My thesis is that moral ignorance does not imply a failure to care adequately about what is in fact morally significant. I offer three cases: one in which someone is ignorant of the precise nature of what she cares about; one in which someone does not reflect on the significance of what she cares about in a particular set of circumstances, and one in which someone cares deeply about two morally significant considerations while being mistaken about their relative significance. I (...) argue that these agents all clearly care at least “adequately” about everything morally significant, including the very considerations that in fact make their acts wrong. This creates theoretical room for a way of thinking about culpable moral ignorance that respects the key concerns of those in the voluntarist tradition who have held that moral ignorance is typically blameless, within an approach to thinking about moral responsibility according to which we are blameworthy for that which manifests poor quality of will; caring adequately does not require moral omniscience, but motivated moral ignorance and moral ignorance that reflects indifference to things that matter morally are still blameworthy. My thesis also suggests a fruitful change of direction for quality-of-will theorists: we should articulate the nature and structure of the standards for adequate caring, i.e. those that specify what it is to care “adequately”. I close by offering an initial proposal as to what these standards might look like and identifying four promising avenues for further research on this topic. (shrink)
The “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof, currently used in criminal trials, is notoriously vague and undermotivated. This paper discusses two popular strategies for justifying our choice of a particular precise interpretation of the standard: the “ratio-to-standard strategy” identifies a desired ratio of trial outcomes and then argues that a certain standard is the one that we can expect to produce our desired ratio, while the “utilities-to-standard strategy” identifies utilities for trial outcomes and then argues that a certain standard (...) maximizes expected utility. I argue that both strategies fail on their own terms, by requiring us to perform calculations that we simply cannot perform. No version of either strategy can be performed by jurors or legislators in our actual epistemic position, in which, since we do not know which of the defendants in our trial system are genuinely innocent and which are genuinely guilty, we cannot determine the extent to which our trial system tends to produce evidence that misleadingly incriminates the innocent or misleadingly exonerates the guilty. But we would need to determine this in order to perform the calculations required by any possible version of the ratio-to-standard or utilities-to-standard strategies. I then suggest some empirical reasons to be pessimistic about the evidence produced by our actual trial system. The upshot is that the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard lacks a clear interpretation and rationale, nor do we have a promising way to identify an alternative. This is the trouble with standards of proof. (shrink)
Drawing on philosophical thought from the eighteenth century as well as conceptual frameworks developed in the twenty-first century, the essays in Beyond Sense and Sensibility examine moral formation as represented in or implicitly produced by literary works of late eighteenth-century British authors.
Chapter 8 argues against the view that the moral rightness of an act is not a reason to perform it, and our reasons are instead the features that make the act right. Philosophers typically defend this view by noting that it seems redundant to take rightness to be an additional reason, once it has been acknowledged that the right-making features are already reasons. The author shows that this argument dramatically overgeneralizes, ruling out all cases in which two or more reasons (...) are arranged in relationships of metaphysical constitution. She then proposes an alternative way of thinking about these metaphysical hierarchies: Rather than assuming that at most one of the facts in each hierarchy is the “real” reason, bearing all the normative weight, it should be accepted that these facts can all be genuine reasons, whose normative weight is shared in virtue of the metaphysical relationships between them. Some tests are offered that can be used to determine which facts occur in metaphysical hierarchies with shared weight, and it is argued that the fact that an act is morally right passes the tests. The author then explains what she takes to be some kernels of truth underlying the redundancy argument, arguing that these phenomena are pragmatic, not metaphysical. (shrink)
The prospect of using cell-based interventions to treat neurological conditions raises several important ethical and policy questions. In this target article, we focus on issues related to the unique constellation of traits that characterize CBIs targeted at the central nervous system. In particular, there is at least a theoretical prospect that these cells will alter the recipients' cognition, mood, and behavior—brain functions that are central to our concept of the self. The potential for such changes, although perhaps remote, is cause (...) for concern and careful ethical analysis. Both to enable better informed consent in the future and as an end in itself, we argue that early human trials of CBIs for neurological conditions must monitor subjects for changes in cognition, mood, and behavior; further, we recommend concrete steps for that monitoring. Such steps will help better characterize the potential risks and benefits of CBIs as they are tested and potentially used for treatment. (shrink)
