In the twenty-second series of The Logic of Sense, Gilles Deleuze references a remarkable essay by Günther (Stern) Anders. Anders’ essay, translated here as ‘The Pathology of Freedom’, addresses the sickness and health of our negotiation with the negative anthropological condition of ‘not being cut out for the world’.
Many religiously minded materialist philosophers have attempted to understand the doctrine of the survival of death from within a physicalist approach. Their goal is not to show the doctrine false, but to explain how it can be true. One such approach has been developed by Peter van Inwagen. After explaining what I call the duplication objection, I present van Inwagen’s proposal and show how a proponent might attempt to solve the problem of duplication. I argue that the very features of (...) the view that aid the proponent in responding to the duplication objection entails the possibility of an impossible state of affairs—that two distinct persons can at the same time be identical with the same bundle of material simples. The religiously minded materialist is caught between the horns of a dilemma. One’s view regarding human persons must be robust enough to account for personal identity over time, and so not fall to the duplication objection. At the same time, the view must not entail the possibility of two persons temporarily having complete coincident existence. (shrink)
This Article is a short response to Anders Tolland's "Iterated Non-Refutation: Robert Lockie on Relativism", International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol. 14, no. 2, 245-254, 2006. Tolland's article was itself a response to Lockie, R (2003) "Relativism and Reflexivity", International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol. 11, no. 3, 319-339.
A wide range of gene knockout experiments shows that functional stability is an important feature of biological systems. On this backdrop, we present an argument for higher‐level causation based on counterfactual dependence. Furthermore, we sketch a metaphysical picture providing resources to explain the metaphysical nature of functional stability, higher‐level causation, and the relevant notion of levels. Our account aims to clarify the role empirical results and philosophical assumptions should play in debates about reductionism and higher‐level causation. It thereby contributes to (...) the development of a philosophical foundation for systems biology. †To contact the authors, please write to: CSMN/IFIKK, University of Oslo, Box 1020 Blindern, N‐0315, Oslo, Norway; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com. (shrink)
Wendet man sich der Frage nach den Quellen unseres Wissens zu, so muss man feststellen, dass wir zweifelsohne einen großen Teil unseres Wissens über die Welt aus dem Zeugnis anderer gewinnen. In der gegenwärtigen erkenntnistheoretischen Diskussion wird nicht in Frage gestellt, dass das Zeugnis anderer zur Genese unseres Wissens beiträgt. Umstritten ist dagegen,ob die Anführung des Ursprungs solcher Überzeugungen auch zu deren Rechtfertigung in hinreichendem Maße beiträgt. Dieses Buch bietet einen systematischen Einblick in die verschiedenen epistemologischen Positionen dieser Debatte – (...) sowohl klassische Ansätze als auch neuere Entwicklungen werden vorgestellt und kritisch diskutiert. Darüber hinaus wird der Zeugnisbegriff selbst – als epistemisch funktionaler Begriff – eingehend analysiert. Aufbauend auf den Untersuchungsergebnissen des systematischen Teils des Buches wird dann in einer Fallstudie zur Berichterstattung der Tagesschau ein Sonderfall des Zeugnisses anderer genauer in den Blick genommen, der in der bisherigen epistemologischen Debatte erstaunlicherweise nur eine untergeordnete Rolle gespielt hat: die mediale Berichterstattung. (shrink)
The dissertation addresses a debate in the philosophy of perception between conceptualists and nonconceptualists. Its principal thesis is that the intentional content of a perceptual experience is the content of a thought that a reflective subject is in a position to think if she has the experience. I call this claim, endorsed by conceptualists, the thesis of content congruence. Two principal lines of argument are put forward for it. The first, ‘simple’ argument contends that a perceptual experience is a state (...) in which it perceptually appears to the subject that things are thus and so; that a reflective subject who has an experience is in a position to think that things are thus and so; and that the subject in question, in doing so, thinks a thought with the same content as her experience. The second line of argument appeals to the role of perceptual experience in intentional explanation of observational beliefs. It makes the case that such explanation presumes that there is a non-trivial, non-vacuous law linking perceptual experiences with observational beliefs, and argues that an adherent of content congruence is significantly better placed to formulate such a law (consistently with her view) than her ‘content nonconceptualist’ opponent. The thesis of content congruence has often been associated in the literature with the thesis of state conceptualism, i.e. the claim that the representational capacities in virtue of the activation of which a perceptual experience has the content it has are conceptual. I reject the latter, and explain why we should not expect the denial of that claim, i.e. state nonconceptualism, to be incompatible with content congruence. I defend moreover the thesis of content congruence against the objection that it confuses sense and reference, and the objection that it leads to a viciously circular or otherwise inadequate account of observational or demonstrative concepts. (shrink)
