Successful technologies’ ubiquity changes uses, users and ethicolegal responsibilities and duties of care. We focus on dementia to review critically ethicolegal implications of increasing use of social networking sites (SNS) by those with compromised decision-making capacity, assessing concerned parties’ responsibilities. Although SNS contracts assume ongoing decision-making capacity, many users’ may be compromised or declining. Resulting ethicolegal issues include capacity to give informed consent to contracts, protection of online privacy including sharing and controlling data, data leaks between different digital platforms, and (...) management of digital identities and footprints. SNS uses in healthcare raise additional issues. Online materials acting as archives of ‘the self’ bolster present and future identities for users with compromised capacity. E-health involves actual and potential intersection of data gathered for the purpose of delivering health technological support with data used for social networking purposes. Ethicolegal guidance is limited on the implications of SNS usage in contexts where users have impaired/reduced capacity to understand and/or consent to sharing personal data about their health, medication or location. Vulnerable adults and family/carers face uncertainty in regard to consent, data protection, online identity and legal liabilities. Ethicolegal responsibilities and duties of care of technology providers, healthcare professionals, regulatory bodies and policymakers need clarification. (shrink)
I am going to begin today by bringing together one of the themes of Carol Voeller’s remarks with one of the criticisms raised by Rachel Cohon, because I see them as related, and want to address them together. Voeller argues that the moral law is constitutive of our nature as rational agents. To put it in her own words, “to be the kind of object it is, is for a thing to be under, or constituted by, the laws which (...) are its nature. For Kant, laws are constitutive principles … in something very close to an Aristotelian sense: for Kant, laws are proper to objects1 much as form is to object, for Aristotle.” Voeller believes that the moral law defines the kind of cause that we are, and we are under the moral law because we are that kind of cause. Since the defining quality of a rational agent is that a rational agent acts on its representation - I prefer to say conception - of a law, Voeller thinks the question for Kant is whether we can find a law which just is the law for causes that act on their representations of laws. As she puts it, “The problem, for Kant, is whether there is a law of a cause that acts on norms - on reflection, on its representation of a law. If there is, then the constitutive principle of that cause will be the law normative for it in reflection.” Now Voeller appears to think that I will disagree with this strategy for grounding the moral law, because she sees me as giving an anti-metaphysical or ametaphysical account of Kant’s ethics, in contrast to Kant’s own. But so far, I don’t.. (shrink)
Rachel Cohon's Hume is a moral sensing theorist, who holds both that moral qualities (virtue and vice) are mind-dependent and that there is such a thing as moral knowledge. He is an anti-rationalist about motivation, arguing that reason alone does not motivate, but allows that both beliefs and passions are motivating. (That is, some beliefs cause passions and some passions cause action.) And he is both a descriptive and a normative moral theorist who, despite having resources for putting checks (...) on our sentimentally-based moral evaluations, does end up with a kind of a relativistic account of the virtues and vices. Professor Cohon's arguments in Hume's Morality1 are tight and vigorous. Anyone working on these .. (shrink)
Hume's Morality: Feeling and Fabrication 1 is a most useful and agreeable book. It contains a wealth of analysis, argument, and insight about many of the most central elements of the moral theory of one of the greatest moral philosophers in human history: David Hume. The book is well-conceived, well-argued, stimulating, informative, clear, precise, thorough, balanced, nuanced, and ingenious, while evincing—especially in its concluding chapter, when considering possible extensions of Hume's theory—a certain subtle but pleasing "warmth in the cause of (...) virtue." As Hume would be the first to recognize, these traits of the book are indications of the personal merit of its author: Rachel Cohon. Indeed, if Cleanthes .. (shrink)
In contrast to "the land ethic," Rachel Carson's Under the Sea-Wind suggests a trans-ecotonal sea ethic, which understands human's perception as inhibited by ecotones, such as shorelines and the ocean surface, and suggests four foundational concepts: 1.) Humans are not fully adapted to life in the oceans. 2.) Humans need to understand the scale and complexity of ocean ecosystems. 3.) Humans disrupt ocean ecosystems by overharvesting their productivity, and modifying ecosystem processes and linkages, such as migrations. 4.) Human imagination (...) and rational scientific investigation can traverse the ecotones, allowing us to more fully value ocean life and processes. (shrink)
Beginning with Rachel Carson’s small book, The Sense of Wonder, I explore the moral significance of a sense of wonder—the propensity to respond with delight, awe, or yearning to what is beautiful and mysterious in the natural world when it unexpectedly reveals itself. An antidote to the view that the elements of the natural world are commodities to be disdained or destroyed, a sense of wonder leads us to celebrate and honor the more-than-human world, to care for it, to (...) protect its thriving. If this is so, then a sense of wonder may be a virtue, perhaps a keystone virtue in our time of reckless destruction, a source of decency and hope and restraint. (shrink)
