Historiography in a metaphysical mode Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9524-6 Authors Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, CETCOPRA/Université Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne, 17 Rue de la Sorbonne, 75231 Paris Cedex05, France Jan Golinski, Department of History, University of New Hampshire, 20 Academic Way, Durham, NH 03824, USA Lissa L. Roberts, Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, Postbox 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands John McEvoy, Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA Journal Metascience (...) Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Looking at the emergence recently of a New Hegelianism (Badiou, Bhaskar, Jameson, Žižek), in which Hegel’s dialectic is variously reassessed for its political and philosophical resistance to the prevailing ‘weak nihilisms’ of left and right, I argue with Žižek and Jameson against Badiou and Bhaskar for Hegel as, essentially, a philosopher of the ‘productive return’ and failure. In this sense, what emerges is a picture of Hegel as a profoundly nonlinear historical thinker, in which loss, dissolution, breakdown and the excremental (...) prevail. This means that the received notion of Hegel as a crude historicist is deeply problematic. But, more importantly, it means that Hegelian dialectic can find a renewed anti-teleological and non-synchronistic identity within the Marxist tradition. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 72-98 Authors JohnRoberts, University of Wolverhampton Journal Journal of Critical Realism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 12 Journal Issue Volume 12, Number 1 / 2013. (shrink)
After modernism and postmodernism, it is argued, the everyday supposedly is where a democracy of taste is brought into being - the place where art goes to recover its customary and collective pleasures, and where the shared pleasures of popular culture are indulged, from celebrity magazines to shopping malls. JohnRoberts argues that this understanding of the everyday downgrades its revolutionary meaning and philosophical implications. Bringing radical political theory back to the centre of the discussion, he shows how (...) notions of cultural democratization have been oversimplified. Asserting that the everyday should not be narrowly identified with the popular, Roberts critiques the way in which the concept is now overly associated with consumption and 'ordinariness'. Engaging with the work of key thinkers including, Lukacs, Arvatov, Benjamin, Lefebvre, Gramsci, Barthes, Vaneigem, and de Certeau, Roberts shows how the concept of the everyday continues to be central to debates on ideology, revolution and praxis. He offers a lucid account of different approaches that developed over the course of the twentieth century, making this an ideal book for anyone looking for a politicised approach to cultural theory. JohnRoberts is a Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday (Manchester University Press, 1997) and The Philistine Controversy (Verso, with Dave Beech, 2002), plus other books and numerous articles, in Radical Philosophy and elsewhere. (shrink)
"M. F. Simone Roberts's A Poetics of Being-Two is animated by a lively and engaging voice, drawing readers in with a sense of serious purpose working (delightfully) in tandem with a sense of humor. Roberts's aesthetics and her close readings of Yves Bonnefoy, St-John Perse, and Jorie Graham clearly demonstrate the literary effectiveness of Irigarayan sexual difference as an analytic trope, even as they emphasize the philosophical and political possibilities sexual difference opens up for feminism, environmentalism, and (...) all levels of contemporary cultural critique and activism."—Gail M. Schwab, Hofstra University -/- In An Ethics of Sexual Difference, Irigaray calls for a new poetics in the sense of both art and life. Rather than a critique from within philosophy, A Poetics of Being-Two tests Irigaray's ethics by extending it to other sites of cultural production. Where Irigaray's method finds stirrings and repressions of sexual difference in philosophy, this project explores that tension in poetics. Building from Irigaray's ethics, the book describes a poetics of being-two as concerns gendered subjectivity in literary poetics and then traces the on-going emergence of a poetics of being-two in the post-symbolist poetic tradition. Irigaray scholars will be interested in the sustained interpolation of Irigaray's ethical concepts as principles for a critical aesthetics and in their hermeneutic application in reading a literary tradition. Readers in comparative literature will find the first sustained feminist engagements with the major French poets Bonnefoy and Perse and an elucidation of their influence on the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Jorie Graham. (shrink)
Draft version of essay. ABSTRACT: Benjamin Whichcote developed a distinctive account of human nature centered on our moral psychology. He believed that this view of human nature, which forms the foundation of “Cambridge Platonism,” showed that the demands of reason and faith are not merely compatible but dynamically supportive of one another. I develop an interpretation of this oft-neglected and widely misunderstood account of human nature and defend its viability against a key objection.
