It is remarkable how much robotics research is promoted by appealing to the idea that the only way to deal with a looming demographic crisis is to develop robots to look after older persons. This paper surveys and assesses the claims made on behalf of robots in relation to their capacity to meet the needs of older persons. We consider each of the roles that has been suggested for robots in aged care and attempt to evaluate how successful robots might (...) be in these roles. We do so from the perspective of writers concerned primarily with the quality of aged care, paying particular attention to the social and ethical implications of the introduction of robots, rather than from the perspective of robotics, engineering, or computer science. We emphasis the importance of the social and emotional needs of older persons—which, we argue, robots are incapable of meeting—in almost any task involved in their care. Even if robots were to become capable of filling some service roles in the aged-care sector, economic pressures on the sector would most likely ensure that the result was a decrease in the amount of human contact experienced by older persons being cared for, which itself would be detrimental to their well-being. This means that the prospects for the ethical use of robots in the aged-care sector are far fewer than first appears. More controversially, we believe that it is not only misguided, but actually unethical, to attempt to substitute robot simulacra for genuine social interaction. A subsidiary goal of this paper is to draw attention to the discourse about aged care and robotics and locate it in the context of broader social attitudes towards older persons. We conclude by proposing a deliberative process involving older persons as a test for the ethics of the use of robots in aged care. (shrink)
This chapter introduces debates about freedom of speech and argues that very few if any individuals support no restrictions whatsoever on freedom of speech. The question is therefore not should we restrict freedom of speech but rather what sorts of speech and how?
Should parents try to give their children the best lives possible? Yes. Do parents have an obligation to give their children the widest possible set of opportunities in the future? No. Understanding how both of these things may be true will allow us to go a long way towards understanding why a Deaf couple might wish their child to be born Deaf and why we might have reason to respect this desire.
This paper attempts some predictions about the social consequences of nanotechnology and the ethical issues they raise. I set out four features of nanotechnology that are likely to be important in determining its impact and argue that nanotechnology will have significant social impacts in—at least—the areas of health and medicine, the balance of power between citizens and governments, and the balance of power between citizens and corporations. More importantly, responding to the challenge of nanotechnology will require confronting “philosophical” questions about (...) the sort of society we wish to create and the role that technology might play in creating it. This in turn will require developing institutions and processes that allow the public to wield real power in relation to technological trajectories. My ultimate contention is that the immediate task established by the likely social impacts of nanotechnology is not so much to develop an ethics of nanotechnology as to facilitate an ethical conversation about nanotechnology. (shrink)
”Liberal eugenics’ has emerged as the most popular position amongst philosophers writing in the contemporary debate about the ethics of human enhancement. This position has been most clearly articulated by Nicholas Agar, who argues that the ”new’ liberal eugenics can avoid the repugnant consequences associated with eugenics in the past. Agar suggests that parents should be free to make only those interventions into the genetics of their children that will benefit them no matter what way of life they grow up (...) to endorse. I argue that Agar’s attempt to distinguish the new from the old eugenics fails. Once we start to consciously determine the genetics of future persons, we will not be able to avoid controversial assumptions about the relative worth of different life plans. Liberal eugenicists therefore confront the horns of a dilemma. Whichever way they try to resolve it, the consequences of widespread use of technologies of genetic selection are likely to look more like the old eugenics than defenders of the new eugenics have acknowledged. (shrink)
Unmanned systems in military applications will often play a role in determining the success or failure of combat missions and thus in determining who lives and dies in times of war. Designers of UMS must therefore consider ethical, as well as operational, requirements and limits when developing UMS. I group the ethical issues involved in UMS design under two broad headings, Building Safe Systems and Designing for the Law of Armed Conflict, and identify and discuss a number of issues under (...) each of these headings. As well as identifying issues, I offer some analysis of their implications and how they might be addressed. (shrink)
The normative significance of the distinction between therapy and enhancement has come under sustained philosophical attack in recent discussions of the ethics of shaping future persons by means of preimplantation genetic diagnosis and other advanced genetic technologies. In this paper, I argue that giving up the idea that the answer to the question as to whether a condition is “normal” should play a crucial role in assessing the ethics of genetic interventions has unrecognized and strongly counterintuitive implications when it comes (...) to selecting what sort of children should be brought into the world. According to standard philosophical accounts of the factors one should take into account when making such .. (shrink)
