceptual framework for analysis). The analytic framework is derived from a life-world conception of human mutual shared interaction which is presented here as a novel approach to understanding patient-centred care. The video materials used in this study were derived from consultations in a Walk-in Centre (WiC) in East London. The conceptual framework produced through the process of video analysis is comprised of different combinations of movement, knowledge and emotional conversations that are used to classify objective or engaged WiC health care interactions. The videoed interactions organise along an active or passive, facilitative or directive typical situation continuum illustrating different kinds of textual approaches to practice that are in tension or harmony. The schema demonstrates how practitioners and consumers interact to produce these outcomes and indicates the potential for both consumers and practitioners to be educated to develop practice dynamics that support patient-centred care and impact on health outcomes. (shrink)
Carl Schmitt contends that liberal constitutionalism or the rule of law fails because it neglects the state of exception and the political, namely politics viewed as a distinction between friend and enemy groups. Yet, as a representative of liberal constitutionalism, Locke grapples with the state of exception by highlighting a magistrate prerogative and/or the right of the majority to act during a serious political crisis. Rather than neglecting the political, Locke’s state of war presupposes it. My thesis is that Schmitt’s (...) assault against Locke’s liberal constitutionalism is one-sided, and hence Locke’s militant liberalism can disarm it. In support of my thesis I shall argue (1) that Schmitt overlooks Locke’s distinction between liberty and license; (2) that, ironically, Schmitt’s conception of politics resembles Locke’s state of war; and (3) that Locke’s liberalism is militant rather than neutral because it excludes extremists from enjoying equal civil and political rights, as reasonable citizens do, to compete for political power. (shrink)
Hrushovski proved that the theory of difference-differential fields of characteristic zero has a model-companion, which we shall denote DCFA. Previously, the author proved that this theory is supersimple. In supersimple theories there is a notion of rank defined in analogy with Lascar U -rank for superstable theories. It is also possible to define a notion of dimension for types in DCFA based on transcendence degree of realization of the types. In this paper we compute the rank of a model of (...) DCFA, give some properties regarding rank and dimension, and give an example of a definable set with finite rank but infinite dimension. Finally we prove that for the case of definable subgroup of the additive group being finite-dimensional and having finite rank are equivalent. (shrink)
This paper discusses fundamental presuppositions underlying our communicative and interpretative practices by exploring the question of whether there can be logical aliens, that is, beings whose actions and utterances are unintelligible to us. I offer a critique of the dominant view of intelligibility in analytic philosophy that denies the possibility of logical aliens on a priori grounds. My argument tries to show that this transcendental view, one that derives from Davidson’s philosophy, rests on cognitivist and objectivist biases that distort communication. (...) Building on a non-transcendental interpretation of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, I propose an alternative view of intelligibility: a contextualist hermeneutics that is action-based and socially-oriented and that does not impose a priori limitations on what is intelligible for us. (shrink)
This essay is about experience, and not only about ideas. I have been drawn to write about John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus for a number of reasons: First, I find his work to be part of a new turn in LGBT art and media that take queer lives as a point of departure, and not only as narrative focus, for their work. These areworks that are not just about being queer, but cross the line into being queer works. Of those who (...) can be said to be a part of this recent turn, I find Mitchell’s work to be both especially philosophical and formally interesting. Not only does his work take up philosophical questions over what it means to be human, and the nature of love and sex, but also his works are produced through an organic, cooperative process that re-frames what it could mean to queer representation, political or otherwise. (shrink)
An alteration in the developmental mechanisms that regulate telencephalic patterning or pallial growth may have led to an enlargement of the dorsal pallium during evolution, and to the origin of isocortex. Developmental mechanisms that may have produced a pallial enlargement, and the parallelism of this event with the enlargement of the dorsal thalamus during evolution are discussed.