: In contrast to "the land ethic," Rachel Carson's Under the Sea-Wind suggests a trans-ecotonal sea ethic, which understands human's perception as inhibited by ecotones, such as shorelines and the ocean surface, and suggests four foundational concepts: 1.) Humans are not fully adapted to life in the oceans. 2.) Humans need to understand the scale and complexity of ocean ecosystems. 3.) Humans disrupt ocean ecosystems by over-harvesting their productivity, and modifying ecosystem processes and linkages, such as migrations. 4.) Human (...) imagination and rational scientific investigation can traverse the ecotones, allowing us to more fully value ocean life and processes. (shrink)
In innate Categorical Perception (CP) (e.g., colour perception), similarity space is "warped," with regions of increased within-category similarity (compression) and regions of reduced between-category similarity (separation) enh ancing the category boundaries and making categorisation reliable and all-or-none rather than graded. We show that category learning can likewise warp similarity space, resolving uncertainty near category boundaries. Two Hard and two Easy texture learning tasks were compared: As predicted, there were fewer successful Learners with the Hard task, and only the successful Learners (...) of the Hard task exhibited CP. In a second experiment, the Easy task was made Hard by making the corrective feedback during learn ing only 90% reliable; this too generated CP. The results are discussed in relation to supervised, unsupervised and dual-mode models of category learning and representation.The world is full of things that vary in their similarity and interconfusability.O rganisms must somehow resolve this confusion, sorting and acting upon things adaptively. It might be important, for example, to learn which kinds of mushrooms are poisonous and which are safe to eat, minimising the confusion between them (Greco, Cangelosi & Harnad 1997). (shrink)
Earlier versions of the four articles which follow were presented at a book panel session, on Rachel Cohon's Hume's Morality: Feeling and Fabrication, at the Hume Society meetings in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in August 2009.I am deeply grateful to Lívia Guimarães and Donald L. M. Baxter for planning this session, and to Elizabeth S. Radcliffe and Don Garrett for serving as my critics. I have been asked to begin by summarizing my book in a few minutes.Hume's Morality: Feeling and (...) Fabrication (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), is primarily an analytical, interpretive work about two main issues: the nature of ethical evaluation, according to Hume, and the artificial virtues. The book has two parts: "Feeling Virtue" .. (shrink)
Introduction: philosophy of science in practice Content Type Journal Article Category Editorial Article Pages 303-307 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0036-4 Authors Rachel Ankeny, School of History & Politics, University of Adelaide, Napier Building, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia Hasok Chang, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Marcel Boumans, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam, Valckenierstraat 65-67, 1018 XE Amsterdam, The Netherlands Mieke Boon, Department of Philosophy, University (...) of Twente, Postbox 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3. (shrink)
Kant's Critique of Judgment has often been interpreted by scholars as comprising separate treatments of three uneasily connected topics: beauty, biology, and empirical knowledge. Rachel Zuckert's book is the first to interpret the Critique as a unified argument concerning all three domains. She argues that on Kant's view, human beings demonstrate a distinctive cognitive ability in appreciating beauty and understanding organic life: an ability to anticipate a whole that we do not completely understand according to preconceived categories. This ability (...) is necessary, moreover, for human beings to gain knowledge of nature in its empirical character as it is, not as we might assume it to be. Her wide-ranging and original study will be valuable for readers in all areas of Kant's philosophy. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgements and notes; Editors' introduction Rachel Barney, Tad Brennan and Charles Brittain; Part I. Transitions to Tripartition: 1. Enkrateia and the partition of the soul in the Gorgias Louis-Andre; Dorion; 2. From the Phaedo to the Republic: philosophers, non-philosophers, and the possibility of virtue Iakovos Vasiliou; 3. The soul as a one and a many: Republic 436a8-439d9 Eric Brown; Part II. Moral Psychology and the Parts of the Soul: 4. Erôs before and after tripartition Frisbee (...) Sheffield; 5. Speaking with the same voice as reason: personification in Plato's psychology Rachana Kamtekar; 6. Psychic contingency in the Republic Jennifer Whiting; 7. Curbing one's appetites in Plato's Republic James Wilberding; 8. The nature and object of the spirited part of the soul Tad Brennan; 9. How to see an unencrusted soul: Republic X 611b-612a Raphael Woolf; Part III. Developments in Late Plato: 10. Pictures and passions in the Philebus and Timaeus Jessica Moss; 11. The cognition of appetite in Plato's Timaeus Hendrik Lorenz; 12. Soul and state in Plato's laws Luc Brisson; Part IV. Parts of Soul in the Platonic Tradition: 13. Plutarch on the division of the soul Jan Opsomer; 14. Galen and the tripartite soul Mark Schiefsky; 15. Plotinus and Plato on soul and action Eyjólfur K. Emilsson. (shrink)
