You might think a simple “No” would suffice as an answer. But there are features of Kant’s ethics that appear to be strikingly similar to virtue oriented views, so striking that some Kantians themselves have argued that Kant’s ethics in fact shares these features with virtue ethics. In what follows, I will argue against this view, though along the way I will acknowledge the features of Kant’s view that make it appear more like a kind of virtue ethics than it (...) really is. (shrink)
With most states now making sex offender registration information available to the public, journalists must balance their obligation to inform the public about potential dangers with respect for individuals' rights. This article examines the problems journalists face in truth telling and minimizing harm and offers suggestions for covering community notification. At minimum, we suggest journalists verify the accuracy of information received from police, make independent judgments about whether or not publication of sex offender registration information is warranted, and provide background (...) information on the scope and effectiveness of community notification in their areas. (shrink)
Aristotle's has been the most influential philosophy in the whole history of science. Monte Johnson examines its most controversial aspect: Aristotle's emphasis on the importance of goals and purposes to scientific understanding--his teleology. In some cases this policy has proved deeply flawed, for example in his earth-centric cosmology, or his anthropology purporting to justify slavery and male domination. But in many areas Aristotle's teleology has been successful, and remains influential, for example in adaptationist evolutionary theory, embryology, and genetics. (...) class='Hi'>Johnson's book shows also how Aristotle's theory has profound implications for environmental ethics and for the theory of value in general. (shrink)
The belief that the mind and the body are separate and that the mind is the source of all meaning has been a part of Western culture for centuries. Both philosophers and scientists have questioned this dualism, but their efforts have rarely converged. Many philosophers continue to rely on disembodied models of human thought, while scientists tend to reduce the complex process of thinking to a merely physical phenomenon. In The Meaning of the Body , Mark Johnson continues his (...) pioneering work on the exciting connections between cognitive science, language, and meaning first begun in the classic Metaphors We Live By . Johnson uses recent research into infant psychology to show how the body generates meaning even before self-consciousness has fully developed. From there he turns to cognitive neuroscience to further explore the bodily origins of meaning, thought, and language and examines the many dimensions of meaning—including images, qualities, emotions, and metaphors—that are all rooted in the body’s physical encounters with the world. Drawing on the psychology of art and pragmatist philosophy, Johnson argues that all of these aspects of meaning-making are fundamentally aesthetic. Thus the arts are the culmination of human attempts to find meaning and studying the aesthetic dimensions of our experience is crucial to unlocking the bodily sources of meaning. Brilliantly synthesizing a broad range of scientific research and philosophical inquiry in clear and original writing, Mark Johnson’s The Meaning of the Body puts forth a bold new conception of the mind rooted in the understanding that philosophy will matter to nonphilosophers only if it is built on a visceral connection to the world. (shrink)
During the last few decades, most cultural critics have come to agree that the division between "high" and "low" art is an artificial one, that Beethoven's Ninth and "Blue Suede Shoes" are equally valuable as cultural texts. In Who Needs Classical Music?, Julian Johnson challenges these assumptions about the relativism of cultural judgements. The author maintains that music is more than just "a matter of taste": while some music provides entertainment, or serves as background noise, other music claims to (...) function as art. This book considers the value of classical music in contemporary society, arguing that it remains distinctive because it works in quite different ways to most of the other music that surrounds us. This intellectually sophisticated yet accessible book offers a new and balanced defense of the specific values of classical music in contemporary culture. Who Needs Classical Music? will stimulate readers to reflect on their own investment (or lack of it) in music and art of all kinds. (shrink)
Review of Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Meulen and Guy Kahane eds., Enhancing Human Capacities Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9148-y Authors Thomas Johnson, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490.