Since Stalbaum’s 1838 translation revived interest in Plato’s Timaeus, commentators have tended to bracket the discourse on Necessity, reading it as either mythical or mystical. This essay offers an interpretation of Necessity that is also an assertion of its importance for understanding the philosophically important conception of chora-space found therein. Beginning with throwing ourselves back into the Presocratic milieu, I examine what remains of Presocratic notions of kreon and ananke (necessity) in order to move forward a more robust interpretation of (...) the discourse on Necessity and chora-space. (shrink)
After presenting a brief history of philosophy in Hispanic-America since the XVI century, we discuss whether the idea of province and empire is applicable to contemporary Hispanic-American philosophy, investigate the form these ideas adopt in this region, and inquire into the ways in which provincialism i s present in philosophical work. We conclude that there are three main groups that understand their peripheral position in different ways, with different views on the way in which they should insert (or not) into (...) the mainstream of Western philosophy. (shrink)
The present article provides an analysis of the instants of a system that performs a Newtonian supertask. For each instant it studied the possibility of the system having, from the instant in question, more than one possible course of evolution; i.e. the possibility of it being an evolution node. This analysis shows that some supertasks presented as deterministic in Perez Laraudogoitia (2007) are in fact indeterministic and specifies the difficulties ahead in showing the radical indeterminism suggested by Atkinson & Johnson (...) (2009). (shrink)
In this article, it is argued that a significant internal tension exists in John Rawls' political liberalism. He holds the following positions that might plausibly be considered incongruous: (1) a commitment to tolerating a broad right of freedom of political speech, including a right of subversive advocacy; (2) a commitment to restricting this broad right if it is intended to incite and likely to bring about imminent violence; and (3) a commitment to curbing this broad right only if there is (...) a constitutional crisis. By supporting a broad right of freedom of political speech in Political Liberalism, he allows militant intolerant people such as Jihadists, White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis to advocate publicly their dangerously intolerant beliefs. Public advocacy of dangerously intolerant beliefs can be construed as subversive advocacy. As demonstrated by the historical examples of the Weimar Republic and the Second Spanish Republic, militant intolerant groups could use a right of subversive advocacy to threaten the stability of liberal democracies. Hence, by allowing them to exercise a broad right of freedom of political speech, Rawls could jeopardize that which he intends to defend, namely the actual political stability of a liberal democratic order. Lastly, Rawls' conception of ideal constitutional interpretation, which privileges a broad right of freedom of political speech, might be insufficient to deal effectively with the threat posed by militant intolerant groups. Yet a tradition of American constitutional interpretation that balances freedom of speech with other important constitutional and/or political values has overcome a civil war, two world wars, the Cold War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks without abandoning democracy or permanently renouncing those values. Still, Rawls' ideal approach to constitutional interpretation might, in hindsight, help us to understand some of the excesses and deficiencies of American jurisprudence in times of emergency.
Vitoria and Suárez defend the categorical immunity of the innocent not to be intentionally killed. But they allow for inflicting collective punishment on the innocent and the noninnocent alike during and after a just war. So they allow for deliberately harming them. Inflicting harm on the innocent can often result in their death. Hence, holding both claims seems incoherent. First, the objections against using the term “innocent” are explained. Second, their views on just war are explored. And third, by appealing (...) to Aquinas' double-effect reasoning, it is shown how they try to avoid the above-mentioned incoherence. Still, their appeal might be insufficient to palliate the tension between the above-mentioned claims. If just wars are possible, the deliberate harming of the innocent is reasonably unavoidable for defeating and punishing those who wage them. Hence, defenders of just wars, whether from a religious or a secular perspective, must live with such a tension. (shrink)
