Introduction : societal values and environmental research -- The Hormesis case -- An argument for societal values in policy-relevant research -- Lesson #1 : safeguarding science -- Lesson #2 : diagnosing deliberation -- Lesson #3 : ethics for experts -- The MCS and ED cases.
Philosophers of science readily acknowledge that nonepistemic values influence the discovery and pursuit of scientific theories, but many tend to regard these influences as epistemically uninteresting. The present paper challenges this position by identifying three avenues through which nonepistemic values associated with discovery and pursuit in contemporary pollution research influence theory appraisal: (1) by guiding the choice of questions and research projects, (2) by altering experimental design, and (3) by affecting the creation and further investigation of theories or hypotheses. This (...) analysis indicates that the effects of these values are sufficiently complex and epistemically significant to merit further attention. †To contact the authors, please write to: KevinElliott, Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Daniel McKaughan, Department of Philosophy, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
We argue that the analysis of cognitive attitudes should play a central role in developing more sophisticated accounts of the proper roles for values in science. First, we show that the major recent efforts to delineate appropriate roles for values in science would be strengthened by making clearer distinctions among cognitive attitudes. Next, we turn to a specific example and argue that a more careful account of the distinction between the attitudes of belief and acceptance can contribute to a better (...) understanding of the proper roles for values in a case study from paleoanthropology. (shrink)
Although many philosophers have employed the distinction between “direct” and “indirect” roles for values in science, I argue that it merits further clarification. The distinction can be formulated in several ways: as a logical point, as a distinction between epistemic attitudes, or as a clarification of different consequences associated with accepting scientific claims. Moreover, it can serve either as part of a normative ideal or as a tool for policing how values influence science. While various formulations of the distinction may (...) (with further clarification) contribute to a normative ideal, they have limited effectiveness for regulating how values influence science. (shrink)
As it becomes more and more doubtful that the international community will take adequate steps to mitigate climate change, interest has grown in the possibility of engineering earth’s climate to prevent catastrophic levels of warming. Unfortunately, geoengineering schemes have the potential to create grave, unintended consequences. This paper explores the extent to which the precautionary principle (PP), which was developed as a guideline for responding to uncertainty in the policy sphere, can provide guidance for responding to the potential benefits and (...) hazards associated with geoengineering. The paper argues that there are so many different versions of the precautionary principle and so many potential strategies for geoengineering that there cannot be any single, simple relationship between the two. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify a set of lessons that many versions of the PP suggest for those considering geoengineering proposals. Moreover, examination of the geoengineering case provides an opportunity to reflect on a range of important situations—what this paper will call self-defeating scenarios—in which most versions of the PP provide limited guidance compared to other ethical principles. (shrink)
Robert Proctor has argued that ignorance or non-knowledge can be fruitfully divided into at least three categories: (1) ignorance as native state or starting point; (2) ignorance as lost realm or selective choice; and (3) ignorance as strategic ploy or active construct. This chapter explores Proctor’s second category, ignorance as selective choice. When scientists investigate poorly understood phenomena, they have to make selective choices about what questions to ask, what research strategies and metrics to employ, and what language to use (...) for describing the phenomena. This chapter focuses especially on the selective choice of language for describing and categorizing phenomena in the face of uncertainty. Using several case studies from recent pollution research, I show that linguistic choices are especially significant when we have severely limited knowledge, because those choices can emphasize and highlight some aspects of our limited knowledge rather than others. These selective emphases can in turn influence societal decision making, and they can exacerbate the selectivity of our knowledge by further steering scientific research in some directions rather than others. I conclude with some suggestions for developing scientific language in socially responsible ways, even in the face of significant ignorance and uncertainty. (shrink)
There has been relatively little effort to provide a systematic overview of different forms of exploratory experimentation (EE). The present paper examines the growing subdiscipline of nanotoxicology and suggests that it illustrates at least four ways that researchers can engage in EE: searching for regularities; developing new techniques, simulation models, and instrumentation; collecting and analyzing large swaths of data using new experimental strategies (e.g., computer-based simulation and “high-throughput” instrumentation); and structuring an entire disciplinary field around exploratory research agendas. In order (...) to distinguish these and other activities more effectively, the paper proposes a taxonomy that includes three dimensions along which types of EE vary: (1) the aim of the experimental activity, (2) the role of theory in the activity, and (3) the methods or strategies employed for varying experimental parameters. (shrink)
The biological effects of low doses of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals are currently a matter of significant scientific controversy. This paper argues that philosophers of science can contribute to alleviating this controversy by examining it with the aid of a novel account of scientific anomaly. Specifically, analysis of contemporary research on chemical hormesis (i.e., alleged beneficial biological effects produced by low doses of substances that are harmful at higher doses) suggests that scientists may initially describe anomalous phenomena in terms of (...) multiple distinct "characterizations," each of which is compatible with current empirical evidence. By focusing attention on this feature of scientific anomalies, philosophers of science can alleviate the controversy over low-dose chemical effects in at least two ways: (1) they can pinpoint the significant ways in which particular characterizations frame the controversy, and (2) they can identify the methodological value judgments at stake in researchers' choice of characterizations. (shrink)
This paper argues, first, that recent studies of experimentation, most notably by Deborah Mayo, provide the conceptual resources to describe scientific discovery's early stages as error-probing processes. Second, it shows that this description yields greater understanding of those early stages, including the challenges that they pose, the research strategies associated with them, and their influence on the rest of the discovery process. Throughout, the paper examines the phenomenon of "chemical hormesis" (i.e., anomalous low-dose effects from toxic chemicals) as a case (...) study that is important not only for the biological sciences but also for contemporary public policy. The resulting analysis is significant for at least two reasons. First, by elucidating the importance of discovery's earliest stages, it expands previous accounts by philosophers such as William Wimsatt and Lindley Darden. Second, it identifies the discovery process as yet another philosophical topic on which the detailed studies of the "new experimentalists" can shed new light. (shrink)
