One of the central theses of egalitarian liberals in the domain of distributive justice is that talented individuals should not be allowed to keep their entire market-income even if it flows solely from their greater abilities. This claim is usually supported by one of several arguments or some mixture of them, but in the present paper, I want to concentrate on the version that invokes equality of opportunity as its starting point. Namely, it is claimed that every human being should (...) enjoy an equal starting point in the life-race but that this is not secured insofar as some have greater natural talents than others. Therefore, egalitarians hold that results that arise from such an unfair situation are unjust and should be corrected by a redistributive taxation. I want to criticize this argument by hoping to show that it presupposes an untenable view about identity of persons. (shrink)
This article critically explores John Rawls’s contention that the personal assets of individuals, i.e. their mental and bodily powers, should not determine the size of their holdings. Since such an argument may have several forms, the first task is to establish which of them Rawls himself advocates. He relies, it is argued, on a version that attempts to convince us that personal assets should not play a decisive distributive role because they are undeserved. This account is then formally reconstructed, making (...) all the relevant premises visible and preparing the ground for a critique that concentrates on the argument’s separate steps. Coming under attack first is the claim that everything should be deserved. The discussion examines next the premise urging us to find an ultimate, indisputable ground for desert-claims. Debate about this issue reveals some fundamental weaknesses in Rawls’s position: that he demands too much and is inconsistent; that some strong counter-intuitive consequences follow from his demands; and that his entire project, were such a criterion taken seriously, is undermined. Final comments are directed against the assertion that the community should own everything an individual does not deserve, showing that this does not remove moral arbitrariness, allows for the use of some persons as resources for others, and cannot plausibly limit its range of application. Most of these criticisms are not original, but are in accord with this paper’s main intention of combining as many good points against Rawls as possible. (shrink)
Teaching about homosexuality, especially in a positive light, has long been held to be a controversial issue. There is, however, a view of the capacity for reason that finds that those who deem homosexuality to be controversial will ultimately contradict themselves, becoming unreasonable. By this standard of reason, homosexuality should be treated as non controversial in schools. In this essay, John Petrovic argues that this epistemic position is problematic. Instead, he defends a Deweyan epistemology that casts reason as, in part, (...) a set of socially acquired habits of mind. People who have been socialized into heterosexist habits of mind must be exposed to counterhegemonic discourses. One such discourse can be found in the public values of liberal democracy through which the practice of reason must be pursued. Petrovic discusses the practical guidance provided by assuming a view of normative reason versus habituated reason in terms of both pedagogy and curriculum. (shrink)
The conception of man as an economic animal is implied by the view that economic production is the determining “factor” or “sphere” of man or society. Against this conception can be put another, that of man as praxis. This takes account of man as a creative being, capable of realizing his freedom through his own activity. In this article the theory of the determining role of the “economic factor”, and the theory of factors in general have been examined. The economic (...) interpretation of history, a variant of the theory of factors, has been acknowledged as partly true for the self-alienated man and society, but the theory of factors in any variant has been found inadequate as a general theory of man, or society. The possibility of freedom cannot be reduced to the fact that the determining roles played by “factors”, vary, or to the hope that the economic “factor” can be subordinated to a “better” one. Man's freedom consists in his resolving the conflict of “factors”, and in realizing himself as an integral creative being, no longer split into independent and mutually opposed spheres. (shrink)
With the increasingly heard voices of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in American society and their demands for recognition have come the responses of religious conservatives. In this article I consider whether the extreme moral positions that religious conservatives take are defensible. More specifically, I want to consider whether teachers who embrace such conservative positions should be permitted to act on them in their classrooms. My arguments lead me to distinguish between moral democratic and moralistic positions. The former I examine using (...) the virtue of recognition and the principle of non-oppression. I conclude that democracy requires the positive portrayal of homosexuality in schools and precludes teachers expressing their beliefs against it. (shrink)
Barbara Applebaum develops a conceptual framework that makes clear the ways that speech acts reproduce power, especially as it serves to maintain the marginalisation of non-heterosexual people. However, Applebaum's focus on explicit "utterances" and "expressions of beliefs" is too narrow, leaving out silence, especially the silence around sexual orientation in school curricula. Silence is a speech act that serves the reproduction of power and promotes harm just as powerfully as the other speech acts Applebaum is willing to censor; and so (...) she begs the question: can we forget to censor silence in the fight against heterosexism? (shrink)
