on writing prescriptions. These two reasons indicate why there are obvious repercussions for those who do not have reasonable access to physicians’ services. Of course, the word ‘reasonable’ is important here. After all, there is the old joke—for those who enjoy gallows humor—that the U.S. has universal access to healthcare so long as one is willing to commit a crime to see the county jail’s physician, or make one’s self sick enough to qualify for emergency services. Putting aside such extraordinary (...) measures, at least some deficit in accessing physicians’ services can be made up through consulting written medical knowledge. Many libraries have medical textbooks, and the Internet has many good sites that contain medical knowledge. Of course, all the knowledge in the world is not going to do much good if treatment requires a prescription. The physicians’ monopoly on writing prescriptions means that nothing (legal) can be done in terms of treatment if one does not have access to the services of a qualified physician. This state of affairs is unjust. A just society cannot have it both ways: legislation cannot say both that the expertise of physicians is so precious that only they can prescribe medicine AND not everyone is guaranteed reasonable access to their services. If there is no guarantee of reasonable access then physicians should not have a monopoly on writing prescriptions, and if there is a monopoly on writing prescriptions then people should have reasonable access to their services. (shrink)
The primary question to be addressed here is whether pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), used for both negative and positive trait selection, benefits potential supernumerary embryos. The phrase ‘potential supernumerary embryos’ is used to indicate that PGD is typically performed on a set of embryos, only some of which will be implanted. Prior to any testing, each embryo in the set is potentially supernumerary in the sense that it may not be selected for implantation. Those embryos that are not selected, and (...) hence destroyed or frozen, are ‘actually supernumerary’. The argument to be advanced is hypothetical: If embryos may be said to benefit or be harmed by our actions, then PGD used to select for an embryo or embryos with the highest expected Wellbeing benefits potential supernumerary embryos. The argument shows that the ‘non-identity’ problem is not sufficient to show that eugenic selection does not benefit supernumerary embryos. (shrink)
Introduction : a great reversal? -- Justifying morality -- Groundwork 3 : an enigmatic text -- The second critique -- Groundwork 2 : rational nature as an end-in-itself? -- From rational agency to freedom -- From freedom to non-phenomenal -- From non-phenomenality to universality -- The identity of persons -- Recovering the categorical imperative.
If God is morally perfect then He must perform the morally best actions, but creating humans is not the morally best action. If this line of reasoning can be maintained then the mere fact that humans exist contradicts the claim that God exists. This is the ‘anthropic argument’. The anthropic argument, is related to, but distinct from, the traditional argument from evil. The anthropic argument forces us to consider the ‘creation question’: why did God not create other gods rather than (...) humans? That is, if God is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect then why didn’t He create a world populated exclusively by beings that are perfect in the same way that He is—ontological equivalents— rather than choosing to create humans with finite natures and all the suffering that this entails? (shrink)
There is evidence from the empirical sciences that >happiness= B understood in the social scientists= sense of >positive affect=B leads to prosocial behaviour: the happiest amongst us are more likely to help others. There is also scientific evidence of a genetic component to positive affect: genetic differences can account for some of the observed variances in positive affect. Let us think of >happy-people-pills= as pharmacological agents, modeled on those with a genetic predisposition for high levels of positive affect, which will (...) promote positive moods and emotions in >normally= happy persons. It is argued that if we want to increase prosocial behaviour then we should (other things being equal) promote the use of happy-people-pills. Since we should increase prosocial behaviour, we should (other things being equal) promote the use of happy-people-pills. In a short paper like this, I cannot possibly show that everything else is equal. However, I hope to establish at least a prima facie case for policy that permits the creation and distribution of happy-people-pills. (shrink)
Peter Singer has argued that there are good utilitarian reasons for rejecting the prospect of superlongevity: developing technology to double (or more) the average human lifespan. I argue against Singer's view on two fronts. First, empirical research on happiness indicates that the later years of life are (on average) the happiest, and there is no reason to suppose that this trend would not continue if superlongevity were realized. Second, it is argued that there are good reasons to suppose that there (...) will be a certain amount of self-selection: the happiest are more likely to adopt superlongevity technology. This means that the adoption of superlongevity technology will have the effect of raising the level of aggregate utility. (shrink)
Evidence for instances of astrophysical 'fine tuning' (or 'coincidences') is thought by some to lend support to the design argument (i.e. the argument that our universe has been designed by some deity). We assess some of the relevant empirical and conceptual issues. We argue that astrophysical fine tuning calls for some explanation, but this explanation need not appeal to the design argument. A clear and strict separation of the issue of anthropic fine tuning on one hand and any form of (...) Eddingtonian numerology and teleology on the other, may help clarify arguably the most significant issue in the philosophy of cosmology. (shrink)
