One new tradition that has emerged from early research on autonomous robots is embodied cognitive science. This paper describes the relationship between embodied cognitive science and a related tradition, synthetic psychology. It is argued that while both are synthetic, embodied cognitive science is antirepresentational while synthetic psychology still appeals to representations. It is further argued that modern connectionism offers a medium for conducting synthetic psychology, provided that researchers analyze the internal representations that their networks develop. The paper then provides a (...) detailed example of the synthetic approach by showing how the construction (and subsequent analysis) of a connectionist network can be used to contribute to a theory of how humans solve Piaget's classic balance scale task. (shrink)
In three experiments we tested hypotheses derived from the goal specificity literature using a real-world physics task. In the balance-scale paradigm participants predict the state of the apparatus based on a configuration of weights at various distances from the fulcrum. Non-specific goals (NSG) have been shown to encourage hypothesis testing, which facilitates rule discovery, whereas specific goals (SG) do not. We showed that this goal specificity effect depends on task difficulty. The NSG strategy led to rule induction among some participants. (...) Among non-discoverers, SG participants were faster and more accurate on difficult problems than NSG participants. The use of misleading exemplars (scale configurations that obscured the rule governing outcomes) led to fixation on inappropriate hypotheses for NSG but not SG participants. When more diagnostic learning exemplars were used, NSG non-discoverers still performed worse than SG participants on difficult problems. SG participants also outperformed NSG participants on a post-test of difficult problems. These findings qualify the generality of goal specificity effects. (shrink)
How do we know right from wrong? Do we even have moral knowledge? Moral epistemology studies these and related questions about our understanding of virtue and vice. It is one of philosophy’s perennial problems, reaching back to Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Hume and Kant, and has recently been the subject of intense debate as a result of findings in developmental and social psychology. Throughout the book Zimmerman argues that our belief in moral knowledge can survive sceptical challenges. He also (...) draws on a rich range of examples from Plato’s Meno and Dickens’ David Copperfield to Bernard Madoff and Saddam Hussein. (shrink)
This extensively revised and expanded edition of van Inwagen and Zimmerman’s popular collection of readings in metaphysics now features twenty-two additional selections, new sections on existence and reality, and an updated editorial commentary. Collects classic and contemporary readings in metaphysics Answers some of the most puzzling questions about our world and our place in it Covers an unparalleled range of topics Now includes a new section on existence and reality, expanded discussions on many classic issues, and an updated editorial (...) commentary. (shrink)
Every choice we make is set against a background of massive ignorance about our past, our future, our circumstances, and ourselves. Philosophers are divided on the moral significance of such ignorance. Some say that it has a direct impact on how we ought to behave - the question of what our moral obligations are; others deny this, claiming that it only affects how we ought to be judged in light of the behaviour in which we choose to engage - the (...) question of what responsibility we bear for our choices. Michael Zimmerman claims that our ignorance has an important bearing on both questions, and offers an account of moral obligation and moral responsibility that is sharply at odds with the prevailing wisdom. His book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in ethics. (shrink)
Property dualism is enjoying a slight resurgence in popularity, these days; substance dualism, not so much. But it is not as easy as one might think to be a property dualist and a substance materialist. The reasons for being a property dualist support the idea that some phenomenal properties (or qualia) are as fundamental as the most basic physical properties; but what material objects could be the bearers of the qualia? If even some qualia require an adverbial construal (if they (...) are modifications of the thing that is conscious because of them, not properties of something else to which the subject of consciousness is related), then the property dualist can be driven to speculative forms of materialism none of which, at this point, looks more likely to be true than the more modest versions of emergent dualism defended by contemporary substance dualists. (shrink)
