Investigation of neural and cognitive processes underlying individual variation in moral preferences is underway, with notable similarities emerging between moral- and risk-based decision-making. Here we specifically assessed moral distributive justice preferences and non-moral financial gambling preferences in the same individuals, and report an association between these seemingly disparate forms of decision-making. Moreover, we find this association between distributive justice and risky decision-making exists primarily when the latter is assessed with the Iowa Gambling Task. These findings are consistent with neuroimaging studies (...) of brain function during moral and risky decision-making. This research also constitutes the first replication of a novel experimental measure of distributive justice decision-making, for which individual variation in performance was found. Further examination of decision-making processes across different contexts may lead to an improved understanding of the factors affecting moral behaviour. (shrink)
Did the Gulf War defend moral principle or Western oil interests? Is violent pornography an act of free speech or an act of violence against women? In Casuistry and Modern Ethics , Richard B. Miller sheds new light on the potential of casuistry--case-based reasoning--for resolving these and other questions of conscience raised by the practical quandaries of modern life. Rejecting the packaging of moral experience within simple descriptions and inflexible principles, Miller argues instead for identifying and making (...) sense of the ethically salient features of individual cases. Because this practical approach must cope with a diverse array of experiences, Miller draws on a wide variety of diagnostic tools from such fields as philosophy of science, legal reasoning, theology, literary theory, hermeneutics, and moral philosophy. Opening new avenues for practical reasoning, Miller's interdisciplinary work will challenge scholars who are interested in the intersections of ethics and political philosophy, cultural criticism, and debates about method in religion and morality. (shrink)
In a wide-ranging inquiry Richard W. Miller provides new resources for coping with the most troubling types of moral conflict: disagreements in moral conviction, conflicting interests, and the tension between conscience and desires. Drawing on most fields in philosophy and the social sciences, including his previous work in the philosophy of science, he presents an account of our access to moral truth, and, within this framework, develops a theory of justice and an assessment of the role of morality (...) in rational choice. In Miller's view, we are often in a position to claim that our moral judgments are true descriptions of moral facts. But others, relying on contrary ways of moral learning, would reject truths that we are in a position to assert, in dissent that does not depend on irrationality or ignorance of relevant evidence or arguments. With this mixed verdict on moral realism, Miller challenges many received views of rationality, scientific method, and the relation between moral belief and moral choice. In his discussion of justice, Miller defends the adequacy, for modern political choices, of a widely shared demand that institutions be freely and rationally acceptable to all. Drawing on social research and economic theories, he argues that this demand has dramatically egalitarian consequences, even though it is a premise of liberals and conservatives alike. In the final chapters, Miller investigates the role and limits of morality in the choice of conduct, arguing for new perspectives on reason and impartiality. (shrink)
Recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and pathological studies have indicated that axonal loss is a major contributor to disease progression in multiple sclerosis. 1 H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), through measurement of N -acetyl aspartate (NAA), a neuronal marker, provides a unique tool to investigate this. Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis have few lesions on conventional MRI, suggesting that changes in normal appearing white matter (NAWM), such (...) as axonal loss, may be particularly relevant to disease progression in this group. To test this hypothesis NAWM was studied with MRS, measuring the concentration of N -acetyl derived groups (NA, the sum of NAA and N -acetyl aspartyl glutamate). Single-voxel MRS using a water-suppressed PRESS sequence was carried out in 24 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and in 16 age-matched controls. Ratios of metabolite to creatine concentration (Cr) were calculated in all subjects, and absolute concentrations were measured in 18 patients and all controls. NA/Cr (median 1.40, range 0.86–1.91) was significantly lower in NAWM in patients than in controls (median 1.70, range 1.27–2.14; P = 0.006), as was the absolute concentration of NA (patients, median 6.90 mM, range 4.62–10.38 mM; controls, median 7.77 mM, range 6.60–9.71 mM; P = 0.032). There was no significant difference in the absolute concentration of creatine between the groups. This study supports the hypothesis that axonal loss occurs in NAWM in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and may well be a mechanism for disease progression in this group. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Jon Miller; Part I. Textual Issues: 1. On the unity of the Nicomachean Ethics Michael Pakaluk; Part II. Happiness: 2. Living for the sake of an ultimate end Susan Sauve;; 3. Contemplation and Eudaimonia in the Nicomachean Ethics Norman O. Dahl; 4. Aristotle on Eudaimonia, Nous, and divinity A. A. Long; Part III. Psychology: 5. Aristotle, agents, and action Iakovos Vasilou; 6. Wicked and inappropriate passion Stephen Leighton; 7. Perfecting pleasures: the metaphysics of pleasure (...) in Nicomachean Ethics X Christopher Shields; 8. Aristotle's definition of non-rational pleasure and pain and desire Klaus Corcilius; 9. Non-rational desire and Aristotle's moral psychology Giles Pearson; Part IV. Virtues: 10. Beauty and morality in Aristotle T. H. Irwin; 11. Justice in the Nicomachean Ethics Book V Hallvard Fossheim. (shrink)
The separation, uniformization, and other properties of the Borel and projective hierarchies over hyperfinite sets are investigated and compared to the corresponding properties in classical descriptive set theory. The techniques used in this investigation also provide some results about countably determined sets and functions, as well as an improvement of an earlier theorem of Kunen and Miller.
