Contains fourteen essays and an introduction addressing the main areas of scholarly interest for Richard W. Davis, Professor Emeritus, Washington University, St Louis Questions how individuals envision the public good in modern Britain and how, through religious and moral beliefs, coupled with wisdom and political savvy, they can improve the public good through the ever-changing nineteenth century political institutions Essays range from studies of local electoral politics and parliamentary reform campaign to national political party organization, high politics and the (...) role religion and empire played in the creation of national policy Examines the influence of individuals on the political process through their professional work in historical and philosophical writing, journalism and missionary work at home and abroad Provides new original research in the area of modern British political history together in Parliamentary History. (shrink)
H. P. Grice virtually discovered the phenomenon of implicature (to denote the implications of an utterance that are not strictly implied by its content). Gricean theory claims that conversational implicatures can be explained and predicted using general psycho-social principles. This theory has established itself as one of the orthodoxes in the philosophy of language. Wayne Davis argues controversially that Gricean theory does not work. He shows that any principle-based theory understates both the intentionality of what a speaker implicates and (...) the conventionality of what a sentence implicates. In developing his argument the author explains that the psycho-social principles actually define the social function of implicature conventions, which contribute to the satisfaction of those principles. This challenging book will be of importance to philosophers of language and linguists, especially those working in pragmatics and sociolinguistics. (shrink)
Abstract MacFarlane distinguishes “context sensitivity” from “indexicality,” and argues that “nonindexical contextualism” has significant advantages over the standard indexical form. MacFarlane’s substantive thesis is that the extension of an expression may depend on an epistemic standard variable even though its content does not. Focusing on ‘knows,’ I will argue against the possibility of extension dependence without content dependence when factors such as meaning, time, and world are held constant, and show that MacFarlane’s nonindexical contextualism provides no advantages over indexical contextualism. (...) The discussion will shed light on the definition of indexicals as well as the meaning of ‘knows,’ and highlight important constraints on the way meaning can be represented in semantics. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9831-1 Authors Wayne A. Davis, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
Michael Davis, a leading figure in the study of professional ethics, offers here both a compelling exploration of engineering ethics and a philosophical analysis of engineering as a profession. After putting engineering in historical perspective, Davis turns to the Challenger space shuttle disaster to consider the complex relationship between engineering ideals and contemporary engineering practice. Here, Davis examines how social organization and technical requirements define how engineers should (and presumably do) think. Later chapters test his analysis of (...) engineering judgement and autonomy empirically, engaging a range of social science research including a study of how engineers and managers work together in ten different companies. (shrink)
Wayne Davis presents a highly original approach to the foundations of semantics, showing how the so-called "expression" theory of meaning can handle names and other problematic cases of nondescriptive meaning. The fact that thoughts have parts ("ideas" or "concepts") is fundamental: Davis argues that like other unstructured words, names mean what they do because they are conventionally used to express atomic or basic ideas. In the process he shows that many pillars of contemporary philosophical semantics, from twin earth (...) arguments to the necessity of identity, are unfounded. (shrink)
Abstract We sometimes decide what to do by applying moral principles to cases, but this is harder than it looks. Principles are more general than cases, and sometimes it is hard to tell whether and how a principle applies to a given case. Sometimes two conflicting principles seem to apply to the same case. To handle these problems, we use a kind of judgment to ascertain whether and how a principle applies to a given case, or which principle to follow (...) when two principles seem to conflict. But what do we discern when we make such judgments—that is, what makes such judgments correct? The obvious answer is that they are made correct by whatever makes other moral judgments correct. However, that cannot be right, for a principle can be inconsistent with morality yet still apply in a particular way to a given case. If the principle is inconsistent with morality, then morality cannot be what we discern when we judge whether and how that principle applies to a given case. I offer an alternative account of what makes such judgments correct. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-15 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9311-x Authors John K. Davis, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fullerton, P.O. Box 6868, Fullerton, CA 92834-6868, USA Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820. (shrink)
In this compelling book, John B. Davis examines the change and development in Keynes's philosophical thinking, from his earliest work through to The General Theory, arguing that Keynes came to believe himself mistaken about a number of his early philosophical concepts. The author begins by looking at the unpublished 'Apostles' papers, written under the influence of the philosopher G. E. Moore. These display the tensions in Keynes's early philosophical views, and outline his philosophical concepts of the time, including the (...) concept of intuition. Davis then shows how Keynes's later philosophy is implicit in the economic argument of The General Theory. He argues that Keynes's philosophy had by this time changed radically, and that he had abandoned the concept of intuition for the concept of convention. The author sees this as being the central idea in The General Theory, and looks at the philosophical nature of this concept of convention in detail. (shrink)
The present paper is a rejoinder to Michael Martin’s “Reply to Davis” (Philo vol. 2, no. 1), which was a response to my “Is Belief in theResurrection Rational? A Response to Michael Martin” (ibid.), which was itself a response to Martin’s “Why the Resurrection is Initially Improbable” (Philo vol. 1, no. 1), which in turn was a critique of various of my own writings on resurrection, especially Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection.
