The paper examines the ethics of electronic monitoring for advertising purposes and the implications for Internet user privacy using as a backdrop DoubleClick Incs recent controversy over matching previously anonymous user profiles with personally identifiable information. It explores various ethical theories that are applicable to understand privacy issues in electronic monitoring. It is argued that, despite the fact that electronic monitoring always constitutes an invasion of privacy, it can still be ethically justified on both Utilitarian and Kantian grounds. From a (...) Utilitarian perspective the emphasis must be on minimizing potential harms. From a Kantian perspective the emphasis must be on giving users complete information so that they can make informed decisions as to whether they are willing to be monitored. Considering the Internet advertising industrys current actions, computer users and government regulators would be well advised, both practically and ethically, to move to a user control model in electronic monitoring. (shrink)
Many private business relationships are increasingly characterized by claims that certain actions should not be permitted since particular right claims are involved. Such claims should be taken seriously, but are they always ethically legitimate? This paper analyzes one context, the use of age as a rating variable in the pricing of automobile insurance, where such claims are made. By identifying, evaluating and assessing the relevant basis for the differentiation, actuarial equity, it is concluded that there is an ethical basis for (...) such a practice. The analysis also provides an equivalent means for considering other such analogous claims where actuarial equity is involved. (shrink)
This article presents the findings from an exploratory empirical research investigation that assessed the content of selected Board Charters for 118 publicly traded companies listed on the TSX/S&P Composite Index. The Board Charter is considered to be the starting point in a Board's quest for creating a state of good governance within its organisation. However, the specific content of what a Board Charter actually contains has largely remained a mystery. The current study, therefore, was designed to identify what a (...) typical Board Charter looks like as well as determine the frequency with which various Board Charter elements are contained in them. Interestingly, this is the first study of its kind to shed light on the nature and content of this often confidential document which has only recently come into greater use. (shrink)
Abstract Jonathan Weisberg (Analysis, 70(3), pp. 431–438, 2010 ) argues that, given that life exists, the fact that the universe is fine-tuned for life does not confirm the design hypothesis. And if the fact that life exists confirms the design hypothesis, fine-tuning is irrelevant. So either way, fine-tuning has nothing to do with it. I will defend a design argument that survives Weisberg’s critique—the fact that life exists supports the design hypothesis, but it only does so given fine-tuning. Content Type (...) Journal Article Category Original Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s10670-011-9322-y Authors Darren Bradley, Philosophy Department, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031, USA Journal Erkenntnis Online ISSN 1572-8420 Print ISSN 0165-0106. (shrink)
What if you could, like a diamond forged through heat and pressure, transform every painful, scary, and stressful experience in your life into one that is meaningful, courageous, and inspiring? What if you were provided with the tools that allow you to tap and manifest the true power that exists within you--the power to shine? Are you ready to discover your path to peace? In this fascinating book, Dr. Darren Weissman shares ancient spiritual wisdom fused with a modern-day understanding (...) of the mind's relationship to biology and behavior that has implications not only for your health, but for the well-being of the entire planet. You'll learn how to use The LifeLine Technique Ô --a philosophy and technology for awakening your infinite potential for healing and wholeness--and share the experiences of scores of people whose lives have been forever changed as a result. Conscious visionaries pronounced more than 40 years ago that the road to peace is paved with the power of love. Dr. Weissman's book provides the steps you can use to learn to walk that path, and it will help you understand why it is your moral imperative to choose love over fear. (shrink)
This article presents global ethics as critical reflection on the nature, justification and application of a global ethic. Much of the article focuses on the nature of a global ethic as the content of global ethics, e.g. whether it is thick or thin, is about universal values or transnational responsibilities, is a set of values justified by a particular thinker, values widely shared or values universally accepted. Global ethics itself as a process is also examined. In the last part the (...) Earth Charter is examined as an example of a global ethic, and a case is made for regarding it, both in respect to its content and in respect to the senses in which it is and is not a global ethic, as an appropriate subject matter for global ethics. (shrink)
This paper offers two possible readings of the Earth Charter that are informed by current scholarship in the field of environmental politics. The first reading finds much in the document to suggest congruence with emerging discourses of cosmopolitanism and global environmental citizenship. The second reading, a more sceptical one, identifies aspects of the Earth Charter that seem more resonant with depoliticizing United Nations-style light green globalism than with an inclusive ethical vision of environmentalism. After setting out these two readings, I (...) argue that, although potentially undermining of its endorsability, thinking critically about problematic aspects of the Earth Charter is an exercise that may point in the direction of a cosmopolitan environmentalism that is less banal and instrumental and more dialogically open, reflexive, and democratic. (shrink)
This paper explores the idea of 'respect for nature' in the Earth Charter. It maintains that the Earth Charter proposes a broadly holistic environmental ethic where, in situations of conflict, species are given ethical priority over the lives of individual sentient organisms. The paper considers policy implications of this perspective, looking by means of example at the current European environmental policy dispute about the ruddy and white-headed duck. Questions about the value of species and biological diversity this raises are explored. (...) The paper concludes that the principle of valuing individual animal lives should be given more prominence in Earth Charter principles. (shrink)
