In the last two decades there have been many critics of western biomedicine's poor integration of social and psychological factors in questions of human health. Such critiques frequently begin with a rejection of Descartes' mind-body dualism, viewing this as the decisive philosophical moment, radically separating the two realms in both theory and practice. It is argued here, however, that many such readings of Descartes have been selective and misleading. Contrary to the assumptions of many recent authors, Descartes' dualism does attempt (...) to explain the union of psyche and soma - with more depth than is often appreciated. Pain plays a key role in Cartesian as well as contemporary thinking about the problem of dualism. Theories of the psychological origins of pain symptoms persisted throughout the history of modern medicine and were not necessarily discouraged by Cartesian mental philosophy. Moreover, the recently developed biopsychosocial model of pain may have more in common with Cartesian dualism than it purports to have. This article presents a rereading of Descartes' mental philosophy and his views on pain. The intention is not to defend his theories, but to re-evaluate them and to ask in what respect contemporary theories represent any significant advance in philosophical terms. (shrink)
What makes feminist theory feminist? How did so many different feminisms come to exist? In Fundamental Feminism, Judith Grant addresses these questions by offering a critical exploration of the evolution of feminist theory and the state of feminist thinking today. Grant provides a lively assessment of the major problems of contemporary feminist thought and identifies a set of common assumptions that link the wide variety of feminist theories in existence. Fundamental Feminism calls for nothing less than a substantial (...) revision of the core concepts responsible for shaping feminist theory as we now know it. Grant identifies and critiques three core concepts of feminist theory--"woman," "experience," and "personal politics"--from their origins in pamphlets and writings from the early women's liberation movement to their current construction in feminist thought. She then connects a number of major debates in feminism today to the longstanding influence of these core assumptions. These debates include the hegemony of the white female perspective, the tension between anti-pornography and pro-sex feminists, and the discussions surrounding the challenges presented by postmodernism. Grant gives readers valuable insight into the dilemma facing feminist theory today. Fundamental Feminism is a thorough and provocative analysis that will be essential reading for anyone interested in the future of feminist theory and the power of feminist politics. (shrink)
The primary objective of this study is to provide a description of the major ideas about void space within and beyond the world that were formulated between the fourteenth and early eighteenth centuries. The second part of the book - on infinite, extracosmic void space - is of special significance. The significance of Professor Grant's account is twofold: it provides the first comprehensive and detailed description of the scholastic Aristotelian arguments for and against the existence of void space; and (...) it presents (again for the first time) an analysis of the possible influence of scholastic ideas and arguments on the interpretations of space proposed by the nonscholastic authors who made the Scientific Revolution possible. The concluding chapter of the book is unique in not only describing the conceptualizations of space proposed by the makers of the Scientific Revolution, but in assessing the role of readily available scholastic ideas on the conception of space adopted for the Newtonian world. (shrink)
Questioning the usual judgements of political ethics, Ruth W. Grant argues that hypocrisy can actually be constructive while strictly principled behavior can be destructive. Hypocrisy and Integrity offers a new conceptual framework that clarifies the differences between idealism and fanaticism while it uncovers the moral limits of compromise. "Exciting and provocative. . . . Grant's work is to be highly recommended, offering a fresh reading of Rousseau and Machiavelli as well as presenting a penetrating analysis of hypocrisy and (...) integrity."--Ronald J. Terchek, American Political Science Review "A great refreshment. . . . With liberalism's best interests at heart, Grant seeks to make available a better understanding of the limits of reason in politics."--Peter Berkowitz, New Republic. (shrink)
Separated from its anchorage in religion, ethics has followed the social sciences in seeing human beings as fundamentally characterized by self-interest, so that altruism is either naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin Grant contends that, as a modern secular concept, altruism is a parody on the self-giving love of Christianity, so that its dismissal represents a social levelling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and religion makes possible. The Christian affirmation is that God is characterized (...) by self-giving love (agape), then expected of Christians. Lacking this theological background, the focus on self-interest in sociobiology and economics, and on human realism in the political focus of John Rawls or the feminist sociability of Carol Gilligan, finds altruism naive or a dangerous distraction from real possibilities of mutual support. This book argues that to dispense with altruism is to dispense with God and with the divine transformation of human possibilities. (shrink)
Serial music was one of the most important aesthetic movements to emerge in post-war Europe, but its uncompromising music and modernist aesthetic has often been misunderstood. This book focuses on the controversial journal die Reihe, whose major contributors included Stockhausen, Eimert, Pousseur, Dieter Schnebel and G. M. Koenig, and discusses it in connection with many lesser-known sources in German musicology. It traces serialism's debt to the theories of Klee and Mondrian, and its relationship to developments in concrete art, modern poetry (...) and the information aesthetics and semiotics of Max Bense and Umberto Eco. M. J. Grant sketches an aesthetic theory of serialism as experimental music, arguing that serial theory's embrace of both rigorous intellectualism and aleatoric processes is not, as many have suggested, a paradox, but the key to serial thought and to its relevance for contemporary theory. (shrink)