Relatively few thinkers have attempted to develop a systematic ‘ethics of expertise’ (EOE) that can guide scientists and other technical experts in providing information to the public. This paper argues that the prima facie duty to disseminate information in a manner that does not damage the self-determination of decision makers could fruitfully serve as one of the core principles of an EOE. Moreover, this duty can be fleshed out in promising ways by drawing on the concept of informed consent, which (...) guides medical clinicians in preserving the self-determination of their patients. The paper applies the resulting ethical framework to recent policy discussions about hydrogen fuel-cell (HFC) vehicles, both because they have received a good deal of research funding and because their merits have been hotly debated. It concludes that technical experts providing information about HFC vehicles should be especially cognizant of three issues: (1) important alternatives to hydrogen technology that need to be addressed, (2) major false beliefs that should be prevented or corrected, and (3) significant framing effects that could influence the recipients of information. (shrink)
This paper examines how ethically significant assumptions and values are embedded not only in environmental policies but also in the language of the environmental sciences. It shows, based on three case studies associated with contemporary pollution research, how the choice of scientific categories and terms can have at least four ethically significant effects: influencing the future course of scientific research; altering public awareness or attention to environmental phenomena; affecting the attitudes or behavior of key decision makers; and changing the burdens (...) of proof required for taking action in response to environmental concerns. The paper argues that deliberative forums, research-ethics training, and conceptual work by environmental philosophers could all promote more ethically sensitive responses to these features of scientific language. (shrink)
We argue that environmental aesthetics, and specifically the concept of aesthetic integrity, should play a central role in a public environmental philosophy designed to communicate about environmental problems in an effective manner. After developing the concept of the ?aesthetic integrity? of the environment, we appeal to empirical research to show that it contributes significantly to people?s sense of place, which is, in turn, central to their well-being and motivational state. As a result, appealing to aesthetic integrity in policy contexts is (...) both strategically and morally advisable. To provide a concrete illustration of the ways in which such appeals can play a role in policy making, we examine a specific case study in which attention to aesthetic integrity contributed to blocking a proposed development. The case yields at least four lessons: (1) aesthetic integrity can be a practically effective framing device; (2) local deliberative settings are particularly conducive for addressing it; (3) it can serve as an umbrella under which multiple other issues can be brought to the fore; and (4) judgments about aesthetic integrity need not be entirely objective in order for them to play a productive role in the policy sphere. (shrink)
: This paper examines the epistemological warrant for a toxicological phenomenon known as chemical hormesis. First, it argues that conceptual confusion contributes significantly to current disagreements about the status of chemical hormesis as a biological hypothesis. Second, it analyzes seven distinct concepts of chemical hormesis, arguing that none are completely satisfactory. Finally, it suggests three ramifications of this analysis for ongoing debates about the epistemological status of chemical hormesis. This serves as a case study supporting the value of philosophical methodologies (...) such as conceptual clarifica-tion for addressing contemporary scientific disputes, including policy-related scientific disputes that may be heavily in(integral)uenced by social and political factors. (shrink)
Ethicists widely accept the notion that scientists have moral responsibilities to benefit society at large. The dissemination of scientific information to the public and its political representatives is central to many of the ways in which scientists serve society. Unfortunately, the task of providing information can often give rise to moral quandaries when scientific experts participate in politically charged debates over issues that are fraught with uncertainty. This paper develops a theoretical framework for an “ethics of expertise” (EOE) based on (...) the notion that scientists have responsibilities to provide information in a way that promotes autonomous decision-making on the part of the public and its representatives. Moreover, insofar as the principle of informed consent has developed in biomedical ethics as a way for physicians to promote autonomous decision-making on the part of their patients, this paper suggests that the informed-consent concept may suggest a set of criteria and guidelines that can help scientists to fulfill their similar ethical responsibilities to the public. In order to illustrate how the resulting EOE could provide practical guidance for scientific experts, the paper examines a case study involving the dissemination of information about the low-dose biological effects of toxic chemicals and carcinogens. (shrink)
In his new book, Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management, Bryan G. Norton proposes an account of sustainability grounded in the deliberation of local communities as part of an adaptive management process. One can distinguish two different ways of justifying his account—resulting in “political” and “metaphysical” conceptions of sustainability—in much the same way that John Rawls famously distinguishes between political and metaphysical conceptions of justice. Whereas the metaphysical conception of sustainability depends on principles that are specific to American pragmatist (...) philosophical theory, the political conception draws on relatively uncontroversial elements of democratic political culture. Although Norton seems to lean toward a metaphysical conception of sustainability in his book, a political conception would actually be more compatible with the overarching aims of his project. Finally, the distinction between political and metaphysical conceptions could prove valuable as a model for thinking about how many of the current projects in environmental pragmatism relate to other strands of environmental philosophy. Thus, a potentially fruitful alteration to Norton’s recent work provides some conciliatory lessons for relating different projects in the field of environmental philosophy. (shrink)
In this compelling book, Anthony Elliott traces the rise of psychoanalysis from the Frankfurt School to postmodernism, exploring in detail the social and political factors that have led intellectuals to draw from the insights of Freud. Examining how pathbreaking theorists such as Adorno, Marcuse, Lacan and Lyotard have deployed psychoanalysis to politicize issues like desire, sexuality, repression and identity, Elliott develops a powerful assessment of the gains and losses arising from this appropriation of psychoanalysis in social theory and (...) cultural studies. Moving from the impact of the Culture Wars and recent Freud-bashing to contemporary debates in social theory, feminism and postmodernism, Elliott argues for a new alliance between social-theoretical and psychoanalytic perspectives. (shrink)
Recent social theory has identified various institutional forces operating at a global level promoting novel trends towards “individualization”, “reflexive self-identity” and “new individualism” (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2001; Giddens, 1991, 1992; Elliott and Lemert, 2009, 2009a). This article develops an exploratory overview of the theory of new individualism with reference to Japanese sociologies of self specifically and contemporary Japanese society more generally. Detailing the large-scale societal shift in Japan from traditional forms of identity-construction (based on a citizenship model of social (...) order) to post-traditional forms of identity-construction (promoted by globalization and neoliberal policies), the article distinguishes between four discourses of the self in post-war Japanese society: the age of the ideal; the age of the dream; the age of fiction; and, the age of fragmentation. Moreover, the article examines the Japanese employment system and the emergence of new individualist employment, as well as considering the emotional impacts of a rise in suicides in contemporary Japan. The argument is that the new individualist thesis can contribute to a sociological understanding of recent social transformations in Japan. However, situating new individualism in the context of Japan also highlights significant tensions in processes of new individualism, tensions between individual initiatives and institutional pressures. (shrink)