George Berkeley notoriously claimed that his immaterialist metaphysics was not only consistent with common sense but that it was also integral to its defense. Roberts argues that understanding the basic connection between Berkeley's philosophy and common sense requires that we develop a better understanding of the four principle components of Berkeley's positive metaphysics: The nature of being, the divine language thesis, the active/passive distinction, and the nature of spirits. Roberts begins by focusing on Berkeley's view of the nature (...) of being. He elucidates Berkeley's view on Locke and the Cartesians and by examining Berkeley's views about related concepts such as unity and simplicity. From there he moves on to Berkeley's philosophy of language arguing that scrutiny of the famous "Introduction" to the Principles of Human Knowledge reveals that Berkeley identified the ideational theory of meaning and understanding as the root cause of some of the worst of man's intellectual errors, not "abstract ideas." Abstract ideas are, rather, the most debilitating symptom of this underlying ailment. In place of the ideational theory, Berkeley defends a rudimentary "use theory" of meaning. This understanding of Berkeley's approach to semantics is then applied to the divine language thesis and is shown to have important consequences for Berkeley's pragmatic approach to the ontology of natural objects and for his approach to our knowledge of, and relation to other minds, including God's. Turning next to Berkeley's much aligned account of spirits, the author defends the coherence of Berkeley's view of spirits by way of providing an interpretation of the active/passive distinction as marking a normative distinction and by focusing on the role that divine language plays in letting Berkeley identify the soul with the will. With these four principles of Berkeley's philosophy in hand, he then returns to the topic of common sense and offers a defense of Berkeley's philosophy as built upon and expressive of the deepest metaphysical commitments of mainstream Christianity. Roberts' reappraisal of this important figure should appeal to all historians of philosophy as well as scholars in metaphysics and philosophy of language. (shrink)
Two fundamental business ethics issues that repeatedly surface in the academic literature relate to business's role in the development of public policy [Suarez, S. L.: 2000, Does Business Learn? (The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI); Roberts, R. W. and D. D. Bobek: 2004, Accounting, Organizations and Society 29(5-6), 565-590] and its role in responsibly managing the natural environment [Newton, L.: 2005, Business Ethics and the Natural Environment (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford)]. When studied together, researchers often examine if, and (...) how, corporations influence environmental policy decisions. Drawing from literatures on corporate political activity, corporate social and environmental performance, and corporate environmental disclosure, we develop and empirically examine two research questions concerning the relations between corporate political expenditures, environmental performance, and environmental disclosure. The questions are: (1) Do corporations that are poorer environmental performers spend more on political activities than their better-performing counterparts? (2) Is there an association between corporations' spending on political activities and the extent of their financial report environmental disclosures? We investigated these questions through analyses of data we gathered on a sample consisting of 119 U.S. environmentally sensitive firms for the 2001-2002 election cycle. After controlling for firm size and specific industry effects, our tests reveal a significant, inverse relationship between firm environmental performance and political spending. This is consistent with the notion that U.S. firms with relatively poorer environmental performance records engage more intensely in corporate political activities as part of their overall strategic management of their relationship with the state. In addition, a significant and positive association between the amount of political spending and the extent of environmental disclosure suggests that environmental disclosure and political spending are both proactive, complementary tactics to strategically manage public policy pressure. If corporations' strategies are intentionally designed to unreasonably limit their environmental responsibilities or to misrepresent firm environmental performance, then we argue that these activities reflect a significant lapse in ethical conduct. (shrink)
Galileo's refutation of the speed-distance law of fall in his Two New Sciences is routinely dismissed as a moment of confused argumentation. We urge that Galileo's argument correctly identified why the speed-distance law is untenable, failing only in its very last step. Using an ingenious combination of scaling and self-similarity arguments, Galileo found correctly that bodies, falling from rest according to this law, fall all distances in equal times. What he failed to recognize in the last step is that this (...) time is infinite, the result of an exponential dependence of distance on time. Instead, Galileo conflated it with the other motion that satisfies this ‘equal time’ property, instantaneous motion. (shrink)
Laws of nature are puzzling because they have a 'modal character'—they seem to be 'necessary-ish'—even though they also seem to be metaphysically contingent. And it is hard to understand how contingent truths could have such a modal character. Scientific essentialism is a doctrine that seems to dissolve this puzzle, by showing that laws of nature are actually metaphysically necessary. I argue that even if the metaphysics of natural kinds and properties offered by scientific essentialism is correct, there are still some (...) metaphysically contingent truths that share the modal character of the laws of nature. I argue that these contingent truths should be considered laws of nature. So even if scientific essentialism is true, at least some laws of nature are metaphysically contingent. (shrink)
There is a problem regarding God and perception right at the heart of Berkeley’s metaphysics. With respect to this problem, I will argue for (A): It is intractable. Berkeley has no solution to this problem, and neither can we hope to offer one on his behalf. However, I will also argue for (B): The truth of (A) need not be seen as threatening the viability of Berkeley’s metaphysics. In fact, it may even be seen as speaking in its favor.
