The actions performed by individuals, as consumers and citizens, have aggregate negative consequences for the environment. The question asked in this paper is to what extent it is reasonable to hold individuals and institutions responsible for environmental problems. A distinction is made between backward-looking and forward-looking responsibility. Previously, individuals were not seen as being responsible for environmental problems, but an idea that is now sometimes implicitly or explicitly embraced in the public debate on environmental problems is that individuals are appropriate (...) targets for blame when they perform actions that are harmful to the environment. This idea is criticized in this paper. It is argued that instead of blaming individuals for performing actions that are not environmentally friendly we should ascribe forward-looking responsibility to individuals, a notion that focuses more on capacity and resources than causation and blameworthiness. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that a great share of forward-looking responsibility should also be ascribed to institutional agents, primarily governments and corporations. The urge to ascribe forward-looking responsibility to institutional agents is motivated by the efficiency aim of responsibility distributions. Simply put, if responsibility is ascribed to governments and corporations there is a better chance of creating a society in which the opportunities to act in an environmentally friendly way increase. (shrink)
Drink driving causes great suffering and material destruction. The alcohol interlock promises to eradicate this problem by technological design. Traditional counter-measures to drink driving such as policing and punishment and information campaigns have proven insufficient. Extensive policing is expensive and intrusive. Severe punishment is disproportionate to the risks created in most single cases. If the interlock becomes inexpensive and convenient enough, and if there are no convincing moral objections to the device, it may prove the only feasible as well as (...) the only justifiable solution to the problem of drink driving. A policy of universal alcohol interlocks, in all cars, has been proposed by several political parties in Sweden and is supported by the National Road Administration and the 2006 Alcohol Interlock Commission. This article assesses two possible moral objections to a policy of universal interlocks: (i) that it displaces the responsibility of individual drivers and (ii) that it constitutes a paternalistic interference with drivers. The first objection is found unconvincing, while the second has only limited bite and may be neutralized if paternalism is accepted for the sake of greater net liberty. Given the expected technological development, the proposed policy seems a commendable health promotion measure for the near future. (shrink)
In this paper, the so-called V-chip is analysed from the perspective of responsibility. The V-chip is a technological tool used by parents, on a voluntary basis, to prevent children from watching violent television content. Since 1997 in the United States, the V-chip is installed in all new televisions sets of 12″ and larger. We are interested in the question whether and how the introduction of the V-chip affects who is to be considered responsible for children. In the debate, it has (...) been argued that the V-chip reduces parents’ responsibility for children, but it has also been argued that it gives parents a tool to exercise their responsibility. It may appear as though all debaters are discussing the same thing and merely have different opinions. However, we argue that there are at least three notions of responsibility underlying these claims and that these should be kept separate. First, arguments on responsibility may refer to responsibility as task distribution. Second, they can refer to responsibility as control. Finally, a thicker concept of parental responsibility understood as a virtue may be referred to. It becomes clear that whereas task distribution changes to some extent and the possibilities for control are increased, only certain parts of parental responsibility as a virtue are affected. The finding that there appear to be different notions of responsibility involved in a debate that prima facie is about one issue, indicates that discussions on other technologies and how they affect responsibility may suffer from the same conceptual lack of clarity. (shrink)
Women who suffer from fertility issues often use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to realize their wish to have children. However, IVF has its own set of strict administration rules that leave the women physically and emotionally exhausted. Feeling alienated and frustrated, many IVF users turn to internet IVF-centered forums to share their stories and to find information and support. Based on the observation of Dutch and Greek IVF forums and a selection of 109 questionnaires from Dutch and Greek IVF forum (...) users, we investigate the reasons why users of IVF participate in online communities centered on IVF, their need for emotional expression and support, and how they experience and use the information and support they receive through their participation in the online community. We argue that the emotional concerns expressed in such forums should be taken into account by health care ethics committees for IVF-related matters in order to promote more patient-oriented care and support for women going through IVF. (shrink)
