Most legal analyses of selective nontreatment of seriously ill children centre on the question of whether it is in a child’s best interests to be kept alive in the face of extreme suffering and/or an intolerable quality of life. Courts have resisted any direct confrontation with the question of whether the child’s death is in his or her best interests. Nevertheless, representations of death may have an important role to play in this field of jurisprudence. The prevailing philosophy is to (...) configure death as a release from a futile or painful existence and/or as a dignified end in an objectively hopeless situation. However, there can be disagreement about the meaning of death in these settings. Some parents object that death would be premature or that it represents a culpable neglect of their child. A closer examination of these discordant interpretations allows for a better comprehension of the cultural understandings that underscore clinical and legal accounts of death following end-of-life decisions. (shrink)
Kristin Shrader-Frechette: Taking Action, Saving Lives: Our Duties to Protect Environmental and Public Health Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11948-011-9267-1 Authors Matthew Benjamin Reisman, Environmental Studies, The University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, USA Journal Science and Engineering Ethics Online ISSN 1471-5546 Print ISSN 1353-3452.
Kristin Andrews proposes a new framework for thinking about folk psychology, which she calls Pluralistic Folk Psychology. Her approach emphasizes kinds of psychological prediction and explanation that don't rest on propositional attitude attribution. Here I review some elements of her theory and find that, although the approach is very promising, there's still work to be done before we can conclude that the manners of prediction and explanation she identifies don't involve implicit propositional attitude attribution.
Editorial: Concepts of Animal Welfare Content Type Journal Article Pages 93-103 DOI 10.1007/s10441-011-9134-0 Authors Kristin Hagen, Europäische Akademie zur Erforschung von Folgen wissenschaftlich-technischer Entwicklungen Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler GmbH, Wilhelmstr. 56, 53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany Ruud Van den Bos, Behavioural Neuroscience, Animals in Science and Society, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 2, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands Tjard de Cock Buning, Department of Biology and Society (ATHENA Institute), Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije (...) Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342 Journal Volume Volume 59 Journal Issue Volume 59, Number 2. (shrink)
What Will Work makes a rigorous and compelling case that energy efficiencies and renewable energy-and not nuclear fission or "clean coal"-are the most effective, cheapest, and equitable solutions to the pressing problem of climate change. Kristin Shrader-Frechette, a respected environmental ethicist and scientist, makes a damning case that the only reason that debate about climate change continues is because fossil-fuel interests pay non-experts to confuse the public. She then builds a comprehensive case against the argument made by many that (...) nuclear fission is a viable solution to the problem, arguing that data on the viability of nuclear power has been misrepresented by the nuclear industry and its supporters. In particular she says that they present deeply flawed cases that nuclear produces low greenhouse gas emissions, that it is financially responsible, that it is safe, and that its risks do not fall mainly on the poor and vulnerable. She argues convincingly that these are all completely false assumptions. Shrader-Frechette then shows that energy efficiency and renewable solutions meet all these requirements - in particular affordability, safety, and equitability. In the end, the cheapest, lowest-carbon, most-sustainable energy solutions also happen to be the most ethical. This urgent book on the most pressing issue of our time will be of interest to anyone involved in environmental and energy policy. -/- "An extraordinary achievement by a philosopher-scientist and public intellectual. The book is unmatched in its synthesis of the empirical data, theory and ethics that infuse the climate-change debates. Its overpowering but transparent argument should be mandatory reading for every elected official. Shrader-Frechette takes practical logic and scientific transparency to new heights. The best book written in the last decade on climate change." - Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University -/- "Shrader-Frechette's book is outstanding. She makes a thorough review of the scientific evidence on nuclear health risks, and also explains the political and economic forces affecting public policy. Very readable for scientists, policy makers, and the public." - Joseph J. Mangano, Radiation and Public Health Project, New York -/- "Fascinating and important! Shrader-Frechette presents the scientific, economic, and ethical evidence for the failure of nuclear power -- it is neither carbon-free nor a viable solution to the energy crisis and global warming. While explaining the nuances of the scientific, economic and ethical arguments, the author teaches the reader why solar and wind energy, along with energy efficiency changes, will yield a safe, healthy, reliable and economically efficient energy future for the planet." - Colleen F. Moore, University of Wisconsin, author of Children and Pollution: Why Scientists Disagree. (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." - Kevin Elliott, 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)
Psychologists distinguish between intentional systems which have beliefs and those which are also able to attribute beliefs to others. The ability to do the latter is called having a `theory of mind', and many cognitive ethologists are hoping to find evidence for this ability in animal behaviour. I argue that Dennett's theory entails that any intentional system that interacts with another intentional system (such as vervet monkeys and chess-playing computers) has a theory of mind, which would make the distinction all (...) but meaningless. This entailment should not be accepted; instead, Dennett's position that intentional behaviour is best predictable via the intentional stance should be rejected in favour of a pluralistic view of behaviour prediction. I introduce an additional method which humans often use to predict intentional and non-intentional behaviour, which could be called the inductive stance. (shrink)
Donald Davidson's account of interpretation purports to be a priori , though I argue that the empirical facts about interpretation, theory of mind, and autism must be considered when examining the merits of Davidson's view. Developmental psychologists have made plausible claims about the existence of some people with autism who use language but who are unable to interpret the minds of others. This empirical claim undermines Davidson's theoretical claims that all speakers must be interpreters of other speakers and that one (...) need not be a speaker in order to be a thinker. The falsity of these theses has consequences for other parts of Davidson's world-view; for example, it undermines his argument against animal thought. (shrink)
The debates about the form of folk psychology and the potential eliminability of folk psychology rest on a particular view about how humans understand other minds. That is, though folk psychology is described as --œour commonsense conception of psychological phenomena--� (Churchland 1981, p. 67), there have been implicit assumptions regarding the nature of that commonsense conception. It has been assumed that folk psychology involves two practices, the prediction and explanation of behavior. And it has been assumed that one cognitive mechanism (...) subsumes both these practices. (shrink)
The relationship between 20th-century phenomenology and the transcendental program launched by Immanuel Kant is crucial, but delicate. First there is Husserl, who seemed both attracted to and seriously critical of Kant's first Critique. Then there is Heidegger's ambition to scour the entire field of the three Critiques. Most important in this context, is probably his reading of the Critique of Pure Reason in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929). Faithful to his notion of a salvaging “destruction” of the philosophical (...) tradition, Heidegger argues that the earliest version of Kant's work, the so-called A-deduction, is radically different from the philosophy promoted by the neo-Kantians. Kant, he claims, was not really interested in epistemology in the narrow meaning of the term. He was, rather, a philosopher verging upon a genuine ontology of Being, but who, for reasons that remain unknown, felt forced to leave these tracks behind in order to pursue the transcendental conditions of knowledge. Then there is the second Critique, which Heidegger approaches through a discussion of the Kantian notions of freedom and causality. And, finally, there are his remarks about the Critique of Judgment, scattered all over his writing on art from the early 1930s onwards. However, Heidegger never produces a proper, systematic account of the relevance of the third Critique. Such an account, I argue in this essay, is provided by Hans-Georg Gadamer. (shrink)