Ethics and the University brings together the practice of ethics in the university (academic ethics) and the teaching of practical or applied ethics in the university. The book offers an explanation of practical ethics' recent emergence as a university subject, discusses research ethics, and explores the teaching of practical ethics, including sexual ethics. Michael Davis situates the subject of ethics within the university into a wider social and historical context that will be helpful in sorting out the complex issues.
The problem of the will has long been viewed as central to Heidegger's later thought. In the first book to focus on this problem, Bret W. Davis clarifies key issues from the philosopher's later period--particularly his critique of the culmination of the history of metaphysics in the technological "will to will" and the possibility of Gelassenheit or "releasement" from this willful way of being in the world--but also shows that the question of will is at the very heart of (...) Heidegger's thinking, a pivotal issue in his path from Being and Time (1926) to "Time and Being" (1962). Moreover, the book demonstrates why popular critical interpretations of Heidegger's relation to the will are untenable, how his so-called "turn" is not a simple "turnaround" from voluntarism to passivism. Davis explains why the later Heidegger's key notions of "non-willing" and " Gelassenheit " do not imply a mere abandonment of human action; rather, they are signposts in a search for an other way of being, a "higher activity" beyond the horizon of the will. While elucidating this search, his work also provides a critical look at the ambiguities, tensions, and inconsistencies of Heidegger's project, and does so in a way that allows us to follow the inner logic of the philosopher's struggles. As meticulous as it is bold, this comprehensive reinterpretation will change the way we think about Heidegger's politics and about the thrust of his philosophy as a whole. (shrink)
'This is the most lucid and engaged account of Stuart Hall's work. Meticulously, and with an exemplary generosity, Helen Davis patiently unravels the threads of Hall's intellectual history. The result is a most useful and thoughtful book, which could prove to be indispensable for students of cultural studies' - Graeme Turner, University of Queensland Understanding Stuart Hall traces the development of one of the most influential and respected figures within cultural studies. Focusing on Stuart Hall's writings over a period (...) of nearly fifty years, this volume offers students and academics a cogent and exploratory route through complex and overlapping areas of analysis. In her critical assessment of Hall's most important contributions to academic and public debate, Davis shows the extent to which his analyses of race and ethnicity have been informed by early studies of Marxism, class and 'societies structured in dominance'. Davis offers fresh insight into the formation of one of the most prolific, charismatic and controversial intellectuals of his generation. Despite having been branded a 'cultural pessimist', Stuart Hall has long been associated with encouraging new, cutting-edge scholarship within the field. This volume concludes with a discussion of Hall's most recent political and academic interventions and his continuing commitment to innovation within the visual arts. (shrink)
In ‘Davis on Enjoyment: A Reply’, Richard Warner replies to three objections against his ‘Enjoyment’ that I raised in my ‘A Causal Theory of Enjoyment’, and concludes that one of my examples in fact demonstrates a serious deficiency of my own account. I argue that Warner’s replies to my objections are unsatisfactory, and that his objection to my account had a ready solution.