Much of the literature on "ceteris paribus" laws is based on a misguided egalitarianism about the sciences. For example, it is commonly held that the special sciences are riddled with ceteris paribus laws; from this many commentators conclude that if the special sciences are not to be accorded a second class status, it must be ceteris paribus all the way down to fundamental physics. We argue that the (purported) laws of fundamental physics are not hedged by ceteris paribus clauses and (...) provisos. Furthermore, we show that not only is there no persuasive analysis of the truth conditions for ceteris paribus laws, there is not even an acceptable account of how they are to be saved from triviality or how they are to be melded with standard scientific methodology. Our way out of this unsatisfactory situation to reject the widespread notion that the achievements and the scientific status of the special sciences must be understood in terms of ceteris paribus laws. (shrink)
This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characterization of the Humean base (...) that, we argue, enables HS to capture what is really stake in the debate, without taking on extraneous commitments. (shrink)
Many have claimed that ceteris paribus (CP) laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the (...) mere addition of the CP operator. Thus, “CP all Fs are Gs” when read as a straightforward statement of fact, cannot be the stuff of scientific theory. Rather, we suggest that when ``ceteris paribus'' appears in scientific works it plays a pragmatic role of pointing to more respectable claims. (shrink)
The law-governed world-picture -- A remarkable idea about the way the universe is cosmos and compulsion -- The laws as the cosmic order : the best-system approach -- The three ways : no-laws, non-governing-laws, governing-laws -- Work that laws do in science -- An important difference between the laws of nature and the cosmic order -- The picture in four theses -- The strategy of this book -- The meta-theoretic conception of laws -- The measurability approach to laws -- What (...) comes where -- In defense of some received views -- Some assumptions that will be in play -- The laws are propositions -- The laws are true -- The logically contingent consequences of the laws are laws themselves -- At least some laws are metaphysically contingent -- The meta-theoretic conception of laws -- Laws of nature, laws of science, laws of theories -- The first-order conception versus the meta-theoretic conception -- What is a law of nature? -- Some examples of meta-theoretic accounts -- The virtues of the meta-theoretic conception -- Weighing the virtues and shortcomings of the meta-theoretic conception -- An epistemological argument for the meta-theoretic conception of laws -- The discoverability thesis, the governing thesis, and the first-order conception -- The main argument -- The objection from bad company -- The objection from inference to the best explanation -- The objection from bayesianism -- The objection from contextualist epistemology -- The objection from the threat of inductive skepticism -- Laws, governing, and counterfactuals -- Where we are now -- What would things have to be like in order for the laws of nature to govern the universe? -- Lawhood, inevitability, counterfactuals -- What is it for a proposition to be inevitably true? -- What is it for a whole class of propositions to be inevitably true? -- What is it for lawhood to confer inevitability? -- NP and supporting counterfactuals -- The worry about context-variability -- A solution and a look ahead -- When would the laws have been different? -- Where we are now -- The God cases -- Other counterexamples to NP -- A moral-theoretic counterexample to NP -- Scientific contexts and non-scientific contexts -- Scientific God cases? -- Lewisian non-backtracking counterexamples -- Where things stand now -- How could science show that the laws govern? -- Why the law-governed world-picture must include the science-says-so thesis -- What is extra-scientific? -- How can the science-says-so thesis be true? -- NP as a consequence of the presuppositions in any scientific context -- Np as true in all possible scientific contexts -- But how could it be so? -- Attack of the actual-factualists -- Measurement and counterfactuals -- Where we are now -- Measurements, reliability, counterfactuals -- A general principle that captures the relation between measurement and counterfactuals -- What we can learn about lawhood from what we have learned about the counterfactual commitments of science -- A first-order account of laws or a meta-theoretic account of laws? -- What methods are presupposed to be legitimate measurement procedures? -- Why we must adopt a meta-theoretic account of laws -- What lawhood is -- Where we are now -- The measurability account of laws -- Brief review of the case for the mal -- A note about hedged laws -- How plausible is the mal? -- What if we don't care about the law-governed world-picture? -- Newton's God and Laplace's demon -- Beyond humean and non-humean -- Two views of laws -- Humean supervenience and the meta-theoretic conception -- Alleged counterexamples to humean supervenience -- Governing and non-trivial necessity -- How the mal lets us have it all -- Humeanism? non-humeanism? -- What is the significance of the idea of the law-governed universe? -- Where in the world are the laws of nature? -- Appendix: The mal in action : a few examples -- Of scientific theories and their laws -- Newton's theory as a paradigm example -- Classical special-force laws -- Geometrical optics and one of its laws -- Local deterministic field theories. (shrink)