The phenomenon of heterogeneous photocatalysis takes place in the degradation process of many organic contaminants on solid surfaces. Photocatalysis is based on the excitation of the semiconductor by irradiation with supraband gap photons and the migration of electron-hole pairs to the surface of the photocatalysts, leading to the reaction of the holes with adsorbed H2O and OH? to form hydroxyl radicals. Due to the stability and photosensitivity of TiO2 semiconductors, this system is well studied and is of great interest from (...) an ecological and industrial point of view for use in the field of building materials. Clay roofing tiles, due to their long-term exploitation, are subject to physical, chemical and biological degradation that leads to deterioration. Ceramic systems have a high percentage of total porosity and considering their non-tolerance of organic coating, the use of surface active materials (SAM) that induce porosity in TiO2 coatings is of vital significance. Photocatalytic coatings applied on clay roofing tiles under industrial conditions were designed by varying the quantity of TiO2 (mass/cm2) on the tile surface (thin and thick TiO2 layer). The positive changes in specific surface area and mesopore structure of the designed coatings were made by the addition of PEG 600 as a surface active material. It was shown that a thin photocatalytic layer (0.399 mg suspension/cm2 tile surface), applied onto ceramic tiles under industrial conditions, had better photocatalytic activity in methylene blue decomposition, hydrophilicity and antimicrobial activity than a thick photocatalytic coating (0.885 mg suspension/cm2). (shrink)
(2010). “Meaningful Educational Opportunity” May Not be Equality of Educational Opportunity [Essay Review of the Book Moving Every Child Ahead: From NCLB Hype to Meaningful Educational Opportunity] Educational Studies: Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 116-128.
High temperature metallic solution growth is one of the most successful and versatile methods for single crystal growth, and is particularly suited for exploratory synthesis. The method commonly utilizes a centrifuge at room temperature and is very successful for the synthesis of single crystal phases that can be decanted from the liquid below the melting point of the silica ampoule. In this paper, we demonstrate the extension of this method that enables single crystal growth and flux decanting inside the furnace (...) at temperatures above 1200°C. This not only extends the number of available metallic solvents that can be used in exploratory crystal growth but also can be particularly well suited for crystals that have a rather narrow exposed solidification surface in the equilibrium alloy phase diagram. (shrink)
Does the brain activity underlying the production of deception differ depending on whether or not one believes their deception can be detected? To address this question, we had participants commit a mock theft in a laboratory setting, and then interrogated them while they underwent functional MRI (fMRI) scanning. Crucially, during some parts of the interrogation participants believed a lie detector was activated, whereas in other parts they were told it was switched off. We were thus able to examine the neural (...) activity associated with the contrast between producing true versus false claims, as well as the independent contrast between believing that deception could and could not be detected. We found increased activation in the right amygdala and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), as well as the left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), during the production of false (compared to true) claims. Importantly, there was a significant interaction between the effects of deception and belief in the left temporal pole and right hippocampus/parahippocampal gyrus, where activity increased during the production of deception when participants believed their false claims could be detected, but not when they believed the lie detector was switched off. As these regions are associated with binding socially complex perceptual input and memory retrieval, we conclude that producing deceptive behavior in a context in which one believes this deception can be detected is associated with a cognitively taxing effort to reconcile contradictions between one’s actions and recollections. (shrink)
A spinel sulphide CuIr2S4 single crystal, which exhibits an orbitally induced Peierls phase transition at ?230?K, is investigated by electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. The phase transition is clearly manifested on the ESR spectra. It is suggested that the ESR signals are produced by a few non-dimerized Ir4+ ions. Moreover, an extra ESR spectrum appears at low temperature in addition to the paramagnetic ESR signals of Ir4+ ions, which is suggested to be caused by the Jahn?Teller effect of the non-dimerized (...) Ir4+ ions. From the ESR results, it is found that the Jahn?Teller splitting energy ?E JT is much smaller than the spin-dimerization gap. (shrink)
Petrovic (1999) argues that teachers need to portray homosexuality positively and must not express their beliefs against it. This rejoinder argues against this position, maintaining instead that teachers need to teach about heterosexuality and homosexuality in a balanced manner. I argue against Petrovic's position both on the grounds that it has internal weaknesses and on the grounds that its consequences would be undesirable.
