The idea that simplicity matters in science is as old as science itself, with the much cited example of Ockham's Razor, 'entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem': entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity. A problem with Ockham's razor is that nearly everybody seems to accept it, but few are able to define its exact meaning and to make it operational in a non-arbitrary way. Using a multidisciplinary perspective including philosophers, mathematicians, econometricians and economists, this monograph examines simplicity by (...) asking six questions: What is meant by simplicity? How is simplicity measured? Is there an optimum trade-off between simplicity and goodness-of-fit? What is the relation between simplicity and empirical modelling? What is the relation between simplicity and prediction? What is the connection between simplicity and convenience? The book concludes with reflections on simplicity by Nobel Laureates in Economics. (shrink)
Aiming to complicate this story, Dan Arnold confronts a significant obstacle to popular attempts at harmonizing classical Buddhist and modern scientific thought: since most Indian Buddhists believe that the mental continuum is uninterrupted ...
A major question for liberal politics and liberal political theory concerns the proper scope of government. Liberalism has always favored limited government, but there has been wide-ranging dispute among liberals about just how extensive the scope of government should be. Included in this dispute are questions about the extent of state ownership of the means of production, redistribution of wealth and income through the tax code and transfer programs, and the extent of government regulation. One of N. Scott Arnold's (...) goals is to give an accurate characterization of both modern liberalism and classical liberalism, explaining along the way why libertarianism is not the only form that classical liberalism can take. The main focus of Arnold's book, however, concerns regulation--specifically, the modern liberal regulatory agenda as it has taken shape in contemporary American society. This is the set of regulatory regimes favored by all modern liberals and opposed by all classical liberals. It includes contemporary employment law in all its manifestations, health and safety regulation, and land use regulation. The heart of the book consists of a systematic evaluation of arguments for and against all the items on this agenda. It turns out that there are good arguments on both sides for most of these regulatory regimes. Because of this, and because someone's vision of the proper scope of government will ultimately prevail, some procedural requirements that all liberals could agree to must be satisfied for one side to impose legitimately its values on the polity at large. These procedural requirements are identified, argued for, and then applied to the elements of the modern liberal regulatory agenda. Arnold argues that many, though not all, of these elements have been illegitimately imposed on American society. (shrink)
This article applies the Kantian doctrine of respect for persons to the problem of sweatshops. We argue that multinational enterprises are properly regarded as responsible for the practices of their subcontractors and suppliers. We then argue that multinational enterprises have the following duties in their offshore manufacturing facilities: to ensure that local labor laws are followed; to refrain from coercion; to meet minimum safety standards; and to provide a living wage for employees. Finally, we consider and reply to the objection (...) that improving health and safety conditions and providing a living wage will cause greater harm than good. (shrink)
According to some philosophers who accept a propositional conception of evidence, someone's evidence includes a proposition only if it is true. I argue against this thesis by appealing to the possibility of knowledge from falsehood.