Derk Pereboom's Four-Case Argument is among the most famous and resilient manipulation arguments against compatibilism. I contend that its resilience is not a function of the argument's soundness but, rather, the ill-gotten gain from an ambiguity in the description of the causal relations found in the argument's foundational case. I expose this crucial ambiguity and suggest that a dilemma faces anyone hoping to resolve it. After a thorough search for an interpretation which avoids both horns of this dilemma, I conclude (...) that none is available. Rather, every metaphysically coherent interpretation invites either a hard- or soft-line reply to Pereboom's argument. I then consider a recharacterization of the dilemma which seems to clear the way for the defence of a revised Four-Case Argument. I address this rejoinder by identifying a still more fundamental problem shared by all viable interpretations of the manipulation cases, showing that each involves a type of manipulation which undermines the victim's agency. Because this diagnosis supports a soft-line reply to every viable interpretation of the argument and can be endorsed by any compatibilist, I consider it the final piece of the Soft-line Solution to the Four-Case Argument. Finally, I suggest a new taxonomy of manipulation arguments, arguing that none that employs the suppressive variety of manipulation found in Pereboom's argument offers a threat to compatibilism. (shrink)
I suggest a pluralistic account of folk psychology according to which not all predictions or explanations rely on the attribution of mental states, and not all intentional actions are explained by mental states. This view of folk psychology is supported by research in developmental and social psychology. It is well known that people use personality traits to predict behavior. I argue that trait attribution is not shorthand for mental state attributions, since traits are not identical to beliefs or desires, and (...) an understanding of belief or desire is not necessary for using trait attributions. In addition, we sometimes predict and explain behavior through appeal to personality traits that the target wouldn't endorse, and so could not serve as the target's reasons. I conclude by suggesting that our folk psychology includes the notion that some behavior is explained by personality traits—who the person is—rather than by beliefs and desires—what the person thinks. Consequences of this view for the debate between simulation theory and theory theory, as well as the debate on chimpanzee theory of mind are discussed. (shrink)
The essay takes as its point of departure the way in which the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer has recently been adopted by philosophers such as Richard Rorty, John McDowell, and Robert Brandom. While appreciating the way in which Truth and Method has gained new relevance within an Anglo-American context, I ask whether sufficient attention has been paid to Gadamer’s romantic heritage. In particular I question the way in which his notion of tradition and historical truth, designed as it is to (...) overcome the ramifications of Descartes and the Kantian enlightenment, is modeled on the example of art and aesthetic experience. (shrink)
I argue that the behavior of other agents is insufficiently described in current debates as a dichotomy between tacit theory (attributing beliefs and desires to predict behavior) and simulation theory (imagining what one would do in similar circumstances in order to predict behavior). I introduce two questions about the foundation and development of our ability both to attribute belief and to simulate it. I then propose that there is one additional method used to predict behavior, namely, an inductive strategy.
Recent studies show that the current punitive approach to bullying, in the form of zero-tolerance policies, is ineffective in reducing bullying and school violence. Despite this significant finding, anti-bullying legislation is increasing. The authors argue that these policies are not only ineffective but that they are also unjust, harmful, and stigmatizing. They advocate a broader integrative approach to bullying programs that includes both victims and bullies.
I respond to an argument presented by Daniel Povinelli and Jennifer Vonk that the current generation of experiments on chimpanzee theory of mind cannot decide whether chimpanzees have the ability to reason about mental states. I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s proposed experiment is subject to their own criticisms and that there should be a more radical shift away from experiments that ask subjects to predict behavior. Further, I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s theoretical commitments should lead them to accept (...) this new approach, and that experiments which offer subjects the opportunity to look for explanations for anomalous behavior should be explored. (shrink)
Death concept, death definition, death criterion and death test pluralism has been described by some as a problematic approach. Others have claimed it to be a promising way forward within modern pluralistic societies. This article describes the New Jersey Death Definition Law and the Japanese Transplantation Law. Both of these laws allow for more than one death concept within a single legal system. The article discusses a philosophical basis for these laws starting from John Rawls' understanding of comprehensive doctrines, (...) reasonable pluralism and overlapping consensus. It argues for the view that a certain legal pluralism in areas of disputed metaphysical, philosophical and/or religious questions should be allowed, as long as the disputed questions concern the individual and the resulting policy, law or acts based on the policy/law, do not harm the lives of other individuals to an intolerable extent. However, while this death concept, death definition, death criterion and death test pluralism solves some problems, it creates others. (shrink)
Perhaps because both explanation and prediction are key components to understanding, philosophers and psychologists often portray these two abilities as though they arise from the same competence, and sometimes they are taken to be the same competence. When explanation and prediction are associated in this way, they are taken to be two expressions of a single cognitive capacity that differ from one another only pragmatically. If the difference between prediction and explanation of human behavior is merely pragmatic, then anytime I (...) predict someone’s future behavior, I would at that moment also have an explanation of the behavior. I argue that advocates of both the theory theory and the simulation theory accept the symmetry of psychological prediction and explanation. However, there is very good reason to believe that this hypothesis is false. Just as we can predict the occurrence of some physical phenomena that we have no explanation for, we are also able to make accurate predictions of intentional behavior without having an explanation. Rather than requiring mental state attribution, I argue that the prediction of human behavior is most often accomplished by statistical induction rather than through an appeal to mental states. However, explanations are not given in these terms. (shrink)
According to luck egalitarianism, inequalities are justified if and only if they arise from choices for which it is reasonable to hold agents responsible. This position has been criticised for its purported harshness in responding to the plight of individuals who, through their own choices, end up destitute. This paper aims to assess the Harshness Objection. I put forward a version of the objection that has been qualified to take into account some of the more subtle elements of the luck (...) egalitarian approach. Revising the objection in this way suggests that the Harshness Objection has been overstated by its proponents: because luck egalitarians are sensitive to the influence of unequal brute luck on individuals’ choices, it is unlikely that there will be any real world cases in which the luck egalitarian would not have to provide at least partial compensation. However, the Harshness Objection still poses problems for the luck egalitarian. First, it is not clear that partial compensation will be sufficient to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Second, the Harshness Objection raises a theoretical problem in that a consistent luck egalitarian will have to regard it as unjust if any assistance is provided to the victim of pure option luck, even if such assistance could be provided at no cost. I consider three strategies the luck egalitarian could pursue to accommodate these concerns and conclude that none of these strategies can be maintained without either violating basic luck egalitarian principles or infringing upon individual liberty. (shrink)