This research examines the extent to which similarities and differences exist in the codes of professional conduct of certified (chartered) accountants across the following countries: the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Ontario (Canada), Australia, India, and Hong Kong. These eight countries exemplify some of the diversity in economic, political, legal, and cultural environments in which public accountants practice. The professional codes of ethics establish the ethical boundary parameters within which professional accountants must operate and they are a function of (...) these environments.The results of the study reveal that commonalities exist on some ethical rules indicating that some rules are indeed "culture free". Cross-country variations, however, exist as to the specificity and elaborateness of the rules. Such variations can be attributed to cultural and legal differences, as well as the length of time each professional organization has been in existence. An understanding of the similarities and differences in the codes is important to individuals who may work in these countries. Professional accountants involved in international business must understand the implications of the decisions they make in light of the ethical codes and moral values of their counterparts in foreign countries. After a discussion of the similarities and differences in the codes, the implications of these comparisons for accounting practice are discussed. (shrink)
Abstract Studies of adolescent conduct have found that both exemplary and antisocial behaviour can be predicted by the manner in which adolescents integrate moral concerns into their theories and descriptions of self. These findings have led many developmentalists to conclude that moral identity??in contrast to moral judgement or reflection alone??plays a powerful role in mediating social conduct. Moreover, developmental theory and research have shown that identity formation during adolescence is a process of forging a coherent and systematic sense of self. (...) Despite these well?founded conclusions, many moral education programmes fail to engage a young person's sense of self, focus exclusively on judgement and reflection and make little or no attempt to establish coherence with other formative influences in a young person's life. The authors propose a new method, called ?the youth charter?, for promoting adolescent self?identification with a coherent set of moral standards. (shrink)
The relationship between Canadian administrative law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is complex and still unfolding. If a decision touches a Charter right, frontline decision-makers and reviewing courts alike determine the requirements of legality using the Charter, administrative law principles, or some combination of the two. There is an emerging consensus that the Charter does not replace the common law, but rather embodies and supplements fundamental legal principles contained within it.This chapter sets out various ways in which (...) judicial review at common law has influenced understandings of the Charter, as well as the manner in which the Charter has influenced review of administrative decisions when a Charter right is clearly at stake. The influence runs in both directions, and has significant implications for judicial review of both the procedure and substance of administrative action. In the realm of procedure, the courts rely on the common law doctrine of procedural fairness to interpret the principles of fundamental justice set out in s. 7 of the Charter. However, when courts review the substance rather than the procedural aspects of a decision that engages a Charter right, they tend to review the decision using the analytical framework developed in R. v. Oakes for testing the validity of legislation. Taken together, these general features of the relationship between Charter jurisprudence and administrative law suggest that each is porous and open-textured to the other. Put another way, the relationship between the Charter and administrative law exhibits a cross-fertilization of principles and approaches which inform judicial review of administrative action. (shrink)
A communitarian perspective, which is characteristic of African normative thought, accords some kind of primacy to society or a group, whereas human rights are by definition duties that others have to treat individuals in certain ways, even when not doing so would be better for others. Is there any place for human rights in an Afro-communitarian political and legal philosophy, and, if so, what is it? I seek to answer these questions, in part by critically exploring one of the most (...) influential theoretical works on human rights in a sub-Saharan setting, namely, Claude Ake’s ‘The African Context of Human Rights’. Ake famously maintains that a typically Western approach to rights is inappropriate in the sub-Saharan region, in two major respects. First, Ake contends that although a human rights legal framework might be suitable for an ‘individualistic’ society, it is not for one of the sort common among traditional black peoples, for whom group rights are alone apt. Second, Ake maintains that, insofar as rights are relevant, rights to socio-economic goods are of much more importance in an African context than rights to civil liberties, due process and the like. Using Ake’s article as a foil, I draw on values salient in sub-Saharan moral worldviews to construct a unified philosophy of rights that not only provides reason to doubt his two claims, but also offers a promising way to reconcile a communitarian framework with a robust prizing of human rights alongside ones that are more collectively oriented. In short, I aim to provide a principled foundation for the core elements of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights. (shrink)
The Earth Charter is largely a wholesome embodiment of a commendable and globally applicable ecological ethic. But it fails to treat responsibilities towardfuture generations with sufficient clarity, presenting these generations as comparable to present and past generations, whose members are identifiable, whenin fact most future people are of unknown identity, and when the very existence of most of them depends on current actions. It can be claimed that we still haveobligations with regard to whoever there will be whom we could (...) affect, and in addition, all the possible people of the future whom we could affect have moralstanding, as well as corresponding members of other species. These obligations clash with the person-affecting principle, which considerably restricts suchobligations and the scope of moral standing at the same time. Finally, there are implications for sustainability, at least with regard to sustainable levels ofpopulation and with regard to global warming, and thus a need for further clarification of the content of responsibilities toward future generations. (shrink)
