This unpublished paper outlines a conception of habilitation into a robust form of health needed for lives of active, effective agency. (A revised version of this conception of health and healthy agency is published in Lawrence C Becker, Habilitation, Health, and Agency (Oxford University Press, 2012.) Such healthy agency is described in terms of six physiological and psychological factors (health-related traits) that vary quantitatively along three dimensions. The same six factors will describe not only healthy agency but the entire (...) range of health states. Consequently, what can be called the habilitation framework is useful for health in general, as it relates to theories of distributive justice. Further, as I will argue, the framework is a useful way of organizing an account of distributive justice generally. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Dialektik ist eine Modevokabel geworden. In seinem Aufsatz geht Becker ihren philosophiegeschichtlichen Quellen nach. Er zeigt, daÃ die begrifflichen Konstruktionselemente der dialektischen Methode von Hegel und Marx dem SelbstbewuÃtseinstheorem der klassischen Transzendentalphilosophie entstammen. Die Wurzeln dieses Theorems reichen bis zu Descartes zurÃ¼ck. Die konsequenteste Ausbildung hat es jedoch erst in der Philosophie des deutschen Idealismus erhalten. B. macht klar, unter welchen Bedingungen es zu Marxens âmaterialistischer UmstÃ¼lpungâ der dialektischen Methode kommen konnte. In einer Kurzanalyse der Warentheorie von Marx (...) wird deutlich gemacht, wie Dialektik als Methode im Rahmen einer Ã¶konomischen Theorie fungiert und welche â irrationalen â Konsequenzen sie in diesem Ã¶konomischen und geschichtsphilosophischen Rahmen bewirkt. (shrink)
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity. From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are (...) cast, has demanded historical examination. The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity." Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice. The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science. Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. William Clark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University. (shrink)
Towards the end of his life, St. Thomas Aquinas produced a brief, non-technical work summarizing some of the main points of his massive Summa Theologiae. This 'compendium' was intended as an introductory handbook for students and scholars who might not have access to the larger work. It remains the best concise introduction to Aquinas's thought. Furthermore, it is extremely interesting to scholars because it represents Aquinas's last word on these topics. Aquinas does not break new ground or re-think earlier positions (...) but often states them more directly and with greater precision than can be found elsewhere. There is only one available English translation of the Compendium (published as 'Aquinas's Shorter Summa: Saint Thomas's Own Concise Version of his Summa Theologiae,' by Sophia Institute Press). It is published by a very small Catholic publishing house, is marketed to the devotional readership, contains no scholarly apparatus. Richard Regan is a highly respected Aquinas translator, who here relies on the definitive Leonine edition of the Latin text. His work will be received as the premier English version of this important text. (shrink)
More than twenty years after its original publication, The Case for Animal Rights is an acknowledged classic of moral philosophy, and its author is recognized as the intellectual leader of the animal rights movement. In a new and fully considered preface, Regan responds to his critics and defends the book's revolutionary position.
This book explores the moral dimensions of public policy from an Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective. Regan begins with a thorough exposition of natural law theory and proposes ways in which ethical conclusions can be drawn from it. He then goes on to link natural law theory to an analysis of particular areas of public policy as diverse as public morals, social justice, and the morality of warfare.
Human moral rights place justified limits on what people are free to do to one another. Animals also have moral rights, and arguments to support the use of animals in scientific research based on the benefits allegedly derived from animal model research are thus invalid. Animals do not belong in laboratories because placing them there, in the hope of benefits for others, violates their rights.
Epistemic luck has been the focus of much discussion recently. Perhaps the most general knowledge-precluding type is veritic luck, where a belief is true but might easily have been false. Veritic luck has two sources, and so eliminating it requires two distinct conditions for a theory of knowledge. I argue that, when one sets out those conditions properly, a solution to the generality problem for reliabilism emerges.
Timothy Williamson has provided damaging counterexamples to Robert Nozick’s sensitivity principle. The examples are based on Williamson’s anti-luminosity arguments, and they show how knowledge requires a margin for error that appears to be incompatible with sensitivity. I explain how Nozick can rescue sensitivity from Williamson’s counterexamples by appeal to a specific conception of the methods by which an agent forms a belief. I also defend the proposed conception of methods against Williamson’s criticisms.
