Subjective probabilities play a significant role in the assessment of evidence: in other words, our background knowledge, or pre-trial beliefs, cannot be set aside when new evidence is being evaluated. Focusing on homeopathy, this paper investigates the nature of pre-trial beliefs in clinical trials. It asks whether pre-trial beliefs of the sort normally held only by those who are sympathetic to homeopathy can legitimately be disregarded in those trials. The paper addresses several surprisingly unsuccessful attempts to provide a satisfactory justification (...) for ignoring the pre-trial beliefs of the homeopathic community. The ensuing diagnosis of the difficulties here emphasizes that the reason the arguments for choosing the pre-trial beliefs of the conventional community seem insufficient is not the arguments per se. It is rather that there is no cogent argument for choosing the conventional stance which would at the same time rationally persuade a member of the homeopathic community. The paper concludes that, once we understand that this is the predicament, there is no genuine reason to doubt the reasoning that leads us to reject the pre-trial beliefs of the homeopathic community. (shrink)
Commercial food health branding is a challenging branch of marketing because it might, at the same time, promote healthy living and be commercially viable. However, the power to influence individuals’ health behavior and overall health status makes it crucial for marketing professionals to take into account the ethical dimensions of health branding: this article presents a conceptual analysis of potential ethical problems in health branding. The analysis focuses on ethical concerns related to the application of three health brand elements (functional (...) claims, process claims, and health symbols) as well as a number of general concerns that apply to health branding as such. Being a pioneering analysis, this article advances the academic understanding of health branding and provides practitioners with knowledge of important concerns to take into account when marketing health brands. (shrink)
Epistemic expressivism is the view that epistemic appraisals are basically non-factual valuations. In this paper I consider recent objections pressed by Terrence Cuneo, Michael Lynch and Jonathan Kvanvig to the effect that whatever the problems of expressivism in general, epistemic expressivism faces certain fatal objections due to the fact that the view is applied to the epistemic domain. The most important of these objections state, roughly, that because of the very content of the doctrine, epistemic expressivism cannot be coherently asserted (...) or argued for. Thus, epistemic expressivism is, as I shall say, dialectically incoherent. Another way to put the objection is this: there is no cogent perspective in which epistemic expressivism can be asserted or argued for. Since these arguments all trade on the idea of a perspective in which epistemic expressivism is to be asserted, I shall, following Terence Cuneo's terminology, refer to the arguments as the perspective objections (Cuneo 2007, 170). I argue that the perspective objections fail. Whatever serious objections there might be to epistemic expressivism, the charge that the view is dialectically incoherent is not one of them. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to explore the impact of commercial marketing on personal autonomy. Several philosophers argue that marketing conflicts with ideals of autonomy or, at best, is neutral to these ideals. After qualifying our concept of marketing and introducing the distinctions between (i) divergent and convergent marketing and (ii) being autonomous and acting autonomously, we demonstrate the heretofore unnoticed positive impact of marketing on autonomy. Specifically, we argue that (i) convergent marketing has a significant potential to reinforce (...) autonomous action and (ii) divergent marketing has a significant potential to reinforce the state of being autonomous. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to state a version of epistemic expressivism regarding knowledge, and to suggest how this expressivism about knowledge explains the value of knowledge. The paper considers how an account of the value of knowledge based on expressivism about knowledge responds to the Meno Problem, the Swamping Problem, and a variety of other questions that pertains to the value of knowledge, and the role of knowledge in our cognitive ecology.
The paper addresses the possibility of providing a meta-justification of what appears to be crucial epistemic desiderata involved in the method of reflective equilibrium. I argue that although the method of reflective equilibrium appears to be widely in use in moral theorising, the prospects of providing a meta-justification of crucial epistemic desiderata are rather bleak. Nor is the requirement that a meta-justification be provided obviously misguided. In addition, I briefly note some of the implications of these results for our use (...) of the method of reflective equilibrium and for the best interpretation of the method. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to offer a diagnosis and a resolution to generality problem. I state the generality problem and suggest a distinction between criteria of relevance and what I call a theory of determination. The generality problem may concern either of these. While plausible criteria of relevance would be convenient for the externalist, he does not need them. I discuss various theories of determination, and argue that no existing theory of determination is plausible. This provides a case (...) for the no determination view: there are no facts that determine relevant types. This is the diagnosis of the generality problem. The externalist, however, may embrace the no determination view. This is what provides a resolution to the generality problem. (shrink)
Robert Audi's ethical intuitionism (Audi, 1997, 1998) deals effectively with standard epistemological problems facing the intuitionist. This is primarily because the notion of self-evidence employed by Audi commits to very little. Importantly, according to Audi we might understand a self-evident moral proposition and yet not believe it, and we might accept a self-evident proposition because it is self-evident, and yet fail to see that it is self-evident. I argue that these and similar features give rise to certain challenges to Audi's (...) intuitionism. It becomes harder to argue that there are any self-evident propositions at all, or more than just a few such propositions. It is questionable whether all moral propositions that we take an interest in are evidentially connected to self-evident propositions. It is difficult to understand what could guide the sort conceptual revision that is likely to take place in our moral theorising. It is hard to account for the epistemic value of the sort of systematicity usually praised in moral theorising. Finally, it is difficult to see what difference the truth of Audi's ethical intuitionism would make to the way in which we (fail to) handle moral disagreement. (shrink)