The concept of the individual and his/her motivations is a bedrock of philosophy. All strands of thought at heart contain to a particular theory of the individual. Economics, though, is guilty of taking this hugely important concept without questioning how we theorize it. This superb book remedies this oversight. The new approach put forward by Davies is to pay more attention to what moral philosophy may offer us in the study of personal identity, self consciousness and will. This crosses the (...) traditional boundaries of economics and will shed new light on the distinction between positive and normative analysis in economics. With both heterodox and orthodox economics receiving a thorough analysis from Davies, this book is at once inclusive and revealing. (shrink)
Based on his theory of animalrights, Regan concludes that humans are morallyobligated to consume a vegetarian or vegandiet. When it was pointed out to him that evena vegan diet results in the loss of manyanimals of the field, he said that while thatmay be true, we are still obligated to consumea vegetarian/vegan diet because in total itwould cause the least harm to animals (LeastHarm Principle, or LHP) as compared to currentagriculture. But is that conclusion valid? Isit possible that some other (...) agriculturalproduction alternatives may result in leastharm to animals? An examination of thisquestion shows that the LHP may actually bebetter served using food production systemsthat include both plant-based agriculture and aforage-ruminant-based agriculture as comparedto a strict plant-based (vegan) system. Perhapswe are morally obligated to consume a dietcontaining both plants and ruminant(particularly cattle) animal products. (shrink)
The causal theory of reasons holds that acting for a reason entails that the agents action was caused by his or her beliefs and desires. While Donald Davidson (1963) and others effectively silenced the first objections to the theory, a new round has emerged. The most important recent attack is presented by Jonathan Dancy in Practical Reality (2000) and subsequent work. This paper will defend the causal theory against Dancy and others, including Schueler (1995), Stoutland (1999, 2001), and Ginet (2002).Dancy (...) observes that our reasons are neither psychological states nor causes, and that our reasons can be both motivating and normative. I argue that these observations are fully compatible with the causal theory. According to the reductive version I develop for both cognitive and optative reasons, what it is for an action to be done for a reason is for certain beliefs and desires to cause the action in a particular way. Our reasons for action are the objects of some of those beliefs and desires. The causal process has two stages. This theory explains not only Dancys observations, but also many other facts about reasons that alternative theories leave unexplained. I argue against Schueler and others that the non-appetitive desires entailed by acting for reasons are no less distinct and independent causal factors than the beliefs entailed. I go on to rebut arguments that the relation between psychological states and actions cannot be causal because it is non-empirical, rational, normative, or non-deterministic, and that explanations in terms of psychological causes are incompatible with explanations in terms of reasons. (shrink)
Most professional societies, scientific associations, and the like that undertake to write a code of ethics do so using other codes as models but without much (practical) guidance about how to do the work. The existing literature on codes is much more concerned with content than procedure. This paper adds to guidance already in the literature what I learned from participating in the writing of an important code of ethics. The guidance is given in the form of “rules” each of (...) which is explained and (insofar as possible) justified. The emphasis is on procedure. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker has claimed that functionalism, a theory about mental states, implies a certain theory about the identity over time of persons, the entities that have mental states. He also claims that persons can survive a "Brain-State-Transfer" procedure. My examination of these claims includes description and analysis of imaginary cases, but-notably-not appeals to our "intuitions" concerning them. It turns out that Shoemaker's basic insight is correct: there is a connection between the two theories. Specifically, functionalism implies that "non-branching functional continuity" (...) is sufficient for personal identity. But there is no implication that it is necessary. And the "BST" procedure may not preserve functional continuity. I consider several possibilities. On what may be the most attractive, the survivor of this-or any similar-procedure is not identical with the original person, but related to him or her as are the survivors in a case of fission. (shrink)
David Lewis, Stewart Cohen, and Keith DeRose have proposed that sentences of the form S knows P are indexical, and therefore differ in truth value from one context to another.1 On their indexical contextualism, the truth value of S knows P is determined by whether S meets the epistemic standards of the speakers context. I will not be concerned with relational forms of contextualism, according to which the truth value of S knows P is determined by the standards of the (...) subject Ss context, regardless of the standards applying to the speaker making the knowledge claim. Relational contextualism is a form of normative relativism. Indexical contextualism is a semantic theory. When the subject is the speaker, as when S is the first person pronoun I, the two forms of contextualism coincide. But otherwise, they diverge. I critically examine the principal arguments for indexicalism, detail linguistic evidence against it, and suggest a pragmatic alternative. (shrink)
There is abundant evidence of contextual variation in the use of “S knows p.” Contextualist theories explain this variation in terms of semantic hypotheses that refer to standards of justification determined by “practical” features of either the subject’s context (Hawthorne & Stanley) or the ascriber’s context (Lewis, Cohen, & DeRose). There is extensive linguistic counterevidence to both forms. I maintain that the contextual variation of knowledge claims is better explained by common pragmatic factors. I show here that one is variable (...) strictness. “S knows p” is commonly used loosely to implicate “S is close enough to knowing p for contextually indicated purposes.” A pragmatic account may use a range of semantics, even contextualist. I use an invariant semantics on which knowledge requires complete justification. This combination meets the Moorean constraint as well as any linguistic theory should, and meets the intuition constraint much better than contextualism. There is no need for ad hoc error theories. The variation in conditions of assertability and practical rationality is better explained by variably strict constraints. It will follow that “S knows p” is used loosely to implicate that the condition for asserting “p” and using it in practical reasoning are satisfied. (shrink)
