A natural experiment was conducted studying the relations among student cheating, motivation, religiosity, and attitudes toward cheating. Students enrolled in a dual religious/college curriculum were surveyed regarding their cheating behavior, attitudes toward cheating, religiosity, and learning/grade motivations toward classes. Business and liberal arts college students were represented. Results strongly support the following conclusions. First, grade orientation is associated with increases in self-reported cheating. Second, among these religious students, more religiosity correlates with reduced reports of cheating in all courses. This result (...) appears to be due to the unique effect of religion on self-reported cheating rates and, depending on course content, on a reduction of grade orientation in religious students. Third, business students report more cheating than their liberal arts counterparts, even when taking the same courses. They have less critical attitudes toward cheating and greater grade orientation, both of which statistically contribute to this difference, but other factors are involved as well. Keywords: academic integrity, motivation, religiosity, cheating. (shrink)
The array seen when saccading across a point light source blinking in the dark is displaced in the direction of the saccade. This displacement reflects an abrupt shift of spatiotopic coordinates that precedes the actual eye movement. The extraretinal signal mediating this discrete shift appears to be an oculomotor reference signal, specifying intended eye orientation, that changes discretely before saccades.
Is it reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of strong evidence that God exists? Pragmatic arguments for theism are designed to support belief even if one lacks evidence that theism is more likely than not. Jeff Jordan proposes that there is a sound version of the most well-known argument of this kind, Pascal's Wager, and explores the issues involved - in epistemology, the ethics of belief, decision theory, and theology.
In a series of important papers, Justin D’Arms and Daniel Jacobson argue that all extant neo-sentimentalists are guilty of a conflation error that they call the moralistic fallacy. One commits the moralistic fallacy when one infers from the fact that it would be morally wrong to experience an affective attitude—e.g., it would be wrong to be amused—that the attitude does not fit its object—e.g., that it is not funny. Such inferences, they argue, conflate the appropriateness conditions of attitudinal responses with (...) the fittingness conditions of the associated evaluative properties. Further, they argue that moral considerations are irrelevant for determining if amusement fits its object. We agree that a strong moralizing of humor is wrongheaded and that jokes can be quite funny even in cases where we have a compelling moral reason to not be amused. However, we argue that pace D’Arms and Jacobson moral considerations can be relevant for property ascription. On our view, in order for a joke to be funny, a properly sensitive agent must take herself to have a contributory reason to be amused, and in some cases that she lacks such a reason is best explained by appeal to moral considerations. We use this constraint as the basis of what we call our modest proposal for a modest sentimentalism. (shrink)
There is quite a bit of disagreement in cognitive science regarding the role that consciousness and control play in explanations of how people do what they do. The purpose of the present paper is to do the following: (1) examine the theoretical choice points that have lead theorists to conflicting positions, (2) examine the philosophical and empirical problems different theories encounter as they address the issue of conscious agency, and (3) provide an integrative framework (Wild Systems Theory) that addresses these (...) problems and potentially naturalizes conscious agency. It does so by grounding conscious and control in the notion of self-sustaining energy-transformation systems (i.e., living systems), versus computational or self- organizing systems, as is the case in information processing theory and dynamical systems theory, respectively. Given its assertion that content (and consciousness) emerges in self-sustaining systems, Wild Systems Theory may also provide a sound theoretical basis for a science of consciousness in general. (shrink)
The concept of contextual emergence has been introduced as a speci?c kind of emergence in which some, but not all of the conditions for a higher-level phenomenon exist at a lower level. Further conditions exist in contingent contexts that provide stability conditions at the lower level, which in turn accord the emergence of novelty at the higher level. The purpose of the present paper is to propose that (proto-) consciousness is a contextually emergent property of self-sustaining systems. The core assumption (...) is that living organisms constitute self-sustaining embodiments of the contingent contexts that accord their emergence. We propose that the emergence of such systems constitutes the emergence of content-bearing systems because the lower-level processes of such systems give rise to and sustain the macro-level whole (i.e., body) in which they are nested, while the emergent macro-level whole constitutes the context in which the lower- level processes can be for something (i.e., be functional). Such embodied functionality is necessarily and naturally about the contexts that it has embodied. It is this notion of self- sustaining embodied aboutness that we propose to represent a type of content capable of evolving into consciousness. (shrink)
This investigation applies a social cognition framework to examine moral awareness in business situations. Using a vignette-based instrument, the investigation compares the recall, recognition, and ascription of importance to moral-versus strategy-related issues in business managers (n = 86) and academic professors (n = 61). Results demonstrate that managers recall strategy-related issues more than moral-related issues and recognize and ascribe importance to moral-related issues less than academics. It also finds an inverse relationship between socialization in the business context and moral awareness. (...) Future directions for moral awareness research and the practical implications for these findings are discussed. (shrink)
