Abstract. We argue that all human beings have a special type of dignity which is the basis for (1) the obligation all of us have not to kill them, (2) the obligation to take their well-being into account when we act, and (3) even the obligation to treat them as we would have them treat us, and indeed, that all human beings are equal in fundamental dignity. We give reasons to oppose the position that only some human beings, because of (...) their possession of certain characteristics in addition to their humanity (for example, an immediately exercisable capacity for self-consciousness, or for rational deliberation), have full moral worth. What distinguishes human beings from other animals, what makes human beings persons rather than things, is their rational nature, and human beings are rational creatures by virtue of possessing natural capacities for conceptual thought, deliberation, and free choice, that is, the natural capacity to shape their own lives. (shrink)
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith’s moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith’s “all important emotion of sympathy” (Callicott 2001: 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments , as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in “History of Astronomy and Physics,” I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature is (...) possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
Patrick Toner has recently criticized accounts of substance provided by Kit Fine, E. J. Lowe, and the author, accounts which say (to a first approximation) that substances cannot depend on things other than their own parts. On Toner’s analysis, the inclusion of this parts exception results in a disjunctive definition of substance rather than a unified account. In this paper (speaking only for myself, but in a way that would, I believe, support the other authors that Toner discusses), I (...) first make clear what Toner’s criticism is, and then I respond to it. Including the parts exception is not the adding of a second condition but instead the creation of a new single condition. Since it is not the adding of a condition, the result is not disjunctive. Therefore, the objection fails. (shrink)
Allhoff, Fritz, Patrick Lin, and Daniel Moore. 2010. What is nanotechnology and why does it matter? From science to ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 209-211 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9289-z Authors Jennifer Kuzma, University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave So, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2.
The science fiction series of the '70's, Star Trek, began all its telecastings with the announcement "Space: The Final Frontier." Star Trek chronicled the voyage of a crew navigating their way through space. For the travelers, space seemed like the last unknown entity that needed to be investigated. As they journeyed, they learned of the boundless nature of space. Each episode portrayed a group of folks encountering new situations, attempting to solve another problem, or strategizing how to overcome an obstacle.While (...) few people will ever have a chance to travel in a spaceship to discover the universe, most have trekked through cyberspace. Cyberspace is the coined term for the computer world. Little would the Star Trek's producer, Gene Roddenberry, know what expansive limits the computer age would usher in. With the advent of the computer age, we recognize that we have not even begun to identify the powerful magnitude of the computer. At each juncture or moment of discovery a new question is raised, impact is assessed and plans are strategically mapped out. (shrink)
This article provides a historical, philosophical, and psychological analysis of the recent discovery that reoviruses are oncolytic, capable of infecting and destroying many kinds of cancer cells. After describing Patrick Lee's very indirect path to this discovery, I discuss the implications of this case for understanding the nature of scientific discovery, including the economy of research, anomaly recognition, hypothesis formation, and the role of emotion in scientific thinking. Lee's discoveries involved a combination of serendipity, abductive and deductive inference, and (...) emotional cognition. (shrink)
Patrick J. Carr and Maria J. Kafalas, Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9266-2 Authors Doug Seale, 21 Turner Ridge Road Marlborough MA 01752 USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Sean Carroll argues that we should endorse atheism since there are no good reasons for affirming the more complex thesis of theism over the less complexthesis of materialism. However, this argument relies on an epistemological minimalism we should reject.
Patrick Hopkins has claimed that SM is compatible with feminist principles. I argue that his account relies on both mistaken analogies and an untenable account of the allegedly changed meaning of SM scenes.
