The ability to reason and think in a logical manner forms the basis of learning for most mathematics, computer science, philosophy and logic students. Based on the author's teaching notes at the University of Maryland and aimed at a broad audience, this text covers the fundamental topics in classical logic in an extremely clear, thorough and accurate style that is accessible to all the above. Covering propositional logic, first-order logic, and second-order logic, as well as proof theory, computability theory, and (...) model theory, the text also contains numerous carefully graded exercises and is ideal for a first or refresher course. (shrink)
B. F. Skinner argues in Beyond Freedom and Dignity (New York 1971) that only his theory of man is compatible with a ?scientific? approach to human behavior. I argue that Skinner's entirely open?ended view of man is inadequate for his own purposes in that it leaves no room for the claim that certain value judgments are universally valid, something I argue Skinner is committed to despite an explicit avowal in one place of cultural relativism. I then go on to show (...) that a modification of Skinner's theory of man which builds on Spinoza's notion of conatus would provide one with a theory?based rationale for universally valid judgments without involving one in a ?non?scientific? approach to human behavior. Specifically, I argue that such a Spinozistic modification would provide one with a theory?based guarantee that man will not evolve in such a way that a truly scientific observer would deem a totalitarian state good. (shrink)
B. F. Skinner has argued that those who are serious about ending war, pollution, etc., must face the fact that the received methods of changing behavior have proved ineffective. According to Skinner, we must replace 'weak' methods of control such as control via praise and blame and control via Rousseau's 'natural contingencies of things' with Skinner's 'strong' methods of control. It is argued that Skinner's case for the continued ineffectiveness of such methods of control rests on the unargued assumption that (...) we are stuck with the highly centralized forms of social organization that characterize present-day advanced societies, forms that place barriers between man and man and between man and nature. Drawing on the anarchist tradition in political thought, it is argued that a radical decentralization — which cannot be dismissed as Utopian — would bring a new effectiveness to what Skinner dismisses as 'weak' forms of control. (shrink)
Building on two nonproblematic claims, I argue for a qualified endorsement of Hume's intuition that there must be a time-difference between cause and effect. Those claims are: (i) that the statement 'A caused B' is meaningful only if we have a criterion for saying 'A' and 'B' refer to distinct events; and (ii) that an adequate view of what it is to be an event must illuminate the enterprise of seeking to establish a singular causal statement. Specifically, I argue there (...) must be a time-difference when cause and effect are modifications of the same physical object. (shrink)
Readers are invited to contact Greg S. Loeben in writing at Midwestern University, Glendale Campus, Bioethics Program, 19555 N. 59th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308 (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding books they would like to see reviewed or books they are interested in reviewing.
This paper criticizes three assumptions regarding terrorism and the agents who carry it out: 1) terrorists are always indiscriminate in their targeting, 2) terrorism is never effective in combating oppression, and 3) terrorists never participate in fair negotiations as they merely wish to switch places with their oppressors. By criticizing these three prejudices against terrorism, the paper does not attempt to justify or excuse terrorism generally nor in the specific case of Sri Lanka which is examined. Instead, it creates the (...) necessary room for such justifications or excuses to be critically appraised by dismantling the popular myths surrounding terrorism. (shrink)
In this paper, a two-fold strategy is carried out for gaining conceptual clarity in response to the question: What is terrorism? The first stage is to defend a broad working definition of terrorism that emphasizes the instrumental employment of terror or fear to obtain any number of possible ends. As proposed in this paper, Terrorism is an act or threat of violence to persons or property that elicits terror, fear, or anxiety regarding the security of human life or fundamental rights (...) and that functions as an instrument to obtain further ends. This instrumentality relies upon either an explicit or implicit threat of separate acts of future violence. It is argued that such a functionalist approach to defining terrorism captures the core qualities that unite the broad family of both political and nonpolitical terrorist actions. At the same time, the proposed definition avoids the problems associated with other approaches that either focus upon the terrorist’s ‘unconventional’ tactics, or the ‘innocence’ of their targets, or their coercive intentions. The breadth of the proposed definition allows for the more nuanced typological analysis in the second stage. The typology is primarily an analysis of the modes of terrorism’s instrumentality. Thus, the broad phenomenon of terrorism is divided according to factors of targets, the degree of force employed, agency, and the geographic context of the action. It is only by drawing out the diverse types of terrorism that the projects of morally evaluating terrorism and formulating a just response to terrorism can take place in a concrete and meaningful way. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophers often construe mercy as a supererogatory notion or a matter of punitive leniency. Yet it is false that no merciful actions are obligatory. Further, it is questionable whether mercy is really about punitive leniency, either exclusively or primarily. As an alternative to these accounts, I consider the view offered by St. Thomas Aquinas. He rejects the claim that we are never obligated to be merciful. Also, his view of mercy is not restricted to legal contexts. For him, mercy's (...) scope is considerably broader, as it concerns a wide range of needs and hardships to which human beings are vulnerable. Such a view, I submit, affords a kind of normative depth lacking in many contemporary accounts. Unlike those views that construe mercy as either a supererogatory or legal concept, Aquinas's account illuminates mercy's obligatory nature and encourages us to make mercy a more salient fixture of our moral lives. (shrink)
This paper examines recent arguments by Michael Walzer and Uwe Steinhoff for justifying or excusing indiscriminate terrorism by means of invoking ‘emergency’ circumstances. While both authors claim that the principle of non-combatant immunity can be justifiably overridden under extreme circumstances, it is argued here that neither provides a convincing argument as to when and why the survival of some innocents ought to counterbalance the harms or rights violations of indiscriminate terrorism. A defensible emergency justification for indiscriminate terrorism is proposed and (...) shown to open the door to a broader, non-emergency rationale for conceivably excusing or justifying indiscriminate terrorism. (shrink)
In this article, the authors focus on Argentina's activity in the developing field of regenerative medicine, specifically stem cell research. They take as a starting point a recent article by Shawn Harmon (published in this journal) who argues that attempts to regulate the practice in Argentina are morally incoherent. The authors try to show first, that there is no such ‘attempt to legislate’ on stem cell research in Argentina and this is due to a number of reasons that they (...) explain. Second, by examining the role played by different values, conflicting legal and moral views, and the influence of various actors, they attempt to show that the legislative silence regarding stem cell research may not necessarily be a manifestation of a legal/moral disconnection but rather a survival strategy for navigating the long and heated battle on the moral status of the embryo and the kind of treatment it deserves. (shrink)
Proposes a shift in thinking about the connection of Malick's filmmaking and the philosophy of Heidegger. My approach considers Heidegger's philosophy of art in order to develop some outlines of a Heideggerian philosophy of film. I also consider some aspects of Terrence Malick's films viewed as exemplar instances of the philosophical theory of film Heidegger's work can support.
Previously available as Volume 18 of the Gesamtausgabe [GA], this text contains a lecture course delivered by Heidegger at Marburg during the summer of 1924. Metcalf and Tanzer's translation is its first appearance in English. The editor of this volume in the Gesamtausgabe reports that only a fraction of Heidegger's original course material survives in manuscript form. As a result, much of the text does not originate from Heidegger's own hand. The bulk of it represents a transcription of the lecture (...) course based on multiple independently-recorded, complete sets of student notes in conjunction with Heidegger's extant course papers. However, the resulting text reads as continuously as Heidegger's other .. (shrink)
Gilbert Meilaender argues that universities should eschew efforts to improve students’ moral character. I show that Meilaender’s arguments fail to offer any cogent reason for shunning university-based moral education. I then look to Thomas Aquinas in order to explain the connection between moral virtue and the practices common in university life. Using Aquinas as a guide, I argue that exemplary intellectual practice requires virtues that are subsidiary habits of the cardinal moral virtues themselves. The implication of this argument is as (...) follows: students require scrupulous moral training if they are to engage in exemplary intellectual practice. (shrink)
Provides a reading of Terrence Malick's 2011 film The Tree of Life, and an account of how the film can be said to exhibit an ethics of the earth. For support of my thesis, I formulate a largely phenomenological framework for assembling the film's earth ethic. My thesis is also strongly influenced by Holmes Rolston III's formula for environmental ethics.