& A college development officer is offered a generous gift by a donor whose identity would embarrass the institution. Should the development officer accept? & A volunteer lies about his level of giving, but classmates believe him and match his "gift." Should donors be told the truth? & A development officer must explain to a donor the difference between naming an endowed chair and selecting the person to fill the chair. Where is the line between reasonable donor expectations and intrusion? (...) "There was a time, barely a generation ago, when most college fund raising was a placid, back-porch operation... That pattern, like so much in higher education, began to change dramatically... On the heels of all this change comes this splendid volume by Deni Elliot. The new fund-raising environment raises a host of ethical questions that were largely unknown or unrecognized by earlier generations of fund raisers... The great value of this book is that it provides some clear-eyed guidance through the ethical thicket that is modern higher education fund raising. The great charm of the book is that it provides this important service with such eloquence and good taste... Anyone involved in modern fund raising will find something of value in this book." -- G. Calvin MacKenzie, Academe "This volume provides college and university development officers and administrators practical help with recognizing difficult ethical situations and discerning the correct ethical response. It can also serve as a guide for donors who wonder what's reasonable for them to expect from fund raisers." -- Resources in Education Contributors: Allen Buchanan, James A. Donahue, Marilyn Batt Dunn, Deni Elliott, Bernard Gert, Judith M. Gooch, Bruce R. Hopkins, Frank Logan, Mary Lou Siebert, Holly Smith, and Eric B. Wentworth. (shrink)
Professor John Elliott has spent the last 30 years researching, thinking and writing about some of the key and enduring issues in Education Research and Action Research. He has contributed over 25 books and 600 articles to the field. In this book, he brings together over 16 of his key writings, in one place. Starting with a specially written Introduction, which gives an overview of Professor Elliott's career and contextualizes his selection, the chapters cover: · Rethinking Educational Research (...) · Doing Classroom Action Research · Pedagogy ad Form of Action Research · The Challenge of Action Research This must-have book for anyone wishing to know more about the development of Action Research and Educational Research and John Elliott's contribution to these exciting fields. (shrink)
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of (...) Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface (Paul Standish).Introduction: Reading R. S. Peters on Education Today (Stefaan E. Cuypers and Christopher Martin).Part I: The Conceptual Analysis of Education and Teaching.1. Was Peters Nearly Right About Education? (Robin Barrow).2. Learning Our Concepts (Megan Laverty).3. On Education and Initiation (Michael Luntley).4. Ritual, Imitation and Education in R. S. Peters (Bryan Warnick).5. Transformation and Education: the Voice of the Learner in Peters' Concept of Teaching (Andrea English).Part II: The Justification of Educational Aims and the (...) Curriculum.6. R. S. Peters' Normative Conception of Education and Educational Aims (Michael Katz).7. On the Worthwhileness of Theoretical Activities (Michael Hand).8. Why General Education? Peters, Hirst and History (John White).9. The Good, the Worthwhile and the Obligatory: Practical Reason and Moral Universalism in R. S. Peters' Conception of Education (Christopher Martin).10. Overcoming Social Pathologies in Education: On the Concept of Respect in R. S. Peters and Axel Honneth (Krassimir Stojanov).Part III: Aspects of Ethical Development and Moral Education.11. Reason and Virtues: The Paradox of R. S. Peters on Moral Education (Graham Haydon).12. Autonomy in R. S. Peters' Educational Theory (Stefaan E. Cuypers).Part IV: Peters in Context.13. Richard Peters and Valuing Authenticity (Mike Degenhardt).14. Vision and Elusiveness in Philosophy of Education: R. S. Peters on the Legacy of Michael Oakeshott (Kevin Williams).Index. (shrink)
an observation to formulate a theory, it is no surprise that the resulting theory accurately captures that observation. However, when the theory makes a novel prediction—when it predicts an observation that was not used in its formulation—this seems to provide more substantial confirmation of the theory. This paper presents a new approach to the vexed problem of understanding the epistemic difference between prediction and accommodation. In fact, there are several problems that need to be disentangled; in all of them, the (...) key is the concept of overfitting. We float the hypothesis that accommodation is a defective methodology only when the methods used to accommodate the data fail to guard against the risk of overfitting. We connect our analysis with the proposals that other philosophers have made. We also discuss its bearing on the conflict between instrumentalism and scientific realism. Introduction Predictivisms—a taxonomy Observations Formulating the problem What might Annie be doing wrong? Solutions Observations explained Mayo on severe tests The miracle argument and scientific realism Concluding comments. (shrink)
In this review of Christopher Winch's new book, Education, Autonomy and Critical Thinking (2006), I discuss its main theses, supporting some and criticising others. In particular, I take issue with several of Winch's claims and arguments concerning critical thinking and rationality, and deplore his reliance on what I suggest are problematic strains of the later Wittgenstein. But these criticisms are not such as to upend Winch's powerful critique of antiperfectionism and 'strong autonomy' or his defence of 'weak autonomy'. His (...) account of autonomy as an educational aim is important and in several respects compelling. (shrink)
This essay discusses Elliott Sober’s Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science. Valuable to both philosophers and biologists, Sober analyzes the testing of different kinds of evolutionary hypotheses about natural selection or phylogenetic history, including a thorough critique of intelligent design. Not at least because of a discussion of different schools of hypothesis testing (Bayesianism, likelihoodism, and frequentism), with Sober favoring a pluralism where different inference methods are appropriate in different empirical contexts, the book has lessons for philosophy (...) of science beyond its evolutionary focus. I criticize Sober for not including epistemic values and social aspects of scientific practice in his epistemological framework. (shrink)
In this book, Christopher Peacocke proposes a general theory about what it is for a thinker to be entitled to form a given belief. This theory is distinctively rationalist: that is, it gives a large role to the a priori, while insisting that the propositions or contents that can be known a priori are not in any way “true in virtue of meaning” (and without in any other way denigrating these propositions as “trivial”, or as propositions that “tell us (...) nothing about the world”, or the like). Peacocke then applies this theory to several classical problems in epistemology — to the problem of how our sensory experiences can entitle us to form beliefs about the external world, to the problem of induction, and to the problem of what entitles us to form moral beliefs. (shrink)
Responding to criticisms raised by Christopher Norris, this paper defends an anti-relativist reading of the work of both Davidson and Heidegger arguing that that there are important lessons to be learnt from their example - one can thus be an anti-relativist (as well as a certain sort of realist) without giving up on Davidson or on Heidegger.