In this dissertation on Hilary Putnam's philosophy, I investigate his development regarding meaning and necessity, in particular mathematical necessity. Putnam has been a leading American philosopher since the end of the 1950s, becoming famous in the 1960s within the school of analytic philosophy, associated in particular with the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language. Under the influence of W.V. Quine, Putnam challenged the logical positivism/empiricism that had become strong in America after World War II, with influential exponents such (...) as Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach. Putnam agreed with Quine that there are no absolute a priori truths. In particular, he was critical of the notion of truth by convention. Instead he developed a notion of relative a priori truth, that is, a notion of necessary truth with respect to a body of knowledge, or a conceptual scheme. Putnam's position on necessity has developed over the years and has always been connected to his important contributions to the philosophy of meaning. I study Hilary Putnam's development through an early phase of scientific realism, a middle phase of internal realism, and his later position of a natural or commonsense realism. I challenge some of Putnam’s ideas on mathematical necessity, although I have largely defended his views against some other contemporary major philosophers; for instance, I defend his conceptual relativism, his conceptual pluralism, as well as his analysis of the realism/anti-realism debate. (shrink)
Whom I call ‘epistemic reductionists’ in this article are critics of the notion of ‘moral luck’ that maintain that all supposed cases of moral luck are illusory; they are in fact cases of what I describe as a special form of epistemic luck, the only difference lying in what we get to know about someone, rather than in what (s)he deserves in terms of praise or blame. I argue that epistemic reductionists are mistaken. They implausibly separate judgements of character from (...) judgements concerning acts, and they assume a conception of character that is untenable both from a common sense perspective and with a view to findings from social psychology. I use especially the example of Scobie, the protagonist of Graham Greene’s novel The Heart of the Matter , to show that moral luck is real—that there are cases of moral luck that cannot be reduced to epistemic luck. The reality of moral luck, in this example at least, lies in its impact on character and personal and moral identity. (shrink)
There is quite a long-standing tradition according to which the morally proper treatment of animals does not rely on what we owe them, but on our benevolence. Nussbaum wishes to go beyond this tradition, because in her view we are dealing with issues of justice. Her capabilities approach secures basic entitlements for animals, on the basis of their fundamental capacities. At the same time Nussbaum wishes to retain the possibility of certain human uses of animals, and to see them as (...) morally justifiable. This article shows that these things do not go together with her capabilities approach to animal rights. More specifically, they clash with the attitude towards animals that Nussbaum's approach intends to foster in human beings. (shrink)
New technologies and practices, such as drug testing, genetic testing, and electronic surveillance infringe upon the privacy of workers on workplaces. We argue that employees have a prima facie right to privacy, but this right can be overridden by competing moral principles that follow, explicitly or implicitly, from the contract of employment. We propose a set of criteria for when intrusions into an employee''s privacy are justified. Three types of justification are specified, namely those that refer to the employer''s interests, (...) to the interests of the employee her- or himself, and to the interests of third parties such as customers and fellow workers. For each of these three types, sub-criteria are proposed that can be used to determine whether a particular infringement into an employee''s privacy is morally justified or not. (shrink)
We argue that the fragility of contemporary marriages—and the corresponding high rates of divorce—can be explained (in large part) by a three-part mismatch: between our relationship values, our evolved psychobiological natures, and our modern social, physical, and technological environment. “Love drugs” could help address this mismatch by boosting our psychobiologies while keeping our values and our environment intact. While individual couples should be free to use pharmacological interventions to sustain and improve their romantic connection, we suggest that they may have (...) an obligation to do so as well, in certain cases. Specifically, we argue that couples with offspring may have a special responsibility to enhance their relationships for the sake of their children. We outline an evolutionarily informed research program for identifying promising biomedical enhancements of love and commitment. (shrink)
