One worry about metaethical expressivism is that it reduces to some form of subjectivism. This worry is enforced by subjectivists who argue that subjectivism can explain certain phenomena thought to support expressivism equally well. Recently, authors have started to suggest that subjectivism can take away what has often been seen as expressivism's biggest explanatory advantage, namely expressivism's ability to explain the possibility of moral disagreement. In this paper, I will give a response to an argument recently given by Frank Jackson (...) to this conclusion that will show that it is false that subjectivism could explain disagreement as well as expressivism. (shrink)
With over 2 billion people lacking medicines for treatable diseases and 14 million people dying annually from infectious disease, there is undeniable need for increased access to medicines. There has been an increasing trend to benchmark the pharmaceutical industry on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance in access to medicines. Benchmarking creates a competitive inter-business environment and acts as incentive for improving CSR. This article investigates the corporate feedback discourses pharmaceutical companies make in response to criticisms from benchmarking reports. It (...) determines whether these responses are part of a healthy process in increasing access to medicines or a barrier to improvement. A qualitative analysis on the feedback the industry provided was performed, and the responses seen in these statements were grouped by analysing the language used, the ideas portrayed and atti- tudes of the companies. Increasing transparency through benchmarking is a powerful tool which reveals the industry’s shortfalls to the public, affects the decisions of socially responsible investors, and is a risk to their financial bottom line. This article demonstrates the importance of benchmarking and transparency in creating inter-business competition and the translation of these responses to actual access to medicine practices. (shrink)
The precautionary principle (PP) aims to anticipate and minimize potentially serious or irreversible risks under conditions of scientific uncertainty. Thus it preserves the potential for future developments. It has been incorporated into many international treaties and pieces of national legislation for environmental protection and sustainable development. In this article, we outline an interpretation of the PP as a framework of orientation for a sustainable information society. Since the risks induced by future information and communication technologies (ICT) are social risks for (...) the most part, we propose to extend the PP from mainly environmental to social subjects of protection. From an ethical point of view, the PP and sustainability share the principle of intergenerational justice, which can be used as an argument to preserve free space for the decisions of future generations. Applied to technical innovation and to ICT issues in particular, the extended PP can serve as a framework of orientation to avoid socio-economically irreversible developments. We conclude that the PP is a useful approach for: (i) policy makers to reconcile information society and sustainability policies and (ii) ICT companies to formulate sustainability strategies. (shrink)
The most important Jewish source for Hermann Cohen's rational theology of Judaism is Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed . Indeed, the Guide is of such importance that Cohen bases his entire idealistic interpretation of the Jewish religion on it. In particular, Cohen derives his discussion of the continued authority of Mosaic law from the Guide . What follows focuses on Cohen's discussion of the “Law” in his Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism , and attempts to fill (...) a gap in recent Cohen research by dealing with questions of halakhah and the interpretation of rabbinical sources. Cohen's original reading of, inter alia, Guide III.31-32 led him to formulate a theory wherein Mosaic law—and by extension Judaism—guarantees the highest end of human morality. In identifying God with this end, Cohen eventually finds the ultimate criterion for the decision of how much of traditional Jewish law must still be observed in the need for the preservation of the purest monotheism—another central point in Maimonides' philosophy. (shrink)
Information technology (IT) is continuously making astounding progress in technical efficiency. The time, space, material and energy needed to provide a unit of IT service have decreased by three orders of magnitude since the first personal computer (PC) was sold. However, it seems difficult for society to translate ITâs efficiency progress into progress in terms of individual, organizational or socio-economic goals. In particular it seems to be difficult for individuals to work more efficiently, for organizations to be more productive and (...) for the socio-economic system to be more sustainable by using increasingly efficient IT. This article provides empirical evidence and potential explanations for this problem. Many counterproductive effects of IT can be explained economically by rebound effects. Beyond that, we conclude that the technological determinism adopted by decision-makers is the main obstacle in translating ITâs progress into non-technical goals. (shrink)
Background: Research activities in sub-Saharan Africa may be limited to delegated tasks due to the strong control from Western collaborators, which could lead to scientific production of little value in terms of its impact on social and economic innovation in less developed areas. However, the current contexts of international biomedical research including the development of public-private partnerships and research institutions in Africa suggest that scientific activities are growing in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aims to describe the patterns of clinical research (...) activities at a sub-Saharan biomedical research center. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with a core group of researchers at the Medical Research Unit of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital from June 2009 to February 2010 in Lambarene, Gabon. Scientific activities running at the MRU as well as the implementation of ethical and regulatory standards were covered by the interview sessions. Results: The framework of clinical research includes transnational studies and research initiated locally. In transnational collaborations, a sub-Saharan research institution may be limited to producing confirmatory and late-stage data with little impact on economic and social innovation. However, ethical and regulatory guidelines are being implemented taking into consideration the local contexts. Similarly, the scientific content of studies designed by researchers at the MRU, if local needs are taken into account, may potentially contribute to a scientific production with long-term value on social and economic innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. Conclusion: Further research questions and methods in social sciences should comprehensively address the construction of scientific content with the social, economic and cultural contexts surrounding research activities. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Wittgenstein's aim in the aspect-perception passages is to critically evaluate a specific hypothesis. The target hypothesis in these passages is the Gestalt psychologist Köhler's "isomorphism principle." According to this principle, there are neural correlates of conscious perceptual experience, and these neural correlates determine the content of our perceptual experiences. Wittgenstein's argument against the isomorphism principle comprises two steps. First, he diffuses the substantiveness of the principle by undermining an important assumption that underpins this principle, (...) namely, that there is a unitary concept of seeing. Next, Wittgenstein argues that some forms of aspect-perception involve recognitional capacities, the exercise of which is normatively constrained. The normative nature of aspect-perceiving plays a pivotal role in Wittgenstein's rejection of the isomorphism principle. Aside from the clear exegetical benefits gained from identifying the target hypothesis in the aspect-perception passages as the isomorphism principle, construing the remarks in the way suggested here is also philosophically interesting in its own right: it shows Wittgenstein engaging directly in the mind–body problem, construed as the problem of intentionality. (shrink)
I thought the paper by Kai-yee Wong and Chris Fraser was fascinating and insightful. Two things I especially appreciated are the clarity with which they summarize my views. I think they are quite fair and accurate. Second, I appreciate their suggestion that the way to deal with the practical problem of weakness of will has much to do with the role of the Background in shaping our actions. I think they are especially on the right track when they say (...) that the improvement of Background skills may actually narrow the range of real options for action, (p. 21) nonetheless, they do not decrease freedom. As they say, “It is a process of strengthening the self, and the agent is likely to experience the concomitant restriction of ‘live’ options not as a limitation but as strength of character.” (p. 21). That seems to me very much on the right track. What they are suggesting, and it is a powerful addition to my own writings, is that we should not just think of the Background as facilitating languages, games and social practices generally, but for morality as well (p. 23). (shrink)
Kohler's experiments with inverting goggles are often thought to support enactivism by showing that visual re-inversion occurs simultaneous with the return of sensorimotor skill. Closer examination reveals that Kohler's work does not show this. Recent work by Linden et al. shows that re-inversion, if it occurs at all, does not occur when the enactivist predicts. As such, the empirical evidence weighs against enactivism.
The Philosopher Queen: Feminist Essays on War, Love, and Knowledge. By Chris Cuomo. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003. The Philosopher Queen is a powerful illustration of what Cherríe Moraga calls a "theory in the flesh." That is, theorizing from a place where "physical realities of our lives—our skin color, the land or concrete we grow up on, our sexual longings—all fuse to create a politic [and, I would add, an ethics, spirituality, and epistemology] born out of (...) necessity" (Moraga 21). Cuomo's theory in the flesh combines standard philosophical essays with personal narratives and invites us to do philosophy from this joyful and witty place. Readers are invited to reframe and reexamine war, science, gender, sexuality, race, ecology, knowledge, and politics in a voice that is fearless, funny, faithful, and feminist—one that disrupts common understandings of how philosophy ought to be done. Instead philosophy should help us to "negotiate a wild, wicked world, and to provide some understanding of being and existence. The best philosophy aims to promote good and to produce knowledge, and therefore enable flourishing" (xi). Accepted philosophical approaches alone are inadequate. Life's challenges resist formulaic solutions. Knowledge is not always produced through neat deductions: truths are partial, power divides, stomachs growl, hearts are broken, and emotions influence... (shrink)
Why would anyone want there to be natural foundations for the social sciences? In a provocative essay exploring precisely that question, historian Chris Renwick uses an interwar debate featuring William Beveridge, Lancelot Hogben, and Friedrich Hayek to begin to imagine what might have been had such a program calling for biological knowledge to form the natural bases of the social sciences been realized at the London School of Economics. Yet perhaps Renwick grants too much attention to differences and “what-ifs” (...) and not enough to the historical question of “what happened” afterward. “Chickens and Eggs” offers an alternative view of this rather vexed question—one grounded in what happened, which suggests that Renwick’s concerns may be somewhat misplaced. (shrink)
We review Potts’ influential book on the semantics of conventional implicature (CI), offering an explication of his technical apparatus and drawing out the proposal’s implications, focusing on the class of CIs he calls supplements. While we applaud many facets of this work, we argue that careful considerations of the pragmatics of CIs will be required in order to yield an empirically and explanatorily adequate account.
