This unpublished paper outlines a conception of habilitation into a robust form of health needed for lives of active, effective agency. (A revised version of this conception of health and healthy agency is published in Lawrence C Becker, Habilitation, Health, and Agency (Oxford University Press, 2012.) Such healthy agency is described in terms of six physiological and psychological factors (health-related traits) that vary quantitatively along three dimensions. The same six factors will describe not only healthy agency but the entire (...) range of health states. Consequently, what can be called the habilitation framework is useful for health in general, as it relates to theories of distributive justice. Further, as I will argue, the framework is a useful way of organizing an account of distributive justice generally. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Dialektik ist eine Modevokabel geworden. In seinem Aufsatz geht Becker ihren philosophiegeschichtlichen Quellen nach. Er zeigt, daÃ die begrifflichen Konstruktionselemente der dialektischen Methode von Hegel und Marx dem SelbstbewuÃtseinstheorem der klassischen Transzendentalphilosophie entstammen. Die Wurzeln dieses Theorems reichen bis zu Descartes zurÃ¼ck. Die konsequenteste Ausbildung hat es jedoch erst in der Philosophie des deutschen Idealismus erhalten. B. macht klar, unter welchen Bedingungen es zu Marxens âmaterialistischer UmstÃ¼lpungâ der dialektischen Methode kommen konnte. In einer Kurzanalyse der Warentheorie von Marx (...) wird deutlich gemacht, wie Dialektik als Methode im Rahmen einer Ã¶konomischen Theorie fungiert und welche â irrationalen â Konsequenzen sie in diesem Ã¶konomischen und geschichtsphilosophischen Rahmen bewirkt. (shrink)
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity. From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are (...) cast, has demanded historical examination. The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity." Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice. The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science. Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. William Clark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University. (shrink)
Epistemic luck has been the focus of much discussion recently. Perhaps the most general knowledge-precluding type is veritic luck, where a belief is true but might easily have been false. Veritic luck has two sources, and so eliminating it requires two distinct conditions for a theory of knowledge. I argue that, when one sets out those conditions properly, a solution to the generality problem for reliabilism emerges.
Timothy Williamson has provided damaging counterexamples to Robert Nozick’s sensitivity principle. The examples are based on Williamson’s anti-luminosity arguments, and they show how knowledge requires a margin for error that appears to be incompatible with sensitivity. I explain how Nozick can rescue sensitivity from Williamson’s counterexamples by appeal to a specific conception of the methods by which an agent forms a belief. I also defend the proposed conception of methods against Williamson’s criticisms.
I argue that Quine''s famous claim, any statement can be held true come what may, demands an interpretation that implies that the meanings of the expressions in the held-true statement change. The intended interpretation of this claim is not clear from its context, and so it is often misunderstood by philosophers (and is misleadingly taught to their students). I explain Fodor and Lepore''s (1992) view that the above interpretation would render Quine''s assertion entirely trivial and reply, on both textual and (...) philosophical grounds, that only this trivial reading is consistent with Quine''s famous denial of analyticity. I also explain briefly how the trivial reading lends support to meaning holism, which, regardless of one''s views of its consequences, is an important position in the philosophy of language and mind. (shrink)
There’s something deeply right in the idea that knowledge requires an ability to discriminate truth from falsity. Failing to incorporate some version of the discrimination requirement into one’s epistemology generates cases of putative knowledge that are at best problematic. On the other hand, many theories that include a discrimination requirement thereby appear to entail violations of closure. This prima facie tension is resolved nicely in Jonathan Schaffer’s contrastivism, which I describe herein. The contrastivist take on relevant alternatives is implausible, however, (...) and this then threatens to undermine contrastivism’s anti-skeptical results. (shrink)
This unpublished paper from 2004 argues that the agenda for positive psychology laid out by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman in their massive work Character Strengths and Virtues: a Handbook and Classification (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) might be improved by making several conceptual changes: 1) by developing general concepts of virtue (singular), and of positive health to clarify the relationships between specific virtues and competing conceptions of positive health; 2) by aligning the project more firmly with eudaimonistic accounts (...) of virtue that fit comfortably with scientific psychology; and 3) by aligning the project more firmly with the health sciences than with ethics and philosophy generally. The paper was developed from a talk prepared for the Working Conference on The Philosophical History of Character Strengths and Virtues, The University of Pennsylvania, September 2-4, 2004. (shrink)
Nuyen (this journal, vol 20, no. 4) contrasts "objectivity" in the natural science with a relation of "understanding" between knower and object in the human sciences. I present a different approach to natural science--a perspective in which the objects of the natural sciences are constructions that arise out of the interaction of the knower and the knowable world. From this perspective, it is inappropriate to to distinguish between the natural sciences and the human sciences in the way Nuyen does. Instead, (...) the crucial point is that if the human sciences refrain from abstractions and generalizations in favor of the particularities of objects and situations, then they must employ some other way to constitute a separation between theory and data in order for the work to be "scientific" as that term is used in regard to the natural sciences. (shrink)