Many philosophers hold that the phenomenology of thinking (also known as cognitive phenomenology) reduces to the phenomenology of the speech, sensory imagery, emotions or feelings associated with it. But even if this reductionist claim is correct, there is still a properly cognitive dimension to the phenomenology of at least some thinking. Specifically, conceptual content makes a constitutive contribution to the phenomenology of at least some thought episodes, in that it constitutes what I call their thematic unity. Often, when a thought (...) episode has a phenomenal character, the various associated speech, sensory imagery, emotions or feelings are often organized around a common theme, constituted by the conceptual content of one's thinking. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that sentences containing a non-denoting description embedded in the scope of a propositional attitude verb have true de dicto interpretations, and Russell’s (1905) analysis of definite descriptions is often praised for its simple analysis of such cases, cf. e.g. Neale (1990). However, several people, incl. Elbourne (2005, 2009), Heim (1991), and Kripke (2005), have contested this by arguing that Russell’s analysis yields incorrect predictions in non-doxastic attitude contexts. Heim and Elbourne have subsequently argued that once certain (...) facts about presupposition projection are fully appreciated, the Frege/Strawson analysis of definite descriptions has an explanatory advantage. In this paper, I argue that both Russell’s analysis and the Frege/Strawson analysis face a serious problem when it comes to the interaction of attitude verbs and definite descriptions. I argue that the problem observed by Elbourne, Heim, and Kripke is much more general than standardly assumed and that a solution requires a revision of the semantics of definite and indefinite descriptions. I outline the conditions that are required to solve the problem and present an analysis couched in dynamic semantics which can provide a solution. I conclude by discussing some further issues related to propositional attitude verbs that complicate a fully general solution to the problem. (shrink)
I question Brentano's thesis that all and only mental phenomena are intentional. The common gloss on intentionality in terms of directedness does not justify the claim that intentionality is sufficient for mentality. One response to this problem is to lay down further requirements for intentionality. For example, it may be said that we have intentionality only where we have such phenomena as failure of substitution or existential presupposition. I consider a variety of such requirements for intentionality. I argue they either (...) fail to exclude all non-mental phenomena or are so demanding that they ground new, serious challenges to the claim that qualitative states of mind are intentional. (shrink)
This paper reviews the evolutionary history and biology of love and marriage. It examines the current and imminent possibilities of biological manipulation of lust, attraction and attachment, so called neuroenhancement of love. We examine the arguments for and against these biological interventions to influence love. We argue that biological interventions offer an important adjunct to psychosocial interventions, especially given the biological limitations inherent in human love.
This paper presents a framework for discussing issues of ownership in connection to virtual worlds. We explore how divergent interests in virtual property can be mediated by applying a constructivist perspective to the concept ownership. The simple solutions offered today entail that a contract between the game producer and the gamer gives the game developer exclusive rights to all virtual property. This appears to be unsatisfactory. A number of legitimate interests on part of both producers and gamers may be readily (...) distinguished. More complex distributions of rights would allow many of these interests to be consistently respected. (shrink)
The aim of this article is twofold. Against the traditional interpretation of ‘the conscience of Huckleberry Finn’ (for which Jonathan Bennett's article with this title is the locus classicus) as a conflict between conscience and sympathy, I propose a new interpretation of Huck's inner conflict, in terms of Huck's mastery of (the) moral language and its integration with his moral feelings. The second aim is to show how this interpretation can provide insight into a particular aspect of moral education: learning (...) a moral language. A moral education that has a proper regard for the flexibility of moral language and the importance of the integration of moral language and (pre-)moral feelings should prevent such conflicts as Huck experienced from arising. (shrink)
Since the famous debate between Russell (Mind 14: 479–493, 1905, Mind 66: 385–389, 1957) and Strawson (Mind 59: 320–344, 1950; Introduction to logical theory, 1952; Theoria, 30: 96–118, 1964) linguistic intuitions about truth values have been considered notoriously unreliable as a guide to the semantics of definite descriptions. As a result, most existing semantic analyses of definites leave a large number of intuitions unexplained. In this paper, I explore the nature of the relationship between truth value intuitions and non-referring definites. (...) Inspired by comments in Strawson (Introduction to logical theory, 1964), I argue that given certain systematic considerations, one can provide a structured explanation of conflicting intuitions. I show that the intuitions of falsity, which proponents of a Russellian analysis often appeal to, result from evaluating sentences in relation to specific questions in context. This is shown by developing a method for predicting when sentences containing non-referring definites elicit intuitions of falsity. My proposed analysis draws importantly on Roberts (in: Yoon & Kathol (eds.) OSU working papers in Linguistics: vol. 49: Papers in Semantics 1998; in: Horn & Ward (eds.) Handbook of pragmatics, 2004) and recent research in the semantics and pragmatics of focus. (shrink)
A recent paper by Rieper, Anders and Vedral (arxiv.org/abs/1006.4053: The Relevance Of Continuous Variable Entanglement In DNA) suggests that quantum entanglement among base pairs in the DNA double helix stabilizes the molecule. A summary of their paper is reported in MIT Technology Review (http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25375/) is below..
