Using nonstandard methods, we generalize the notion of an algebraic primitive element to that of an hyperalgebraic primitive element, and show that under mild restrictions, such elements can be found infinitesimally close to any given element of a topological field.
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)
Matthew Goldspan was faced with a series of coincidental personnel issues that tested both his fairness and integrity. He had been a branch manager of a financial services operation for three years, where he oversaw thirty five employees. In one instance, a clerical employee protested salary differences she discovered; in another, his affirmative action record, as well as his right to make hiring decisions, was in question; and thirdly, he had to decide how to respond to theft by a temporary (...) employee who happened to be the son of a prized member of his staff. In each case, employees were looking for Matt to demonstrate appropriate leadership and sound judgment. (shrink)
Libertarian Papers is pleased to announce that Matthew McCaffrey has agreed to serve as the journal’s Editor. A PhD candidate at the University of Angers, Mises Institute fellow, and winner of the 2010 Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics, Matt previously served as the journal’s Managing Editor. He may be reached here. Stephan Kinsella [...].
Libertarian Papers is pleased to announce that Matt McCaffrey, a PhD candidate at the University of Angers, Mises Institute fellow, and winner of the 2010 Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics, has agreed to serve as the journal’s Assistant Editor.
Gers (Biol Philos, 2011) provides a positive and constructive view of the project to generalise Darwinian principles in Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen’s Darwin’s Conjecture. We note considerable overlap with his work and ours, and also with important recent work of Godfrey-Smith ( 2009 ), which Gers cites extensively. But we also note that there are differences in research objectives between Gers and Godfrey-Smith, on the one hand, and ourselves, on the other. Gers and Godfrey-Smith focus on the elucidation of (...) the most general principles possible. Our aim is to derive principles that are sufficiently abstract to span the natural and human social worlds, and then add additional principles to help understand the Darwinian evolution of human society. Furthermore, Gers and Godfrey-Smith critique a replicator concept that is different from ours. Once these points are made apparent, the criticisms are essentially disabled, and we end up in a position with different but complementary and overlapping research projects. (shrink)
In the wake of much previous work on Gilles Deleuze's relations to other thinkers (including Bergson, Spinoza and Leibniz), his relation to Kant is now of great and active interest and a thriving area of research. In the context of the wider debate between 'naturalism' and 'transcendental philosophy', the implicit dispute between Deleuze's 'transcendental empiricism' and Kant's 'transcendental idealism' is of prime philosophical concern. -/- Bringing together the work of international experts from both Deleuze scholarship and Kant scholarship, Thinking Between (...) Deleuze and Kant addresses explicitly the varied and various connections between these two great European philosophers, providing key material for understanding the central philosophical problems in the wider 'naturalism/ transcendental philosophy' debate. The book reflects an area of great current interest in Deleuze Studies and initiates an ongoing interest in Deleuze within Kant scholarship. The contributors are Mick Bowles, Levi R. Bryant, Patricia Farrell, Christian Kerslake, Matt Lee, Michael J. Olson, Henry Somers-Hall and Edward Willatt. (shrink)
Matt Beech traces the ideological roots of the Labour Party from its nineteenth century origins in the Labour Movement, through the twentieth century, until the years under Tony Blair. He claims that New Labour in power evolved as a revisionist social democratic government and traces its search for new political ideas both to the New Right and Old Labour. Using interviews with former Labour politicians, advisers and academics, he presents an original and comprehensive analysis of Labour's political philosophy.
These days almost everyone seems to think it obvious that equality of opportunity is at least part of what constitutes a fair society. At the same time they are so vague about what equality of opportunity actually amounts to that it can begin to look like an empty term, a convenient shorthand for the way jobs (or for that matter university places, or positions of power, or merely places on the local sports team) should be allocated, whatever that happens to (...) be. Matt Cavanagh offers a highly provocative and original new view, suggesting that the way we think about equality and opportunity should be radically changed. (shrink)
In this lively and accessible book, Matt Matravers considers the highly contested role of responsibility in politics, morality, and the law. He asks, what are we doing when we hold people responsible in deciding questions of distributive justice or of punishment? and considers the role of philosophy in answering this very contemporary question.
The first of the new Theory and History series, Matt Perry's punchy andaccessible volume examines Marxism's enormous impact on the way historians approach their subject. Perry offers both a concise introduction to the Marxist view of history and Marxism historical writing, and a guide to its relevance to students' own work.
Eric Rayner, a psychoanalyst in private practice, has written the first clear introduction to Matte-Blanco's key concepts for psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. While Matte-Blanco's theories on the structure of the unconscious and the way in which it operates are generally recognized to be the most original since those of Freud, many people find his use of terminology from mathematics and logic difficult to understand. In this book, Rayner sets out the central ideas and then shows, with examples, how they relate to (...) clinical practice. He also describes how the ideas are related to those of people in other disciplines--mathematics, logic, psychology (specifically Piaget), and anthropology, among others. Drawing on the work of a group of people who have been inspired by Matte-Blanco's thinking to extend their own ideas and test them out in the consulting room, this book reveals the significance of Matte-Blanco's thought for future research. (shrink)
This paper argues that a sweatshop worker's choice to accept the conditions of his or her employment is morally significant, both as an exercise of autonomy and as an expression of preference. This fact establishes a moral claim against interference in the conditions of sweatshop labor by third parties such as governments or consumer boycott groups. It should also lead us to doubt those who call for MNEs to voluntarily improve working conditions, at least when their arguments are based on (...) the claim that workers have a moral right to such improvement. These conclusions are defended against three objections: 1) that sweatshop workers' consent to the conditions of their labor is not fully voluntary, 2) that sweatshops' offer of additional labor options is part of an overall package that actually harms workers, 3) that even if sweatshop labor benefits workers, it is nevertheless wrongfully exploitative. (shrink)
Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the philosophic issues surrounding price gouging, and to argue that the common moral condemnation of it is largely mistaken. I make this (...) argument in three steps, by rebutting three widely held beliefs about the ethics of price gouging: 1) that laws prohibiting price gouging are morally justified, 2) that price gouging is morally impermissible behavior, even if it ought not be illegal, and 3) that price gouging reflects poorly on the moral character of those who engage in it, even if the act itself is not morally impermissible. (shrink)
This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...) at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the ﬂow of time. I argue that ‘no backward branching’ prohibits Belnap’s theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justiﬁcation. (shrink)
This book aims to answer the question of why, and by what right, some people punish others. With a groundbreaking new theory, Matravers argues that the justification of punishment must be embedded in a larger political and moral theory. He also uses the problem of punishment to undermine contemporary accounts of justice.