Following the success of Sony Corporation’s “AIBO”, robot cats and dogs are multiplying rapidly. “Robot pets” employing sophisticated artificial intelligence and animatronic technologies are now being marketed as toys and companions by a number of large consumer electronics corporations. -/- It is often suggested in popular writing about these devices that they could play a worthwhile role in serving the needs of an increasingly aging and socially isolated population. Robot companions, shaped like familiar household pets, could comfort and entertain lonely (...) older persons. This goal is misguided and unethical. While there are a number of apparent benefits that might be thought to accrue from ownership of a robot pet, the majority and the most important of these are predicated on mistaking, at a conscious or unconscious level, the robot for a real animal. For an individual to benefit significantly from ownership of a robot pet they must systematically delude themselves regarding the real nature of their relation with the animal. It requires sentimentality of a morally deplorable sort. Indulging in such sentimentality violates a (weak) duty that we have to ourselves to apprehend the world accurately. The design and manufacture of these robots is unethical in so far as it presupposes or encourages this delusion. -/- The invention of robot pets heralds the arrival of what might be called “ersatz companions” more generally. That is, of devices that are designed to engage in and replicate significant social and emotional relationships. The advent of robot dogs offers a valuable opportunity to think about the worth of such companions, the proper place of robots in society and the value we should place on our relationships with them. (shrink)
Since the 1980s, a number of medical researchers have suggested that in the future it might be possible for men to become pregnant. Given the role played by the right to reproductive liberty in other debates about reproductive technologies, it will be extremely difficult to deny that this right extends to include male pregnancy. However, this constitutes a reductio ad absurdum of the idea of reproductive liberty. One therefore would be well advised to look again at the extent of this (...) purported right in other contexts in which it is deployed. (shrink)
This paper discusses the ethical and regulatory issues raised by “intragenics” – organisms that have been genetically modified using gene technologies, but that do not contain DNA from another species. Considering the rapid development of knowledge about gene regulation and genomics, we anticipate rapid advances in intragenic methods. Of regulatory systems developed to govern genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, the Australian system stands out in explicitly excluding intragenics from regulation. European systems are also (...) under pressure to exclude intragenics from regulation. We evaluate recent arguments that intragenics are safer and more morally acceptable than transgenic organisms, and more acceptable to the public, which might be thought to justify a lower standard of regulation. We argue that the exemption of intragenics from regulation is not justified, and that there may be significant environmental risks associated with them. We conclude that intragenics should be subject to the same standard of regulation as other GMOs. (shrink)
I apply an agent-based virtue ethics to issues in environmental philosophy regarding our treatment of complex inorganic systems. I consider the ethics of terraforming: hypothetical planetary engineering on a vast scale which is aimed at producing habitable environments on otherwise “hostile” planets. I argue that the undertaking of such a project demonstrates at least two serious defects of moral character: an aesthetic insensitivity and the sin of hubris. Trying to change whole planets to suit our ends is arrogant vandalism. I (...) maintain that these descriptions of character are coherent and important ethical concepts. Finally, I demonstrate how the arguments developed in opposition to terraforming, a somewhat farfetched example, can be used in cases closer to home to provide arguments against our use of recombinantDNA technologies and against the construction of tourist developments in wilderness areas. (shrink)
Since the first sex reassignment operations were performed, individual sex has come to be, to some extent at least, a technological artifact. The existence of sperm sorting technology, and of prenatal determination of fetal sex via ultrasound along with the option of termination, means that we now have the power to choose the sex of our children. An influential contemporary line of thought about medical ethics suggests that we should use technology to serve the welfare of individuals and to remove (...) limitations on the opportunities available to them. I argue that, if these are our goals, we may do well to move towards a “post sex” humanity. Until we have the technology to produce genuine hermaphrodites, the most efficient way to do this is to use sex selection technology to ensure that only girl children are born. There are significant restrictions on the opportunities available to men, around gestation, childbirth, and breast-feeding, which will be extremely difficult to overcome via social or technological mechanisms for the foreseeable future. Women also have longer life expectancies than men. Girl babies therefore have a significantly more “open” future than boy babies. Resisting the conclusion that we should ensure that all children are born the same sex will require insisting that sexual difference is natural to human beings and that we should not use technology to reshape humanity beyond certain natural limits. The real concern of my paper, then, is the moral significance of the idea of a normal human body in modern medicine. (shrink)