Eighteenth-century Epicureanism is often viewed as radical, anti-religious, and politically dangerous. But to what extent does this simplify the ancient philosophy and underestimate its significance to the Enlightenment? Through a pan-European analysis of Enlightenment centres from Scotland to Russia via the Netherlands, France and Germany, contributors argue that elements of classical Epicureanism were appropriated by radical and conservative writers alike. They move beyond literature and political theory to examine the application of Epicurean ideas in domains as diverse as physics, natural (...) law, and the philosophy of language, drawing on the work of both major figures (Diderot, Helvétius, Smith and Hume) and of lesser-known but important thinkers (Johann Jacob Schmauss and Dmitrii Anichkov). -/- Table of Contents -/- Neven Leddy and Avi S. Lifschitz, Epicurus in the Enlightenment: an introduction -/- Elodie Argaud, Bayle’s defence of Epicurus: the use and abuse of Malebranche’s Méditations chrétiennes -/- Hans W. Blom, The Epicurean motif in Dutch notions of sociability in the seventeenth century -/- Thomas Ahnert, Epicureanism and the transformation of natural law in the early German Enlightenment -/- Charles T. Wolfe, A happiness fit for organic bodies: La Mettrie’s medical Epicureanism -/- Natania Meeker, Sexing Epicurean materialism in Diderot -/- Pierre Force, Helvétius as an Epicurean political theorist -/- Andrew Kahn, Epicureanism in the Russian Enlightenment: Dmitrii Anichkov and atomic theory -/- Matthew Niblett, Man, morals and matter: Epicurus and materialist thought in England from John Toland to Joseph Priestley -/- James A. Harris, The Epicurean in Hume -/- Neven Leddy, Adam Smith’s critique of Enlightenment Epicureanism -/- Avi S. Lifschitz, The Enlightenment revival of the Epicurean history of language and civilisation -/- Bibliography -/- Index. (shrink)
It is nowadays a dominant opinion in a number of disciplines (anthropology, genetics, psychology, philosophy of science) that the taxonomy of human races does not make much biological sense. My aim is to challenge the arguments that are usually thought to invalidate the biological concept of race. I will try to show that the way “race” was defined by biologists several decades ago (by Dobzhansky and others) is in no way discredited by conceptual criticisms that are now fashionable and widely (...) regarded as cogent. These criticisms often arbitrarily burden the biological category of race with some implausible connotations, which then opens the path for a quick eliminative move. However, when properly understood, the biological notion of race proves remarkably resistant to these deconstructive attempts. Moreover, by analyzing statements of some leading contemporary scholars who support social constructivism about race, I hope to demonstrate that their eliminativist views are actually in conflict with what the best contemporary science tells us about human genetic variation. (shrink)
Discussions about the biological bases (or lack thereof) of the concept of race in the human species seem to be never ending. One of the latest rounds is represented by a paper by Neven Sesardic, which attempts to build a strong scientific case for the existence of human races, based on genetic, morphometric and behavioral characteristics, as well as on a thorough critique of opposing positions. In this paper I show that Sesardic’s critique falls far short of the goal, (...) and that his positive case is exceedingly thin. I do this through a combination of analysis of the actual scientific findings invoked by Sesardic and of some philo- sophical unpacking of his conceptual analysis, drawing on a dual professional background as an evolu- tionary biologist and a philosopher of science. (shrink)
The idea that films can be philosophical, or in some sense 'do' philosophy, has recently found a number of prominent proponents. What is at stake here is generally more than the tepid claim that some documentaries about philosophy and related topics convey philosophically relevant content. Instead, the contention is that cinematic fictions, including popular movies such as The Matrix , make significant contributions to philosophy. Various more specific claims are linked to this basic idea. One, relatively weak, but pedagogically important (...) observation is that some films can be used to provide philosophy students with vivid and thought-provoking illustrations of philosophical issues. Film screenings stimulate discussion and may motivate renewed engagement with difficult philosophical texts. A stronger contention, however, seeks to link innovative and philosophically