Human beings are a marvel of evolved complexity. Such systems can be difficult to enhance. When we manipulate complex evolved systems which are poorly understood, our interventions often fail or backfire. It can appear as if there is a “wisdom of nature” which we ignore at our peril. Sometimes the belief in nature’s wisdom – and corresponding doubts about the prudence of tampering with nature, especially human nature – manifest as diffusely moral objections against enhancement. Such objections may be expressed (...) as intuitions about the superiority of the natural or the troublesomeness of hubris, or as an evaluative bias in favor of the status quo. This paper explores the extent to which such prudence‐derived anti‐enhancement sentiments are justified. We develop a heuristic, inspired by the field of evolutionary medicine, for identifying promising human enhancement interventions. The heuristic incorporates the grains of truth contained in “nature knows best” attitudes while providing criteria for the special cases where we have reason to believe that it is feasible for us to improve on nature. (shrink)
Genetic modification leads to several important moral issues. Up until now they have mainly been discussed from the viewpoint that only individual living beings, above all animals, are morally considerable. The standpoint that also collective entities such as species belong to the moral sphere have seldom been taken into account in a more thorough way, although it is advocated by several important environmental ethicists. The main purpose of this article is to analyze in more detail than often has been done (...) what the practical consequences of this ethical position would be for the use of genetic engineering on animals and plants. The practical consequences of the holistic standpoint (focused on collective entities) of Holmes Rolston, III, is compared with the practical consequences of the individualistic standpoints (focused on individual living beings) of Bernard E. Rollin and Philipp Balzer, Klaus Peter Rippe, and Peter Schaber, respectively. The article also discusses whether the claim that species are morally considerable is tenable as a foundation for policy decisions on genetic engineering. (shrink)
The need for education for (as opposed to about) sustainability is urged from many sides. Initiatives in this area tend to focus on formal education. Governmental, supra-governmental and non-governmental bodies all expect much of this kind of education, which is to transform children—and through them society—in the direction of sustainability. Due to the combination of great transformative expectations or ambitions and a focus on schooling (the idea of) compulsory environmental education poses potentially severe problems for governments committed to liberal principles, (...) in particular the principle of state 'neutrality' with respect to 'comprehensive conceptions of the good life'. The central question of this article is whether liberal governments can make environmental education of this kind compulsory without coming into conflict with the liberal principle of state neutrality. I discuss three defences of the compatibility of compulsory environmental education with liberal neutrality, namely those put forward by Derek Bell, Andrew Dobson, and Simon Hailwood, as well as some problems inherent in these defences. In the final section I sketch a form of compulsory environmental education that realises at least some of the aims commonly stated for Education for Sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development, and can be justified on the basis of liberal principles. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss ethical issues related to mitigation of climate change. In particular, I focus on mitigation of climate change to the extent this change is caused by livestock production. I support the view—on which many different ethical approaches converge—that the present generation has a moral obligation to mitigate climate change for the benefit of future generations and that developed countries should take the lead in the process. Moreover, I argue that since livestock production is an important contributing (...) factor to climate change, we should undertake mitigation measures also in this sector and not only in, for example, the transport and energy sectors. However, technological solutions do not seem sufficient in the livestock sector, leaving us with the option of reduced meat production and consumption. In order to reach significant results in mitigation of climate change, political steering seems necessary. With this in mind, I argue in favor of a tax on meat consumption. (shrink)
