Organic farming is expected to contribute to conserving national biodiversity on farms, especially remnant, old, and undisturbed small biotopes, forests, and permanent grassland. This objective cannot rely on the legislation of organic farming solely, and to succeed, farmers need to understand the goals behind it. A set of indicators with the purpose of facilitating dialogues between expert and farmer on wildlife quality has been developed and tested on eight organic farms. “Weed cover in cereal fields,” was used as an indicator (...) of floral and faunal biodiversity in the cultivated land, and “uncultivated biotope area” on the farm was used as a general measure of wildlife habitats. Functional grouping of herbaceous plants (discriminating between “high conservation value” plant species and “competitive”/“ruderal” species) and low mobility butterflies were used as indicators of conservation value, especially focusing on the few sites left with considerable remnant conservation value. The dialog processes revealed that the organic farmers’ ideas and goals of conservation of wildlife quality were not necessarily the same as for biologists; the farmers expressed very different opinions on the biological rooted idea, that wildlife quality is related to the absence of agricultural impact. However, farmers also stated that the information given by the indicators and especially the dialogue with the biologist had influenced their perception and awareness of wildlife. We conclude that, combined with a dialogue process, using these indicators when mapping wildlife quality could be an important key component of a farm wildlife management advisory tool at farm level. (shrink)
Abstract Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) research and (future) applications raise important ethical issues that need to be addressed to promote societal acceptance and adequate policies. Here we report on a survey we conducted among 145 BCI researchers at the 4 th International BCI conference, which took place in May–June 2010 in Asilomar, California. We assessed respondents’ opinions about a number of topics. First, we investigated preferences for terminology and definitions relating to BCIs. Second, we assessed respondents’ expectations on the marketability of (...) different BCI applications (BCIs for healthy people, BCIs for assistive technology, BCIs-controlled neuroprostheses and BCIs as therapy tools). Third, we investigated opinions about ethical issues related to BCI research for the development of assistive technology: informed consent process with locked-in patients, risk-benefit analyses, team responsibility, consequences of BCI on patients’ and families’ lives, liability and personal identity and interaction with the media. Finally, we asked respondents which issues are urgent in BCI research. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-38 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9132-6 Authors Femke Nijboer, Human Media Interaction, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands Jens Clausen, Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany Brendan Z. Allison, Laboratory of Brain-Computer Interfaces, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria Pim Haselager, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490. (shrink)
The question of who 'we' are and what vision of humanity 'we' assume in Western culture lies at the heart of hotly debated questions on the role of religion in education, politics, and culture in general. The need for recovering a greater purpose for social practices is indicated, for example, by the rapidly increasing number of publications on the demise of higher education, lamenting the fragmentation of knowledge and university culture's surrender to market-driven pragmatism. The West's cultural rootlessness and lack (...) of cultural identity are also revealed by the failure of multiculturalism to integrate religiously vibrant immigrant cultures. A main cause of the West's cultural malaise is the long-standing separation of reason and faith. -/- Jens Zimmermann suggests that the West can rearticulate its identity and renew its cultural purpose by recovering the humanistic ethos that originally shaped Western culture. In tracing the religious roots of humanism from patristic theology, through the Renaissance into modern philosophy, we find that humanism was originally based on the correlation of reason and faith. In this book, the author combines humanism, religion, and hermeneutic philosophy to re-imagine humanism for our current cultural and intellectual climate. The hope of this recovery is for humanism to become what Charles Taylor has called a 'social imaginary', an internalized vision of what it means to be human. This vision will encourage, once again, the correlation of reason and faith in order to overcome current cultural impasses, such as those posed, for example, by religious and secularist fundamentalisms. (shrink)
Logical relativism is the view that a logical proposition is known just in case it is collectively endorsed in some culture. This striking and controversial view is defended by David Bloor and Richard C. Jennings. They cite in its support distinctive reasoning practices among the Azande as described by E. E. Evans-Pitchard. Jennings has challenged my critique of Bloor's logical relativism, claiming that my analysis is based on misunderstandings of Bloor and Evans-Pritchard. I argue that Jennings' clarifications of Bloor do (...) nothing to support the thesis of logical relativism, and that a direct examination of Evans-Pritchard's evidence suggests that the Azande reason just as we do. (shrink)
This article compares Confucian ethics of Jen and feminist ethics of care. It attempts to show that they share philosophically significant common grounds. Its findings affirm the view that care-orientation in ethics is not a characteristic peculiar to one sex. It also shows that care-orientation is not peculiar to subordinated social groups. Arguing that the oppression of women is not an essential element of Confucian ethics, the author indicates the Confucianism and feminism are compatible.
