With this understanding, children are better able to anticipate the behavior of others and to attune their own behavior accordingly. In mentally retarded children with Down's syndrome, attainment of such competence is delayed, but it is generally acquired by the time they reach the mental age of 4, as measured by tests of nonverbal intelligence. Thus from a developmental perspective, attainment of the mental age of 4 appears to be of profound significance for acquisition of what we shall call psychological (...) competence : possession of the skills and resources people routinely call on in the.. (shrink)
This article discusses ethical implications for the academy in the use of cyberspace and virtual reality in conducting its teaching and research responsibilities. It identifies important cyberspace ethics concerns as they intersect with the academy and provides an ethical framework for coming to grips with them. Topics discussed here include the sine qua non of academic collegiality and civility, concerns about digital alteration of images and sounds, and issues pertaining to academic administration and infrastructure.
Russell Blackford and Udo Schüklenk (Eds.), 50 Voices of Disbelief. Why We Are Atheists Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9319-2 Authors John-Stewart Gordon, Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University Kingston, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
Raw (pragmatic) and potential (theoretical) power is seen as the key to press freedom in various global settings. Because the locus of power determines the locus of freedom, the authors suggest a model to understand where the raw and potential power resides within a matrix consisting of the State, the Media Elite, the Journalists, or the People. Numerous questions concerning accountability and ethics are raised concerning the practical application of a model that purports to overcome cultural biases inherent in traditional (...) theories of press and society. (shrink)
This study was a preliminary exploration of the value changes taking place in the United States since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which was a significant emotional event or cultural upheaval. Rokeach told us that a person's total value system may undergo change as a result of socialization, therapy, or cultural upheaval . . . (Rokeach, The Nature of Human Values, 1973, p. 37). The researchers explored the value changes of 500 (...) aviation industry employees before the attack and 500 after the attack. The statistically significant research results showed a total of twenty-seven of thirty-six values changed. Before the attack respondents valued much higher self-esteem and self-actualization values like A Sense of Accomplishment and Self-Respect. After the attack respondents placed a much higher value importance on survival, safety and security values like A World at Peace, Freedom, Family Security, National Security, Mature Love, Salvation, and True Friendship. (shrink)
This study was a preliminary exploration of the value changes taking place in the United States since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which was a significant emotional event or cultural upheaval. Rokeach told us that "a person's total value system may undergo change as a result of socialization, therapy, or cultural upheaval..." (Rokeach, The Nature of Human Values, 1973, p. 37). The researchers explored the value changes of 500 aviation industry employees (...) before the attack and 500 after the attack. The statistically significant research results showed a total of twenty-seven of thirty-six values changed. Before the attack respondents valued much higher self-esteem and self-actualization values like A Sense of Accomplishment and Self-Respect. After the attack respondents placed a much higher value importance on survival, safety and security values like A World at Peace, Freedom, Family Security, National Security, Mature Love, Salvation, and True Friendship. (shrink)
The essays in this book engage the original and controversial claims from Michael Boylan's A Just Society. Each essay discusses Boylan's claims from a particular chapter and offers a critical analysis of these claims.
In his article ‘Why Moral Philosophers Are Not and Should Not Be Moral Experts’ David Archard attempts to show that his argument from common-sense morality is more convincing than other competing arguments in the debate. I examine his main line of argumentation and eventually refute his main argument in my reply.
