Contra Michael Walzer and Jeff McMahan, neither classical just war theory nor the contemporary rules of war require or support any notion of combatant moral equality. Nations rightly accept prohibitions against punishing enemy combatants without recognizing any legal or moral right of aggressors to kill. The notion of combatant moral equality has real import only in our interpersonal -- and intrapersonal -- attitudes, since the notion effectively preempts any ground for conscientious objection. Walzer is criticized for over-emphasizing our collective responses (...) to war conduct and slighting our personal, extra-political responses. (shrink)
Critique of Alonzo Church's Translation Test. Church's test is based on a common misconception of the grammar of (so-called) quotations. His conclusion (that metalogical truths are actually contingent empirical truths) is a reductio of that conception. Chruch's argument begs the question by assuming that translation must preserve reference despite altering logical form of statements whose truth is explained by their form.
Properly understood speciesism regards membership in one's own species (e.g., being a fellow human being) as sufficient for sharing one's own moral status, but NOT as being necessary. Speciesism is consistent with any of a great range of attitudes toward alter-specific animals. When nonhuman animals are accorded a lesser moral status it is not per se because they are not human.
The Socratic Paradox (that only Socrates is wise, and only because only he recognizes our lack of wisdom) is explained, elaborated and defended. His philosophical scepticism is distinguished from others (Pyrrhonian, Cartesian, Humean, Kripkean Wittgenstein, etc.): the doubt concerns our understanding of our beliefs, not our justification for them; the doubt is a posteriori and inductive, not a priori. Post-Socratic philosophy confirms this scepticism: contra-Descartes, our ideas are not transparent to us; contra-Verificationism, no criterion distinguishes sense from nonsense. The import (...) of this scepticism for professional ethicists is examined. (shrink)
Analyticity is a bogus explanatory concept, and is so even granting genuine synonomy. Definitions can't explain the truth of a statement, let alone its necessity and/or our a priori knowledge of it. The illusion of an explanation is revealed by exposing diverse confusions: e.g., between nominal, conceptual and real definitions, and correspondingly between notational, conceptual, and objectual readings of alleged analytic truths, and between speaking a language and operating a calculus. The putative explananda of analyticity are (alleged) truths about essential (...) properties. Real definitions (a la Socrates) are the (alleged) explananda, not the explanans of analyticity. Their truth can be explained neither by conceptual definitions (a la Kant), nor by nominal definitions (a la Frege). The Quinean assault on synonomy is unsuccessful and in any case misplaced, because analyticity turns on the explanatory import of synonomy, not its existence. Synonym substitution in a logical truth cannot yield a necessary truth for it doesn't preserve logical form. Self-identity statements (for properties and/or individuals) differ in logical form from alter-identity statements. (shrink)
Resolution of Frege's Puzzle by denying that synonym substitution in logical truths preserves sentence sense and explaining how logical form has semantic import. Intensional context substitutions needn't preserve truth, because intercepting doesn't preserve sentence meaning. Intercepting is nonuniformly substituting a pivotal term in syntactically secured truth. Logical sentences (GG: Greeks are Greeks; gg: Greece is Greece) and their synonym interceptions (GH: Greeks are Hellenes; gh: Greece is Hellas) share factual content (extrasentential reality asserted). Semantic (cognitive) content is (identifiable with) factual (...) content in synthetic predications, but not logical sentences and interceptions. Putnam's Postulate (Logical form has semantic import) entails interception nonsynonymy. Syntax and vocabulary explain only the factual content of synthetic predications; extrasentential reality explains their truth. Construction of logical factual content explains logical necessity. Terms retain objectual reference, but logical syntax preempts their function (and thereby function of extrasentential reality) in explaining truth. Grasping the facts GG/gg assert entails understanding this. Understanding what GH states requires some recognition that GH must be true just because GmH ("Greeks" means Hellenes), and GmH ("Greeks" means what "Hellenes" means) state an empirical fact. GH (but not GG) is standardly used to express that fact. Church's <span class='Hi'>Test</span> exposes puzzles. QMi sentences ("Ex" means Ex), and QTi sentences (p≡it is true p≡"p" is true) are metalogical necessities, true by syntax. Intercepting QMi creates empirical QM contingencies ("Ex" means Ey). Synonymy turns semantic contingencies (GmH/GmH) into metalogical (GmG/GmG) and lexical (GH) necessities. That transformation is syntactic, via the syntactic duality of definite descriptions. GmH is a contingent copredication, and a lexically necessary referential identity with rigidly codesignating indexicals. Metalogical sentences may be about expressional matter or what it expresses (meaning, proposition). GG (Griechen sind Griechen) has GG's semantic content, but the referent expression switches. Metalogical syntax secures truth by self-referential quotational indexing. Metalogically, referents are identified with intrasentential replica. Extrasentential identifications are metalogically irrelevant. (shrink)