In Part I, we presented and motivated a new formulation of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). Here in Part II, we present an epistemological argument in defense of HS, thus formulated. Our contention is that one can combine a modest realism about laws of nature with a proper recognition of the importance of empirical testability in the epistemology of science only if one accepts HS.
This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easily to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characterization of the Humean base (...) that, we argue, enables HS to capture what is really stake in the debate, without taking on extraneous commitments. (shrink)
David Lewis's best-system analysis of laws of nature is perhaps the best known sophisticated regularity theory of laws. Its strengths are widely recognized, even by some of its ablest critics. Yet it suffers from what appears to be a glaring weakness: It seems to grant an arbitrary privilege to the standards of our own scientific culture. I argue that by reformulating, or reinterpreting, Lewis's exposition of the best-system analysis, we arrive at a view that is free of this weakness. The (...) resulting theory of laws has the surprising consequence that the term "law of nature" is indexical. (shrink)
I elaborate and defend an interpretation of Leibniz on which he is committed to a stronger space-time structure than so-called Leibnizian space-time, with absolute speeds grounded in his concept of force rather than in substantival space and time. I argue that this interpretation is well-motivated by Leibniz's mature writings, that it renders his views on space, time, motion, and force consistent with his metaphysics, and that it makes better sense of his replies to Clarke than does the standard interpretation. Further, (...) it illuminates the way in which Leibniz took his physics to be grounded in his metaphysics. (shrink)
The existence of "undermining futures" appears to show that a contradiction can be deduced from the conjunction of Humean supervenience (HS) about chance and the Principal Principle. A number of strategies for rescuing HS from this problem have been proposed recently. In this paper, a novel way of defending HS from the threat is presented, and it is argued that this defense has advantages not shared by others. In particular, it requires no revisionism about chance, and it is equally available (...) to defenders of HS who hold HS to be necessary and those who hold it to be contingent. (shrink)
A law about frequencies would be a law of nature that imposes a constraint on one or more (actual, global) frequencies. On any of the leading philosophical approaches to laws of nature, there could be laws about frequencies. Hypotheses that posit laws about frequencies turn out to behave very similarly to hypotheses that posit corresponding laws about probabilities or chances -- they make the same predictions, provide similar explanations, and are confirmed or disconfirmed by empirical evidence in the same ways. (...) This makes it interesting to consider the possibility of interpreting probabilistic laws from scientific theories as laws about frequencies. This is surprising proposal, but I argue that the resulting view (which I call 'nomic frequentism') is able to overcome all of the standard objections to frequentist interpretation of objective probabilities. (shrink)
I describe a problem about the relations among symmetries, laws and measurable quantities. I explain why several ways of trying to solve it will not work, and I sketch a solution that might work. I discuss this problem in the context of Newtonian theories, but it also arises for many other physical theories. The problem is that there are two ways of defining the space-time symmetries of a physical theory: as its dynamical symmetries or as its empirical symmetries. The two (...) definitions are not equivalent, yet they pick out the same extension. This coincidence cries out for explanation, and it is not clear what the explanation could be. The Puzzle: Symmetries, Measurability and Invariance 1.1 The symmetries and the measurable quantities of Newtonian mechanics 1.2 The puzzle Two Easy Answers Another Unsuccessful Solution: Appeal to Geometrical Symmetries Locating the Puzzle The Relation between Laws and Measurability A Possible Solution CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This collection reflects the growing interest realist critics have shown towards forms of discourse theory and deconstruction. The diverse range of contributions address such issues as the work of Derrida and deconstruction, discourse theory, Eurocentrism and poststructuralism.