This paper explores whether terrorist violence could be morally justified or excused. It defends the absolute immunity of innocent people against those who might want to sacrifice them for other goals. The defense is based on recognizing people’s stringent natural duty of nonmaleficence, which entails an obligation on moral agents to refrain from intentionally bringing about harm or significant risk of it to the innocent. The paper is divided into two parts. The first part distinguishes between unconditional and conditional critics’ (...) arguments regarding the use of terrorist violence, and between a narrow and a broad definition of terrorism. While unconditional critics accept the narrow definition or one akin to it because they equate terrorism with murder, conditional critics accept the broad definition or one akin to it because they attempt to justify or excuse the use of terrorism based, e.g., on an analogy with a just war approach, consequentialism, moral relativism, supreme emergency or last resort. Exception is taken with the latter arguments since they attempt to justify or excuse morally unjustifiable and inexcusable actions such as the deliberate use of violence against the innocent. The second part explores plausible conditional critics’ reasons for justifying or excusing the 9/11/01 attacks and find them wanting. If the argument works, then, with minor modifications, it could also apply to the 3/11/04 attacks in Madrid, the 7/7/05 attacks in London, and similar attacks elsewhere. (shrink)
: Those who are morally opposed to abortion generally make several pivotal assumptions. This paper focuses on the assumption that we have full moral status throughout our existence. Coupled with the assumption that we come into existence at conception, the assumption about moral status entails that all human fetuses have full moral status, including a right to life. Is the assumption about moral status correct? In addressing this question, I respond to several arguments advanced, in this journal and other venues, (...) by Alfonso Gómez-Lobo. Gómez-Lobo's reasoning resolves into two basic arguments: (1) an appeal to the practical necessity of early moral protection and (2) an appeal to our kind membership and potentiality. I respond to these in turn before offering further reflections. (shrink)
Nel 2011 sono mancati Paolo Lucentini e Alfonso Maierù. Nel ricordarne la vicenda umana e professionale come ricercatori e come docenti, questo articolo intende mettere in luce in particolare il contributo che essi hanno dato alla Storia del pensiero medievale accompagnando gli studi dottrinali con importanti edizioni di testi inediti. Paolo Lucentini and Alfonso Maierù passed away in 2011. This article, in remembrance of their personal and professional roles as researchers and teachers, will highlight the contributions that they (...) made to the history of medieval thought, showing how they combined doctrinal studies with important editions of unedited texts. (shrink)
The paper presents some basic tenets of the works by the Franciscan Friar Alfonso Briceño (1587–1668), as well as of his metaphysical thought. After offering the basic structure and purpose of his monumental Controversiae, we focus on a more specific way of seeing his philosophical and theological approach, namely Controversy 5 on the infinity of God. This will allow us to see the structure of his argumentation in philosophy and theology: after putting the formulation of controversial points between the (...) Scotist and the Thomist school, he analyzes arguments against the Thomist position both in the Medieval and Baroque traditions, trying then to defend Duns Scotus’s account by a careful and articulated interpretation of his texts. (shrink)
Abstract. Scholars have long debated the possibility of a mystical or illuminationist strain of thought in Ibn Sīnā 's body of writing. This debate has often focused on the meaning and contents of his partly lost work al-Mashriqiyyūn (The Easterners), also known as al-Ḥikma al-Mashriqiyya (EasternWisdom), mentioned by Ibn Sīnā himself as well as by numerous Western writers including Ibn Rushd and Ibn Ṭufayl. A handful of references to what is called Ibn Sīnā 's “Oriental Philosophy” are also found in (...) the Castilian and Hebrew works of the Castilian Jew Abner of Burgos (ca. 1270-ca.1347), known after his conversion to Christianity as Alfonso of Valladolid. Although the content of these citations has not been identified, it has been proposed that they may preserve otherwise unknown passages from Ibn Sīnā's lost work. This study considers the references to Ibn Sīnā 's so-called “Oriental Philosophy” within Abner's writings and concludes that rather than preserving lost passages from Ibn Sīnā's writing, Abner's references were drawn primarily from Ibn Ṭufayl and offer no support for the argument of a possible mystical or illuminationist strain in Ibn Sīnā 's thinking. -/- Résumé. Depuis longtemps, on a discuté de la possible présence d'une orientation mystique ou “illuminative” dans l'oeuvre d'Ibn Sīnā . Le sens et le contenu de son ouvrage (partiellement perdu) al-Mashriqiyyūn (Les Orientaux), également connu comme al-Ḥikma al-Mashriqiyya (La Sagesse orientale), mentionné par Ibn Sīnā lui-même et par des écrivains occidentaux comme Ibn Rushd et Ibn Ṭufayl, ont souvent été au centre de ce débat. On trouve aussi quelques références à ce qui est appelé la “philosophie orientale” d'Ibn Sīnā dans l'oeuvre du juif castillan Abner de Burgos (ca. 1270-ca. 1347) connu après sa conversion au christianisme sous le nom d'Alphonse de Valladolid. Sans avoir au préalable identifié le contenu de ces citations, on a fait l'hypothèse qu'elles auraient permis de conserver des passages, inconnus par ailleurs, de l'ouvrage perdu d'Ibn Sīnā. Cette étude porte sur les références à la “philosophie orientale” d'Ibn Sīnā dans l'oeuvre d'Abner de Burgos. Elle montre que les références d'Abner semblent avoir été essentiellement tirées d'Ibn Ṭufayl et ne renvoient donc pas aux passages perdus de l'ouvrage d'Ibn Sīnā. En conséquence elles ne peuvent servir d'argument pour confirmer la présence d'une orientation mystique ou “illuminative” dans l'oeuvre d'Ibn Sīnā. (shrink)