This study investigates ethical decision-making by considering the differences in ethical judgments between undergraduate business and MBA students on selected ethical issues facing employees and managers of today's businesses. The study further investigates differences in ethical judgments between undergraduates and MBAs in terms of a perceived position as an employee or as a manager. The findings indicate that undergraduate students tend to be more ethical than MBA students and that both groups tend to be more ethical when they perceive themselves (...) as managers rather than employees. The authors discuss the implications for both business practitioners and educators. (shrink)
Following Rawls, many political liberals hold reasonableness in high regard. Reasonable citizens can disagree, however, and some may find their arguments routinely ignored in elections and legislatures. Should we be troubled by such failures of institutional responsiveness as a matter of justice? The author argues that the expectation of such failures would lead parties in an original position to favor certain classes of institutions over others: A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism together suggest a particular federal structure to a (...) republic of reasons. (shrink)
Martin Luther King’s primary emphasis was upon ‘beloved community,’ a phrase he borrowed from Royce, but an idea that he shared with St. Augustine. Theories of the state tend to focus upon division, in which one stratum dominates another or others. King’s context is the US in the segregated South—a region whose internal divisions sharply instantiate the idea of the state as an unequal hierarchy of dominance. King’s appeal was less to end black subjugation than to end (...) subjugation as such. Hence King was called by some a ‘dreamer,’ given his background commitment to equality and community, ideals taking marginal precedence over his foreground commitment to liberty and autonomy. This article explores the notion of ‘beloved community’ broadly and then specifically in Martin Luther King along with related notions in Howard Thurman and in Josiah Royce. (shrink)
The SRL of King is a sound, complete and decidable logic designed specifically to support formalisms for the HPSG of Pollard and Sag. The SRL notion of modellability in a signature is particularly important for HPSG, and the present paper modifies an elegant method due to Blackburn and Spaan in order to prove that – modellability in each computable signature is 1 0 – modellability in some finite signature is 1 0 -hard, and – modellability in some finite signature (...) is decidable. (shrink)
BackgroundHuman female orgasm is a vexed question in the field while there is credible evidence of cryptic female choice that has many hallmarks of orgasm in other species. Our initial goal was to produce a proof of concept for allowing females to study an aspect of infertility in a home setting, specifically by aligning the study of human infertility and increased fertility with the study of other mammalian fertility. In the latter case - the realm of oxytocin-mediated sperm retention mechanisms (...) seems to be at work in terms of ultimate function while the proximate function remains unresolved.MethodA repeated measures design using an easily taught technique in a natural setting was used. Participants were a small, non-representative sample of females. The introduction of a sperm-simulant combined with an orgasm-producing technique using a vibrator/home massager and other easily supplied materials.ResultsThe sperm flowback (simulate... (shrink)
Numerous authors identify a white supremacist ideology that shapes the educational opportunities for racially diverse students. We contend that this ideology informs educational policy and hampers the likelihood that racially diverse populations can achieve success at levels similar to students of European descent. In this paper we define the white supremacist ideology as it informs education policy and practices. Three examples from the United States are then used to illustrate the influence of such an ideology. These examples include the creation (...) and protection of racially segregated schooling; desegregation policies; and the current uses of school report cards. We conclude with the relevance of this discussion to educational debates in Great Britain and South Africa, and recommendations to minimise the influence of this ideology on education policy and school reform efforts. (shrink)
Astrolabes serving all latitudes are very rare. This recently rediscovered sixteenth-century Spanish example raises a host of questions which can only be addressed by considering all other such instruments and the few available textual sources. The instruments can all be traced back, not always directly, to an invention of the eleventh-century Andalusian astronomer Ali ibn Khalaf, preserved in the Old Castillian Libros del Saber de Astronomía of King Alfonso X. The design of this particular astrolabe and the engraving on (...) it are investigated in detail, and the as yet unidentified maker is associated with the circle around Juan de Herrera, architect of the palace-monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the topics of mechanism and algorithmicity. I emphasise that a characterisation of algorithmicity such as the Turing machine is iterative; and I argue that if the human mind can solve problems that no Turing machine can, the mind must depend on some non-iterative principle — in fact, Cantor's second principle of generation, a principle of the actual infinite rather than the potential infinite of Turing machines. But as there has been theorisation that all physical systems (...) can be represented by Turing machines, I investigate claims that seem to contradict this: specifically, claims that there are noncomputable phenomena. One conclusion I reach is that if it is believed that the human mind is more than a Turing machine, a belief in a kind of Cartesian dualist gulf between the mental and the physical is concomitant. (shrink)