Humans have a folk psychology, without question. Paul Churchland used the term to describe “our commonsense conception of psychological phenomena” (Churchland 1981, p. 67), whatever that may be. When we ask the question whether animals have their own folk psychology, we’re asking whether any other species has a commonsense conception of psychological phenomenon as well. Different versions of this question have been discussed over the past 25 years, but no clear answer has emerged. Perhaps one reason for this lack of (...) progress is that we don’t clearly understand the question. In asking whether animals have folk psychology, I hope to help clarify the concept of folk psychology itself, and in the process, to gain a greater understanding of the role of belief and desire attribution in human social interaction. (shrink)
Merck suppressed data on harmful effects of its drug Vioxx, and Guidant suppressed data on electrical flaws in one of its heart-defibrillator models. Both cases reveal how financial conflicts of interest can skew biomedical research. Such conflicts also occur in electric-utility-related research. Attempting to show that increased atomic energy can help address climate change, some industry advocates claim nuclear power is an inexpensive way to generate low-carbon electricity. Surveying 30 recent nuclear analyses, this paper shows that industry-funded studies appear to (...) fall into conflicts of interest and to illegitimately trim cost data in several main ways. They exclude costs of full-liability insurance, underestimate interest rates and construction times by using overnight costs, and overestimate load factors and reactor lifetimes. If these trimmed costs are included, nuclear-generated electricity can be shown roughly 6 times more expensive than most studies claim. After answering four objections, the paper concludes that, although there may be reasons to use reactors to address climate change, economics does not appear to be one of them. (shrink)
According to both the traditional model of folk psychology and the social intelligence hypothesis, our folk psychological notions of belief and desire developed in order to make better predictions of behavior, and the fundamental role for our folk psychological notions of belief and desire are for making more accurate predictions of behavior (than predictions made without appeal to folk psychological notions). My strategy in this paper is to show that these claims are false. I argue that we need not appeal (...) to mental states to make predictions of many behaviors, and I will offer a positive account of how we might go about predicting intentional behavior. Finally, I suggest that taken together, the critique of traditional folk psychology along with the alternative account of our predictive practices leads to a new hypothesis. While it may be true that mental state concepts developed in response to social-environmental pressures, I suggest that this pressure was more likely the need to explain behavior, rather than the need to predict it. (shrink)
Donald Davidson argues in "Thought and Talk" that all speakers must be interpreters of other speakers: linguistic competence requires the possession of intentional concepts and the ability to attribute intentional states to other people. Kristin Andrews (in Philosophical Psychology, 15) has argued that empirical evidence about autism undermines this theoretical claim, for some individuals with autism lack the requisite "theory of mind" skills to be able to interpret, yet are competent speakers. In this paper, Davidson is defended on the (...) grounds that the high-functioning autistic individuals in question have a more robust theory of mind than has been acknowledged, and that this is sufficient for them to be interpreters of other speakers. It is argued, further, that Davidson's theory would remain intact even if one or more autistic speakers lacking a theory of mind were to exist, as he makes conceptual claims about thought and language that are not vulnerable to empirical counterexamples. (shrink)
In the twenty-five or so years since Paul Churchland (1981) proposed its elimination, defenders of folk psychology have argued for the ubiquity of propositional attitude attribution in human social cognition. If we didn’t understand others in terms of their beliefs and desires, we would see others as ‘‘baffling ciphers’’ (Dennett, 1991, p. 29) and it would be ‘‘the end of the world’’ (Fodor, 1990, p. 156). Because the world continues, and we seem to predict and explain what others do (...) with a remarkable degree of accuracy, the advocates of folk psychology tend to accept that we do rely on a third-person attribution of propositional attitudes as the central means for understanding other people. Based on this shared assumption, a central project in folk psychology since Churchland’s paper has been focused on the cognitive architecture that subsumes this understanding. Humans attribute propositional attitudes to predict and explain, but how do they do it? Is our understanding of others’ behavior theoretical, as Churchland originally argued? Is.. (shrink)
The relationship of the author's intention to the meaning of a literary work has been a persistently controversial topic in aesthetics. Anti-intentionalists Wimsatt and Beardsley, in the 1946 paper that launched the debate, accused critics who fueled their interpretative activity by poring over the author's private diaries and life story of committing the 'fallacy' of equating the work's meaning, properly determined by context and linguistic convention, with the meaning intended by the author. Hirsch responded that context and convention are not (...) sufficient to determine a unique meaning for a text; to avoid radical ambiguity we must appeal to the author's intention, which actualizes one of the candidate meanings. Subsequent writers have defended refined versions of these views, and a variety of positions on the spectrum between them, in a debate that remains central to philosophical aesthetics. While much of the debate has focused on literature, similar questions arise with respect to the interpretation of visual artworks. Some of the readings listed below address this matter explicitly. Author Recommends: William K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy', Sewanee Review 54 (1946): 468–88. Locus classicus of the anti-intentionalist position: Wimsatt and Beardsley hold that appeal to the author's intention is always extraneous, since intention cannot override the role of linguistic convention and context in determining meaning. Criticism, they argue, should thus proceed by careful examination of the literary work rather than by sifting through biographical material that might hint at the author's intentions. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Validity in Interpretation (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1967). The seminal statement of actual intentionalism: Hirsch holds that 'meaning is an affair of consciousness and not of physical signs or things' (23), though he allows that linguistic convention constrains the meanings the author can intend for a particular utterance. He argues that the author's intention is necessary to fix meaning, since the application of conventions alone would typically leave a text wildly indeterminate. Alexander Nehamas, 'The Postulated Author: Critical Monism as a Regulative Ideal', Critical Inquiry 8 (1981): 133–49. Nehamas argues for a version of hypothetical intentionalism according to which interpretation is a matter of attributing an intended meaning to a hypothetical author, distinct from the historical writer. This view allows the interpreter to find meaning even in features of the work that may have been mere accidents on the part of the historical writer. Gary Iseminger, ed., Intention and Interpretation (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992). Intention and Interpretation is an outstanding collection including both classic and new essays representing most of the major viewpoints in the debate. Noël Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 97–131. The essay defends modest actual intentionalism, according to which the work's meaning is one compatible both with the author's meaning intentions and with the conventionally allowable meanings of the text. Carroll holds that literature is on a continuum with ordinary conversation, to which an intentionalist analysis is apt; for this reason he rejects anti-intentionalism and hypothetical intentionalism, which emphasize the purported autonomy of literary works from their authors. Daniel Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 183–202. Nathan argues that even irony and metaphor, which are often thought to require an analysis in terms of the author's actual intentions, are in fact best understood on an anti-intentionalist approach. Jerrold Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature', The Pleasures of Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 175–213. Revised version of 'Intention and Interpretation: A Last Look', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 221–56. The essay defends a version of hypothetical intentionalism according to which the meaning of a literary work is the meaning that would be attributed to the actual author by members of the ideal audience. Levinson argues that literary works should be treated differently from everyday utterances, since it is a convention of literature that its works are substantially autonomous from their authors. Paisley