The use of the term hsing in the Meng-tzu is discussed, along with Mencius' views on jen-hsing. It is argued that while the use of hsing need not connote something unlearned and shared, Mencius did view jen-hsing in terms of certain unlearned emotional predispositions shared by all jen. He regarded jen as a species distinguished from other animals by its capability of cultural accomplishment, and felt that it is the presence of the emotional predispositions that makes this possible.
Under Mencius' influence jen has been regarded as part of a theory of nature. As such, commentators have had difficulty resolving the apparent paradox in "Analects" 9.1 that Confucius rarely talked about jen. No paradox arises if jen is seen as a practice involving self-cultivation as a never-ending task and the immediacy of ethical commitment where a cluster of emotions, attitudes, and values are expressed. Jen is an ethical orientation from which one speaks and acts--not particular qualities that one might (...) enumerate and claim to possess. As such, the internal relation between jen and li does not amount to their being the same thing, as implied by some recent writers. (shrink)
At two fronts I defend my 1994 article. I argue that differences between Confucian jen ethics and feminist care ethics do not preclude their shared commonalities in comparison with Kantian, utilitarian, and contractarian ethics, and that Confucians do care. I also argue that Confucianism is capable of changing its rules to reflect its renewed understanding of jen, that care ethics is feminist, and that similarities between Confucian and care ethics have significant implications.
Abstract Universality, rather than partiality, is the characteristic of Confucian jen. This article puts forward three arguments to clarify confusion of interpretation: (1) that jen, rather than shu, is the main thread running through the whole system of Confucianism, and that by its two procedures of chung and shu, it presents itself as an integration of one's self with others; (2) that jen, as love, does not signify a natural preference, but an ethical refinement of an ordinary feeling of fondness, (...) that it derives from such a feeling but goes beyond it, and that it functions as a universal commitment which begins with family affection but is not limited to it; (3) that jen, as universal love, is deontological in motive, not only in contrast to a mutuality of love but also in opposition to a utilitarianism of love. (shrink)
Zande Logic and Western Logic’ Richard Jennings argues that contrary to the view of Evans-Pritchard and Tim Triplett the system of logic employed by the Azande is sui generis and distinct from that of Westerners. I argue that this thesis is erroneous because Jennings, following Evans-Pritchard, is at fault in his analysis of the logic of the Azande. Zande thinking on the topic of witchcraft-substance heritability is not contradictory as believed. But even if one assumes that the Azande do reason (...) contradictorily on matters of institutional importance, Jennings' thesis on the possibility of incompatible logics still fails because similar instances of contradictory thinking could be found in the West. Although in practical matters all peoples appeal to orthodox logic, in matters of institutional importance the epistemological relativist could be on fertile ground where orthodox logic is in conflict with beliefs that are institutionally grounded. (shrink)
In this paper, I investigate whether we can use a world-involving framework to model the epistemic states of non-ideal agents. The standard possible-world framework falters in this respect because of a commitment to logical omniscience. A familiar attempt to overcome this problem centers around the use of impossible worlds where the truths of logic can be false. As we shall see, if we admit impossible worlds where “anything goes” in modal space, it is easy to model extremely non-ideal agents that (...) are incapable of performing even the most elementary logical deductions. A much harder, and considerably less investigated challenge is to ensure that the resulting modal space can also be used to model moderately ideal agents that are not logically omniscient but nevertheless logically competent. Intuitively, while such agents may fail to rule out subtly impossible worlds that verify complex logical falsehoods, they are nevertheless able to rule out blatantly impossible worlds that verify obvious logical falsehoods. To model moderately ideal agents, I argue, the job is to construct a modal space that contains only possible and non-trivially impossible worlds where it is not the case that “anything goes”. But I prove that it is impossible to develop an impossible-world framework that can do this job and that satisfies certain standard conditions. Effectively, I show that attempts to model moderately ideal agents in a world-involving framework collapse to modeling either logical omniscient agents, or extremely non-ideal agents. (shrink)