The paper has two parts: First, I describe a relatively popular thesis in the philosophy of propositional attitudes, worthy of the name “taking tense seriously”; and I distinguish it from a family of views in the metaphysics of time, namely, the A-theories (or what are sometimes called “tensed theories of time”). Once the distinction is in focus, a skeptical worry arises. Some A-theorists maintain that the difference between past, present, and future, is to be drawn in terms of what exists: (...) growing-block theorists eschew ontological commitment to future entities; presentists, to future and past entities. Others think of themselves as A-theorists but exclude no past or future things from their ontology. The metaphysical skeptic suspects that their attempt to articulate an “eternalist” version of the A-theory collapses into merely “taking tense seriously” — a thesis that does not imply the A-theory. The second half of the paper is the search for a stable eternalist A-theory. It includes discussion of temporary intrinsics, temporal parts, and truth. (shrink)
The ‘friends of temporal parts’ and their opponents disagree about how things persist through time. The former, who hold what is sometimes called a ‘4D’ theory of persistence, typically claim that all objects that last for any period of time are spread out through time in the same way that spatially extended objects are spread out through space — a different part for each region that the object fills. David Lewis calls this manner of persisting ‘perdurance’. The opposing, ‘3D’ theory (...) has it that at least some objects do not persist in this manner; they ‘endure’ through time by ‘being wholly present at more than one time’.1 A related dispute pits ‘presentists’ against ‘non-presentists’. Presentists hold that the only things that really exist are those that exist now, at the present moment; and nonpresentists believe in something like a ‘block-universe’ in which non-simultaneous objects and events nevertheless co-exist (in a tenseless or non-temporal sense). Of late, the relations between these four positions have come under considerable scrutiny.2 As Ned Markosian has pointed out, it would be surprising if commitment to a perdurance or endurance theory of persistence automatically foreclosed one’s options in the presentism—non-presentism debate. But, says Markosian, that is just what the standard formulations of the perdurance and endurance theories imply.3 David Lewis has set the terms of the debate; in his usage, someone who thinks that all persisting objects endure would be said to hold the following. (shrink)
In defending his interest-relative account of knowledge in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley relies heavily on intuitions about several bank cases. We experimentally test the empirical claims that Stanley seems to make concerning our common-sense intuitions about these bank cases. Additionally, we test the empirical claims that Jonathan Schaffer seems to make in his critique of Stanley. We argue that our data impugn what both Stanley and Schaffer claim our intuitions about such cases are. To account for these (...) results, one must develop a better conception of the connection between a subject's interests and her body of knowledge than those offered by Stanley and Schaffer. (shrink)
McTaggart gave the name “A-series” to “that series of positions which runs from the far past through the near past to the present, and then from the present through the near future to the far future, or conversely”; and the name “B-series” to “[t]he series of positions which runs from earlier to later, or conversely”.1 McTaggart’s rather bland labels have stuck, and been put to further use. The “determinations” (his word), or properties, being past, being present, and being future are (...) generally called the “A-properties”. The relations of being earlier than, being later than, and being simultaneous with, are the “B-relations”. These days, philosophers are said to hold an “A-theory of time” or a “B-theory of time”, depending upon their attitudes to these properties and relations. Some philosophers suppose that there are objective distinctions between what is present and what is past and what is future. In order to tell the full truth about time, they think, one must advert to the A-properties. Naturally enough, such philosophers are called “A-theorists”. Although A-theorists disagree about many details, they agree that the present is distinguished from past and future in a deep and important way. Exactly how to describe this difference is a vexed question, and some philosophers have argued that would-be A-theorists inevitably fail to stake out a coherent position.2 I shall not attempt a full-scale defense of the coherence of the A-. (shrink)
Mark Johnston’s book, Saving God (Princeton University Press, 2010) has two main goals, one negative and the other positive: (1) to eliminate the Old Gods of the major Western monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as candidates for the role of “the Highest One”; (2) to introduce the real Highest One, a panentheistic deity worthy of devotion and capable of extending to us the grace needed to transform us from inwardly-turned sinners to practitioners of agape. In this review, I argue that (...) Johnston’s attack upon traditional forms of monotheism has less force than the criticism of those he calls “undergraduate atheists” (e.g., Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins); and that his candidate for Highest One is not the greatest possible being, and could not play the redemptive role cast for it by Johnston. (shrink)
My comments have two parts. I begin by laying out the argument that seems to me to be at the core of Olson’s thinking about human persons; and I suggest a problem with his reasons for accepting one of its premises. The premise is warranted by its platitudinous or commonsensical status; but Olson’s arguments lead him to conclusions that undermine the family of platitudes to which it belongs. Then I’ll raise a question about how Olson should construe the vagueness that (...) would seem to infect the boundaries of human animals. (shrink)