Livingston, Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005). Livingston examines competing accounts of the nature of intentions as they pertain to a variety of issues in the philosophy of art, including the ontology of art, the nature of authorship, and art interpretation. In chapter 6, Livingston argues for partial intentionalism, according to which some, but not all, of a work's meanings are non-redundantly determined by the author's intentions. Stephen Davies, 'Authors' Intentions, Literary Interpretation, and Literary Value', British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (2006): 223–47. Davies defends the value-maximizing view, according to which, when there is more than one conventional meaning consistent with the work's features, the meaning that should be attributed to the work is the one that makes the work out to be most aesthetically valuable. He allows for the attribution of multiple meanings when more than one candidate (approximately) maximizes the work's value. Online Materials: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beardsley-aesthetics/ Beardsley's Aesthetics (Michael Wreen) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conceptual-art/ Conceptual Art (Elisabeth Schellekens) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/speech-acts/ Speech Acts (Mitchell Green) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hermeneutics/ Hermeneutics (Bjørn Ramberg and Kristin Gjesdal) Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Foundations 1. Wimsatt and Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy'. 2. Livingston, 'What Are Intentions?', Art and Intention , 1–30. Weeks 2–3: Actual Intentionalism 1. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation , ch. 1–2, 1–67. 2. Gary Iseminger, 'An Intentional Demonstration?', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Iseminger, 76–96. Optional reading: 1. Stephen Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, 'Against Theory', Critical Inquiry 8 (1982): 723–742. 2. Stephen Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, 'Against Theory 2: Hermeneutics and Deconstruction', Critical Inquiry 14 (1987): 49–58. Weeks 4–5: Modest, Moderate and Partial Intentionalism 1. Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation'. 2. Robert Stecker, Interpretation and Construction: Art, Speech, and the Law (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003), ch. 2, 29–51. 3. Livingston, 'Intention and the Interpretation of Art', Art and Intention , 135–74. Optional reading: 1. Carroll, 'Interpretation and Intention: The Debate between Hypothetical and Actual Intentionalism', Metaphilosophy 31 (2000): 75–95. 2. Stecker, 'Moderate Actual Intentionalism Defended', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2006): 429–38. Weeks 6–7: Hypothetical Intentionalism 1. William E. Tolhurst, 'On What a Text Is and How It Means', British Journal of Aesthetics 19 (1979): 3–14. 2. Nehamas, 'Postulated Author'. 3. Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature'. Optional reading: 1. Nehamas, 'What an Author Is', Journal of Philosophy 83 (1986): 685–91. 2. Nehamas, 'Writer, Text, Work, Author', Literature and the Question of Philosophy , ed. A. J. Cascardi (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 265–91. 3. Levinson, 'Hypothetical Intentionalism: Statement, Objections, and Replies', Is There a Single Right Interpretation? , ed. M. Krausz (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 309–18. Week 8: The Value-Maximizing View 1. Davies, 'The Aesthetic Relevance of Authors' and Painters' Intentions', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 41 (1982): 65–76. 2. Davies, 'Authors' Intentions, Literary Interpretation, and Literary Value'. Weeks 9–10: Anti-Intentionalism 1. Beardsley, 'The Authority of the Text,' The Possibility of Criticism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970), 16–37. 2. Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention'. 3. Nathan, 'Art, Meaning, and Artist's Meaning', Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art , ed. M. Kieran (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 282–95. Optional reading: 1. Beardsley, 'Intentions and Interpretations: A Fallacy Revived', The Aesthetic Point of View: Selected Essays , ed. M. J. Wreen and D. M. Callen (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982), 188–207. 2. Nathan, 'Irony and the Author's Intentions', British Journal of Aesthetics 22 (1982): 246–56. Sample Mini-Syllabus: Week 1: Foundations 1. Wimsatt and Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy'. 2. Livingston, 'What Are Intentions?', Art and Intention , 1–30. Week 2: Actual and Modest Intentionalism 1. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation , ch. 1–2, 1–67. 2. Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation'. Week 3: Hypothetical Intentionalism and Anti-Intentionalism 1. Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature'. 2. Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention'. Focus Questions 1. Is the difficulty of ascertaining the author's intentions a good reason to reject actual intentionalism? 2. Should literary works be seen as largely autonomous from their authors, even if we think that interpretation of ordinary utterances is properly a matter of ascertaining the speaker's intentions? 3. Are linguistic context and convention sufficient to determine the meaning of a literary work, or is the author's intention required to stave off an unacceptable degree of ambiguity? 4. Should the author's intentions about the genre or category to which the work belongs have a different status than intentions about the work's meaning? 5. Can the author's intentions have a non-redundant role to play in fixing meaning even if we take the role of context and linguistic convention seriously? 6. Should we expect the author's intention to play the same role (if any) in the interpretation of visual artworks that it plays in the interpretation of literature, or do differences between these two art forms require distinct approaches? (shrink)
The paper begins with a brief analysis of the concepts of environmental justice and environmental racism and classism. The authors argue that pollution- and environment-related decision-making is prima facie wrong whenever it results in inequitable treatment of individuals on the basis of race or socio-economic status. The essay next surveys the history of the doctrine of free informed consent and argues that the consent of those affected is necessary for ensuring the fairness of decision-making for siting hazardous facilities. The paper (...) also points out that equal opportunity to environmental protection and free informed consent are important rights. Finally, it presents a case study on the proposed uranium enrichment facility near Homer, Louisiana and argues that siting the plant would violate norms of distributive equity and free informed consent. It concludes that siting the facility is a case of environmental injustice and likely an example of environmental racism or classism. (shrink)
According to the mental continuity claim (MCC), human mental faculties are physical and beneficial to human survival, so they must have evolved gradually from ancestral forms and we should expect to see their precursors across species. Materialism of mind coupled with Darwin’s evolutionary theory leads directly to such claims and even today arguments for animal mental properties are often presented with the MCC as a premise. However, the MCC has been often challenged among contemporary scholars. It is usually argued that (...) only humans use language and that language as such has no precursors in the animal kingdom. Moreover, language is quite often understood as a necessary tool for having representations and forming beliefs. As a consequence, by lacking language animals could not have developed representational systems or beliefs. In response to these worries, we aim to mount a limited defense of the MCC as an empirical hypothesis. First, we will provide a short historical overview of the origins of the MCC and examine some of the motives behind traditional arguments for and against it. Second, we will focus on one particular question, namely whether language as such is necessary for having beliefs. Our goal is to show that there is little reason to think language is necessary for belief. In doing so, we will challenge a view of belief that is widely accepted by those working in animal cognition, namely representational belief, and we will argue that if belief is non-representational, then different research questions and methods are required. We will conclude with an argument that to study the evolution of belief across species, it is essential to begin the study of subjects in their social and ecological environment rather than in contexts that are not ecologically valid along the social and ecological dimensions. Thus, rather than serving as a premise in an argument 3 in favor of animal minds, the MCC can only be defended by empirical investigation, but importantly, empirical investigation of the right sort.. (shrink)