We review recent developments in ethical pluralism, ethical particularism, Kantian intuitionism, rights theory, and climate change ethics, and show the relevance of these developments in ethical theory to contemporary business ethics. This paper explains why pluralists think that ethical decisions should be guided by multiple standards and why particularists emphasize the crucial role of context in determining sound moral judgments. We explain why Kantian intuitionism emphasizes the discerning power of intuitive reason and seek to integrate that with the comprehensiveness of (...) Kant’s moral framework. And we show how human rights can be grounded in human agency, and explain the connections between human rights and climate change. (shrink)
It is commonly claimed that workers in sweatshops are wrongfully exploited by their employers. The economist's standard response to this claim is to point out that sweatshops provide their workers with tremendous benefits, more than most workers elsewhere in the economy receive and more than most of those who complain about sweatshop exploitation provide. Perhaps, though, the wrongfulness of sweatshop exploitation is to be found not in the discrete interaction between a sweatshop and its employees, but in the unjust political (...) and economic institutions against which that interaction takes place. This paper tries to assess what role, if any, consideration of background injustice should play in the correct understanding of exploitation. Its answer, in brief, is that it should play fairly little. Structural injustice matters, of course, but it does not typically matter for determining whether a sweatshop is acting exploitatively, and it does not typically matter in a way that grounds any kind of special moral responsibility or fault on the part of sweatshops or the Multinational Enterprises with which they contract. (shrink)
The fact that persons are separate in some descriptive sense is relatively uncontroversial. But one of the distinctive ideas of contemporary liberal political philosophy is that the descriptive fact of our separateness is normatively momentous. John Rawls and Robert Nozick both take the separateness of persons to provide a foundation for their rejection of utilitarianism and for their own positive political theories. So why do their respective versions of liberalism look so different? This paper claims that the difference is based (...) in Rawls' and Nozick's differing understandings of the morally significant aspects of personhood, and argues that respect for separateness is a value better suited to defend Nozickian libertarianism than Rawlsian liberalism. (shrink)
Ordinary morality judges agents blameworthy for negligently produced harms. In this paper I offer two main reasons for thinking that explaining just how negligent agents are responsible for the harms they produce is more problematic than one might think. First, I show that negligent conduct is characterized by the lack of conscious control over the harm, which conflicts with the ordinary view that responsibility for something requires at least some conscious control over it. Second, I argue that negligence is relevantly (...) indistinguishable from inadvertence, which is ordinarily thought to excuse agents from responsibility. I argue that the parallels between negligence and inadvertence suggest that negligent agents are not responsible for the harms they produce, while proposing an alternative model for distinguishing between negligence and inadvertence that does justice to our intuitions. (shrink)
The central question animating liberal thought is: How can people live together as free and equal? This question is being reinvigorated by the emergence of what we will call neoclassical liberalism. Neoclassical liberals, such as David Schmidtz, Gerald Gaus, Charles Griswold, Jacob Levy, Matt Zwolinski, Will Wilkinson, and we, the authors, share classical liberalism’s commitment to robust economic liberties and property rights as well as modern or “high” liberalism’s commitment to social justice. On the neoclassical liberal view, part of (...) the justification for a society’s basic structure is that it produces conditions where citizens have substantive liberty, and can thus confront each other as free and equal. The basic structure of society is evaluable on the kinds of outcomes produced for citizens. Neoclassical liberals combine a robust commitment to social justice—a commitment as robust as that of high liberals—with a commitment to more extensive set of basic liberties than that advocated by high liberals. Neoclassical liberalism thus stakes out a claim to be the morally ambitious form of liberalism. (shrink)
This paper develops my position on the ethics of price gouging in response to Jeremy Snyder's article, "What's the Matter with Price Gouging." First, it explains how the "nonworseness claim" supports the moral permissibility of price gouging, even if it does not show that price gougers are morally virtuous agents. Second, it argues that questions about price gouging and distributive justice must be answered in light of the relevant possible institutional alternatives, and that Snyder's proposed alternatives to price gouging fare (...) worse on the dimension of justice than a system in which goods are allocated by a system of market prices. (shrink)
This paper is an encyclopedia entry on the political philosophy of libertarianism, written for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It discusses the major contemporary strands of libertarianism and their historical roots, and presents some of the main criticisms of these strands. Its focus is on libertarianism as a doctrine about distributive justice and political authority, and specifically on the consequentialist and natural rights formulations of these views.