Tax compliance is a concern to governments around the world. Prior research (Alm, J. and I. Sanchez: 1995, KYKLOS 48, 3–19) has attributed unexplained inter-country differences in compliance rates to differences in social norms. Economics researchers studying tax compliance in the United States (U.S.) (see for example J. Andreoni et al.: 1998, Journal of Economic Literature 36, 818–860) have called for more attention to social (as opposed to economic) influences on tax compliance. In this study, we extend this prior research (...) by explicitly examining the role of social norms [Cialdini, R. and M. Trost: 1998, The Handbook of Social Psychology (Oxford University Press, New York)] on tax compliance in three different countries. We test our research hypotheses using a hypothetical compliance scenario, which was administered in Australia, Singapore, and the U.S. There were differences in compliance rates and social norms among the three countries. Factor analysis of the social norm questions identified three distinct social norm constructs. Two of these factors were significant in explaining tax compliance behavior. The first and most influential factor was taxpayers’ own personal moral beliefs, along with the beliefs of those close to them (e.g., friends and important others). The second significant factor represented societal views of proper behavior. We conclude that social norms help to explain tax compliance intentions and why tax compliance rates are higher than would be predicted by strictly economic models. (shrink)
I propose and motivate a new account of fundamental physical laws, the Measurability Account of Laws (MAL). This account has a distinctive logical form, in that it takes the primary nomological concept to be that of a law relative to a given theory, and defines a law simpliciter as a law relative to some true theory. What makes a proposition a law relative to a theory is that it plays an indispensable role in demonstrating that some quantity posited by that (...) theory is measurable. In Section 1, I motivate the project of seeking a philosophical account of fundamental physical laws, as opposed to laws of nature in general. In Section 2, I motivate seeking an account with the distinctive logical form of the MAL. In Section 3, I present the MAL and illustrate the way it works by applying it to a simple example. (shrink)
The effect of gamma irradiation on the dislocation relaxation peak, i.e. the Bordoni peak, of high purity polycrystalline gold has been studied at frequency of 10MHz. It was found that the effect of gamma radiation is more significant in specimen irradiation at room temperature (1A) than that irradiated at liquid nitrogen temperature. The variation of the peak height, and temperature of the dislocation relaxation peak as a function of gamma doses are explained in terms of the Kink-Pair formation model.
We have argued against a standard way of defining Humean supervenience about laws, and in favor of an alternative definition. Skow says that our argument against the standard definition makes a big mistake. He is right about this. But that mistake is correctable. Skow also argues that our alternative definition is seriously flawed. We think he is wrong about this.