Economist Paul Romer proposes the establishment of charter cities. Charter cities would resemble special economic zones; that is, small regions that experiment with economic rules that differ from those governing their larger ‘host’ countries. Yet unlike a special economic zone, a charter city would also experiment with its own legal and political rules. The rules, in turn, can be enforced by a third-party coalition of representatives of foreign countries that enforce these rules at home. Host countries that face problems of (...) economic stagnation or political instability can thus leverage the experience and credibility of ‘guarantor’ countries to gradually reform their own institutions. I defend charter cities as an instrument of cosmopolitan justice in nonideal global conditions. Contributing to efforts to establish charter cities is, in many cases, a more efficient use of a country's scarce resources than foreign aid or attempts to facilitate institutional change abroad. I argue that countries also have a moral reason to contribute to charter cities: they can serve as compensation for the coercive harms due to those countries' border closures. I conclude that cosmopolitans and nationalists can find common ground in their reasons to support the establishment of charter cities. (shrink)
The fine-tuning argument can be used to support the Many Universe hypothesis. The Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy objection seeks to undercut the support for the Many Universe hypothesis. The objection is that although the evidence that there is life somewhere confirms Many Universes, the specific evidence that there is life in this universe does not. I will argue that the Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy is not committed by the fine-tuning argument. The key issue is the procedure by which the universe with life (...) is selected for observation. Once we take account of the procedure, we find that the support for the Many Universe hypothesis remains. (shrink)
Solving the problem of moral luck—the problem of dealing with conflicting intuitions about whether moral blameworthiness varies with luck in cases of negligence—is like repairing a dented fender in front of two kinds of critic. The one keeps telling you that there is no dent, and the other sees the dent but keeps warning you that repairing it will do more harm than good. It is time to straighten things out. As I argue elsewhere, the solution to the problem of (...) moral luck is finally revealed. Our task now is twofold: to hold a magnifying glass up to the initial problem, so that all might finally see it; and to dismiss unfounded fears about solving that problem, so that all might finally stop grinning and bearing it. (shrink)
The intimacy problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the intimacy problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
In this paper I argue that whether or not a computer can be built that passes the Turing test is a central question in the philosophy of mind. Then I show that the possibility of building such a computer depends on open questions in the philosophy of computer science: the physical Church-Turing thesis and the extended Church-Turing thesis. I use the link between the issues identified in philosophy of mind and philosophy of computer science to respond to a prominent argument (...) against the possibility of building a machine that passes the Turing test. Finally, I respond to objections against the proposed link between questions in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of computer science. (shrink)
Sometimes we learn what the world is like, and sometimes we learn where in the world we are. Are there any interesting differences between the two kinds of cases? The main aim of this article is to argue that learning where we are in the world brings into view the same kind of observation selection effects that operate when sampling from a population. I will first explain what observation selection effects are ( Section 1 ) and how they are relevant (...) to learning where we are in the world ( Section 2 ). I will show how measurements in the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics can be understood as learning where you are in the world via some observation selection effect ( Section 3 ). I will apply a similar argument to the Sleeping Beauty Problem ( Section 4 ) and explain what I take the significance of the analogy to be ( Section 5 ). Finally, I will defend the Restricted Principle of Indifference on which some of my arguments depend ( Section 6 ). (shrink)
If an agent believes that the probability of E being true is 1/2, should she accept a bet on E at even odds or better? Yes, but only given certain conditions. This paper is about what those conditions are. In particular, we think that there is a condition that has been overlooked so far in the literature. We discovered it in response to a paper by Hitchcock (2004) in which he argues for the 1/3 answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem. (...) Hitchcock argues that this credence follows from calculating her fair betting odds, plus the assumption that Sleeping Beauty’s credences should track her fair betting odds. We will show that this last assumption is false. Sleeping Beauty’s credences should not follow her fair betting odds due to a peculiar feature of her epistemic situation. (shrink)
Decision theory is concerned with how agents should act when the consequences of their actions are uncertain. The central principle of contemporary decision theory is that the rational choice is the choice that maximizes subjective expected utility. This entry explains what this means, and discusses the philosophical motivations and consequences of the theory. The entry will consider some of the main problems and paradoxes that decision theory faces, and some of responses that can be given. Finally the entry will briefly (...) consider how decision theory applies to choices involving more than one agent. (shrink)
Colin Howson (1995 ) offers a counter-example to the rule of conditionalization. I will argue that the counter-example doesn't hit its target. The problem is that Howson mis-describes the total evidence the agent has. In particular, Howson overlooks how the restriction that the agent learn 'E and nothing else' interacts with the de se evidence 'I have learnt E'.