I argue that Quine''s famous claim, any statement can be held true come what may, demands an interpretation that implies that the meanings of the expressions in the held-true statement change. The intended interpretation of this claim is not clear from its context, and so it is often misunderstood by philosophers (and is misleadingly taught to their students). I explain Fodor and Lepore''s (1992) view that the above interpretation would render Quine''s assertion entirely trivial and reply, on both textual and (...) philosophical grounds, that only this trivial reading is consistent with Quine''s famous denial of analyticity. I also explain briefly how the trivial reading lends support to meaning holism, which, regardless of one''s views of its consequences, is an important position in the philosophy of language and mind. (shrink)
There’s something deeply right in the idea that knowledge requires an ability to discriminate truth from falsity. Failing to incorporate some version of the discrimination requirement into one’s epistemology generates cases of putative knowledge that are at best problematic. On the other hand, many theories that include a discrimination requirement thereby appear to entail violations of closure. This prima facie tension is resolved nicely in Jonathan Schaffer’s contrastivism, which I describe herein. The contrastivist take on relevant alternatives is implausible, however, (...) and this then threatens to undermine contrastivism’s anti-skeptical results. (shrink)
This unpublished paper from 2004 argues that the agenda for positive psychology laid out by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman in their massive work Character Strengths and Virtues: a Handbook and Classification (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) might be improved by making several conceptual changes: 1) by developing general concepts of virtue (singular), and of positive health to clarify the relationships between specific virtues and competing conceptions of positive health; 2) by aligning the project more firmly with eudaimonistic accounts (...) of virtue that fit comfortably with scientific psychology; and 3) by aligning the project more firmly with the health sciences than with ethics and philosophy generally. The paper was developed from a talk prepared for the Working Conference on The Philosophical History of Character Strengths and Virtues, The University of Pennsylvania, September 2-4, 2004. (shrink)
Nuyen (this journal, vol 20, no. 4) contrasts "objectivity" in the natural science with a relation of "understanding" between knower and object in the human sciences. I present a different approach to natural science--a perspective in which the objects of the natural sciences are constructions that arise out of the interaction of the knower and the knowable world. From this perspective, it is inappropriate to to distinguish between the natural sciences and the human sciences in the way Nuyen does. Instead, (...) the crucial point is that if the human sciences refrain from abstractions and generalizations in favor of the particularities of objects and situations, then they must employ some other way to constitute a separation between theory and data in order for the work to be "scientific" as that term is used in regard to the natural sciences. (shrink)
We model happiness as a measurement tool used to rank alternative actions. Evolution favors a happiness function that measures the individual’s success in relative terms. The optimal function, in particular, is based on a time-varying reference point –or performance benchmark –that is updated over time in a statistically optimal way in order to match the individual’s potential. Habits and peer comparisons arise as special cases of such updating process. This updating also results in a volatile level of happiness that continuously (...) reverts to its long-term mean. Throughout, we draw a parallel with a problem of optimal incentives, which allows us to apply statistical insights from agency theory to the study of happiness. (shrink)
In this essay, I explore the moral foundations of the treatment of animals. Alternative views are critically examined, including (a) the Kantian account, which holds that our duties regarding animals are actually indirect duties to humanity; (b) the cruelty account, which holds that the idea of cruelty explains why it is wrong to treat animals in certain ways; and (c) the utilitarian account, which holds that the value of consequences for all sentient creatures explains our duties to animals. These views (...) are shown to be inadequate, the Kantian account because some of our duties regarding animals are direct duties to animals; the cruelty account because it confuses matters of motive or intent with the question of the rightness or wrongness of the agent’s actions; and the utilitarian account because it could be used to justifyidentifiable speciesistic practices. I defend a fourth view. Only if we postulate basic moral rights in the case of humans, can we satisfactorily account for why it is wrong to treat humans in certain ways, and it is only by postulating that these humans have inherent value that we can attribute to them basic moral rights. Consistency requires that we attribute this same kind of value to many animals. Their havinginherent value provides a similar basis for attributing certain basic moral rights to them, including the right not to be harmed. Possession of this right places the onus of justification on anyone who would harm these animals. I set forth conditions for such a justification which those who would abuse animals have failed to meet. (shrink)
Some feminist philosophers criticize the idea of human rights because, they allege, it encapsulates male bias; it is therefore misguided, in their view, to extend moral rights to non-human animals. I argue that the feminist criticism is misguided. Ideas are not biased in favour of men simply because they originate with men, nor are ideas themselves biased in favour of men because men have used them prejudicially. As for the position that women should abandon theories of rights and embrace an (...) ethic that emphasizes care: women who made this choice would not so much liberate themselves from the patriarchy as they would conform to its representation of women as emotional, subjective and irrational. There is, then, no good reason to withhold ascribing rights to non-human animals, based on the criticisms of rights made by some feminists. (shrink)
The ethical behavior of marketing managers was examined by analyzing their responses to a series of different types of ethical dilemmas presented in vignette form. The ethical dilemmas addressed dealt with the issues of (1) coercion and control, (2) conflict of interest, (3) the physical environment, (4) paternalism, and (5) personal integrity. Responses were analyzed to discover whether managers' behavior varied by type of issue faced or whether there is some continuity to ethical behavior which transcends the type of ethical (...) problem addressed. (shrink)