Orthodox business ethics, conventional management theory, and a great deal of higher education embody the overriding emphasis accorded to analysis by yesteryear''s science. An alternative strategy, exemplified by the war stories told by a Confederate Genral, is more consistent with late 20th century science in general and soft systems methodology in particular.The characteristic way of management that we have taught... is to take a complex system, divide it into parts, and then try to manage each part as well as possible. (...) And if that''s done, the system as a whole will behave well, and that''s absolutely false because it''s possible to improve the performance of each part taken separately and destroy the system at the same time. (shrink)
In 2018 Academic Placement Data and Analysis ran a survey of doctoral students and recent graduates on the topics of diversity and inclusivity in collaboration with the Graduate Student Council and Data Task Force of the American Philosophical Association. We submitted a preliminary report in Fall 2018 that describes the origins and procedure of the survey . This is our final report on the survey. We first discuss the demographic profile of our survey participants and compare it to the United (...) States general population, its doctoral students, and APA membership, finding several areas of underrepresentation (i.e. gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic, and veteran status). We then discuss the results of questions regarding diversity and inclusivity. We find, for instance, that participant comfort in philosophy depends on gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, disability, and language status and that participants most often mentioned the theme of diversity when asked how philosophy could be more inclusive. Finally, we discuss the results of questions related to graduate program and placement. We find, for example, that underrepresented graduates are both less likely to recommend their graduate program to others and less likely to prefer an academic job. We close by making some recommendations for the APA and for the discipline based on our findings. (shrink)
Is experiential evidence irrelevant to acceptance or rejection of belief in the existence of a Divine Being? Charles Hartshorne answers that it is indeed irrelevant, and this answer has an initial and, for me, continuing surprising ring to it. Specifically, Hartshorne makes two distinguishable claims: the traditional allegedly a posteriori arguments, the teleological and cosmological, are in fact incompatible with empiricist methodology and are disguised ontological arguments; the conception of God as necessary being demands that belief in such a being's (...) existence or non-existence in no way depend upon empirical evidence. On the contrary, I shall argue, first, that empirical evidence for God is truly empirical and second, that there is no incompatibility between empirical evidence and necessary existence. My argument will involve an attempt to understand and clarify somewhat the very difficult concepts of ‘experience’ and ‘necessity’ as they arise in the context of religious epistemology. I wish to make clear at the outset that my aim is not to eliminate ontological arguments for God in favour of empirical arguments, for I believe that Hartshorne's work on the modal ontological argument contributes substantially to providing grounds for reasonable belief in theism. Rather, my purpose is to show that ontological and empirical patterns of theistic argumentation are neither incompatible with each other nor reducible to each other. (shrink)
In a recent article, David Kyle Johnson has claimed to have provided a ‘refutation’ of skeptical theism. Johnson’s refutation raises several interesting issues. But in this note, I focus on only one—an implicit principle Johnson uses in his refutation to update probabilities after receiving new evidence. I argue that this principle is false. Consequently, Johnson’s refutation, as it currently stands, is undermined.
Ralph Johnson's Manifest Rationality (2000) is a major contribution to the field of informal logic, but the concept of argument that is central to its project suffers from a tension between the components that comprise it. This paper explores and addresses that tension by examining the implications of each of five aspects of the definition of ‘argument’.
Using the 1991 police beating of Rodney King as case study, this paper draws on Husserlian phenomenology to establish a coherentist account of knowledge as situated with respect to its concrete circumstances of production (e.g., social, cultural, historical, political). I take as my point of departure Gail Weiss's phenomenological investigation into the jury's assessment of evidence in the "Rodney King incident," and in particular, her interest in Husserl's conception of the "horizon" as a structure of consciousness that mediates (...) what is present in perceptual awareness. Making use of Anthony Steinbock's work on Husserlian phenomenological method — drawn from his extensive study of Husserl's unpublished manuscripts — I develop an epistemological framework that treats knowledge claims as inextricably bound to the horizons of meaning from which they arise, and provides standards of epistemic responsibility pertaining to an agent's "framing" of evidence. (shrink)