Existence in Black is the first collective statement on the subject of Africana Philosophy of Existence. Drawing upon resources in Africana philosophy and literature, the contributors explore some of the central themes of Existentialism as posed by the context of what Frantz Fanon has identified as "the lived-experience of the black." Among questions posed and explored in the volume are: What is to be done in a world of near universal sense of superiority to, if not universal hatred of, black (...) folk?; What is black suffering?; What is the meaning (if any) of black existence? The introduction argues that a response to these questions requires a journey through the resources of identity questions in critical race theory and the teleological dimensions of liberation theory. The contributors address these questions through an analysis of nearly every dimension of Africana phiosophy. In the first half of the book, they address Black Philosophies of Existence in terms of Traditional African Philosophy, the Harlem Renaissance, Du Boisian Double-Consciousness, and Fanonian and Sartrean Philosophies of Existence. In the second half of the book, contributors consider racial identity through examinations of such concepts as equality, death, mimesis, property, embodiment, technology, disappointment, and dread. Part II is an exploration of postmodern challenges to "black existence" through discussions of postmodern conservatism, Nietzsche's thoughts on blacks, Richard Wright and fragmented consciousness, and feminist critiques of race. And Part IV is an examination of problems of historical responsibility and constructing black liberation theories. Contributors are: Ernest Allen, Jr., Robert Birt, Bernard Boxill, George Carew, Bobby Dixon, G.M. James Gonzales, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Floyd Hayes, III, Paget Henry, Patricia Huntington, Joy Ann James, Clarence Shole Johnson, Bill E. Lawson, Howard McGary, Roy D. Morrison, William Preston, Jean-Paul Sartre, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Gary Schwartz, Robert Westley, and Naomi Zack. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper, I try to clarify the cluster of moods and questions we refer to generically as the problem of the meaning of life. I propose that the question of meaning emerges when we perform a spontaneous transcendental reduction on the phenomenon my life, a reduction that leaves us confronting an unjustified and unjustifiable curiosity. In Part 2, I turn to the film ikiru, Kurosawa''s masterpiece of 1952, for an existentialist resolution of the problem.
The Structure of Emotions argues that emotion concepts should have a much more important role in the social and behavioural sciences than they now enjoy, and shows that certain influential psychological theories of emotions overlook the explanatory power of our emotion concepts. Professor Gordon also outlines a new account of the nature of commonsense (or ‘folk’) psychology in general.
The four-principle approach to biomedical ethics is used worldwide by practitioners and researchers alike but it is rather unclear what exactly people do when they apply this approach. Ranking, specification, and balancing vary greatly among different people regarding a particular case. Thus, a sound and coherent applicability of principlism seems somewhat mysterious. What are principlists doing? The article examines the methodological strengths and weaknesses of the applicability of this approach. The most important result is that a sound and comprehensible application (...) of the four principles is additionally ensured by making use of the organizing meta-principle of common morality, which is the starting point and constraining framework of moral reasoning. (shrink)
In this undergraduate textbook Lewis R. Gordon offers the first comprehensive treatment of Africana philosophy, beginning with the emergence of an Africana (i.e. African diasporic) consciousness in the Afro-Arabic world of the Middle Ages. He argues that much of modern thought emerged out of early conflicts between Islam and Christianity that culminated in the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, and from the subsequent expansion of racism, enslavement, and colonialism which in their turn stimulated reflections on reason, (...) liberation, and the meaning of being human. His book takes the student reader on a journey from Africa through Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, and back to Africa, as he explores the challenges posed to our understanding of knowledge and freedom today, and the response to them which can be found within Africana philosophy. (shrink)
In this essay, Mordechai Gordon interprets Martin Buber's ideas on dialogue, presence, and especially his notion of embracing in an attempt to shed some light on Buber's understanding of listening. Gordon argues that in order to understand Buber's conception of listening, one needs to examine this concept in the context of his philosophy of dialogue. More specifically, his contention is that closely examining Buber's notion of embracing the other is critical to making sense of his conception of listening. (...)Gordon's analysis suggests that, in Buber's model, listening involves a kind of active attentiveness to another's words or actions, engaging them as though they are directed specifically at us. Gordon's discussion of dialogue and listening also indicates that the relation between speaking and listening is one of reciprocity and mutual dependence and that listening plays an essential role in initiating many dialogues by creating a space in which two people can embrace each other as complete individuals. (shrink)
