The Beloved Self is about the holy grail of moral philosophy, an argument against egoism that proves that we all have reasons to be moral. Part One introduces three different versions of egoism. Part Two looks at attempts to prove that egoism is false, and shows that even the more modest arguments that do not try to answer the egoist in her own terms seem to fail. But in part Three, Hills defends morality and develops a new problem for (...) egoism, an epistemological problem. She shows that it is not epistemically rational to believe the most plausible versions of egoism. The first part of the book will be most relevant to those interested in moral theory, as it contains detailed discussions of recent interpretations of virtue ethics and especially of Kant's moral theory. The second and third part of the book turn to epistemology, particularly moral epistemology, and include an account of the relationship between knowledge and action, a new theory of moral understanding, and a discussion of the epistemically rational response to various kinds of disagreement. Hills also defends a new account of virtue and of morally worthy action. (shrink)
In this essay, Rosa Bruno-Jofré and George Hills examine two major Ontario policy documents: 1968's Living and Learning and 1994's For the Love of Learning. The purpose is, first, to gain insight into the uses of the term “excellence” in the context of discourse about educational aims and evaluation, and, second, to explore how these uses may have changed over time. Bruno-Jofré and Hills employ the conceptual framework developed by Madhu Prakash and Leonard Waks to elucidate the varied (...) notions of excellence contained in the two reports. Bruno-Jofré and Hills argue that Living and Learning is an eclectic report that creates continuity by aligning itself with the pedagogically progressive tradition in Ontario; that propounds a holistic conception of excellence centered on the all-around development of the self; and that seeks simultaneously to secure a sense of being Canadian while dealing with rapidly emerging social fragmentation. For the Love of Learning, in contrast, attempts to combine a technical view of excellence in education (stressing various literacies and skills as measurable indicators) with the principles of caring and the goals of social responsibility. Each report can be seen as an attempt to respond to the expectations of a population that had become increasingly diverse in the interval between the two reports. What is cause for concern in terms of policymaking, Bruno-Jofré and Hills conclude, is the turn away from broader, more comprehensive and coherent views of excellence in education toward narrower and more fragmented accounts that are preoccupied with various types of literacy or loosely related vocational and other skills. The effect of this shift is to leave educational policy and practice in the schools essentially rudderless. (shrink)
The difficulty of distinguishing between the intended and the merely foreseen consequences of actions seems to many to be the most serious problem for the doctrine of double effect. It has led some to reject the doctrine altogether, and has left some of its defenders recasting it in entirely different terms. I argue that these responses are unnecessary. Using Bratman’s conception of intention, I distinguish the intended consequences of an action from the merely foreseen in a way that can be (...) used to support the doctrine of double effect. (shrink)
One familiar criticism of utilitarianism is that it is too demanding. It requires us to promote the happiness of others, even at the expense of our own projects, our integrity, or the welfare of our friends and family. Recently Ashford has defended utilitarianism, arguing that it provides compelling reasons for demanding duties to help the needy, and that other moral theories, notably contractualism, are committed to comparably stringent duties. In response, I argue that utilitarianism is even more demanding than is (...) commonly realized: both act- and rule-utilitarianism are committed to extremely stringent duties to wild animals. In this regard, utilitarianism is more demanding (and more counter-intuitive) than contractualism. (shrink)
Why should we be interested in Kant's ethical theory? One reason is that we find his views about our moral responsibilities appealing. Anyone who thinks that we should treat other people with respect, that we should not use them as a mere means in ways to which they could not possibly consent, will be attracted by a Kantian style of ethical theory. But according to recent supporters of Kant, the most distinctive and important feature of his ethical theory is not (...) his claims about the particular ethical duties that we owe to each other, but his views about the nature of value. They argue that Kant has an account of the relationship between practical reason and value, known as "Kantian constructivism" that is far superior to the traditional "value realist" theory, and that it is because of this that we should accept his theory.1 It is now standard for both supporters and critics to claim that Kant's moral theory stands or falls with Kantian constructivism.2 But this is a mistake. In this paper, I sketch a rival Kantian theory of value, which I call Kantian value realism. I argue that there is textual evidence that Kant himself accepted value realism rather than constructivism. Whilst my aim in this paper is to set out the theory clearly rather than to defend it, I will try to show that Kantian value realism is preferable to Kantian constructivism and that it is worthy of further study. (shrink)
According to the doctrine of double effect(DDE), there is a morally significantdifference between harm that is intended andharm that is merely foreseen and not intended.It is not difficult to explain why it is bad tointend harm as an end (you have a ``badattitude'' toward that harm) but it is hard toexplain why it is bad to intend harm as a meansto some good end. If you intend harm as a meansto some good end, you need not have a ``badattitude'' toward (...) it. I distinguish two ways inwhich you can treat something that is yourchosen means to your ends. You can pursue yourends directly, and treat X as a mere means thatyou pursue for the sake of your end. Or you canpursue your ends indirectly, and treat X as a``plan-relative end'' that you pursue for its ownsake. I argue that much of the time we pursueour ends indirectly, and treat our means asplan-relative ends. There are significantanalogies between intending harm as an end, andintending harm as a plan-relative end. So,under certain circumstances, it is morallyworse to intend harm as a means or an end thanto foresee bringing about the same amount of harm. (shrink)
How should we decide which theory of practical reason is correct? One possibility is to link each conception of practical reason with a theory of value, and to assess the first in combination with the second. Recently some philosophers have taken a different approach. They have tried to link theories of practical reason with theories of action instead. I try to show that it can be illuminating to think of practical reason in terms of the success conditions of action, but (...) ultimately this is in addition to, rather than a substitute for, relating practical reason to value as well. I set out three different conceptions of action and corresponding success conditions, and explain how each is linked to a particular conception of practical reason and, in two cases, to a theory of value too. My goal is to describe these different accounts, rather than to defend any in particular, though I will suggest that some are more satisfactory than others. Key Words: action commitment intention practical reason value. (shrink)
It is widely believed that we always have reason to maximize the good. Utilitarianism and other consequentialist theories depend on this conception of value. Scanlon has argued that this view of value is not generally correct, but that it is most plausible with regard to the value of pleasure, and may even be true at least of that. But there are reasons to think that even the value of pleasure is not teleological.