It is sometimes said that there are two, competing versions of W. V. O. Quine’s unrelenting empiricism, perhaps divided according to temporal periods of his career. According to one, logic is exempt from, or lies outside the scope of, the attack on the analytic-synthetic distinction. This logic-friendly Quine holds that logical truths and, presumably, logical inferences are analytic in the traditional sense. Logical truths are knowable a priori, and, importantly, they are incorrigible, and so immune from revision. The other, radical (...) reading of Quine does not exempt logic from the attack on analyticity and a priority. Logical truths and inferences are themselves part of the web of belief, and the same global methodology applies to logic as to any other part of the web, such as theoretical chemistry or ordinary beliefs about ordinary objects. Everything, including logic, is up for grabs in our struggle for holistic confirmation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the law of non-contradiction, and the concomitant principle of ex falso quodlibet, from the perspective of the principles advocated by the radical Quine. I show that he has no compelling reason to accept either of these. To put it bluntly, neither the law of non-contradiction nor the rule of ex falso quodlibet is empirically confirmed, and these principles fare poorly on the various criteria for theory acceptance on the methodology of the radical Quine. So the radical Quine is led rather quickly and rather directly into something in the neighborhood of Graham Priest’s dialetheism. (shrink)
We review recent developments in ethical pluralism, ethical particularism, Kantian intuitionism, rights theory, and climate change ethics, and show the relevance of these developments in ethical theory to contemporary business ethics. This paper explains why pluralists think that ethical decisions should be guided by multiple standards and why particularists emphasize the crucial role of context in determining sound moral judgments. We explain why Kantian intuitionism emphasizes the discerning power of intuitive reason and seek to integrate that with the comprehensiveness of (...) Kant’s moral framework. And we show how human rights can be grounded in human agency, and explain the connections between human rights and climate change. (shrink)
After providing a brief history of global climate change, we consider and reject the influential position that free markets and responsive democracies relieve corporations of obligations to protect the environment. Five main objections to the free market view are presented, focusing in particular on the roles of business organizations in the transportation and electricity generation sectors. Ethically grounded management and public policy recommendations are offered.
Libertarian theories of the normative core of the corporation hold in common the view that is the responsibility of publicity held corporations to return profits to shareholders within the bounds of certain moral side-constraints. Side-constraints may be either weak (grounded in the rules of the game) or strong (grounded in rights). This essay considers libertarian arguments regarding the normative core of the corporation in the context of global capitalism and in the light of actual corporate behavior. First, it is argued (...) the weak side-constraints view is conceptually incoherent when applied in a global context. Second, it is argued that proponents of the libertarian strong side-constraints view lack an adequate theory of rights. Third, both the weak side-constraints view and the strong side-constraints view are shown to be unsatisfactory insofar as they fail to adequately address the coercive power of corporations. The main conclusion of this essay is that a viable libertarian theory of the corporation has yet to be articulated. (shrink)
Framed as a consideration of the other contributions to the present volume of the Journal of Indian Philosophy , this essay attempts to scout and characterize several of the interrelated doctrines and issues that come into play in thinking philosophically about the doctrine of svasaṃvitti , particularly as that was elaborated by Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. Among the issues thus considered are the question of how mānasapratyakṣa (which is akin to manovijñāna ) might relate to svasaṃvitti ; how those related doctrines (...) might be brought to bear with respect to some problems addressed with reference to the further doctrine (also closely related to svasaṃvitti ) concerning pramāṇaphala ; and the distinctiveness of Dharmakīrti’s sahopalambhaniyama argument for svasaṃvitti . A question recurrently considered throughout the essay has to do with whether (following Akeel Bilgrami) svasaṃvitti reflects a perceptual or a constitutive understanding of self-awareness. (shrink)
Dharmakīrti, elaborating one of the Buddhist tradition's most complete defenses of rebirth, advanced some of this tradition's most explicitly formulated arguments for mind-body dualism. At the same time, Dharmakīrti himself may turn out to be vulnerable to some of the same kinds of arguments pressed against physicalists. It is revealing, then, that in arguing against physicalism himself, Dharmakīrti does not have available to him what some would judge to be more promising arguments for dualism (arguments, in particular, following Kant's 2nd (...) Critique) – and indeed, that these arguments actually cut against Dharmakīrti's own position. After elaborating and characterizing Dharmakīrti's case for rebirth, then, this article briefly considers an argument that Dharmakīrti cannot himself enlist for this purpose. (shrink)