Many theists reject the notion that God’s eternity consists in his timelessness — i.e., in his lacking temporal extension and failing to possess properties at any times. Some of these “divine temporalists” hold that, for philosophical reasons, it is impossible to accept both the timelessness of God and the view that God knows what happens at different times and brings about events in time. 1 Many reject divine timelessness as a dubious import from Platonism with no biblical or theological warrant.2 (...) And some question the very intelligibility of the doctrine. (shrink)
Neo-Cartesian approaches to belief place greater evidential weight on a subject's introspective judgments than do neo-behaviorist accounts. As a result, the two views differ on whether our absent-minded and weak-willed actions are guided by belief. I argue that simulationist accounts of the concept of belief are committed to neo-Cartesianism, and, though the conceptual and empirical issues that arise are inextricably intertwined, I discuss experimental results that should point theory-theorists in that direction as well. Belief is even less closely connected to (...) behaviour than most contemporary functionalists allow. (shrink)
Recent philosophical discussions of self-knowledge have focused on basic cases: our knowledge of our own thoughts, beliefs, sensations, experiences, preferences, and intentions. Empiricists argue that we acquire this sort of self-knowledge through inner perception; rationalists assign basic self-knowledge an even more secure source in reason and conceptual understanding. I try to split the difference. Although our knowledge of our own beliefs and thoughts is conceptually insured, our knowledge of our experiences is relevantly like our perceptual knowledge of the external world.
Many philosophers hold that whether an act is overall morally obligatory is an ‘objective’ matter, many that it is a ‘subjective’ matter, and some that it is both. The idea that it is or can be both may seem to promise a helpful answer to the question ‘What ought I to do when I do not know what I ought to do?’ In this article, three broad views are distinguished regarding what it is that obligation essentially concerns: the maximization of (...) actual value, the maximization of expected value, and the perceived maximization of actual value. The first and third views are rejected; the second view is then refined and defended. The unfortunate upshot is that there may be no very helpful answer to the question just mentioned. As to the question posed in the title of the article, the answer unsurprisingly depends on what ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ are taken to mean. (Published Online November 24 2006). (shrink)
Recent years have brought relativistic accounts of knowledge, first-person belief, and future contingents to prominence. I discuss these views, distinguish non-trivial from trivial forms of relativism, and then argue against relativism in all of its substantive varieties.
The principal aim of this book is to develop and defend an analysis of the concept of moral obligation. The analysis is neutral regarding competing substantive theories of obligation, whether consequentialist or deontological in character. What it seeks to do is generate new solutions to a range of philosophical problems concerning obligation and its application. Amongst these problems are deontic paradoxes, the supersession of obligation, conditional obligation, prima facie obligation, actualism and possibilism, dilemmas, supererogation, and cooperation. By virtue of its (...) normative neutrality, the analysis provides a theoretical framework within which competing theories of obligation can be developed and assessed. This study is a major contribution to metaethics that will be of particular interest to all philosophers concerned with normative ethical theory. (shrink)
Lynne Rudder Baker and many others think that paradigmatic instances of one object constituting another — a piece of marble constituting a statue, or an aggregate of particles constituting a living body — involve two distinct (i.e., not numerically identical) objects in the same place at the same time.1 Some who say this believe in the doctrine of temporal parts2; but others, like Baker, reject this doctrine.3 Such philosophers, whom one might call “coincidentalists”, cannot say that these objects manage to (...) share space in virtue of sharing a temporal part confined to just that place and time. But what can or should coincidentalists say about the nature of constitution? (shrink)
The nature of persons is a perennial topic of debate in philosophy, currently enjoying something of a revival. In this volume for the first time metaphysical debates about the nature of human persons are brought together with related debates in philosophy of religion and theology. Fifteen specially written essays explore idealist, dualist, and materialist views of persons, discuss specifically Christian conceptions of the value of embodiment, and address four central topics in philosophical theology: incarnation, resurrection, original sin, and the trinity.