The Critical Imagination is a study of metaphor, imaginativeness, and criticism of the arts. Since the eighteenth century, many philosophers have argued that appreciating art is rewarding because it involves responding imaginatively to a work. Literary works can be interpreted in many ways; architecture can be seen as stately, meditative, or forbidding; and sensitive descriptions of art are often colourful metaphors: music can 'shimmer', prose can be 'perfumed', and a painter's colouring can be 'effervescent'. Engaging with art, like creating it, (...) seems to offer great scope for imagination. Hume, Kant, Oscar Wilde, Roger Scruton, and others have defended variations on this attractive idea. In this book, James Grant critically examines it. The first half explains the role imaginativeness plays in criticism. To do this, Grant answers three questions that are of interest in their own right. First, what are the aims of criticism? Is the point of criticizing a work to evaluate it, to explain it, to modify our response to it, or something else? Second, what is it to appreciate art? Third, what is imaginativeness? He gives new answers to all three questions, and uses them to explain the role of imaginativeness in criticism. The book's second half focuses on metaphor. Why are some metaphors so effective? How do we understand metaphors? Are some thoughts expressible only in metaphor? Grant's answers to these questions go against much current thinking in the philosophy of language. He uses these answers to explain why imaginative metaphors are so common in art criticism. The result is a rigorous and original theory of metaphor, criticism, imaginativeness, and their interrelations. (shrink)
In a previous paper (Duncan, T.L., Semura, J.S. in Entropy 6:21, 2004) we considered the question, “What underlying property of nature is responsible for the second law?” A simple answer can be stated in terms of information: The fundamental loss of information gives rise to the second law. This line of thinking highlights the existence of two independent but coupled sets of laws: Information dynamics and energy dynamics. The distinction helps shed light on certain foundational questions in statistical mechanics. (...) For example, the confusion surrounding previous “derivations” of the second law from energy dynamics can be resolved by noting that such derivations incorporate one or more assumptions that correspond to the loss of information. In this paper we further develop and explore the perspective in which the second law is fundamentally a law of information dynamics. (shrink)
I argue that Hobbes isn't really a materialist in the early 1640s (in, e.g., the Third Objections to Descartes's Meditations). That is, he doesn't assert that bodies are the only substances. However, he does think that bodies are the only substances we can think about using imagistic ideas.
Milton Friedman's article, The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits, owes its appeal to the rhetorical devices of simplicity, authority, and finality. More careful consideration reveals oversimplification and ambiguity that conceals empirical errors and logical fallacies. It is false that business does, or would, operate exclusively in economic terms, that managers concentrate obsessively on profitability, and that ethics can be marginalized. These errors reflect basic contradictions: an apolitical political base, altruistic agents of selfishness, and good deriving from (...) greed. (shrink)
I defend, in this paper, a version of a philosophy of common sense. I have use of some things from Reid's account of these matters, others from Wittgenstein's. Scepticism looms large—as do the questions of arguments for and examples of common sense. At least two different notions of common sense emerge, one of which has often been overlooked by philosophers.
Theodore Levitt criticizes John Kenneth Galbraith's view of advertising as artificial want creation, contending that its selling focus on the product fails to appreciate the marketing focus on the consumer. But Levitt himself not only ends up endorsing selling; he fails to confront the fact that the marketing to our most pervasive needs that he advocates really represents a sophisticated form of selling. He avoids facing this by the fiction that marketing is concerned only with the material level of existence, (...) and absolves marketing of serious involvement in the level of meaning through the relativization of all meanings as personal preferences. The irony is that this itself reflects a particular view of meaning, a modern commercial one, so that it is this vision of life that LevittÕs marketing is really SELLING. (shrink)
A Gricean preamble concludes that though utterances have unintended meanings, those cannot be considered apart from their intended meanings. Intention distinguishes artworks from natural phenomena. To allocate an artwork to a genre, to accept its normal authorial boundaries and that its content is not random but chosen, is to concede intention's centrality. Wimsatt and Beardsley were right that meaning is public. But they think 'intention' is 'private' or 'unavailable'. However, it too is public, in the work. Fictions are utterances of (...) a curious kind. They may mimic, but are not meant to be taken for, veridical reports. Neither are they 'pseudo-statements' (Richards) nor 'pretended illocutionary acts' (Searle). Their logical form is actually this: 'I [author] invite you [reader] to imagine that S [content].' This prescribes no response, nor claims to describe the 'real' world, even though it may elicit a response appropriate to real-life events. One reason for imagining fictional situations may be to strengthen the perceptions necessary for (civilized) real life. (shrink)
Increasingly in the modern world, incentives are becoming the tool we reach for when we wish to bring about change. In government, in education, in health care, between and within institutions of all sorts, incentives are offered to steer people's choices in certain directions. But despite the increasing interest in ethics and economics, the ethics of the use of incentives has raised very little concern. From a certain point of view, this is not surprising. When incentives are viewed from the (...) perspective of market economics, they appear to be entirely unproblematic. An incentive is an offer of something of value, sometimes with a cash equivalent and sometimes not, meant to influence the payoff structure of a utility calculation so as to alter a person's course of action. In other words, the person offering the incentive means to make one choice more attractive to the person responding to the incentive than any other alternative. Both parties stand to gain from the resulting choice. In effect, it is a form of trade, and as such, it meets certain ethical requirements by definition. A trade involves voluntary action by all parties concerned to bring about a result that is beneficial to all parties concerned. If these conditions were not met, the trade would simply not occur. And as inducements in a voluntary transaction, incentives certainly have the moral high ground over coercion as an alternative. (shrink)