Focusing on Truth explores the question of what truth is, balancing historical with issue-orientated discussion. The book offers a comprehensive survey of all the major theories of truth. Lawrence Johnson investigates a number of closely related matters of truth in his inquiry, such as: What sorts of things are true or false? What is attributed to them when they are said to be true or false? What do facts have to do with truth? What can we learn from previous (...) theories? The book opens with an analysis of the coherence theory of truth and then the correspondence theory of truth, as developed by Moore, Russell and Wittgenstein. Through a study of the semantic conceptions of truth, the author reveals that an adequate theory of truth must take account of the pragmatics of person, purpose, and circumstance. A full understanding of facts and truth bearers is considered central to Johnson's criticism of the opposing truth theories of J. L. Austin and P. F. Strawson. Drawing on the merits of these theories and others, while identifying their deficiencies, Johnson presents a new account of truth, based on the correlation of referential foci and the use of linguistic conventions. This account is defended as being adequate to meet the legitimate demands made on a theory of truth. Johnson argues that the account leaves scope for statements of many different sorts to be true in their own widely varying ways, without the existence of a need to posit fundamentally different kinds of truth. (shrink)
Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. But Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative studies of human reason in Metaphors (...) We Live By and The Body in the Mind, Johnson provides the tools for more practical, realistic, and constructive moral reflection. (shrink)
This is an important new critical analysis of Derrida's theory of writing, based on close readings of key texts. It reveals a dimension of Derrida's thinking that has been neglected in favor of those "deconstructionist" cliches favored by much recent literary criticism. Christopher Johnson highlights the special character of Derrida's philosophy that comes from his contact with contemporary natural science and with systems theory. This study casts new light on an exacting set of intellectual issues facing philosophy and critical (...) theory today. (shrink)
Many readers encounter the history and mythology of the Illuminati for the first time in the course of reading Angels & Demons. They typically wonder if the Illuminati is a real organization in history and, if so, how much of Dan Brown’s description is accurate. To help answer that question, we turned to George Johnson, the well-known New York Times science writer. Johnson shares several interests with Dan Brown and fans of Angels & Demons: He has written extensively (...) about the conflicts and confluences of science and religion (including contributing an essay on that topic elsewhere in this volume). He has written about quantum physics and antimatter. And, as it turns out, he has written a book that deals extensively with the Order of Illuminati, its history, and the uses of myths and legends about the strange organization by (mostly right-wing) modern conspiracy theorists. That book, Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics, was published in 1983 and remains a veritable gold mine of hard fact and analysis about the real history of the Illuminati. Even more important than the factual history presented by Johnson is his description of the vast web of myth that has grown.. (shrink)
Cornel West's reputation as a public and celebrity intellectual has overshadowed his important contributions to philosophy. Professor Clarence Shole Johnson provides a rectification of this situation in this benchmark, thought-provoking book. After a brief biographical sketch, Johnson leads us through a comprehensive examination of West's philosophy from his conceptions of pragmatism, existentialism, Marxism, and Prophetic Christianity to his persuasive writings on black-Jewish relations, affirmative action, and the role of black intellectuals. Special focus is given to West's writings on (...) ethics and social justice, and how these inform his entire theoretical framework. Cornel West and Philosophy is a unique and indispensable guide to West's diverse philosophical writings. (shrink)
Eusebius' magisterial Praeparatio Evangelica (written sometime between AD 313 and 324) offers an apologetic defence of Christianity in the face of Greek accusations of irrationality and impiety. Though brimming with the quotations of other (often lost) Greek authors, the work is dominated by a clear and sustained argument. Against the tendency to see the Praeparatio as merely an anthology of other sources or a defence of monotheistic religion against paganism, Aaron P. Johnson seeks to appreciate Eusebius' contribution to the (...) discourses of Christian identity by investigating the constructions of ethnic identity (especially Greek) at the heart of his work. Analysis of his `ethnic argumentation' exhibits a method of defending Christianity by construing its opponents as historically rooted nations, whose place in the narrative of world history serves to undermine the legitimacy of their claims to ancient wisdom and piety. (shrink)