Schizophrenia affects more than 1% of the world's population, causing great personal suffering and socioeconomic burden. These costs associated with schizophrenia necessitate inquiry into the causes and treatment of the illness but generate ethical challenges related to the specific nature and deficits of the illness itself. In this article, we present a systematic analysis of narrative data from 63 people living with the illness of schizophrenia collected through semistructured interviews about their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences related to psychiatric research. In (...) the comments of these individuals, half of whom had had prior personal experience in research protocols, we identified factors influencing openness toward research involvement as well as deterrents that appear to lessen interest in participation. Clear response pattern differences emerged between those with prior research experience and those without such experience. In the discussion, we explore these key findings and outline the implications for safeguards in mental illness research. (shrink)
Often when a new scientific theory is introduced, new terms are introduced along with it. Some of these new terms might be given explicit definitions using only terms that were in currency prior to the introduction of the theory. Some of them might be defined using other new terms introduced with the theory. But it frequently happens that the standard formulations of a theory do not define some of the new terms at all; these terms are adopted as primitives. The (...) audience is expected to come to grasp the meanings of the primitive terms by learning the role they play in the theory and its applications. I shall call such new and undefined terms, as well as new terms that are defined using them, theoretical terms.  If T is a theory, the T-terms are the theoretical terms introduced by T. A theoretical term need not be a word new to human language; it might be an old term that is employed in a new and specialized sense, not equivalent to any of its familiar senses; e.g. “color” in quantum chromodynamics. (shrink)
In this article, we focus on the mentoring process, and we argue that the internal and external pressures extant at research universities may create a research culture that may be antithetical to appropriate mentoring. We developed a scale based on motivation theory to determine the perceived research culture in departments and research laboratories, and a mentoring scale to determine approaches to mentoring graduate students. Participants were 610 faculty members across 49 departments at a research oriented university. The findings were that (...) a mastery-oriented research climate and an outcome-oriented research climate were manifested at the university. More importantly, each research climate had its own unique impact on how the faculty approached mentoring graduate students. A mastery research climate was related to a more supportive approach to mentoring than the outcome research climate. We concluded by suggesting that the outcome research climate may have an adverse effect on effective mentoring and on maintaining research ethics. (shrink)
The effects of research ethics training on medical students' attitudes about clinical research are examined. A preliminary randomized controlled trial evaluated 2 didactic approaches to ethics training compared to a no-intervention control. The participant-oriented intervention emphasized subjective experiences of research participants (empathy focused). The criteria-oriented intervention emphasized specific ethical criteria for analyzing protocols (analytic focused). Compared to controls, those in the participant-oriented intervention group exhibited greater attunement to research participants' attitudes related to altruism, trust, quality of relationships with researchers, desire (...) for information, hopes about participation and possible therapeutic misconception, importance of consent forms, and deciding quickly about participation. The participant-oriented group also agreed more strongly that seriously ill people are capable of making their own research participation decisions. The criteria-oriented intervention did not affect learners' attitudes about clinical research, ethical duties of investigators, or research participants' decision making. An empathy-focused approach affected medical students' attunement to research volunteer perspectives, preferences, and attributes, but an analytically oriented approach had no influence. These findings underscore the need to further examine the differential effects of empathy-versus analytic-focused approaches to the teaching of ethics. (shrink)
Little is known about how researchers view ethically salient aspects of human studies. As part of a National Institutes of Mental Health-funded study, the authors performed a confidential written survey to assess the attitudes, views, and experiences of researchers with institutional review board approved protocols at the University of New Mexico. A total of 363 researchers (57% response rate) participated. Investigators overall held favorable views of general ethical aspects of research and ethics-based safeguards, and they identified a positive role of (...) ethics training. Investigators with more experience encountering ethical problems (p < .001), more ethics training (p = .001), and a PhD or MD/PhD (p = .003) held more favorable general ethical perspectives. Women investigators (p < .03), nonphysician investigators (p < .001), those whose training had been helpful in resolving ethical dilemmas (p = .006), and those for whom spirituality is important (p = .008) more strongly endorsed ethical safeguards. Investigators perceive the scientific and ethical aspects of their work as valuable and linked, and they affirm the role of safeguards in human studies. Formal ethics preparation and training initiatives were also viewed positively by investigators. (shrink)
Development of and influence on ethical beliefs were surveyed at a major research university campus. Courses were ranked by faculty and students as most important. Mentors were ranked eighth in a list of nine factors. Of the 1,152 returned student questionnaires, 97 (8.4%) made the effort to write comments, and of the 610 faculty questionnaires returned, 64 (10%) wrote comments. These comments were rich in detail and description.
In three experiments we studied lay observers’ attributions of responsibility for an antisocial act (homicide). We systematically varied both the degree to which the action was coerced by external circumstances and the degree to which the actor endorsed and accepted ownership of the act, a psychological state that philosophers have termed ‘identiﬁcation’. Our ﬁndings with respect to identiﬁcation were highly consistent. The more an actor was identiﬁed with an action, the more likely observers were to assign responsibility to the actor, (...) even when the action was performed under constraints so powerful that no other behavioral option was available. Our ﬁndings indicate that social cognition involving assignment of responsibility for an action is a more complex process than previous research has indicated. It would appear that laypersons’ judgments of moral responsibility may, in some circumstances, accord with philosophical views in which freedom and determinism are regarded to be compatible. (shrink)
Draft. Berkeley denied the existence of abstract ideas and any faculty of abstraction. At the same time, however, he embraced innate ideas and a faculty of pure intellect. This paper attempts to reconcile the tension between these commitments by offering an interpretation of Berkeley's Platonism.
