In France, John Baptist Say has the merit of producing a very superior work on the subject of Political Economy. His arrangement is luminous, ideas clear, style perspicuous, and the whole subject brought within half the volume of [Adam] Smith's work. Add to this considerable advances in correctness and extension of principles.
Many people are uncomfortable with the idea that pleasure from certain sources is genuinely beneficial. These sources can be sorted into two classes: ones that involve others’ pain; and ones that involve what seems to be damage rather than benefit to the person involved. Here’s an example of the latter: a woman who claims that she enjoys her work performing in hard-core pornographic films. Some find it hard to take such a claim at face value – they instinctively assume that (...) the woman is insincere or self-deceived.1 The reason seems a strongly paternalistic one: because the activity is assumed to be bad, it’s thought that only someone who was in some way damaged could genuinely like it. A statement from Brian Hill, the director of a documentary about such women, illustrates this: ‘I felt certain that she couldn’t enjoy what she does, that there must be some reason why she’s undergoing this kind of experience. But there was nothing: no messed-up childhood, no sense of pain or humiliation.’ (Smith, 2003, 17) Forced to conclude that the woman in question really does enjoy her work, Hill changes his view to imply that the pleasure gained cannot be truly beneficial: ‘When I hear a young woman talking about doing videos of fisting and asphyxiation, I have to wonder what it’s doing to her – even if she says that she’s having fun.’ (Smith, 2003, 17). (shrink)
The so-called ‘Humean’ view of motivation is pretty standard in the Philosophy of Mind. Its most prominent contemporary defender, Michael Smith, calls it a ‘dogma’. Humeans believe in a strict divide between beliefs and desires. Beliefs have no intrinsic motivating force: I may believe anything at all, but only with the contribution of a separate desire will I be motivated to act. This claim should be broadened out to include all cognitive states (belief, knowledge…). The Humean claim is that cognitive (...) states are wholly lacking in conative power. If some beliefs seem to us to motivate action, that can only be due to a contingent association with a separate conative state. (shrink)
Ongoing debate within the philosophy of medicine concerns how concepts central to healthcare (e.g. health, disease, etc.) should be defined. One of the difficulties of this debate is that various interested parties have different needs with respect to such concepts. Some take a theorist’s perspective, and prioritise conceptual clarity and rigor. Others are more concerned with providing concepts that can be useful to reallife medical practice. And others are more concerned with wider policy and healthpromotion issues, and seek a concept (...) of health usable in a globalised context. (shrink)
The Article explores relationships between contemporary international human rights and democracy. In what respects are they two sides of the same coin, in what respects are they different coins? Do they depend on and complete each other? Can the two be in contradiction? The Article looks at these questions from several perspectives, including their historical connections, the changing definitions and understandings of each, their functional links, their determinacy, and their character as universal phenomena. It also indicates ways in which (...) courts, which have long interpreted and applied human rights, now also reach decisions about constitutional issues by drawing on their conception of democracy. (shrink)
Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism aims to show that naturalism is, as he puts it, ‘incoherent or self defeating’. Plantinga supposes that, in the absence of any God-like being to guide the process, natural selection is unlikely to favour true belief. Plantinga overlooks the fact that adherents of naturalism may plausibly hold that there exist certain conceptual links between belief content and behaviour. Given such links, natural selection will favour true belief. A further rather surprising consequence of the existence of (...) such links is this: even if semantic properties are epiphenomenal, unguided evolution will still favour true belief. (shrink)
I remain entirely unconvinced that anyone who claims to “just know” that the dead walk among us, or that God exists, knows any such thing. Not only do I think the rest of us have good grounds for doubting their experience, I don’t believe it’s reasonable for them to take their own experience at face value either.
This is an article that explores the question "what is the meaning of life?" particularly with respect to humanism and theism. It defends a humanist position, and refutes a number of arguments for the conclusion that a meaningful human existence requires the existence of God.
This paper argues that the demands of respect for autonomy in the context of biobanking are fewer and more limited than is often supposed. It discusses the difficulties of agreeing a concept of autonomy from which duties can easily be derived, and suggests an alternative way to determine what respect for autonomy in a biobanking context requires. These requirements, it argues, are limited to provision of adequate information and non-coercion. While neither of these is in itself negligible, this is a (...) smaller set of demands than is often suggested. In particular, it is argued here that securing ‘one time consent’ is consistent with respect for autonomy. Finally, the paper notes that while the demands of respect for autonomy may be less than some suppose, respecting autonomy is not the only way in which biobanks and their users may have moral duties to donors. (shrink)
Playing the mystery card -- "But it fits!" -- Going nuclear -- Moving the semantic goalposts -- "But I just know!" -- Pseudo-profundity -- Piling up the anecdotes -- Pressing your buttons -- Conclusion -- The Tapescrew letters.