The traditional Lewis-Stalnaker semantics treats all counterfactuals with an impossible antecedent as trivially or vacuously true. Many have regarded this as a serious defect of the semantics. For intuitively, it seems, counterfactuals with impossible antecedents---counterpossibles---can be non-trivially true and non-trivially false. Whereas the counterpossible "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then the mathematical community at the time would have been surprised'' seems true, "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then sick children in the mountains of Afghanistan at the time would (...) have been thrilled'' seems false. -/- Many have proposed to extend the Lewis-Stalnaker semantics with impossible worlds to make room for a non-trivial or non-vacuous treatment of counterpossibles. Roughly, on the extended Lewis-Stalnaker semantics, we evaluate a counterfactual of the form "If A had been true, then C would have been true'' by going to closest world---whether possible or impossible---in which A is true and check whether C is also true in that world. If the answer is "yes'', the counterfactual is true; otherwise it is false. Since there are impossible worlds in which the mathematically impossible happens, there are impossible worlds in which Hobbes manages to square the circle. And intuitively, in the closest such impossible worlds, sick children in the mountains of Afghanistan are not thrilled---they remain sick and unmoved by the mathematical developments in Europe. If so, the counterpossible "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then sick children in the mountains of Afghanistan at the time would have been thrilled'' comes out false, as desired. -/- In this paper, I will critically investigate the extended Lewis-Stalnaker semantics for counterpossibles. I will argue that the standard version of the extended semantics, in which impossible worlds correspond to maximal, logically inconsistent entities, fails to give the correct semantic verdicts for many counterpossibles. In light of the negative arguments, I will then outline a new version of the extended Lewis-Stalnaker semantics that can avoid these problems. (shrink)
Scott Campbell has recently defended the psychological approach to personal identity over time by arguing that a person is literally a series of mental events. Rejecting four-dimensionalism about the persistence of physical objects, Campbell regards constitutionalism as the main rival version of the psychological approach. He argues that his "series view" has two clear advantages over constitutionalism: it avoids the "two thinkers" objection and it allows a person to change bodies. In addition, Campbell suggests a reply to the objection, often (...) raised against views such as his, that thoughts must be distinct from their thinker. In this paper, I argue that Campbell's responses to the "two thinkers" and the "thoughts/thinker" objections are unsuccessful. Furthermore, his reply to the latter leads to four-dimensionalism of the kind he wanted to avoid – and this view too allows a person to change bodies. Moreover, I argue that it speaks against the series view that generalised versions of it fare much more poorly than do generalised versions of constitutionalism and four-dimensionalism. (shrink)
The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is Kant's central contribution to moral philosophy, and has inspired controversy ever since it was first published in 1785. Kant champions the insights of 'common human understanding' against what he sees as the dangerous perversions of ethical theory. Morality is revealed to be a matter of human autonomy: Kant locates the source of the 'categorical imperative' within each and every human will. However, he also portrays everyday morality in a way that many readers (...) find difficult to accept. The Groundwork is a short book, but its argument is dense, intricate and at times treacherous. This commentary explains Kant's arguments paragraph by paragraph, and also contains an introduction, a synopsis of the argument, six short interpretative essays on key topics of the Groundwork, and a glossary of key terms. It will be an indispensable tool for anyone wishing to study the Groundwork in detail. (shrink)
When a proposition might be the case, for all an agent knows, we can say that the proposition is epistemically possible for the agent. In the standard possible worlds framework, we analyze modal claims using quantification over possible worlds. It is natural to expect that something similar can be done for modal claims involving epistemic possibility. The main aim of this paper is to investigate the prospects of constructing a space of worlds—epistemic space—that allows us to model what is epistemically (...) possible for ordinary, non-ideally rational agents like you and me. I will argue that the prospects look dim for successfully constructing such a space. In turn, this will make a case for the claim that we cannot use the standard possible worlds framework to model what is epistemically possible for ordinary agents. (shrink)
In a possible world framework, an agent can be said to know a proposition just in case the proposition is true at all worlds that are epistemically possible for the agent. Roughly, a world is epistemically possible for an agent just in case the world is not ruled out by anything the agent knows. If a proposition is true at some epistemically possible world for an agent, the proposition is epistemically possible for the agent. If a proposition is true at (...) all epistemically possible worlds for an agent, the proposition is epistemically necessary for the agent, and as such, the agent knows the proposition. -/- This framework presupposes an underlying space of worlds that we can call epistemic space. Traditionally, worlds in epistemic space are identified with possible worlds, where possible worlds are the kinds of entities that at least verify all logical truths. If so, given that epistemic space consists solely of possible worlds, it follows that any world that may remain epistemically possible for an agent verifies all logical truths. As a result, all logical truths are epistemically necessary for any agent, and the corresponding framework only allows us to model logically omniscient agents. This is a well-known consequence of the standard possible world framework, and it is generally taken to imply that the framework cannot be used to model non-ideal agents that fall short of logical omniscience. -/- A familiar attempt to model non-ideal agents