Mathematical models are a well established tool in most natural sciences. Although models have been neglected by the philosophy of science for a long time, their epistemological status as a link between theory and reality is now fairly well understood. However, regarding the epistemological status of mathematical models in the social sciences, there still exists a considerable unclarity. In my paper I argue that this results from specific challenges that mathematical models and especially computer simulations face in the social sciences. (...) The most important difference between the social sciences and the natural sciences with respect to modeling is that in the social sciences powerful and well confirmed background theories (like Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics or the theory of relativity in physics) do not exist in the social sciences. Therefore, an epistemology of models that is formed on the role model of physics may not be appropriate for the social sciences. I discuss the challenges that modeling faces in the social sciences and point out their epistemological consequences. The most important consequences are that greater emphasis must be placed on empirical validation than on theoretical validation and that the relevance of purely theoretical simulations is strongly limited. (shrink)
Some influential interpreters of Dharmakīrti have suggested understanding his thought in terms of a ‘sliding scale of analysis.’ Here it is argued that this emphasis on Dharmakīrti's alternating philosophical perspectives, though helpful in important respects, obscures the close connection between the two views in play (identified by later commentators as ‘Sautrāntika’ and ‘Yogācāra’). Indeed, with respect to these perspectives as Dharmakīrti develops them, the epistemology is the same either way. Insofar as that is right, John Dunne's characterization of Dharmakīrti's Yogācāra (...) as ‘epistemic idealism’ may not, after all, distinguish this perspective from Sautrāntika; indeed, epistemic idealism can be understood as just the view these positions share. Thus, what distinguishes the ‘Yogācāra’ section of Dharmakīrti's texts is simply his making explicit that epistemological commitments the Sautrāntika does (or at least can coherently) hold are already compatible with idealism. Sautrāntika and Yogācāra thus differ only when one turns to the metaphysical arguments that (on the idealist's view) additionally show that only such mental things as sense data could be real. (shrink)
In a series of reports the United Nations Special Representative on the issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations has emphasized a tripartite framework regarding business and human rights that includes the state “duty to protect,” the TNC “responsibility to respect,” and “appropriate remedies” for human rights violations. This article examines the recent history of UN initiatives regarding business and human rights and places the tripartite framework in historical context. Three approaches to human rights are distinguished: moral, political, and legal. (...) It is argued that the tripartite framework’s grounding of the responsibility of TNCs to respect human rights is properly understood as moral and not merely as a political or legal duty. A moral account of the duty of TNCs to respect basic human rights is defended and contrasted with a merely strategic approach. The main conclusion of the article is that only a moral account of the basic human rights duties of TNCs provides a sufficiently deep justification of “the corporate responsibility to respect human rights” feature of the tripartite framework. (shrink)
Abstract It is suggested that there are three broadly held views about sport in relation to the moral life??the positive view, the neutral view and the negative view. Following a brief examination of morality and moral education the first of these views is upheld by arguing that sport as fairness is inherently concerned with the moral. It is further argued that sport is a valued human practice concerned with the virtues and that as a part of the curriculum is an (...) integral part of moral education. An initiation into sport, like other aspects of moral education, involves such processes as judging, caring and acting. In all these processes the role of the teacher is considered. Finally two manifestations of a successful initiation into sport are presented with particular reference to the development of character and to the phenomenon of sportspersonship. (shrink)
: In this brief commentary, we reflect on the recent study by Siminoff, Burant, and Youngner of public attitudes toward "brain death" and organ donation, focusing on the implications of their findings for the rules governing from whom organs can be obtained. Although the data suggest that many seem to view "brain death" as "as good as dead" rather than "dead" (calling the dead donor rule into question), we find that the study most clearly demonstrates that understanding an individual's definition (...) of death is neither a straightforward task nor a good predictor of views about donation. Reflecting on the implications for ongoing debates over the dead donor rule, we suggest that perhaps it is not a change in policy that is warranted, but rather a change in the priorities that have garnered such intense focus on this issue within the field of bioethics. (shrink)
Traditionally conceived, introspection is a form of nonsensuous perception that allows the mind to scrutinize at least some of its own states while it is experiencing them. The traditional account of introspection has been in disrepute ever since Ryle argued that the very idea of introspection is a logical muddle. Recent critics such as William Lyons, John Searle, and Sydney Shoemaker argue that this disrepute is well-deserved. Three distinct objections to the traditional account of introspection are considered and rejected. It (...) is argued that critics of the traditional account of introspection fail to adequately distinguish potential objects of introspection. Further, it is argued that at least two cognitive states are properly understood as objects of introspection. The conclusions reached suggest that there are sufficient reasons to reconsider ther merits of the traditional account of introspection. (shrink)
