The concept of selecting for a disability, and deafness in particular, has triggered a controversial and sometimes acrimonious debate between key stakeholders. Previous studies have concentrated on the views of the deaf and hard of hearing, health professionals and ethicists towards reproductive selection for deafness. This study, however, is the first of its kind examining the views of hearing children of deaf adults towards preimplantation genetic diagnosis and prenatal diagnosis to select for or against deafness. Hearing children of deaf adults (...) (or CODAs, as they call themselves, and are widely known in the deaf community) straddle both the deaf and hearing worlds, and this dual perspective makes them ideally placed to add to the academic discourse concerning the use of genetic selection for or against deafness. The study incorporated two complementary stages, using initial, semistructured interviews with key informants (CODAs and health professionals) as a means to guide the subsequent development of an electronic survey, completed anonymously by 66 individuals. The participants shared many of the same views as deaf individuals in the D/deaf (or “culturally deaf”) community. The similarities extended to their opinions regarding deafness not being a disability (45.5% believed deafness was a distinct culture rather than a disability), their ambivalence towards having hearing or deaf children (72.3% indicated no preference) and their general disapproval of the use of genetic technologies to select either for or against deafness (60% believed that reproductive technologies, when used to select for or against deafness, should not be available to the community). (shrink)
Among the many philosophers who hold that causal facts1 are to be explained in terms of—or more ambitiously, shown to reduce to—facts about what happens, together with facts about the fundamental laws that govern what happens, the clear favorite is an approach that sees counterfactual dependence as the key to such explanation or reduction. The paradigm examples of causation, so advocates of this approach tell us, are examples in which events c and e—the cause and its effect—both occur, but: had (...) c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. From this starting point ideas proliferate in a vast profusion. But the remarkable disparity among these ideas should not obscure their common foundation. Neither should the diversity of opinion about the prospects for a philosophical analysis of causation obscure their importance. For even those philosophers who see these prospects as dim—perhaps because they suffer post-Quinean queasiness at the thought of any analysis of any concept of interest—can often be heard to say such things as that causal relations among events are somehow “a matter of” the patterns of counterfactual dependence to be found in them. It was not always so. Thirty-odd years ago, so-called “regularity” analyses (so-called, presumably, because they traced back to Hume’s well-known analysis of causation as constant conjunction) ruled the day, with Mackie’s Cement of the Universe embodying a classic statement. But they fell on hard times, both because of internal problems—which we will review in due course—and because dramatic improvements in philosophical understanding of counterfactuals made possible the emergence of a serious and potent rival: a counterfactual analysis of causation resting on foundations firm enough to be repel the kind of philosophical suspicion that had formerly warranted dismissal.. (shrink)
Humean supervenience is the doctrine that there are no necessary connections in the world. David Lewis identifies one big bad bug to the programme of providing Humean analyses for apparently non-Humean features of the world. The bug is chance. We put the bug under the microscope, and conclude that chance is no special problem for the Humean.
ISBN-13: 978-0-226-11360-9 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-226-11360-4 ... HM651.C64 2007 158.1—dc22 2007022671 The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information ...
Newcomb’s problem is a decision puzzle whose difficulty and interest stem from the fact that the possible outcomes are probabilistically dependent on, yet causally independent of, the agent’s options. The problem is named for its inventor, the physicist William Newcomb, but first appeared in print in a 1969 paper by Robert Nozick . Closely related to, though less well-known than, the Prisoners’ Dilemma, it has been the subject of intense debate in the philosophical literature. After three decades, the issues (...) remain unresolved. Newcomb’s problem is of genuine importance because it poses a challenge to the theoretical adequacy of orthodox Bayesian decision theory. It has led both to the development of causal decision theory and to efforts aimed at defending the adequacy of the orthodox theory. (shrink)
A counterfactual is a conditional statement in the subjunctive mood. For example: If Suzy hadn’t thrown the rock, then the bottle wouldn’t have shattered. The philosophical importance of counterfactuals stems from the fact that they seem to be closely connected to the concept of causation. Thus it seems that the truth of the above conditional is just what is required for Suzy’s throw to count as a cause of the bottle’s shattering. If philosophers were reluctant to exploit this idea prior (...) to 1970, it was because of a widespread feeling that the truth-conditions of the counterfactual conditional were not sufficiently well understood. The development of a formal semantics for counterfactuals by Robert Stalnaker  and David Lewis [1973b] stands as a major recent achievement in philosophical logic. (shrink)
Robert Hanna (Rationality and logic. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006) articulates and defends the thesis of logical cognitivism, the claim that human logical competence is grounded in a cognitive faculty (in Chomsky’s sense) that is not naturalistically explicable. This position is intended to steer us between the Scylla of logical Platonism and the Charybdis of logical naturalism (/psychologism). The paper argues that Hanna’s interpretation of Chomsky is mistaken. Read aright, Chomsky’s position offers a defensible version of naturalism, one Hanna may (...) accept as far as his version of naturalism goes, although not one that supports the claim that cognitive science offers a place for logic that is somehow outside the natural, contingent order. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay critically examines whether there are ethical dimensions to the way that expertise, knowledge claims, and expressions of skepticism intersect on technical matters that influence public policy, especially during times of crisis. It compares two different perspectives on the matter: a philosophical outlook rooted in discourse and virtue ethics and a sociological outlook rooted in the so-called third-wave approach to science studies. The comparison occurs through metaphilosophical analysis and applied claims that clarify how the disciplinary orientations appear to (...) lead to different judgments about matters related to Robert Paarlberg's condemnation of activists who advise African politicians to ban genetically modified food. (shrink)
Dans la première partie de cet article, je presente une thèse parapluie — la thèse de l'«exhaustion» (exhaustion thesis) — qui cerne bien l'élément central des diverses positions déflationnistes au sujet de la vérité : l'idée que le contenu du prédicat de vérité s'épuise entièrement dans le contenu de ce à quoi le prédicats'applique. Je soutiens que cette thèse n'est supportée que d'une manière triviale par l'idée courante que la vérite résiste à une analyse substantielle, car les prédicats en général (...) ne se prêtent guere à ce genre d'analyse. J'examine ensuite deux élaborations positives de la thèse de l'exhaustion; et je soutiens que ni l'une ni l'autre ne commence même à montrer que la thèse en question soit explicativement adéquate. (shrink)
This essay critically examines whether there are ethical dimensions to the way that expertise, knowledge claims, and expressions of skepticism intersect on technical matters that influence public policy, especially during times of crisis. It compares two different perspectives on the matter: a philosophical outlook rooted in discourse and virtue ethics and a sociological outlook rooted in the so-called third-wave approach to science studies. The comparison occurs through metaphilosophical analysis and applied claims that clarify how the disciplinary orientations appear to lead (...) to different judgments about matters related to Robert Paarlberg's condemnation of activists who advise African politicians to ban genetically modified food. (shrink)