Patrick Lancaster Gardiner is best known and most widely esteemed for his work on the nature of historical explanation. By addressing the problem of the limits of objectivity in relation to a variety of philosophical issues, he presciently identified the source of a number of philosophical disputes well before they had properly developed. This was certainly the case in Gardiner's treatment of historical explanation, and it is true also of his later treatment of the claims of the personal versus (...) the impersonal in ethical life. (shrink)
Hugh Connelly, An authentic Celtic voice : the Irish penitential and contemporary discourse on reconciliation -- Padraig Corkery, Bio-ethics and contemporary Irish moral discourse -- Amelia Fleming, The silent voice of creation and moral discourse. -- Raphael Gallagher, CSsR., A church silence in sexual moral discourse? -- Donal Harrington, Moral discourse and journalism. -- Linda Hogan, Contemporary humanitarianism: neutral or impartial? -- Vincent MacNamara, On having a religious morality. -- Enda McDonagh, A discourse on the centrality of justice in moral (...) theology. -- Suzanne Mulligan, Moral discourse in a time of AIDS. (shrink)
Patrick O'Brian, the Aubrey-Maturin Series of twenty novels (Norton, 1970-1999). My appreciation written for WIRED magazine: "I re-read this extraordinary series of novels because of the depth of portrayal of the major and minor characters, but also because they teach me so much about what science and technology were like two centuries ago. O'Brian shows you the world-that-was through the eyes of a Tory naval captain (Jack Aubrey), at sea since the age of 12, working his way up to (...) admiral, dealing with the height of 18th-century technology (sailing ships and celestial navigation). I identify more strongly with his liberally-educated, physician-scientist friend (Stephen Maturin), who went to medical school in Paris during the French Revolution. You see natural history turning into a biological science, bleeding-and-purging medicine starting to learn some physiology -- and, because Maturin is also an intelligence agent for the Admiralty, you see statecraft at work during the Napoleonic Wars. These books strongly remind you about what scientific ignorance and social conventions can do to your mindset, and how the future will likely judge us as well." -- William H. Calvin You can get them all at once, so you can: The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Series (20 volumes). Depending on amazon.com's current discount, this works out to US$15-20 each (and in hardcover). (shrink)
What is the relation between acting intentionally and acting for a reason? While this question has generated a considerable amount of debate in the philosophy of action, on one point there has been a virtual consensus: actions performed for a reason are necessarily intentional. Recently, this consensus has been challenged by Joshua Knobe and Sean Kelly, who argue against it on the basis of empirical evidence concerning the ways in which ordinary speakers of the English language describe and explain (...) certain side-effect actions. Knobe and Kelly's argument is of interest not only because it challenges a widely accepted philosophical thesis on the basis of experimental evidence, but also because it indirectly raises an important and largely neglected question, the question of whether or in what sense an agent can perform a side-effect action for a reason. In this article, I address this question and provide a positive answer to it. Specifically, I argue that agents act for a reason whenever they perform side-effect actions as trade-offs. Thus, I claim that there are three distinct types of rational action: actions performed as ends in themselves, actions performed as means to further ends, and side-effect actions performed as trade-offs. Given this multiplicity of types of rational action, the question of whether or not actions performed for a reason are necessarily intentional is in need of refinement. The more specific question that lies at the heart of this article is whether or not side-effect actions performed as trade-offs are necessarily intentional. I conclude that, contrary to what Knobe and Kelly suggest, the question remains open. (shrink)
Towards the end of his response to me, Lee presents an argument for the necessity of interpreting all evil as privation. I counter this argument by showingthat it works only for what I call “formal” good and evil, but not for what I call “contentful” good and evil. In fact, evil that is “contentful” presents a challenge tothe privation theory that I had not discussed in my article. I then proceed, in the second part of my response, to revisit the (...) three cases of evil that in my original paper I had presented as challenges to the privation theory. I engage Lee’s objections to these three counterexamples and I try to explain in a new way why the principle of badness in each of them, especially in pain/suffering and in moral evil, is not just a lack or a deficiency. (shrink)