Reliabilism is a theory that countenances basic knowledge, that is, knowledge from a reliable source, without requiring that the agent knows the source is reliable. Critics (especially Cohen 2002 ) have argued that such theories generate all-too-easy, intuitively implausible cases of higher-order knowledge based on inference from basic knowledge. For present purposes, the criticism might be recast as claiming that reliabilism implausibly generates cases of understanding from brute, basic knowledge. I argue that the easy knowledge (or easy understanding) criticism rests (...) on an implicit mischaracterization of the notion of a reliable process. Properly understood, reliable processes do not permit the transition from basic knowledge to understanding based on inference. (shrink)
A conception of an environmental ethic is set forth which involves postulating that nonconscious natural objects can have value in their own right, independently of human interests. Two kinds of objection are considered: (1) those that deny the possibility (the intelligibility) of developing an ethic ofthe environment that accepts this postulate, and (2) those.that deny the necessity of constructing such an ethic. Both types of objection are found wanting. The essay condudes with some tentative remarks regarding the notion of inherent (...) value. (shrink)
An argument is examined and defended for extending basic moral rights to animals which assumes that humans, including infants and the severely mentally enfeebled, have such rights. It is claimed that this argument proceeds on two fronts, one critical, where proposed criteria of right-possession are rejected, the other constructive, where proposed criteria are examined with a view to determining the most reasonable one. This form of argument is defended against the charge that it is self-defeating, various candidates for the title, (...) 'most reasonable criterion of right-possession', are critically examined, and it is argued that this criterion is to be found in the notion of inherent value: What underlies the ascription of rights to any given x is that x has value logically independently of anyone's valuing x; thus, to treat x as if x had value only if or as it served one's interests, etc., is to violate x 's rights. It is argued that many animals, owing to their being subjects of a life that is more or less valuable for them logically independently of the interests of others, can satisfy this criterion and therefore have certain basic moral rights, if humans, including the severely mentally enfeebled, do. Finally, the question, What basic moral rights do animals have? is explored. (shrink)
For several centuries, economists, sociologists, and philosophers have been concerned with the magnitude and e¤ects of inequality. Economists have concentrated on inequality in income and wealth, and have linked this inequality to social welfare, aggregate savings and investment, economic development, and other issues. They have explained the observed degree of inequality by the e¤ect of random shocks, inherited position, and inequality..
For the philosophy of medicine, there are two things of interest about the stoic account of moral norms, quite apart from whether the rest of stoic ethical theory is compelling. One is the stoic version of naturalism: its account of practical reasoning, its solution to the is/ought problem, and its contention that norms for creating, sustaining, or restoring human health are tantamount to moral norms. The other is the stoic account of human agency: its description of the intimate connections between (...) human health, rational agency, and moral norms. There is practical guidance to be gained from exploring those connections, whether or not one is ready to follow stoic moral theory all the way to its austere end. (shrink)
Constructivist theory must choose between the hypothesis that felt perturbation drives cognitive development (the priority of felt perturbation) and the hypothesis that the particular process that eventually produces new cognitive structures first produces felt perturbation (the continuity of process). There is ambivalence in Piagetian theory regarding this choice. The prevalent account of constructivist theory adopts the priority of felt perturbation. However, on occasion Piaget has explicitly rejected it, simultaneously endorsing the continuity of process. First, I explicate and support this latter (...) position, arguing that felt perturbation emerges after the construction of a new cognitive structure has already begun. Next, I discuss the broader significance of rejecting the priority of felt perturbation in terms of a distinction between two types of theory of effective change, labeled Lamarckian and Darwinian in analogy with familiar theories of evolutionary change. Rejecting the priority of felt perturbation allows the development of a Darwinian perspective. In turn, the Darwinian perspective offers advantages for elaborating the analogy Piaget proposed between consciousness and the relation of form and content. (shrink)
It has been argued in the conservation literature that giving conservation absolute priority over competing interests would best protect the environment. Attributing infinite value to the environment or claiming it is ‘priceless’ are two ways of ensuring this priority (e.g. Hargrove 1989; Bulte and van Kooten 2000; Ackerman and Heinzerling 2002; McCauley 2006; Halsing and Moore 2008). But such proposals would paralyse conservation efforts. We describe the serious problems with these proposals and what they mean for practical applications, and we (...) diagnose and resolve some conceptual confusions permeating the literature on this topic. (shrink)
In one form or another, social norms governing reciprocal behavior between individuals exist in all human societies of record. Such norms are institutionalized in social, political, and legal practices; they are internalized as expectations and behavioral dispositions in individuals. But the content of those norms differs widely from society to society, individual to individual. This book gives a normative argument for a particular content for the norms of reciprocity – a particular account of the meaning of making a fitting and (...) proportional return to others for the good (or ill) received from them, as well as an account of how that content should be internalized as a virtue, and institutionalized as a practice. (shrink)
An argument for denying moral rights to nonhuman species is that beliefs, desires, and interests are inherent in the normal human capacity for speech and, since only humans are linguistically capable, only humans can have rights. We argue that linguistics and many conceptual abilities are ontogenetically independent in humans and that various morally relevant mental capacities can exist independently. We also then argue that phylogenetic independence is also possible and hence, that the concept of an inherent dependence of moral standing (...) on having linguistic capabilities is insufficient for denying rights to nonhumans. Keywords: ontogeny, phylogeny, linguistics, moral rights CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
A comparison of attitudes among managers from France, Germany and the United States is made with respect to codes of ethics and ethical business philosophy. Findings are also compared with past studies by Baumhart and by Brenner and Molander where data are available. While the current data appear to be consistent with the past studies, there appear to be differences in attitudes among the managers from the three countries.