Since the Nuremberg trials (1947–1949), informed consent has become central for ethical practice in patient care and biomedical research. Codes of ethics emanating from the Nuremberg Code (1947) recognize the importance of protecting patients and research subjects from abuses, manipulation and deception. Informed consent empowers individuals to autonomously and voluntarily accept or reject participation in either clinical treatment or research. In some cases, however, the underlying mental or physical condition of the individual may alter his or her cognitive abilities and (...) compromise the informed consent process. This is particularly true in chronic psychiatric conditions such as Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD), where individuals may fail to respond to traditional antidepressant treatments (e.g., psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy). Moreover, it may raise further concerns for an individual’s motivation to consent and the level of understanding of the treatment or research procedure. This paper focuses on the informed consent process for Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) in the treatment of individuals diagnosed with TRD. Specifically, the paper addresses how depression may affect the decision-making capacity of an individual and the potential ethical and legal impact of failure to appreciate the seven elements of the consenting process (competence, voluntariness, disclosure, recommendation, understanding, decision, and authorization). To ensure the protection of vulnerable individuals with psychiatric disorders such as TRD and promote ethical behavior in biomedical research and patient care while avoiding potential legal pitfalls, we propose a paradigm that requires a stringent evaluation process of decision-making capacity for informed consent. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop some internal problems with Alvin Plantanga's proper functionalist epistemology. I focus on: (1) how we know that a belief is the result of proper function and the special difficulties this occasions for religious beliefs; (2) what a properly functioning person should believe in various circumstances, and (3) the problem of design -- whether the claim that God designed us can be reconciled with the claim that He was subject to trade-offs, compromises and unintended by-products. These (...) serious internal problems cast doubt upon proper functionalism's fruitfulness as a theory of knowledge. (shrink)
Disagreements about, within, and between religions are widespread. It’s no surprise, then, that there’s an enormous philosophical literature on religious diversity. But in recent years, philosophers working in mainstream epistemology have done a lot of work on disagreement in general. This work has focused in particular upon the epistemology of peer disagreement, i.e., disagreements between parties who are justifiably believed to be epistemic equals regarding the matter at hand. In this paper, I intend to defend a thesis in the epistemology (...) of peer disagreement from a significant objection. The thesis I intend to defend is the Equal Weight View (EWV). The objection, pressed by philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga, Timothy O’Connor, Charles Taliaferro, Brian Weatherson, and Adam Elga, is that EWV is self-undermining. In short, I argue two things. First, I argue that EWV is not self-undermining. Second, I argue that even if it were, this would give us no reason to think that EWV is false since there are obviously true epistemic principles that self-undermine (or at least do so potentially). The self-undermining objection to EWV fails. (shrink)
: An open-ended questionnaire elicited concepts of virtue and duty, and ethical language and priorities from commercial fishers and residents of ports in the Republic of Ireland. Respondents came from viable and stressed fisheries and from nontraditional and traditional natural resources communities (including one in Gaeltacht). In reporting the characteristics of a "good" fisher, viable fisheries emphasized virtues such as work ethic, respect for the crew, and respect for the sea. The responses from stressed fisheries materialized virtue, and decreased emphasis (...) on interpersonal relationships while increasing emphasis on owning a large vessel, investing, and being greedy. Most noble actions primarily concerned rescues and sharing equipment and time in difficult circumstances. Worst actions concerned physical damage to gear, persons, or to the marine environment. Respondents personified the sea, and used similar vocabulary to express care for people and for marine organisms. Although respondents from all communities thought over-fishing and illegal fishing were threats to the fishery, respondents from viable fisheries were more likely to believe they could take personal conservation action to protect the fishery, while those from stressed fisheries despaired of personal protective action and believed that nothing could be done, or that excluding the foreign fleets was necessary for Irish fisheries to recover. European Community policies often conflict with the norms of traditional, artisanal fishers. (shrink)
Given its intimate relationship with the human body and its environment, biotechnology innovation, and more particularly stem cell research innovations as a part thereof, implicate diverse social and moral/ethical issues. This paper explores some of the most important and controversial moral concerns raised by human embryonic stem cell research (and the closely associated field of cloning), focusing on concerns relating to the wellbeing of the embryo and the wellbeing of society (the collective). It then considers how and whether these concerns (...) are dealt with in regulatory instruments in Argentina, a southern developing country, examining in particular whether the values underlying these concerns have been translated into practical and effective rules reflective of the primary moral positions advanced. It concludes that Argentina's current state of stem cell research governance fails to consistently reflect the moral positions that have formed and is inadequate given Argentina's activity in this field. (shrink)
Advocates an existential, phenomenological reading of Heraclitus suggested by Hans-Georg Gadamer. Gadamer observes that within the Heraclitean fragments lay a subliminal wonder at the contradiction and groundlessness of the human experience, particularly the unmediated experience of thinking. I take Gadamer to suggest in part that Heraclitus writes the fragments motivated by a sort of phenomenological disclosure, not necessarily of Being (pace Heidegger), but of the human experience as one of contradictory transitions and unrestricted movements between poles of opposition.