More than one single professional group deals with therapeutic manipulations of the spine and the joints. Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Naprapaths, Physical Therapists (and a contingent Physicians) all share this interest. Each profession is also very clear about where its bulk of knowledge stems from. The disciplines that are reckoned as the oldest are from the USA. A number of “inventors” are to be found, all without a formal university degree in Medicine. Andrew Taylor Still (1828–1917) came up with his system of (...) Osteopathy in 1874. Daniel D. Palmer (1845–1913), the man behind Chiropractic, founded his system in 1894, and Palmer’s colleague and former student, Oakley Smith (1880–1967), developed Naprapathy in 1906/1907. Physical Therapists working with what is called Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy are on the other hand not claiming American ancestry, nor do their body of knowledge and clinical skills originate from outside the medical profession. It is an offspring of Orthopaedic Medicine (OM) which was an invention by Physicians. Date and place of birth is said to be 1929 in England. This article turns the above-mentioned chronology on its head. It will show that Orthopaedic Medicine likely is the oldest system. It will also unearth OM’s sturdy roots in a strong but forgotten, and even hidden, discourse of Mechanical Medicine found in 19th century Europe, which was ruled by Physical Therapists. Why “we” do not know about this “history” is analysed and explained from a variety of perspectives. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Notes on Contributors.1. Introduction: Hatred of Democracy... and of the Public Role of Education? (Maarten Simons and Jan Masschelein).2. The Public Role of Teaching: To Keep the Door Closed (Goele Cornelissen).3. Learner, Student, Speaker: Why It Matters How We Call Those We Teach (Gert Biesta).4. Ignorance and Translation, 'Artifacts' for Practices of Equality (Marc Derycke).5. Democratic Education: An (im)possibility That Yet Remains to Come (Daniel Friedrich, Bryn Jaastad and Thomas S. Popkewitz)6. Governmental, Political and Pedagogic Subjectivation: (...) Foucault with Rancière (Maarten Simons and Jan Masschelein).7. The Immigrant Has No Proper Name: The Disease of Consensual Democracy Within the Myth of Schooling (Carl Anders Safstrom).8. Queer Politics in Schools: A Rancièrean Reading (Claudia W. Ruitenberg).9. Paulo Freire's Last Laugh: Rethinking Critical Pedagogy's Funny Bone Through Jacques Rancière ( Tyson Edward Lewis).10. Settling no Conflict in the Public Place: Truth in Education, and in Rancièrean Scholarship (Charles Bingham).11. The Hatred of Public Schooling: The School as the Mark of Democracy (Jan Masschelein and Maarten Simons).12. Endgame: Reading, Writing, Talking (and Perhaps Thinking) in a Faculty of Education (Jorge Larrosa). (shrink)
Some risks have extremely high stakes. For example, a worldwide pandemic or asteroid impact could potentially kill more than a billion people. Comfortingly, scientific calculations often put very low probabilities on the occurrence of such catastrophes. In this paper, we argue that there are important new methodological problems which arise when assessing global catastrophic risks and we focus on a problem regarding probability estimation. When an expert provides a calculation of the probability of an outcome, they are really providing the (...) probability of the outcome occurring, given that their argument is watertight. However, their argument may fail for a number of reasons such as a flaw in the underlying theory, a flaw in the modeling of the problem, or a mistake in the calculations. If the probability estimate given by an argument is dwarfed by the chance that the argument itself is flawed, then the estimate is suspect. We develop this idea formally, explaining how it differs from the related distinctions of model and parameter uncertainty. Using the risk estimates from the Large Hadron Collider as a test case, we show how serious the problem can be when it comes to catastrophic risks and how best to address it. (shrink)
To make genuine progress toward explicating the relation between innate talent and high levels of ability, we need to consider the differences in structure between most everyday abilities and expert performance. Only in expert performance is it possible to show consistently that individuals can acquire skills to circumvent and modify basic characteristics (talent).
In his “Third Way” Aquinas appears to argue in a way that relies upon shifting quantifiers in a fallacious way. Some have tried to save this and other parts of the “Third Way” by introducing sophisticated logical and metaphysical machinery. Alternatively, Aquinas’ apparently fallacious quantifier shift can be seen to be part of a valid argument if we supply a simple premise which an Aristotelian natural philosopher would surely hold. In this short paper, I consider candidates for this premise, defend (...) a specific premise, and from that discussion draw a moral about quantifier predicate logic. I conclude that Aristotelian natural philosophy is more than an historical backdrop to Aquinas’ arguments. (shrink)
The mainstream literature on corporate governance is based on the premise of conflicts of interest in a competitive game played by variously defined stakeholders and thus builds explicitly and/or implicitly on masculinist ethical theories. This article argues that insights from feminist ethics, and in particular ethics of care, can provide a different, yet relevant, lens through which to study corporate governance. Based on feminist ethical theories, the article conceptualises a governance model that is different from the current normative orthodoxy.