'Since the middle of the twentieth century,' writes Elizabeth Johnson, 'there has been a renaissance of new insights into God in the Christian tradition. On different continents, under pressure from historical events and social conditions, people of faith have glimpsed the living God in fresh ways. It is not that a wholly different God is discovered from the One believed in by previous generations. Christian faith does not believe in a new God but, finding itself in new situations, seeks (...) the presence of God there. Aspects long-forgotten are brought into new relationships with current events, and the depths of divine compassion are appreciated in ways not previously imagined.' This book sets out the fruit of these discoveries. The first chapter describes Johnson's point of departure and the rules of engagement, with each succeeding chapter distilling a discrete idea of God. Featured are transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, ending with the particular Christian idea of the one God as Trinity. >. (shrink)
Patterned after Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style , this handy reference concisely summarizes the substantial existing research on the delicate balance of professional ethics. Johnson and Ridley reduce the wealth of published material on the topic to the seventy-five most important and pithy truths for supervisors in all fields. These explore questions of integrity, loyalty, justice, respect, and delivering one's best in the business environment. Succinct and comprehensive, this is a must-have for any professional or business (...) leader striving to create an ethical workplace. (shrink)
In The Philosophy of Manners Peter Johnson makes a compelling case for manners as a subject for investigation by modern moral philosophy. He examines manners as 'little virtues', explaining their distinctive conceptual characteristics and charting their intricate detail and relationships with each other. In demonstrating why manners are important to our mutual expectations, Johnson reveals a terrain which modern moral philosophy has left largely unmapped. Through a critical examination of the ethics of John Rawls and Alasdair MacIntyre, (...) class='Hi'>Johnson shows how the nature of manners constitutes a philosophical problem both for liberalism and its critics. Taking the recent revival of virtue ethics as its broad starting point, The Philosophy of Manners discusses the 'little virtues' as they are treated in the Aristotelian and Kantian traditions of writing on ethics. Original features of the book include discussions of nameless virtues, the logical intricacy of the 'little virtues' which compose manners, and the nature of their orchestration by the more substantial virtues and moral concerns. The aim throughout is to give manners a philosophically defensible place in the moral life - a place which neither inflates nor understates their importance. --an examination of why manners are essential to moral literacy and an ethical society --the first work of its kind - no other ethical investigation concentrates on manners --relevant to the recent revival of interest in virtue ethics and any course in contemporary ethics --will provoke argument and disagreement. (shrink)
This article reviews some linguistic and philosophical work in lexical semantics. In Section 1, the general methods of lexical semantics are explored, with particular attention to how semantic features of verbs are associated with grammatical patterns. In Section 2, philosophical consequences and issues arising from this sort of research is reviewed.
In Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, Michael Martin argues that to posit a God that is both omnipotent and omniscient is philosophically incoherent. I challenge this argument by proposing that a God who is necessarily omniscient is more powerful than a God who is contingently omniscient. I then argue that being omnipotent entails being omniscient by showing that for an all-powerful being to be all-powerful in any meaningful way, it must possess complete knowledge about all states of affairs and thus must (...) be understood to be omniscient. (shrink)
We are beings of the flesh. Our sensorimotor motor experience is the basis for the structure of our higher cognitive functions of conceptual cognition and reasoning. Consequently, our subjectivity is intimately tied up with the nature of our embodied experience. This runs directly counter to views of self-identity dominant in contemporary cognitive science. I give an account of how we ought to understand ourselves as incarnates, and how this would change our view of meaning, knowledge, reason, and subjectivity.