In this comment on Firestone and Jacobs’s book, In Defense of Kant’s Religion, I take issue with (1) the authors’ strategy in demonstrating that it is possibleto positively incorporate religion and theology into Kant’s critical corpus, and (2) their intention to focus on the coherence of Kant’s theory without necessarily recommending it for Christianity. Regarding (1), I argue that in pursuing their strategy the authors ignore the fact that Kant has transposed what appear to be traditional religious doctrines to a (...) completely different level of reflection, in effect turning them into imaginary tropes intended to mask otherwise irreducible contradictions in his view of human agency. As for (2), I claim that the authors’ intention runs the risk of being disingenuous, since Kant presented his religion as the true religion, opposing it to historical Christianity (unless the latter, of course, is re-interpreted according to his own precepts). (shrink)
> On the question of reasons as causes, philosophers generally acknowledge > that reasons can be considered causes (or antecedents of 'regularities') > only to the extent that the reasons are physically realized (instantiated, > represented, embodied, implemented) in the brain. The problem is trying to > find a neural correlate for a mental state containing a 'reason', such that > the reason can become a ('real', 'physical' ) cause.
So what is feminism anyway? Why are all the experts so reluctant to give us a clear definition? Is it possible to make sense of the complex and often contradictory debates? In this concise and accessible introduction to feminist theory, Chris Beasley provides clear explanations of the many types of feminism. She outlines the development of liberal, radical and Marxist//socialist feminism, and reviews the more contemporary influences of psychoanalysis, postmodernism, theories of the body, queer theory, and attends to the (...) ongoing significance of race and ethnicity. Given the diversity of feminist ideas, Chris Beasley a number of ways of looking at feminist theory and offer an open-ended approach which allows for variety and change. What is Feminism? is a clear and up-to-date guide to Western feminist theory for students, their teachers, researchers and anyone else who wants to understand and engage in current feminist debates. `Over the last three decades feminist theories and methodologies have become an increasingly complex as well as somewhat fraught terrain where ideas and egos alternately clash productively and destructively. This is an up-to-date and intelligent introduction to a field which remains a vital component of contemporary sociopolitical issues and debates' - Sneja Gunew, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, University of British Columbia. (shrink)
In social work there is seldom an uncontroversial `right way' of doing things. So how will you deal with the value questions and ethical dilemmas that you will be faced with as a professional social worker? This lively and readable introductory text is designed to equip students with a sound understanding of the principles of values and ethics which no social worker should be without. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, this book successfully explores the complexities of ethical issues, (...) while recognising the real-world context in which social workers operate. Key features of the text include: - Full of hands-on advice and tips for professional practice. - Engaging and student-friendly. Each chapter is packed with case studies, reader exercises, key definitions and useful summaries. - Comprehensive content. The book explores core issues such as moral philosophy; professionalism; religion; power; oppression; difference and diversity; and ethical codes of practice. - Satisfies all the curriculum and training requirements for the new social work degree. Mapping directly on to first year courses, this text is essential reading for all social work undergraduates. It is an ideal refresher text for upper-level undergraduates, postgraduate and post-qualifying students, and for professionals. `This introductory text succeeds in providing an accessible introduction to the subject area. The book is consistently structured, well planned and uniformly written in a conversational and immediate style…. The discussion manages to combine a sense of engagement with a balanced treatment of the issues. Readers who apply themselves will be well sensitised to the matters under discussion and should be able to take their understanding into the practical arena' - Chris Clark, University of Edinburgh. (shrink)
Studies on so-called Change Blindness and Inattentional Blindness have been taken to establish the claim that conscious perception of a stimulus requires the attentional processing of that stimulus. One might contend, against this claim, that the evidence only shows attention to be necessary for the subject to have access to the contents of conscious perception and not for conscious perception itself. This “Methodological Argument” is gaining ground among philosophers who work on attention and consciousness, such as Christopher Mole. I find (...) that, without the supporting evidence of inaccessible consciousness, this argument collapses into an indefensible form of inductive parsimony. The Methodological Argument is thus shown to be unsuccessful when used against the claim that attention is required for conscious perception, though I suggest that it may be successful against the more ambitious claim that attention is necessary for all conscious experience. (shrink)