Many human rights charters contain prohibitions on inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees. Terms like "inhuman" and "degrading" are difficult to interpret, but they are certainly not meaningless. It is important to attend to attend to the meanings of the words themselves, as well as to the decisions that courts have made about particular practices. Reflection on the meanings of these highly-charged terms reveals important complexity, which we can unpack in a way that enables us to better (...) focus our debate about the proper treatment of prisoners and detainees. (shrink)
Beauty is about to be drugged, rendering her unconscious for a long time. During that time she will be awakened briefly, either once (on Monday) or twice (on Monday and Tuesday). The number of awakenings depends on the toss of a fair coin: if the result is Tails, she is awakened twice: if Heads, once. The nature of the drug is that she will not remember being awake. In particular, when she is awakened, she will not know whether it is (...) Monday or Tuesday. Upon awakening on Monday, what should her degree of belief be that the coin landed Heads? (shrink)
In sum, then, Chalmers’s attempt to argue against physicalism based on the conceivability of zombies misses the mark. His version of conceivability does indeed imply possibility, but at the cost of making it unclear whether zombies are indeed conceivable.
The best philosophical account of human rights regards them as protections of the values we attach to human agency. The international law of human rights is embodied in a large number of declarations, conventions, covenants, charters, and judicial decisions. There are many discrepancies between the lists of human rights that emerge from these two authoritative sources. This lecture explores the significance of these discrepancies.
How should we update our beliefs when we learn new evidence? Bayesian confirmation theory provides a widely accepted and well understood answer – we should conditionalize. But this theory has a problem with self-locating beliefs, beliefs that tell you where you are in the world, as opposed to what the world is like. To see the problem, consider your current belief that it is January. You might be absolutely, 100%, sure that it is January. But you will soon believe it (...) is February. This type of belief change cannot be modelled by conditionalization. We need some new principles of belief change for this kind of case, which I call belief mutation. In part 1, I defend the Relevance-Limiting Thesis, which says that a change in a purely self-locating belief of the kind that results in belief mutation should not shift your degree of belief in a non-self-locating belief, which can only change by conditionalization. My method is to give detailed analyses of the puzzles which threaten this thesis: Duplication, Sleeping Beauty, and The Prisoner. This also requires giving my own theory of observation selection effects. In part 2, I argue that when self-locating evidence is learnt from a position of uncertainty, it should be conditionalized on in the normal way. I defend this position by applying it to various cases where such evidence is found. I defend the Halfer position in Sleeping Beauty, and I defend the Doomsday Argument and the Fine-Tuning Argument. (shrink)
Biomedical ontologies are emerging as critical tools in genomic and proteomic research where complex data in disparate resources need to be integrated. A number of ontologies exist that describe the properties that can be attributed to proteins; for example, protein functions are described by Gene Ontology, while human diseases are described by Disease Ontology. There is, however, a gap in the current set of ontologies—one that describes the protein entities themselves and their relationships. We have designed a PRotein Ontology (PRO) (...) to facilitate protein annotation and to guide new experiments. The components of PRO extend from the classification of proteins on the basis of evolutionary relationships to the representation of the multiple protein forms of a gene (products generated by genetic variation, alternative splicing, proteolytic cleavage, and other post-translational modification). PRO will allow the specification of relationships between PRO, GO and other OBO Foundry ontologies. Here we describe the initial development of PRO, illustrated using human proteins from the TGF-beta signaling pathway (http://pir.georgetown.edu/pro). (shrink)
Published in Darren Tofts, Annemarie Jonson, and Alessio Cavallaro (eds), _Prefiguring Cyberculture: an intellectual history_ (MIT Press and Power Publications, December 2002). Please do send comments: email me. Back to my main publications page . Back to my home page.