The risk posed to the community by possible xenozoonosis after xenotransplantation suggests that some form of 'community consent' is required before whole organ animal-to-human xenotransplantation should take place. I argue that this requirement places greater obstacles in the path of ethical xenotransplantation than has previously been recognised. The relevant community is global and there are no existing institutions with democratic credentials sufficient to establish this consent. The distribution of the risks and benefits from xenotransplantation also means that consent is unlikely (...) to be forthcoming. Proceeding on the basis of hypothetical consent to a package of global health measures that includes xenotransplantation, as Rothblatt has recently advocated, is more problematic than she acknowledges. Given that it may place the lives of citizens of poor nations at risk to benefit the citizens of wealthy nations, xenotransplantation raises significant questions of international justice. (shrink)
The question of the morality of war is something of an embarrassment to liberal political thinkers. A philosophical tradition which aspires to found its preferred institutions in respect for individual autonomy, contract, and voluntary association, is naturally confronted by a phenomenon that is almost exclusively explained and justified in the language of States, force and territory. But the apparent difficulties involved in providing a convincing account of nature and ethics of war in terms of relations between individuals has not prevented (...) liberal theorists from attempting this task. This paper examines a recent attempt by Igor Primoratz to sketch out the implications of a consistent liberalism for just war doctrine and, in particular, as regards the question of who may be a legitimate target of attack in wartime. Primoratz’s paper itself is a critique of Michael Waltzer’s authoritative exposition of just war theory for failing to be sufficiently and consistently liberal. The debate between these two authors is a productive site for investigating the potential and limitations of liberal theories of just war. (shrink)
Traditional theories locate color in primary qualities of objects, in dispositional properties of objects, in visual fields, or nowhere. In contrast, we argue that color is located in properties of light. More specifically, light is red iff there is a property P of the light that typically interacts with normal human perceivers to give the sensation of red. This is an error theory, because objects and visual fields that appear red are not really red, since they lack the properties that (...) make light red. We show how this light theory solves or avoids problems that afflict its competitors. (shrink)
I argue that the existence of sexual dimorphism poses a profound challenge to those philosophers who wish to deny the moral significance of the idea of ‘normal human capacities’ in debates about the ethics of human enhancement. The biological sex of a child will make a much greater difference to their life prospects than many of the genetic variations that the philosophical and bioethical literature has previously been concerned with. It seems, then, that bioethicists should have something to say about (...) the choice between a male and a female embryo. Either, 1) parents have reason to choose boys over girls; (2) parents have reason to choose girls over boys; or, (3) parents have neither reason to choose girls over boys nor reason to choose boys over girls. Embracing either of the first two alternatives has strongly counterintuitive – and arguably morally repugnant – consequences. To motivate the third option we must either make reference to the idea of ‘normal human capacities’ or argue that parents should consider the interests of society when thinking about what sort of children they should bring into the world – an implication that should be extremely controversial in debates about the ‘new eugenics’. I conclude, then, that the idea of ‘normal human capacities’ is properly crucial to reasoning about the ethics of shaping future persons. (shrink)
This essay defends the view that, as embodied, our identities are necessarily dependent on the aesthetic environment. Toward this end, it examines the renewal of the concept of sensation (aisthesis) in phenomenology, but then concludes that the methodology and metaphysics of phenomenology must be abandoned in favor of an ontology that sees corporeal identity as generated by the materiality of aesthetic relations. It is suggested that such an ontology is available in the work of Spinoza, which helps break down the (...) natural/ artificial and human/nonhuman distinctions, and can thereby engender an environmental ethics grounded in aesthetic relations. An explication of body/ world dependence is provided via the concept of plasticity and a properly Spinozist aesthetics is invoked, but remains to be worked out. (shrink)