We model happiness as a measurement tool used to rank alternative actions. Evolution favors a happiness function that measures the individual’s success in relative terms. The optimal function, in particular, is based on a time-varying reference point –or performance benchmark –that is updated over time in a statistically optimal way in order to match the individual’s potential. Habits and peer comparisons arise as special cases of such updating process. This updating also results in a volatile level of happiness that continuously (...) reverts to its long-term mean. Throughout, we draw a parallel with a problem of optimal incentives, which allows us to apply statistical insights from agency theory to the study of happiness. (shrink)
The ethical behavior of marketing managers was examined by analyzing their responses to a series of different types of ethical dilemmas presented in vignette form. The ethical dilemmas addressed dealt with the issues of (1) coercion and control, (2) conflict of interest, (3) the physical environment, (4) paternalism, and (5) personal integrity. Responses were analyzed to discover whether managers' behavior varied by type of issue faced or whether there is some continuity to ethical behavior which transcends the type of ethical (...) problem addressed. (shrink)
Reliabilism is a theory that countenances basic knowledge, that is, knowledge from a reliable source, without requiring that the agent knows the source is reliable. Critics (especially Cohen 2002 ) have argued that such theories generate all-too-easy, intuitively implausible cases of higher-order knowledge based on inference from basic knowledge. For present purposes, the criticism might be recast as claiming that reliabilism implausibly generates cases of understanding from brute, basic knowledge. I argue that the easy knowledge (or easy understanding) criticism rests (...) on an implicit mischaracterization of the notion of a reliable process. Properly understood, reliable processes do not permit the transition from basic knowledge to understanding based on inference. (shrink)
For several centuries, economists, sociologists, and philosophers have been concerned with the magnitude and e¤ects of inequality. Economists have concentrated on inequality in income and wealth, and have linked this inequality to social welfare, aggregate savings and investment, economic development, and other issues. They have explained the observed degree of inequality by the e¤ect of random shocks, inherited position, and inequality..
For the philosophy of medicine, there are two things of interest about the stoic account of moral norms, quite apart from whether the rest of stoic ethical theory is compelling. One is the stoic version of naturalism: its account of practical reasoning, its solution to the is/ought problem, and its contention that norms for creating, sustaining, or restoring human health are tantamount to moral norms. The other is the stoic account of human agency: its description of the intimate connections between (...) human health, rational agency, and moral norms. There is practical guidance to be gained from exploring those connections, whether or not one is ready to follow stoic moral theory all the way to its austere end. (shrink)
Constructivist theory must choose between the hypothesis that felt perturbation drives cognitive development (the priority of felt perturbation) and the hypothesis that the particular process that eventually produces new cognitive structures first produces felt perturbation (the continuity of process). There is ambivalence in Piagetian theory regarding this choice. The prevalent account of constructivist theory adopts the priority of felt perturbation. However, on occasion Piaget has explicitly rejected it, simultaneously endorsing the continuity of process. First, I explicate and support this latter (...) position, arguing that felt perturbation emerges after the construction of a new cognitive structure has already begun. Next, I discuss the broader significance of rejecting the priority of felt perturbation in terms of a distinction between two types of theory of effective change, labeled Lamarckian and Darwinian in analogy with familiar theories of evolutionary change. Rejecting the priority of felt perturbation allows the development of a Darwinian perspective. In turn, the Darwinian perspective offers advantages for elaborating the analogy Piaget proposed between consciousness and the relation of form and content. (shrink)
In one form or another, social norms governing reciprocal behavior between individuals exist in all human societies of record. Such norms are institutionalized in social, political, and legal practices; they are internalized as expectations and behavioral dispositions in individuals. But the content of those norms differs widely from society to society, individual to individual. This book gives a normative argument for a particular content for the norms of reciprocity – a particular account of the meaning of making a fitting and (...) proportional return to others for the good (or ill) received from them, as well as an account of how that content should be internalized as a virtue, and institutionalized as a practice. (shrink)
A comparison of attitudes among managers from France, Germany and the United States is made with respect to codes of ethics and ethical business philosophy. Findings are also compared with past studies by Baumhart and by Brenner and Molander where data are available. While the current data appear to be consistent with the past studies, there appear to be differences in attitudes among the managers from the three countries.