Neither the corporate view of whistle blowers as tattle-tales and traitors, nor the more sympathethic understanding of them as tragic heroes battling corrupt or abused systems captures what is at stake in whistle blowing at its most distinctive. The courage, determination and sacrifice of the most ardent whistle blowers suggests that they only begin to be appreciated when they are seen as the saints of secular culture. Although some whistle blowers may be attempting to deflect attention from their own deficiencies (...) and others may be disgruntled employees, the most serious instances involve a level of moral sensitivity that approaches religious proportions that are baffling for a culture that has dispensed with sainthood. (shrink)
There is considerable confusion regarding the ethical appropriateness of using incentives in research with human subjects. Previous work on determining whether incentives are unethical considers them as a form of undue influence or coercive offer. We understand the ethical issue of undue influence as an issue, not of coercion, but of corruption of judgment. By doing so we find that, for the most part, the use of incentives to recruit and retain research subjects is innocuous. But there are some instances (...) where it is not. Specifically, incentives become problematic when conjoined with the following factors, singly or in combination with one another: where the subject is in a dependency relationship with the researcher, where the risks are particularly high, where the research is degrading, where the participant will only consent if the incentive is relatively large because the participant's aversion to the study is strong, and where the aversion is a principled one. The factors we have identified and the kinds of judgments they require differ substantially from those considered crucial in most previous discussions of the ethics of employing incentives in research with human subjects. (shrink)
: Following Aristotle, medieval natural philosophers believed that knowledge was ultimately based on perception and observation; and like Aristotle, they also believed that observation could not explain the "why" of any perception. To arrive at the "why," natural philosophers offered theoretical explanations that required the use of the imagination. This was, however, only the starting point. Not only did they apply their imaginations to real phenomena, but expended even more intellectual energy on counterfactual phenomena, both extracosmic and intracosmic, extensively discussing, (...) among other themes, the possible existence of other worlds and the possibility of an infinite extracosmic space. The application of the imagination to scientific problems during the Middle Ages was not an empty exercise, but, as I shall show, played a significant role in the development of early modern science. (shrink)
According to a classical teaching, God is not really related to creatures even by virtue of creating them. Some have objected that this teaching makes unintelligible the claim that God causally accounts for the universe, since God would be the same whether the universe existed or not. I defend the classical teaching, showing how the doctrine is implied by a popular cosmological argument, showing that the objection to it would also rule out libertarian agent causality, and showing that the objection (...) rests on an account of causality and sufficient reason that we have good reason to reject. (Published Online January 15 2007). (shrink)
This study evaluates responses to the Real Estate Ethical Code. Voice Stress Analysis (VSA) is used to evaluate the responses of real estate sales people to ethically-based questions. The process and the responses given enabled the authors to gain insight into pressure-causing ethical situations and to explore new uses of VSA. Some respondents were stressed while following the ethical code guidelines. Others showed no stress about breaking the formal code. The study reaffirms that the presence of formal ethical guidelines does (...) not assure that the rules will be willingly followed. (shrink)
In Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science are found a dynamist reduction of matter and an account of the communication of motion by impact. One would expect to find an analysis of the causal mechanism involved in the communication of motion between bodies given in terms of the fundamental dynamical nature of bodies. However, Kant's analysis, as given in the discussion of his third law of mechanics (an action-reaction law) is purely kinematical, invoking no causal mechanisms at all, let alone (...) dynamist mechanisms, in the explanation. It is argued that the reason for the non-incorporation of Kant's theory of matter in the account of impact is his overriding desire to provide a mathematical framework to explain the communication of motion, a provision which Kant felt to be impossible in the context of a metaphysical dynamism. (shrink)
This paper deals with four ethical issues in the development and application of business and management knowledge. The issues examined are: (1) failure to adopt or disclose knowledge with proven value that could benefit individuals, organizations, and society; (2) inappropriate implementation or incomplete disclosure of knowledge with proven potential; (3) use of knowledge for the exclusive benefit of a selected interest group even if harm is done to others; and (4) intentional falsification or misrepresentation of knowledge as something other than (...) what it is known to be. Each of these issues are illustrated with actual case histories and are examined using frequently accepted ethical concepts. (shrink)
This study investigated the differences in responses of undergraduate business students to an ethical dilemma. Demographic characteristics were collected on the respondents and profiled as a means of examining common bases for decision. The authors found that certain demographic characteristics appear to be predictors of ethical decision behavior of future businessmen.