Many people have a strong intuition that there is something morally objectionable about playing violent video games, particularly with increases in the number of people who are playing them and the games' alleged contribution to some highly publicized crimes. In this paper,I use the framework of utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethical theories to analyze the possibility that there might be some philosophical foundation for these intuitions. I raise the broader question of whether or not participating in authentic simulations of immoral (...) acts in generalis wrong. I argue that neither the utilitarian, nor the Kantian has substantial objections to violent game playing, although they offer some important insights into playing games in general and what it is morally to be a ``good sport.'' The Aristotelian, however, has a plausible and intuitive way to protest participation in authentic simulations of violent acts in terms of character: engaging in simulated immoral actserodes one's character and makes it more difficult for one to live a fulfilled eudaimonic life. (shrink)
Whatever else might be said about the Lockean and Hobbesian states of nature, it is widely believe that they are mutually incompatible. One or the other (or neither) is a correct way of thinking about the state of nature, but not both. This paper argues that this intuitively plausible claim is incorrect - if not as a matter of textual interpretation, then as a matter of analysis of the concepts that we have inherited from those texts. Not only does it (...) make sense to talk about a Hobbesian and Lockean state of nature existing simultaneously, but doing so allows us to draw important and novel insights about important contemporary questions in political philosophy. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as "a relic of a bygone age." This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘time symmetry’ of (...) fundamental physics as it appears in the argument, and offer two alternative interpretations. We argue that: (1) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the time-reversal invariance of physical theories, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument should be rejected; and (2) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the temporally bidirectional nomic dependence relations of physical laws, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument is far more plausible. We defend the second reading as continuous with Russell’s writings, and consider the consequences of the bidirectionality of nomic dependence relations in physics for the metaphysics of causation. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to raise a question about the relationship between theories of responsibility, on the one hand, and a commitment to conscious attitudes, on the other. Our question has rarely been raised previously. Among those who believe in the reality of human freedom, compatibilists have traditionally devoted their energies to providing an account that can avoid any commitment to the falsity of determinism while successfully accommodating a range of intuitive examples. Libertarians, in contrast, have aimed to (...) show that either physical indeterminacy or a certain kind of agent causation can find a place in the world for what they take to be genuine freedom. Few have considered whether moral responsibility requires a commitment to conscious attitudes.2 Our question derives from a confluence of two sources. First, there is reason to think that conscious attitudes matter to theories of responsibility, either directly, as a result of the latter’s commitments, or indirectly, by virtue of the assumptions that they make about certain intuitive examples. Second, there is accumulating evidence suggesting that there aren’t any conscious mental states possessing the sorts of causal roles required of propositional attitudes. Since theorists of responsibility should in general be concerned to make their views compatible with plausible claims about the natural world, the implications of this data should be carefully considered. Our aim is therefore to motivate and begin exploring answers to the following conditional question: If it should turn out that there are no conscious attitudes, then what would be the implications of this fact (if any) for theories of responsibility? We propose that theorists who aren’t skeptics about moral responsibility should examine their accounts, asking whether their theories (or the examples that motivate them) could survive the discovery that there are no conscious judgments, decisions, or evaluations. Since we take it that moral theorizing in general should operate with the weakest possible empirical assumptions about the natural world, such theorists should consider whether their accounts could be motivated in such a way as to be free of any commitment to the existence of conscious attitudes.. (shrink)
This paper argues that egalitarian theories should be judged by the degree to which they meet four different challenges. Fundamentalist egalitarianism, which contends that certain inequalities are intrinsically bad or unjust regardless of their consequences, fails to meet these challenges. Building on discussions by T.M. Scanlon and David Miller, we argue that egalitarianism is better understood in terms of commitments to six egalitarian objectives. A consequence of our view, in contrast to Martin O'Neill's “non-intrinsic egalitarianism,“ is that egalitarianism is better (...) understood as a family of views than as a single ethical position. (shrink)
This collection brings together essays which reflect on the detailed arguments of "What We Owe to Each Other", and which comment critically both on Scanlon's contractualism and his revised understandings of motivation and morality. The essays illustrate the uses of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to moral and political problems and in so doing they provide an assessment of the ability of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to other forms of ethical theory. So, the central questions are: "What is the (...) best interpretation of the theory advanced in "'What We Owe to Each Other?'"; "How does the theory, so interpreted, stand up to criticism?"; and "How does contractualism handle certain difficult problems in politics and ethics?". To answer these questions, the collection includes the work of distinguished political philosophers. The resulting volume will make an important and original contribution to the literature on Scanlon, on contractualism and on contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
In the contemporary moral responsibility debate, most theorists seem to be giving accounts of responsibility in the ‘desert-entailing sense’. Despite this agreement, little has been said about the notion of desert that is supposedly entailed. In this paper I propose an understanding of desert sufficient to help explain why the blameworthy and praiseworthy deserve blame and praise, respectively. I do so by drawing upon what might seem an unusual resource. I appeal to so-called Fitting-Attitude accounts of value to help inform (...) a conception of desert or merit, one that can be usefully applied to discussions of moral responsibility. I argue that the view, which I call, Desert as Fittingness (DAF), merits additional attention. I do so by making two claims: First, that it does better than extant Fitting Attitude accounts of blameworthiness and praiseworthiness; second, that it has an initial plausibility with respect to informing a general account of desert. While these reasons are insufficient to show the view is true, they do make the case for taking the view seriously. (shrink)