There has been much recent discussion about how to model agents who learn selflocating beliefs. I argue that there are two different ways self-locating beliefs can be learnt. One of these ways – which I call belief mutation – is unique to selflocating beliefs, and presents a challenge to conditionalization. I defend conditionalization from purported violations in the Prisoner and Sleeping Beauty thought experiments, and argue that belief mutation should never change an agent’s degree of belief in any non-self-locating proposition.
In this paper I argue that Turing’s responses to the mathematical objection are straightforward, despite recent claims to the contrary. I then go on to show that by understanding the importance of learning machines for Turing as related not to the mathematical objection, but to Lady Lovelace’s objection, we can better understand Turing’s response to Lady Lovelace’s objection. Finally, I argue that by understanding Turing’s responses to these objections more clearly, we discover a hitherto unrecognized, substantive thesis in his philosophical (...) thinking about the nature of mind. (shrink)
This paper examines John Scottus Eriugena's account of material bodies. Some scholars have argued that Eriugena's account prefigures Berkeleyan idealism. The interpretation offered in the paper rejects the Berkeleyan interpretation on the grounds that Eriugena, unlike Berkeley, did not propose a thoroughly immaterialist view of reality.
The complex global business environment has created a host of problems for managers, none of which is more difficult to address than bullying in the workplace. The rapid rate of change and the everincreasing complexity of organizational environments of business throughout the world have increased the opportunity for bullying to occur more frequently. This article addresses the foundations of bullying by examining the nature' (i.e., bullying behavior influenced by the innate genetic make-up of an individual) and the nurture' (i.e., individuals (...) learn to be bullies and environments allow the behavior to perpetuate) arguments for the occurrence of bullying behavior. In addition, guidelines are presented for managers in global organizations to use in assessing and monitoring bullying activities in global organizations. (shrink)
Analysis and comparison of genetic screening programs shows that the extent of development of programs varies widely across Europe. Regional variations are due not only to genetic disease patterns but also reflect the novelty of genetic services. In most countries, the focus for genetic screening programs has been pregnant women and newborn children. Newborn children are screened only for disorders which are treatable. Prenatal screening when provided is for conditions for which termination may be offered. The only population screening programs (...) for adults are those for thalassaemia carrier status in Cyprus, Greece and Italy. Social responses to genetic screening range from acceptance to hostility. There is a fundamental tension between individual and communi ty in the debates in various European countries about implementation of screening programs. Opposition to genetic screening is frequently expressed in terms of arguments about "eugenics" with insufficient regard to the meaning of the term and its implications. Only a few countries have introduced explicit legislation on genetic screening. Legislation to address discrimination may provide more safeguards than legislation protecting genetic information itself. (shrink)
Darren Bradley has recently appealed to observation selection effects to argue that conditionalization presents no special problem for Everettian quantum mechnics, and to defend the ‘halfer’ answer to the puzzle of Sleeping Beauty. I assess Bradley’s arguments and conclude that while he is right about confirmation in Everettian quantum mechanics, he is wrong about Sleeping Beauty. This result is doubly good news for Everettians: they can endorse Bayesian confirmation theory without qualification, but they are not thereby compelled to adopt (...) the unpopular ‘halfer’ answer in Sleeping Beauty. These considerations suggest that objective chance is playing an important and under-appreciated role in Sleeping Beauty. (shrink)
How should our beliefs change over time? Much has been written about how our beliefs should change in the light of new evidence. But that is not the question I’m asking. Sometimes our beliefs change without new evidence. I previously believed it was Sunday. I now believe it’s Monday. In this paper I discuss the implications of such beliefs for philosophy of language. I will argue that we need to allow for ‘dynamic’ beliefs, that we need new norms of belief (...) change to model how they function, and that this gives Perry’s (1977) two tier account the advantage over Lewis’s (1979) theory. (shrink)