The vast majority of Biblical historians believe there is evidence sufficient to place Jesus’ existence beyond reasonable doubt. Many believe the New Testamentdocuments alone suffice firmly to establish Jesus as an actual, historical figure. I question these views. In particular, I argue (i) that the three most popular criteria by which various non-miraculous New Testament claims made about Jesus are supposedly corroborated are not sufficient, either singly or jointly, to place his existence beyond reasonable doubt, and (ii) that a prima (...) facie plausible principle concerning how evidence should be assessed—a principle I call the contamination principle—entails that, given the large proportion of uncorroborated miracle claims made about Jesus in the New Testament documents, we should, in the absence of good independent evidence for an historical Jesus, remain sceptical about his existence. (shrink)
Awareness of boundary, both physical and mental, is seen as the beginning of perception. In any account of the world, therefore, boundary must be a ubiquitous component. In sharp contrast, accounts of God within the Christian tradition commonly have proceeded by the affirmation that God is above and beyond boundary as infinite, timeless, and simple. To overcome this “problem of transcendence,” of how such a God can relate to such a world, an eight-term grammar of boundary is developed to demonstrate (...) how God as Trinity can properly be held to be without boundary yet constitute the ground of a bounded world. This leads to a way of granting theological significance to the origin and development of life. Life is seen to exist in dynamic, intentional relationships between context (“outside”) and intext (“inside”) across permeable boundaries through which an exchange of resources and information takes place for the sake of self-continuation. Comprehending life's distinctive utilization of boundary in terms of the grammar developed here enables life to be seen not only as a vestige of the Trinity but also, precisely because of this, as a sign and parable of redemption. (shrink)
Increasingly, taxonomies are being developed and used by industry practitioners to facilitate information interoperability and retrieval. Within a single industrial domain, there exist many taxonomies that are intended for different applications. Industry specific taxonomies often represent the vocabularies that are commonly used by the practitioners. Their jobs are multi-faceted, which include checking for code and regulatory compliance. As such, it will be very desirable if industry practitioners are able to easily locate and browse regulations of interest. In practice, multiple sources (...) of government regulations exist and they are often organized and classified by the needs of the issuing agencies that enforce them rather than the needs of the communities that use them. One way to bridge these two distinct needs is to develop methods and tools that enable practitioners to browse and retrieve government regulations using their own terms and vocabularies, for example, via existing industry taxonomies. The mapping from a single taxonomy to a single regulation is a trivial keyword matching task. We examine a relatedness analysis approach for mapping a single taxonomy to multiple regulations. We then present an approach for mapping multiple taxonomies to a single regulation by measuring the relatedness of concepts. Cosine similarity, Jaccard coefficient and market basket analysis are used to measure the semantic relatedness between concepts from two different taxonomies. Preliminary evaluations of the three relatedness analysis measures are performed using examples from the civil engineering and building industry. These examples illustrate the potential benefits of regulatory usage from the mapping between various taxonomies and regulations. (shrink)
We examined participants' reading and recall of informed consent documents presented via paper or computer. Within each presentation medium, we presented the document as a continuous or paginated document to simulate common computer and paper presentation formats. Participants took slightly longer to read paginated and computer informed consent documents and recalled slightly more information from the paginated documents. We concluded that obtaining informed consent online is not substantially different than obtaining it via paper presentation. We also provide suggestions for improving (...) informed consent-in both face-to-face and online experiments. (shrink)
Philosophy for AS and A2 is the definitive textbook for students of Advanced Subsidiary or Advanced Level courses, structured directly around the specification of the AQA - the only exam board to offer these courses. Following a lively foreword by Nigel Warburton, author of Philosophy: The Basics , a team of experienced teachers devote a chapter each to the six themes covered by the syllabus: AS * Theory of Knowledge * Moral Philosophy * Philosophy of Religion A2 * Philosophy of (...) Mind * Political Philosophy * Philosophy of Science Each of the six themed chapters includes: * A list of key concepts, to introduce students to the topic * Bite-size sections corresponding exactly to the syllabus topics * Actual past exam questions from previous years * Suggested discussion questions to promote debate * Text-boxes with helpful summaries, case-studies and examples * An annotated further reading list directing students towards the best articles, books and websites * A comprehensive glossary, providing a handy reference point There is a final chapter on essay writing and exam preparation, designed to help students get to grips with the examination board requirements. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes five key interpretations of the argument presented by Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations I, §258. I also argue that on none of these five interpretations is the argument cogent. The paper is primarily concerned with the most popular interpretation of the argument: that which that makes it rest upon the principle that one can be said to follow a rule only if there exists a 'useable criterion of successful performance' (Pears) or 'operational standard of correctness' (Glock) for its (...) correct application. This principle, I suggest, is untrue. The private language argument upon which it rests therefore fails. (shrink)
Brian Loar believes he has refuted all those antiphysicalist arguments that take as their point of departure observations about what is or isn't conceivable. I argue that there remains an important, popular and plausible-looking form of conceivability argument that Loar has entirely overlooked. Though he may not have realized it, Saul Kripke presents, or comes close to presenting, two fundamentally different forms of conceivability argument. I distinguish the two arguments and point out that while Loar has succeeded in refuting one (...) of Kripke's arguments he has not refuted the other. Loar is mistaken: physicalism still faces an apparently insurmountable conceptual obstacle. (shrink)
The concept of autonomy plays atleast two roles in moral theory. First, itprovides a source of constraints upon action:because I am autonomous you may not interferewith me, even for my own good. Second, itprovides a foundation for moral theory: humanautonomy has been thought by some to producemoral principles of a more general kind.This paper seeks to understand what autonomyis, and whether the autonomy of which we arecapable is able to serve these roles. We wouldnaturally hope for a concept of autonomy (...) thatis value-neutral rather than value-laden. Thatis to say, we would want the judgement that Iam autonomous to depend wholly on, say,structural features of my psychology, and in noway to require us to make ethical judgements, orother value judgements. Being value-neutral isperhaps desirable in a concept of autonomyserving the first role, and plausiblyindispensible in one playing the second. Ishall argue, however, that value-neutral conceptionsof autonomy are impoverished and out of linewith our intuitions; set out and defendan explicitly value-laden conception ofautonomy; and explore the implications of such a view for theability of autonomy to play the rolesmentioned above. (shrink)
From Descartes to designer babies, The Philosophy Gym poses questions about some of history's most important philosophical issues, ranging in difficulty from pretty easy to very challenging. He brings new perspectives to age-old conundrums while also tackling modern-day dilemmas -- some for the first time. Begin your warm up by contemplating whether a pickled sheep can truly be considered art, or dive right in and tackle the existence of God. In this radically new way of looking at philosophy, Stephen Law (...) illustrates the problem with a story, then lets the argument battle it out in clear, easily digestible and intelligent prose. This perfect little mental health club is sure to give each reader's mind a great workout. (shrink)
Authoritative and wide-ranging, this book examines the history of western linguistics over a 2000-year timespan, from its origins in ancient Greece up to the crucial moment of change in the Renaissance that laid the foundations of modern linguistics. Some of today's burning questions about language date back a long way: in 1400 BC Plato was asking how words relate to reality. Other questions go back just a few generations, such as our interest in the mechanisms of language change, or in (...) the social factors that shape the way we speak. Vivien Law explores how ideas about language over the centuries have changed to reflect changing modes of thinking. A survey chapter brings the coverage of the book up to the present day. Classified bibliographies and chapters on research resources and the qualities the historian of linguistics needs to develop, provide the reader with the tools to go further. (shrink)
This paper examines recent attempts to defend Rule-Consequentialism against a traditional objection. That objection takes the form of a dilemma, that either Rule-Consequentialism collapses into Act-Consequentialism or it is incoherent. Attempts to avoid this dilemma based on the idea that using RC has better results than using AC are rejected on the grounds that they conflate the ideas of a criterion of rightness and a decision procedure. Other strategies, Brad Hooker's prominent amongst them, involving the thought that RC need contain (...) no overarching concern to maximize the good are acknowledged to avoid the original dilemma, but lead to further problems of motivating and justifying RC in the absence of such a concern. The paper argues that Hooker's attempt to deal with these problems by using a 'Reflective Equilibrium plus method is unsuccessful. (shrink)