within a broadly world involving framework centers around the use of impossible worlds where the truths of logic can be false. As we shall see, if we admit impossible worlds where “anything goes” in epistemic space, it is easy to avoid logical omniscience. If any logical falsehood is true at some impossible world, then any logical falsehood may remain epistemically possible for some agent. As a result, we can use an impossible world involving framework to model extremely non-ideal agents that do not know any logical truths. -/- A much harder, and considerably less investigated challenge is to ensure that the resulting epistemic space can also be used to model moderately ideal agents that are not logically omniscient but nevertheless logically competent. Intuitively, while such agents may fail to rule out impossible worlds that verify complex logical falsehoods, they are nevertheless able to rule out impossible worlds that verify obvious logical falsehoods. To model such agents, we need a construction of a non-trivial epistemic space that partly consists of impossible worlds where not "anything goes". This involves imposing substantive constraints on impossible worlds to eliminate from epistemic space, say, trivially impossible worlds that verify obvious logical falsehoods. -/- The central aim of this dissertation is to investigate the nature of such non-trivially impossible worlds and the corresponding epistemic spaces. To flag my conclusions, I argue that successful constructions of epistemic spaces that can safely navigate between the Charybdis of logical omniscience and the Scylla of of “anything goes” are hard, if not impossible to find. (shrink)
Arguably the most significant development in the recent history of the personal identity debate has been the emergence of the view known as "animalism." This volume brings together original contributions on this topic written by both well-known and emerging philosophers. Contributors: Lynne Rudder Baker, Stephan Blatti, David Hershenov, Jens Johansson, Mark Johnston, Rory Madden, Jeff McMahan & Tim Campbell, Eric Olson, Derek Parfit, Mark Reid, Denis Robinson, David Shoemaker, Sydney Shoemaker, Paul Snowdon.
In 1993, Richard Hare argued that, contrary to received opinion, Kant could have been a utilitarian. In this article, I argue that Hare was wrong. Kant's theory would not have been utilitarian or consequentialist even if his practical recommendations coincided with utilitarian commands: Kant's theory of value is essentially anti-utilitarian; there is no place for rational contradiction as the source of moral imperatives in utilitarianism; Kant would reject the move to separate levels of moral thinking: first-order moral judgement makes use (...) of the principle of morality; and, relatedly, he would resist the common utilitarian distinction between actions and their motives because any correct description of an action must refer to motivation. The article concludes with the thought that any consequentialist theory based on pre-given ends (teleology) lacks the philosophical resources to distinguish between willing something as a means and as an end, leaving means only, and destroying transparency. (shrink)
There seems to be a strong sentiment in pre-philosophical moral thought that actions can be morally valuable without at the same time being morally required. Yet Kant, who takes great pride in developing an ethical system .rmly grounded in common moral thought, makes no provision for any such extraordinary acts of virtue. Rather, he supports a classi.cation of actions as either obligatory, permissible or prohibited, which in the eyes of his critics makes it totally inadequate to the facts of morality. (...) The related idea of uncommonly grand and noble deeds is frequently dismissed by Kant as high-.own emotional nonsense. Such considerations give rise to the fear that actions intuitively classed as morally commendable but not required must be re-classi.ed as commands of duty by Kant, making his ethical theory as unbearably demanding as direct utilitarianism. The paper divides into three sections: (1) an examination of the nature of moral goodness from a meta-ethical angle that introduces some passages from Kant's writings presenting strong theoretical evidence against the case for supererogatory action; (2) a critique of Thomas Hill's suggestion that within the category of wide duty we can accommodate some of the main features of actions classi.ed as supererogatory in other ethical systems; concluding that, contra Hill, there are no actions of wide duty that can be so characterized in any signi.cant sense; and (3) a .nal discussion of the problem of how demanding the requirements of Kantian ethical theory really are. (shrink)
This paper investigates the stock market reaction to the announcement that a firm has been included in the UK FTSE4Good index of socially responsible firms. We use the announcement of firm inclusion in the index to estimate the stock market reaction to a firm being classified as socially responsible. This is an important test of whether investors view the undertaking of socially responsible activities by firms as a value increasing or value decreasing initiative by management. We do not find strong (...) evidence in favour of a positive market reaction. However, there is a large cross-sectional variation in the market reaction to this announcement. Investors appear to be reacting to this event and there are a number of firm characteristics that are well-established proxies for CSR that can explain the market reaction. (shrink)
Many philosophers maintain that artworks, such as statues, are constituted by other material objects, such as lumps of marble. I give an argument against this view, an argument which appeals to mereological simples.
