The use of brain scanning now dominates the cognitive sciences, but important questions remain to be answered about what, exactly, scanning can tell us. One corner of cognitive science that has been transformed by the use of neuroimaging, and that a scanning enthusiast might point to as proof of scanning's importance, is the study of face perception. Against this view, we argue that the use of scanning has, in fact, told us rather little about the information processing underlying face perception (...) and that it is not likely to tell us much more. (shrink)
In Against Moral Responsibility, Bruce Waller launches a spirited attack on a system that is profoundly entrenched in our society and its institutions, deeply rooted in our emotions, and vigorously defended by philosophers from ancient times to the present. Waller argues that, despite the creative defenses of it by contemporary thinkers, moral responsibility cannot survive in our naturalistic-scientific system. The scientific understanding of human behavior and the causes that shape human character, he contends, leaves no room for moral (...) responsibility. Waller argues that moral responsibility in all its forms--including criminal justice, distributive justice, and all claims of just deserts--is fundamentally unfair and harmful and that its abolition will be liberating and beneficial. What we really want--natural human free will, moral judgments, meaningful human relationships, creative abilities--would survive and flourish without moral responsibility. In the course of his argument, Waller examines the origins of the basic belief in moral responsibility, proposes a naturalistic understanding of free will, offers a detailed argument against moral responsibility and critiques arguments in favor of it, gives a general account of what a world without moral responsibility would look like, and examines the social and psychological aspects of abolishing moral responsibility. Waller not only mounts a vigorous, and philosophically rigorous, attack on the moral responsibility system, but also celebrates the benefits that would result from its total abolition. (shrink)
Some of the methods for data collection in experimental psychology, as well as many of the inferences from observed behavior or image scanning, are based on the implicit premise that language use can be linked, via the meaning of words, to specific subjective states. Wittgenstein’s well known private language argument (PLA), however, calls into question the legitimacy of such inferences. According to a strong interpretation of PLA, all of the elements of a language must be publicly available. Thus the meaning (...) of words is not fixed by reference to our private experiences, and so data from subjective state claims indicates nothing about our subjective experiences. Application of PLA to psychological studies based on descriptions of the experience of orgasm offers support for the strong version of the conclusion of PLA. We show that PLA has deep implications for data collection methods and inferences in experimental psychology. In particular we critique two contemporary research projects in neuroscience: one studying the ability to remember emotionally loaded words and the other studying experience of attraction. Both of these projects attempt to link subjective experiences and thought processes to particular observable brain states. The research methods appeal to (implicit) inferences from linguistic usage to subjective states. Application of PLA will show that such inferences cannot be made because the meaning of a word is not determined by any subjective state of the speaker. (shrink)
The debate over free will has pittedlibertarian insistence on open alternativesagainst the compatibilist view that authenticcommitments can preserve free will in adetermined world. A second schism in the freewill debate sets rationalist belief in thecentrality of reason against nonrationalistswho regard reason as inessential or even animpediment to free will. By looking deeperinto what motivates each of these perspectivesit is possible to find common ground thataccommodates insights from all those competingviews. The resulting metacompatibilist view offree will bridges some of the differencesbetween (...) compatibilists and incompatibilists aswell as between rationalists andnonrationalists, and results in a free willtheory that is both more philosophicallyinclusive and more firmly connected tocontemporary research in psychology andbiology. (shrink)
What are the types of action at issue in the free will and moral responsibility debate? Are the neuroscientists who make claims about free will and moral responsibility studying those types of action? If not, can the existing paradigm in the field be modified to study those types of action? This paper outlines some claims made by neuroscientists about the inefficacy of conscious intentions and the implications of this inefficacy for the existence of free will. It argues that, typically, the (...) types of actions at issue in the philosophical literature require proximal or distal conscious decisions and have the right kind of connection to reasons. It points out that neuroscientists are not studying this class of actions, as their studies focus on simple commanded actions (e.g., finger flex) and simple Buridan choices (e.g., push the left or right button). Finally, it argues that neuroscience already has the resources to study the types of action relevant for free will and moral responsibility and outlines two experiments which focus on skilled actions and moral choices that could be run using the available technology. (shrink)
In Australia, as in many countries, the early advertising industry had a poor reputation for honesty. However, in 1920 ?truth in advertising? and raising ethical behavior became the focus of the Second Convention of Advertising Men of Australasia, held in Sydney. This was a major event in Australia's advertising history and was seen as a way to legitimize the industry in the eyes of those who doubted advertising's honesty. This paper will look at the Sydney Advertising Convention, with particular reference (...) to quotes from presenters and the establishment of self-regulatory bodies, to help gain an insight into the beginning of a system to observe ethical behavior in advertising. (shrink)
Political advertising has long been a target for criticism regarding unethical behaviour. This study looks at the attitudes of Australian advertising agency executives and politicians towards ethical issues relating to political advertising. A sample of 101 advertising agency executives and 46 federal politicians were compared and some attitudinal differences were found, which could be areas of tension in the agency-client relationship.