According to Rosalind Hursthouse’s virtue based account of right action, an act is right if it is what a fully virtuous person would do in that situation. Robert Johnson has criticized the account on the grounds that the actions a non-virtuous person should take are often uncharacteristic of the virtuous person, and thus Hursthouse’s account of right action is too narrow. The non-virtuous need to take steps to improve themselves morally, and the fully virtuous person need not take these steps. (...) So Johnson argues that any virtue based account of right action will have to find a way to ground a moral obligation to improve oneself. This paper argues that there is an account of virtue that can offer a partial solution to Johnson’s challenge, an account where virtue is a type of practical skill and in which the virtuous person is seen as having expertise. The paper references the account of skill acquisition developed by Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Their research demonstrates that novices in a skill have to employ different strategies to act well than the strategies used by the experts, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis provides support for Johnson’s claim that the actions of the non-virtuous will differ from the virtuous. On the other hand, their research suggests that there is no separating the commitment to improve yourself from the possession of expertise, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis has the resources for grounding the obligation to improve oneself in an account of virtue. (shrink)
I argue against unqualified acceptance of the principle of deductive closure (DC): that, if p follows deductively from premises that are already known, we are in a position to know p. DC, I claim, is a sorites premise; it seems intuitively irresistible, but indiscriminate application of it leads to absurd conclusions. Furthermore, a theory on which the application of DC is restricted explains our practice of deriving new knowledge from old knowledge better than a theory on which our application of (...) DC is unrestricted. This restriction on the application of DC allows contextualists to meet an argument of Hawthorne’s that contextualism must lead either to absurd knowledge attributions or to constant shifting of the standards for knowledge. Even if the standard of knowledge remains constant, the absurd knowledge attribution is the conclusion of a sorites argument and should be rejected. (shrink)
This essay is intended to provide an introductory overview of the philosophical problems involved in understanding the nature and value of liberty, and the range and categories of philosophic solutions that have been offered to those problems. This essay covers the distinction between negative and positive liberty, MacCallum's tripartite analysis of liberty, debates over the subject of liberty and the significance of various constraints on liberty, and the significance of philosophical analyses of liberty for political philosophy. Concludes with a short (...) bibliographical essay with suggestions for further reading. Appropriate for first-year to advanced undergraduates. (shrink)
Antony Duff has argued that an important precondition of criminal liability is that the state has the moral standing to call the offender to account. Conditions of severe social injustice, if allowed or perpetuated by the state, can undermine this standing. Duffs argument appeals to the ordinary idea that a persons own behaviour can sometimes negate his standing to call others to account. It is argued that this is an important issue, but that the analogy with individual standing is problematic. (...) Moreover, Duffs account of standing needs to address two interconnected issues: first, when and in what way the state can lose its standing to call offenders to account, and second, over what range of offences. Key Words: criminal liability Duff punishment social injustice. (shrink)
Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. But the alleged wrongness of price gouging has been seriously under-theorized. This paper examines the argument that price gouging is morally objectionable and/or the proper subject of legal regulation because of the (...) context of market failure in which it occurs. It argues that even if claims of market failure or true, they do not generate these normative conclusions. (shrink)
Julia Annas is one of the few modern writers on virtue that has attempted to recover the ancient idea that virtues are similar to skills. In doing so, she is arguing for a particular account of virtue, one in which the intellectual structure of virtue is analogous to the intellectual structure of practical skills. The main benefit of this skill model of virtue is that it can ground a plausible account of the moral epistemology of virtue. This benefit, though, is (...) only available to some accounts of virtue. Annas claims that Aristotle rejects this skill model of virtue, and so the model of virtues as a skill that Annas endorses for the modern virtue theory is Socratic.This paper argues that while Aristotle rejects the Socratic model of virtue as a skill, he does not reject the model of virtue as a skill altogether. Annas has mischaracterized Aristotle’s position on the skill model, because she has not recognized that Aristotle endorses a different account of the structure of skill than the one put forth by Socrates. In addition, recent research on expertise provides an account of skills very much at odds with the description of skills offered by Annas, but similar to the account endorsed by Aristotle.Contrary to Annas, not only is the skill model of virtue compatible with a neo-Aristotelian account of virtue, but it also appears that basing a skill model of virtue on a Socratic account of virtue is likely to prove unsuccessful. (shrink)
This paper provides a brief overview of the relationship between libertarian political theory and the Universal Basic Income (UBI). It distinguishes between different forms of libertarianism and argues that a one form, classical liberalism, is compatible with and provides some grounds of support for UBI. A classical liberal UBI, however, is likely to be much smaller than the sort of UBI defended by those on the political left. And there are both contingent empirical reasons and principled moral reasons for doubting (...) that the classical liberal case for UBI will be ultimately successful at all. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology covers a broad range of topics in this field. It is not just a textbook focusing on evolutionary theory but encompasses ethics, social science and behaviour too. This essay outlines the scope of the work, discusses some points on methodology in the philosophy of biology, and then moves on to a more detailed analysis of cultural evolution and the applicability of a philosophy of biology toolkit to the social sciences. It is noted that (...) concepts like the species concept may generalise to other domains whilst failing to account for the nature of all species. Finally, the author notes the omission of any discussion of information in biology. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him. This portion of the Encyclopedia entry will focus on his metaphysics and epistemology in one of his most important works, The Critique of Pure Reason . (All references will be to the A (1781) and B(1787) edition pages in Werner Pluhar's translation. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996.) (...) A large part of Kant's work addresses the question "What can we know?" The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the supersensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind's access to the empirical realm of space and time. (shrink)