During the past decades, research collaboration between researchers from different disciplines has become more frequent. However, there is a need to look into the generic modalities and challenges. The article explores a series of potential obstructions to cross-disciplinary collaboration of methodological and epistemological nature. Furthermore, a number of contextual, inhibiting factors are outlined. As means of overcoming the obstacles, the importance of mutual knowledge, allocation of adequate time and conducive research management is emphasised. New teams may benefit from tutoring by (...) facilitators, who can help to make problem areas explicit and negotiate solutions. Owing to the training background of the author, most of the examples are drawn from the interface between biomedicine/natural science and applied medical anthropology. However, the issues raised basically apply to all sorts of cross-disciplinary research collaboration in various combinations. (shrink)
What is the proper task of Kantian ethical theory? This paper seeks to answer this question with reference to Kant's reply to Christian Garve in Section I of his 1793 essay on Theory and Practice . Kant reasserts the distinctness and natural authority of our consciousness of the moral law. Every mature human being is a moral professional—even philosophers like Garve, if only they forget about their ill-conceived ethical systems and listen to the voice of pure practical reason. Normative theory, (...) Kant argues, cannot be refuted with reference to alleged experience. It is the proper task of the moral philosopher to emphasize this fact. The paper also discusses Kant's attempts to clarify his moral psychology, philosophy of value and conception of the highest good in the course of replying to Garve's challenge. Key Words: Christian Garve ethical theory and practice Immanuel Kant moral psychology theory of value. (shrink)
Abstract: The symmetry argument is an objection to the 'deprivation approach'– the account of badness favored by nearly all philosophers who take death to be bad for the one who dies. Frederik Kaufman's recent response to the symmetry argument is a development of Thomas Nagel's suggestion that we could not have come into existence substantially earlier than we in fact did. In this paper, I aim to show that Kaufman's suggestion fails. I also consider several possible modifications of his theory, (...) and argue that they are unsuccessful as well. (shrink)
In the essay, I compare the aims and especially the methods of philosophers and grammarians. It transpires that there are several interesting similarities to be found with the method and aim in particular of traditional 'armchair philosophers'. I argue that these similarities go far enough to suggest that if armchair philosophers' method is in a state of challenge, as is claimed by a number of experimental philosophers, then the same can be said about the method of grammarians. However, I also (...) try to show that it is not easy for experimental philosophers to frame their critique in a way that avoids construing its target too broadly, which would lead to unacceptable consequences. I conclude with some brief remarks on the extent to which a properly targeted critique can provide a challenge for traditional philosophical method. (shrink)
The so-called 'Extreme Claim' asserts that reductionism about personal identity leaves each of us with no reason to be specially concerned about his or her own future. Both advocates and opponents of the Extreme Claim, whether of a reductionist or non-reductionist stripe, accept that similar problems do not arise for non-reductionism. In this paper I challenge this widely held assumption.