Do I have a special reason to care about my future, as opposed to yours? We reject the common belief that I do. Putting our thesis paradoxically, we say that nothing matters in survival: nothing in our continued existence justifies any special self-concern. Such an "extreme" view is standardly tied to ideas about the metaphysics of persons, but not by us. After rejecting various arguments against our thesis, we conclude that simplicity decides in its favor. Throughout the essay we honor (...) Jim Rachels, whose final days exemplified his own unselfish morality as well as the “neutralist” ideal we espouse. As an appendix, we include the last original work to be published by James Rachels, in which he criticizes Sidgwick’s most famous defense of egoism. (shrink)
Over the last fifty years, traditional farming has been replaced by industrial farming. Unlike traditional farming, industrial farming is abhorrently cruel to animals, environmentally destructive, awful for rural America, and wretched for human health. In this essay, I document those facts, explain why the industrial system has become dominant, and argue that we should boycott industrially produced meat. Also, I argue that we should not even kill animals humanely for food, given our uncertainty about which creatures possess a right to (...) life. In practice, then, we should be vegetarians. To underscore the importance of these issues, I use statistics to show that industrial farming has caused more pain and suffering than the Holocaust. (shrink)
In his book, Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (1990), James Rachels argues that the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection undermines the view that human beings are made in the image of God. By this he means that Darwinism makes things such that there is no longer any good reason to think that human beings are made in the image of God. Some other widely read and respected authors seem to share this view of the implications (...) of Darwinism, most notably Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. Unlike Dawkins and Dennett, Rachels gives a detailed argument for this view about the implications of Darwinism. In this article I explain Rachels’s argument and critically engage with it, arguing that he does not sufficiently well consider all of the options that are open to the theist in defending the view that human beings are made in the image of God. (shrink)
A generally ignored feature of Aristotle’s famous function argument is its reliance on the claim that practitioners of the crafts (technai) have functions: but this claim does important work. Aristotle is pointing to the fact that we judge everyday rational agency and agents by norms which are independent of their contingent desires: a good doctor is not just one who happens to achieve his personal goals through his work. But, Aristotle argues, such norms can only be binding on individuals if (...) human rational agency as such is governed by objective teleological norms. . (shrink)
In this paper, I examine the manner in which analyses of the action of single agents have been pressed into service for constructing accounts of collective action. Specifically, I argue that the best analogy to collective action is a class of individual action that Carl Ginet has called 'aggregate action.' Furthermore, once we use aggregate action as a model of collective action, then we see that existing accounts of collective action have failed to accommodate an important class of (what I (...) shall call) 'unintentional collective actions.'. (shrink)
is a term introduced by Ian Hacking to refer to the kinds of people—child abusers, pregnant teenagers, the unemployed—studied by the human sciences. Hacking argues that classifying and describing human kinds results in feedback, which alters the very kinds under study. This feedback results in human kinds having histories totally unlike those of natural kinds (such as gold, electrons and tigers), leading Hacking to conclude that human kinds are radically unlike natural kinds. Here I argue that Hacking's argument fails and (...) that he has not demonstrated that human kinds cannot be natural kinds. Introduction Natural kinds Hacking's feedback mechanisms 3.1 Cultural feedback 3.2 Conceptual feedback. (shrink)
It is very difficult to get a clear picture of how the Stoic is supposed to deliberate. This paper considers a number of possible pictures, which cover such a wide range of options that some look Kantian and others utilitarian. Each has some textual support but is also unworkable in certain ways: there seem to be genuine and unresolved conflicts at the heart of Stoic ethics. And these are apparently due not to developmental changes within the school, but to the (...) Stoics’ having adopted implicitly incompatible solutions in response to different philosophical challenges. (shrink)
Among Aristotle’s criticisms of the Form of the Good is his claim that the knowledge of such a Good could be of no practical relevance to everyday rational agency, e.g. on the part of craftspeople. This critique turns out to hinge ultimately on the deeply different assumptions made by Plato and Aristotle about the relation of ‘good’ and ‘good for’. Plato insists on the conceptual priority of the former; and Plato wins the argument.