Two strikingly similar critiques of epistemological foundationalism are examined: J. L. Austin's critique of A. J. Ayer in the former's "Sense and Sensibilia," and part of Candrakīrti's critique of Dignāga in the first chapter of the "Prasannapadā." With respect to Austin, it is argued that his writings on epistemology in fact relate quite closely to his better-known philosophy of speech acts, and that the appeal to ordinary language is part of a transcendental argument against the possibility of radical skepticism. It (...) is then argued that Candrakīrti makes some very similar moves, and that his argument against Dignāga makes still clearer the sense in which both Austin and Candrakīrti can be characterized as making transcendental arguments. In particular, if a condition of the possibility of meaningful discourse is the making of certain kinds of assents, then the epistemologist's demand for the justification of those assents is unreasonable. (shrink)
This paper is intended as a critical examination of the question of when the use of computer simulations is beneficial to scientific explanations. This objective is pursued in two steps: First, I try to establish clear criteria that simulations must meet in order to be explanatory. Basically, a simulation has explanatory power only if it includes all causally relevant factors of a given empirical configuration and if the simulation delivers stable results within the measurement inaccuracies of the input parameters. If (...) a simulation is not explanatory, it can still be meaningful for exploratory purposes, but only under very restricted conditions. In the second step, I examine a few examples of Axelrod-style simulations as they have been used to understand the evolution of cooperation (Axelrod, Schüßler) and the evolution of the social contract (Skyrms). These simulations do not meet the criteria for explanatory validity and it can be shown, as I believe, that they lead us astray from the scientific problems they have been addressed to solve and at the same time bar our imagination against more conventional but still better approaches. (shrink)
This paper examines the implications of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the World Trade Organization’s agreement governing trade in health-related services, for health policy and healthcare reform in the United States. The paper describes the nature and scope of US obligations under the GATS, the ways in which the trade agreement intersects with domestic health policy, and the institutional factors that mediate trade-offs between health and trade policy. The analysis suggests that the GATS provisions on market access, (...) national treatment and domestic regulation, which are designed to eliminate ‘regulatory barriers’ to global trade in health services, limit the range of options that state and federal regulators and legislative bodies can employ to regulate the health sector and implement healthcare reforms. As such, the paper identifies the broader social and ethical implications of free trade policy. (shrink)
Recognizing the growing interdependence of the European Union and the importance of codes of conduct in companies’ operations, this research examines the effect of a country’s culture on the implementation of a code of conduct in a European context. We examine whether the perceptions of an activity’s ethicality relates to elements found in company codes of conduct vary by country or according to Hofstede’s (1980, Culture’s Consequences (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA)) cultural constructs of: Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity/Femininity, Individualism, and Power (...) Distance. The 294 individuals, who participated in our study, were from 8 Western European countries. Their responses to our 13 scenarios indicate that differences in the perceptions of ethicality associate primarily with the participants’ country as opposed to their employer (i.e., accounting firm), employment level, or gender. The evidence also indicates that these country differences associate with Hofstede constructs of Individualism and Masculinity. (shrink)
In the clinical setting, questions of medical ethics raise a host of perplexing problems, often complicated by conflicting perspectives and the need to make immediate decisions. In this volume, bioethicists and physicians provide a nuanced, in-depth approach to the difficult issues involved in bioethics consultation. Addressing the needs of researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals on the front lines of bioethics practice, the contributors focus primarily on practical concerns -- whether ethics consultation is best done by individuals, teams, or committees (...) how an ethics consult service should be structured the need for institutional support and techniques and programs for educating and training staff -- without neglecting more theoretical considerations, such as the importance of character or the viability of organizational ethics. (shrink)
In a recent Philosophy of Science article Gerhard Schurz proposes meta-inductivistic prediction strategies as a new approach to Hume's. This comment examines the limitations of Schurz's approach. It can be proven that the meta-inductivist approach does not work any more if the meta-inductivists have to face an infinite number of alternative predictors. With his limitation it remains doubtful whether the meta-inductivist can provide a full solution to the problem of induction.