The aim of this article is to enquire into neuroscientific research on memory and relate it to topics of skill, knowledge and consciousness. The article outlines some contemporary theories on procedural and working memory, and discusses what contributions they give to sport science and philosophy of sport. It is argued that memory research gives important insights to the neuronal structures and events involved in knowledge and consciousness contributing to sport skills, but that these explanations are not exhaustive. The article argues (...) that phenomenal consciousness in skills is not explained by the neuroscience of memory, and hence neither are skills. (shrink)
Maxims play a crucial role in Kant's ethical philosophy, but there is significant disagreement about what maxims are. In this two-part essay, I survey eight different views of Kantian maxims, presenting their strengths and their weaknesses. In Part II: New Approaches, I look at three more recent views in somewhat greater detail than I do the five treatments canvassed in 'Recent Works on Kantian Maxims I: Established Approaches'. First, there is Richard McCarty's Interpretation, which holds that Kant's understanding of maxims (...) can be illuminated by placing them in the context of the Wollfian tradition, according to which maxims are the major premises of practical syllogisms. The next subject Maria Schwartz, holds that careful attention to Kant's distinction between rules and maxims, as well as Kant's concept of happiness, allows us to make sense of almost all of Kant's remarks on maxims. It may be, however, that on Schwartz's view agents turn out to perform actions as opposed to thoughtlessly habitual behaviors much less often than is plausible. This leads to the final approach, exemplified by Jens Timmermann, which is that Kant understands maxims equivocally. I claim that something like Timmermann's approach is the only way to make sense of all of what Kant has to say on maxims. (shrink)
The paper defends Humean approaches to autonomous mental causation against recent attacks in the literature. One important criticism launched at Humean approaches says that the truth-makers of the counterfactuals in question include laws of nature, and there are laws that support physical-to-physical counterfactuals, but no laws in the same sense that support mental-to-physical counterfactuals. This paper argues that special science causal laws and physical causal laws cannot be distinguished in terms of degrees of strictness. It follows that mental-to-physical counterfactuals are (...) supportedâ€”or not supportedâ€”by laws in just the same way as are physical-to-physical counterfactuals. (shrink)
David Malament argued that Hartry Field's nominalisation program is unlikely to be able to deal with non-space-time theories such as phase-space theories. We give a specific example of such a phase-space theory and argue that this presentation of the theory delivers explanations that are not available in the classical presentation of the theory. This suggests that even if phase-space theories can be nominalised, the resulting theory will not have the explanatory power of the original. Phase-space theories thus raise problems for (...) nominalists that go beyond Malament's initial concerns. Thanks to Mark Steiner, Jens Christian Bjerring, Ben Fraser, John Mathewson, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Ethical evaluation of deep brain stimulation as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease is complicated by results that can be described as involving changes in the patient’s identity. The risk of becoming another person following surgery is alarming for patients, caregivers and clinicians alike. It is one of the most urgent conceptual and ethical problems facing deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease at this time. In our paper we take issue with this problem on two accounts. First, we elucidate what is (...) meant by becoming another person from a conceptual point of view. After critically discussing two broad approaches we concentrate on the notion of individual identity which centers on the idea of core attitudes . Subsequently we discuss several approaches to determine what distinguishes core attitudes from those that are more peripheral. We argue for a foundational-function model highlighting the importance of specific dependency relations between these attitudes. Our second aim is to comment on the possibility to empirically measure changes in individual identity and argue that many of the instruments now commonly used in selecting and monitoring DBS-patients are inappropriate for this purpose. Future research in this area is advised combining a conceptual and an empirical approach as a basis of sound ethical appraisal. (shrink)
The article attempts to show some limitations to reductive accounts in science and philosophy of body-mind relations, experience and skill. Extensive literature has developed in analytic philosophy of mind recently due to new technology and theories in the neurosciences. In the sporting sciences, there are also attempts to reduce experiences and skills to biology, mechanics, chemistry and physiology. The article argues there are three fundamental problems for reductive accounts that lead to an explanatory gap between the reduction and the conscious (...) experience. First, reductive accounts deal with objective observations; conscious experiences are subjective. Second, subjective experience seems difficult to identify with physical events described by chemistry, biology, mechanics or neurophysiology. Finally, sport involves knowing how and knowing how is also difficult to reduce to propositional knowledge, which is the reductive scientific/philosophical project. The article argues that sport provides an excellent platform to better understand what is wrong with reductive analysis in body-mind relations, since both conscious experience and knowing how are fundamental to sport performance. (shrink)
Chris Heathwood has recently put forward a novel and ingenious argument against the view that intrinsic value is analyzable in terms of fitting attitudes. According to Heathwood, this view holds water only if the related but distinct concept of welfare—intrinsic value for a person —can be analyzed in terms of fitting attitudes too. Moreover, he argues against such an analysis of welfare by appealing to the rationality of our bias towards the future. In this paper, I argue that so long (...) as we keep the tenses and the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction right, the fitting-attitudes analysis of welfare can be shown to survive Heathwood’s criticism. (shrink)
Rebecca Roache’s recent critique of David Lewis’s cohabitation view assumes that a person cannot be properly concerned about something that rules out that she ever exists. In this brief response, I argue against this assumption.