A generally ignored feature of Plato’s celebrated image of the cave in Republic VII is that the ascent from the cave is, in its initial stages, said to be brought about by force. What kind of ‘force’ is this, and why is it necessary? This paper considers three possible interpretations, and argues that each may have a role to play.
This paper explores in detail Gorgias' defense of rhetoric in Plato's Gorgias (456c–7c), noting its connections to earlier and later texts such as Aristophanes' Clouds , Gorgias' Helen , Isocrates' Nicocles and Antidosis , and Aristotle's Rhetoric . The defense as Plato presents it is transparently inadequate; it reveals a deep inconsistency in Gorgias' conception of rhetoric and functions as a satirical precursor to his refutation by Socrates. Yet Gorgias' defense is appropriated, in a streamlined form, by later defenders of (...) rhetoric such as Isocrates and Aristotle. They present it as an effective reductio against a critique of rhetoric that depends on the "harm criterion." This is puzzling, since Plato's own critique of rhetoric does not depend on the harm criterion. On the other hand, Plato does seem to embrace the harm criterion as a more general principle—as if pre-emptively embracing the reductio —in his arguments about the good in the Meno and Euthydemus . Nonetheless, Isocrates and Aristotle seem to be deliberately misreading Plato on rhetoric: where he intends to criticize its intrinsic nature, they respond as if he were merely complaining about its contingent effects. (shrink)
Abstract The principal aim of this paper is to give a positive analysis of self-deception. I argue that self-deception is a species ?self-emplotment?. Through narrative self-emplotment one groups the events of one's life thematically in order to understand and monitor oneself. I argue that self-emplotment is an unextraordinary feature of mental life that is a precondition of agency. Self-emplotment, however, proceeds according to certain norms, some of which provide apparent justification for self-deceptive activity. A secondary aim of the paper is (...) to sketch the common characteristics between self-deception and self-knowledge. The framework of self-emplotment from which self-deception can emerge is also the framework that delivers self-knowledge; to the extent that the activity of self-emplotment is partially constitutive of what it means to possess self-knowledge, the self-deceiver may be closer to a state of self-knowledge than the person who fails to engage in significant introspective narrative. (shrink)
What is lying? -- Why do people lie? -- Little lies -- Lying hurts! -- When someone lies to you -- What if you tell a lie? -- What if you get caught? -- Making it right -- Put an end to lying -- Start telling the truth.
Writers on collective action are in broad agreement that in order for a group of agents to form a collective intention, the members of that group must have beliefs about the beliefs of the other members. But in spite of the fact that this so-called "interactive knowledge" is central to virtually every account of collective intention, writers on this subject have not offered a detailed account of the nature of interactive knowledge. In this paper, we argue that such an account (...) is necessary for any adequate analysis of collective intention. Furthermore, we argue that an application of Robert Aumann's theory of interactive knowledge may be used to address several puzzling features of collective intention. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This study offers a comprehensive new interpretation of one of Plato's most enigmatic and controversial dialogues, the Cratylus , showing it to present a complex and unified argument for a positive conclusion. Throughout, the book combines analysis of Plato's arguments with attentiveness to his philosophical method, including its "dramatic" or "literary" features; in particular, Socrates' extended etymological discourse, long an interpretive puzzle, is explained in terms of the various Platonic genres to which it belongs.
This paper argues that Kant's account of the "ideal of beauty" in paragraph 17 of the Critique of Judgment is not only a plausible account of one kind of beauty ("boring" beauty), but also that it can address some of our moral qualms concerning the aesthetic evaluation of persons, including our psychological propensity to take a person's beauty to represent her moral character.