In some situations in which undesirable collective effects occur, it is very hard, if not impossible, to hold any individual reasonably responsible. Such a situation may be referred to as the problem of many hands. In this paper we investigate how the problem of many hands can best be understood and why, and when, it exactly constitutes a problem. After analyzing climate change as an example, we propose to define the problem of many hands as the occurrence of a gap (...) in the distribution of responsibility that may be considered morally problematic. Whether a gap is morally problematic, we suggest, depends on the reasons why responsibility is distributed. This, in turn, depends, at least in part, on the sense of responsibility employed, a main distinction being that between backward-looking and forward-looking responsibility. (shrink)
Most sources providing information on infant feeding strongly recommend breastfeeding. The WHO and UNICEF recommend that women breastfeed their babies and that health professionals promote breastfeeding. This creates severe pressure on women to breastfeed, a pressure which is ethically questionable since many women have physical or emotional problems with breastfeeding. In this article, we use insights from the ethics of risk to criticize the current breastfeeding policy. We argue that there are problems related to balancing aggregate wellbeing versus individual wellbeing, (...) that not enough attention is paid to alternatives, that women’s emotions and their need for free choice should be considered and that issues of equity are currently overlooked. We also criticize the way scientific information is presented in the current policy. We conclude that the official sources of information on infant feeding should be revised. Information should be more nuanced and designed to support mothers, and families in making a free choice on what is the best way to feed their babies. (shrink)
During the last decade Jessica Brown has been one of the main participants in the on-going debate over the compatibility of anti-individualism and self-knowledge. It is therefore of great interest that she is now publishing a book examining the various epistemological consequences of anti-individualism. The book is divided into three sections. The first discusses the question of whether a subject can have privileged access to her own thoughts, even if the content of her thoughts is construed anti-individualistically. This section (...) contains a detailed and useful discussion not only of how we are to understand privileged access, but also of epistemological issues of more general import, such as the connection between knowledge and reliability. The second section focuses on various aspects of the problem of anti-individualism and reasoning, including an extensive discussion of the relation between anti-individualism and a Fregean account of content. The final section discusses the so-called reductio argument against compatibilism (i.e. the view that anti-individualism is compatible with a priori knowledge of one’s own thoughts), according to which compatibilism implies that we can have a priori knowledge of certain facts about the world that, intuitively, are not knowable that way. The book is very clearly written and structured. Readers unfamiliar with the debate will get a good sense of its broad contours and the various positions taken. Brown starts out by distinguishing different forms of anti-individualism. This is very helpful since it is quite clear that the term has come to be rather carelessly used, as if it referred to one particular thesis, whereas in fact a number of loosely related positions are labeled ‘antiindividualist’. At the outset she distinguishes three familiar anti-individualist theses: natural kind anti-individualism, social anti-individualism, and singular anti-individualism. These.. (shrink)
Since antiquity, philosophers and engineers have tried to take life’s measure by reproducing it. Aiming to reenact Creation, at least in part, these experimenters have hoped to understand the links between body and spirit, matter and mind, mechanism and consciousness. Genesis Redux examines moments from this centuries-long experimental tradition: efforts to simulate life in machinery, to synthesize life out of material parts, and to understand living beings by comparison with inanimate mechanisms.Jessica Riskin collects seventeen essays from distinguished scholars in (...) several fields. These studies offer an unexpected and far-reaching result: attempts to create artificial life have rarely been driven by an impulse to reduce life and mind to machinery. On the contrary, designers of synthetic creatures have generally assumed a role for something nonmechanical. The history of artificial life is thus also a history of theories of soul and intellect.Taking a historical approach to a modern quandary, Genesis Redux is essential reading for historians and philosophers of science and technology, scientists and engineers working in artificial life and intelligence, and anyone engaged in evaluating these world-changing projects. (shrink)
To the Editor: The sensitive discussion by Courtney Campbell and Jessica Cox on hospice care and physician-assisted death (“Hospice and Physician-Assisted Death: Collaboration, Compliance, and Complicity,” September-October 2010) is a model blend of ethical analysis, empirical study, and policy assessment in bioethics. The legalization of physician aid in dying has raised important ethical issues for hospice that go to the broader question of its evolving mission and its place in the landscape of end-of-life care in our society. Hospice began, (...) one might say, as a philosophy of care of the dying that formed a countercultural movement. It offered a systematic and holistic approach to care involving not .. (shrink)