This article analyzes how the relationship between philosophy and history has been conceived within the study of political thought, and how different ways of conceiving this relationship in turn have affected the definition of the subject matter as well as the choice of methods within this field. My main argument is that the ways in which we conceive this relationship is dependent on the assumptions we make about the ontological status of concepts and their meaning. I start by discussing the (...) widespread view that philosophy and history ought to be viewed as distinct if not incompatible ways of studying political thought, and then go on to describe the view that philosophical and historical approaches should be conceived of as identical or inseparable. I end this article by suggesting that these approaches rather should be viewed as mutually constitutive for the benefit of a more coherent study of political thought. (shrink)
The article deals with the following: (1) Three brain imaging studies on athletes are evaluated. What do these neuroscientific studies tell us about the brain and mind of the athlete? (2) Empirical investigations will need a neuro-theory of mind if they are to make the leap from neural activity to the mental. The article looks at such a theory, Gerald Edelman's ?Neural Darwinism?. What are the implications of such a theory for sport science and philosophy of sport? (3) The article (...) appreciates some of the neurosciences applications, but questions the hope of giving a complete theory of mind. (shrink)
In much of the current literature on global and European governance, "public accountability" has come to mean accountability to national executives, to peers, to courts, and even to markets. I argue that such a re-conceptualization of "public accountability" as an umbrella term blurs a crucial dimension of the original concept: the critical scrutiny of citizens and the collective evaluation of government through public debate. In this article I critically discuss the advance of managerial and administrative notions of accountability that accompanied (...) the steep rise of the governance concept. I advocate a return to a conception of public accountability as accountability to the wider public. I investigate the prospects for such public accountability beyond the state, which depends upon the emergence of a transnational public sphere, consisting of media and organized civil society. The function of such a transnational public sphere is to put pressure on governance institutions in case of massive maladministration, and to make sure that emergent political concerns and demands are recognized in the process of international policy making. (shrink)
Section I of Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is meant to lead us from our everyday conception of morality to the supreme principle of all moral action, officially christened the ‘categorical imperative’ some twenty Academy pages further into the treatise. It is quite striking that in this first section Kant dispenses with the notorious technical language that pervades not just other parts of the Groundwork but also most of the remaining philosophical writings of the critical period. The mere (...) fact that Groundwork I is comparatively accessible does not, of course, make it straightforward or uncontroversial. Kant's readers are faced with, amongst other things, four unconvincing paragraphs on the natural purpose of practical reason (G IV 394–6), a crucial change of topic from good volition to acting from duty (G IV 397), an unstated ‘first proposition’ about moral value that has baffled generations of interpreters (presumably G IV 397–9), and a contentious shift from an allegedly unproblematic principle of practical universalizability to a substantive moral command (G IV 402). (shrink)
Kant’s concept of conscience has been largely neglected by scholars and contemporary moral philosophers alike, as has his concept of “indirect” duty. Admittedly, neither of them is foundational within his ethical theory, but a correct account of both in their own right and in combination can shed some new light on Kant’s moral philosophy as a whole. In this paper, I first examine a key passage in which Kant systematically discusses the role of conscience, then give a systematic account of (...) “indirect” duties and the function of hypothetical imperatives in the course of their generation. I then turn to the possibility of moral error and the part “indirect” duty can play in its prevention. In conclusion, I try to show how clarifying the concept of “indirect” duty can help us to shed light on the nature of Kantian ethics as a whole. (shrink)