Increases in international travel and migratory flows have enabled infectious diseases to emerge and spread more rapidly than ever before. Hence, it is increasingly easy for local infectious diseases to become global infectious diseases (GIDs). National governments must be able to react quickly and effectively to GIDs, whether naturally occurring or intentionally instigated by bioterrorism. According to the World Health Organisation, global partnerships are necessary to gather the most up-to-date information and to mobilize resources to tackle GIDs when necessary. Communicable (...) disease control also depends upon national public health laws and policies. The containment of an infectious disease typically involves detection, notification, quarantine and isolation of actual or suspected cases; the protection and monitoring of those not infected; and possibly even treatment. Some measures are clearly contentious and raise conflicts between individual and societal interests. In Europe national policies against infectious diseases are very heterogeneous. Some countries have a more communitarian approach to public health ethics, in which the interests of individual and society are more closely intertwined and interdependent, while others take a more liberal approach and give priority to individual freedoms in communicable disease control. This paper provides an overview of the different policies around communicable disease control that exist across a select number of countries across Europe. It then proposes ethical arguments to be considered in the making of public health laws, mostly concerning their effectiveness for public health protection. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Foreword (Warren Ellis).Introduction (Roy T. Cook and Aaron Meskin).PART I: The Nature and Kinds of Comics.1. Redefining Comics (John Holbo).2. The Ontology of Comics (Aaron Meskin).3. Comics and Collective Authorship (Christy Mag Uidhir).4. Comics and Genre (Catharine Abell).PART 2: Comics and Representation.5. Wordy Pictures: Theorizing the Relationship between Image and Text in Comics (Thomas E. Wartenberg).6. What's So Funny? Comic Content in Depiction (Patrick Maynard).7. The Language of Comics (Darren Hudson Hick).PART 3: Comics and the (...) Other Arts.8. Making Comics Into Film (Henry John Pratt).9. Why Comics Are Not Films: Metacomics and Medium-Specific Conventions (Roy T. Cook).10. Proust's In Search of Lost Time: The Comics Version (David Carrier). (shrink)
Pylyshyn argues that many of the methods used to study perception are too coarse to detect the distinction between perceptual and cognitive processing. We suggest that the reason for this is that the theories used to guide research in perception are at fault. More powerful theories – for instance, computer simulations – will be required to identify where perception ends and where cognition begins.
As many struggle to find meaning at the end of philosophy, Jean-Luc Nancy's writing has enlightened many philosophical debates around the questions of community, the political, and freedom. Situatuing his work in an explicitly contemporary context--the collapse of communism, the Gulf War, the former Yugoslavia--Nancy has forced us to rethink nothing less than what "doing" philosophy entails. On Jean-Juc Nancy provides fascinating insights into one of the most contemporary philosophers writing today. The full range of Nancy's work as a philosopher (...) of the contemporary is considered, allowing us to see his engagement with Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bataille and Derrida. Issues of violence and power, finitude, east and west, the meaning of "Europe", and the crisis of the global community are all approached through Nancy's work. (shrink)
Darren, attributing this argument to Hume, tells us that Hume rejected step #4. So do I. I am a compatibilist: I accept the scientific worldview that everything can be explained by natural, causal laws, but I believe that human actions (and biological functions) can still be explained teleologically, by their ends – a precondition for freedom. This paper is one of a series of attempts to show how such campatibilism is possible, this time by focusing on the nature of (...) explanation. (shrink)
Jenkins has developed a theory of the a priori that she claims solves the problem of how justification regarding our concepts can give us justification regarding the world. She claims that concepts themselves can be justified, and that beliefs formed by examining such concepts can be justified a priori. I object that we can have a priori justified beliefs with unjustified concepts if those beliefs have no existential import. I then argue that only beliefs without existential import can be justified (...) a priori on the widely held conceptual approach. This limits the scope of the a priori and undermines arguments for essentialism. (shrink)
John Searle distinguished between weak and strong artificial intelligence (AI). This essay discusses a third alternative, mild AI, according to which a machine may be capable of possessing a species of mentality. Using James Fetzer's conception of minds as semiotic systems, the possibility of what might be called ``mild AI'' receives consideration. Fetzer argues against strong AI by contending that digital machines lack the ground relationship required of semiotic systems. In this essay, the implementational nature of semiotic processes posited by (...) Charles S. Peirce's triadic sign relation is re-examined in terms of the underlying dispositional processes and the ontological levels they would span in an inanimate machine. This suggests that, if non-human mentality can be replicated rather than merely simulated in a digital machine, the direction to pursue appears to be that of mild AI. (shrink)