In the context of animal cognitive research, “anthropomorphism” is defined as the attribution of uniquely human mental characteristics to non-human animals. Those who worry about anthropomorphism in research are confronted with the question of which properties are uniquely human. As animals, humans and non-human animals1 share a number of biological, morphological, relational, and spatial properties. In addition, it is widely accepted and humans and animals share some psychological properties such as the ability to fear or desire. These claims about the (...) properties animals share with humans are often the products of empirical work. Prima facie one might think that in order to justify the claim that a property is uniquely human, it would be necessary to find empirical evidence supporting the claim that the property is not found in other species. After all, the goal of animal cognition is to determine what sort of cognitive abilities animals use. If scientists were to discover that a cognitive property wasn’t found in any species except human species, then the claim that some other animal had that property would be a false charge, and would be an example of anthropomorphism. However, in practice anthropomorphic worries play a pre-empirical role. Research programs are charged with being anthropomorphic because they are examining.. (shrink)
Ethics requires good science. Many scientists, government leaders, and industry representatives support tripling of global-nuclear-energy capacity on the grounds that nuclear fission is “carbon free” and “releases no greenhouse gases.” However, such claims are scientifically questionable (and thus likely to lead to ethically questionable energy choices) for at least 3 reasons. (i) They rely on trimming the data on nuclear greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGE), perhaps in part because flawed Kyoto Protocol conventions require no full nuclear-fuel-cycle assessment of carbon content. (ii) They (...) underestimate nuclear-fuel-cycle releases by erroneously assuming that mostly high-grade uranium ore, with much lower emissions, is used. (iii) They inconsistently compare nuclear-related GHGE only to those from fossil fuels, rather than to those from the best GHG-avoiding energy technologies. Once scientists take account of (i)–(iii), it is possible to show that although the nuclear fuel cycle releases (per kWh) much fewer GHG than coal and oil, nevertheless it releases far more GHG than wind and solar-photovoltaic. Although there may be other, ethical, reasons to support nuclear tripling, reducing or avoiding GHG does not appear to be one of them. (shrink)
We provide examples of the extent and nature of environmental and human health problems and show why in the United States prevailing scientific and legal burden of proof requirements usually cannot be met because of the pervasiveness of scientific uncertainty. We also provide examples of how may assumptions, judgments, evaluations, and inferences in scientific methods are value-laden and that when this is not recognized results of studies will appear to be more factual and value-neutral than warranted. Further, we show that (...) there is a "tension" between the use of the 95 percent confidence rule as a normative basis to reduce speculation in scientific knowledge and other public policy and moral concerns embodied by the adoption of a precautionary principle. Finally, although there is no precise agreement regarding what a precautionary principle might entail, we make several recommendations regarding the placement of the burden of proof and the standard of proof that ought to be required in environmental and human health matters. (shrink)
Biology and Philosophy, forthcoming. Following recent arguments that there is no logical problem with attributing mental or agential states to animals, I address the epistemological problem of how to go about making accurate attributions. I suggest that there is a two-part general method for determining whether a psychological property can be accurately attributed to a member of another species: folk expert opinion and functionality. This method is based on well-known assessments used to attribute mental states to humans who are unable (...) to self-ascribe due to an early stage of development or impairment, and can be used to describe social and emotional development as well as personality. I describe how instruments such as the Child Behavior Checklist, which relies on intersubjective expert opinion, could be modified to assess other species subjects. The measures are validated via the accuracy of the predictions that are derived, which is an example of the functionality of attribution. I respond to theoretical criticisms against use of this method, and argue that if the method counts as good science for infant cognition research, then it should count as good science for animal cognition research as well. Correspondingly, if the method doesn’t count as good science for animal cognition research, then we must be very skeptical of its use with nonverbal humans. (shrink)
Ramsey, Bastian, and van Schaik (RBS) have made a valiant effort to identify innovations in nature. As their theoretical perspective on innovation as a product largely conforms to Reader & Laland (2003), their novel contribution is epistemological. They may well have considered as much information as possible on the ecological, individual, and historical factors that suggest innovations in nature. However, their method does not..
Thanks in large part to the record of scholarship fostered by Hypatia, feminist philosophers are now positioned not just as critics of the canon, but as innovators advancing uniquely feminist perspectives for theorizing about the world. As relatively junior feminist scholars, the five of us were called upon to provide some reflections on emerging trends in feminist philosophy and to comment on its future. Despite the fact that we come from diverse subfields and philosophical traditions, four common aims emerged in (...) our collaboration as central to the future of feminist philosophies. We seek to: 1) challenge universalist and essentialist frameworks without ceding to relativism; 2) center coloniality and embodiment in our analyses of the intermeshed realities of race and gender by shifting from oppression in the abstract to concrete cosmologies and struggles, particularly those of women of color and women of colonized communities across the globe; 3) elaborate the materialities of thought, being, and community that must succeed atomistic conceptions of persons as disembodied, individually constituted, and autonomous; 4) demonstrate what is distinctive and valuable about feminist philosophy, while fighting persistent marginalization within the discipline. In our joint musings here, we attempt to articulate how future feminist philosophies might advance these aims, as well as some of the challenges we face. (shrink)
The argument in this essay is twofold. (1) Procedural justice requires,in particular cases, that we restrict property rights in natural resources, e.g., California agricultural land or Appalachian coal land. (2) Conditions imposed by Locke's political theory and by dense population require,in general, that we restrict property rights in finite or non-renewable natural resources such as land. If these arguments are correct, then we have a moral imperative to use land-use controls (such as taxation, planning, zoning, and acreage limitations) to restructure (...) land ownership and land use in a far more radical way than has ever been accomplished in the past. (shrink)
Many scientists, businessmen, and government regulators believe that the criteria for acceptable societal risk are too stringent. Those who subscribe to this belief often accept the view which I call the probability-threshold position. Proponents of this stance maintain that society ought to ignore very small risks, i.e., those causing an average annual probability of fatality of less than 10–6.After examining the three major views in the risk-evaluation debate, viz., the probability-threshold position, the zero-risk position, and the weighted-risk position, I focus (...) on the arguments for the first of these views, since it is the position which currently undergirds most public policy (especially in the U.S.) regarding acceptable risk. After analyzing Arrow's argument from decision theory, Comar's and Gibson's argument from ontology, and Starr's and Whipple's argument from epistemology, I conclude that these defenses of the probability-threshold position err in a variety of ways. Most commonly, they fail because they tacitly accept the assumption that magnitude of probability, alone, provides a sufficient condition for judging the acceptability of a given risk. In the light of these errors, I suggest that it might be more desirable for risk assessors, decision theorists, and policymakers to weight various risk-cost-benefit parameters according to alternative ethical criteria, rather than to evaluate risks solely in terms of mathematical considerations. (shrink)
Once upon a time, not too long ago, the question about apes and ethics had to do with moral standing—do apes have interests or rights that humans ought to respect? Given the fifty years of research on great ape cognition, life history, social organization, and behavior, the answer to that question seems obvious. Apes have emotions and projects, they can be harmed, and they have important social relationships.