Just as we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of objects composes a single object, we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of actions composes a single action. In the material objects literature, this question is known as the "special composition question," and I take it that there is a similar question to be asked of collections of actions. I will call that question the "special composition question in action," and argue that the correct (...) answer to this question depends on a particular kind of consequence produced by the individual constituent actions. (shrink)
Abstract Recently, some philosophers of psychiatry (viz., Rachel Cooper and Dominic Murphy) have analyzed the issue of psychiatric classification. This paper expands upon these analyses and seeks to demonstrate that a consideration of the history of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can provide a rich and informative philosophical perspective for critically examining the issue of psychiatric classification. This case is intended to demonstrate the importance of history for philosophy of psychiatry, and more generally, the potential (...) benefits of historically-informed approaches to philosophy of science. (shrink)
It is quite standard, even banal, to describe Kant's project in the Critique of Pure Reason [KrV] as a critical reconciliation of rationalism and empiricism, most directly expressed in Kant's claim that intuitions and concepts are two distinct, yet equally necessary, and necessarily interdependent sources of cognition. Similarly, though Kant rejects both the rationalist foundation of morality in the concept of perfection and that of the empiricists in feeling or in the moral sense, one might broadly characterize Kant's moral philosophy (...) as an attempt to reconcile the apriori universality and necessity of rationalist ethics with empiricist (Humean) or sentimentalist (Rousseauean) strictures concerning the distinction between the ‘ought’ and the ‘is’, between third personal knowledge of the good and first personal motivation. (shrink)
: Hume's account of the virtue of fidelity to promises contains two surprising claims: 1) Any analysis of fidelity that treats it as a natural (nonconventional) virtue is incorrect because it entails that in promising we perform a "peculiar act of the mind," an act of creating obligation by willing oneself to be obligated. No such act is possible. 2) Though the obligation of promises depends upon social convention, not on such a mental act, we nonetheless "feign" that whenever someone (...) promises he performs such an act. This paper explains both in light of the philosophical questions about promising that lie behind Hume's investigation, his virtue theory, and the general difficulties he believes we face trying to understand virtues that are in fact artificial in terms of our common-sense, natural conception of virtue. It extracts a lesson for contemporary virtue ethics about the motive of duty. (shrink)
Simplicius’ project of harmonizing previous philosophers deserves to be taken seriously as both a philosophical and an interpretive project. Simplicius follows Aristotle himself in developing charitable interpretations of his predecessors: his distinctive project, in the Neoplatonic context, is the rehabilitation of the Presocratics (especially Parmenides, Anaxagoras and Empedocles) from a Platonic-Aristotelian perspective. Simplicius’ harmonizations involve hermeneutic techniques which are recognisably those of the serious historian of philosophy; and harmonization itself has a distinguished history as a constructive philosophical method.
The DSM is the main classification of mental disorders used by psychiatrists in the United States and, increasingly, around the world. Although widely used, the DSM has come in for fierce criticism, with many commentators believing it to be conceptually flawed in a variety of ways. This paper assesses some of these philosophical worries. The first half of the paper asks whether the project of constructing a classification of mental disorders that âcuts nature at the jointsâ makes sense. What is (...) mental disorder? Are types of mental disorder natural kinds (that is, are the distinctions between them objective and of fundamental theoretical importance, as are, say, the distinctions between the chemical elements)? The second half of the paper addresses epistemic worries. Even if types of mental disorder are natural kinds there may be reason to doubt that the DSM will come to reflect their natural structure. In particular, I examine the extent to which the DSM is theory-laden, and look at how it has been shaped by social and financial factors. Ultimately, I conclude that although the DSM is of immense practical importance it is not likely to become the best possible classification of mental disorders. (shrink)
Iakovos Vasiliou argues for reading Plato’s early dialogues and the Republic in light of “the aiming/determining distinction.” Aiming questions are concerned with the selection of our overriding ends. Determining questions ask how we can identify actions which secure those ends. As Vasiliou argues, Socrates claims to know an answer to the central aiming question, namely that virtue must be supreme (SV). Virtue functions sometimes as an explicit end and always as a limiting condition: we must never do wrong. For wrong (...) action damages the soul, which is the most important locus of harms and benefits for us. Vasiliou traces this argument as it is offered with increasing fullness in the Crito, Gorgias, and Republic. .. (shrink)