Corporate governance has come to be recognised as a cornerstone of economic reforms seeking to promote stability and growth in developing countries. The Asian crisis of the 1997 was viewed as having roots in poor governance and hence national governments as well as international organisations have sought to promote a strengthening of governance mechanisms. This article investigates governance reforms in India over the last decade. The paper reviews changes in Indian governance codes that indicate a preference of adoption of Anglo-American (...) governance models. A survey of ownership structures of Indian listed companies reveals a mixture of governance mechanisms and a persistence of the "business house model" of governance. The paper concludes that despite external pressures towards an "Anglo-Americanisation" of governance practice, the outcomes thus far reveal the emergence of a diversity of governance mechanisms arising in a path-dependent fashion. (shrink)
From a historico-cultural point of view the notion of normativity is closely tied to the apparently descriptive category of normality. This relation seems even tighter on the level of experience. As Husserl shows that normality, in the form of concordance and optimality, is a constitutive feature of experience itself. But in what sense can we speak of normativity in the realm of experience? Husserl himself saw no need to pose this question. But to explain the possibility of normal and coherent (...) perception one needs more than merely formal criteria (like concordance and its adjustment to an optimum): one must also take into account the attentional nature of perception. In this regard, the present paper will consider Husserl’s early treatment of attention and integrate it with its genetic implications on the level of affection. Doing so shows that subjective experience is characterized by a preference- structure, motivated by the embodied subject’s individual and cultural horizons of interest. It is this that allows one to speak of a precursor to normativity in the realm of experience. Moreover it can be argued that interest not only influences perception from the lowest level, but can be seen as a precondition for any current attention. Thus to speak of normativity in experience in this stronger sense, means not only that perception already contains traces of intersubjective norms; it also means that such norms determine what you can see at all. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Aus kulturgeschichtlicher Perspektive steht der Begriff Normativität in einer engen Verbindung mit der vermeintlich deskriptiven Kategorie der Normalität. Erweist sich diese Relation aber bereits auf der Ebene der sinnlichen Erfahrung als grundlegend, hat dies weitreichende Konsequenzen. Wie Husserl zeigt, ist Normalität im Sinne der formalen Kriterien von Einstimmigkeit und Optimalität selbst konstitutiv für jede Erfahrung. Um darüber hinaus die Normativität innerhalb der Erfahrung in den Blick zu bekommen, soll in diesem Beitrag die phänomenologische Beschreibung um einen wichtigen Aspekt ergänzt werden: die Aufmerksamkeit. Zu den formalen Normalitätskriterien muss eine konkrete subjektive Präferenz hinzu treten, die eine Differenzierung der Wahrnehmungsinhalte leistet. Anders lässt sich eine normale und kohärente Erfahrung nicht hinreichend erklären. Husserls frühe Arbeiten zur Aufmerksamkeit und Intentionalität sollen daher mit späteren genetischen Analysen zu einer umfassenderen Konzeption von Aufmerksamkeit verbunden werden. Hierbei wird deutlich, dass jede subjektive Erfahrung durch ihre präferenzielle Struktur charakterisiert ist, die sowohl von individuellen als auch kulturellen Interessenshorizonten des leiblichen Subjekts motiviert ist. Dies erlaubt es, von einer rudimentären Form der Normativität innerhalb der Erfahrung zu sprechen. Diese immer schon intersubjektiven Interessensdimensionen beeinflussen weiterhin jedes Aufmerksamkeitsverhalten von den untersten Stufen der Wahrnehmung bis hin zu höheren Geistesakten. Normativität in einem starken Sinne meint damit nicht nur, dass sich die Spuren intersubjektiver Normen bereits innerhalb der Wahrnehmung finden lassen. Vielmehr bestimmen diese Normen, was wir im Einzelfall überhaupt sehen können. (shrink)
Cognitive semantics has made important empirical findings about human conceptualization. In this paper some findings concerning moral concepts are analyzed and their implications for medical ethics discussed. The key idea is that morality has to do with metaphors and imagination rather than with well-defined concepts and deduction. It is argued that normative medical ethics to be psychologically realistic should take these findings seriously. This means that an imaginative casuistry is to be preferred compared to principlism and to other forms of (...) casuistry. Furthermore, the metaphorical character of central principles in medical ethics such as autonomy, utility, justice, and integrity is indicated. Such principles are interpreted as rules of thumb summarizing the collective wisdom concerning prototype cases. (shrink)
This article offers a discussion of the connection between technology and values and, specifically, I take a closer look at ethically sound design. In order to bring the discussion into a concrete context, the theory of Value Sensitive Design (VSD) will be the focus point. To illustrate my argument concerning design ethics, the discussion involves a case study of an augmented window, designed by the VSD Research Lab, which has turned out to be a potentially surveillance-enabling technology. I call attention (...) to a “positivist problem” that has to do with the connection between the design context and the use context, which VSD seems to presuppose, and I argue that it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the two, since the designers’ intentions do not always correspond with the users’ practice; in fact, the relation between design and use is very complex and principally unpredictable. Thus, a design theory must accept that foresight is limited to anticipation rather than prediction. To overcome the positivist problem, I suggest a phenomenological approach to technology inspired by Don Ihde’s concept of multistability. This argument, which is general in nature and thus applies to any theory of design ethics, is intended as a constructive criticism, which can hopefully contribute to the further development of design ethics. (shrink)