Temporal externalism (TE) is the thesis (defended by Jackman (1999)) that the contents of some of an individual’s thoughts and utterances at time t may be determined by linguistic developments subsequent to t. TE has received little discussion so far, Brown 2000 and Stoneham 2002 being exceptions. I defend TE by arguing that it solves several related problems concerning the extension of natural kind terms in scientifically ignorant communities. Gary Ebbs (2000) argues that no theory can reconcile our ordinary, practical (...) judgments of sameness of extension over time with the claim that linguistic usage determines word extensions. I argue that Ebbs shows at most that no theory other than TE can effect this reconciliation. Furthermore, while Ebbs’ argument undermines Jessica Brown’s solutions to two closely related problems about natural kind term extensions (Brown 1998), TE can solve both problems without difficulty. Some criticisms of TE are briefly addressed as well. (shrink)
In her recent book Anti-Individualism and Knowledge, Jessica Brown has presented a novel answer to the self-knowledge achievement problem facing the proponent of anti-individualism. She argues that her answer is to be preferred to the traditional answer (based on Burge, 1988a). Here I present three objections to the claim that her proposed answer is to be preferred. The significance of these objections lies in what they tell us about the nature of the sort of knowledge that is in dispute. (...) Perhaps the most important lesson I draw from this discussion is that, given the nature of knowledge of one's own thoughts, discriminability (from relevant alternatives) is not a condition on knowledge as such. (shrink)
Traditionally, Anglophone philosophers have assumed that the identity of a thought is determined wholly by the subject's intrinsic states--e.g., her brain states. In the 1970's, this traditional view (lately called 'individualism' or ‘internalism’) was challenged by Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge, who argued that the contents of one’s beliefs, desires, intentions are partly determined by one's physical, social and/or linguistic environment. The question is not whether the environment causes one to think what one does. Rather, the question is one of (...) the identity of thoughts: In virtue of what is a thought the particular thought that it is? According to Putnam and Burge, the answer lies partly in the environment. What makes the belief expressed by ‘water is wet’ the belief that it is depends on the presence of H2O in the environment, not just on the believer’s internal states. The view that thoughts are individuated in part by environmental factors has come to be called ‘anti-individualism’ or ‘externalism’. (shrink)
Several authors have argued that, assuming we have apriori knowledge of our own thought-contents, semantic externalism implies that we can know apriori contingent facts about the empirical world. After presenting the argument, I shall respond by resisting the premise that an externalist can know apriori: If s/he has the concept water, then water exists. In particular, Boghossian's Dry Earth example suggests that such thought-experiments do not provide such apriori knowledge. Boghossian himself rejects the Dry Earth experiment, however, since it would (...) imply that externalism is true of empty concepts as well as non-empty concepts. Yet in this paper I respond by defending empty-concept externalism, from criticisms suggested by Boghossian and Brown, and recently developed further by Besson. My contention is that an externalist can give a non-ad hoc descriptivist account of empty concepts. Accordingly, apriori self-knowledge does not enable an externalist to know contingent features of the external world. (shrink)
Some worry that semantic externalism is incompatible with knowing by introspection what content your thoughts have. In this paper, I examine one primary argument for this incompatibilist worry, the slow-switch argument. Following Goldberg (2006), I construe the argument as attacking the conjunction of externalism and skeptic-proof knowledge of content, where such knowledge would be immune to skeptical doubt. Goldberg, following Burge (1988), attempts to reclaim such knowledge for the externalist; however, I contend that all Burge-style accounts (at best) vindicate that (...) a subject can introspectively know that she is thinking that “water is wet.” They do not yet show how a subject can introspectively know what she is thinking—which is the distinctive type of knowing at issue in the slow-switch argument. Nonetheless, I subsequently amend the Burge-style view to illustrate how an externalist can introspectively “know what” content her thought has, and know it in a skeptic-proof manner, despite what the slow-switch argument may suggest. For one, I emphasize that “knowing what” is intensional (one can know what a water-thought is sans familiarity with H2O-thoughts). Second, I exploit the fact that such knowledge can be ontologically non-committal (so that knowing your thought is about water does not require knowing that water exists). Finally, following Boër and Lycan (1986), I point out that “knowing what” is purpose-relative—and for at least some purposes, I suggest it is possible for the externalist to “know what” content her thought has, even when skeptical hypotheses about XYZ are entertained. (shrink)
The military claims to be an honourable profession, yet military torture is widespread. Why is the military violating its own values? Jessica Wolfendale argues that the prevalence of military torture is linked to military training methods that cultivate the psychological dispositions connected to crimes of obedience. While these methods are used, the military has no credible claim to professional status. Combating torture requires that we radically rethink the nature of the military profession and military training.