If, as a number of writers have predicted, the computers of the future will possess intelligence and capacities that exceed our own then it seems as though they will be worthy of a moral respect at least equal to, and perhaps greater than, human beings. In this paper I propose a test to determine when we have reached that point. Inspired by Alan Turing’s (1950) original “Turing test”, which argued that we would be justified in conceding that machines (...) could think if they could fill the role of a person in a conversation, I propose a test for when computers have achieved moral standing by asking when a computer might take the place of a human being in a moral dilemma, such as a “triage” situation in which a choice must be made as to which of two human lives to save. We will know that machines have achieved moral standing comparable to a human when the replacement of one of these people with an artificial intelligence leaves the character of the dilemma intact. That is, when we might sometimes judge that it is reasonable to preserve the continuing existence of a machine over the life of a human being. This is the “Turing Triage Test”. I argue that if personhood is understood as a matter of possessing a set of important cognitive capacities then it seems likely that future AIs will be able to pass this test. However this conclusion serves as a reductio of this account of the nature of persons. I set out an alternative account of the nature of persons, which places the concept of a person at the centre of an interdependent network of moral and affective responses, such as remorse, grief and sympathy. I argue that according to this second, superior, account of the nature of persons, machines will be unable to pass the Turing Triage Test until they possess bodies and faces with expressive capacities akin to those of the human form. (shrink)
This paper analyses rhetorics of scientific and corporate enthusiasm surrounding nanotechnology. I argue that enthusiasts for nanotechnologies often try to have it both ways on questions concerning the nature and possible impact of these technologies, and the inevitability of their development and use. In arguments about their nature and impact we are simultaneously informed that these are revolutionary technologies with the potential to profoundly change the world and that they merely represent the extension of existing technologies. They are revolutionary and (...) familiar. In debates surrounding possible regulation of these technologies it is claimed both that their development is inevitable, so that regulation would be fruitless, and that increased research funding and legislative changes are necessary in order that we can enjoy their benefits. That is, they are inevitable and precarious. An increased awareness of these rhetorical contradictions may allow us better to assess the likely impact and future of nanotechnology. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that contemporary non-Aboriginal Australians can collectively be held responsible for past injustices committed against the Aboriginal peoples of this land. An examination of the role played by history in determining the nature of the present reveals both the temporal extension of the Australian community that confronts the question of responsibility for historical injustice and the ways in which we continue to participate in those same injustices. Because existing injustices suffered by indigenous Australians are essentially (...) continuous with the racist history of the invasion of the Australian continent and dispossession of the Australian Aboriginal peoples, we may be held responsible for the wrongs committed in the course of that history. (shrink)
A number of advances in assisted reproduction have been greeted by the accusation that they would produce children ‘without parents’. In this paper I will argue that while to date these accusations have been false, there is a limited but important sense in which they would be true of children born of a reproductive technology that is now on the horizon. If our genetic parents are those individuals from whom we have inherited 50% of our genes, then, unlike in any (...) other reproductive scenario, children who were conceived from gametes derived from stem cell lines derived from discarded IVF embryos would have no genetic parents! This paper defends this claim and investigates its ethical implications. I argue that there are reasons to think that the creation of such embryos might be morally superior to the existing alternatives in an important set of circumstances. (shrink)
The body is central to the philosophies of Spinoza and Nietzsche. Both thinkers are concerned with the composition of the body, its potential relations with other bodies, and the modifications which a body can undergo. Gilles Deleuze has contributed significantly to the relatively sparse literature which draws out the affinities between Spinoza and Nietzsche. Deleuze’s reconceptualization of the field of ethology enables us to bring Spinoza and Nietzsche together as ethologists of the body and to elaborate their common, physiological perspective (...) on ethico-political composition. This is accomplished by reading the concepts of force, power, and affect as they are mobilized in their discussions of corporeity and intercorporeity. What emerges is a metaphysics of bodies that can simultaneously be regarded as a physiology of encounters, one which renders the friend/enemy distinction indiscernible and opens the door for a rethinking of the nature of political alliances. Both Spinoza and Nietzsche are shown to be invaluable resources for helping us imagine the potential of the individual’s body and the body politic. (shrink)
The ‘marketplace of ideas’ is an influential metaphor with widespread currency in debates about freedom of speech. We explore a number of ways competition between ideas might be described as occurring in a marketplace and find that none support the use of the metaphor. We suggest that an alternative metaphor, that of the ‘garden of ideas’, may offer more productive insights into issues surrounding the regulation of speech.