The theory of evolution has beenused in arguments regarding animalexperimentation. Two such arguments areanalyzed, one against and one in favor. Eachargument stresses the relevance of the theoryof evolution to normative ethics but attemptsexplicitly to avoid the so-called naturalisticfallacy.According to the argument against animalexperimentation, the theory of evolution`undermines' the idea of a special humandignity and supports `moral individualism'. Thelatter view implies that if it is wrong to usehumans in experiments, then it is also wrong touse animals, unless there are relevantdifferences between (...) them that justify adifference in treatment. No such differencescan be found with regard to animals which lead`biographical lives'.The argument in favor of animal experimentationis based on evolutionary psychology. It statesthat humans, as all social animals, arespeciesist by nature and stresses that thisshould be taken seriously in normative ethics.This does not mean that animal interests shouldnot be considered, only that vital humaninterests may outweigh them.In order to assess the arguments, one has totake a stand on certain more basic issues: `is'versus `ought', impartiality versus specialobligations, and feelings/intuitions versusreason. Given the author's own position withregard to these more basic considerations, theevolutionary argument in favor of animalexperimentation is judged to be more convincingthan the one against but not decisive. It isalso maintained that not all animal experimentsare acceptable. Which animal experiments areacceptable and which are not has to be decidedon a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
The prospect of using memory modifying technologies raises interesting and important normative concerns. We first point out that those developing desirable memory modifying technologies should keep in mind certain technical and user-limitation issues. We next discuss certain normative issues that the use of these technologies can raise such as truthfulness, appropriate moral reaction, self-knowledge, agency, and moral obligations. Finally, we propose that as long as individuals using these technologies do not harm others and themselves in certain ways, and as long (...) as there is no prima facie duty to retain particular memories, it is up to individuals to determine the permissibility of particular uses of these technologies. (shrink)
The first thesis of this article is that the concept of responsibility takes on an unprecedented meaning in the twentieth century resulting from the emergence of a new dimension of the other : to be responsible comes to mean not just to account for oneself in relation to the other, but also to take the other into account, to take care of the other—what I call responsibility towards ( the other ). The main reason for this change consists in the (...) emergence of global risks and the necessity, as underlined by Hans Jonas, to be responsible for the destiny of the world and future generations. The problem, as explored in the article’s second thesis, is that this implies the existence of a subject who is capable of responsibility. Jonas’s insights on this point are insufficient, since he only recognizes duty as the fundament for his ethics of responsibility and thus neglects the problem of motivation . This is a particularly crucial problem today as we are witnessing the presence of a pathological subject , characterized by a split in his faculties (between doing and imagining, knowing and feeling). To underline this fact, this article makes use of Günther Anders’s reflections, which provide a psycho-anthropological analysis of the subject, showing his pathologies and the necessity, from a moral perspective, to overcome his scission. Finally, this author suggests, as the article’s third thesis, that this overcoming is the necessary fundament for the perception of risk, which in turn reinstates the subject’s perception of his own vulnerability . Responsibility thus finds a motivation, which is neither altruistic nor duty-centred, in the awareness of our own vulnerability and the bond with the destiny of humankind as a whole. (shrink)
J. L. Austin's claim that language ‘used not seriously’ is ‘parasitic’ upon ‘normal use’ has proved a puzzle to literary scholars, who have often taken this to mean that they are not allowed to apply the insights of speech-act theory to their own object of research. This article explores how, when read together, Michel Serres’ definition of the parasite as a ‘thermal exciter’ and Deleuze's concept of ‘minor literature’ bring out the hidden potential inherent in Austin's claim. More specifically, the (...) article argues that Austin's reference to literature as a parasitic entity might become a promising conceptual gift, allowing us to generate a new model for approaching the world-shaping potential of literary texts. (shrink)
The introduction of new medical treatments based on invasive technologies has often been surrounded by both hopes and fears. Hope, since a new intervention can create new opportunities either in terms of providing a cure for the disease or impairment at hand; or as alleviation of symptoms. Fear, since an invasive treatment involving implanting a medical device can result in unknown complications such as hardware failure and undesirable medical consequences. However, hopes and fears may also arise due to the cultural (...) embeddedness of technology, where a therapy due to ethical, social, political and religious concerns could be perceived as either a blessing or a threat. While Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for treatment resistant depression (TRD) is still in its cradle, it is important to be proactive and try to scrutinize both surfacing hopes and fears. Patients will not benefit if a promising treatment is banned or avoided due to unfounded fears, nor will they benefit if DBS is used without scrutinizing the arguments which call for caution. Hence blind optimism is equally troublesome. We suggest that specificity, both in terms of a detailed account of relevant scientific concerns as well as ethical considerations, could be a way to analyse expressed concerns regarding DBS for TRD. This approach is particularly fruitful when applied to hopes and fears evoked by DBS for TRD, since it can reveal if our comprehension of DBS for TRD suffer from various biases which may remain unnoticed at first glance. We suggest that such biases exist, albeit a further analysis is needed to explore this issue in full. (shrink)