This book is presumably a collection of essays delivered at a conference, though it's hard to say. There is no cover description and the editors' introduction, where this information might have been found, is missing from the volume (at least from my copy) in spite of being listed in the table of contents. A curious editorial slip. In fact, from an editorial perspective this book is a disaster. Not only is the format reminiscent of those camera ready volumes that jammed (...) our libraries in the late Eighties, when word processors began to spread and people started using them to produce entire books without knowing how to handle line spacing and hyphenation -- not to mention orphans and widows, footnotes, tabs, apostrophes, etc. There are also lots of typos, English infelicities, punctuation disorders. Obviously nobody checked the page proofs. There are even formulas that were not properly converted from the original files and have been printed with the infamous boxes in place of the logical symbols. Publishing academic books in analytic philosophy is becoming increasingly difficult and not every publisher can afford serious copy editing. But charging 74 euros for such a poorly manufactured item is appalling. (shrink)
Unified explanations seek to situate the traits of human beings in a causal framework that also explains the trait values found in nonhuman species. Disunified explanations claim that the traits of human beings are due to causal processes not at work in the rest of nature. This paper outlines a methodology for testing hypotheses of these two types. Implications are drawn concerning evolutionary psychology, adaptationism, and anti-adaptationism.
Elliott Sober: Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards? Philosophical Essays on Darwin’s Theory Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s10441-012-9151-7 Authors Raphael Scholl, History and Philosophy of Science, Institute of Philosophy, University of Bern, Länggassstr. 49a, 3012 Bern, Switzerland Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342.
Abstract: My aim in this article is to introduce readers to the topic of exploratory experimentation and briefly explain how the three articles that follow, by Richard Burian, KevinElliott, and Maureen O’Malley advance our understanding of the nature and significance of exploratory research. I suggest that the distinction between exploratory and theory-driven experimentation is multidimensional and that some of the dimensions are continuums. I point out that exploratory experiments are typically theory-informed even if they are not theory-driven. (...) I also distinguish between research programs and experiments. Research programs that are largely exploratory, such as the ones discussed in these case studies, can involve both exploratory and theory-driven experimentation. (shrink)
Christopher Bennett has argued that state support of conjugal relationships can be founded on the unique contribution such relationships make to the autonomy of their participants by providing them with various forms of recognition and support unavailable elsewhere. I argue that, in part because a long history of interaction between two people who need each other’s validation tends to produce less meaningful responses over time, long-term conjugal relationships are unlikely to provide autonomy-enhancing support to their participants. To the extent (...) that intimate relationships can provide a unique form of reciprocal support, Bennett fails to show that couples have an advantage over multiple-partner arrangements in doing so. (shrink)
In his "Discussion" (1984), Elliott Sober offers some criticisms of the view about species--pluralistic realism--advocated in my 1984. Sober's comments divide into three parts. He attempts to show that species are not sets; he responds to my critique of David Hull's thesis that species are individuals; and he offers some arguments for the claim that species are "chunks of the genealogical nexus." I consider each of these objections in turn, arguing that each of them fails. I attempt to use (...) Sober's insightful critique to explain and defend pluralistic realism more fully. (shrink)
In his contribution, Critical Investments: AIDS, Christopher Reeve, and Queer/Disability Studies, Robert McRuer calls for the recognition of the points of convergence between AIDS theory, queer theory, and disability theory. McRuer points out ways in which minority identity groups such as people with AIDS, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, and those with so-called disabilities, whose status has been described by others as impaired, have resisted this judgment by calling its ideological underpinnings into question. He contends that a critical alliance between (...) AIDS theory, queer theory, and disability theory will ultimately help us to realize the full range of different kinds of bodies and corporeal experiences, while also combating the application of normativizing judgments. (shrink)
D. Christopher Ralston; Justin Ho (Eds.): Philosophical Reflections on Disability Content Type Journal Article Pages 247-249 DOI 10.1007/s10677-010-9237-8 Authors Franziska Felder, Ethikzentrum der Universität Zürich, Graduiertenprogramm für Interdisziplinäre Ethikforschung, Zollikerstrasse 115, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 2.