If logical truth is necessitated by sheer syntax, mathematics is categorially unlike logic even if all mathematics derives from definitions and logical principles. This contrast gets obscured by the plausibility of the Synonym Substitution Principle implicit in conceptions of analyticity: synonym substitution cannot alter sentence sense. The Principle obviously fails with intercepting: nonuniform term substitution in logical sentences. 'Televisions are televisions' and 'TVs are televisions' neither sound alike nor are used interchangeably. Interception synonymy gets assumed because logical sentences and their (...) synomic interceptions have identical factual content, which seems to exhaust semantic content. However, intercepting alters syntax by eliminating term recurrence, the sole strictly syntactic means of ensuring necessary term coextension, and thereby syntactically securing necessary truth. Interceptional necessity is lexical, a notational artifact. The denial of interception nonsynonymy and the disregard of term recurrence in logic link with many misconceptions about propositions, logical form, conventions, and metalanguages. Mathematics is distinct from logic: its truth is not syntactic; it is transmitted by synonym substitution; term recurrence has no essential role. The '=' of mathematics is an objectual relation between numbers; the '=' of logic marks a syntactic relation of coreferring terms. (shrink)
: Bioethicists have failed to understand the pervasively paternalistic character of research ethics. Not only is the overall structure of research review and regulation paternalistic in some sense; even the way informed consent is sought may imply paternalism. Paternalism has limits, however. Getting clear on the paternalism of research ethics may mean some kinds of prohibited research should be reassessed.
The intentional punishment of the innocent is ordinarily claimed to be a special problem for utilitarian theories of punishment. The unintentional punishment of the innocent is a problem for any theory of punishment which holds that the guilty should be punished. This paper examines the criteria that are relevant to a determination of the appropriate probability of punishment mistakes for a society, and argues that this is the kind of moral problem for which utilitarian judgments, as opposed to considerations of (...) justice, are most appropriate. To illustrate some of the trade-offs involved, the paper employs some hypothetical data. (shrink)
Critique of prevailing textbook conception of sufficient conditions and necessary conditions as a truth functional relation of material implication (p->q)/(~q->~p). Explanation of common sense conception of condition as correlative of consequence, involving dependence. Utility of this conception exhibited in resolving puzzles regarding ontology, truth, and fatalism.
Zeno's so-called proofs of divine existence -- Zeno and the traditional gods: a serious problem -- Cleanthes' proofs -- Cleanthes and the traditional gods -- Chrysippus' contribution -- Chrysippus and the traditional gods -- Other Stoic proofs -- Other (Stoic?) arguments in Sextus -- Polemics against the arguments pro the existence of God(s) -- Abolishing the gods leads to odd consequence: the atopical arguments pro the existence of the gods -- The counter-arguments -- Carneades and the data of Sextus and (...) Cicero -- The sorites arguments as a weapon against the traditional gods -- Epilogue -- Appendix I. Cleanthes' humn on Zeus: a running commentary -- Appendix II. Where is God? -- Appendix III. Alexinus' Parabolai. (shrink)
Neither M. Walzer's collectivist conception of the "moral equality" of combatants, nor its antithetical individualist conceptions of responsibility are compatible with the ethos of military professionalism and its conception(s) of the responsibility of military professionals for service in an unjust war.
Prevailing ethical thinking about informed consent to clinical research is characterized by theoretical confidence and practical disquiet. On the one hand, bioethicists are confident that informed consent is a fundamental norm. And, for the most part, they are confident that what makes consent to research valid is that it constitutes an autonomous authorization by the research participant. On the other hand, bioethicists are uneasy about the quality of consent in practice. One major source of this disquiet is substantial evidence of (...) the “therapeutic misconception”—the tendency of patient-subjects in clinical trials to confuse participating in research with receiving personalized medical care. This .. (shrink)
Like '&', '=' is no term; it represents no extrasentential property. It marks an atomic, nonpredicative, declarative structure, sentences true solely by codesignation. Identity (its necessity and total reflexivity, its substitution rule, its metaphysical vacuity) is the objectual face of codesignation. The syntax demands pure reference, without predicative import for the asserted fact. 'Twain is Clemens' is about Twain, but nothing is predicated of him. Its informational value is in its 'metailed' semantic content: the fact of codesignation (that 'Twain' names (...) Clemens) that explains what fact it asserts and why it is necessary. Critiques of concepts of rigidity and elimination of singular terms result. (shrink)
Greece is Hellas and Greeks are Hellenes. Azure is cobalt and everything (coloured) azure is (coloured) cobalt. Pre-Fregeans would call all these statements of identity. <span class='Hi'>Frege</span> taught us to distinguish between Conaming [Name] [Name]. Ngh: Greece is Hellas g=h. Nac: Azure is cobalt a=c Copredicating [Predicate] [Predicate]. PGH: Greeks are Hellenes (x)(Gx[identical with]Hx). PAC: Everything azure is cobalt (x)(Ax[identical with]Cx) Singular Predication [Name] [Predicate]. PcA: Como is azure Ac. PaC: Azure is a colour Ca. PaL: Azure is like indigo (...) Lai. PgD: Greece defeated Persia Dgp. With <span class='Hi'>Frege</span> the contrasts became marked but misconceived. (shrink)
Some maintain that voluntariness is a value-neutral concept. On that view, someone acts involuntarily if subject to a controlling influence or has no acceptable alternatives. I argue that a value-neutral conception of voluntariness cannot explain when and why consent is invalid and that we need a moralized account of voluntariness. On that view, most concerns about the voluntariness of consent to participate in research are not well founded.