In the 225 years since the United States Constitution was first drafted, no single book has addressed the key questions of what constitutions are designed to do, how they are structured, and why they matter. In From Words to Worlds, constitutional scholar Beau Breslin corrects this glaring oversight, singling out the essential functions that a modern, written constitution must incorporate in order to serve as a nation's fundamental law. Breslin lays out and explains the basic functions of a modern constitution (...) -- including creating a new citizenry, structuring the institutions of government, regulating conflict between layers and branches of government, and limiting the power of the sovereign. He also moves into the esoteric, discussing the theoretical concepts behind the fundamentals of written constitutions and examining in-depth some of the most important constitutional charters from around the world. In assaying how states put the structural ideas into practice, Breslin asks probing questions about why -- and if -- constitutions matter. His answer is a resounding yes. Solidly argued and engagingly written, this comparative study in constitutional thought demonstrates clearly the key components that a state's foundational document must address. In doing so, Breslin draws a critically important distinction between constitutional texts and constitutional practice. (shrink)
There are three main categories of rationale for withholding information or telling lies: if overwhelming harm can only be averted through deceit; complete triviality such that it is irrelevant whether the truth is told; a duty to protect the interests of others. Public health authorities are frequently having to form judgements about the public interest, whether to release information or issue warnings. In June 1992, routine surveillance detected patulin levels (a known carcinogen) in samples of apple juice exceeding safety threshold. (...) Remedial actions were promptly taken and it was planned to subsequently publish the information in the routine way. However, the media portrayed the handling of the problem as a conspiracy and there was a short term reduction in juice sales. In October 1995, the UK Committee on Safety of Medicines issued a warning about certain brands of the contraceptive pill, based on the interim results of three unpublished studies. The increased risk of thromboembolism was small, but the resulting scare led to an increase in unwanted pregnancies. The handling of the B.S.E. crisis in the U.K. also led to accusations of incompetence or conspiracy. Public health authorities have to handle uncertainty and frequently have to form judgements for public safety on the basis of evidence of poor quantity and quality. Their task is not helped by the sometimes conflicting agenda of scientists and media. The public also have differing perceptions and interpretations of risk. The series of scares and crises are having a detrimental effect on public confidence in public health authorities. (shrink)
The project Euroscreen 2 has examined genetic screening and testing with particular reference to implications for insurance, commercialization through marketing of genetic tests direct to the public, and issues surrounding raising public awareness of these and other developments in genetics, including the practical experiment of a Gene Shop. This paper provides a snapshot of the three year project. The study groups work included monitoring developments in different European countries and exploring possibilities for regulation in insurance and commercialization together with public (...) attitudes to regulation. The success or failure of different strategies is not independent of public awareness. Exploration of policy, however, also requires examination of fundamental concepts such as solidarity and geneticization. (shrink)
Is religious freedom being curtailed in pursuit of equality, and the outlawing of discrimination? Is enough effort made to accommodate those motivated by a religious conscience? All rights matter but at times the right to put religious beliefs into practice increasingly takes second place in the law of different countries to the pursuit of other social priorities. The right to freedom of belief and to manifest belief is written into all human rights charters. In the United States religious freedom (...) is sometimes seen as 'the first freedom'. Yet increasingly in many jurisdictions in Europe and North America, religious freedom can all too easily be 'trumped' by other rights. -/- Roger Trigg looks at the assumptions that lie behind the subordination of religious liberty to other social concerns, especially the pursuit of equality. He gives examples from different Western countries of a steady erosion of freedom of religion. The protection of freedom of worship is often seen as sufficient, and religious practices are separated from the beliefs which inspire them. So far from religion in general, and Christianity in particular, providing a foundation for our beliefs in human dignity and human rights, religion is all too often seen as threat and a source of conflict, to be controlled at all costs. The challenge is whether any freedom can preserved for long, if the basic human right to freedom of religious belief and practice is dismissed as of little account, with no attempt to provide any reasonable accommodation. Given the central role of religion in human life, unnecessary limitations on its expression are attacks on human freedom itself. (shrink)
The parallel drawn by Norman between the dorsal and ventral systems and direct and indirect approaches is based on two misrepresentations of the direct approach – that it is concerned only with the unconscious control of action, and that it cannot explain learning. We propose a way of understanding the visual system differences from within the direct approach.
J. Baird Callicott defends a communitarian environmental ethic that grounds moral standing in shared kinship and community. This normative theory is unacceptable because it is out of synch with our considered moral judgments as environmental philosophers. Ecological communitarianism excludes in advance entities that would obviously qualify for moral standing, and scuttles itself in the process.