We clarify some points previously made by Andrews, and defend the claim that Davidson's account of belief can be and is challenged by the existence of some people with autism. We argue that both Bouma and Andrews (Philosophical Psychology, 15) blurred the subtle distinctions between the psychological concepts of theory of mind and joint attention and the Davidsonian concepts of interpretation and triangulation. And we accept that appeal to control group studies is not the appropriate place to look for an (...) individual who can speak but who has significant problems with interpretation. In this paper we argue that by turning to the clinical literature we can more readily find such a challenge to Davidson's account. (shrink)
Following the recommendations of the US National Academy of Sciences and the mandates of the 1987 Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, the US Department of Energy has proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada as the site of the world's first permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste. The main justification for permanent disposal (as opposed to above-ground storage) is that it guarantees safety by means of waste isolation. This essay argues, however, that considerations of equity (safer for whom?) undercut the safety rationale. The (...) article surveys some prima facie arguments for equity in the distribution of radwaste risks and then evaluates four objections that are based, respectively, on practicality, compensation for risks, scepticism about duties to future generations, and the uranium criterion. The conclusion is that, at least under existing regulations and policies, permanent waste disposal is highly questionable, in part, because it fails to distribute risk equitably or to compensate, in full, for this inequity. (shrink)
A defense of equality for great apes must begin with an understanding of the opposition and an acknowledgement of the most basic point of disagreement. For great apes to gain status as persons in our community, we must begin by determining what the multitude of different definitions of "person" have in common. Finding that great apes fulfill the requirements of any one specific theory of personhood is insufficient, for these theories are highly controversial, and a critique of the theory will (...) undermine the status of great apes as persons. Instead, the first step in the argument for ape equality must be a defense of their self-consciousness. This notion is one thing all plausible theories of personhood have in common. (shrink)
I argue that having a theory of mind requires having at least implicit knowledge of the norms of the community, and that an implicit understanding of the normative is what drives the development of a theory of mind. This conclusion is defended by two arguments. First I argue that a theory of mind likely did not develop in order to predict behavior, because before individuals can use propositional attitudes to predict behavior, they have to be able to use them in (...) explanations of behavior. Rather, I suggest that the need to explain behavior in terms of reasons is the primary function of a theory of mind. I further argue that in order to be motivated to offer explanations of behavior, one must have at least an implicit understanding of appropriate behavior, which implies at least an implicit understanding of norms. The second argument looks at three cases of nonhuman animal societies that appear to operate within a system of norms. While there is no evidence that any species other than humans have a theory of mind, there is evidence that other species have sensitivity to the normative. Finally, I propose an explanation for the priority of norms over a theory of mind: given an understanding of norms in a society, and the ability to recognize and sanction violations, there developed a need to understand actions that violated the norms, and such explanations could only be given in terms of a person's reasons. There is a significant benefit to being able to explain behavior that violates norms, because explanations of the right sort can also serve to justify behavior. (shrink)
While their strength, electrical, optical, or magnetic properties are expected to contribute a trillion dollars in global commerce before 2015, nanomaterials also appear to pose threats to human health and safety. Nanotoxicology is the study of these threats. Do nanomaterial benefits exceed their risks? Should all nanomaterials be regulated? Currently nanotoxicologists cannot help answer these questions because too little is known about nanomaterials, because their properties differ from those of bulk materials having the same chemical composition, and because they differ (...) so widely in their applications. Instead, this paper answers a preliminary ethical question: What nanotech policies are likely to contribute to society’s ability to give or withhold free informed consent to the potential risks associated with production and use of nanomaterials? This paper argues that at least four current policies appear to jeopardize the risk-disclosure condition that is required for informed consent. These are the funding problem, the conflict-of-interest problem, the labeling problem, and the extrapolation problem. Apart from future decisions on how to ethically make, use, and regulate nanomaterials, this paper argues that, at a minimum, these four policies must be modified. Government must spend greater monies on nanotoxicology; ensure independent nanotoxicology research; label consumer products containing nanomaterials; and avoid assuming that nanotoxicological properties are based merely on mass and chemical composition. Otherwise free informed consent to these new technologies and materials may be jeopardized. (shrink)
Recently, there has been a rise in pessimism concerning what theoretical ecology can offer conservation biologists in the formation of reasonable environmental policies. In this paper, I look at one of the pessimistic arguments offered by Kristin Shrader-Frechette and E. D. McCoy (1993, 1994)--the argument from conceptual imprecision. I suggest that their argument rests on an inadequate account of the concepts of ecological stability and that there has been conceptual progress with respect to complexity-stability hypotheses. Such progress, I maintain, (...) can supply important resources for conservation biologists in determining environmental policies. (shrink)
On August 22, 2005 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued proposed new regulations for radiation releases from the planned permanent U.S. nuclear-waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The goal of the new standards is to provide public-health protection for the next million years — even though everyone admits that the radioactive wastes will leak. Regulations now guarantee individual and equal protection against all radiation exposures above the legal limit. Instead E.P.A. recommended different radiation exposure-limits for different time periods. It also (...) recommended using only the arithmetic mean of the dose distribution, to assess regulatory compliance during one time period, but using only the median dose to assess compliance during another period. This piece argues that these two changes — in exposure-limits and in methods of assessing regulatory compliance — have at least four disturbing consequences. The changes would threaten equal protection, ignore the needs of the most vulnerable, allow many fatal exposures, and sanction scientifically flawed dose calculations. (shrink)
Eighty percent of (commercial) genetically engineered seeds (GES) are designed only to resist herbicides. Letting farmers use more chemicals, they cut labor costs. But developing nations say GES cause food shortages, unemployment, resistant weeds, and extinction of native cultivars when “volunteers” drift nearby. While GES patents are reasonable, this paper argues many patent policies are not. The paper surveys GE technology, outlines John Locke’s classic account of property rights, and argues that current patent policies must be revised to take account (...) of Lockean ethical constraints. After answering a key objection, it provides concrete suggestions for implementing its ethical conclusions. (shrink)
One way to do socially relevant investigations of science is through conceptual analysis of scientiﬁc terms used in special-interest science (SIS). SIS is science having welfare-related consequences and funded by special interests, e.g., tobacco companies, in order to establish predetermined conclusions. For instance, because the chemical industry seeks deregulation of toxic emissions and avoiding costly cleanups, it funds SIS that supports the concept of “hormesis” (according to which low doses of toxins/carcinogens have beneﬁcial effects). Analyzing the hormesis concept of its (...) main defender, chemical-industry-funded Edward Calabrese, the paper shows Calabrese and others fail to distinguish three different hormesis concepts, H, HG, and HD. H requires toxin-induced, short-term beneﬁcial effects for only one biological endpoint, while HG requires toxin-induced, net-beneﬁcial effects for all endpoints/responses/subjects/ages/conditions. HD requires using the risk-assessment/ regulatory default rule that all low-dose toxic exposures are net-beneﬁcial, thus allowable. Clarifying these concepts, the paper argues for ﬁve main claims. (1) Claims positing H are trivially true but irrelevant to regulations. (2) Claims positing HG are relevant to regulation but scientifically false. (3) Claims positing HD are relevant to regulation but ethically/scientifically questionable. (4) Although no hormesis concept (H, HG, or HD) has both scientiﬁc validity and regulatory relevance, Calabrese and others obscure this fact through repeated equivocation, begging the question, and data-trimming. Consequently (5) their errors provide some undeserved rhetorical plausibility for deregulating low-dose toxins. (shrink)
There were various initial reactions to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and among those reactions were some contradictions. There were those who demanded an explanation for the attacks, and others who condemned attempts to explain as immoral or unpatriotic. Though President George W. Bush did make some rhetorical remarks that, I believe, masqueraded as explanatory, it appears that he agrees with the latter set.