A new reading of Plato's account of conventionalism about names in the Cratylus. It argues that Hermogenes' position, according to which a name is whatever anybody 'sets down' as one, does not have the counterintuitive consequences usually claimed. At the same time, Plato's treatment of conventionalism needs to be related to his treatment of formally similar positions in ethics and politics. Plato is committed to standards of objective natural correctness in all such areas, despite the problematic consequences which, as he (...) himself shows, arise in the case of language. (shrink)
There is considerable evidence that Hume thinks the moral sentiments (approval and disapproval) move us to action, at least in some circumstances. For one thing, he relies on the premise that moral evaluations move us to action to argue that moral evaluations are not derived from reason alone, in his most famous anti-rationalist argument. Presumably, this capacity of moral evaluations can be explained by the fact that (as Hume sees it) such evaluations are, or are the product of, moral sentiments. (...) But this raises three interconnected interpretive questions. First, on Hume's account, much virtuous behavior is traceable to motives other than the sentiments of approval and disapproval; so when and how do the moral .. (shrink)
This paper aims to identify the key characteristics of model organisms that make them a specific type of model within the contemporary life sciences: in particular, we argue that the term “model organism” does not apply to all organisms used for the purposes of experimental research. We explore the differences between experimental and model organisms in terms of their material and epistemic features, and argue that it is essential to distinguish between their representational scope and representational target. We also examine (...) the characteristics of the communities who use these two types of models, including their research goals, disciplinary affiliations, and preferred practices to show how these have contributed to the conceptualization of a model organism. We conclude that model organisms are a specific subgroup of organisms that have been standardized to fit an integrative and comparative mode of research, and that it must be clearly distinguished from the broader class of experimental organisms. In addition, we argue that model organisms are the key components of a unique and distinctively biological way of doing research using models. (shrink)
Hume's moral philosophy makes sentiment essential to moral judgment. But there is more individual consistency and interpersonal agreement in moral judgment than in private emotional reactions. Hume accounts for this by saying that our moral judgments do not manifest our approval or disapproval of character traits and persons "only as they appear from [our] peculiar point of view..." Rather, "we fix on some steady and general points of view; and always, in our thoughts, place ourselves in them, whatever may be (...) our present situation" (T 581-82), in order to "correct" our situated sentiments. This seems to create two serious difficulties for Hume's theory. First, moral evaluations become inductive, empirical beliefs about what we would feel if we really occupied the imagined common point of view, and hence are the deliverances of causal reason; this contradicts Hume's claim that the making of a moral evaluation is not an activity of reason but of sentiment. Secondly, given Hume's thesis that the passions do not represent anything else, he cannot say that our moral evaluations will better represent the object being judged if they are made from the common point of view. This leaves no clear reason to adopt it, rather than making judgments from our real position. Hume says that left to our particular points of view, we will encounter contradictions and be unable to communicate, but it is hard to see why. My interpretation resolves these two difficulties. I argue that every time we reflect upon someone's character from the common point of view, we feel an actual sentiment of approbation or disapprobation, which may alter and merge with the situated sentiment or may fail to do so, leaving two different feelings about the same character. Furthermore, whenever we make moral evaluations we also simultaneously make objective, causal judgments about the love and hatred, pride and humility that the trait will produce. We routinely take up the common point of view in order to achieve truth and consistency in our causal judgments, to avoid grave practical problems. (shrink)
Is inheritable genetic modification the new dividing line in gene therapy? The editors of this searching investigation, representing clinical medicine, public health and biomedical ethics, have established a distinguished team of scientists and scholars to address the issues from the perspectives of biological and social science, law and ethics, including an intriguing Foreword from Peter Singer. Their purpose is to consider how society might deal with the ethical concerns raised by inheritable genetic modification, and to re-examine prevailing views about whether (...) these procedures will ever be ethically and socially justifiable. The book also provides background to define the field, and discusses the biological and technological potential for inheritable genetic modification, its limitations, and its connection with gene therapy, cloning, and other reproductive interventions. For scientists, bioethicists, clinicians, counsellors and public commentators, this is an essential contribution to one of the critical debates in current genetics. (shrink)
In this paper, we offer an analysis of ‘group intentions.’ On our proposal, group intentions should be understood as a state of equilibrium among the beliefs of the members of a group. Although the discussion in this paper is non-technical, the equilibrium concept is drawn from the formal theory of interactive epistemology due to Robert Aumann. The goal of this paper is to provide an analysis of group intentions that is informed by important work in economics and formal epistemology.