According to Peacocke, concepts are individuated by their possession conditions, which are specified in terms of conditions in which certain propositions containing those concepts are believed. In support, Peacocke tries to explain what it is for a thought to have a structure and what it is for a belief to have a propositional content. I show that the possession condition theory cannot answer such fundamental questions. Peacocke’s theory founders because concepts are metaphysically fundamental. They individuate the propositions and thoughts containing (...) them, which in turn individuate the propositional attitudes that are relations to those propositions or thoughts. (shrink)
The first code of professional ethics must: (1)be a code of ethics; (2) apply to members of a profession; (3) apply to allmembers of that profession; and (4) apply only to members of that profession. The value of these criteria depends on how we define “code”, “ethics”, and “profession”, terms the literature on professions has defined in many ways. This paper applies one set of definitions of “code”, “ethics”, and “profession” to a part of what we now know of the (...) history of professions, there by illustrating how the choice of definition can alter substantially both our answer to the question of which came first and (more importantly) our understanding of professional codes (and the professions that adopt them). Because most who write on codes of professional ethics seem to take for granted that physicians produced the first professional code, whether the Hippocratic Oath, Percival’s Medical Ethics, the 1847 Code of Ethicsof the American Medical Association (AMA), or some other document, I focus my discussion on these codes. (shrink)
Contextualist theories of knowledge offer a semantic hypothesis to explain the observed contextual variation in what people say they know, and the difficulty people have resolving skeptical paradoxes. Subject or speaker relative versions make the truth conditions of “S knows that p” depend on the standards of either the knower’s context (Hawthorne and Stanley) or those of the speaker’s context (Cohen and DeRose). Speaker contextualism avoids objections to subject contextualism, but is implausible in light of evidence that “know” does not (...) behave like an indexical. I deepen and extend these criticisms in light of recent defenses by contextualists (including Ludlow). Another difficulty is that whether certain standards are salient or intended does not entail that they are the proper standards. A normative form of contextualism on which the truth of a knowledge claim depends on the proper standards for the context is more promising, but still unsatisfactory whether the view is speaker or subject relative. I defend alternative explanations for the observed linguistic and psychological data: a pragmatic account for some cases and a cognitive account for others. 1. (shrink)
In this paper I reply to Keith Yandell's recent charge that Anselmian theists cannot also be Trinitarians. Yandell's case turns on the contention that it is impossible to individuate Trinitarian members, if they exist necessarily. Since the ranks of Anselmian Trinitarians includes the likes of Alvin Plantinga, Robert Adams, and Thomas Flint, Yandell's claim is of considerable interest and import. I argue, by contrast, that Anselmians can appeal to what Plantinga calls an essence or haecceity – a property essentially unique (...) to an object – to distinguish Trinitarian members. I go on to show that the main Yandellian objection to this individuative strategy is not successful. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke has presented an original version of the perennial philosophical thesis that we can gain substantive metaphysical and epistemological insight from an analysis of our concepts. Peacocke's innovation is to look at how concepts are individuated by their possession conditions, which he believes can be specified in terms of conditions in which certain propositions containing those concepts are accepted. The ability to provide such insight is one of Peacocke's major arguments for his theory of concepts. I will critically examine (...) this "fruitfulness" argument by looking at one philosophical problem Peacocke uses his theory to solve and treats in depth. Peacocke (1999, 2001) defines what he calls the "Integration Challenge." The challenge is to integrate our metaphysics with our epistemology by showing that they are mutually acceptable. Peacocke's key conclusion is that the Integration Challenge can be met for "epistemically individuated concepts." A good theory of content, he believes, will close the apparent gap between an account of truth for any given subject matter and an overall account of knowledge. I shall argue that there are no epistemically individuated concepts, and shall critically analyze Peacocke's arguments for their existence. I will suggest more generally that the possession conditions of concepts and their principles of individuation shed little light on the epistemology or metaphysics of things other than concepts. My broader goal is to shed light on what concepts are by showing that they are more fundamental than the sorts of cognitive and epistemic factors a leading theory uses to define them. (shrink)
For now, the best way to select a child's genes is to select a potential child who has those genes, using genetic testing and either selective abortion, sperm and egg donors, or selecting embryos for implantation. Some people even wish to select against genes that are only mildly undesirable, or to select for superior genes. I call this selection drift– the standard for acceptable children is creeping upwards. The President's Council on Bioethics and others have raised the parental love (...) objection: Just as we should love existing children unconditionally, so we should unconditionally accept whatever child we get in the natural course of things. If we set conditions on which child we get, we are setting conditions on our love for whatever child we get. Although this objection was prompted by selection drift, it also seems to cover selecting against genes for severe impairments. I argue that selection drift is not inconsistent with the ideal of unconditional parental love and, moreover, that the latter actually implies that we should practise selection drift – in other words, we should try to select potential children with the best genetic endowments. My endowment argument for the second claim works from an analogy between arranging an endowment prior to conception to fund a future child's education, and arranging a genetic endowment by selecting a potential child who already has it, where in both cases the child would not have existed without the endowment. I conclude with some programmatic remarks about the nonidentity problem. (shrink)
: Because I reject the notion that physical characteristics constitute cultural membership, I argue that, even if the claim were persuasive that deafness is a culture rather than a disability, there is no reason to fault hearing parents who choose cochlear implants for their deaf children.