In a recent paper in this journal, Matt King and Peter Carruthers argue that the common assumption that agents are only (or especially) morally responsible for actions caused by attitudes of which they are conscious needs to be rethought. They claim that there is persuasive evidence that we are never conscious of our propositional attitudes; we ought therefore to design our theories of moral responsibility to accommodate this fact. In this reply, I argue that the evidence they adduce need (...) not worry philosophers. There is an ongoing debate over the role that consciousness of our attitudes plays in morally responsible behaviour, but the evidence they produce does not favour either side. Even if we are not conscious of our propositional attitudes as such - even if we lack introspective access to their content - we nevertheless reliably come to know their content. There are systematic differences between those attitudes of whose content we come to be aware and those we do not, and these differences are directly relevant to our moral responsibility. Moreover, coming to be aware of the content of our attitudes has effects on our behaviour, and these effects are directly relevant to our moral responsibility. The causal route whereby we come to be conscious of the content of our attitudes is irrelevant to whether they play the right kinds of roles to distinguish between actions for which we are responsible and actions for which we ought to be excused. (shrink)
Some philosophers of education have recently argued that educators can more or less ignore children's global self-esteem without failing them educationally in any important way. This paper draws on an attachment theoretic account of self-esteem to argue that this view is mistaken. I argue that understanding self-esteem's origins in attachment supports two controversial claims. First, self-esteem is a crucial element of the confidence and motivation children need in order to engage in and achieve educational pursuits, especially in certain domains of (...) instruction such as physical education. Second, self-esteem can be facilitated socially, through an appropriate arrangement of school institutions, thus without hindering the pursuit of other high priority aims such as a challenging academic curriculum. Consequently I maintain that educators who ignore self-esteem overlook something educationally important. (shrink)
For thousands of years, people have used nature to justify their political, moral, and social judgments. Such appeals to the moral authority of nature are still very much with us today, as heated debates over genetically modified organisms and human cloning testify. The Moral Authority of Nature offers a wide-ranging account of how people have used nature to think about what counts as good, beautiful, just, or valuable. The eighteen essays cover a diverse array of topics, including the connection of (...) cosmic and human orders in ancient Greece, medieval notions of sexual disorder, early modern contexts for categorizing individuals and judging acts as "against nature," race and the origin of humans, ecological economics, and radical feminism. The essays also range widely in time and place, from archaic Greece to early twentieth-century China, medieval Europe to contemporary America. Scholars from a wide variety of fields will welcome The Moral Authority of Nature , which provides the first sustained historical survey of its topic. Contributors: Danielle Allen, Joan Cadden, Lorraine Daston, Fa-ti Fan, Eckhardt Fuchs, Valentin Groebner, Abigail J. Lustig, Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy, Katharine Park, Matt Price, Robert N. Proctor, Helmut Puff, Robert J. Richards, Londa Schiebinger, Laura Slatkin, Julia Adeney Thomas, Fernando Vidal. (shrink)
AI: Matt Strohl firstname.lastname@example.org We start with two traditional arguments: that the apparently unnecessary pain in the universe shows that there is no god (the problem of evil), and that the apparent designed nature of the universe shows that there is a god (the argument from design). We then consider various questions in creation ethics (e.g., what sort of genetic modifications to one's offspring are justifiable) in the light of the theological arguments we have discussed so far. Next, starting (...) with a discussion Pascal's wager, we assess the extent to which one may reasonably control one's beliefs and desires. Finally, we ask whether the sources of our own beliefs and desires (concerning what is valuable, or what is worth doing) show that life is absurd. (shrink)
Many philosophical and public discussions of the ethical aspects of violent computer games typically centre on the relation between playing violent videogames and its supposed direct consequences on violent behaviour. But such an approach rests on a controversial empirical claim, is often one-sided in the range of moral theories used, and remains on a general level with its focus on content alone. In response to these problems, I pick up Matt McCormick’s thesis that potential harm from playing computer games (...) is best construed as harm to one’s character, and propose to redirect our attention to the question how violent computer games influence the moral character of players. Inspired by the work of Martha Nussbaum, I sketch a positive account of how computer games can stimulate an empathetic and cosmopolitan moral development. Moreover, rather than making a general argument applicable to a wide spectrum of media, my concern is with specific features of violent computer games that make them especially morally problematic in terms of empathy and cosmopolitanism, features that have to do with the connections between content and medium, and between virtuality and reality. I also discuss some remaining problems. In this way I hope contribute to a less polarised discussion about computer games that does justice to the complexity of their moral dimension, and to offer an account that is helpful to designers, parents, and other stakeholders. (shrink)
Control-based accounts of moral responsibility face a familiar problem. There are some actions which look like obvious cases of responsibility but which appear equally obviously to lack the requisite control. Drunk-driving cases are canonical instances. The familiar solution to this problem is to appeal to tracing. Though the drunk driver isn't in control at the time of the crash, this is because he previously drank to excess, an action over which he did plausibly exercise the requisite control. Tracing seeks to (...) show that an agent's responsibility for some outcome (over which he lacked control) can be traced back to a prior exercise of control which caused (in the right way) the later lack of control. These and related cases have led many theorists to treat tracing as an indispensable component of any adequate theory of responsibility. This paper argues that tracing is in fact dispensable. I offer two strategies for explaining responsibility in drunk-driving cases (and those with a similar structure): responsibility can either be exhaustively modeled on recklessness, or exhaustively modeled on negligence. Neither explanation, however, relies on tracing. If I'm right, the case for tracing is seriously weakened. (shrink)
This is a review of Horacio Spector's book on the occassion of its publiaction in paperback form in 2007. The version of the review posted here includes a number of footnotes and references that had to be deleted in the final published version.