I argue that the standard way of formalizing the fine-tuning argument for design is flawed, and I present an alternative formalization. On the alternative formalization, the existence of life is not treated as the evidence that confirms design; instead it is treated as part of the background knowledge, while the fact that fine tuning is required for life serves as the evidence. I argue that the alternative better captures the informal line of thought that gives the fine-tuning argument its intuitive (...) plausibility, and I show that the alternative formalization avoids all of the most prominent objections to the fine-tuning argument, including the objection from observation selection effects, the problem of old evidence, the problem of non-normalizable probability measures and a further objection due to Monton. I conclude that the alternative formalization is the one that attention should be focused on. (shrink)
Often when a new scientific theory is introduced, new terms are introduced along with it. Some of these new terms might be given explicit definitions using only terms that were in currency prior to the introduction of the theory. Some of them might be defined using other new terms introduced with the theory. But it frequently happens that the standard formulations of a theory do not define some of the new terms at all; these terms are adopted as primitives. The (...) audience is expected to come to grasp the meanings of the primitive terms by learning the role they play in the theory and its applications. I shall call such new and undefined terms, as well as new terms that are defined using them, theoretical terms. 1 If T is a theory, the T-terms are the theoretical terms introduced by T. A theoretical term need not be a word new to human language; it might be an old term that is employed in a new and specialized sense, not equivalent to any of its familiar senses; e.g. “color” in quantum chromodynamics. (shrink)
This paper offers an extended critique of the proliferation of talk and writing of business ethics in recent years. FollowingLevinas, it is argued that the ground of ethics lies in our corporeal sensibility to proximate others. Such moral sensibility, however, isreadily blunted by a narcissistic preoccupation with self and securing the perception of self in the eyes of powerful others. Drawing upon a Lacanian account of the formation of the subject, and a Foucaultian account of the workings of disciplinary power, (...) it is then argued that the governance of the corporation is effected precisely through encouraging such a narcissistic preoccupation with the self. For themost part our narcissistic concerns are bound to ethically indifferent financial interests. But in recent years they have also been harnessed to the demand for environmental, social and ethical responsibility by the corporation. It is argued, however, that the desire to be seen to be ethical-the ethics of narcissus-is the obverse of "being responsible for.". (shrink)
This paper develops a critique of the concept of ‘ethical identity’ as this has been used recently to distinguish between ‘cynical’ and ‘authentic’ forms of corporate responsibility. Taking as our starting point Levinas’ demanding view of responsibility as ‘following the assignation of responsibility for my neighbour’, we use a case study of a packaging company—PackCo—to argue that a concern with being seen and/or seeing oneself as responsible should not be confused with actual responsibility. Our analysis of the case points first (...) to the allure of programmes of strategic corporate responsibility and the ways in which, through identification, they can provide a tacit form of moral sanction to managers in their aggressive pursuit of profit. It then contrasts the responses of different managers to negative staff feedback to illustrate the difference between managers’ attempts to defend their identity of being ‘responsible’ managers, and responsible conduct itself. The paper concludes that a potent danger of programmes of corporate responsibility is that they allow managers to deceive not just others, but also themselves in relation to the exercise of responsibility. (shrink)
In this research, we shed new light on the empirical link between corporate social performance (CSP) and corporate financial performance (CFP) via the application of empirical models and methods new to the CSP–CFP literature. Applying advanced financial models to a uniquely constructed panel dataset, we demonstrate that a significant overall CSP–CFP relationship exists and that this relationship is, in part, conditioned on firms’ industry-specific context. To accommodate the estimation of time-invariant industry and industry-interaction effects, we estimate linear mixed models in (...) our test of the CSP–CFP relationship. Our results show both a significant overall CSP effect as well as significant industry effects between CSP and CFP. In conflict with expectations, the unweighted average effect of CSP on CFP is negative. Our industry analysis, however, shows that in over 17% of the industries in our sample, the effect of CSP on CFP for socially responsible firms is positive. We also examine the multidimensional nature of the CSP construct in an industry context by exploring the CSP dimension–industry nexus and identify dimensions of social performance that are associated with either better or worse financial performance. Our results confirm the existence of disparate CSP dimension–industry effects on CFP, thus our results provide important and actionable information to decision makers considering whether and how to commit corporate resources to social performance. (shrink)