This paper offers an account of how individuals act as agents when we employ a narrative approach to explaining their personal identities. It applies Korsgaard's idea of a "reflective structure of consciousness" to provide foundations for a richer account of the individual economic agent, and uses this to explain and distinguish the concepts of personal identity, individual identity, and social identity. The paper argues that individuals' personal identities may be in conflict with their socially constructed individual identities. Individuals' social identities (...) are represented as a link between personal identity and individual identity. The overall framework is proposed as an alternative to the atomistic individual conception and a contribution to the socially embedded individual conception. (shrink)
I use Ian Hacking's views to explore ways of classifying people, exploiting his distinction between indifferent kinds and interactive kinds, and his accounts of how we 'make up' people. The natural kind/essentialist approach to indifferent kinds is explored in some depth. I relate this to debates in psychiatry about the existence of mental illness, and to educational controversies about the credentials of learner classifications such as 'dyslexic'. Claims about the 'existence' of learning disabilities cannot be given a clear, simple (...) and unambiguous interpretation. In particular I show that science cannot deliver a definitive taxonomy of learner categories, and that this has important implications for teachers and policy makers. (shrink)
A random sample of 207 national business consultants is employed to test the effects of individual values and professional ethics on consulting behavior. The results suggest that the individual values held by consultants are positively correlated with professional ethics, but are negatively correlated with consulting behavior. Moreover, there appears to be no significant relationship between the professional ethics of consultants and business consulting behavior. Findings and issues regarding the effectiveness of codes of ethics and implications for both the provider and (...) recipient of professional consulting services are discussed. (shrink)
There is strong sentiment for a policy which would exclude foreigners from access to organs from American cadaver donors. One common argument is that foreigners are free riders; since they are not members of the community whichgives organs, it would be unfair to allow them toreceive such a scarce resource.This essay examines the philosophical basis for the free rider argument, and compares that with the empirical data about organ donation in the U.S. The free rider argument ought not to be (...) used to exclude foreign nationals because it is based on fallacious assumptions about group membership, and how the giving community is defined. Polls show that even among the seventy-five per cent of Americans who support organ donation, only seventeen per cent had taken the small step of filling out donor cards. Therefore, it goes against logic to define the giving community as coextensive with American residency, while excluding foreigners who might well have become donors had they lived in countries which provided that option. (shrink)
IInitially introduced to the philosophical world as elusive, we-know-notwhats—substrata underlying the properties had or exemplified by things, but themselves bereft of properties—bare particulars have been dismissed as undetectable, unnecessary, and even incoherent. Hardly a warm welcome. It appears, however, that times are changing. In a recent series of articles, for example, J. P. Moreland has argued that “bare particulars are crucial entities in any adequate overall theory of individuation”;’ that is, concrete particulars cannot be individuated without them. In the same (...) vein, Oaklander and Rothstein,2 drawing upon elements of Moreland’s new theory, have defended bare particulars against Loux’s grounding objection’—that if the theory is correct, bare particulars are qualitatively indiscernible; in which case we either have no basis for saying that they arc numerically diverse, or we must introduce lower-level substrata to ground that diversity, thereby raising the spectre of an infinite regress of individuators. (shrink)
In terms of Aristotle's intellectual virtues, the process of clinical reasoning and the discipline of clinical medicine are often construed as techne (art), as episteme (science), or as an amalgam or composite of techne and episteme. Although dimensions of process and discipline are appropriately described in these terms, I argue that phronesis (practical reasoning) provides the most compelling paradigm, particularly of the rationality of the physician's knowing and doing in the clinical encounter with the patient. I anchor this argument, moreover, (...) in Pellegrino's philosophy of medicine as a healing relationship, oriented to the end of a right and good healing action for the individual patient. (shrink)
This paper probes the implications of a genetic basis for sexual orientation for traditional branches of Judaism, which are struggling with how accepting to be of noncelibate gays and lesbians in their communities. The paper looks at the current attitudes toward homosexuality across the different branches of Judaism; social and cultural factors that work against acceptance; attitudes toward science in Jewish culture; and the likelihood that scientific evidence that sexual orientation is at least partly genetically determined will influence Jewish scholars' (...) and leaders' thinking on this issue. (shrink)
In a recent series of articles, J. P. Moreland has attempted to revive the idea that bare particulars are indispensable for individuating concrete particulars. The success of the project turns on Moreland's proposal that while bare particulars are indeed 'partially clad'--that is, exemplify at least some properties--they are nevertheless 'bare' in that they lack internal constituents. I argue that 'partially clad' bare particulars (PCBPs) are impervious not only to traditional objections, but also those recently urged in this journal by D. (...) W. Mertz. The real problem with Moreland's view, I contend, is that together with his containment model of predication, it leads to the unwanted conclusion that PCBPs actually contain themselves as constituents, thereby ensnaring them in a vicious (individuative) circularity. (shrink)
This paper describes developments in punishment theory since the middle of the twentieth century. After the mid–1960s, what Stanley I. Benn called “preventive theories of punishment”—whether strictly utilitarian or more loosely consequentialist like his—entered a long and steep decline, beginning with the virtual disappearance of reform theory in the 1970s. Crowding out preventive theories were various alternatives generally (but, as I shall argue, misleadingly) categorized as “retributive”. These alternatives include both old theories (such as the education theory) resurrected after many (...) decades in philosophy’s graveyard and some new ones (such as the fairness theory). Only in the last decade or so have new vares o “consequentialism” appeared to dilute a debate among philosophers that had become almost entirely about “retributivism”. I shall describe this trend in more detail. The description will be less an update of my 1990 survey than a rethinking of it. The conclusion I draw from this rethinking is that we need to drop the utilitarian–retributivist (and nonconsequentialist–nonconsequentialist) distinction in favor of one sorting punishment theories according to whether they rely in part on empirical considerations (externalist theories) or instead rely (almost) entirely on conceptual relations (internalist theories). (shrink)
Social externalism implies that many competences are not personal assets separable from social and cultural environments but complex states of affairs involving individuals and persisting features of social reality. The paper explores the consequences for competence identity over time and across contexts, and hence for the predictive role usually accorded to competences.