To the degree that citizens have participated in, or derived beneﬁts from, social in- stitutions that have helped cause serious, life-threatening, or rights-threatening envi- ronmental injustice (EIJ), this article argues that they have duties either to stop their participation in these institutions or to compensate for it by helping to reform them. (EIJ occurs whenever children, poor people, minorities, or other subgroups bear dis- proportionate burdens of life-threatening or seriously harmful pollution.) After brieﬂy deﬁning “human rights,” the article defends the (...) four-premise responsibility argument. The argument is that people have duties to compensate for the serious, life-threatening, or rights-threatening EIJ from which they beneﬁt, and that this compensation ideally ought to take the form of helping to reform social institutions that help cause EIJ. As such, this responsibility argument relies on two basic claims. One claim is that because citizens have beneﬁted from, and therefore contributed to, EIJ they bear ethical respon- sibility to help stop it. The second claim is that because citizens participate in nations and institutions whose policies and practices help cause EIJ, they also have democratic responsibility to help stop it. The article closes by responding to four basic objections to this argument. (shrink)
Every day, television news operations have available dozens of video news releases (VNRs), public relations handout videos designed to mimic news formats. Electronic tracking indicates some of these VNRs are used. Critics typically assail VNRs on ethical grounds, that VNRs deceive audience members into thinking they are watching news gathered by reporters, rather than a promotional pitch. Using a snowball technique, the researchers presented survey respondents with authentic-looking local television news stories; 157 respondents evaluated three stories (out of nine). Some (...) stories used station-generated footage, some network, and some VNRs. Respondents were asked their best estimation of the source. The data indicated a real likelihood VNR deception is occurring. Two of the three VNRs deceived at least half the respondents. Respondents were incorrect an average of 46% of the time when attempting to identifying VNRs, compared to 29% incorrectly identifying network video and 20% incorrectly identifying locally shot video. (shrink)
Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal producing sector in the world and is expected to play an important role in global food supply. Along with this growth, concerns have been raised about the environmental effects of escapees and pollution, fish welfare, and consumer health as well as the use of marine resources for producing fish feed. In this paper we present some of the major challenges salmon farming is facing today. We discuss issues of relevance to how to ensure sustainability, (...) by focusing on animal production systems, breeding approaches, sources for feed ingredients, and genetic engineering strategies. Other crucial issues such as animal welfare, environmental quality, and ethics are elaborated with regard to relevance for the sustainability of aquaculture. Additionally, we comment on socio-economic distributive implications by intellectual property rights (IPR) strategies on access to genetic material and traceability. To improve sustainability of salmon farming we suggest that there is a need for new approaches to guide research, for identification of ethical issues, and for engaging stakeholders in resolving these challenges. (shrink)
Blue-collar workers throughout the world generally face higher levels of pollution than the public and are unable to control many health risks that employers impose on them. Economists tend to justify these risky workplaces on the grounds of the compensating wage differential (CWD). The CWD, or hazard-pay premium, is the alleged increment in wages, all things being equal, that workers in hazardous environments receive. According to this theory, employees trade safety for money on the job market, even though they realize (...) some of them will bear the health consequences of their employment in a risky occupational environment. To determine whether the CWD or hazard-pay premium succeeds in justifying alleged environmental injustices in the workplace, this essay (1) surveys the general theory behind the “compensating wage differential”; (2) presents and evaluates the “welfare argument” for the CWD; (3) offers several reasons for rejecting the CWD, as a proposed rationale for allowing apparent environmental injustice in the workplace; and (4) applies the welfare argument to an empirical case, that of US nuclear workers. The essay concludes that this argument fails to provide a justification for the apparent environmental injustice faced by the 600,000 US workers who have labored in government nuclear-weapons plants and laboratories. (shrink)
In the context of animal cognitive research, anthropomorphism is defined as the attribution of uniquely human mental characteristics to animals. Those who worry about anthropomorphism in research, however, are immediately confronted with the question of which properties are uniquely human. One might think that researchers must first hypothesize the existence of a feature in an animal before they can, with warrant, claim that the property is uniquely human. But all too often, this isn't the approach. Rather, there is an a (...) priori argument against attributing some properties to animals. Which features are thought to be uniquely human on a priori grounds? The class can be quite large, including psychological states such as beliefs and desires, personality traits such as confidence or timidity, emotions such as happiness or anger, social organizational properties such as culture or friendship, moral behavior such as punishment or rape. For convenience, I will refer to the members of the class as "psychological properties". One critic includes feeling, purpose, intentionality, consciousness, and even cognition in his list of psychological properties that are incorrectly attributed to animals (Kennedy 1992). Among the critics, there is quite a bit of disagreement about what counts as an anthropomorphic attribution, and this alone should raise questions about the charge. We can identify two different questions about the practice of attributing psychological properties to animals within a scientific context. First we can ask whether it is scientifically respectable to examine questions about the mental, psychological, cultural, etc. states of animals. Those who bemoan anthropomorphism think that we ought not even ask such questions. I will look at the worries about asking the question, and argue that there is no special problem with it. The second question arises with an affirmative answer to the first. Given that it is scientifically respectable to examine whether an animal has a psychological property, there must be some scientifically respectable method for doing the examination.. (shrink)
Because of the problems associated with ecological concepts, generalizations, and proposed general theories, applied ecology may require a new "logic" of explanation characterized neither by the traditional accounts of confirmation nor by the logic of discovery. Building on the works of Grunbaum, Kuhn, and Wittgenstein, we use detailed descriptions from research on conserving the Northern Spotted Owl, a case typical of problem solving in applied ecology, to (1) characterize the method of case studies; (2) survey its strengths; (3) summarize and (...) respond to its shortcomings; and (4) investigate and defend its underlying "logic". (shrink)
The accidents at Three Mile Island and Chemobyl have slowed the development of commercial nuclear fission in most industrialized countries , although nuclear proponents are trying to develop smaller, allegedly “fail-safe” reactors. Regardless of whether or not they succeed, we will face the problem of radioactive wastes for the next million years. After a brief, “revisionist” history of the radwaste problem, Isurvey some of the major epistemological and ethical difficulties with storing nuclear wastes and outline four ethical dilemmas common to (...) many technological and environmental controversies. I suggest two solutions to these ethical dilemmas and show why they are also economical and realistic proposals. (shrink)