In the Statesman , Plato brings together--only to challenge and displace--his own crowning contributions to philosophical method, political theory, and drama. In his 1980 study, reprinted here, Mitchell Miller employs literary theory and conceptual analysis to expose the philosophical, political, and pedagogical conflict that is the underlying context of the dialogue, revealing that its chaotic variety of movements is actually a carefully harmonized act of realizing the mean. The original study left one question outstanding: what specifically, in the metaphysical (...) order of things, motivated the nameless Visitor from Elea to abandon bifurcation for his consummating non-bifurcatory division of fifteen kinds at the end of the dialogue? Miller addressed in a separate essay, first published in 1999 and reprinted here. In it, he opens the horizon of interpretation to include the new metaphysics of the Parmenides , the Philebus , and the "unwritten teachings." "This study demonstrates how the Statesman is the culminating expression of Plato's lifelong effort, both in Athens and in the Academy, to bring metaphysical insight to the unending political crisis of his times."The Philosopher in Plato's Statesman a trail-blazing work. While not every reader will agree with the lessons Miller himself draws from this approach, none should fail to be impressed by its interpretive power. All this is exciting stuff. The interpretive pathway on which Miller has embarked has the potential for changing the face of scholarship on the late Platonic dialogues. Parmenides [Publishing] is to be commended for making these two important contributions available under a single cover." -- Kenneth Sayre, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame "Miller casts considerable light on virtually every aspect of the dialogue. . . . All in all, this book is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the Statesman." -- Stanley Rosen, Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy, Boston University MITCHELL MILLER is Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College. He is the author of Plato's Parmenides. (shrink)
Pragmatism is a distinctive approach to clinical research ethics that can guide bioethicists and members of institutional review boards (IRBs) as they struggle to balance the competing values of promoting medical research and protecting human subjects participating in it. After defining our understanding of pragmatism in the setting of clinical research ethics, we show how a pragmatic approach can provide guidance not only for the day-to-day functioning of the IRB, but also for evaluation of policy standards, such as the one (...) that addresses acceptable risks for healthy children in clinical research trials. We also show how pragmatic considerations might influence the debate about the use of deception in clinical research. Finally, we show how a pragmatic approach, by regarding the promotion of human research and the protection of human subjects as equally important values, helps to break down the false dichotomy between science and ethics in clinical research. (shrink)
The analysis of interacting relativistic many-particle systems provides a theoretical basis for further work in many diverse fields of physics. After a discussion of the nonrelativisticN-particle systems we describe two approaches for obtaining the canonical equations of the corresponding relativistic forms. A further aspect of our approach is the consideration of the constants of the motion.
United States will question a prospective loan early in the preparation process, And during final deliberation of a loan proposal by the Bank's executive board, it will make comments designed to draw attention to general matters of ...
According to Peter Singer, virtually all of us would be forced by adequate reflection on our own convictions to embrace a radical conclusion about giving. The following principle, he says, is “surely undeniable” -- at least once we reflect on secure convictions concerning rescue, as in his famous case of the drowning toddler.