Hume's claim that reason is a slave to the passions involves both a causal thesis: reason cannot cause action without the aid of the passions, and an evaluative thesis: it is improper to evaluate our actions in terms of their reasonableness. On my reading, Hume motivates his causal thesis by arguing that accurate representation is the function of reason, where a faculty of this kind cannot produce action on its own. (The interpretation helps vindicate Hume of the common charge that (...) he "begs the question" against his opponents.) But Hume's causal thesis does not entail his evaluative thesis, and his commitment to the latter is incredibly thin. According to Hume's positive theory, our evaluative judgments originate in reason integrated with sympathy or humanity. And, I argue, the resulting view depicts us as having substantive, non-instrumental reasons to fulfill our obligations to both prudence and morality. (shrink)
Many writers accept the following thesis about responsibility: (R) For one to be responsible for something is for one to be such that it is fitting that one be the object of some reactive attitude with respect to that thing. This thesis bears a striking resemblance to a thesis about value that is also accepted by many writers: (V) For something to be good (or neutral, or bad) is for it to be such that it is fitting that it be (...) the object of some pro-attitude (or indifference, or some contra-attitude). V has been the subject of intense debate in recent years, in part because of its incorporation into what has come to be called the “buck-passing” account of value. In particular, V is open to three challenges: that it is not necessarily the case that whatever is good is the fitting object of a pro-attitude; that it is not necessarily the case that whatever is the fitting object of a pro-attitude is good; and that, even if there is a strict equivalence between what is good and what is the fitting object of a pro-attitude, still the former is not to be analyzed in terms of the latter. The resemblance between V and R has not been previously commented on, but, once it is recognized, it is clear that R is open to challenges that resemble those to which V is vulnerable. This paper explores both the challenges to V and the parallel challenges to R and discusses responses that may be given to these challenges. The interrelation between V and R is then examined, and a general lesson is drawn concerning how to adjudicate disputes about the nature of moral responsibility. (shrink)
The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers, and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in technology. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact email@example.com.
The ancient question of what a good life consists in is currently the focus of intense debate. There are two aspects to this debate: the first concerns how the concept of a good life is to be understood; the second concerns what kinds of life fall within the extension of this concept. In this paper, I will attend only to the first, conceptual aspect and not to the second, substantive aspect. More precisely, I will address the preliminary, underlying question of (...) how to understand what it is in general for something to be good for someone, from which an understanding of the more particular concept of a good life may be derived. (shrink)
This paper considers three general views about the nature of moral obligation and three particular answers (with which these views are typically associated) concerning the following question: if on Monday you lend me a book that I promise to return to you by Friday, what precisely is my obligation to you and what constitutes its fulfillment? The example is borrowed from W.D. Ross, who in The Right and the Good proposed what he called the Objective View of obligation, from (...) which he inferred what is here called the First Answer to the question. In Foundations of Ethics Ross repudiated the Objective View in favor of the Subjective View, from which he inferred a Second Answer. In this paper each of the Objective and Subjective Views and the First and Second Answers are rejected in favor of the Prospective View and a Third Answer. The implications of the Prospective View for another question closely related to the original question are then investigated: what precisely is your right regarding my returning the book and what constitutes its satisfaction? (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics offers the most authoritative and compelling guide to this diverse and fertile field of philosophy. Twenty-four of the world's most distinguished specialists provide brand-new essays about 'what there is': what kinds of things there are, and what relations hold among entities falling under various categories. They give the latest word on such topics as identity, modality, time, causation, persons and minds, freedom, and vagueness. The Handbook's unrivaled breadth and depth make it the definitive reference work (...) for students and academics across the philosophical spectrum. (shrink)
Ordinary moral thinking about morality and rationality is inconsistent. To arrive at a view of morality that is as faithful to common thought as consistency will allow we must admit that it is not always irrational to knowingly act against the weight of reasons.