The worst possible way to resolve this issue is to leave it up to individual choice. There is no known social good coming from the conquest of death (Bailey, 1999). - Daniel Callahan Dramatically extending the human lifespan seems increasingly possible. Many bioethicists object that life-extension will have Malthusian consequences as new Methuselahs accumulate, generation by generation. I argue for a Life-Years Response to the Malthusian Objection. If even a minority of each generation chooses life-extension, denying it to them deprives (...) them of many years of extra life, and their total extra life-years are likely to exceed the total life-years of a majority who do not want life-extension. This is a greater harm to those who want extended life than the Malthusian harms to those who refuse extended life, both because losing an extra year of life is worse than enduring a year of Malthusian conditions, and because the would-be Methuselahs have more life-years at stake. Therefore, even if life-extension seems likely to cause severe overcrowding and resource shortages, that threat is not sufficient to justify society in restricting the development or availability of life-extension. (shrink)
Trust within a secular or organizational context is much like the concept of faith within a religious framework. The purpose of this article is to identify parallels between trust and faith, particularly from the individual perspective of the person who perceives a duty owed to him or her. Betrayal is often a subjectively derived construct based upon each individual's subjective mediating lens. We analyze the nature of trust and betrayal and offer insights that a wise believer might use in understanding (...) his or her relationship with the divine. We suggest that the parallels between trust and faith involve a willingness to relinquish one's power or control in the expectant hope that our needs will be met. Betrayal, however, is often profoundly misunderstood. (shrink)
Chimpanzee behaviour with mirrors makes it plausible that they can recognise themselves as themselves in mirrors, and so have a 'self-concept'. I defend this claim, and argue that roughly similar behaviour in pigeons, as reported, does not in fact make it equally plausible that they also have this mental capacity. But for all that it is genuine, chimpanzee self-consciousness may differ significantly from ours. I describe one possibility I believe consistent with the data, even if not very plausible: that the (...) chimpanzee is aware of itself only as a material being, and not as a subject of any psychological states. As I try to make clear, this possibility exists even if the chimpanzee has psychological states, and is aware of some of them. (shrink)
To date, a wide range of interdisciplinary scholarship has done little to clarify either the why or the how of empathy. Preston & de Waal (P&deW) attempt to remedy this, although it remains unclear whether empathy consists of two discrete processes, or whether a perceptual and motor component are joined in some sort of behavioral inevitability. Although it is appealing to offer a neuroanatomy of empathy, the present level of neuropsychology may not support such reductionism.