In his recent book, Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus, Christopher Brown has argued that the metaphysics of St. Thomas is preferable to contemporary analyticviews because it can solve the “problem of material constitution” (PMC) without requiring us to relinquish any of the common-sense beliefs that generate that problem. In this critical study, I show that in the case of both substances and aggregates, Brown’s Aquinas endorses views that are extremely implausible. Consequently, even if it is granted that the (...) solutions to the PMC fall right out of his views, it is still not clear that this gives us reason to prefer his ontology to its competitors. I also consider Brown’s take on the status of the human being after death. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke has presented an original version of the perennial philosophical thesis that we can gain substantive metaphysical and epistemological insight from an analysis of our concepts. Peacocke's innovation is to look at how concepts are individuated by their possession conditions, which he believes can be specified in terms of conditions in which certain propositions containing those concepts are accepted. The ability to provide such insight is one of Peacocke's major arguments for his theory of concepts. I will critically (...) examine this "fruitfulness" argument by looking at one philosophical problem Peacocke uses his theory to solve and treats in depth. Peacocke (1999, 2001) defines what he calls the "Integration Challenge." The challenge is to integrate our metaphysics with our epistemology by showing that they are mutually acceptable. Peacocke's key conclusion is that the Integration Challenge can be met for "epistemically individuated concepts." A good theory of content, he believes, will close the apparent gap between an account of truth for any given subject matter and an overall account of knowledge. I shall argue that there are no epistemically individuated concepts, and shall critically analyze Peacocke's arguments for their existence. I will suggest more generally that the possession conditions of concepts and their principles of individuation shed little light on the epistemology or metaphysics of things other than concepts. My broader goal is to shed light on what concepts are by showing that they are more fundamental than the sorts of cognitive and epistemic factors a leading theory uses to define them. (shrink)
The untimely passing of Reverend Canon Dr Christopher Newell, AM, came as a shock to many in the bioethics world. As well as an obituary, this article notes a number of important themes in his work, and provides a select bibliography. Christopher's major contribution to this field is that he was one of a handful of scholars who made disability not only an acceptable area of bioethics—indeed a vital, central, fertile area of enquiry. Crucially Christopher emphasised (...) that where we do ethics is actually in everyday life—while we mourn his passing, his rich work and example will continue to inspire bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
An introduction to the March, 2005 symposium “The Political Theory of Organizations: A Retrospective Examination of Christopher McMahon’s Authority and Democracy” held in San Francisco as part of the Society for Business Ethics Group Meeting at the Pacific Division Meetings of the American Philosophical Association.
In his paper "The Design Argument," Elliott Sober predicts that "human beings will eventually build organisms from nonliving materials." In that case, we could obtain clear evidence that certain organisms resulted from intelligent design whereas earlier we might have thought they were due to a Darwinian process. I consider a similar possibility in chapter 6 of No Free Lunch.
Philosophical logicians proposing theories of rational belief revision have had little to say about whether their proposals assist or impede the agent's ability to reliably arrive at the truth as his beliefs change through time. On the other hand, reliability is the central concern of formal learning theory. In this paper we investigate the belief revision theory of Alchourron, Gardenfors and Makinson from a learning theoretic point of view.
Russell claims in his Autobiography and elsewhere that he discovered his 1905 theory of descriptions while attempting to solve the logical and semantic paradoxes plaguing his work on the foundations of mathematics. In this paper, I hope to make the connection between his work on the paradoxes and the theory of descriptions and his theory of incomplete symbols generally clearer. In particular, I argue that the theory of descriptions arose from the realization that not only can a class not be (...) thought of as a single thing, neither can the meaning/intension of any expression capable of singling out one collection (class) of things as opposed to another. If this is right, it shows that Russell’s method of solving the logical paradoxes is wholly incompatible with anything like a Fregean dualism between sense and reference or meaning and denotation. I also discuss how this realization lead to modifications in his understanding of propositions and propositional functions, and suggest that Russell’s confrontation with these issues may be instructive for ongoing research. (shrink)
A relatively detailed review (~ 4000 words) of Christopher Mole's (2010) book "Attention is Cognitive Unison". I suggest that Mole makes a good case against many types of reductivist accounts of attention, using the right kind of methodology. Yet, I argue that his adverbialist theory is not the best articulation of the crucial anti-reductivist insight. The distinction between adverbial and process-first phenomena he draws remains unclear, anti-reductivist process theories can escapte his arguments, and finally I provide an argument for (...) why no personal level adverbialism can provide a complete and unified theory of attention. Despite my disagreements, I have learned a lot from engaging with Mole's book. It's a central contribution to the new philosophical literature on attention. (shrink)
On the margins of the biblical canon and on the boundaries of what are traditionally called 'mainstream' Christian communities there have been throughout history writings and movements which have been at odds with the received wisdom and the consensus of establishment opinion. If one listens carefully, these dissident voices are reflected in the Bible itself-whether in the radical calls for social change from the Hebrew Bible prophets, with Jesus the apocalyptic prophet who also demanded social and economic justice for his (...) oppressed people, or perhaps from the apocalyptic tradition's millenarian visions. -/- The use of the Bible has been fertile ground throughout Christian history for prophetic calls for radical change within society as a whole and the church in particular. The essays contained in this volume examine aspects of this radical tradition, its doctrine, hermeneutics, pedagogy, and social action. They offer a sustained development of the theme of the Bible and its reception and appropriation in the context of radical practices, and an exposition of the imaginative possibilities of radical engagement with the Bible in inclusive social contexts. -/- Part 1 treats New Testament texts directly-the Lukan writings, Paul and the Book of Revelation; Part 2 explores some examples of reception history and of radical appropriation of the Bible in history and literature; Part 3 addresses contemporary issues in liberation theology and public theology. -/- This book is a Festschrift in honour of Professor Christopher Rowland, the Dean Ireland's Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture in the University of Oxford. (shrink)
