To assess ethics pedagogy in science and engineering, we developed a new tool called the Engineering and Science Issues Test (ESIT). ESIT measures moral judgment in a manner similar to the Defining Issues Test, second edition, but is built around technical dilemmas in science and engineering. We used a quasi-experimental approach with pre- and post-tests, and we compared the results to those of a control group with no overt ethics instruction. Our findings are that several (but not all) (...) stand-alone classes showed a significant improvement compared to the control group when the metric includes multiple stages of moral development. We also found that the written test had a higher response rate and sensitivity to pedagogy than the electronic version. We do not find significant differences on pre-test scores with respect to age, education level, gender or political leanings, but we do on whether subjects were native English speakers. We did not find significant differences on pre-test scores based on whether subjects had previous ethics instruction; this could suggest a lack of a long-term effect from the instruction. (shrink)
Commenting on recent articles by Keith Sawyer and Julie Zahle, the author questions the way in which the debate between methodological individualists and holists has been presented and contends that too much weight has been given to metaphysical and ontological debates at the expense of giving attention to methodological debates and analysis of good explanatory practice. Giving more attention to successful explanatory practice in the social sciences and the different underlying epistemic interests and motivations for providing explanations or reducing (...) theories (which ask for different kinds of explanatory information to be found on the social or on the individual level) might lead to real progress in the debate on methodological individualism, and away from the unending battles of (metaphysical) intuitions. Key Words: methodological individualism • nonreductive materialism • pluralism • pragmatics of explanation. (shrink)
Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse is two novels in one: a story of wifely virtue and a counterstory of women's friendship. Whereas the virtue story exemplifies what feminist readers since Mary Wollstonecraft have considered to be the most oppressive of Rousseau's prescriptions for women, the friendship counterstory questions the ethical foundations and social manifestations of the model of patriarchal authority that Rousseau ordinarily defends. In this essay, I read the novel with an eye for both stories and the (...) tension between them. (shrink)
What are the historical origins of aesthetic education? One of these comes from the eighteenth century. This became an important theme in a novel of the time. Published in 1761, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie, or the New Heloise: Letters of Two Lovers Who Live in a Small Town at the Foot of the Alps1 was an instant success in eighteenth-century Europe. Widely read, the novel made European culture self-conscious and forced it to pay attention to aspects of living that had (...) gone unnoticed or underappreciated, including taste and food.2 These aspects—taste and food—become concrete manifestations of aesthetic education. Through the voices of Julie and her tutor-turned-lover Saint Preux, they provide a lively critique of .. (shrink)
In Evaluation and Legal Theory, Julie Dickson argues, against me and against Hart, that the beneficial moral consequences attaching to accepting one or another concept of law should have no place in deciding which concept of law is true. In response, I argue that a concept of law, as both Dickson and I acknowledge, is subject to change over time, and may vary across cultures. Yet once we recognize that the concept of law is contingent and variable, we can (...) recognize that prescribing what the concept of law ought to be is no less plausible an enterprise than describing what our concept of law now is. And for the prescriptive enterprise, although plainly not for the descriptive one, the beneficial moral consequences flowing from accepting a particular concept of law are an unavoidable component of the task. (shrink)
Nelson argues the best we can hope for in a nonsexist society is to revalue those feminine qualities that have previously been devalued. I argue that those qualities are the result of a sexist construction of gender categories, and that a nonsexist society would have no reason to preserve them.