Shrader-Frechette offers a rigorous philosophical discussion of environmental justice. Explaining fundamental ethical concepts such as equality, property rights, procedural justice, free informed consent, intergenerational equity, and just compensation--and then bringing them to bear on real-world social issues--she shows how many of these core concepts have been compromised for a large segment of the global population, among them Appalachians, African-Americans, workers in hazardous jobs, and indigenous people in developing nations. She argues that burdens like pollution and resource depletion need to be (...) apportioned more equally, and that there are compelling ethical grounds for remedying our environmental problems. She also argues that those affected by environmental problems must be included in the process of remedying those problems; that all citizens have a duty to engage in activism on behalf of Environmental Justice; and that in a democracy it is the people, not the government, that are ultimately responsible for fair use of the environment. (shrink)
The question of whether humans have free will, like the question of the meaning of life, is one whose answer depends on how the question itself is interpreted. In his recent book Neurophilosophy of Free Will: From Libertarian Illusions to a Concept of Natural Autonomy, Henrik Walter examines whether free will is possible in a deterministic natural world, and he concludes that the answer is "It depends" (xi). He rejects a libertarian account of free will as internally inconsistent, but argues (...) for a version of compatibilism that he calls "natural autonomy." Natural autonomy, or "giving oneself laws" (8), is a successor concept to libertarian free will, and it provides for a self-determination that is consistent with a deterministic and fully physical world. Walter covers a lot of ground in this book. He debunks dualism, examines classical and modern physics, critiques radical constructivism, and utilizes chaos theory, and he refers to figures from St. Augustine to Humberto Maturana, Dennett, Einstein, Hegel and Nozick. This book could be seen as encompassing two distinct projects. The first project is a defense of what Walter calls "neurophilosophy" as a methodology for answering traditional philosophical questions. This methodology is more commonly known as "cognitive science," and Walter accepts the naturalistic premises that underlie most of the work being done by cognitive scientists today. The second project is an application of the neurophilosophical methodology to the traditional question of whether free will is compatible with determinism. The defense of a neurophilosophical methodology is concentrated in the second section of the book, whereas the first and third sections focus on the issue of free will. In the first section Walter presents a thorough overview of the free will debate. It is the final third of the book that warrants the most attention, for this is where the original work is concentrated. Before we examine Walter's contribution to the free will debate, let us briefly look at his historical analysis and the neurophilosophical method that he advocates.. (shrink)
Tomasello et al. propose that shared intentionality is a uniquely human ability. In light of this, we discuss several cultural behaviors that seem to result from a motivation to share experiences with others, suggest evidence for coordination and collaboration among chimpanzees, and cite recent findings that counter the argument that the predominance of emulation in chimpanzees reflects a deficit in intention reading.
Comparing alternative scientific theories obviously is relevant to theory assessment, but are comparativists (like Laudan) correct when they also make it necessary? This paper argues that they are not. Defining rationality solely in terms of theories' comparative problem-solving strengths, comparativist philosophers of science like Laudan subscribe to what I call the irrelevance claim (IC) and the necessity claim (NC). According to IC, a scientific theory's being well or poorly confirmed is "irrelevant" to its acceptance; NC is the claim that "all (...) evaluations of research traditions and theories must be made within a comparative context," how any theory "compares with its competitors" (Laudan 1977, 21, 120). Using current competing theories (T1 and T2) of population viability assessment (PVA) for the Florida panther, the paper investigates IC/NC. In part because dominant T2 panther biologists accept IC/NC (which T1 theorists reject), the paper argues that they appear both to have accepted flawed T2 and to have contributed to flawed panther science and policy. Correcting Laudan's Comparativist Philosophy of Science (LCPS), underlying the T1-versus-T2 debate, thus may hold promise for helping resolve both the scientific and policy controversy over panther PVA. (shrink)
The communicative interactions of very young children almost always involve language (based on conventions), gesture (based on bodily deixis or iconicity) and directed gaze. In this study, ninety-six children (3;0 years) were asked to determine the location of a hidden toy by understanding a communicative act that contained none of these familiar means. A light-and-sound mechanism placed behind the hiding place and illuminated by a centrally placed switch was used to indicate the location of the toy. After a communicative training (...) session, an experimenter pressed the switch either deliberately or accidentally, and with or without ostension (in the form of eye contact and child-directed speech). In no condition did she orient towards the hiding place. When the switch was pressed intentionally, children used the light-and-sound cue to find the toy - and tended to do so even in the absence of ostensive eye contact. When the experimenter pressed the switch accidentally, children searched randomly - demonstrating that they were tracking her communicative intent, and not merely choosing on the basis of salience. The absence of an effect of ostension contradicts research that ostension helps children to interpret the communicative intentions underlying unfamiliar signs. We explain this by concluding that while it may play a role in establishing a communicative interaction, it is not necessary for sustaining one; and that even with a highly novel communicative act - involving none of the means of communication on which children typically rely - three-year-olds can comprehend the communicative intentions behind an intentionally produced act. (shrink)
US testing of nuclear weapons has resulted in about 800,000 premature fatal cancers throughout the globe, and the nuclear tests of China, France, India, Russia, and the UK have added to this total. Surprisingly, however, these avoidable deaths have not received much attention, as compared, for example, to the smaller number of US fatalities on 9-11-01. This essay (1) surveys the methods and models used to assess effects of low-dose ionizing radiation from above-ground nuclear weapons tests and (2) explains some (...) of the epistemological and logical problems (with these methods and models) that have caused scientists to decide against health screening of the most likely test victims. It also (3) argues that, once the faulty presuppositions and question-begging frames about testing and screening are recognized, there are compelling arguments in favor of nuclear-test nations'' screening fallout victims, at least among their citizens. Finally, it (4) suggests that logically and epistemically flawed fallout studies/recommendations against screening are more like to occur when scientists adopt a Laudan-style comparativist rationality, rather than when they adopt a metascience more like that of Kuhn and others. (shrink)
The International Commission on Radiological Protection — whose regularly updated recommendations are routinely adopted as law throughout the globe — recently issued the first-ever ICRP protections for the environment. These draft 2005 proposals are significant both because they offer the commission’s first radiation protections for any non-human parts of the planet and because they will influence both the quality of radiation risk assessment and environmental protection, as well as the global costs of nuclear-weapons cleanup, reactor decommissioning and radioactive waste management. (...) This piece argues that the 2005 recommendations are scientifically and ethically flawed, or gray, in at least three respects: first, in largely ignoring scientific journals while employing mainly “gray literature;” second, in relying on non-transparent dose estimates and models, rather than on actual radiation measurements; and third, in ignoring classical ethical constraints on acceptable radiation risk. (shrink)