It may be possible to scientifically test philosophical skepticism; at least this is what I shall maintain. The argument develops the naturalistic insight that there may be no particular reason to suppose that nature has selected Homo sapiens’ epistemic capacities such that we are ideally suited to forming a true theory of everything, or indeed, a true theory of much of anything. Just as chimpanzees are cognitively limited - there are many concepts, ideas, and theories beyond their grasp - so (...) too might our conception of the universe seem limited from the point of view of some creature more “evolved” than humans. On the other hand, some physicists (et al.) have argued that humans are on the verge of discovering a “final theory of everything”. Such epistemic “optimism” seems to directly contradict the idea that we might be cognitively limited. To adjudicate between these views I shall suggest the outlines of several “crucial tests” that involve attempting to create creatures who stand to us, with respect to intelligence and wisdom, as we do to apes. A positive result from any of these experiments will indicate that the skeptical view is correct, while failure to create “higher” intelligences lends support to the epistemic optimists’ position. 2. (shrink)
This is the sequel to my paper 'Against One Form of Judgment-Determinism' ( IJPS , May 2001), wherein I argued that theoretical rationalization, that is, the forming of judgments by way of inference from other judgments, cannot simply be identified with any kind of predetermination of conclusion-judgments by premise-judgments. Taking 'free' to mean 'neither mechanistically explicable nor random' (where something is mechanistically explicable if and only if it is either predetermined or probabilified in a certain way, and is random if (...) and only if it is not why-explicable at all) I attempt here to establish that all judgments, whether rationalized or not, are necessarily free. (shrink)
Philosophical accounts of "action" standardly take an action to be a doing which _satisfies some description that is semantically related to the content of a propositional attitude of the subject's which _explains why that doing occurred. Causal theories of action require that the explanation in question must involve the causation of action-doings by propositional attitudes (typically intentions, volitions, or combinations of belief and desire). I argue that there are actions whose status, as such, cannot be acknowledged by any causal theory, (...) since no such theory can allow that they fulfill the satisfaction condition. (shrink)
In a recent study of astrophysical “fine-tunings” (or “coincidences”), Robert Klee critically assesses the support that such astrophysical evidence might be thought to lend to the design argument (i.e., the argument that our universe has been designed by some deity). Klee argues that a proper assessment indicates that the universe is not as “fine-tuned” as advertised by proponents of the design arguments. We argue (i) that Klee’s assessment of the data is, to a certain extent, problematic; and (ii) even if (...) Klee’s assessment of the data is correct, it provides a necessary but not a sufficient response to the design argument. However, an adequate skeptical rejoinder to the design argument can be made by appealing to the anthropic principle. (shrink)
Taking 'rationalized judgments' to be those formed by inference from other judgments, I argue against 'Extreme Determinism': the thesis that theoretical rationalization just is a kind of predetermination of 'conclusion-judgments' by 'premise-judgments'. The argument rests upon two key lemmas: firstly, that a deliberator - in this case, his/her assent to some proposition - to be predetermined (I call this the 'Openness Requirement'): secondly, that a subject's logical insight into his/her premise-judgments must enter into the explanation of any judgment s/he forms (...) that is rationalized by those judgments. My contention is that, given the Openness Requirement, no version of Extreme Determinsim can allow for the role played by logical insight in the rationalization of judgment. I end by indicating briefly how this result might figure in a wider argument against any form of determinism about rationalized judgment, and by explaining why I have focused specifically upon rebutting a deterministic view of theoretical as opposed to 'practical' rationalization. (shrink)
I have maintained that judgments must be voluntary since, as truth-aimed, they may be represented as responses to practical reasons. Christian Stein has objected that this argument cannot apply to judgments which are not the outcomes of theoretical reasoning. Furthermore, he contends that I have not succeeded in overcoming an argument of H. H. Price's to the effect that judgments which are such outcomes cannot be voluntary. I argue below that neither of these objections can be sustained.
While various items closely associated with belief, such as speech?acts of assertion, or what have recently been termed acts of ?acceptance?, can clearly be voluntary, it is commonly supposed that belief itself, being intrinsically truth?directed, is essentially passive. I argue that while this may be true of belief proper, understood as a kind of disposition, it is not true of acts of assent or ?judgment?. Judgments, I contend, must be deemed voluntary precisely because of their truth?aimedness, for in their case (...) this feature entails that they can always be regarded as the subjects of a kind of implicit practical reasoning. By emphasizing the familiar point that voluntariness need not involve anything more than this, and by invoking the soft determinist option of holding causation to be compatible with choice, I seek to deflect some anticipated objections to this argument. (shrink)