Chances are if someone were to ask you, right now, if you were happy, you'd say you were. Claiming that you're happy Â—that is, to an interviewer who is asking you to rate your "life satisfaction" on a scale from zero to tenÂ—appears to be nearly universal, as long as you're not living in a war zone, on the street, or in extreme emotional or physical pain. The Maasai of Kenya, soccer moms of Scarsdale, the Amish, the Inughuit of Greenland, (...) European businessmenÂ—all report that they are happy. When happiness researcher Ed Diener, the past president of the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, synthesized 916 surveys of over a million people in forty-five countries, he found that, on average, people placed themselves at seven on the zero-to-ten scale. (shrink)
A. Moral impartialism is a theory in normative ethics. Moral internalism is a theory in meta-ethics. One’s manner of twining normative ethics and meta-ethics varies according to his or her position on the relations of normative ethics and metaphysics, as to in what ways ethics needs analysis, or ontology, or metaphysics, if it needs any of these at all. This large question is the deeper background of this paper. Here I will show why impartialism and internalism both need each other (...) and disturb each other when joined in a prescriptive moral philosophy. If the fundamental notions within internalism and impartialism are to be sustainable and complementary, then the forms of these two theories required for this result will greatly differ from the meta-ethical and metaphysical forms in which they are now commonly seen. (shrink)
Cybernetics,” which he presented as en suite with six articles by several others on the same subject in the same journal during the preceding 18 months. This group of short papers, starting with one by Karl Popper, may be regarded as part of the first wave of response to Alan Turing’s famous paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” in 1950. Polanyi read Turing’s paper in draft and discussed it directly with Turing. The polemic as to whether machines can think and the (...) mind’s likeness and unlikeness to a machine, has of course never ceased since then and, as Artificial Intelligence develops, is not likely to do so for many long decades. In addition to the traditional battle lines in philosophy over the mind and the brain there are other important lines of thought that disfavor logic as the final arbiter of the great philosophical questions—for example, feminist ontology and cultural theory. Polanyi started from within logic, but his line of thought was not built out of the old philosophical topics nor did he address the matter along either the materialist or the phenomenological developments of the twentieth century. He was concerned with the cybernetic view of the human mind and also with the way the followers of Wittgenstein regarded language and philosophy. (shrink)
What is it to do something with another person? In the author's book On Social Facts and elsewhere, she has conjectured that a special type of commitment - joint commitment - lies at the root of acting together and many other central social phenomena. Here she surveys some data pertinent to this conjecture, including the assumption of those who act together that they have associated rights against and obligations towards each other. She explains what joint commitment is, how it relates (...) to the data noted, and argues that an appeal to joint commitment does not involve a pernicious form of holism. (shrink)
This essay explores the nature of an important collective emotion, namely, collective remorse. Three accounts of collective remorse are presented and evaluated. The first involves an aggregate of group members remorseful over acts of their own associated with their group's act; the second an aggregate of persons remorseful over their group's act. The third account posits, in terms that are explained, a joint commitment of a group's members to constitute as far as is possible a single remorseful body. Construed according (...) to this account the remorse of a nation that has wronged another nation is liable to make a particularly important contribution to international peace. (shrink)
This is a review essay of Christopher Kutz's Complicity: Ethics and Law for a Collective Age, and Jonathan Bass's Stay The Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. Topics addressed include the nature of collective intentions and actions, the possibility of collective guilt, the moral responsibility of individuals in the context of collective actions.
Some psychologists argue that in general we self-ascribe characteristics according to others' perceived reactions to us. In illustration michael argyle cites a case involving the self-Ascription of popularity. But popularity is what I here call a 'reaction-Determined characteristic, That is, A characteristic such that certain others' reacting to someone in a certain way is logically sufficient for his having it. The general import of cases involving such characteristics needs careful examination and I argue that in fact argyle's case does not (...) support the general thesis in question. I conclude that 'ordinary language' analysis is important for the evaluation of psychological data. (shrink)
This paper criticises a line of argument adopted by peter winch, Karl popper, And others, To the effect that the course of human history cannot be predicted. On this view it is impossible to predict in a particularly detailed way certain events ('original acts') on which important social developments depend. We analyze the argument, Showing that one version fails: original acts are in principle predictable in the relevant way. A cogent version is presented; this requires a special definition for 'original (...) act'. But, We claim, Social developments do not depend on original acts so defined. We argue separately for the possibility of a person, Or a scientific community, Predicting his or its own original acts. (shrink)