valuable thinking to 'the film itself' or to the 'specificity of the cinematic medium'. Such claims raise interesting questions, including questions about the status of the increasingly prevalent philosophically motivated interpretations of particular movies. Who is actually doing the philosophizing in such cases? Is it the audio-visual display, the film-maker, or the philosopher who devises an interpretation of the work? What is the role of specifically cinematic devices in the philosophical points made in such interpretations? Is there any tension between the goal of appreciating a film as a work of art and the goal of arguing that a film has significant implications for a position on a problem in philosophy? A course in the general area of cinema as philosophy can focus on issues related to the locus and status of cinematic philosophizing. It can also delve into specific films and film-makers and philosophically oriented interpretations of specific philosophical topics, such as personal identity. Issues pertaining to interpretation, meaning, and authorship can be usefully investigated in this connection, as can topics in meta-philosophy related to the very nature of philosophical insight or knowledge. Author Recommends Carroll, Noël and Jinhee Choi, eds. 2008. The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology , Part VIII: Film and Knowledge. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 381–405. Inclues a brief introduction by Carroll followed by papers by Bruce Russell, Karen Hanson, and Lester H. Hunt. Kania, Andrew, ed. 2009. Memento . London: Routledge. A number of philosophers elucidate philosophical themes in Memento and discuss more general issues pertaining to cinema's philosophical significance. Livingston, Paisley. 2009. Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Part 1 surveys arguments surrounding the cinema as philosophy theme, providing detailed criticisms of some of the bold theses in this area. Part 2 discusses issues related to cinematic authorship and the status of philosophically motivated interpretations of works of fiction, arguing for a partial intentionalist account of a work's meanings. Part 3 illustrates the intentionalist principles in a discussion of Ingmar Bergman's philosophical sources, providing insight into themes of motivated irrationality, inauthenticity, and self-knowledge in some of Bergman's works. Livingston, Paisley and Carl Plantinga, eds. 2009. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film , Part IV: Film as Philosophy. London: Routledge. 547–659. Offers a succinct survey by Wartenberg as well as entries on Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, and Andrei Tarkovsky, discussions of film and specific philosophical topics (morality, skepticism, personal identity, and practical wisdom), and examples of philosophically motivated interpretations of three specific films: The Five Obstructions , Gattaca , and Memento . Smith, Murray and Thomas E. Wartenberg, eds. 2006. Thinking Through Cinema: Film as Philosophy . Malden, MA: Blackwell. A collection of papers that combines essays devoted to general positions on the cinema as philosophy topic as well as specific interpretations of works in different genres. Turvey, Malcolm. 2008. Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition . Oxford: Oxford University Press. A probing critical investigation into the assumptions underlying influential philosophical claims about the epistemic value of cinema. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2008. Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy . London: Routledge. Ably surveys and responds to arguments against the idea that films can 'do philosophy'. It defends a conditionalist form of intentionalism in response to the 'imposition objection' according to which it is only the commentator who reads philosophical themes 'into' the movie; illustrates the favored account of film as philosophy with interpretations of specific cinematic fictions. Online Materials Film-Philosophy http://www.film-philosophy.com/ > Founded in 1996, this peer-reviewed online journal is dedicated to philosophically oriented interpretations of films and cinema studies more generally. The e-mail salon encourages discussion of related topics. Includes essays, festival reports, calls for papers, conference and job information, and book reviews. The archive includes contributions from 1997 to the present. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 'Philosophy of Film.' The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/film/ > A brief survey of a range of issues in the philosophy of cinema including a few paragraphs on the film as philosophy topic. Philosophical Films http://www.philfilms.utm.edu/2/filmlist.htm > A briefly annotated list of philosophical films grouped in rubrics such as 'The Meaning of Life' and 'Environmental Ethics'. Sample Syllabus What follows is a 4-week 'start-up module' followed by samples of optional units that focus on particular topics and cinematic examples. Introductory Module Week I: Introduction & Overview Livingston, Paisley. 'Recent Work on Cinema as Philosophy.' Philosophy Compass 3 (2008): 1–14, 20 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00158.x ). Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Ed. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 549–59. Russell, Bruce. 2008. 'The Philosophical Limits of Film.' The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology . Ed. Noël Carroll and Jinhee Choi. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 387–390. Week II: The Bold Thesis on Film as Philosophy Reading: Livingston, Paisley, 'Theses on Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter One. 11–38. Screening: October (dir. Sergei Eisenstein 1928). Week III: Debating the Bold Thesis: The Case of October Carroll, Noël. 1998. 'For God and Country.' Interpreting the Moving Image . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 80–91. Smuts, Aaron. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy: In Defense of a Bold Thesis.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 67:4: 409–20. Week IV: Cinema as Philosophy: Objections and Replies Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Arguing over Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter Two. 39–59. Additional Optional Units Depending on the instructor's areas of interest and expertise, any of the following units could be added (and in some cases, easily expanded into longer segments). The Case of Ingmar Bergman Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Ingmar Bergman.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 560–568. Screening(s): Wild Strawberries (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1966). Skepticism Fumerton, Richard. 2009. 'Skepticism.' In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 601–10. Screening: The Matrix (dir. Andy and Larry Wachowski 1999) or Total Recall (dir. Paul Verhoeven 1990). Ethics Kupfer, Joseph. 1999. Visions of Virtue in Popular Film . Boulder, CO: Westview. 35–60. Falzon, Chris. 2009. 'Why be Moral?' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 591–599. Screening: Groundhog Day (dir. <span class='Hi'>Harold</span> Ramis 1993), or Crimes and Misdemeanors (dir. Woody Allen 1989), or Hollow Man (dir. Paul Verhoeven 2000). Personal Identity Knight, Deborah. 2009. 'Personal Identity.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 611–619. Hanley, Richard. 2009. ' Memento and Personal Identity: Are We Getting it Backwards?' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 107–126. Martin, Raymond. 2009. 'The Value of Memory: Reflections on Memento. ' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 87–106. Screening: Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan 2000). Freedom and (Genetic) Determinism Sesardic, Neven. 2009. 'Gattaca.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 641–649. Screening: Gattaca (dir. Andrew Niccol 1997). Focus Questions • Is there anything special about the experience of fiction films that is especially well suited to the stimulation of worthwhile philosophical reflection? • Have any novel and philosophically significant ideas found their first expression in a cinematic work? • Under what circumstances can the film medium be used as an expression of a cinematic author's views? • What sort of background knowledge has to be in place for a film to be interpreted as articulating reasonably precise philosophical theses and arguments? • Does the goal of spelling out a film's philosophical meaning sometimes conflict with the goal of appreciating its value as a work of art? (shrink)
The method in human genetics of ascribing causal responsibility to genotype by the use of heritability estimates has been heavily criticized over the years. It has been argued that these estimates are rarely valid and do not serve the purpose of tracing genetic causes. Recent contributions strike back at this criticism. I present and discuss two opposing views on these matters represented by Richard Lewontin and Neven Sesardic, and I suggest that some of the disagreement is based on differing (...) concepts of genetic causation. I use the distinction of structuring and triggering causes to help clarifying the basis for the opposing views. (shrink)