An interdisciplinary fusion between the philosophy of science and the teaching of science can help to eradicate the disciplinary rigidity entrenched in both. In this paper I approach the history of sciencethematically, identifying general themes which transcend the boundaries of individual disciplines. Such conceptual themes can be used as a basis for an interdisciplinary introduction to university science, encouraging certain important cognitive skills not exercised during the disciplinary training emphasised in traditional approaches. Courses which teach themes such as conservation, randomness, (...) and holism/reductionism have already proved successful, and these innovations should encourage philosophers and historians to explore the exciting new possibilities which arise from stepping outside the confines of a single discipline. (shrink)
This article details an interpretive, qualitative interview study that explored rationales developed by seven social studies graduate students, all experiencedteachers, at a large Midwestern university. Interviews revealed three common themes regarding the influence of the rationale development process. The threethemes were: providing structure, connecting purpose and practice, and improving professionalism. The themes demonstrate the complex nature of articulating a sense of purpose, even for experienced teachers. While similar, there were considerable differences in the ways the participants conceptualized their purposes. Untangling (...) these differences has implications for social studies teacher educators interested in integrating rationale development into their work with experienced teachers. (shrink)
In their 2010 article ‘Research Integrity in China: Problems and Prospects’, Zeng and Resnik challenge others to engage in empirical research on research integrity in China. Here we respond to that call in three ways: first, we provide updates to their analysis of regulations and allegations of scientific misconduct; second, we report on two surveys conducted in Hong Kong that provide empirical backing to describe ways in which problems and prospects that Zeng and Resnik identify are being explored; and third, (...) we continue the discussion started by Zeng and Resnik, pointing to ways in which China's high-profile participation in international academic research presents concerns about research integrity. According to our research, based upon searches of both English and Chinese language literature and policies, and two surveys conducted in Hong Kong, academic faculty and research post-graduate students in Hong Kong are aware of and have a positive attitude towards responsible conduct of research. Although Hong Kong is but one small part of China, we present this research as a response to concerns Zeng and Resnik introduce and as a call for a continued conversation. (shrink)
This research examines how two dimensions of moral intensity involved in a corporation’s external crisis response—magnitude of effectiveness and interpersonal proximity—influence observer perceptions of and behavioral intentions toward the corporation. Across three studies, effectiveness decreased negative perceptions and increased pro-organizational intentions via ethical judgment of the response. Moreover, the two dimensions interacted such that a response high in proximity but low in effectiveness led to more negative perceptions and to less pro-organizational intentions. This interaction was particularly pronounced if the corporation (...) portrayed itself as communal-oriented. The interaction was mediated by individuals’ ethical judgment, which was a function of the corporation’s perceived benevolent concern. We termed the interaction the Strategic Samaritan, for it was when the corporation tried to appear like a Good Samaritan, displaying proximity with victims but not accompanying it with effective help, that it was seen as acting with less benevolent concern. (shrink)
Chris Dragos has recently presented two objections to criticisms I've published against Peter van Inwagen's No-Minimum argument. He also suggests that the best way to criticize the No-Minimum argument is via the concept of divine satisficing. In this article I argue that both of Dragos's objections fail, and I question whether satisficing is relevant to the viability of the No-Minimum argument.
Pascal's wager attempts to provide a prudential reason in support of the rationality of believing that God exists. The wager employs the idea that the utility of theistic belief, if true, is infinite, and in this way, the expected utility of theism swamps that of any of its rivals. Not surprisingly the wager generates more than a good share of philosophical criticism. In this essay I examine two recent objections levelled against the wager and I argue that each fails. Following (...) this, I argue that a transfinite version of the wager -- one using the idea of an infinite utility -- is incompatible with standard axiomatic constructions of decision-theory and, as a consequence, the Pascalian would be well-advised to give up the idea of an infinite utility and employ only a finite version of the wager. The consequences of limiting the wager to finite utilities are also explored. (shrink)
This collection of essays is dedicated to William Rowe, with great affection, respect, and admiration. The philosophy of religion, once considered a deviation from an otherwise analytically rigorous discipline, has flourished over the past two decades. This collection of new essays by twelve distinguished philosophers of religion explores three broad themes: religious attitudes of faith, belief, acceptance, and love; human and divine freedom; and the rationality of religious belief. Contributors include: William Alston, Robert Audi, Jan Cover, Martin Curd, Peter van (...) Inwagen, Norman Kretzmann, George Nakhnikian, John Hawthorne, Philip Quinn, James Ross, Eleonore Stump, and William Wainwright. (shrink)
The evidential argument from evil seeks to show that suffering is strong evidence against theism. The core idea of the evidential argument is that we know of innocent beings suffering for no apparent good reason. Perhaps the most common criticism of the evidential argument comes from the camp of skeptical theism, whose lot includes William Alston, Alvin Plantinga, and Stephen Wykstra. According to skeptical theism the limits of human knowledge concerning the realm of goods, evils, and the connections between values, (...) undermines the judgment that what appears as pointless evil really is pointless. For all we know the suffering of an innocent being, though appearing pointless, in fact leads to a greater good. In this paper I argue that no one who accepts the doctrines of skeptical theism has a principled way of avoiding moral skepticism. (shrink)