Kant points out the pleasure of the universal communicability of the judgment of taste in the 7th passage of § 9 in the Critique of Judgment. He promises to discuss the subject in a transcendental context further after discussing the Deduction of Pure Aesthetic Judgments. However, he seems to limit his discussion only in an empirical context, neglecting his own commitment. I differentiate the kind of pleasure (which Kant mentioned in the 7th passage) from the intrinsic pleasure of the pure (...) judgment of taste. The latter refers the pleasure in 'the harmonious play of the cognitive powers' stimulated by 'the merely formal purposiveness of a representation of an object'. It seems to have been overlooked that the pleasure of the universal communicability is independent from the intrinsic pleasure of the pure judgment of taste. My goal is to define the another feeling of pleasure by focusing on the analysis of the § 42 where Kant discussesthe possibility of one's interest combined with a pure judgment of taste. I come to the conclusion that another feeling of pleasure is a sort of practical pleasure. It is an interested pleasure in fulfilling the notion of generalizability of one’s state of mind, which is relevant to a moral judgment. Therefore, such pleasure is not actually common to everyone, as Kant insists in § 42, but restricted to those who have already developed the moral interest. (shrink)
Anthropogenic climate change is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. There is ample evidence that climate change is likely to affect adversely many aspects of life for all people around the world, and that existing solutions such as geoengineering might be too risky and ordinary behavioural and market solutions might not be sufficient to mitigate climate change. In this paper, we consider a new kind of solution to climate change, what we call human engineering, which involves (...) biomedical modifications of humans so that they can mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. We argue that human engineering is potentially less risky than geoengineering and that it could help behavioural and market solutions succeed in mitigating climate change. We also consider some possible ethical concerns regarding human engineering such as its safety, the implications of human engineering for our children and society, and we argue that these concerns can be addressed. Our upshot is that human engineering deserves further consideration in the debate about climate change. (shrink)
This paper discusses different senses of Hegel’s claim that the individual is “a child of his time.” Hegel argues that the individual’s mind (“subjective Spirit”) is profoundly influenced by its time, i.e., the cultural context that forms its temporal setting (“objective Spirit”). However, Hegel makes somewhat conflicting claims in this regard: (i) that individuals harbor the presuppositions of their cultural context unreflectively; (ii) that philosophy overcomes the form of this unreflectiveness, but that the content of philosophy remains tied to its (...) time since it tries reflectively to justify current presuppositions; (iii) that this reflection occurs when a culture declines, and that reflection, too, therefore is a child of its time; (iv) that an individual may be a minority thinker (despite what claim [i] says), but that even such an individual is a child of his time in the (weaker) sense that he is unable to influence it precisely because he transcends it. (shrink)
The starting point for the contemporary debate about theories of health should be the holistic theory of Lennart Nordenfelt, claims George Khushf, not the refuted theory of Christopher Boorse. The present paper is an attempt to challenge Nordenfelt and to present an alternative theory to his and other theories, including Boorse’s. The main problems with Nordenfelt’s theory are that it is relativistic, that it leads to counter-intuitive results as to what goals can count as healthy, that it focuses on the (...) wrong kind of abilities, that it makes measuring health extra difficult, and that it does not give us a sufficient account of health, at most a necessary one. The alternative theory proposed is two-dimensional. First, health is to have developed the abilities and dispositions that members of one’s culture typically develop, and be able to use them, in acceptable circumstances; and second, health is to experience positive moods and sensations, the kinds that have internal causes. The theory solves the problems attached to Nordenfelt’s theory by not being individual relativistic, by eliminating the goals in the definition, by giving an alternative interpretation of “ability,” by making health easier to measure, and by adding the dimension of well-being that, together with health as ability, not only gives us a necessary, but also a sufficient, account of health. (shrink)
The essay analyses the chief meanings of the idea of equality both in the natural law theory and in the theological thought of Samuel Pufendorf, as well as his criticism to the Hobbesian conception of equality, utilitaristically founded. In his natural law Theory Pufendorf, unlike Hobbes, conceives equality not as equality in capacity, but as juridical equality ( aequalitas juris ). Equality, the second of the three duties to one another, prescribes to every man to treat every other as his (...) equal by nature, respecting his dignity as he is an equally rational and free human being. Equality is also interpreted by Pufendorf both as the equal right and power to self-preservation and as men's equal subjection to the natural law. In his main theological work Pufendorf, on the contrary, takes his idea of equality from the Lutheran thesis of the universal priesthood of all the faithful. (shrink)