The concept of monophyly is central to much of modern biology. Despite many efforts over many years, important questions remain unanswered that relate both to the concept itself and to its various applications. This essay focuses primarily on four of these: i) Is it possible to define monophyly operationally, specifically with respect to both the structures of genomes and at the levels of the highest phylogenetic categories (kingdoms, phyla, classes)? ii) May the mosaic and chimeric structures of genomes be sufficiently (...) important factors in phylogeny that situations exist in which the concept may not be applicable? iii) In the history of life on earth were there important groups of organisms that probably had polyphyletic, rather than monophyletic, origins? iv) Does the near universal search for monophyletic origins of clades lead, on occasion, to both undesirable narrowing of acceptable options for development of evolutionary scenarios and sometimes actual omission from consideration of less conventional types of both data and modes of thought, possibly at the expense of biological understanding? Three sections in the essay consider possible answers to these questions: i) A reassessment is made of major features of both the concept and some of its applications. Recent research results make it seem improbable that there could have been single basal forms for many of the highest categories of evolutionary differentiation (kingdoms, phyla, classes). The universal tree of life probably had many roots. Facts contributing to this perception include the phylogenetically widespread occurrences of: horizontal transfers of plasmids, viral genomes, and transposons; multiple genomic duplications; the existence and properties of large numbers of gene families and protein families; multiple symbioses; broad-scale hybridizations; and multiple homoplasys. Next, justifications are reassessed for the application of monophyletic frameworks to two major evolutionary developments usually interpreted as having been monophyletic: ii) the origins of life; and iii) the origins of the vertebrate tetrapods. For both cases polyphyletic hypotheses are suggested as more probable than monophyletic hypotheses. Major conclusions are, as answers to the four questions posed above: probably not, yes, yes, and yes. (shrink)
The connection between humor and aesthetic experience has already been recognized by several thinkers and aesthetic educators. For instance, humor theorist John Morreall writes that "humor is best understood as itself a kind of aesthetic experience, equal in value at least to any other kind of aesthetic experience."1 For Morreall, both humor and aesthetic experience involve the use of the imagination, are accompanied by a sense of freedom, and often lead to surprises that we did not anticipate. Another theorist (...) has noted that the appreciation of specific kinds of humor and particular aesthetic experiences versus others are often matters of taste.2 Still other researchers have argued that aesthetic matters play a .. (shrink)
The question of what firms do internally in the fight against bribery is probably as important to the successful outcome of that fight as formal anti-bribery law and enforcement. This paper looks at corporate approaches to anti-bribery commitment and compliance management using an inventory of 246 codes of conduct. It suggests that, while bribery is often mentioned in the codes of conduct, there is considerable diversity in the language and concepts adopted in anti-bribery commitments. This diversity is a feature of (...) the language used in describing parties to bribery and in defining which activities are prohibited (e.g. promising bribes versus actually giving them, gifts and entertainment, and solicitation. This diversity of language and concepts suggests that it might be useful to extend and deepen efforts in business associations and international organisations to build consensus on the meaning of bribery and corruption. In contrast, the bribery codes show evidence of an emerging consensus on managerial approaches to combating bribery. This involves the deployment of a distinctive mix of management tools, including financial record keeping, statements by executive officers, internal monitoring, whistle-blowing facilities, creation of compliance offices and threats of disciplinary action. (shrink)
In his landmark article “How Medicine Saved the Life of Ethics” (1982), Stephen Toulmin persuasively argues that (serious) problems cannot be solved by mere rationalistic approaches in ethics and that ethics was eventually saved by dint of having to deal with vital questions and concrete problems in medicine. Whether one is a proponent of, for example, principlism or casuistry, one certainly has to admit that a convincing ethical theory or method must have practical application. Analogously, it is about time to (...) consider another vital and prominent issue in normative ethics—the universalism-relativism debate—that might profit from the bioethical approach of principlism (otherwise known as the four-principles .. (shrink)
Much has been written about the offshoring phenomenon from an economic efficiency perspective. Most authors have attempted to measure the net economic effects of the strategy and many purport to show that “in the long run” that benefits will outweigh the costs. There is also a relatively large literature on implementation which describes the best way to manage the offshoring process. But what is the morality of offshoring? What is its “rightness” or “wrongness?” Little analysis of the ethics of offshoring (...) has been completed thus far. This paper develops a preliminary framework for analyzing the ethics of offshoring and then applies this framework to basic case study of offshoring in the U.S. The paper following discusses the definition of offshoring; shifts to the basic philosophical grounding of the ethical concepts; develops a template for conducting an ethics analysis of offshoring; applies this template using basic data for offshoring in the United States; and conducts a preliminary ethical analysis of the phenomenon in that country, using a form of utilitarianism as an analytical baseline. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research. (shrink)
