Magical ersatzism is the view that possible worlds are primitive abstract entities. In On the Plurality of Worlds, David Lewis presented what appeared to many to be a devastating argument against magical ersatzism. In this paper, I show that Lewis’ central argument does not succeed. Magical ersatzism remains a viable theory of possible worlds.
Despite broad agreement that forgiveness involves overcoming resentment, the small philosophical literature on this topic has made little progress in determining which of the many ways of overcoming resentment is forgiveness. In a recent paper, however, Pamela Hieronymi proposed a way forward by requiring that accounts of forgiveness be “articulate” and “uncompromising.” I argue for these requirements, but also claim that Hieronymi’s proposed articulate and uncompromising account must be rejected because it cannot accommodate the fact that only some agents have (...) the standing to forgive. I end by sketching an alternative account which, I claim, explains the phenomenon of standing. (shrink)
The standard philosophical view is that compulsive behaviors are caused by “irresistible” desires. Gary Watson famously argued that this view conflates compulsion with weakness of the will, and proposed differentiating weakness and compulsion by appealing to the normal strength-of-will of members of the community. This extrinsic distinction leaves no room for phenomenological differences between weakness and compulsion. Evidence from clinical psychology shows, however, that compulsion is associated with certain phenomenological features that are absent in cases of weakness. I therefore reject (...) the irresistible desire account. Instead, I propose that psychological compulsions “wear down” an individual’s normal faculty of self-control, i.e., the will. The recurrent inhibition of the behavior by the will overexerts this faculty, causing the psychological stress noted by psychologists. This stress raises the cost of resistance until it is unbearable. The subject abandons resistance and therefore performs the behavior. (shrink)
In a recent issue of this journal, Kevin Corcoran has argued that the metaphysical theory one holds to about the nature of human persons is irrelevant to the sort of ethical questions that occupy bioethicists as well as the general public. Specifically, he argues that whether one holds a constitution view of human persons, an animalist view, or a substance dualist view, the real work in one’s ethical reasoning is done by certain moral principles rather than by metaphysical ones. (...) I raise objections to his analysis and propose that it is a combination of ethical principles and metaphysical principles that does the work in our judgements about the morality of abortion and other actions. (shrink)
In this short essay I respond to Kevin Gary’s generous review of my book Reclaiming Goodness by considering his two main concerns, that I tend to conflate spirituality and morality and that I am not sufficiently sensitive to tensions between spirituality and critical thinking. I respond by noting that Gary has not taken adequate account of the distinction between deontological morality and aretaic ethics in the first instance and between the Aristotelian notions of Sophia and Phronesis, or pure reason (...) and practical wisdom, in the second. (shrink)
In view of rapid and dramatic technological change, it is important to take the special requirements of privacy protection into account early on, because new technological systems often contain hidden dangers which are very difficult to overcome after the basic design has been worked out. So it makes all the more sense to identify and examine possible data protection problems when designing new technology and to incorporate privacy protection into the overall design, instead of having to come up with laborious (...) and time-consuming “patches” later on. This approach is known as “Privacy by Design” (PbD). (shrink)