In this paper I critically examine Brian Leftow's attempt to construct a theistic semantics for counterpossibles, one that can be used to make sense of the fact that propositions, which exist necessarily, nevertheless depend on God as their cause. I argue that the impressive theoretical framework erected by Leftow cannot guarantee an asymmetrical dependence of propositions on God, and ultimately leads to a semantic collapse in which every counterpossible comes out false. I end by defending an alternative account of God (...) and propositions – what I call ‘theistic existentialism’. It is shown how this account underwrites a semantics for counterpossibles that conveniently avoids the problems attending Leftow's theory. (shrink)
This article examines three common arguments for the claim that engineering is not a profession: 1) that engineering lacks an ideal internal to its practice; 2) that engineering’s ideal, whether internal or not, is merely technical; and 3) that engineering lacks the social arrangements characteristic of a true profession. All three arguments are shown to rely on one or another definition of profession, each of which is inadequate. An alternative to these definition is offered. It has at least two advantages. (...) On the one hand, it emphasizes the importance of professional community, the role of occupation in defining profession, the centrality of a moral ideal, and the necessity for morally binding standards (beyond ordinary morality). On the other hand, the alternative definition is in part independent both of moral theory and sociology. This article concludes by considering what light the alternative definition can throw on the professional status of engineers serving the Nazis. (shrink)
Moral decision procedures such as principlism or casuistry require intuition at certain junctures, as when a principle seems indeterminate, or principles conflict, or we wonder which paradigm case is most relevantly similar to the instant case. However, intuitions are widely thought to lack epistemic justification, and many ethicists urge that such decision procedures dispense with intuition in favor of forms of reasoning that provide discursive justification. I argue that discursive justification does not eliminate or minimize the need for intuition, or (...) constrain our intuitions. However, this is not a problem, for intuitions can be justified in easy or obvious cases, and decision procedures should be understood as heuristic devices for reaching judgments about harder cases that approximate the justified intuitions we would have about cases under ideal conditions, where hard cases become easy. Similarly, the forms of reasoning which provide discursive justification help decision procedures perform this heuristic function not by avoiding intuition, but by making such heuristics more accurate. Nonetheless, it is possible to demand too much justification; many clinical ethicists lack the time and philosophical training to reach the more elaborate levels of discursive justification. We should keep moral decision procedures simple and user-friendly so that they will provide what justification can be achieved under clinical conditions, rather than trying to maximize our epistemic justification out of an overstated concern about intuition. (shrink)
The paper is an application of the principle of just deserts (that is, retribution) to the setting of statutory penalties. The conclusion is that there should be no separate penalty for rape but that rape should be punished under the ordinary battery statutes. The argument has four parts. First, there is a description of the place of rape in a typical statutory scheme. Second, there is a consideration of possible justifications for giving rape the status it has in such a (...) typical scheme. All justifications appear to fail for one reason or another. Third, rape is analyzed as battery and the analysis is justified. This analysis includes an explanation of why it would be unjust to punish rape more severely than ordinary batteries. Last, there is a catalogue of some practical advantages to treating rape as battery (for example, simplifying proof of the crime). The paper takes the principle of just deserts (in the form I have elsewhere defended it) for granted, but does add substantially to the understanding of how to apply it. (shrink)
It has often been said that 'desire' is ambiguous. I do not believe the case for this has been made thoroughly enough, however. The claim typically occurs in the course of defending controversial philosophical theses, such as that intention entails desire, where it tends to look ad hoc. There is need, therefore, for a thorough and single-minded exploration of the ambiguity. I believe the results will be more profound than might be suspected.
According to the nineteenth century English philosopher John Stuart Mill, all human beings desire to live lives pregnant with happiness; we all long to be the recipients of liberal amounts of varied, high quality pleasures with pain making as brief an appearance in our conscious experience as possible. Happiness is the one and only thing we desire for its own sake; everything else is desirable simply as a means to securing happiness. Perhaps this is so. Mill, however, went on to (...) argue that promoting happiness of this sort is not only desirable, it is in fact a moral obligation on our part. Suppose that on some delicious fall evening you are contemplating whether to pick up Dickens' David Copperfield and read a chapter or two. Well, given the alternatives before you, if reading Dickens would result in the greatest amount of happiness, not only for yourself but also for all those affected by your solitary, bookish reverie, then you can be sure your action is morally right and indeed obligatory. (shrink)
This article attempts to distinguish between science and technology, on the one hand, and engineering, on the other, offering a brief introduction to engineering values and engineering ethics. The method is (roughly) a philosophical examination of history. Engineering turns out to be a relatively recent enterprise, barely three hundred years old, to have distinctive commitments both technical and moral, and to have changed a good deal both technically and morally during that period. What motivates the paper is the belief that (...) a too-easy equation of engineering with technology tends to obscure the special contribution of engineers to technology and to their own professional standards and so, to obscure as well both the origin and content of engineering ethics. (shrink)
