In this paper I look at three challenges to the very possibility of an ethics of belief and then show how they can be met. The first challenge, from Thomas Kelly, says that epistemic rationality is not (merely) a form of instrumental rationality. If this claim is true, then it will be difficult to develop an ethics of belief that does not run afoul of naturalism. The second challenge is the Non-Voluntarism Argument, which holds that because we cannot believe at (...) will and because ought implies can, there can be no ethics of belief. The third challenge comes from Richard Feldman, who claims that there is no such thing as ought all-things-considered. He says, for example, that moral oughts can be weighed against other moral oughts and that epistemic oughts can be compared to each other, but that there is no way to weigh moral oughts against epistemic oughts. If this is true, then norms about what one ought to believe are not nearly as important as one might have hoped or as philosophers have traditionally thought. In answering these three challenges, I try to show how and why the project of developing epistemic norms might be a promising avenue of research, despite claims to the contrary. (shrink)
Recent psychological research on the connection between culture and thought could have dire consequences for the idea that there are objective standards of reasoning and that meaningful cross-cultural discussion is possible. The problems are particularly acute if research shows that the Law of Noncontradiction (LNC) is not a universal of folk epistemology. It is extremely difficult to provide a non-circular justification for the LNC, and yet the LNC seems to act as a basic standard for reasoning in the West. If (...) non-Western cultures do not believe the LNC holds, then meaningful cross-cultural discussion and debate will be very difficult, to say the least. In this paper it is argued that the distinction between belief and acceptance is important in analyzing cross-cultural studies on the way people reason. Studies conducted by Richard Nisbett and Kaiping Peng concerning differences between East Asians and Westerners are analyzed. The distinction between belief and acceptance is used to demonstrate that the empirical data currently available fail to show that the LNC is not a universal of folk epistemology. A brief proposal for further research is presented. (shrink)
Ramsey, Bastian, and van Schaik (RBS) have made a valiant effort to identify innovations in nature. As their theoretical perspective on innovation as a product largely conforms to Reader & Laland (2003), their novel contribution is epistemological. They may well have considered as much information as possible on the ecological, individual, and historical factors that suggest innovations in nature. However, their method does not..
The integration of ethics into accounting curricula is a critical challenge facing accounting educators. The ethical subject matter to be covered and the role of the professor in ethical debates in the classroom are important unresolved issues. In this paper, we explore teaching basic values as an integral part of ethics education. Concern about indoctrination of students is addressed and the consistency of values education with the goals of ethics education is examined. A role for ethics researchers in identifying and (...) clarifying the basic values that define our profession is recommended, and suggestions for implementing values education in accounting ethics are provided. (shrink)
Scientific consensus is widely deferred to in public debates as a social indicator of the existence of knowledge. However, it is far from clear that such deference to consensus is always justified. The existence of agreement in a community of researchers is a contingent fact, and researchers may reach a consensus for all kinds of reasons, such as fighting a common foe or sharing a common bias. Scientific consensus, by itself, does not necessarily indicate the existence of shared knowledge among (...) the members of the consensus community. I address the question of under what conditions it is likely that a consensus is in fact knowledge based. I argue that a consensus is likely to be knowledge based when knowledge is the best explanation of the consensus, and I identify three conditions—social calibration, apparent consilience of evidence, and social diversity, for knowledge being the best explanation of a consensus. (shrink)
People increasingly form beliefs based on information gained from automatically filtered Internet sources such as search engines. However, the workings of such sources are often opaque, preventing subjects from knowing whether the information provided is biased or incomplete. Users’ reliance on Internet technologies whose modes of operation are concealed from them raises serious concerns about the justificatory status of the beliefs they end up forming. Yet it is unclear how to address these concerns within standard theories of knowledge and justification. (...) To shed light on the problem, we introduce a novel conceptual framework that clarifies the relations between justified belief, epistemic responsibility, action, and the technological resources available to a subject. We argue that justified belief is subject to certain epistemic responsibilities that accompany the subject’s particular decision-taking circumstances, and that one typical responsibility is to ascertain, so far as one can, whether the information upon which the judgment will rest is biased or incomplete. What this responsibility comprises is partly determined by the inquiry-enabling technologies available to the subject. We argue that a subject’s beliefs that are formed based on Internet-filtered information are less justified than they would be if she either knew how filtering worked or relied on additional sources, and that the subject may have the epistemic responsibility to take measures to enhance the justificatory status of such beliefs.. (shrink)
According to Popper's rationality principle, agents act in the most adequate way according to the objective situation. I propose a new interpretation of the rationality principle as consisting of an idealization and two abstractions. Based on this new interpretation, I critically discuss the privileged status that Popper ascribes to it as an integral part of all social scientific models. I argue that as an idealization, the rationality principle may play an important role in the social sciences, but it also has (...) inherent limitations that inhibit it from having the privileged status that Popper ascribes to it in all cases. (shrink)
Here I explore the aesthetic implications of this new paradigm, the central implication being that scientific cognitivism, when combined with the new paradigm in ecology, may require updating the qualities associated with positive aesthetics. After reviewing Allen Carlson's defense of both scientific cognitivism and the positive aesthetics thesis, I show how the significantly different conceptual framework that the new paradigm in ecology provides will require equally significant adjustments to how we aesthetically appreciate nature. I make two suggestions. First, the new (...) paradigm in ecology suggests that aesthetic appreciation should focus on natural processes, which will require a more theoretical approach to aesthetic appreciation. Second, because the new paradigm appeals to aesthetic qualities such as imbalance, disorder, and disharmony to make the natural world intelligible, these qualities are consistent with an updated positive aesthetics thesis and should therefore replace the qualities associated with the old paradigm. Collectively, these two suggestions imply that the beauty of nature is dynamic and chaotic rather than stable and orderly. (shrink)
Pickering & Garrod (P&G) claim that the automatic mechanisms that underlie language processing in dialogue are absent in monologue. We disagree with this claim, and argue that dialogue simply provides a different context in which the same basic processes operate.