Intrinsic value has traditionally been thought to lie at the heart of ethics. Philosophers use a number of terms to refer to such value. The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.” Extrinsic value is value that is not intrinsic.
‘Molinism’, in contemporary usage, is the name for a theory about the workings of divine providence. Its defenders include some of the most prominent contemporary Protestant and Catholic philosophical theologians.¹ Molinism is often said to be the only way to steer a middle..
Mark Johnston’s book, Saving God (Princeton University Press, 2010) has two main goals, one negative and the other positive: (1) to eliminate the Old gods of the major Western monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as candidates for the role of “the Highest One”; (2) to introduce the real Highest One, a panentheistic deity worthy of devotion and capable of extending to us the grace needed to transform us from inwardly-turned sinners to practitioners of agape. In this review, we argue that (...) Johnston’s attack on traditional forms of monotheism has less force than his criticism of the “undergraduate atheists” (e.g., Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins); and that his candidate for Highest One is not the greatest possible being, and could not play the role Johnston casts for it. -/- . (shrink)
Ray Kurzweil and others have posited that the confluence of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and genetic engineering will soon produce posthuman beings that will far surpass us in power and intelligence. Just as black holes constitute a ldquo;singularityrdquo; from which no information can escape, posthumans will constitute a ldquo;singularity:rdquo; whose aims and capacities lie beyond our ken. I argue that technological posthumanists, whether wittingly or unwittingly, draw upon the long-standing Christian discourse of ldquo;theosis,rdquo; according to which humans are capable of (...) being God or god-like. From St. Paul and Luther to Hegel and Kurzweil, the idea of human self-deification plays a prominent role. Hegel in particular emphasizes that God becomes wholly actualized only in the process by which humanity achieves absolute consciousness. Kurzweil agrees that God becomes fully actual only through historical processes that illuminate and thus transform the entire universe. The difference is that for Kurzweil and many other posthumanists, our offspringmdash;the posthumansmdash;will carry out this extraordinary process. What will happen to Home sapiens in the meantime is a daunting question. (shrink)
It is not easy to be a materialist and yet believe that there is a way for human beings to survive death. Peter van Inwagen identifies the central obstacle the materialist faces: Namely, the need to posit appropriate “immanent-causal” connections between my body as it is at death and some living body elsewhere or elsewhen. I offer a proposal, consistent with van Inwagen’s own materialist metaphysics, for making materialism compatible with the possibility of survival.
Constitutivist accounts of self-knowledge argue that a noncontingent, conceptual relation holds between our first-order mental states and our introspective awareness of them. I explicate a constitutivist account of our knowledge of our own beliefs and defend it against criticisms recently raised by Christopher Peacocke. According to Peacocke, constitutivism says that our second-order introspective beliefs are groundless. I show that Peacocke’s arguments apply to reliabilism not to constitutivism per se, and that by adopting a functionalist account of direct accessibility a constitutivist (...) can avoid reliabilism. I then argue that the resulting view is preferable to Peacocke’s own account of self-knowledge. (shrink)
The fitting-attitudes analysis of value, which states that something's being good consists in its being the fitting object of some pro-attitude, has recently been the focus of intense debate. Many objections have been levelled against this analysis. One objection to it concerns the ‘challenge from partiality’, according to which it can be fitting to display partiality toward objects of equal value. Several responses to the challenge have been proposed. This paper criticizes these and other responses and then offers a response (...) that, it is claimed, solves the challenge. (shrink)
Burge follows Descartes in claiming that the category of conceptually self-verifying judgments includes (but is not restricted to) judgments that give rise to sincere assertions of sentences of the form, 'I am thinking that p'. In this paper I argue that Burge’s Cartesian insight is hard to reconcile with Fregean accounts of the content of thought. Burge's intuitively compelling claim that cogito judgments are conceptually self-verifying poses a real challenge to neo-Fregean theories of content.