We question the usefulness of Pylyshyn's dichotomy between cognitively penetrable and cognitively impenetrable mechanisms as the basis for his distinction between cognition and early vision. This dichotomy is comparable to others that have been proposed in psychology prompting disputes that by their very nature could not be resolved. This fate is inevitable for Pylyshyn's thesis because of its reliance on internal representations and their interpretation. What is more fruitful in relation to this issue is not a difficult dichotomy, but a (...) different look at perception such as proposed by Gibson (1979). (shrink)
Unpriming is a decrease in the influence of primed knowledge following a behavior expressing that knowledge. The authors investigated strategies for unpriming the knowledge of an answer that is activated when people are asked to consider a simple question. Experiment 1 found that prior correct answering eliminated the bias people normally show toward correct responding when asked to answer yes–no questions randomly. Experiment 2 revealed that prior answering intended to be random did not unprime knowledge on subsequent attempts to answer (...) randomly. Experiment 3 found that exposure to the correct answer did not influence the knowledge bias but that exposure to the incorrect answer increased bias. Experiment 4 revealed that merely expressing the answer for oneself was sufficient to unprime knowledge. Experiment 5 found that each item of activated knowledge needs to be unprimed specifically, in that correctly answering 1 question does not reduce the knowledge bias in randomly answering another. (shrink)
Participants watched themselves in a mirror while another person behind them, hidden from view, extended hands forward on each side where participants’ hands would normally appear. The hands performed a series of movements. When participants could hear instructions previewing each movement, they reported an enhanced feeling of controlling the hands. Hearing instructions for the movements also enhanced skin conductance responses when a rubber band was snapped on the other’s wrist after the movements. Such vicarious agency was not felt when the (...) instructions followed the movements, and participants’ own covert movement mimicry was not essential to the influence of previews on reported control. (shrink)
We tested whether the E-Z Reader model can be generalised to the French language. The simulation showed that the model can account for the frequency effect. The predictability effect is moreover accurate for word skipping, but not for fixation times. We think that this model is psychologically plausible for certain aspects of reading and we have used it to evaluate the performance of dyslexic readers.
We provide a 'verisimilitudinarian' analysis of the well-known Linda paradox or conjunction fallacy, i.e., the fact that most people judge the probability of the conjunctive statement "Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement" (B & F) as more probable than the isolated statement "Linda is a bank teller" (B), contrary to an uncontroversial principle of probability theory. The basic idea is that experimental participants may judge B & F a better hypothesis about (...)Linda as compared to B because they evaluate B & F as more verisimilar than B. In fact, the hypothesis "feminist bank teller", while less likely to be true than "bank teller", may well be a better approximation to the truth about Linda. (shrink)
The Linda paradox is a key topic in current debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. We present a novel analysis of this paradox, based on the notion of verisimilitude as studied in the philosophy of science. The comparison with an alternative analysis based on probabilistic confirmation suggests how to overcome some problems of our account by introducing an adequately defined notion of verisimilitudinarian confirmation.
Principles of procreative beneficence (PPBs) hold that parents have good reasons to select the child with the best life prospects. Sparrow (2010) claims that PPBs imply that we should select only female children, unlesswe attach normative significance to “normal” human capacities. We argue that this claim fails on both empirical and logical grounds. Empirically, Sparrow’s argument for greater female wellbeing rests on a selective reading of the evidence and the incorrect assumption that an advantage for females would persist (...) even when a serious gender imbalance is obtained. Logically, PPBs cite only pro tanto reasons and allow that the good of an individual child could be outweighed by other morally relevant considerations, such as those which take collectively suboptimal outcomes into account. There is thus no need to attach value to the “normal.”. (shrink)
In the last few years, geographers have begun to develop a research interest in children's and young people's attitudes to and relationship with place and locality. While a range of different types of work has been undertaken, most studies are united by their concern for the ethical and practical issues that are raised when children and young people are the subjects of research. In a thought-provoking paper in this journal, Valentine suggested that five main areas of ethical concern might be (...) distinguished: consent; access and structures of compliance; privacy and confidentiality; methodologies and issues of power; and dissemination and advocacy. As she noted, many of these issues are not unique to research with children but are refracted in particular ways because of the particular legal position of children and the inequalities of power between children and adult research workers. In my own work with working class young men aged 15-17, who were no longer children but not yet adults, I found similarities to but also differences from the concerns identified by Valentine, especially as the research I undertook involved repeat interviews. Issues of access, power and dissemination took a different form. In Valentine's paper, the significance of the class, gender, ethnic, age and other social characteristics of both the interviewer(s) and the interviewees and the impact on their interaction were not considered, whereas I found that they were a significant part of the relationships that took place during the course of the research. I also discuss questions of access and of the location of interviewing, ethical issues that arise in representing the views of young people and in returning the research material to them and the problems of trying to undertake critical social research. (shrink)