The question of domain-specific versus domain-general processing is an ongoing source of inquiry surrounding cognitive control. Using a comparative evolutionary approach, Stout (2010) proposed two components of cognitive control: coordinating hierarchical action plans and social cognition. This article reports additional molecular and experimental evidence supporting a domain-general attentional process coordinating hierarchical action plans, with the earliest such control processing originating in the capacity of dynamic foraging behaviors—predating the vertebrate-invertebrate divergence (c. 700 million years ago). Further discussion addresses evidence required for (...) additional, domain-specific, cognitive control processes, noting that proposed social processes may simply provide emotionally valenced representational information to the above hierarchical process. (shrink)
Sidgwick argued that utilitarianism was not rationally required because it could not be shown that a utilitarian theory of practical reason was better justified than a rival egoist theory of practical reason: there is a 'dualism of practical reason' between utilitarianism and egoism. In this paper, it is demonstrated that the dualism argument also applies to Kant's moral theory, the moral law. A prudential theory that is parallel to the moral law is devised, and it is argued that the moral (...) law is no better justified than this prudential theory. So the moral law is not rationally required. It is suggested that the dualism argument is a completely general argument that ethics cannot be rationally required. (shrink)
The need to maintain the public trust in the integrity of the accounting profession has led to increased interest in research that examines the moral reasoning abilities (MRA) of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). This study examines the MRA of CPAs practicing in small firms or as sole practitioners and the factors that affect MRA throughout their working careers.The results indicate that small-firm accounting practitioners exhibit lower MRA than expected for professionals and that age, gender and socio-political beliefs affect the moral (...) reasoning abilities of small-firm practitioners. We also find that completion of an ethics course in college has a positive impact on MRA. Also, the survey respondents indicate overwhelming support for including ethics courses within the business curriculum. Finally, the fact that those accountants with the lowest MRA are the least supportive of ethical training may indicate the need for mandatory, rather than optional, training in ethics both in university and Continuing Professional Education courses. (shrink)
Over the last 20 years, organizations have attempted numerous innovations to create more openness and to increase ethical practice. However, adult students in business classes report that managers are generally bureaucratically oriented and averse to constructive criticism or principled dissent. When organizations oppose dissent, they suffer the consequences of mistakes that could be prevented and they create an unethical and toxic environment for individual employees. By distinguishing principled dissent from other forms of criticism and opposition, managers and leaders can perceive (...) the dissenter as an important organizational voice and a valued employee. The dissenter, like the whistleblower, is often highly ethically motivated and desires to contribute to the organization’s wellbeing. Recognizing and protecting principled dissent provides the means of transforming organizations. By restoring dignity to the individual, organizations gain more productive and loyal employees, and they create an environment that promotes critical thinking, learning, and a commitment to ethics. (shrink)
Sidgwick argued that utilitarianism and egoism were in conflict, that neither theory was better justified than the other, and concluded that there was a and all that remained to him was . The dualism argument introduced by Sidgwick is an extremely powerful sceptical argument that no theory of ethics is rationally required: it cannot be shown that a moral sceptic or an egoist ought to accept the moral theory, otherwise she is unreasonable. I explain two ways in which the significance (...) of the dualism argument has been underestimated. First, I suggest that a hybrid theory such as utilitarianism with an egoist bias is not (as is sometimes thought) a solution to the dualism. Second, I argue that the dualism argument is not restricted to a conflict between hedonic egoism and utilitarianism, but applies to any attempt to show that a theory of ethics is rationally required. (shrink)
We argue that probability effects on P300 amplitude are the product of an automatic frequency detector not subject to voluntary control and relatively inaccessible to consciousness. related to P300 therefore appear to be passive, perceptual ones. If probability-based expectancies do become conscious, they are inversely related to P300, supporting the view of Donchin & Coles (1988).