In August 2002, three Indian computer scientists published a paper, ‘PRIMES is in P’, online. It presents a ‘deterministic algorithm’ which determines in ‘polynomial time’ if a given number is a prime number. The story was quickly picked up by the general press, and by this means spread through the scientific community of complexity theorists, where it was hailed as a major theoretical breakthrough. This is although scientists regarded the media reports as vulgar popularizations. When the paper was published in (...) a peer-reviewed journal only two years later, the three scientists had already received wide recognition for their accomplishment. Current sociological theory challenges the ability to clearly distinguish on independent epistemic grounds between distorted and non-distorted scientific knowledge. It views the demarcation lines between such forms of presentation as contextual and unstable. In my paper, I challenge this view. By systematically surveying the popular press coverage of the ‘PRIMES is in P’ affair, I argue--against the prevailing new orthodoxy--that distorted simplifications of scientific knowledge are distinguishable from non-distorted simplifications on independent epistemic grounds. I argue that in the ‘PRIMES is in P’ affair, the three scientists could ride on the wave of the general press-distorted coverage of their algorithm, while counting on their colleagues’ ability to distinguish genuine accounts from distorted ones. Thus, their scientific reputation was unharmed. This suggests that the possibility of the existence of independent epistemic standards must be incorporated into the new SSK model of popularization. (shrink)
Calls for the expansion of ethics education in the business and accounting curricula have resulted in a variety of interventions including additional material on ethical cases, the code of conduct, and the development of new courses devoted to ethical development [Lampe, J.: 1996]. The issue of whether ethics should be taught has been addressed by many authors [see for example: Hanson, K. O.: 1987; Huss, H. F. and D. M. Patterson: 1993; Jones, T. M.: 1988–1989; Kerr, D. S. and (...) L. M. Smith: 1995; Loeb, S. E.: 1988; McDonald, G. M. and G. D. Donleavy: 1995]. The question addressed in this paper is not whether ethics should be taught but whether accounting students can reason more ethically after an intervention based on a discrete and dedicated course on accounting ethics. The findings in this paper indicate that a discrete intervention emphasising dilemma discussion has a positive and significant effect on students’ moral reasoning and development. The data collected from interviews suggest that the salient influences on moral judgement development include: learning theories of ethics particularly Kohlberg’s theory of cognitive moral reasoning and development; peer learning; and moral discourse. The implications from the findings in this study suggest that moral reasoning is responsive to particular types of ethics intervention and educators should carefully plan their attempts to foster moral judgement development. (shrink)
Abstract Whether extrovertive, introvertive, or some further hybrid, the process of the soul touching the fullness of its divine origins is itself undergoing transformation in the twenty-first-century cultural matrices of Israel. A remarkable exemplar of devotional Hebrew cultures can be found within the hybrid networks of haredi worlds in Israel today. R. Yitzhaq Maier Morgenstern, author of Yam ha-okhmah, Netiv ayyim , and De'i okhmah le-nafshekha , is arguably the most innovative mystical voice in Israel. Why are his works resonating (...) so strongly both inside and outside their haredi communities of origin? How is his innovative thinking affecting the devotional praxis of Devekut both inside and outside the unfolding Hasidic networks? This exploration of mystical apperception through Devekut builds upon studies of Garb, Huss, and Meir, while challenging the idea that Morgenstern's expanding impact is solely a function of his mystical-magical charisma and hypernomian spiritual practice. This study argues that it is Morgenstern's hybridized thinking through key theoretical issues in Kabbalah and Hasidism as they apply to the lived practice of a devotional life of Devekut that will likely remain his strongest innovation and contribution to contemporary Jewish mysticism. (shrink)
This article seeks to examine the special quality of Eros operative in educational practice, through the frame narrative of Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave”. The subject is examined from two aspects illuminating the paradoxical nature of educational practice. The first, epistemological, considers the practicability of learning, and the second, ethical, deals with the complexity of commitment to teaching. The resolution of the paradox, the article contends, can only be understood through the concept of “Eros”—the same mysterious driving force, devoid (...) of rational meaning, which compels one to know and act. The article examines the revelations regarding Eros, its possibilities and perils with reference to the pedagogical experience of the author as a school teacher and educator. (shrink)
We establish a surprising connection between Menger's classical covering property and Blass-Laflamme's modern combinatorial notion of groupwise density. This connection implies a short proof of the groupwise density bound on the additivity number for Menger's property.
A consensus in a scientific community is often used as a resource for making informed public-policy decisions and deciding between rival expert testimonies in legal trials. This paper contains a social-epistemic analysis of the high-profile Bendectin drug controversy, which was decided in the courtroom inter alia by deference to an emerging scientific consensus about the safety of Bendectin. Drawing on Miller’s theory of knowledge based consensus, I argue that the consensus in this case was not knowledge based, hence courts’ deference (...) to it was not epistemically justified. I draw sceptical lessons from this analysis regarding the value of scientific consensus as a desirable and reliable means of resolving scientific controversies in public life.. (shrink)