We commonly identify something seriously defective in a human life that is lived in ignorance of important but unpalatable truths. At the same time, some degree of misapprehension of reality may be necessary for individual health and success. Morally speaking, it is unclear just how insistent we should be about seeking the truth. Robert Sparrow has considered such issues in discussing the manufacture and marketing of robot ‘pets’, such as Sony’s doglike ‘AIBO’ toy and whatever more advanced devices may (...) supersede it. Though it is not his only concern, Sparrow particularly criticizes such robot pets for their illusory appearance of being living things. He fears that some individuals will subconsciously buy into the illusion, and come to sentimentalize interactions that fail to constitute genuine relationships. In replying to Sparrow, I emphasize that this would be continuous with much of the minor sentimentality that we already indulge in from day to day. Although a disposition to seek the truth is morally virtuous, the virtue concerned must allow for at least some categories of exceptions. Despite Sparrow’s concerns about robot pets (and robotics more generally), we should be lenient about familiar, relatively benign, kinds of self-indulgence in forming beliefs about reality. Sentimentality about robot pets seems to fall within these categories. Such limited self-indulgence can co-exist with ordinary honesty and commitment to truth. (shrink)
The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), formerly a common bird species, has shown a rapid decline in Western Europe over recent decades. In The Netherlands, its decline is apparent from 1990 onwards. Many causes for this decline have been suggested that all decrease the vital rates, i.e. survival and reproduction, but their actual impact remains unknown. Although the House Sparrow has been dominant in The Netherlands, data on life history characteristics for this bird species are scarce: data on reproduction (...) are non-existent, and here we first present survival estimates based on live encounters and dead recoveries of marked individuals over the period 1976–2003, 14 years before and 14 years during the decline, reported to the Dutch Ringing Centre. We show that there is an indication that both juvenile and adult survival are lower during the period of decline. Secondly, to be able to analyse the relative impact of changes in the vital rates, we formulated a general matrix model based on a range of survival values between zero and one with a step size of 0.01 (both juvenile and adult yearly survival) and a range of realistic reproduction values (one, three or five fledglings per pair per year). With the matrix model, we calculated the finite rate of population change (λ) and applied elasticity analysis. To diagnose the cause of the decline in the Dutch House Sparrow, we parameterised the model with estimates of survival values before and during the decline and present the resulting λ. With the survival estimates from the declining period, λ < 1 only if reproduction is relatively low. We discuss this result within the light of available literature data on survival in the House Sparrow. Finally, we evaluate which of the suggested causes of population decline should be reversed to mitigate the decline and how this can be achieved. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel has proposed that the existence of moral luck mandates a general attitude of skepticism in ethics. One popular way of arguing against Nagels claim is to insist that the phenomenon of moral luck itself is an illusion , in the sense that situations in which it seems to occur may be plausibly re-described so as to show that agents need not be held responsible for the unlucky outcomes of their actions. Here I argue that this strategy for explaining (...) away moral luck fails because it does not take account of the fact that agents in morally unlucky circumstances are uniformly subject to a very specific type of epistemic obligation. I then proceed to sketch out an alternative strategy for blocking the inference to skepticism, one that makes use of the distinctive explanatory resources provided by epistemic virtue theory. Key Words: moral luck moral skepticism Thomas Nagel virtue epistemology Linda Zagzebski. (shrink)
This book focuses on showing how the ideas central to the new wave oj dynamic systems studies may also form the basis for a new and distinctive theory of human development where both global order and local variability in behaviour emerge together from the same organising dynamical interactions. This also sharpens our understanding of the weaknesses of the traditional formal, structuralist theories. Conversely, dynamical models have their own matching set of problems, many of which are consiously explored here. Less readily (...) acknowledged, the youthfulness of this field means that many of the studies presented here struggle to pass beyond speculative metaphor. Nonetheless, the field is shown to be one of vigour, intelligence and great promise. (shrink)
While there is a vast amount of writing on the concept of a virtue and its role in various areas of philosophy, this literature is fairly fragmented, with historians, ethicists, and epistemologists rarely engaged in direction conversation with one another. In light of this, Intellectual Virtue: Perspectives from Ethics and Epistemology is a most welcome collection of essays in which virtue epistemologists and virtue ethicists—including ethicists grounded in the history of philosophy—for the first time take up various issues in consultation (...) with each other. The volume is divided into five parts and contains eleven articles by some of the leading scholars in both ethics and epistemology; the overall quality of the contributions is very high. Since there is not a single theme uniting all of the articles (other than focusing on virtue), I shall begin by providing a brief summary of each contribution to the volume. I shall then offer some critical remarks on a thesis that is espoused, both directly and indirectly, by several of the authors included in this collection. (shrink)
It is argued that the conjunction effect has a disjunctive analog of strong interest for the realism–antirealism debate. It is possible that a proper theory is more confirmed than its (more probable) observational sub-theory and hence than the latter’s disjunctive equivalent, i.e., the disjunction of all proper theories that are empirically equivalent to the given one. This is illustrated by a toy model.