Phantom limb experiences demonstrate an unexpected degree of fragility inherent in our self-perceptions. This is perhaps most extreme when congenitally absent limbs are experienced as phantoms. Aplasic phantoms highlight fundamental questions about the physiological bases of self-experience and the ontogeny of a physical, embodied sense of the self. Some of the most intriguing of these questions concern the role of mirror neurons in supporting the development of self–other mappings and hence the emergence of phantom experiences of congenitally absent limbs. In (...) this paper, we will examine the hypothesis that aplasic phantom limb experience is the result of an ontogenetic interplay between body schemas and mirror neuron activity and that this interplay is founded on embedding in a social context. Phantom limb experience has been associated with the persistence of subjective experience of a part of the body after deafferentation through surgical or traumatic removal. We maintain that limited association is inconsistent with the extent to which phantom limb experience is reported by aplasic individuals. (shrink)
Pyrrhonian sceptics claim, notoriously, to assent to the appearances without making claims about how things are. To see whether this is coherent we need to consider the philosophical history of ‘appearance’(phainesthai)-talk, and the closely related concept of an impression (phantasia). This history suggests that the sceptics resemble Plato in lacking the ‘non-epistemic’ or ‘non-doxastic’ conception of appearance developed by Aristotle and the Stoics. What is distinctive about the Pyrrhonian sceptic is simply that the degree of doxastic commitment involved in his (...) assent to an impression is asymptotally low. (shrink)
It is widely supposed that the scientists in any field use identical standards for evaluating theories. Without such unity of standards, consensus about scientific theories is supposedly unintelligible. However, the hypothesis of uniform standards can explain neither scientific disagreement nor scientific innovation. This paper seeks to show how the presumption of divergent standards (when linked to a hypothesis of dominance) can explain agreement, disagreement and innovation. By way of illustrating how a rational community with divergent standards can encourage innovation and (...) eventually reach consensus, recent developments in geophysics are discussed at some length. (shrink)
Increasingly, Deaf activists claim that it can be good to be Deaf. Still, much of the hearing world remains unconvinced, and continues to think of deafness in negative terms. I examine this debate and argue that to determine whether it can be good to be deaf it is necessary to examine each claimed advantage or disadvantage of being deaf, and then to make an overall judgment regarding the net cost or benefit. On the basis of such a survey I conclude (...) that being deaf may plausibly be a good thing for some deaf people but not for others. (shrink)
This paper addresses Peter Singer's claim that cognitive ability can function as a universal criterion for measuring moral worth. I argue that Singer fails to adequately represent cognitive capacity as the object of moral knowledge at stake in his theory. He thus fails to put forth credible knowledge claims, which undermines both the trustworthiness of his moral theories and the morality of the actions called for by these theories. I situate Singer's methods within feminist critiques of moral reasoning and moral (...) epistemology, and argue that Singer's methods are problematic for moral reasoning because they abstract from their object valuable contextual features. I further develop this claim by showing the importance of embodiment for the construal of objects of moral knowledge. Finally, I develop the moral and scholarly implications of this critique. By showing that the abstract, universal methods of reasoning Singer employs cannot credibly construe the objects of ethical inquiry, I call into question the validity of these methods as a means to moral knowledge in general. Furthermore, since moral reasoning takes place within an embodied moral landscape, it is itself a moral enterprise. Singer's moral reasoning, and ours, must be held accountable for its knowledge claims as well as its concrete effects in the world. (shrink)
There has been much debate regarding the 'double-effect' of sedatives and analgesics administered at the end-of-life, and the possibility that health professionals using these drugs are performing 'slow euthanasia.' On the one hand analgesics and sedatives can do much to relieve suffering in the terminally ill. On the other hand, they can hasten death. According to a standard view, the administration of analgesics and sedatives amounts to euthanasia when the drugs are given with an intention to hasten death. In this (...) paper we report a small qualitative study based on interviews with 8 Australian general physicians regarding their understanding of intention in the context of questions about voluntary euthanasia, assisted suicide and particularly the use of analgesic and sedative infusions (including the possibility of voluntary or non-voluntary 'slow euthanasia'). We found a striking ambiguity and uncertainty regarding intentions amongst doctors interviewed. Some were explicit in describing a 'grey' area between palliation and euthanasia, or a continuum between the two. Not one of the respondents was consistent in distinguishing between a foreseen death and an intended death. A major theme was that 'slow euthanasia' may be more psychologically acceptable to doctors than active voluntary euthanasia by bolus injection, partly because the former would usually only result in a small loss of 'time' for patients already very close to death, but also because of the desirable ambiguities surrounding causation and intention when an infusion of analgesics and sedatives is used. The empirical and philosophical implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
We argue that conceptual analyses of collective action should be informed by game-theoretic analyses of collective action. In particular, we argue that Ariel Rubenstein’s so-called ‘Electronic Mail Game’ provides a useful model of collective action, and of the formation of collective intentions.