Both utilitarian and deontological moral theories locate the source of our moral beliefs in the wrong sorts of considerations. One way this failure manifests itself, we argue, is in the ways these theories analyze the proper human relationship toward the non-human environment. Another, more notorious, manifestation of this failure is found in Derek Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion. Our goal is to explore the connection between these two failures, and to suggest that they are failures of act-centered moral theories in general. As (...) such, they cannot be fixed by simply developing a better version of such a theory. Virtue-based theories, we suggest, provide a more promising alternative. (shrink)
Manipulation arguments have become almost a cottage industry in the moral responsibility literature. These cases are used for a variety of purposes, familiarly to undermine some proffered set of conditions on responsibility, usually compatibilist conditions. The basic idea is to conceive of a case which intuitively includes responsibility-undermining manipulation but which meets the target account’s set of sufficient conditions on responsibility. The manipulation thereby serves as a counterexample to the target theory. More specifically, recent concern with manipulation cases has often (...) been part of an argument for historical conditions on moral responsibility. Exercising control over an action is not necessarily enough to be responsible for it, one must have come to exercise that control in a non-deviant way. Manipulation cases are meant to illustrate how an agent can exercise the supposed sufficient control over an action, and yet intuitively fail to be responsible as a result of some manipulation. The argument concludes that manipulation of this sort must then be ruled out by one’s conditions on responsibility. Accounts that fail to rule out such manipulation are objectionable as a result. Manipulation arguments usually fit a general schema.1 One presents a case intuitively involving responsibility-undermining manipulation, but where all the conditions of the target account are met. Then one argues that there is no relevant difference between that case and ordinary action under the target account. Thus, one can conclude, the target account gets the wrong verdict for manipulation cases. Some variations on this schema seek a slightly grander conclusion. For example, some incompatibilists argue from the manipulation case through a principle that claims there to be no relevant difference between such a case and ordinary action in a deterministic universe. Thus, the conclusion reached is that if determinism is true, all responsibility is undermined. (shrink)
The significant theoretical objections that have been raised against memetics have not received adequate defense, even though there is ongoing empirical research in this field. In this paper I identify the key objections to memetics as a viable explanatory tool in studies of cultural evolution. I attempt to defuse these objections by arguing that they fail to show the absence of replication, high-fidelity copying, or lineages in the cultural domain. I further respond to meme critics by arguing that, despite competing (...) explanations of cultural evolution, memetics has unique explanatory power. This is largely founded upon the increasing likelihood of formulating a workable fitness measure for memes, a memetic index. I conclude that memes must be integrated with psychological bias and population-dynamic approaches to cultural evolution. (shrink)
During the last decade, scholarly criticism of sweatshops has grown increasingly sophisticated. This article reviews the new moral and economic foundations of these criticisms and argues that they are flawed. It seeks to advance the debate over sweatshops by noting the extent to which the case for sweatshops does, and does not, depend on the existence of competitive markets. It attempts to more carefully distinguish between different ways in which various parties might seek to modify sweatshop behavior, and to point (...) out that there is more room for consensus regarding some of these methods than has previously been recognized. It addresses the question of when sweatshops are justified in violating local labor laws. And it assesses the relevance of recent literature on coercion and exploitation as it applies to sweatshop labor. It concludes with a list of challenges that critics of sweatshops must meet to productively advance the debate. (shrink)
This essay compares Rawls's and Nozick's theories of justice. Nozick thinks patterned principles of justice are false, and offers a historical alternative. Along the way, Nozick accepts Rawls's claim that the natural distribution of talent is morally arbitrary, but denies that there is any short step from this premise to any conclusion that the natural distribution is unjust. Nozick also agrees with Rawls on the core idea of natural rights liberalism: namely, that we are separate persons. However, Rawls and Nozick (...) interpret that idea in different ways-momentously different ways. The tension between their interpretations is among the forces shaping political philosophy to this day. Footnotesa For comments, I thank Alyssa Bernstein, Geoffrey Brennan, Jason Brennan, Tom Christiano, Andrew I. Cohen, Andrew Jason Cohen, Tyler Cowen, Teresa Donovan, David Estlund, Jerry Gaus, Allen Habib, Alex Kaufman, Mark LeBar, Loren Lomasky (especially Loren, for insight and inspiration over a period of many years), Cara Nine, Ellen Frankel Paul, Guido Pincione, Thomas Pogge, Dan Russell, Michael Smith, Horacio Spector, and Matt Zwolinski. I thank the Earhart Foundation for financial support in the fall of 2002 and Australian National University's Research School of Social Sciences for its wonderful hospitality during a ten week stay in 2002. The support of the folks at Liberty Fund in Indianapolis during the final stages of this project goes beyond anything I will ever be able properly to thank them for. (shrink)
The debate over whether ‘fair-play’ can serve as a justification for legal punishment has recently resumed with an exchange between Richard Dagger and Antony Duff. According to the fair-play theorist, criminals deserve punishment for breaking the law because in so doing the criminal upsets a fair distribution of benefits and burdens, and punishment rectifies this unfairness. Critics frequently level two charges against this idea. The first is that it often gives the wrong explanation of what makes crime deserving of punishment, (...) since the wrongfulness of murder is not primarily about unfairness. The second is that it implies that all crimes deserve the same degree of punishment, because all crimes create the same degree of unfairness. These objections are viewed as revealing fatal flaws in the theory. Although Dagger attempts to meet these objections by drawing on political theory, Duff responds that this still draws upon the wrong kind of resources for meeting these objections. This paper argues that these two objections rest on a crucial mistake that has been overlooked by both the defenders and critics of fair-play. This mistake results from failing to distinguish between what justifies punishment as a response to crime (which requires a common element to all crime) and what justifies attaching particular penalties to crimes (which requires making distinctions in the severity of crime). The arguments presented will give reasons to consider fair-play as a viable justification for legal punishment. (shrink)
Recognition theorists have claimed that a culturally egalitarian societal environment is a crucial social basis of a sense of self-worth. In doing so they have often drawn on noncogntivist social-psychological theorizing. This paper argues that this theorizing does not support the recognition theorist's position. It is argued that attachment theory, together with recent empirical evidence, support a more limited vision of self-worth's social bases according to which associational ties, basic rights and liberties, and economic and educational opportunity are what really (...) matter. (shrink)