Paul Otlet (1868–1944) was a Belgian intellectual, a utopian internationalist and a visionary theorist of the field of information science. His work is a milestone in the history of information science since he launched the concept of "documentation," a field that evolved out of bibliography and developed into information science.1 Otlet defined documentation as the whole of the proper means of passing on, communicating, and distributing information. Otlet was a convinced apostle of the idea of universalism as the title of (...) one of his seminal books, Monde. Essai d'Universalisme, illustrates. This was the outcome of a course of fifteen lessons, entitled "L'universalisme, doctrine philosophique et économie mondiale," .. (shrink)
In the recent article “A new approach to manipulation arguments,” Patrick Todd seeks to reframe a common incompatibilist form of argument often leveraged against compatibilist theories of moral responsibility. Known as manipulation arguments, these objections rely on cases in which agents, though they have met standard compatibilist conditions for responsibility, have been manipulated in such a way that they fail to be blameworthy for their behavior. Traditionally, in order to get a manipulation argument off the ground, an incompatibilist must (...) illustrate that a manipulated agent is not at all responsible for her behavior. Todd argues that this is an unnecessarily heavy burden—the incompatibilist need only show that the presence of manipulation mitigates ascriptions of responsibility. Though innovative, Todd fails to present his modified manipulation argument in a way that poses a true threat to the compatibilist. In fact, by introducing a scalar conception of moral responsibility, Todd gives the compatibilist the tools necessary to better handle the incompatibilist’s original manipulation argument. (shrink)
Scholarship in Heideggerian philosophy can be broadly differentiated into three groups, which evolved in the European and Anglo-American discourses after WWII, namely, first a transcendental (idealist Kantian) approach; second, an Aristotelian approach; and third, a Christian approach to Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein and his fundamental ontology. All of these basic positions are a result of Heidegger’s philosophy on his way to Being and Time (1927) which he developed both in his broad ranging and fascinating lecture courses in Freiburg, where he (...) taught as Husserl’s assistant between 1917 and 1923, and in Marburg, where he taught between 1923 and 1927 (before he returned to Freiburg in 1928 as Husserl’s successor). Interestingly, the analytic reception of Heidegger focuses on Heidegger’s main work Being and Time, whereas the European and “Continental” discourse is oriented towards larger issues, which include philosophical anthropology, theology, hermeneutics, and the history of philosophy. McGrath’s study belongs to the theologically motivated studies on Heidegger’s phenomenology and ontology and thereby contributes to the recent renewed interest in Heidegger’s early philosophy, which arose after his early lecture courses were published in his Collected Works and after it became clear that Heidegger’s way to Being and Time (and his later thinking) not only was heavily influenced by Scholasticism, especially by Duns Scotus, but also by Augustine, Eckhart, and Luther, all of which took effect before Heidegger encountered Husserl’s phenomenology, Neo-Kantianism or Aristotle’s philosophy. The greatness of Being and Time is indeed a result of the ingenious transformation of all these sources into something new. (shrink)
Drawing upon the work of Merleau-Ponty, Borrett et al. (2000) have attempted to model the primordial, "empty heads turned towards the world." Putting the issue of embodiment aside for another day, they propose two separate models, one of movement and the other of perception. While I am sympathetic to the point of their project, I argue in this commentary that their models are insufficiently vague. The following analytic abstractions to which they commit themselves seem seriously at odds with the nature (...) of their task: action versus perception; vision versus the other senses; spatial properties versus, for example, colour and meaning; and 'a controller' versus the body and its environment. (shrink)
Scientists use visualisations of different kinds in a variety of ways in their scientific work. In the following article, we will take a closer look at the use of photographic pictures as scientific evidence. In accordance with Patrick Maynard’s thesis, photography will be regarded as a family of technologies serving different purposes in divergent contexts. One of these is its ability to detect certain phenomena. Nonetheless, with regard to the philosophical thesis of theory-ladenness of observation, we encounter certain reservations (...) concerning the status of photography and that of photographic pictures in the process of measurement in science. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is twofold: We will discuss suggested solutions both for the technological and for the psychological part of the problem of theory-ladenness appearing in the context of the use of photography in scientific observations. The essential proposal will be to follow Christian Suhm in his advice to make a distinction between theory-relativity and theory-ladenness. (shrink)