Pluralistic ignorance is a socio-psychological phenomenon that involves a systematic discrepancy between people’s private beliefs and public behavior in certain social contexts. Recently, pluralistic ignorance has gained increased attention in formal and social epistemology. But to get clear on what precisely a formal and social epistemological account of pluralistic ignorance should look like, we need answers to at least the following two questions: What exactly is the phenomenon of pluralistic ignorance? And can the phenomenon arise among perfectly rational agents? In (...) this paper, we propose answers to both these questions. First, we characterize different versions of pluralistic ignorance and define the version that we claim most adequately captures the examples cited as paradigmatic cases of pluralistic ignorance in the literature. In doing so, we will stress certain key epistemic and social interactive aspects of the phenomenon. Second, given our characterization of pluralistic ignorance, we argue that the phenomenon can indeed arise in groups of perfectly rational agents. This, in turn, ensures that the tools of formal epistemology can be fully utilized to reason about pluralistic ignorance. (shrink)
Most versions of the psychological-continuity approach to personal identity (PCA) contain a 'non-branching' requirement. Recently, Robert Francescotti has argued that while such versions of PCA handle Parfit's standard fission case well, they deliver the wrong result in the case of an intact human brain. To solve this problem, he says, PCA-adherents need to add a clause that runs contrary to the spirit of their theory. In this response, I argue that Francescotti's counterexample fails. As a result, the revision he suggests (...) is not needed. (shrink)
By comparing alternative evolutionary models, the International Sexuality Description Project marks the transition of evolutionary psychology to the next level of scientific maturation. The lack of final conclusions might partly be a result of the composition of the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory and the sampled populations. Our own data suggest that correcting for both gives further support to the strategic pluralism model.
Bayesian probability has recently been proposed as a normative theory of argumentation. In this article, we provide a Bayesian formalisation of the ad Hitlerum argument, as a special case of the ad hominem argument. Across three experiments, we demonstrate that people's evaluation of the argument is sensitive to probabilistic factors deemed relevant on a Bayesian formalisation. Moreover, we provide the first parameter-free quantitative evidence in favour of the Bayesian approach to argumentation. Quantitative Bayesian prescriptions were derived from participants' stated subjective (...) probabilities (Experiments 1 and 2), as well as from frequency information explicitly provided in the experiment (Experiment 3). Participants' stated evaluations of the convincingness of the argument were well matched to these prescriptions. (shrink)
Harvesting human embryonic stem (hES) cells is a highly controversial field of research because it rests on the destruction of human embryos. Altering the procedure of nuclear transfer (NT) is suggested to generate hES cell lines without ethical obstacles by claiming that no embryo would be involved. While discussing the nature of an embryo and related central questions concerning their moral status and the respect they deserve, this paper argues that the entity created by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or (...) altered nuclear transfer (ANT) is an embryo and has the same moral status as a natural embryo. Respect for the embryo is expressed by the ethical principles of proportionality, probability and subsidiarity. This paper argues that the human embryo should only be taken for research with high ranking goals, which are proven in animal experimentation and for which there are no alternatives. This makes ANT obsolete and shows that SCNT to produce hES cells is premature at the present time. (shrink)
The introduction of new medical treatments based on invasive technologies has often been surrounded by both hopes and fears. Hope, since a new intervention can create new opportunities either in terms of providing a cure for the disease or impairment at hand; or as alleviation of symptoms. Fear, since an invasive treatment involving implanting a medical device can result in unknown complications such as hardware failure and undesirable medical consequences. However, hopes and fears may also arise due to the cultural (...) embeddedness of technology, where a therapy due to ethical, social, political and religious concerns could be perceived as either a blessing or a threat. While Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for treatment resistant depression (TRD) is still in its cradle, it is important to be proactive and try to scrutinize both surfacing hopes and fears. Patients will not benefit if a promising treatment is banned or avoided due to unfounded fears, nor will they benefit if DBS is used without scrutinizing the arguments which call for caution. Hence blind optimism is equally troublesome. We suggest that specificity, both in terms of a detailed account of relevant scientific concerns as well as ethical considerations, could be a way to analyse expressed concerns regarding DBS for TRD. This approach is particularly fruitful when applied to hopes and fears evoked by DBS for TRD, since it can reveal if our comprehension of DBS for TRD suffer from various biases which may remain unnoticed at first glance. We suggest that such biases exist, albeit a further analysis is needed to explore this issue in full. (shrink)