This paper examines parents experiences of medical decision-making and coping with having a critically ill baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) from a cross-cultural perspective (France vs. U.S.A.). Though parents experiences in the NICU were very similar despite cultural and institutional differences, each system addresses their needs in a different way. Interviews with parents show that French parents expressed overall higher satisfaction with the care of their babies and were better able to cope with the loss of their (...) child than American parents. Central to the French parents perception of autonomy and their sense of satisfaction were the strong doctor–patient relationship, the emphasis on medical certainty in prognosis versus uncertainty in the American context, and the sentimental work" provided by the team. The American setting, characterized by respect for parental autonomy, did not necessarily translate into full parental involvement in decision-making, and it limited the rapport between doctors and parents to the extent of parental isolation. This empirical comparative approach fosters a much-needed critique of philosophical principles by underscoring, from the parents perspective, the lack of emotional work" involved in the practice of autonomy in the American unit compared to the paternalistic European context. Beyond theoretical and ethical arguments, we must reconsider the practice of autonomy in particularly stressful situations by providing more specific means to cope, translating the impersonal language of rights" and decision-making into trusting, caring relationships, and sharing the responsibility for making tragic choices. (shrink)
The intellectual history of the last quarter of this century has been marked by the growing influence of Africana thought--an area of philosophy that focuses on issues raised by the struggle over ideas in African cultures and their hybrid forms in Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. Existentia Africana is an engaging and highly readable introduction to the field of Africana philosophy and will help to define this rapidly growing field. Lewis R. Gordon clearly explains Africana existential thought to (...) a general audience, covering a wide range of both classic and contemporary thinkers--from Douglass and DuBois to Fanon, Davis and Zack. (shrink)
This review essay explores Josiah Young's project of developing a liberatory Pan-Africanism that is attuned to cultural diversity and Victor Anderson's advocacy of postmodern cultural criticism in African-American religious thought. After situating African-American religious thought as a branch of Africana thought, the author examines these two religious thinkers' work as an effort to forge a position on African-American religious thought--including its relation to theology--in an age where even theory is treated as a god that is about to die. At the (...) conclusion, secularism emerges as a religious project that normatively undergirds the methodological dimensions of these works. (shrink)
This paper presents a computational model of the way humans inductively identify and aggregate concepts from the low-level stimuli they are exposed to. Based on the idea that humans tend to select the simplest structures, it implements a dynamic hierarchical chunking mechanism in which the decision whether to create a new chunk is based on an information-theoretic criterion, the Minimum Description Length (MDL) principle. We present theoretical justifications for this approach together with results of an experiment in which participants, exposed (...) to meaningless symbols, have been implicitly encouraged to create high-level concepts by grouping them. Results show that the designed model, called hereafter MDLChunker, makes precise quantitative predictions both on the kind of chunks created by the participants and also on the moment at which these creations occur. They suggest that the simplicity principle used to design MDLChunker is particularly efficient to model chunking mechanisms. The main interest of this model over existing ones is that it does not require any adjustable parameter. (shrink)
While doctors generally enjoy considerable status, some believe that this is increasingly threatened by consumerism, managerialism, and competition from other health professions. Research into doctors’ perceptions of the changes occurring in medicine has provided some insights into how they perceive and respond to these changes but has generally failed to distinguish clearly between concerns about “status,” related to the entitlements associated with one’s position in a social hierarchy, and concerns about “respect,” related to being held in high regard for one’s (...) moral qualities. In this article we explore doctors’ perceptions of the degree to which they are respected and their explanations for, and responses to, instances of perceived lack of respect. We conclude that doctors’ concerns about loss of respect need to be clearly distinguished from concerns about loss of status and that medical students need to be prepared for a changing social field in which others’ respect cannot be taken for granted. (shrink)
Given Heyes's construal of “theory of mind,” there is still no convincing evidence of theory of mind in human primates, much less nonhuman. Rather than making unfounded assumptions about what underlies human social competence, one should ask what mechanisms other primates have and then inquire whether more sophisticated elaborations of those might not account for much of human competence.