Plato seems to have claimed that epistemological relativism is self-defeating in two ways. As reformulated by Siegel: arguments for relativism must be advanced as either relativistically or non-relativistically sound. In either case they are dialectically ineffective for the relativist. Second, relativism is either relativistically or non-relativistically true. Either choice commits the relativist to major concessions to her opponent, or so the story goes. But the relativist can advance her arguments as non-relativistically sound, for the consumption of the non-relativist. Moreover, relativists (...) can claim that relativism is true not only for the relativist, but for her non-relativist opponent as well. Relativism is not self-defeating in either of these ways, for much the same reasons that skepticism is not self-defeating. But we cannot live as relativists, because relativism leads to epistemic paralysis, as the example of prediction shows. (shrink)
Proceedings of the Pittsburgh Workshop in History and Philosophy of Biology, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, March 23-24 2001 Session 2: Female Orgasms and Evolutionary Theory.
Empirical research pertaining to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), clinician behaviors related to do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders and substituted judgment suggests potential contributions to medical ethics. Research quantifying the likelihood of surviving CPR points to the need for further philosophical analysis of the limitations of the patient autonomy in decision making, the nature and definition of medical futility, and the relationship between futility and professional standards. Research on DNR orders has identified barriers to the goal of patient involvement in these life and death (...) discussions. The initial data on surrogate decision making also points to the need for a reexamination of the moral basis for substituted judgment, the moral authority of proxy decision making and the second-order status of the best interests standard. These examples of empirical research suggest that an interplay between empirical research, ethical analysis and policy development may represent a new form of interdisciplinary scholarship to improve clinical medicine. (shrink)
Since the Harvard Committees bold and highly successful attempt to redefine death in 1968 (Harvard Ad Hoc committee, 1968), multiple controversies have arisen. Stimulated by several factors, including the inherent conceptual weakness of the Harvard Committees proposal, accumulated clinical experience, and the incessant push to expand the pool of potential organ donors, the lively debate about the definition of death has, for the most part, been confined to a relatively small group of academics who have created a large body of (...) literature of which this issue of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy is an example. Law and public policy, however, have remained essentially unaffected. This paper will briefly review the multiple controversies about defining death in an attempt to explain why they have and will remain unresolved in the academic community and have even less chance of being understood and resolved by politicians, legislators, and the general public. Considering this, we will end by suggesting the probable course of public policy and clinical practice in the decades ahead. (shrink)
Series Copy Oxford's celebrated Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject developed in its own right and how it influenced society. (...) Whatever the area of study one deems important or appealing, whatever topic fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introduction series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable. (shrink)
Can market socialism realize the socialist vision of the good society by ending exploitation and alienation, substantially reducing inequalities of wealth and income, ensuring full employment, and correcting other market irrationalities? A comparative analysis of the organizational forms of capitalism (notably the small owner?operated firm and the large corporation) and market socialism (the self?managed cooperative that rents its capital from the state) reveals the relative efficiencies of capitalism in reducing transaction costs, in turn reducing the opportunities for exploitation. By contrast, (...) the transaction cost inefficiencies of the organizations of market socialism permit and encourage forms of exploitation that are precluded or discouraged under capitalism. (shrink)
In their criticism of Maoism, contemporary Soviet philosophers follow the basic structure of the orthodox presentation of Marxism — Leninism and use the whole panoply of polemical tools which the Leninist heritage offers them. Thus far, this anti — Maoism is generally maladroit and often self-contradictory.