Amartya Sen has made deep and lasting contributions to the academic disciplines of economics, philosophy, and the social sciences more broadly. He has engaged in policy dialogue and public debate, advancing the cause of a human development focused policy agenda, and a tolerant and democratic polity. This argumentative Indian has made the case for the poorest of the poor, and for plurality in cultural perspective. It is not surprising that he has won the highest awards, ranging from the Nobel Prize (...) in Economics to the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. This public recognition has gone hand in hand with the affection and admiration that Amartya's friends and students hold for him. -/- This volume of essays, written in honor of his 75th birthday by his students and peers, covers the range of contributions that Sen has made to knowledge. They are written by some of the world's leading economists, philosophers and social scientists, and address topics such as ethics, welfare economics, poverty, gender, human development, society and politics. This first volume covers the topics of Ethics, Normative Economics and Welfare; Agency, Aggregation and Social Choice; Poverty, Capabilities and Measurement; and Identity, Collective Action and Public Economics. It is a fitting tribute to Sen's own contributions to the discourse on Ethics, Welfare and Measurement. -/- Contributors include: Sabina Alkire, Paul Anand, Sudhir Anand, Kwame Anthony Appiah, A. B. Atkinson, Walter Bossert, Francois Bourguignon, John Broome, Satya R. Chakravarty, Rajat Deb, Bhaskar Dutta, James E. Foster, Wulf Gaertner, Indranil K. Ghosh, Peter Hammond, Christopher Handy, Christopher Harris, Satish K. Jain, Isaac Levi, Oliver Linton, S. R. Osmani, Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Edmund S. Phelps, Mozaffar Qizilbash, Martin Ravallion, Kevin Roberts, Ingrid Robeyns, Maurice Salles, Cristina Santos, T. M. Scanlon, Arjun Sengupta, Tae Kun Seo, Anthony Shorrocks , Ron Smith, Joseph E. Stiglitz, S. Subramanian, Kotaro Suzumura, Alain Trannoy, Guanghua Wan, John A. Weymark, and Yongsheng Xu. (shrink)
The question of the relation of my work to that of Martin Luther King Jr. cannot be resolved with the theoretical tools Christopher Beem brings to the task. Stanley Fish has written that "those who detach King's words from the history that produced them erase the fact of that history from the slate, and they do so, paradoxically, in order to prevent that history from being truly and deeply altered." The vice of liberalism is not selfishness so much (...) as a forgetfulness that spreads like a blight from the habit of abstraction. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered his people, his savior, and his church, and he called the rest of us to share those memories. Therein lay his strength. (shrink)
KevinElliott has argued that I defend two “conceptions” of adaptive management processes in my book, Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management, calling the conceptions “political” and “metaphysical,” respectively. Elliott claims that I must choose between them. Elliott has not sufficiently explained how he proceeds from the claim that I provide two separable arguments for my adaptive management process to his conclusion that I have two conceptions of this process. Once this confusion is clarified, it (...) becomes clear that adapting a pragmatist grounding for the process (which Elliott refers to as my “metaphysical” conception) is compatible with an open and inclusionary process. Pragmatism, in other words, does not exclude those who adopt ideological approaches to value from the adaptive process; it merely urges them, once in the process, to propose testable hypotheses rather than resort to ideological rhetoric. (shrink)
I thank Christopher Framarin for his response and would like to address three points he raises in this brief rejoinder.Framarin's book is a self-standing analysis of the central argument of the Gītā, and the reader should take my comments about his papers as additional material in support of the book. In drawing attention to them, my aim was to stress Framarin's long engagement with the subject.Although Framarin's book deals quite extensively with other texts from the Indian tradition, the Gītā (...) is central to the analysis. In fact, Framarin explicitly turns to the other texts "[a]s a means to answering the second question," namely whether the claim that action entails desire is widely held in the Indian tradition. .. (shrink)
In a recent issue of this journal, Kevin Corcoran has argued that the metaphysical theory one holds to about the nature of human persons is irrelevant to the sort of ethical questions that occupy bioethicists as well as the general public. Specifically, he argues that whether one holds a constitution view of human persons, an animalist view, or a substance dualist view, the real work in one’s ethical reasoning is done by certain moral principles rather than by metaphysical ones. (...) I raise objections to his analysis and propose that it is a combination of ethical principles and metaphysical principles that does the work in our judgements about the morality of abortion and other actions. (shrink)
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
In a recent paper in Science and Engineering Ethics (SEE) Elliott proposed an ethics of expertise, providing its theoretical foundation along with its application in a case study devoted to the topic of hormesis. The application is based on a commentary in the journal Nature, and it includes assertions of ethical breaches. Elliott concludes that the authors of the commentary failed to promote the informed consent of decision makers by not providing representative information about alternative frequency estimates of (...) hormesis in the literature, thereby hindering the capacity of the scientific community to promote informed consent relating to chemical regulation. This paper argues that Elliott should have incorporated due process into his system of evaluation. His argument is also seriously deficient technically, in that it misinterprets the toxicological issues, misrepresents the scientific literature with respect to the frequency of hormesis, and incorrectly assesses the extent to which the Nature paper revealed opposing/alternative views on hormesis. Given the seriousness of assertions of noncompliance to ethical norms, there must be procedures to protect those whose ethics were called into question, to fairly evaluate the technical justification for an assertion, and to enable corrections in the event of errors. If a journal is willing to publish assertions that individuals acted in an ethically questionable way, it should be guided by a documented code of ethics and meet a standard of responsibility far greater than normal peer-review processes for papers that do not entail such ethical judgments. (shrink)
Four principal papers and a total of 43 peer commentaries on the evolutionary origins of morality. To what extent is human morality the outcome of a continuous development from motives, emotions and social behaviour found in nonhuman animals? Jerome Kagan, Hans Kummer, Peter Railton and others discuss the first principal paper by primatologists Jessica Flack and Frans de Waal. The second paper, by cultural anthropologist Christopher Boehm, synthesizes social science and biological evidence to support his theory of how our (...) hominid ancestors became moral. In the third paper philosopher Elliott Sober and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argue that an evolutionary understanding of human nature allows sacrifice for others and ultimate desires for another's good. Finally Brian Skyrms argues that game theory based on adaptive dynamics must join the social scientist's use of rational choice and classical game theory to explain cooperation. (shrink)
We argue that uncomputability and classical scepticism are both re ections of inductive underdetermination, so that Church's thesis and Hume's problem ought to receive equal emphasis in a balanced approach to the philosophy of induction. As an illustration of such an approach, we investigate how uncomputable the predictions of a hypothesis can be if the hypothesis is to be reliably investigated by a computable scienti c method.