After reviewing portions of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act that call for examination of societal and ethical issues, this essay seeks to understand how nanoethics can play a role in nanotechnology development. What can and should nanoethics aim to achieve? The focus of the essay is on the challenges of examining ethical issues with regard to a technology that is still emerging, still ‘in the making.’ The literature of science and technology studies (STS) is used to understand (...) the nanotechnology endeavor in a way that makes room for influence by nanoethics. The analysis emphasizes: the contingency of technology and the many actors involved in its development; a conception of technology as sociotechnical systems; and, the values infused (in a variety of ways) in technology. Nanoethicists can be among the many actors who shape the meaning and materiality of an emerging technology. Nevertheless, there are dangers that nanoethicists should try to avoid. The possibility of being co-opted from working along side nanotechnology engineers and scientists is one danger that is inseparable from trying to influence. Related but somewhat different is the danger of not asking about the worthiness of the nanotechnology enterprise as a social investment in the future. (shrink)
A variety of inaccurate claims about Gold's Theorem have appeared in the cognitive science literature. I begin by characterizing the logic of this theorem and its proof. I then examine several claims about Gold's Theorem, and I show why they are false. Finally, I assess the significance of Gold's Theorem for cognitive science.
The control of action has traditionally been described as "automatic". In particular, movement control may occur without conscious awareness, in contrast to normal visual perception. Studies on rapid visuomotor adjustment of reaching movements following a target shift have played a large part in introducing such distinctions. We suggest that previous studies of the relation between motor performance and perceptual awareness have confounded two separate dissociations. These are: (a) the distinction between motoric and perceptual representations, and (b) an orthogonal distinction between (...) conscious and unconscious processes. To articulate these differences more clearly, we propose a new measure of motor awareness, based on subjects' ability to reproduce the spatial details of reaching movements they have just made. Here we focus on the dissociation between motor awareness and perceptual awareness that may occur when subjects make rapid visuomotor adjustments to reaching movements following a target shift. In experiment 1, motor awareness was dissociated from perceptual awareness of a target shift during reaching movement. Participants' reproduction of movement endpoints following visuomotor adjustment was independent of whether they saw the target shift or not. Experiment 2 replicated this result, and further showed that neither motor awareness nor motor performance were disrupted by TMS over the parietal cortex. The neural mechanisms underlying motor awareness, and the implications for theories of consciousness, are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper, we focus attention on the role of computer system complexity in ascribing responsibility. We begin by introducing the notion of technological moral action (TMA). TMA is carried out by the combination of a computer system user, a system designer (developers, programmers, and testers), and a computer system (hardware and software). We discuss three sometimes overlapping types of responsibility: causal responsibility, moral responsibility, and role responsibility. Our analysis is informed by the well-known accounts provided by Hart and Hart (...) and Honoré. While these accounts are helpful, they have misled philosophers and others by presupposing that responsibility can be ascribed in all cases of action simply by paying attention to the free and intended actions of human beings. Such accounts neglect the part played by technology in ascriptions of responsibility in cases of moral action with technology. For both moral and role responsibility, we argue that ascriptions of both causal and role responsibility depend on seeing action as complex in the sense described by TMA. We conclude by showing how our analysis enriches moral discourse about responsibility for TMA. (shrink)
The structure of words is often thought to provide important evidence regarding the structure of concepts. At the same time, most contemporary linguists posit a great deal of structure in words. Such a trend makes some atomists about concepts uncomfortable. The details of linguistic methodology undermine several strategies for avoiding positing structure in words. I conclude by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to hold that word-structure bears any interesting relation to the structure of concepts.