Truth, the pragmatist claims, is something we make, not something which corresponds to reality. If this view of truth is accepted, Rorty notes, two problems arise: the pragmatist will have little to say to those who abuse others, because he or she will not be able to point to some universal standards that the abusers are vio lating ; and the torturers may be able to quote pragmatic principles in their own defence. Rorty argues that the pragmatist can reduce cruelty (...) by splitting himself or herself into public and private parts. I examine this problem and Rorty's solution. I argue that his solution fails for two reasons: first, keeping our public and private selves apart is unlikely to reduce cruelty; and, second, he cannot maintain the public/private split. Consequently, Rorty is unable to deal with the anti-pragmatic criticism that his theory of truth could lead to an increase in cruelty. Key Words: democracy liberalism political theory pragmatism Richard Rorty. (shrink)
The biological sciences have become increasingly reliant on so-called 'model organisms'. I argue that in this domain, the concept of a descriptive model is essential for understanding scientific practice. Using a case study, I show how such a model was formulated in a preexplanatory context for subsequent use as a prototype from which explanations ultimately may be generated both within the immediate domain of the original model and in additional, related domains. To develop this concept of a descriptive model, I (...) focus on use of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the wiring diagrams that were developed as models of its neural structure. In addition, implications of the concept of a descriptive model, particularly its relevance for the data-phenomena distinction as well as its relation to long-standing debates on realism, are briefly examined. (shrink)
This paper addresses an argument offered by John Hawthorne gainst the propriety of an agent’s using propositions she does not know as premises in practical reasoning. I will argue that there are a number of potential structural confounds in Hawthorne’s use of his main example, a case of practical reasoning about a lottery. By drawing these confounds out more explicitly, we can get a better sense of how to make appropriate use of such examples in theorizing about norms, knowledge, and (...) practical reasoning. I will conclude by suggesting a prescription for properly using lottery propositions to do the sort of work that Hawthorne wants from them. (shrink)
: This essay provides a critical analysis of rape prevention since the 1980s. I argue that we must challenge rape prevention's habitual reinforcement of the notion that fear is a woman's best line of defense. I suggest changes that must be made in the anti-rape movement if we are to move past fear. Ultimately, I raise the question of what, if not vague threats and scare tactics, constitutes prevention.
In this essay, I discuss Kames' aesthetic theory, as presented in his essay, ‘Our Attachment to Objects of Distress’ (concerning the problem of tragedy), and in Elements of Criticism. I argue that Kames' (non-)response to the problem of tragedy – that we find tragedies painful (not pleasing), yet are ‘attracted to them through the workings of the “blind instinct” of sympathy’ – is intended to call the standard formulation of the problem of tragedy (‘why do we find such painful things (...) pleasing?’) into question. This standard formulation, on Kames' view, mistakenly assumes that we cannot be attracted to anything but pleasure, whereas tragedy (among other phenomena) shows that human nature is considerably more complex than this. I argue, further, that Kames' treatment of tragedy exemplifies the character of his aesthetics more broadly: aesthetic values are explained by reference to general laws governing human nature (we are attracted to this sort of thing, averse to that, etc.) – or explanatory naturalism. But Kames also argues that we can, upon reflection, judge that this instinct and this exercise of it is good (as in the case of tragedy, which is, Kames argues, morally educative because it strengthens our sympathy), by contrast to other cases where instincts may not achieve their ends. Thus Kames also proposes a normative aesthetic naturalism, according to which we should educate our instinctual affective responses so that they will be appropriate to their objects and beneficial for the human goods that they are meant to promote. (shrink)
Women currently earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Explanations abound for why, exactly, this wage gap exists. One of the more potent justifications attributes this pay differential to the unequal effects of marriage on the sexes: the marital asymmetry hypothesis. However, even when marital status is accounted for, a small but significant residual gap remains. This article argues that this is the result of social factors. Entrenched societal sexism causes all of us to harbor unconscious bias about (...) the capabilities and proper gender roles of women. This bias, in turn, leads us to discount work completed by females, especially in professional environments. Employers are not immune from this effect, and the undervaluation of female ability affects hiring practices, leading to the residual wage gap. (shrink)