Philosophical tradition demands rational reflection as a condition for genuine moral acts. But the grounds for that requirement are untenable, and when the requirement is dropped morality comes into clearer view as a naturally developing phenomenon that is not confined to human beings and does not require higher-level rational reflective processes. Rational consideration of rules and duties can enhance and extend moral behavior, but rationality is not necessary for morality and (contrary to the Kantian tradition represented by Thomas Nagel) morality (...) cannot transcend its biological roots. Recognizing this helps forge a complementary rather than competitive relation between feminist care-based ethics and rationalistic duty-based ethics. (shrink)
The advertising of controversial products/services and the use of controversial images to "cut through the clutter" in the marketplace appears to be increasing around the world. However, apart from the general ethical issue regarding the deliberate use of controversial/offensive images for public viewing that may offend some people, it is important to determine what makes a controversial advertisement offensive? A questionnaire was distributed to 1014 students across four different countries in the Asia Pacific region to determine what type of products (...) are seen as offensive and the reasons they are offensive. The results present some important implications for international marketers. (shrink)
For all their antagonism, deep and social ecology do share at least this much: a lack of interest in the issues of animal rights, animal welfare, and vegetarianism. I argue that this disinterest is inconsistent with deep and social ecology's practical programs and philosophical foundations. Furthermore, while they ignore the animals' case for special moral recognition, both schools nevertheless exploit our special feelings (pro and con) toward animals in order to advance their own agendas concerning nature.
Peter Woolcock, in Ruse's Darwinian Meta-Ethics: A Critique, argues that the subjectivist (nonobjectivist) Darwinian metaethics proposed by Michael Ruse (in Taking Darwin Seriously) cannot work, because the illusion of objectivity that Ruse claims is essential to morality breaks down when it is recognized as illusion, and there then remain no good reasons for acknowledging or following moral obligations. Woolcock, however, is mistaken in supposing that moral behaviour requires rational motivation. Ruse's Darwinian metaethical analysis shows why such objective support for morality (...) is neither plausible nor necessary; and when that is recognized, it can also be seen that Ruse's proposed illusion of moral objectivity is superfluous. (shrink)
China is a country that has undertaken a great transformation since the late 1970' s, and among these changes, has seen a massive growth in the advertising industry with the influx of foreign advertisers, and the development of regional and global media, such as satellite television and the Internet. This has resulted in the Chinese people of all ages having a greater opportunity of exposure to different types of advertising, including the advertising of potentially controversial products, which could clash with (...) traditional Chinese values. Using a stakeholder theory approach, this study analyzes the responses of 630 Chinese respondents to discover who is offended by controversial advertisements and determine ways potentially offensive advertising messages can be reduced, thereby assisting marketers in being more socially responsible in their advertising messages. (shrink)
People occasionally change their moral beliefs and principles, and they may experience such changes as occurring independently of their wishes. Moral realists argue that this phenomenon of moral conversion is evidence for moral realism, and against noncognitivism. However, contemporary noncognitivists can acknowledge such changes--including changes "against our wills"--and can account for the changes in a simpler and more plausible manner. If moral realism posits real moral facts to account for moral conversion the result will be an extreme and untenable inflation (...) of moral realist ontology. (shrink)
In Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza propose an account of moral responsibility according to which an agent is morally responsible for an action just when that action is the product of her own moderately reasons-responsive mechanism, where reasons-responsiveness is explained in terms of the mechanism’s regular reasons-receptivity and weak reasons-reactivity. In a review of Fischer and Ravizza’s book Mele contends that their weakly reasons-reactivity condition is inadequate, constructing a case in which, (...) according to their theory, an extreme agoraphobic is morally responsible for his staying in his home. In this paper I modify Fischer and Ravizza’s account of moral responsibility in light of Mele’s problematic example, suggesting a refinement of their weakly reasons-reactivity requirement via a distinction between weakly sufficient reasons and strongly sufficient reasons. (shrink)
In Free Will and Luck, Mele presents a case of an agent Ernie, whose zygote was intentionally designed so that Ernie A-s in 30 years, bringing about a certain event E. Mele uses this case of original design to outline the zygote argument against compatibilism. In this paper I criticize the zygote argument. Unlike other compatibilists who have responded to the zygote argument, I contend that it is open to the compatibilist to accept premise one, that Ernie does not act (...) freely and is not morally responsible for anything he does. I argue that compatibilists should deny premise two. Diana’s effective intention to create Ernie’s zygote such that Ernie A-s in 30 years and her intervention to bring about his A-ing mark a significant difference between Ernie and normal agents in a deterministic universe with regard to how their zygotes were created that affects whether those agents act freely and are morally responsible for so acting. (shrink)
There is an increasing interest in how managers describe and respond to what they regard as moral versus nonmoral problems in organizations. In this study, forty managers described a moral problem and a nonmoral problem that they had encountered in their organization, each of which had been resolved. Analyses indicated that: (1) the two types of problems could be significantly differentiated using four of Jones' (1991) components of moral intensity; (2) the labels managers used to describe problems varied systematically between (...) the two types of problems and according to the problem's moral intensity; and (3) problem management processes varied according to the problem's type and moral intensity. (shrink)