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This essay argues on behalf of a hybrid theory for an ethics of self-defense understood as the Forfeiture-Partiality Theory. The theory weds the idea that a malicious attacker forfeits the right to life to the idea that we are permitted to prefer one's life to another's in cases of involuntary harm or threat. The theory is meant to capture our intuitions both about instances in which we can draw a moral asymmetry between attacker and victim and cases in which we (...) cannot. I develop the theory by attending to instances of intentional, villainous harm and instances of involuntary danger—the latter of which are a matter of bad luck. I call some bad luck cases "Interpersonal Lottery Conflicts." These cases refer to potentially lethal conflicts into which parties are thrown as victims of circumstance. Although neither party has a moral advantage over another, that fact does not preclude permissible self-defense. (shrink)
Despite strong growth in scientific investigation of the placebo effect, understanding of this phenomenon remains deeply confused. We investigate critically seven common conceptual distinctions that impede clear understanding of the placebo effect: (1) verum/placebo, (2) active/inactive, (3) signal/noise, (4) specific/nonspecific, (5) objective/subjective, (6) disease/illness, and (7) intervention/context. We argue that some of these should be eliminated entirely, whereas others must be used with caution to avoid bias. Clearing away the conceptual underbrush is needed to lay down a path to understanding (...) and harnessing placebo effects in clinical medicine. (shrink)
Political choices favoring one''s country or one''s nationality are wrong if they conflict with a principle of universal free acceptability, prohibiting choices that violate every set of rules to which any willing cooperator would want all to conform. Despite its universalism, this principle requires patriotic favoritism in political choices and permits individuals to assert nationalist interests in claims for state aid. But it deprives patriotism and nationalism of any distinctive role in establishing the legitimacy of wars and uprisings. These restrictions (...) are appropriate even if stronger forms of patriotism and nationalism are psychologically indispensable for achieving social goals required for universal free acceptability. (shrink)
Memory brings the past into the present. It is a feature of human temporality, contingency, and identity. Attention to memory's psychological and social importance suggests new vistas for work in religious ethics. This essay examines four recent works on memory's importance for self-interpretation, social criticism, and public justice. My focus will be on normative questions about memory. The works under review ask whether, and on what terms, we have an obligation to remember, whether memory is linked to neighbors near and (...) distant, how memory is related to justice and forgiveness, and whether memory sits easily with the kind of relationships that allegedly characterize life in democratic public culture. (shrink)
This essay argues that the ethics of humanitarian intervention cannot be readily subsumed by the ethics of just war without due attention to matters of political and moral motivation. In the modern era, a just war draws directly from self-benefitting motives in wars of self-defense, or indirectly in wars that enforce international law or promote the global common good. Humanitarian interventions, in contrast, are intuitively admirable insofar as they are other-regarding. That difference poses a challenge to the casuistry of humanitarian (...) intervention because it makes it difficult to reason by analogy from the case of war to the case of humanitarian intervention. The author develops this point in dialogue with Michael Walzer, the U.S. Catholic bishops, and President Clinton. He concludes by showing how a casuistry of intervention is possible, developing a motivational rationale that draws on the Golden Rule. (shrink)
G. A. Cohen incisively argued that our judgments of social justice should fit our convictions about how to interact with others in our personal lives. Ironically, the ordinary morality of cooperation invoked in his last book undermines his favored principle of equality, and supports John Rawls' reliance on a relevantly impartial choice promoting appropriate fundamental interests as a basis for distributive standards. His further objections to Rawls' account of distributive justice neglect the role of social relations in establishing the proper (...) scope of that impartiality and the moral force of Rawls' taxonomy of non-ideal societies. In contrast, the powerful evocation of goods of community at the end of Cohen's last book points to a genuine inadequacy. Conscientious fellow-citizens must take account of the impact of their political choices on options for sharing and caring. In finding a proper balance between these goods and competing individualist concerns, the original position is of too little use to sustain Rawls' assessment of his conception of justice as complete. In the face of our strong moral convictions about how to live together, both Cohen's luck egalitarianism and Rawls' barriers between aspirations to community and political choice must give way. (shrink)
Past criticisms to the contrary, methodological individualism in the social sciences is neither trivial nor obviously false. In the style of Weber's sociology, it restricts the ultimate explanatory repertoire of social science to agents' reasons for action. Although this restriction is not obviously false, it ought not to be accepted, at present, as a regulative principle. It excludes, as too far-fetched to merit investigation, certain hypotheses concerning the influence of objective interests on large-scale social phenomena. And these hypotheses, in fact, (...) merit empirical consideration. The attractiveness of methodological individualism as a regulative principle depends on two independent confusions, the conflation of an agent's reasons for action with the beliefs, needs, desires, or goals which are the reasons why he acted as he did, and the identification of explaining a phenomenon and describing its causes. (shrink)
We often legitimately ascribe reality both to social and to natural kinds. But the bases for these ascriptions are not entirely the same. In both cases, reality is typically determined by what characterizations of causal factors are indispensable to adequate explanation. Nonetheless, a psychological role as part of an identity that instances embrace is sometimes, distinctively, a condition for ascribing reality to a social kind. Although such assessments of reality can be construed as employing a standard of causal activity shared (...) with natural science, they reveal a distinctive moral dimension in the bases for ascribing reality to social kinds. (shrink)