Darker skin correlates with reduced opportunities and negative health outcomes. Recent discoveries related to the genes associated with skin tone, and the historical use of cosmetics to conform to racist appearance standards, suggest effective skin-lightening products may soon become available. This article examines whether medical interventions of this sort should be permitted, subsidized, or restricted, using Norman Daniels's framework for determining what justice requires in terms of protecting health. I argue that Daniels's expansive view of the requirements of justice in (...) meeting health needs offers some support for recognizing a societal obligation to provide this kind of ‘enhancement,’ in light of the strong connections between skin tone and health outcomes. On balance, however, Daniels's framework offers compelling reasons to reject insurance coverage for skin-lightening medical interventions, including the likely ineffectiveness of such technologies in mitigating racial health disparities, and the danger that covering skin-lightening enhancements would undermine public support for cooperative schemes that protect health. In fact, justice may require limiting access to these technologies because of their potential to exacerbate the negative effects of racism. (shrink)
In his recent Philosophers’ Imprint paper “The (mostly harmless) inconsistency of knowledge attributions” [Weiner, 2009], Matt Weiner argues that the semantics of the expression “knows that”, as it is used in attributions of knowledge like “Hannah knows that the bank will be open,” are inconsistent, but that this inconsistency is “mostly harmless.” He presents his view as an alternative to the invariantist, contextualist and relativist approaches currently prevalent in the literature, (e.g. [Stanley, 2005], [DeRose, 1995], [Hawthorne, 2006], [MacFarlane, 2005]) (...) and argues that it avoids important disadvantages of each. Yet in calling the supposed inconsistency of knowledge attributions “mostly harmless”, Weiner implies that his view does not have new disadvantages of its own. My purpose in the present paper is to argue that the inconsistency and harmlessness theses cannot be jointly maintained: if we accept that the semantics of ‘know’—or indeed any word—are inconsistent, then we face a dilemma: one horn is dialetheism, the view that there there are true contradictions, the other is the view that that semantic competence in English requires belief in, or similar commitment to, falsehoods. I will argue that neither of these options is well described as “mostly harmless.” The paper is structured as follows: in the first part I present Weiner’s view and his arguments for it. Then in section 2 I compare the question of whether the semantics of ‘knows that’ are inconsistent to the much older controversy over whether the semantics of the expression ‘is true’ are inconsistent. In section 3 I will present Hans Herzberger’s arguments from the 1960s for thinking that no expression in a natural language can have inconsistent semantics. Finally, in section 4 I argue that although Herzberger’s argument seems anachronistic today, both contemporary ways of avoiding his conclusion have significant disadvantages. (shrink)
In Knowledge and Lotteries, Hawthorne argues for a view on which whether a speaker knows that p depends on whether her practical environment makes it appropriate for her to use p in practical reasoning. It may seem that this view yields a straightforward account of why knowledge is important, based on the role of knowledge in practical reasoning. I argue that this is not so; practical reasoning does not motivate us to care about knowledge in itself. At best, practical reasoning (...) motivates us to care about several other concepts in themselves, and ascriptions of knowledge provide economical summaries of these independently important desiderata. (shrink)
Educational neutrality states that decisions about school curricula and instruction should be made independently of particular comprehensive doctrines. Many political philosophers of education reject this view in favor of some non-neutral alternative. Contrary to what one might expect, some prominent liberal neutralists have also rejected this view in parts of their work. This paper has two purposes. The first part of the paper concerns the relationship between liberal neutrality and educational neutrality. I examine arguments by Rawls and Nagel and argue (...) that some of the same arguments they use to justify liberal neutrality also justify educational neutrality; thus, if we accept these arguments for liberal neutrality, we should also accept educational neutrality. The second part of the paper defends educational neutrality against objections that it is impossible and objections that it is undesirable. (shrink)
I argue for an alternative to invariantist, contextualist, and relativist semantics for ‘know’. This is that our use of ‘know’ is inconsistent; it is governed by several mutually inconsistent inference principles. Yet this inconsistency does not prevent us from assigning an effective content to most individual knowledge ascriptions, and it leads to trouble only in exceptional circumstances. Accordingly, we have no reason to abandon our inconsistent knowledge-talk.
The notion of agency has been explored within research in moral psychology and, quite separately, within research in linguistics. Moral psychologists have suggested that agency attributions play a role in moral judgments, while linguists have argued that agency attributions play a role in syntactic intuitions. -/- To explore the connection between these two lines of research, we report the results of an experiment in which we manipulate syntactic cues for agency and show a corresponding impact on moral judgments. This result (...) suggests that the two effects observed previously — in morality and in syntax — might each be a reflection of a more general capacity to understand event structure. (shrink)
In the United States, discrimination based on race, religion, and other suspect categories is strictly regulated when it takes place in hiring, promotion, and other areas of the world of commerce. Discrimination in one's private affairs, however, is not subject to legal regulation at all. Assuming that both sorts of discrimination can be equally morally wrong, why then should this disparity in legal treatment exist? This paper attempts to find a theory that can simultaneously explain these divergent treatments by providing (...) an account that fits the various aspects of our legal practices and our attitudes toward them, and justify those practices by providing an account that makes the divergence attractive from a moral point of view. The sorts of basis for the disparity are discussed: differences in our epistemological access to private and commercial discrimination; different effects these forms of discrimination have on their victims; and differences in the relative importance of the value of autonomy at stake. I conclude that while considerations of autonomy provide the best explanation for the disparity in attitudes toward the legal treatment of discrimination, they still fall well short of an explanation that completely fits and justifies our current practice. Specifically, I suggest that the disparity between our current legal treatment of private versus commercial discrimination is based on a mistaken belief about the greater importance of autonomy in the private realm than in the commercial sphere. Because this belief is mistaken, a practice designed to consistently respect the value of autonomy ought to differentiate less between private and commercial discrimination, either by regulating the former more heavily, or by regulating the latter less heavily. (shrink)
Subjective theories of wellbeing place authority concerning what benefits a person with that person herself, or limit wellbeing to psychological states. But how well off we are seems to depend on two different concerns, how well we are doing and how well things are going for us. I argue that two powerful subjective theories fail to adequately account for this and that principled arguments favoring subjectivism are unsound and poorly motivated. In the absence of more compelling evidence that how things (...) go for us cannot directly constitute our wellbeing, I conclude that wellbeing is objective. (shrink)