Scott Aikin recently claimed that pragmatism and phenomenology are incompatible. Pragmatic naturalism is incompatible with phenomenology’s anti-naturalism. Therefore, pragmatists trying to appropriate insights from phenomenology encounter a dilemma: either reject naturalism and thereby pragmatism, or reject anti-naturalism and thereby phenomenology. I will argue that Aikin’s dilemma is unmerited, especially in the case of John Dewey, because he has misidentified its horns. Given his definition of pragmatic naturalism, the classical pragmatists are neither naturalists nor pragmatists. His discussion of “phenomenology” misconstrues phenomenological (...) method as subjective self-reporting, which hamstrings his assessment of phenomenology and its prospects of reconciliation with pragmatism. I hope to engage and dispel not only Aikin’s dilemma, but also common preconceptions about the intersection of pragmatism and phenomenology. They may be reconciled, although there are antipathies, of which I will discuss Dewey’s principle of continuity. (shrink)
Faultless disagreements are disagreements between two people, neither of whom has made a mistake or is at fault. It has been argued that there are faultless moral disagreements, that they cannot be accommodated by moral realism, and that in order to account for them, a form of relativism must be accepted. I argue that moral realism can accommodate faultless moral disagreement, provided that the phenomena is understood epistemically, and I give a brief defence of the relevant moral epistemology.
In functional MRI it is desirable for the blood-oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal to be localized to the tissue containing activated neurons rather than the veins draining that tissue. This study addresses the dependence of the specificity of the BOLD signal – the relative contribution of the BOLD signal arising from tissue compared to venous vessels – on magnetic field strength. To date, studies of specificity have been based on models or indirect measures of BOLD sensitivity such as signal to (...) noise ratio and relaxation rates, and assessment has been made in isolated vein and tissue voxels. The consensus has been that ultra high field systems not only significantly increase BOLD sensitivity but also specificity, that is, there is a proportionately reduced signal contribution from draining veins. Specificity was not quantified in prior studies, however, due to the difficulty of establishing a reliable network of veins in the activated volume. In this study we use a map of venous vessel networks extracted from 7 T high resolution Susceptibility Weighted Images (SWI) to quantify the relative contributions of micro- and macrovasculature to functional MRI (fMRI) results obtained at 3 T and 7 T. High resolution measurements made here minimize the contribution of physiological noise and Independent Component Analysis (ICA) is used to separate activation from technical, physiological and motion artifacts. ICA also avoids the possibility of timing-dependent bias from different micro- and macrovasculature responses. We find a significant increase in the number of activated voxels at 7 T in both the veins and the microvasculature – a BOLD sensitivity increase - with the increase in the microvasculature being higher. However, the small increase in sensitivity at 7 T was not significant. For the experimental conditions of this study, our findings do not support the hypothesis of an increased specificity of the BOLD response at ultra-high field. (shrink)
Interest is growing in the relocalization of staple crops, including wheat, in western Washington (WWA), a nontraditional wheat-growing area. Commercial bakers are potentially important food chain intermediaries in the case of relocalized wheat production. We conducted a mail survey of commercial bakers in WWA to assess their interest in sourcing wheat/flour from WWA, identify the characteristics of bakeries most likely to purchase wheat/flour from WWA, understand the factors important to bakers in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour, and identify perceived barriers to (...) making such purchases. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents were interested in purchasing WWA wheat/flour. Bakers who used retail strategies to market their products were more likely to be interested in WWA wheat/flour compared to those not using retail methods. Bakers’ current purchases of Washington wheat/flour were not related to their interest in purchasing WWA flour. The most important factors bakers would consider in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour were consistency of flour quality, quality of flour, and reliability of supply. Cost was the most frequently mentioned barrier to the purchase of regionally produced wheat/flour. Our results are relevant for other areas attempting to reconnect grain producers, commercial bakers, and consumers in mutually beneficial ways. (shrink)
Philosophers and critics alike often contend that metaphors cannot or should not be paraphrased, ever. Yet a simple and decisive empirical argument — The Horse’s Mouth Argument—suffices to show that many metaphors can be paraphrased without violating the spirit in which they were put forward in the first place. This argument leaves us with urgent unanswered questions about the role of paraphrase in a more inclusive division of exegetical labor, about the tension between its notorious openendedness and its claim to (...) restate something already stated, and about the relation between the content of a paraphrase and the content (or contents) of the metaphor the paraphrase purports to explain. But it leaves us in a position to state such questions more clearly and hopefully than we could before. (shrink)