In this paper we present a new framework of idealization in biology. We characterize idealizations as a network of counterfactual conditionals that can exhibit different degrees of contingency. We use the idea of possible worlds to say that, in departing more or less from the actual world, idealizations can serve numerous epistemic, methodological or heuristic purposes within scientific research. We defend that, in part, it is this structure what helps explain why idealizations, despite being deformations of reality, are so successful (...) in scientific practice. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue the practice of procreation is immoral regardless of the consequences of human presence such as climate change and overpopulation; the lack of consent, interests and moral desert on the part of nonexistent individuals means someone could potentially suffer in the absence of moral justification. Procreation is only morally justified if there is some method for acquiring informed consent from a non-existent person; but that is impossible; therefore, procreation is immoral.
What ethical framework should be used as a basis for teaching business ethics? Should business ethics be taught by ethicists in a separate course, by business faculty in business courses, or perhaps by both? These are some of the issues this paper will address. The paper begins with a review of the literature concerning approaches to teaching business ethics. Next, some ethical frameworks for teaching business ethics are considered. Finally, the paper proposes that students should apply their own personal values (...) to business ethical issues in the classroom, thus providing future business leaders with a process for resolving ethical dilemmas. (shrink)
My topic is two-fold: a reductive account of expertise as an epistemic phenomenon, and applying the reductive account to the question of whether or not philosophers enjoy expertise. I conclude, on the basis of the reductive account, that even though philosophers enjoy something akin to second-order expertise (i.e. they are often experts on the positions of other philosophers, current trends in the philosophical literature, the history of philosophy, conceptual analysis and so on), they nevertheless lack first-order philosophical expertise (i.e. expertise (...) on philosophical positions themselves such as the nature of mind, causality, normativity and so forth). Throughout the paper, I respond to potential objections. (shrink)
Contemporary cognitive neuropsychology attempts to infer unobserved features of normal human cognition, or ?cognitive architecture?, from experiments with normals and with brain-damaged subjects in whom certain normal cognitive capacities are altered, diminished, or absent. Fundamental methodological issues about the enterprise of cognitive neuropsychology concern the characterization of methods by which features of normal cognitive architecture can be identified from such data, the assumptions upon which the reliability of such methods are premised, and the limits of such methods?even granting their assumptions?in (...) resolving uncertainties about that architecture. With some idealization, the question of the capacities of various experimental designs in cognitive neuropsychology to uncover cognitive architecture can be reduced to comparatively simple questions about the prior assumptions investigators are willing to make. This paper presents some of simplest of those reductions. 1Research for this paper was made possible by a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and by grant number SBE-9212264 from the National Science Foundation. I thank Martha Farah for teaching me what little I know of cognitive neuropsychology, Jeffrey Bub for stimulating me to think about these issues and for commenting on drafts of this paper, and Peter Slezak for additional comments. Alfonso Caramazza and Michael McCloskey provided very helpful comments on a second draft. (shrink)
In order to understand the nature of human embryos I first distinguish between active and passive potentiality, and then argue that the former is found in human gametes and embryos (even in embryos in vitro that may fail to be implanted) because they all have an indwelling power or capacity to initiate certain changes. Implantation provides necessary conditions for the actualization of that prior, active potentiality. This does not imply that embryos are potential persons that do not deserve the same (...) respect as actual persons. To claim that embryos become persons is to understand the predicate person as a phase sortal, roughly equivalent to adult person. This entails that we would not be essentially persons. In order to explain the traditional understanding of person as a proper sortal rather than a phase sortal, the author distinguishes between proximate and remote potentiality, and shows that, unlike feline embryos, human embryos, by their genetic constitution, possess the remote potentiality to later exercise the typically human activities. It follows that they are already persons essentially. (shrink)