Abstract Centuries of both theologians and astronomers have wondered what the Star of Bethlehem (Matt 2:2, 9) actually was, from miracle to planetary conjunction. Here a history of this search is presented, along with the difficulties the various proposals have had. The natural theories of the Star are found to be a recent innovation, and now almost exclusively maintained by scientists rather than theologians. Current problems with various theories are recognized, as well as general problems with the approach. The (...) interactions between the sciences and religion are categorized and explored. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; Introduction; Part I. Global Health, Definitions and Descriptions: 1. What is global health? Solly Benatar and Ross Upshur; 2. The state of global health in a radically unequal world: patterns and prospects Ron Labonte and Ted Schrecker; 3. Addressing the societal determinants of health: the key global health ethics imperative of our times Anne-Emmanuelle Birn; 4. Gender and global health: inequality and differences Lesley Doyal and Sarah Payne; 5. Heath systems and health Martin McKee; Part (...) II. Global Health Ethics, Responsibilities and Justice: Some Central Issues: 6. Is there a need for global health ethics? For and against David Hunter and Angus Dawson; 7. Justice, infectious disease and globalisation Michael Selgelid; 8. International health inequalities and global justice: toward a middle ground Norman Daniels; 9. The human right to health Jonathan Wolff; 10. Responsibility for global health? Allen Buchanan and Matt DeCamp; 11. Global health ethics: the rationale for mutual caring Solly Benatar, Abdallah Daar and Peter Singer; Part III. Analyzing Some Reasons for Poor Health: 12. Trade and health: the ethics of global rights, regulation and redistribution Meri Koivusalo; 13. Debt, structural adjustment and health Jeff Rudin and David Sanders; 14. The international arms trade and global health Salahaddin Mahmudi-Azer; 15. Allocating resources in humanitarian medicine Samia Hurst, Nathalie Mezger and Alex Mauron; 16. International aid and global health Anthony Zwi; 17. Climate change and health: risks and inequities Sharon Friel, Colin Butler and Anthony McMichael; 18. Animals, the environment and global health David Benatar; 19. The global crisis and global health Stephen Gill and Isabella Bakker; Part IV. Shaping the Future: 20. Health impact fund: how to make new medicines accessible to all Thomas Pogge; 21. Biotechnology and global health Hassan Masun, Justin Chakma and Abdallah Daar; 22. Food security and global health Lynn McIntyre and Krista Rondeau; 23. International taxation Gillian Brock; 24. Global health research: changing the agenda Tikki Pang; 25. Justice and research in developing countries Alex John London; 26. Values in global health governance Kearsley Stewart, Gerald T. Keusch and Arthur Kleinman; 27. Poverty, distance and two dimensions of ethics Jonathan Glover; 28. Teaching global health ethics James Dwyer; 29. Towards a new common sense: the need for new paradigms of global health Isabella Bakker and Stephen Gill; Index. (shrink)
One controversy about the existence of so called evolutionary forces such as natural selection and random genetic drift concerns the sense in which such “forces” can be said to interact. In this paper I explain how natural selection and random drift can interact. In particular, I show how population-level probabilities can be derived from individual-level probabilities, and explain the sense in which natural selection and drift are embodied in these population-level probabilities. I argue that whatever causal character the individual-level probabilities (...) have is then shared by the population-level probabilities, and that natural selection and random drift then have that same causal character. Moreover, natural selection and drift can then be viewed as two aspects of probability distributions over frequencies in populations of organisms. My characterization of population-level probabilities is largely neutral about what interpretation of probability is required, allowing my approach to support various positions on biological probabilities, including those which give biological probabilities one or another sort of causal character. ‡This paper has benefited from feedback on and discussions of this and earlier work. I want to thank André Ariew, Matt Barker, Lindley Darden, Patrick Forber, Nancy Hall, Mohan Matthen, Samir Okasha, Jeremy Pober, Robert Richardson, Alex Rosenberg, Eric Seidel, Denis Walsh, and Bill Wimsatt. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, HB 414A, 900 13th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35294-1260; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
This is the introductory essay to the Italian translation of Matt Ridley's "The origins of virtue", surveying the game-theoretic and evolutionary approaches to the emergence and evolution of cooperation and altruism.
The Literary Format of Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy is undoubtedly one of its more distinguishing features. During the seventeenth century, the standard convention for a work in metaphysics was a treatise or disputation. Descartes's conversational tone, writing in the first person present tense, and unique organization of chapters into "meditations," was clearly a departure from the norm. At first glance, given the sentiments expressed in the work's dedicatory letter and preface, the unconventional writing style appears to be a rhetorical (...) device. As architect for the new science, Descartes was certainly eager to gain approval for his philosophical agenda from the proper authorities, such as the .. (shrink)
Central to Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia is a defense of the legitimacy of the minimal state’s use of coercion against anarchist objections. Individuals acting within their natural rights can establish the state without committing wrongdoing against those who disagree. Nozick attempts to show that even with a natural executive right, individuals need not actually consent to incur political obligations. Nozick’s argument relies on an account of compensation to remedy the infringement of the non-consenters’ procedural rights. Compensation, however, cannot remedy (...) the infringement, for either it is superfluous to Nozick’s account of procedural rights, or it is made to play a role inconsistent with Nozick’s liberal voluntarist commitments. Nevertheless, Nozick’s account of procedural rights contains clues for how to solve the problem. Since procedural rights are incompatible with a natural executive right, Nozickeans can argue that only the state can enforce individuals’ rights without wronging anyone, thus refuting the anarchist. Thanks to Annette Dufner, Arnt Myrstad, Arthur Ripstein, Gopal Sreenivasan, James Sterba, Chloe Taylor, Sergio Tenenbaum, and Shelley Weinberg. Thanks also to Matt Zwolinski and Jonelle DePetro, who commented on earlier versions of the paper at the Central APA 2007 and at the 2006 Illinois Philosophical Association Conference (respectively). Finally, thanks to my graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for their active engagement with the ideas during a seminar on liberal theories of justice (fall 2007). (shrink)
Compensation systems are an integral part of the relationships organizations establish with their employees. For many years, researchers viewed pay systems as an efficient way to bring market-like labour exchanges inside organizations. This view suggested that only economic considerations matter for understanding how compensation systems effect organizations and their employees. Advances in organizational research, particularly those focused on issues of justice and fairness, suggest that the fully understanding the outcomes of compensation systems requires examining their psychological, social, and moral effects.