In our increasingly instrumentalist culture, debates over the privatization of schooling may be beside the point. Whether we hatch some new plan for chartering or funding schools, or retain the traditional model of government-run schools, the ongoing instrumentalization of education threatens the very possibility of public education. Indeed, in the culture of performativity, not only the public school but public life itself is hollowed out and debased. Qualities are recast as quantities, judgments replaced by rubrics, teaching and learning turned into (...) exchange values. Schools should be central to public life: key locations for the regeneration of values, the cultivation of judgment, and the creation of the conditions for positive freedom. In this article Chris Higgins, drawing on Hannah Arendt and Alasdair MacIntyre, goes beyond typical treatments of the schools as equalizer of individual opportunity to explore three aspects of educational publicity: the school as an object of communal concern, schooling as preparation for public life, and the classroom as public space. (shrink)
Abstract This essay examines the theory of ritual propriety presented in the Xúnzǐ and criticisms of Xunzi-like views found in the classical Daoist anthology Zhuāngzǐ . To highlight the respects in which the Zhuāngzǐ can be read as posing a critical response to a Xunzian view of ritual propriety, the essay juxtaposes the two texts' views of language, since Xunzi's theory of ritual propriety is intertwined with his theory of language. I argue that a Zhuangist critique of the presuppositions of (...) Xunzi's stance on language also undermines his stance on ritual propriety. Xunzi contends that state promulgation of anelaborate code of ritual propriety is a key to good social order ( zhi ) and that state regulation of language is a key to smooth communication and thus also good order. The Zhuāngzǐ provides grounds for doubting both contentions. Claiming that ritual propriety causally produces social order is analogous to claiming that grammar causally produces smooth linguistic communication, when in fact it is more likely our ability to communicate that allows us to develop shared rules of grammar. Humans have fundamental social and communicative capacities that undergird our abilities to speak a language or engage in shared ritual performances. It is these more fundamental capacities, not their manifestation in a particular system of grammar or ritual norms, that provide the root explanation of our ability to communicate or to live together harmoniously. The Xunzi-Zhuangzi dialectic suggests that ritual is indispensable, but normatively justified rituals will be less rigid, less comprehensive, less fastidious, and more spontaneous than a Xunzian theorist would allow. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s11841-012-0303-7 Authors Chris Fraser, Department of Philosophy, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527. (shrink)
What is the purpose of social science and management research? Do scholars/researchers have a responsibility to generate insights and knowledge that are of practical (implementable) value and validity? -/- We are told we live in turbulent and changing times, should this not provide an important opportunity for management researchers to provide understanding and guidance? Yet there is widespread concern about the efficacy of much research: -/- These are some of the puzzles/pressing problems that Chris Argyris addresses in this short (...) book. -/- Argyris is one of the best known management scholars in the world - a leading light whose work has consistently addressed fundamental organizational questions, and who has provided some of the key concepts and building blocks of our understanding of organizational learning - single and double learning, theory in use, and espoused theory etc. -/- In this book he questions many of the assumptions of organizational theory and research, and his investigation is not confined to academic analysis. He also scrutinizes that capacity for 'unproductive reasoning' (self-deception and rationalization) that is common amongst managers, consultants, and indeed more generally. As well as engaging with the work of leading organizational researchers (Sennett, Gabriel, Burgelman, Czarniawska, Grint, for example)he also ponders the work of the consultants, commentators, and accountants who endorsed Enron. -/- Throughout his purpose is to affirm the goal and values of useful knowledge. His style/enquiry is direct but fair, challenging, if at times uncompromising. Drawing on his own wealth of experience of researching and working with organizations, this book will be a reference point for all concerned to develop useful knowledge and confront the defences and deceptions that are only too commonplace in the business and academic worlds. (shrink)