Today the idea that an evolutionary approach may be fruitful for research in the social sciences is being passionately defended by some and no less passionately contested by others. The resistance to Darwinism comes mainly in two distinct varieties. The first type of criticism is based on empirical or methodological objections against the current attempts to use evolutionary considerations to throw some light on social science explananda. The other line of opposition, however, is much harder to pin down and discuss (...) because it is fueled more by rhetoric than by argument. It defines itself, rather vaguely, as a fight against “biological reductionism” and “genetic determinism” and is often accompanied by slight (or not so slight) ideological overtones. In this chapter, I will deal only with the former (methodological) kind of criticism. But since I don’t want to leave the latter, hazily antireductionist source of opposition to biology without comments, and since I don’t know how to approach it in a serious way, let me wiggle out by presenting to you a rhymed parody, “Gene-mania,” that captures some of the more ideological criticism’s characteristic flavor. (shrink)
Political imputations in science are notoriously a tricky business. I addressed this issue in the context of the nature–nurture debate in the penultimate chapter of my book Making Sense of Heritability (Cambridge U. P. 2005). Although the book mainly dealt with the logic of how one should think about heritability of psychological differences, it also discussed the role of politics in our efforts to understand the dynamics of that controversy. I first argued that if a scholar publicly defends a certain (...) view (say, hereditarianism) in the debate about IQ, race and genetics this fact alone cannot justify attributing a political motivation to that person. But then later I suggested that the pressure of political correctness could explain some peculiarities of the contemporary controversy about the heritability of group differences in IQ. Several reviewers of my book raised a tu quoque objection. Am I not doing here the same thing that I condemn others for? (shrink)
Does the concept of “race” find support in contemporary science, particularly in biology? No, says Naomi Zack, together with so many others who nowadays argue that human races lack biological reality. This claim is widely accepted in a number of fields (philosophy, biology, anthropology, and psychology), and Zack’s book represents only the latest defense of social constructivism in this context. There are several reasons why she fails to make a convincing case.
In this article I criticize the recommendations of some prominent statisticians about how to estimate and compare probabilities of the repeated sudden infant death and repeated murder. The issue has drawn considerable public attention in connection with several recent court cases in the UK. I try to show that when the three components of the Bayesian inference are carefully analyzed in this context, the advice of the statisticians turns out to be problematic in each of the steps.
Imagine that you are on an intercontinental flight and that immediately after take‐off the pilot makes the following announcement: ‘Dear passengers, I hope you will join me in celebrating a wonderful achievement of one of our navigators. His name is Vincent. Vincent’s childhood dream was to become an airplane navigator but unfortunately he was declared unfit for the job because of his serious heart condition. True, he does occasionally have symptoms of heart disease like shortness of breath and chest pain, (...) yet he is certainly not the kind of person to be deterred from pursuing his dream so easily. Being quite convinced that he is up to the task and that everything would be fine Vincent decided to falsify his medical records. And indeed, with the clean bill of health readily forged and attached to his application, he smoothly managed to get the plum job and is very proud to take care of your safety today. Can we please get some applause for Vincent’s accomplishment and perseverance in the face of adversity? And, by the way, keep your seat belts tightly fastened during the entire flight.’. (shrink)
Philosophers of science widely believe that the hereditarian theory about racial differences in IQ is based on methodological mistakes and confusions involving the concept of heritability. I argue that this "received view" is wrong: methodological criticisms popular among philosophers are seriously misconceived, and the discussion in philosophy of science about these matters is largely disconnected from the real, empirically complex issues debated in science.