In this paper we explore potential problems of intersection between teachers' beliefs about the aims of education, a conceptual requirement of antiracism education and moral education. Our objective is to show how the reform of moral education to better accommodate antiracism concerns may depend on paying more attention to how teachers understand this intersection. Based on our analyses of teaching experiences and an exploratory, qualitative study of 20 recently certified teachers, we identify a framework for differentiating three ethical perspectives that (...) teachers often take in articulating and justifying their beliefs about the ideal aims of education. Then, based on our analysis of contemporary programmes of antiracism education, we use illustrative material from our study to identify points of disjuncture that can occur between the aims of such programmes and teachers' beliefs through which those aims are filtered. In particular, we seek to illustrate how the essential political aims of antiracism education that focus on structural relationships between/among social groups can be, in the first instance, occluded by an ethical perspective that centres on the welfare of discrete individuals or, perhaps even more insidiously, reduced to a well-meaning and nice-sounding ethical perspective that focuses on the quality of interaction between/among individuals. (shrink)
In three places Spinoza presents an argument from (a) determinism and (b) God’s “eternity” to (c) “actualism”, i.e., the doctrine that this is (in some sense) the only possible world. That he does so shows that he distinguishes (a) from (c), which he has been thought to conflate. On one reading of ‘eternal’, he is claiming that an infinite past entails no other world was a “real” possibility. As might be expected, the argument is a failure, but it may help (...) explain why Spinoza holds that there are no contingencies. (shrink)
Little theoretical attention has been paid to the question of what obligations corporations and other business enterprises have to the four billion people living at the base of the global economic pyramid. This article makes several theoretical contributions to this topic. First, it is argued that corporations are properly understood as agents of global justice. Second, the legitimacy of global governance institutions and the legitimacy of corporations and other business enterprises are distinguished. Third, it is argued that a deliberative democracy (...) model of corporate legitimacy defended by theorists of political CSR is unsatisfactory. Fourth, it is argued that a Rawlsian theoretical framework fails to provide a satisfactory account of the obligations of corporations regarding global justice. Finally, an ethical conception of CSR grounded in an appropriately modest set of duties tied to corporate relationships is then defended. This position is cosmopolitan in scopeand grounded in overlapping arguments for human rights. (shrink)
The Mīmāṃsāka doctrine of "svatah prāmānya" ("intrinsic validity") has seldom been given the serious philosophical attention it deserves. This doctrine in fact grows out of a sophisticated critique of epistemological foundationalism. This critique, as well as the larger project that it serves, has striking similarities with the philosophical project advanced in William Alston's "Perceiving God". A comparison of the two helps to highlight the strengths and the problems of both projects, and shows, perhaps more importantly, that the Mīmāṃsāka doctrine is (...) in fact still relevant, as it resembles one of the more interesting positions currently in play in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
This article – which includes a complete translation of Mūlamadhyamakakārikā chapter 2 together with Candrakīrti’s commentary thereon – argues that notwithstanding the many different and often arcane interpretations that have been offered of Nāgārjuna’s arguments against motion, there is really just one straightforward kind of argument on offer in this vexed chapter. It is further argued that this basic argument can be understood as a philosophically interesting one if it is kept in mind that the argument essentially has to do (...) with whether a personal level of description will admit of an exhaustively impersonal explanation. (shrink)
Abstract There is no scientific evidence that the sociomoral reasoning or behaviour of deaf children is different from that of their hearing peers. In spite of this Markoulis and Christoforou (1991) advocate, at the end of their study of congenitally deaf children, the need for ?restructuring the children's interaction and activities in order to provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for sociomoral development?. The literature on the development of the conscience and sociomoral reasoning of deaf school children and adults is reviewed. The (...) conclusion is that there are no data that show the deaf to be different from their hearing peers, although some writers have made such unsupported claims. (shrink)