Pascal is best known among philosophers for his wager in support of Christian belief. Since Ian Hacking’s classic article on the wager, three versions of the wager have been recognized within the concise paragraphs of the Pensées. In what follows I argue that there is a fourth to be found there, a version that in many respects anticipates the argument of William James in his 1896 essay “The Will to Believe.” This fourth wager argument, I contend, differs from the better-known (...) three in that it has as a premise the proposition that theistic belief is more rewarding than non-belief in this life, whether God exists or not. As we will see, this proposition provides a way of circumventing the many-gods objection. From the four wagers found in Pascal’s Pensées, I argue, one can salvage the resources for a version of the wager, Pascalian in nature, even if not in origin, immune to the many-gods objection. A brief comment on the apologetic role Pascal intended for the wagers played is our first task at hand. (shrink)
The term "human dignity" is the source of considerable confusion in contemporary bioethics. It has been used by Kantians to refer to autonomy, by others to refer to the sanctity of life, and by still others (e.g., the President’s Council on Bioethics) to refer—albeit obliquely—to an important but infrequently discussed set of human goods. In the first part of this article, I seek to disambiguate the notion of human dignity. The second part is a defense of the philosophical utility of (...) such a notion; I argue that there is nothing implausible about appealing to a deontological "principle of dignity" to solve bioethical problems, especially those concerning the development of new biotechnologies. There may, however, be problems associated with any attempt to use dignity as a basis for public policy. This sort of worry is explained and briefly addressed in the final section. (shrink)
In this essay, I present three arguments for the claim that theists should reject divine command theory (DCT) in favor of divine attitude theory (DAT). First, DCT (but not DAT) implies that some cognitively normal human persons are exempt from the dictates of morality. Second, it is incumbent upon us to cultivate the skill of moral judgment, a skill that fits nicely with the claims of DAT but which is superfluous if DCT is true. Third, an attractive and widely shared (...) conception of Jewish/Christian religious devotion leads us naturally to an attitude-based conception of morality rather than a command-based one. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that theists are extremely well-situated with respect to developing metaethical accounts that qualify as ‘robust’ versions of moral realism. In the first part of the essay, a number of metaethical desiderata are identified. In the second part, theistic strategies for accommodating those desiderata are explained and defended. The upshot is that, contrary to the received philosophical wisdom, there are good theoretical reasons for theistic philosophers to seek to develop metaethical accounts that ground moral facts in (...) facts about God. (shrink)
The present paper analyzes the regularities referred to via the concept 'self.' This is important, for cognitive science traditionally models the self as a cognitive mediator between perceptual inputs and behavioral outputs. This leads to the assertion that the self causes action. Recent findings in social psychology indicate this is not the case and, as a consequence, certain cognitive scientists model the self as being epiphenomenal. In contrast, the present paper proposes an alternative approach (i.e., the event-control approach) that is (...) based on recently discovered regularities between perception and action. Specifically, these regularities indicate that perception and action planning utilize common neural resources. This leads to a coupling of perception, planning, and action in which the first two constitute aspects of a single system (i.e., the distal-event system) that is able to pre-specify and detect distal events. This distal-event system is then coupled with action (i.e., effector-control systems) in a constraining, as opposed to 'causal' manner. This model has implications for how we conceptualize the manner in which one infers the intentions of another, anticipates the intentions of another, and possibly even experiences another. In conclusion, it is argued that it may be possible to map the concept 'self' onto the regularities referred to in the event-control model, not in order to reify 'the self' as a causal mechanism, but to demonstrate its status as a useful concept that refers to regularities that are part of the natural order. (shrink)
In a series of papers, Stephen Kearns and Daniel Star defend the following general account of reasons: R: Necessarily, a fact F is a reason for an agent A to Φ iff F is evidence that an agent ought to Φ.In this paper, I argue that the reasons as evidence view will run afoul of a motivational constraint on moral reasons, and that this is a powerful reason to reject the reasons as evidence view. The motivational constraint is as follows: (...) M: For some consideration C to be a moral reason for an agent to Φ it must be possible for C to figure as part of the agent’s motivation for Φing without thereby undercutting (either partially or wholly) the positive moral evaluation of the agent in acting as she does.M presents a problem for Kearns and Star’s view because there will be cases where some consideration is evidence that an agent ought to Φ, but where if an agent was motivated by that consideration the agent’s action would thereby be worse from a moral perspective for that very reason. Further, I argue that this problem will likely arise on any moral theory that evaluates the motivation of an agent as a component of assessing the moral status of acts. (shrink)
Some particularists have argued that even virtue properties can exhibit a form of holism or context variance, e.g. sometimes an act is worse for being kind, say. But, on a common conception of virtuous acts, one derived from Aristotle, claims of virtue holism will be shown to be false. I argue, perhaps surprisingly, that on this conception the virtuousness of an act is not a reason to do it, and hence this conception of virtuous acts presents no challenge to particularist (...) claims about the context variance of reasons. Still, I argue that the virtues nevertheless have important implications for our understanding of the particularism debate. Specifically, we can accept the particularist claim that reasons do not need to be principled in order to have the normative status that they do have, while still maintaining that sound moral thought and judgement has a principled structure understood in terms of the virtues. (shrink)