Many works intended to introduce interpretive issues in quantum mechanics present John von Neumann as having a view in which measurement produces a physical collapse in the system being measured. In this paper I argue that such a reading of von Neumann is inconsistent with what von Neumann actually says. I show that much of what he says makes no sense on the physical collapse reading, but falls into place if we assume he does not have such a view. I (...) show that the physical collapse view is based on an understanding of ‘state’ which von Neumann does not share. Introduction The standard reading of von Neumann The standard reading of von Neumann and Chapter VI The Chapter VI argument The Chapter V argument The Chapters III and IV argument Conclusion. (shrink)
After nearly three decades of discussion about sustainable development are we any nearer to achieving it? And do we even know what a sustainable world will look like for future generations? Early definitions of sustainable development were so broad as to allow a range of interpretations based largely on individual interests and anthropocentric needs. We are measuring the performance of countless indicators of sustainable development, but is this more an exercise in applying data than meaningful progress? This article explores the (...) ultimate goals of sustainable development and the most important means of achieving this by analyzing and comparing two frameworks designed to direct attention to the fundamental means and the ends of sustainable development. (shrink)
When external groups accuse a business organization of unethical practices, managers of the accused organization usually offer a communicative response to attempt to protect their organization's public image. Even though many researchers readily concur that analysis of these communicative responses is important to our understanding of business and society conflict, few investigations have focused on developing a theoretical framework for analyzing these communicative strategies used by managers. In addition, research in this area has suffered from a lack of empirical investigation. (...) In this paper we address both of these weaknesses in the existing literature. First, we explicate Impression Management Theory as an appropriate framework for studying organizational communicative responses, paying particular attention to the concept of accounts. Second, we critique previous investigations of organizational accounts and discuss the major contributions of our study. Third, we propose a coding system and content analyze the accounts offered by managers from 21 organizations that were recently the targets of consumer boycotts. Finally, we report the results of our empirical investigation and discuss ethical issues related to organizational accounts. (shrink)
The editors, working with a team of 325 renowned authorities in the field of ethics, have revised, expanded, and updated this classic encyclopedia. Along with the addition of 150 new entries, all of the original articles have been newly peer-reviewed and revised, bibliographies have been updated throughout, and the overall design of the work has been enhanced for easier access to cross-references and other reference features. New entries include * Aristotelian Ethics * Avicenna * Bad Faith * Beneficence * Categorical (...) and Hypothetical Imperatives * Cheating * Civil Liberty * Conventions * Dirty hands * Evolution * Fiduciary Relationships * Gay ethics * Genetic Engineering * Holocaust * Journalism * Killing/Letting Die * Moral Imagination * Narrative Ethics * Political correctness * Population Ethics * Public and 0rivate Morality * Racism, concepts of * and many more. (shrink)
The twentieth century may be considered the ultimate expression of Western ideals and philosophy: “civilized” man’s attempt to dominate “uncivilized” peoples and nature. The twenty-first century soberingly proclaims the shortsightedness and ultimate unsustainability of this philosophy. This paper shows the limitations of the modern Western worldview, and the practical applicability of ideas to be found in Asian philosophies.
Some ambiguities in the verb ‘to know’ are analyzed, and it is argued that “undefeatably justified true belief” is the meaning of most philosophical interest with respect to specifying truth conditions for ‘S knows that p’. Two general conditions for an adequate definition of ‘S knows that p’ are discussed. Then a proposal for a quasi-causal theory of knowledge is introduced and defended.