In "Freedom and Resentment," P. F. Strawson argues that the "profound opposition" between the objective and reactive stances is quite compatible with our rationally retaining the latter as important elements in a recognizably human life. Unless he can establish this, he has no hope of establishing his version of compatibilism in the free will debate. But, because objectivity is associated so intimately with the rationally conducted explanation of action, it is not clear how the opposition of these stances is compatible (...) with the rationality of the reactive attitudes. More to the point, it is not clear how an intellectual activity like shifting from the reactive to the objective stance can dispel reactive attitudes without thereby also rationally disqualifying them. I solve this puzzle by drawing on the idea that one cognitive component of emotions is the rationally optional "shift of attention," a feature which in turn helps to explain a lot about the role reactive emotions can play in the fixation of belief. (shrink)
Although the ability to perform gene therapy in human germ-line cells is still hypothetical, the rate of progress in molecular and cell biology suggests that it will only be a matter of time before reliable clinical techniques will be within reach. Three sets of arguments are commonly advanced against developing those techniques, respectively pointing to the clinical risks, social dangers and better alternatives. In this paper we analyze those arguments from the perspective of the client-centered ethos that traditionally governs practice (...) in medical genetics. This perspective clarifies the merits of these arguments for geneticists, and suggests useful new directions for the professional discussion of germ-line gene therapy. It suggests, for example, that the much discussed prospect of germ-line therapy in human pre-embryos may always be more problematic for medical genetics than adult germ-line interventions, even though the latter faces greater technical difficulties. (shrink)
This paper argues that Moore's principle of organic unities is false. Advocates of the principle have failed to take note of the distinction between actual intrinsic value and virtual intrinsic value. Purported cases of organic unities, where the actual intrinsic value of a part of a whole is allegedly defeated by the actual intrinsic value of the whole itself, are more plausibly seen as cases where the part in question has no actual intrinsic value but instead a plurality of merely (...) virtual intrinsic values. (shrink)
In a series of thought-provoking and original essays, eighteen leading philosophers engage in head-to-head debates of nine of the most cutting edge topics in contemporary metaphysics. Explores the fundamental questions in contemporary metaphysics in a series of eighteen original essays - 16 of which are newly commissioned for this volume Features an introductory essay by the editors on the nature of metaphysics to prepare the reader for ongoing discussions Offers readers the unique opportunity to observe leading philosophers engage in head-to-head (...) debate on cutting-edge metaphysical topics Provides valuable insights into the flourishing field of contemporary metaphysics. (shrink)
Recent Work on Intrinsic Value brings together for the first time many of the most important and influential writings on the topic of intrinsic value to have appeared in the last half-century. During this period, inquiry into the nature of intrinsic value has intensified to such an extent that at the moment it is one of the hottest topics in the field of theoretical ethics. The contributions to this volume have been selected in such a way that all of the (...) fundamental questions concerning the nature of intrinsic value are treated in depth and from a variety of viewpoints. These questions include how to understand the concept of intrinsic value, what sorts of things can have intrinsic value, and how to compute intrinsic value. The editors have added an introduction that ties these questions together and places the contributions in context, and they have also provided an extensive bibliography. The result is a comprehensive, balanced, and detailed picture of current thinking about intrinsic value, one that provides an indispensable backdrop against which future writings on the topic may be assessed. (shrink)
No one has done more than John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza toadvance our understanding of the important dispute in the theoryof responsibility between structuralists and historicists.This makes it all the more important to take the measure of Responsibility and Control, their mostrecent contribution to the historicist side of the discussion. In this paper I examine some novelfeatures of their most recent version of responsiblity-historicism,especially their new notions of ``moderate reasons-responsiveness'''' and ``ownership-of-agency.'''' Fischer and Ravizza intend these newelements to solve (...) two problems untouched by earlier versions of theirtheory: the ``problem of strange preference patterns'''' and the ``reasons-responsivenessproblem of induction.'''' I argue that they cannot solve these problemswithin the theoretical strictures they place upon themselves, namely aminimalist meta-ethics of value and practical reason, and attentiononly to certain formal features of preference-acquisition. I concludethat historicist compatibilists cannot hope to meet the challenge ofstructuralist compatibilism, from the one side, and of incompatibilism,from the other, unless they take on the full task of accounting for thedifference between the child''s acquisition (via education) of autonomoussubstantive preferences and values and her acquisition (viaindoctrination) of heteronomous ones. (shrink)