Many works intended to introduce interpretive issues in quantum mechanics present John von Neumann as having a view in which measurement produces a physical collapse in the system being measured. In this paper I argue that such a reading of von Neumann is inconsistent with what von Neumann actually says. I show that much of what he says makes no sense on the physical collapse reading, but falls into place if we assume he does not have such a view. I (...) show that the physical collapse view is based on an understanding of ‘state’ which von Neumann does not share. Introduction The standard reading of von Neumann The standard reading of von Neumann and Chapter VI The Chapter VI argument The Chapter V argument The Chapters III and IV argument Conclusion. (shrink)
Group decisions raise a number of substantial philosophical and methodological issues. We focus on the goal of the group decision exercise itself. We ask: What should be counted as a good group decision-making result? The right decision might not be accessible to, or please, any of the group members. Conversely, a popular decision can fail to be the correct decision. In this paper we discuss what it means for a decision to be "right" and what components are required in a (...) decision process to produce happy decision-makers. Importantly, we discuss how "right" decisions can produce happy decision-makers, or rather, the conditions under which happy decision-makers and right decisions coincide. In a large range of contexts, we argue for the adoption of formal consensus models to assist in the group decision-making process. In particular, we advocate the formal consensus convergence model of Lehrer and Wagner (1981), because a strong case can be made as to why the underlying algorithm produces a result that should make each of the experts in a group happy. Arguably, this model facilitates true consensus, where the group choice is effectively each person's individual choice. We analyse Lehrer and Wagner's algorithm for reaching consensus on group probabilities/utilities in the context of complex decision-making for conservation biology. While many conservation decisions are driven by a search for objective utility/probability distributions (regarding extinction risks of species and the like), other components of conservation management primarily concern the interests of stakeholders. We conclude with cautionary notes on mandating consensus in decision scenarios for which no fact of the matter exists. For such decision settings alternative types of social choice methods are more appropriate. (shrink)
ON DECEMBER 10, 1991 Charles Shonubi, a Nigerian citizen but a resident of the USA, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport for the importation of heroin into the United States.1 Shonubi's modus operandi was ``balloon swallowing.'' That is, heroin was mixed with another substance to form a paste and this paste was sealed in balloons which were then swallowed. The idea was that once the illegal substance was safely inside the USA, the smuggler would pass the balloons and (...) recover the heroin. On the date of his arrest, Shonubi was found to have swallowed 103 balloons containing a total of 427.4 grams of heroin. There was little doubt about Shonubi's guilt. In fact, there was considerable evidence that he had made at least seven prior heroin-smuggling trips to the USA (although he was not tried for these). In October 1992 Shonubi was convicted in a United States District Court for possessing and importing heroin. Although the conviction was only for crimes associated with Shonubi's arrest date of December 10, 1991, the sentencing judge, Jack B. Weinstein, also made a ®nding that Shonubi had indeed made seven prior drug-smuggling trips to the USA. The interesting part of this case was in the sentencing. According to the federal sentencing guidelines, the sentence in cases such as this should depend on the total quantity of heroin involved. This instruction was interpreted rather broadly.. (shrink)
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After nearly three decades of discussion about sustainable development are we any nearer to achieving it? And do we even know what a sustainable world will look like for future generations? Early definitions of sustainable development were so broad as to allow a range of interpretations based largely on individual interests and anthropocentric needs. We are measuring the performance of countless indicators of sustainable development, but is this more an exercise in applying data than meaningful progress? This article explores the (...) ultimate goals of sustainable development and the most important means of achieving this by analyzing and comparing two frameworks designed to direct attention to the fundamental means and the ends of sustainable development. (shrink)