We investigate the performance and risk of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) equity funds in the Australian market and find no significant difference between the returns of SRI and conventional funds. In an extension to prior literature, we examine the impact of the number of positive, negative and total screens funds impose on performance and risk. We find little evidence of positive or negative screening impacting total return, but find weak evidence that funds with more screens overall provide better risk-adjusted performance. (...) Positive screening significantly reduces funds’ risk. However, negative screening significantly increases risk and reduces funds’ abilities to form diversified portfolios. (shrink)
Who controls what gets defined as skill or knowledge can be an indeterminate struggle in many organizations. Knights and McCabe attempt to understand conflicting interpretations of skills and knowledge around the introduction of a new automated production line in a manufacturing plant by making use of the concepts of distal and proximal organization. Employees and management often draw on a distal understanding of skill/knowledge, thereby treating it as a result or an outcome, a finished object, which one either possesses or (...) is dispossessed of: By contrast, a proximal understanding would focus on relations, processes and representations that are continuous, unfinished, partial and pecarious. Knights and McCabe argue that management adopts a distal perspective because it stresses that employees cannot lose skill/knowledge that they already possess, whereas employees also adopt a distal perspective in believing that they can. They then argue that a proximal understanding is capable of providing greater insight and of opening up new "patterns of possibility." The distinction between a fixed (distal) ontology and a fluid (proximal) one is thus suggested as having meaning for the potential actions of managers. (shrink)
Did you know that insects could be tried for criminal acts in pre-industrial Europe, that the dead could be executed, that statues could be subjected to public humiliation, or that it was widely accepted that corpses could return to life? What made reasonable, educated men and women behave in ways that seem utterly nonsensical to us today? Strange Histories presents for the first time a serious account of some of the most extraordinary occurrences of European history. Throughout the ages, people (...) have held ideas and events have taken place which have baffled later societies. Religious disbelievers were thought deserving of death, insects were occasionally excommunicated, studying the biology of angels was a legitimate activity, and the pursuit of personal happiness was considered rather misguided as a life strategy. Using case studies from the Middle Ages and the early modern period with some from the more recent past, this book provides fascinating insights into the world-view through the ages, and shows how such goings-on fitted in quite naturally with the "common sense" of the time. Explanations of these phenomena, riveting and ultimately rational, encourage further reflection on what really shapes our beliefs. In the light of history, can we be sure of the validity of our own ideas? How many of our own beliefs might no longer "make sense" a few centuries from now? (shrink)
PDP networks that use nonmonotonic activation functions often produce hidden unit regularities that permit the internal structure of these networks to be interpreted (Berkeley et al., 1995; McCaughan, 1997; Dawson, 1998). In particular, when the responses of hidden units to a set of patterns are graphed using jittered density plots, these plots organize themselves into a set of discrete stripes or bands. In some cases, each band is associated with a local interpretation. On the basis of these observations, Berkeley (2000) (...) has suggested that these bands are both subsymbolic and symbolic in nature, and has used the analysis of one network to support the claim that there are fewer differences between symbols and subsymbols than one might expect. We suggest below that this conclusion is premature. First, in many cases the local interpretation of each band is difficult to relate to the interpretation of a network's response; a more appropriate relationship only emerges when a band associated with one hidden unit is considered in the context of other bands associated with other hidden units (i.e., interpretations of distributed representations are more useful than interpretations of local representations). Second, the content that a band designates to an external observer (i.e., the interpretation assigned to a band by the researcher) can be quite different from the content that a band designates to the output units of the network itself.. We use two different network simulations – including the one described by Berkeley (2000) – to illustrate these points. We conclude that current evidence involving interpretations of nonmonotonic PDP networks actually illustrates the differences between symbolic and subsymbolic processing. (shrink)
isolated conditions, and hard pioneer life, grew during the colonization period of one hundred and seventy years from the settling of Jamestown to the outburst of the Revolution. This was in fact the great constitution-making epoch, the period of charters guaranteeing more or less of liberty, the general tendency of which is well described by Wm. Penn in speaking of the charter for Pennsylvania: Â“I want to put it out of my power, or that of my successors, to do (...) mischief.Â”. (shrink)
People who suffer survivor’s guilt reason that, if they survived while others didn’t, then this must be because of the choices that they made, and that others did not make. People with survivor’s guilt feel just the way they would feel if they did not really believe in luck.