This volume contains an array of essays that reflect, and reflect upon, the recent revival of scholarly interest in the self and consciousness. Various relevant issues are addressed in conceptually challenging ways, such as how consciousness and different forms of self-relevant experience develop in infancy and childhood and are related to the acquisition of skill; the role of the self in social development; the phenomenology of being conscious and its metapsychological implications; and the cultural foundations of conceptualizations of consciousness. Written (...) by notable scholars in several areas of psychology, philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, and anthropology, the essays are of interest to readers from a variety of disciplines concerned with central, substantive questions in contemporary social science, and the humanities. (shrink)
After discussing the distinction between artifacts and natural entities, and the distinction between artifacts and technology, the conditions of the traditional account of moral agency are identified. While computer system behavior meets four of the five conditions, it does not and cannot meet a key condition. Computer systems do not have mental states, and even if they could be construed as having mental states, they do not have intendings to act, which arise from an agent’s freedom. On the other hand, (...) computer systems have intentionality, and because of this, they should not be dismissed from the realm of morality in the same way that natural objects are dismissed. Natural objects behave from necessity; computer systems and other artifacts behave from necessity after they are created and deployed, but, unlike natural objects, they are intentionally created and deployed. Failure to recognize the intentionality of computer systems and their connection to human intentionality and action hides the moral character of computer systems. Computer systems are components in human moral action. When humans act with artifacts, their actions are constituted by the intentionality and efficacy of the artifact which, in turn, has been constituted by the intentionality and efficacy of the artifact designer. All three components – artifact designer, artifact, and artifact user – are at work when there is an action and all three should be the focus of moral evaluation. (shrink)
The word dignity is frequently used both in clinical and philosophical discourse when referring to and describing the ideal conditions of the patient's treatment, particularly the dying patient. An exploration of the variety of meanings associated with the word dignity will note dignity's ambiguous usage and reveal instrumental concepts needed to better understand the discourse of the dying. When applied to a critique of recent and contemporary criticisms of the medical community's handling of the dying, such concepts might provide a (...) more coherent notion of dignity. Rather than a separate construct, a death with dignity might be viewed as an interactive process among the dying and their caretakers. Together, this interdependent amalgam engages in humanizing communication aimed toward understanding the final needs and wants of the patient. (shrink)
We examine the pros and cons of color realism, exposing some desiderata on a theory of color: the theory should render colors as scientifically legitimate and correctly individuated, and it should explain how we have veridical color experiences. We then show that these desiderata can by met by treating colors as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major disputes in the (...) literature about color -- anti-realism versus dispositionalism versus reductionism -- are not well-founded at this stage of scientific inquiry. Our account of color is designed to be of use in the sciences and as such is driven largely by considerations of what the various sciences need in order to proceed appropriately. We argue that a scientific theory of colors need not regard colors as anything more than high-level statistical constructs built out of correlations between color experiences and other phenomena. (shrink)
Adults and infants display a robust ability to perceive the unity of a center-occluded object when the visible ends of the object undergo common motion (e.g. Kellman, P.J., Spelke, E.S., 1983. Perception of partly occluded objects in infancy. Cognitive Psychology 15, 483±524). Ecologically oriented accounts of this ability focus on the primacy of motion in the perception of segregated objects, but Gestalt theory suggests a broader possibility: observers may perceive object unity by detecting patterns of synchronous change, of which common (...) motion is a special case. We investigated this possibility with observations of adults and 4-month-old infants. Participants viewed a center-occluded object whose visible surfaces were either misaligned or aligned, stationary or moving, and unchanging or synchronously changing in color or bright- ness in various temporal patterns (e.g. ¯ashing). Both alignment and common motion con- tributed to adults' perception of object unity, but synchronous color changes did not. For infants, motion was an important determinant of object unity, but other synchronous changes and edge alignment were not. When a stationary object with aligned edges underwent syn- chronous changes in color or brightness, infants showed high levels of attention to the object, but their perception of its unity appeared to be indeterminate. An inherent preference for fast over slow ¯ash rates, and a novelty preference elicited by a change in rate, both indicated that infants detected the synchronous changes, although they failed to use them as information for object unity. These ®ndings favor ecologically oriented accounts of object perception in which surface motion plays a privileged role. Ó 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
: This article takes up the call of feminist thinkers to reconsider the importance of the utopian. I offer a view of the utopian that is situated, critical, and relevant to transformative politics, a view that is structured by embodiment. To this end, I consider some epistemological and ontological connections of situated utopian thinking that enable us to think the utopian differently. Finally, I argue that this view of the utopian can be found in the political efforts of "integrative feminisms.".