Biologists study life in its various physical forms, while philosophers of biology seek answers to questions about the nature, purpose, and impact of this research. What permits us to distinguish between living and nonliving things even though both are made of the same minerals? Is the complex structure of organisms proof that a creative force is working its will in the physical universe, or are existing life-forms the random result of an evolutionary process working itself out over eons of time? (...) What moral and social questions arise regarding modern advances in biotechnology? What is more relevant to human nature: genetics or sociocultural influences? Is Darwinism the death-knell of God? These are just some of the vital questions addressed by a distinguished group of philosophers and scientists which includes: Aristotle, Francisco J. Ayala, , Michael Benton, Tom Bethell, Joe Cain, David Castle, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Michael Denton, A.G.N. Flew, Stephen Jay Gould, J.B.S. Haldane, John F. Haught, D. W. E. Hone, James W. Kirchner, James Lovelock, Jane Maienschein, Ernst Mayr, Gregory M. Mikkelson, Leslie Orgal, William Paley, the Prince of Wales, Christopher Pynes, Richard A. Richards, Mark Ridley, Holmes Rolston III, Michael Ruse, Lee Silver, Elliott Sober, Kim Sterelny, Derek Turner, and Edward O. Wilson. This second edition contains material on design without selection, testing macroevolutionary claims, recent biotechnological issues, key ecological concerns, the Gaia hypothesis, genetically modified foods, and the so-called intelligent design movement. (shrink)
Amartya Sen has made deep and lasting contributions to the academic disciplines of economics, philosophy, and the social sciences more broadly. He has engaged in policy dialogue and public debate, advancing the cause of a human development focused policy agenda, and a tolerant and democratic polity. This argumentative Indian has made the case for the poorest of the poor, and for plurality in cultural perspective. It is not surprising that he has won the highest awards, ranging from the Nobel Prize (...) in Economics to the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. This public recognition has gone hand in hand with the affection and admiration that Amartya's friends and students hold for him. -/- This volume of essays, written in honor of his 75th birthday by his students and peers, covers the range of contributions that Sen has made to knowledge. They are written by some of the world's leading economists, philosophers and social scientists, and address topics such as ethics, welfare economics, poverty, gender, human development, society and politics. -/- Contributors include: Bina Agarwal, Isher Ahluwalia, Montek S Ahluwalia, Ingela Alger, Sabina Alkire, Paul Anand, Sudhir Anand, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Muhammad Asali, Department of Economics, A. B. Atkinson, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Pranab Bardhan, Lourdes Benería, Francois Bourguignon, Sugata Bose, Walter Bossert, John Broome, Satya R. Chakravarty, Lincoln C. Chen, Martha Alter Chen, Kanchan Chopra, Rajat Deb, Simon Dietz, Bhaskar Dutta, James E. Foster, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Wulf Gaertner, Indranil K. Ghosh, Jonathan Glover, Peter Hammond, Christopher Handy, Christopher Harris, Cameron Hepburn, Jane Humphries, Rizwanul Islam, Satish K. Jain, Ayesha Jalal, Mary Kaldor, Sunil Khilnani, Stephan Klasen, Jocelyn Kynch, Isaac Levi, Oliver Linton, Enrica Chiappero Martinetti, Kirsty McNay, Martha C. Nussbaum, Siddiqur R. Osmani, Elinor Ostrom, Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Edmund S. Phelps, Mozaffar Qizilbash, Gustav Ranis, Martin Ravallion, Sanjay G. Reddy, Kevin Roberts, Ingrid Robeyns, Maurice Salles, Emma Samman, Cristina Santos, Thomas. M. Scanlon, Arjun Sengupta, Tae Kun Seo, Anthony Shorrocks, Ronald Smith, Rehman Sobhan, Robert M. Solow, Nicholas Stern, Frances Stewart, Joseph E. Stiglitz, S. Subramanian, Kotaro Suzumura, Alain Trannoy, Ashutosh Varshney, Sujata Visaria, Guanghua Wan, Jörgen W. Weibull, John A. Weymark, and Yongsheng Xu. (shrink)
In the United States alone, industrial and agricultural toxins account for about 60,000 avoidable cancer deaths annually. Pollution-related health costs to Americans are similarly staggering: $13 billion a year from asthma, $351 billion from cardiovascular disease, and $240 billion from occupational disease and injury. Most troubling, children, the poor, and minorities bear the brunt of these health tragedies. Why, asks Kristin Shrader-Frechette, has the government failed to protect us, and what can we do about it? In this book, at once (...) brilliant and accessible, Shrader-Frechette reveals how politicians, campaign contributors, and lobbyists--and their power over media, advertising, and public relations--have conspired to cover up environmental disease and death. She also shows how science and regulators themselves are frequently "captured" by well-funded polluters and special interests. But most important, the author puts both the blame--and the solution--on the shoulders of ordinary citizens. She argues that everyone, especially in a democracy, has a duty to help prevent avoidable environmental deaths, to remain informed about, and involved in, public-health and environmental decision-making. Toward this end, she outlines specific, concrete ways in which people can contribute to life-saving reforms, many of them building on recommendations of the American Public Health Association. As disturbing as it is, Shrader-Frechette's message is ultimately hopeful. Calling for a new "democratic revolution," she reminds us that while only a fraction of the early colonists supported the American Revolution, that tiny group managed to change the world. Her book embodies the conviction that we can do the same for environmental health, particularly if citizens become the change they seek. -/- "Influential and impressive. " - Nicholas A. Ashford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology "Important and compelling, clearly written, accessible. I enthusiastically recommend this book." - James F. Childress, University of Virginia "This book shakes the reader." - Avner de-Shalit, Hebrew University of Jerusalem "Powerful, perspicuous, convincing. Essential reading for today." - Inmaculada de Melo-Martin "A must-read - a book you won't want to put down." - KevinElliott, University of South Carolina "An eloquent and persuasive plea to scientists and citizens." - George W. Fisher, Johns Hopkins University "Engaging, compelling - deserves to be read by nearly everyone." - William R. Freudenberg, University of California, Santa Barbara "By one of America's foremost philosophers and public intellectuals; immensely readable, courageous, often startling, insightful." - Richard Hiskes, University of Connecticut "Timely, accessible, and written with enviable clarity and passion. A distinguished philosopher sounds an ethical call to arms to prevent illness and death from pollution." - Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University "A blistering