Shadow of the Other is a discussion of how the individual has two sorts of relationships with an "other"--other individuals. The first regards the other as a s work apart is her brilliant utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing tensions: masculinity and femininity, subjectivity and objectivity, passivity and activity, love and aggression, fantasy and reality, modernism and postmodernism, the intrapsychic and the intersubjective. Benjamin s work apart is her brilliant utilization (...) of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing other as a mental repository fo unwanted characteristics cast from the self. Jessica benjamin shows the implications of this dual relationship for male/female hierarchy and offers a possibility for balancing the two. This book continues the author's well-known explorations of the themes of intersubjectivity and gender, taking up issues at the forefront of contemporary debates in feminist theory and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Further Thoughts on Counterfactuals, Compatibilism, Conceptual Mismatches, and Choices: Response to Commentaries Content Type Journal Article Pages 31-34 DOI 10.1007/s12152-010-9067-3 Authors Roy F. Baumeister, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA A. William Crescioni, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA Jessica L. Alquist, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490 Journal Volume Volume 4 Journal Issue Volume 4, Number 1.
In Victorian Modernism: Pragmatism and the Varieties of Aesthetic Experience Jessica Feldman sheds a pragmatist light on the relation between the Victorian age and Modernism by dislodging truistic notions of Modernism as an art of crisis, rupture, elitism and loss. She examines aesthetic sites of Victorian Modernism - including workrooms, parlours, friendships, and family relations as well as printed texts and paintings - as they develop through interminglings and continuities as well as gaps and breaks. Examining the works of (...) John Ruskin (art critic and social thinker), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (poet and painter), Augusta Evans (best-selling domestic novelist,) and William James (philosopher and psychologist), Feldman relates them to selected twentieth-century creations. She reveals these sentimental, domestic and sublime works to be pragmatist explorations of aesthetic realms. This study, which leads Modernism back into the Victorian age, will be of interest to scholars of literature, art history, and philosophy. (shrink)
Ecological feminism (or ecofeminism) and feminist bioethics seem to have much in common. They share certain methodological and epistemological concerns, offer similar challenges to traditional philosophy, and take up a number of the same practical issues. The two disciplines have thus far had little or no direct interaction; this is one attempt to begin some conversation and perhaps stimulate some cross-pollination of ideas. The email dialogue engaged an active ecofeminist scholar, Karen Warren, and an active feminist bioethicist, Hilde Nelson, in (...) an exchange of ideas. Jessica Pierce, whose research cuts between environmental philosophy and bioethics, served as moderator. (shrink)
Abstract Context: Established in 1997, Summa Health System’s Medical Ethics Committee (EC) serves as an educational, supportive, and consultative resource to patients/families and providers, and serves to analyze, clarify, and ameliorate dilemmas in clinical care. In 2009 the EC conducted its 100th consult. In 2002 a Palliative Care Consult Service (PCCS) was established to provide supportive services for patients/families facing advanced illness; enhance clinical decision-making during crisis; and improve pain/symptom management. How these services affect one another has thus far been (...) unclear. Objectives: This study describes EC consults: types, reasons, recommendations and utilization, and investigates the impact the PCCS may have on EC consult requests or recommendations. Methods: Retrospective reviews of 100 EC records explored trends and changes in types of consults, reasons for consults, and EC recommendations and utilization. Results: There were 50 EC consults each in the 6 years pre- and post-PCCS. Differences found include: (1) a decrease in number of reasons for consult requests (133–62); (2) changes in top two reasons for EC consult requests from ‘Family opposed to withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (LST)’ and ‘Patient capacity in question’ to ‘Futility’ and ‘Physician opposed to providing LST’; (3) changes in top two recommendations given by the EC from ‘Emotional Support for Patient/Family’ and ‘Initiate DNR Order’ to ‘Comfort Care’ and ‘Withdraw Treatment.’ Overall, 88% of recommendations were followed. Conclusion: PCCS availability and growth throughout the hospital may have influenced EC consult requests. EC consults regarding family opposition to withdrawing LST and EC recommendations for patient/family support declined. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s10730-011-9170-9 Authors Jessica Richmond Moeller, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Akron General Medical Center, 400 Wabash Ave, Akron, OH 44307, USA Teresa H. Albanese, Health Services Research and Education Institute, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Kimberly Garchar, Kent State University, 6000 Frank Ave., N.W, North Canton, OH 44720, USA Julie M. Aultman, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, P.O. Box 95, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA Steven Radwany, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Dean Frate, Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737. (shrink)
Since antiquity, philosophers and engineers have tried to take life’s measure by reproducing it. Aiming to reenact Creation, at least in part, these experimenters have hoped to understand the links between body and spirit, matter and mind, mechanism and consciousness. Genesis Redux examines moments from this centuries-long experimental tradition: efforts to simulate life in machinery, to synthesize life out of material parts, and to understand living beings by comparison with inanimate mechanisms. Jessica Riskin collects seventeen essays from distinguished scholars (...) in several fields. These studies offer an unexpected and far-reaching result: attempts to create artificial life have rarely been driven by an impulse to reduce life and mind to machinery. On the contrary, designers of synthetic creatures have generally assumed a role for something nonmechanical. The history of artificial life is thus also a history of theories of soul and intellect. Taking a historical approach to a modern quandary, Genesis Redux is essential reading for historians and philosophers of science and technology, scientists and engineers working in artificial life and intelligence, and anyone engaged in evaluating these world-changing projects. (shrink)
Virtuosity and the early Royal Society of London Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9506-0 Authors Jessica Ratcliff, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 501 E. Daniel St, Champaign, II 61820, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Recently, a range of educational theorists have explored and extended upon popular currents in political theory through articulating “open” and “unknowing” pedagogies. Such contributions represent a radical turn away from the presumed “universals” found in proclamations of justice and emancipation and, ultimately, the centering of class analysis. At the same time, inspired by and building upon Bourdieuian theory, another cluster of educational research has developed a nuanced understanding of the social, cultural, and educational mechanisms involved in class reproduction. In this (...) essay, Jessica Gerrard offers a critical — though sympathetic — response to these dual trends. Bringing together theories of reproduction in conversation with theories of pedagogical possibility, Gerrard argues for a renewed understanding of working-class relations to education that incorporates an understanding of working-class action and struggle. (shrink)
***NOTE: April 2013 version contains discussion of whether Grounding is needed to fix direction of priority between non-fundamental goings-on.*** It has recently been suggested that a distinctive relation or relations of "Grounding" is ultimately at issue in contexts where some goings-on are claimed to, e.g., hold "in virtue of"" or be "less fundamental than", "metaphysically dependent on", or "nothing over and above" some others (see Fine 2001, Schaffer 2009, and Rosen 2010). Grounding is supposed to do good work (better than (...) merely modal notions, in particular) in illuminating metaphysical dependence. I argue that Grounding is also too coarse-grained to do this work, eliding important differences in such dependence. There is no avoiding the need for specific metaphysical relations capable of making more fine-grained discriminations, since one cannot assess relative dependence relations without having some idea of whether the dependent goings-on are reducible to the base goings-on, are efficacious vis-a-vis the latter, and so on. Once the specific relations are on the scene, however, there is no need for Grounding. Nor, I argue, is Grounding needed as a metaphysical, terminological or formal unifier of the specific grounding relations. Even if there were such unity, that in itself wouldn't motivate the posit of a distinctive (much less primitive) Grounding relation; moreover, there is little such unity. (shrink)