Individual differences in ethical ideology are believed to play a key role in ethical decision making. Forsyths (1980) Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) is designed to measure ethical ideology along two dimensions, relativism and idealism. This study extends the work of Forsyth by examining the construct validity of the EPQ. Confirmatory factor analyses conducted with independent samples indicated three factors – idealism, relativism, and veracity – account for the relationships among EPQ items. In order to provide further evidence of the instruments (...) nomological and convergent validity, correlations among the EPQ subscales, dogmatism, empathy, and individual differences in the use of moral rationales were examined. The relationship between EPQ measures of idealism and moral judgments demonstrated modest predictive validity, but the appreciably weaker influence of relativism and the emergence of a veracity factor raise questions about the utility of the EPQ typology. (shrink)
Perceived behavioral integrity involves the employee’s perception of the alignment of the manager’s words and deeds. This meta-analysis examined the relationship between perceived behavioral integrity of managers and the employee attitudes of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, satisfaction with the leader and affect toward the organization. Results indicate a strong positive relationship overall (average r = 0.48, p<0.01). With only 12 studies included, exploration of moderators was limited, but preliminary analysis suggested that the gender of the employees and the number of (...) levels between the employee and the manager are potential moderators of the relationship. In the current sample of studies, country where the research was conducted did not seem to have any moderating effects. In addition to suggesting further investigation of potential moderators, we call for research that examines the relationship between behavioral integrity and outcomes that include individual behavior and organizational performance. (shrink)
The relationship between ethics and job satisfaction for MIS professionals is examined empirically. Five dimensions of job satisfaction are examined: (1) satisfaction with pay, (2) satisfaction with promotions, (3) satisfaction with co-workers, (4) satisfaction with supervisors and (5) satisfaction with the work itself. These dimensions of satisfaction are compared to top management's ethical stance, one's overall sense of social responsibility and an ethical optimism scale (i.e., the degree of optimism that one has concerning the positive relationship between ethics and success (...) in his/her company).Results indicate that MIS professionals are more satisfied with the various dimensions of their jobs when top management stresses ethical behavior and when they are optimistic about the relationship between ethics and success within their firms. The one exception to this is pay satisfaction which is unrelated to these constructs. One's sense of social responsibility is also relatively unrelated to job satisfaction. (shrink)
Can a Darwinian be a Christian? "Absolutely," says Michael Ruse. Ruse is perhaps best known for his participation in the infamous Arkansas "Scopes II" trial in 1981, where he provided expert testimony on behalf of the ACLU in their attempt to strike down a law requiring balanced treatment of creation and evolution in public schools. (The ACLU won their case.) For many years professor of philosophy at Guelph University, Ruse now holds the Lucyle T. Werkmeist chair in philosophy at Florida (...) State University. In this brisk and exciting book, he makes a valiant effort to create some conceptual elbow room in the respective contents of Darwinism and Christianity, in order to show that Christians and Darwinians have nothing to fear from each other. (shrink)
In his Moderate Realism and Its Logic (Yale, 1996), Donald Mertz argues that the traditional ontology of nonpredicable substances and predicable universals is beset by “intractable problems,” “harbors an insidious error,” and constitutes a “stumbling block” for the ontologist. By contrast, a onecategory ontology consisting of relation instances (and combinations thereof) is sustainable, and indeed the only way of avoiding commitment to bare particulars. The success of the project turns on Mertz’s claim that every relation instance has a linking aspect, (...) so that (in a sense) even Socrates is a predicate. I argue that, ironically, it is this very feature of a relation instance that undermines Mertz’s entire theory of predication, effectively preventing any connections from being formed between the instances that allegedly compose an ordinary individual such as Socrates. (shrink)
Honoring a living will typically involves treating an incompetent patient in accord with preferences she once had, but whose objects she can no longer understand. How do we respect her precedent autonomy by giving her what she used to want? There is a similar problem with subsequent consent: How can we justify interfering with someone''s autonomy on the grounds that she will later consent to the interference, if she refuses now?Both problems arise on the assumption that, to respect someone''s autonomy, (...) any preferences we respect must be among that person''s current preferences. I argue that this is not always true. Just as we can celebrate an event long after it happens, so can we respect someone''s wishes long before or after she has that wish. In the contexts of precedent autonomy and subsequent consent, the wishes are often preferences about which of two other, conflicting preferences to satisfy. When someone has two conflicting preferences, and a third preference on how to resolve that conflict, to respect his autonomy we must respect that third preference. People with declining competence may have a resolution preference earlier, favoring the earlier conflicting preference (precedent autonomy), whereas those with rising competence may have it later, favoring the later conflicting preference (subsequent consent). To respect autonomy in such cases we must respect not a current, but a former or later preference. (shrink)
Three and 4-year-old children were tested on matched versions of Zaitchik's (1990) photo task and Wimmer and Perner's (1983) false belief task. Although replicating Zaitchik's finding that false belief and photo task are of equal difficulty, this applied only to mean performance across subjects and no substantial correlation between the two tasks was found. This suggests that the two tasks tap different intellectual abilities. It was further discovered that children's performance can be improved by drawing their attention to the back (...) of the photo but not by drawing attention to the person holding the false belief. Results are interpreted as showing that children's difficulty with the photo task is due to referential confusion about which scene the question refers to (the picture or reality) while the hurdle in the false belief task is to understand that the believer misrepresents reality. (shrink)