account of how advocacy must be brought to bear on issues of justice and public health." - Jeffrey Kahn, University of Minnesota "Breaks new ground in linking environmental protection with social justice. A brilliant inquiry." - Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University "Powerful, lucid, disturbing, poignantly hopeful, lively; deserves to be widely read." - Hugh Lacey, Swarthmore College "A powerful call to action that needs to be heard by consumers and policymakers alike." - Anna C. Mastroianni, University of Washington "No other author can so forcefully bring together ethical analysis, government policy, and environmental science. Outstanding." - Colleen Moore, University of Wisconsin "Accessible, thoughtful, exceptional. It made me want to go out and slay a few dragons of my own!" - Felicity Sackville Northcott, Johns Hopkins University "Convincing, with an impressive command of scientific knowledge. No book more clearly demonstrates the need for citizen action." - Mark Sagoff, University of Maryland "Like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring - brilliant, brave." - Sylvia Hood Washington, University of Illinois, Chicago "This book is inspirational as much as it is scientific....Highly recommended." -- CHOICE. (shrink)
Jay Elliott raises an important objection to the central claim of my paper "It’s a Wonderful Life: Pottersville and the Meaning of Life.” There I defend the good cause account (GCA) of the meaning of life. GCA holds that one's life is meaningful to the extent that one is causally responsible for objective good. Elliott argues that although GCA correctly implies that George Bailey lives a meaningful life, it might also imply that Potter's life is meaningful. But this (...) is absurd. To avoid this problem, Elliott defends a highly compelling alternative to GCA. He also challenges my interpretation of the most important sequence in the movie, George Bailey's trip to Pottersville. In this short reply, I will focus on his objection to GCA, as the interpretive differences are relatively minor. (shrink)
Abstract This paper challenges Christopher Ormell's claim that an explicit distinction should be drawn between a ?hard? and ?soft? sense of ?having values?. It is argued that holding values is better portrayed in terms of a continuum representing degrees of difficulty and sacrifice, for the holding of any value implies a possible tension between obligation and motivation. Making choices lacks this necessary feature and so cannot be equated with any sense of ?having values?. Ormell's claim that values but not (...) Values are relativistic is also questioned. Finally, an important implication of this debate for moral education is drawn, concerning ways in which children may learn to hold and act upon values. (shrink)
I argue that Meeker is mistaken in two crucial respects. First, contrary to both myself and Plantinga, he treats exclusivism as a theory about the relation between the religions, and then claims that it is superior to the pluralist theory. But he does not say what his exclusivist theory is. Second, he bases his claim of a fundamental self-contradiction in my pluralist position on a view which I disavow, namely that altruism is the core of religion. He omits the central (...) idea of a profound reorientation in response to the Real, of which altruism is a manifestation. (Published Online April 7 2006). (shrink)
One striking feature of On the Genealogy of Morals concerns how it is written. Nietzsche utilizes a literary style that provokes his readers’ emotions. Recently, Christopher Janaway has argued that this approach is integral to Nietzsche’s philosophical goals: feeling the emotions Nietzsche’s style arouses is necessary for understanding the views he defends. This paper shows that Janaway’s position is tempting but mistaken. The temptation exists because our emotions often function as “tools of discovery.” They bring things into focus we (...) otherwise could not see. However, once we grasp what they reveal, we can communicate it to others without first having to arouse their emotions. Thus there may be truths none of us would know unless one of us consulted his or her emotions. But it is not the case that each of us must consult his or her emotions in order to understand these truths. (shrink)
Metaethical expressivists claim that we can explain what moral words like ‘wrong’ mean without having to know what they are about – but rather by saying what it is to think that something is wrong – namely, to disapprove of it. Given the close connection between expressivists’ theory of the meaning of moral words and our attitudes of approval and disapproval, expressivists have had a hard time shaking the intuitive charge that theirs is an objectionably subjectivist or mind-dependent view of (...) morality. Expressivism, critics have charged over and again, is committed to the view that what is wrong somehow depends on or at least correlates with the attitudes that we have toward it. Arguments to this effect are sometimes subtle, and sometimes rely on fancy machinery, but they all share a common flaw. They all fail to respect the fundamental idea of expressivism: that ‘stealing is wrong’ bears exactly the same relationship to disapproval of stealing as ‘grass is green’ bears to the belief that grass is green. In this paper I rehearse the motivations for the fundamental idea of expressivism and show how the arguments of Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit , Russ Shafer-Landau , Jussi Suikkanen , and Christopher Peacocke  all fail on this same rock. In part 1 I’ll rehearse the motivation for expressivism – a motivation which directly explains why it does not have subjectivist consequences. Then in each of parts 2-5 I’ll illustrate how each of Jackson and Pettit’s, Peacocke’s, Shafer-Landau’s, and Suikkanen’s arguments work, respectively, and why each of them fails to respect the fundamental parity at the heart of expressivism. Though others have tried before me to explain why expressivism is not committed to any kind of subjectivism or mind-dependence – prominently including Blackburn , , Horgan and Timmons , and, in response to Pettit and Jackson, Dreier  and Smith and Stoljar , the explanation offered in this article is distinguished by its scope and generality.. (shrink)
In this article I criticize a theory of political obligation recently put forward by Christopher Wellman. Wellman's “samaritan theory” grounds both state legitimacy and political obligation in a natural duty to help people in need when this can be done at no unreasonable cost. I argue that this view is not able to account for some important features of the relation between state and citizens that Wellman himself seems to value. My conclusion is that the samaritan theory can only (...) be accepted if we are ready to give up either the traditional notion of political obligation as a prima facie duty valid for every citizen, or the current view of the relationships that should exist between states, citizens and foreigners (the view according to which states should have special concerns for their own citizens). (shrink)