This essay takes up the claim made recently by Simon Critchley in The Companion to Continental Philosophy that a feature common to many philosophers in the Continental tradition is the utopian demand that things be otherwise. The general question I pursue has to do with whether or not such a claim includes movements within Continental philosophy that do not self-identify with the utopian (like critical theory). The particular question has to do with whether or not the movement of phenomenology is (...) utopian or does it, because of its other commitments, view the utopian as the antithesis to its orientation, which makes that claim that phenomenology is utopian seem strange. My thesis is that phenomenology can be seen as a utopian tradition but that some account must be given that demonstrates this connection to the utopian. In particular, I argue that Maurice Merleau-Ponty''s phenomenology provides an understanding of the utopian, which I call a non-conventional view, that is vastly different from the one assumed by most when they see or hear the word utopian, which I label conventional. I show that such a non-conventional understanding can be developed in a way that neither requires us to view the utopian solely as opposed to finitude and contingency, nor a form of thought and action from which we necessarily need to dissociate ourselves. It is this non-conventional view of the utopian that in the end enables us to understand how Continental philosophy in general and phenomenology in particular are important bearers of the utopian demand that things be otherwise. (shrink)
Although advertisements for jobs in academe increasingly suggest that mentoring students is a job requirement, and although academic institutions are increasingly prone to consider a faculty member's performance as a mentor at promotion and tenure junctures, there is currently no common approach to conceptualizing or evaluating mentor competence. This article proposes the triangular model of mentor competence as a preliminary framework for conceptualizing specific components of faculty competence in the mentor role. The triangular model includes mentor character virtues and intellectual/emotional (...) abilities, as well as knowledge and skills (competencies) that are seen as expressions of training and experience. The article concludes with discussion of the implications of this model for faculty hiring, training, and evaluation. (shrink)
This experiment examined the effects of three elements comprising Jones' (1991) moral intensity construct, (social consensus, personal proximity, and magnitude of consequences) in a cross-cultural comparison of ethical decision making within a human resource management (HRM) context. Results indicated social consensus had the most potent effect on judgments of moral concern and judgments of immorality. An analysis of American, Eastern European, and Indonesian responses also indicted socio-cultural differences were moderated by the type of HRM ethical issue. In addition, individual differences (...) in personal ethical ideology (relativism and idealism) varied reliably with moral judgments after controlling for issue characteristics and socio-cultural background. (shrink)
This essay ranges widely, using selected ideas from microeconomics, ethics, and elementary game theory in an effort to gain some understanding of the controversial issue of bribery in international markets. Its goal is partial charification of the issue and increased awareness of alternative remedy strategies.
We consider the use ofevolving algebra methods of specifying grammars for natural languages. We are especially interested in distributed evolving algebras. We provide the motivation for doing this, and we give a reconstruction of some classic grammar formalisms in directly dynamic terms. Finally, we consider some technical questions arising from the use of direct dynamism in grammar formalisms.
: Bioethics commissions have been critiqued on the basis that they are not sufficiently public or are too reliant upon expertise to have legitimacy or authority in regard to public policy debates. Adequately assessing the legitimacy and authority of commissions requires thinking clearly about the "publics" these commissions serve, the primary tasks of public bioethics, and how those tasks might be performed with a certain kind of ethical expertise and limited authority that makes them legitimate players in public policy debates (...) concerning bioethics. (shrink)
A review of the literature on Corporate Codes of Ethics suggests that whilst there exists an informative body of literature concerning the prevalence of such codes, their design, implementation and promulgation, it is also evident that there is a relative lack of consideration of their impact upon members' everyday organizational behaviour. By drawing upon organizational sociology and psychology this paper constructs a contextualist and interpretive model which seeks to enable an analysis and evaluation of their effects upon individual, group and (...) organizational behaviour. (shrink)