Steven Hales constructs a novel argument against the possibility of presentist time travel called the suicide machine argument. Hales argues that if presentism were true, then time travel would result in the annihilation of the time traveler. But such a consequence is not time travel, therefore presentism cannot allow for the possibility of time travel. This paper argues that in order for the suicide machine argument to succeed, it must make (at least) one of two assumptions, each of which beg (...) the question. The argument must either assume that the sequence of moments is invariant, or that time travel requires distinct, co-instantiated moments. Because the former disjunct assumes that presentist time travel is impossible and the latter assumes that presentism is impossible, the suicide machine argument fails. (shrink)
The American Institute of certified public accountants (AICPA) has promulgated a Code of Professional Conduct , which has served as the primary ethical standard for public accountants in the United States for more than 20 years. It is now out of date and needs to be replaced with a code of ethics. Just as U.S. generally accepted accounting principles are being migrated toward “principles-based accounting” as part of a convergence with international financial reporting standards, a similar process needs to occur (...) with ethics. This article organizes the primary rules of the AICPA Code around five essential virtues: objectivity, integrity, inquisitiveness, loyalty, and trustworthiness. These virtues correspond to the general principles set forth in the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). From this virtue ethics perspective, various rules of the AICPA Code are critiqued as being inadequate at best, and poorly crafted at worst. The article concludes with the proposition that principles-based ethics serves the profession and the financial reporting process better than the current rules-based approach. (shrink)
When does a human being begin to exist? Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard have argued that it is possible, through a combination of biological fact and philosophical analysis, to provide a definitive answer to this question. In their view, a human individual begins to exist at gastrulation, i. e. at about sixteen days after fertilization. In this paper we argue that even granting Smith and Brogaard's ontological commitments and biological assumptions, the existence of a human being can be shown to (...) begin much earlier, viz., with fertilization. Their interpretative claim that a zygote divides immediately into two substances and therefore ceases to exist is highly implausible by their own standards, and their factual claim that there is no communication between the blastomeres has to be abandoned in light of recent embryological research. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend my original objection to Hales’ suicide machine argument against Hales’ response. I argue Hales’ criticisms are either misplaced or underestimate the strength of my objection; if the constraints of the original objection are respected, my original objection blocks Hales’ reply. To be thorough, I restate an improved version of the objection to the suicide machine argument. I conclude that Hales fails to motivate a reasonable worry as to the supposed suicidal nature of presentist time travel.
: This response to Nikolaus Knoepffler's paper in the same issue of the Journal agrees that if the arguments supporting the first two of the eight human embryonic stem cell research policy options discussed are unsound, as Knoepffler argues, then it seems natural to move to the increasingly permissive options. If the arguments are sound, however, then the more permissive options should be rejected. It is argued that three of the rejected arguments, taken together, constitute very good reasons to hold (...) that a human embryo is endowed with dignity from fertilization onward. Thus, countries that want their public policies to match the moral imperative of respect for human beings should refrain from allowing destructive human embryo research and should devote considerable energy and public funds to research and clinical trials using non-embryonic ("adult") stem cells. (shrink)
: This paper starts from three assumptions: that we are essentially human organisms, that we start to exist at conception, and that we retain our identity throughout our lives. The identity claim provides the background to argue that it is irrational for a person to claim that it would be impermissible to kill her now but permissible to have killed her at an earlier age. The notion of "full moral status" as an ascertainable property is questioned and shown to be (...) dependent on previously accepted moral norms. It is concluded that the exclusion of the very young from the scope of the norm o f common morality that prohibits the killing of the innocent amounts to discrimination on the basis of age. (shrink)