 If only Boghossian’s eminently reasonable book were required reading for every freshman considering entrance into the humanities—the next generation of lay-people would be saved from the uncomprehending repetition of relativist slogans, and future scholars would be kept from mounting baroque, ineﬀectual attempts at their defense. Fear of Knowledge is engaging, easy to read, and hard to dispute. It’s a satisfying work for those in the choir who will enjoy seeing written on the page precisely what we would say to (...) constructivists were we endowed with Boghossian’s rhetorical elegance. And a great many in the po-mo congregation can expect the book sent to them as suggested reading by their more analytically minded colleagues. I’ve already ordered a few in an attempt to stave oﬀ inane conversations I would otherwise certainly face this holiday season.  Boghossian begins by addressing a relativistic claim he calls equal validity, ‘that there are many radically diﬀerent yet “equally valid” ways of knowing the world, with science being just one of them’ (p. 2). As Boghossian surely re-. (shrink)
I have argued that contemporary humeans face a trilemma: either (i) give up temporal parts, (ii) deny the humean supervenience of causal relations, or (iii) deny the possibility of there being a difference between rotating and nonrotating homogeneous spheres. Mark Scala ("Homogeneous Simples", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 64, 2002) describes an interesting class of seemingly possible objects, spinning and stationary simples; and argues their possibility undermines my argument. I argue that it does not. And I conclude with a more (...) general assessment of the status of objections to humeanism from the possibility of homogeneous objects in motion. (shrink)
The rationale for pursuing the development and use of Germ-Line selection and modification techniques is examined in this essay. The argument is put forth that it is the moral obligation of the medical profession to make available to the public any technology that can cure or prevent pathology leading to death and disability, in both the present and future generations. Society should pursue the development of strategies for preventing or correcting, at the Germ-Line level, genetic features that will lead to, (...) or enhance, pathological conditions. Because prenatal screening and even early embryo screening and selection can prevent only a subset of known genetic disorders, direct genetic intervention is the only way in which certain couples can exercise their rights to reproductive health. Finally, the arguments most often raised against the pursuit of and use of methods for Germ-Line intervention shall be discussed. Keywords: Germ-Line therapy, pre-implantation embryo screening gamete modification, risk and uncertainty CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Integral Ecology uses multiple perspectives to analyze environmental problems. Four of Integral Ecology's major analytical perspectives (known as the quadrants) correspond to the four divisions of the liberal arts and sciences: fine arts, natural science, social science, and humanities. Integral Ecology also utilizes the analytical perspective provided by the idea of cultural moral development. This perspective helps to reveal how stakeholders at different developmental stages disclose a phenomenon, in this case, a tropical forest that loggers propose to clear-cut. Integral Ecology (...) takes into account all pertinent perspectives, in order to arrive at the best possible solution to environmental problems and conflicts. (shrink)
Much has been written about the offshoring phenomenon from an economic efficiency perspective. Most authors have attempted to measure the net economic effects of the strategy and many purport to show that “in the long run” that benefits will outweigh the costs. There is also a relatively large literature on implementation which describes the best way to manage the offshoring process. But what is the morality of offshoring? What is its “rightness” or “wrongness?” Little analysis of the ethics of offshoring (...) has been completed thus far. This paper develops a preliminary framework for analyzing the ethics of offshoring and then applies this framework to basic case study of offshoring in the U.S. The paper following discusses the definition of offshoring; shifts to the basic philosophical grounding of the ethical concepts; develops a template for conducting an ethics analysis of offshoring; applies this template using basic data for offshoring in the United States; and conducts a preliminary ethical analysis of the phenomenon in that country, using a form of utilitarianism as an analytical baseline. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research. (shrink)