It is universally accepted that participants in biomedical research have the right to withdraw from participation at any time, except, perhaps, when withdrawal would constitute a threat to their health or the health of others. The right to withdraw is encoded in nearly every document on the requirements for ethical conduct of research on humans, including the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations governing all federally-funded research, the Common Rule (45 CFR 46); the Declaration of Helsinki (WMA 2008); the 2002 research (...) guidelines of the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS 2002); and the Belmont Report (National Commission 1979). Presumably, if codification of the right in these .. (shrink)
Our culture is conflicted about morally judging and condemning. We can't avoid it altogether, yet many layfolk today are loathe to do it for reasons neither they nor philosophers well understand. Their resistance is often confused (by themselves and by theorists) with some species of antiobjectivism. But unlike a nonobjectivist, most people think that (a) for us to judge and condemn is generally (objectively) morally wrong , yet (b) for God to do so is (objectively) proper, and (c) so too (...) for certain persons in certain relations (e.g., self-condemnation, parental child rearing.) Certainly, religious (e.g., Christian) critics of judging and condemning without doubting the objective truth of their tradition's core moral teachings. Most puzzling is that (a) merely judging and condemning in one's heart may be improper, and (b) someone else with no more evidence or expertise might properly judge and condemn the same action. The answer is in condemning's complex structure of presuppostions. Condemning and judging are acts, and attitudes initiated by the act. Condemnation is motivated by two judgments presumed to justify it, a criticism of a target, and a judgment that the criticism justifies some negative response toward the target. Unlike nonpunitive penalties, punishments are motivated and explained by condemnation. Condemnation is an act of a hostile will, wishing some evil for its target, not (just) as a means to some good. Its root is in damning, an act akin to cursing. It declares a degraded status. The hostility makes it harder to justify condemnation than criticism, and punishment than nonpunitive penalties. Condemning claims objectivity and authority. It involves reflexive evaluation, regarding itself justified, approving its hostile feelings toward the target. Condemners presume themselves entitled to sit in judgment, pass judgment, and cast the condemned down. Those presumptions inhere in sitting in judgment, assuming jurisdiction. Unlike mathematical or scientific judgments, passing moral judgment seems to be a political act subject to extraepistemic constraints. "Who are you to judge?" may properly challenge your right to pass judgment. (shrink)
In this report, the phenomenology of two blind users of a sensory substitution device – “The vOICe” – that converts visual images to auditory signals is described. The users both report detailed visual phenomenology that developed within months of immersive use and has continued to evolve over a period of years. This visual phenomenology, although triggered through use of The vOICe, is likely to depend not only on online visualization of the auditory signal but also on the users’ previous (albeit (...) distant) experience of veridical vision (e.g. knowledge of shapes and visual perspective). Once established, the sensory substitution mapping between the auditory and visual domains is not confined to when the device is worn and, thus, may constitute an example of acquired synaesthesia. (shrink)
Analyses of quotation have assumed that quotations are referring expressions while disagreeing over details. That assumption is unnecessary and unacceptable in its implications. It entails a quasi-Parmenidean impossibility of meaningfully denying the meaningfulness or referential function of anything uttered, for it implies that: 'Kqxf' is not a meaningful expression 'The' is not a referring expression are, if meaningful, false. It also implies that ill formed constructions like: 'The' is 'the' are well formed tautologies. Such sentences make apparent the need for (...) what is commonly explicit, a genuine referring expression, a noun phrase, usually a description, to which the quotation is appositional. A quotation is not itself a word, though it may contain such. The markers signal that the enquoted material is like a sentence-embedded color patch, material displayed to facilitate reference to something identifiable by/with it specified by the noun phrase it subserves. (shrink)
Gesundheit and colleagues offer dramatic examples of the medical treatment of terrorists but then pose the suggestion that those who engage in terrorism forfeit their right to medical care, and, consequently, that physicians have no obligation to treat them. Their argument presupposes that a physician’s obligation to provide medical care depends on the patients’ right to health care. Therefore, someone who commits heinous and abhorrent acts thereby waives the right to health care and the physicians’ duty to provide health care (...) might consequently be absolved. This view may appeal to physicians who have experienced the complexity and discomfort of treating someone whose morality or even humanity they question, such as a rapist, a serial killer, or a perpetrator of genocide. However we have grounds to believe that the duty of physicians to treat is not based on the moral worth of patients, but rather on the duties that physicians have, and this notion renders any concern about the unacceptability of any person’s behavior irrelevant in determining whether to provide treatment. We will first argue that not all duties are directly derived from rights, and then illustrate how deontological views, along with common views on the role morality of physicians, provide a basis for offering indiscriminate medical care. Second, we will discuss the physician’s role in the context of war, and offer one compelling moral reason on the basis of which warfare norms do indeed obligate physicians to extend their duty to care toward enemies, terrorists included, independently of whatever right they maintain. (shrink)