This compact and innovative book tackles one of the central issues in drug policy: the lack of a coherent conceptual structure for thinking about drugs. Drugs generally fall into one of seven categories: prescription, over the counter, alternative medicine, common-use drugs like alcohol, tobacco and caffeine; religious-use, sports enhancement; and of course illegal street drugs like cocaine and marijuana. Our thinking and policies varies wildly from one to the other, with inconsistencies that derive more from cultural and social values than (...) from medical or scientific facts. Penalties exist for steroid use, while herbal remedies or cold medication are legal. Native Americans may legally use peyote, but others may not. Penalties may vary for using different forms of the same drug, such as crack vs. powder cocaine. Herbal remedies are unregulated by the FDA; but medical marijuana is illegal in most states. -/- Battin and her contributors lay a foundation for a wiser drug policy by promoting consistency and coherency in the discussion of drug issues and by encouraging a unique dialogue across disciplines. The contributors are an interdisciplinary group of scholars mostly based at the University of Utah, and include a pharmacologist, a psychiatrist, a toxicologist, a trial court judge, a law professor, an attorney, a diatary specialist, a physician, a health expert on substance abuse, and Battin herself who is a philosopher. They consider questions like the historical development of current policy and the rationales for it; scientific views on how drugs actually cause harm; how to define the key notions of harm and addiction; and ways in which drug policy can be made more consistent. They conclude with an examination of the implications of a consistent policy for various disciplines and society generally. -/- The book is written accessibly with little need for expert knowledge, and will appeal to a diverse audience of philosophers, bioethicists, clinicians, policy makers, law enforcement, legal scholars and practitioners, social workers, and general readers, as well as to students in areas like pharmacy, medicine, law, nursing, sociology, social work, psychology, and bioethics. (shrink)
This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characteriza- tion of the Humean (...) base that, we argue, enables HS to capture what is really stake in the debate, without taking on extraneous commitments. (shrink)
This article critically examines some of the inconsistency objections that have been put forward by John Broome, Larry Temkin and others against the so-called "person-affecting," or "person-based," restriction in normative ethics, including "extra people" problems and a version of the nonidentity problem from Kavka and Parfit. Certain Pareto principles and a version of the "mere addition paradox" are discussed along the way. The inconsistencies at issue can be avoided, it is argued, by situating the person-affecting intuition within a non-additive (...) form of maximizing consequentialism â a theory which then competes with such additive, or aggregative, forms of maximizing consequentialism as "totalism" and "averagism.". (shrink)
Can it be better or worse for a person to be than not to be, that is, can it be better or worse to exist than not to exist at all? This old 'existential question' has been raised anew in contemporary moral philosophy. There are roughly two reasons for this renewed interest. Firstly, traditional so-called “impersonal” ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, have counter-intuitive implications in regard to questions concerning procreation and our moral duties to future, not yet existing people. Secondly, (...) it has seemed evident to many that an outcome can only be better than another if it is better for someone, and that only moral theories that are in this sense “person affecting” can be correct. The implications of this Person Affecting Restriction will differ radically, however, depending on which answer one gives to the existential question. Melinda Roberts (2003) and Matthew Adler (2009) have defended an affirmative answer to the existential question using an assumption that one can asribe a zero level of wellbeing to a person in a world in which that person doesn't exist. Contrariwise, Derek Parfit (1984), John Broome (1999), and others have worried that if we take a person’s life to be better for her than non-existence, then we would have to conclude that it would have been worse for her if she did not exist, which is absurd: Nothing would have been worse or better for a person if she had not existed. The paper suggests that an affirmative answer to the existential question can avoid such absurdities: One can claim that, say, it is better for a person to exist than not to exist, without implying that it would have been worse for a person if she had not existed or that her level of wellbeing would then have been lower. (shrink)