What I call ‘the standard view’ claims that IRBs should not regard financial payment as a benefit to subjects for the purpose of risk/benefit assessment. Although the standard view is universally accepted, there is little defense of that view in the canonical documents of research ethics or the scholarly literature. This paper claims that insofar as IRBs should be concerned with the interests and autonomy of research subjects, they should reject the standard view and adopt ‘the incorporation view.’ The incorporation (...) view is more consistent with the underlying soft-paternalist justification for risk-benefit assessment and demonstrates respect for the autonomy of prospective subjects. Adoption of the standard view precludes protocols that advance the interests of subjects, investigators, and society. After considering several objections to the argument, I consider several arguments for the standard view that do not appeal to the interests and autonomy of research subjects. (shrink)
This article considers the principles that underlie the claim that some contracts are unconscionable and that such contracts should not be enforceable. It argues that it is much more difficult to explain unconscionability than is often supposed, particularly in cases where the contract is mutually advantageous or Pareto superior. Among other things, the article considers whether unconscionability is a defect in process or result, whether the gains in an unconscionable contract are disproportionate, whether there is a strong link between the (...) use of standard forms and unconscionability, and whether the principle of inequality of bargaining power can account for unconscionability. After rejecting several standard explanations of unconscionability, I consider several alternative ways in which it might be explained. (shrink)
Introduction -- Facing up to paternalism in research ethics -- Preface to a theory of consent transactions in research : beyond valid consent -- Should we worry about money? -- Exploitation in clinical research -- The interaction principle.
Payment to recruit research subjects is a common practice but raises ethical concerns relating to the potential for coercion or undue influence. We conducted the first national study of IRB members and human subjects protection professionals to explore attitudes as to whether and why payment of research participants constitutes coercion or undue influence. Upon critical evaluation of the cogency of ethical concerns regarding payment, as reflected in our survey results, we found expansive or inconsistent views about coercion and undue influence (...) that may interfere with valuable research. In particular, respondents appear to believe that coercion and undue influence lie on a continuum; by contrast, we argue that they are wholly distinct: whereas undue influence is a cognitive distortion relating to assessment of risks and benefits, coercion is a threat of harm. Because payment is an offer, rather than a threat, payment is never coercive. (shrink)
Among the obstacles to the integration of competing theories in psychology is that it is unclear why and how they differ. Some thoughtful speculations have been offered for why they differ, but they remain preliminary. A plethora of schemes has been proposed for analysing how theories differ, but there is no convincing basis for choosing among these schemes. Furthermore, several kinds of relationships can be identified between apparently competing theories, each of which has implications for the potential integration of those (...) theories. If theories X and Y seem to be competing, they may (a) turn out to be intertranslateable, in which case they are not really competing; they may (b) be truly contradictory, and therefore logically impossible to integrate; and may (c) be apparently but only superficially mutually translatea-ble, but with the translation doing violence to at least one of the theories; or they may (d) be mutually irrelevant, so that there is little point in trying to integrate them, and any attempt at integration is apt to be little more than a minimally organised list. (shrink)
In past and modern psychophysics there are several unresolved methodological and philosophical problems of human and animal perception, including the outstanding question of the relational basis of whole psychophysics. Here the main issue is discussed: if, and to what extent, there are viable bridges between the traditional “gestalt” oriented approaches and the modern perceptual-cognitive perspectives in psychophysics. Thereby the key concept of psychological “frame of reference” is presented by pointing to Hermann Ebbinghaus' geometric-optical illusions, on the one hand, and Max (...)Wertheimer's treatment of the traditional transposition phenomenon, on the other hand. A much-needed theoretical reorientation of future research may help to overcome the philosophical narrowness of present-day human and comparative psychophysics. (shrink)