This paper asks whether an individual or a political community (henceforth: 'constitutional community') ever incurs moral responsibility for the requirements made by the norms of their constitution. We argue, first, that any constitutional community bears collective moral responsibility for those requirements. We reach this thesis by showing that (i) a constitutional community is a group which can take collective actions attributable to the group as a whole, and (ii) any given set of constitutional norms is the outcome of such collective (...) action. We argue, second, that ordinary citizens of constitutional communities can, in normal circumstances, bear individual moral responsibility for such norms. We reach this second thesis by showing that an average citizen bears individual responsibility for the direct outcome of her polity's collective action whenever she both (1) contributes to the collective action where she need not fear serious reprisals for not contributing, and (2) supports and reflectively endorses the outcome. (shrink)
What are the different styles by which political theorists deal with intellectual problems? This question is important because if we do not answer it, we shall not know why methodological disagreements are so much more intense and heated than substantive disagreements. Nor shall we know why particular political theorists take the positions they do in methodological controversies. This paper argues that there are now five main styles by which political theorists deal with intellectual problems: the Classicist, the Mannerist, the Baroque, (...) the Romantic, and the Collectivist. Classicism solves the problem it poses, Mannerism presses it, the Baroque resolves it, Romanticism dissolves it, and Collectivism publicizes it. For each style, we give an account of its main features, give examples of how it has been applied to different problems in political theory, and then identify its strengths and weaknesses. (shrink)
One of the many striking theses for which Virginia Held argues in How Terrorism Is Wrong is that terrorism is not necessarily morally wrong. In principle, she argues, terrorism can sometimes be permissible . Call this "the Non-necessity Thesis," or NNT. As so often in this deep and thought-provoking book, Held gives a powerful and illuminating argument to this thesis. The argument begins by asserting what we may call "the Violations Distribution Principle" : if we must have rights violations, then (...) a more equitable distribution of such violations is better than a less equitable . It then claims that this implies that "it is better to equalize rights violations in a transition to bring an end to rights violations than it is to subject a given group that has already suffered extensive rights violations to continued such violations" . But this in turn implies that where one group's rights are severely and systematically violated— say, by an oppression, in which their right to personal safety is systematically violated—and another group's rights are not so violated, then a transition which involves a sharing of proportionate rights violations between the oppressed and the non-oppressed is permissible, "if this and only this can be expected to lead to a situation in which rights are more adequately respected" . In those and only those circumstances, terrorism would be permissible, since it centrally violates the right to personal safety. Hence NNT. The idea, then, is that VDP implies that where there is a systematic imbalance in the distribution of severe rights violations between one group and another , and where only a transition which involves a sharing of proportionate rights violations between the oppressed and the non-oppressed can be expected to achieve a situation in which rights are more adequately respected , then terrorism aimed at the oppressors and in conformity with the Uniqueness condition is permissible. (shrink)
This paper outlines and defends a processual theory of peoplehood. On our theory, a people is, roughly speaking, composed of two things. First, an unfolding series of events coordinated by the practices of constituting, governing, or changing a polity's authoritative institutions. Second, individual persons whose lives and interests are intensely affected by these events and institutions. We call this theory deep processualism. We outline the theory by showing how it would answer five questions: the questions of constituents, individuation, origination, termination, (...) and membership: What are the chief constituents of peoples? What individuates peoples? Under what conditions do peoples originate? Under what conditions do peoples cease to be? Under what conditions is a person a member of the people? We also consider alternative theories of the nature of peoples, theories due to Juergen Habermas, Bruce Ackerman, Philip Pettit, and James Fishkin. We defend our theory on the ground that it is not embarrassed by the difficulties that we pin on these alternative theories. (shrink)
Monotheism and the Meaning of Life explores the role of God, and the relationship to the question 'What is the meaning of life?' for adherents of the main monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Exploring the various senses of 'meaning' and 'life', Mawson argues that there are various questions implicit in the notion of the meaning of life and that the God of monotheistic religion is central to the correct answers to all of them.
Can the issue of how important it is whether or not there is a God be decided prior to deciding whether or not there is a God? In this paper, I explore some difficulties that stand in the way of answering this question in the affirmative and some of the implications of these difficulties for that part of the Philosophy of Religion which concerns itself with assessing arguments for and against the existence of God, the implications for how its importance (...) may best be defended within secular academe. (shrink)
Recent advances in synthetic biology have made it possible to revive extinct species of animals, a process known as ‘de-extinction’. This paper examines two reasons for supporting de-extinction: the potential for de-extinct species to play useful roles in ecosystems; and human valuing of certain de-extinct species. I focus on the particular case of passenger pigeons to argue that the most critical challenge for de-extinction is that it entails significant suffering for sentient individual animals. I also provide reasons to take existence (...) value, or valuing the mere the fact that a species exists, into consideration in debates over de-extinction. (shrink)
How do we think about animals? How do we decide what they deserve and how we ought to treat them? Subhuman takes an interdisciplinary approach to these questions, drawing from research in philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, law, history, sociology, economics, and anthropology. Subhuman argues that our attitudes to nonhuman animals, both positive and negative, largely arise from our need to compare ourselves to them.
It is not intended as some sort of revelation on my part that Greenberg's cultural theory was originally Marxist in its stresses and, indeed in its attitude to what constituted explanation in such matters. I point out the Marxist and historical mode of proceeding as emphatically as I do partly because it may make my own procedure later in this paper seem a little less arbitrary. For I shall fall to arguing in the end with these essay's Marxism and their (...) history, and I want it understood that I think that to do so is to take issue with their strengths and their main drift.But I have to admit there are difficulties here. The essays in question ["Avant-Garde and Kitsch" and "Towards a Newer Lacoön"] are quite brief. They are, I think, extremely well written: it was not for nothing the Partisan Review described Clement Greenberg, when he first contributed to the journal early in 1939, as "a young writer who works in the New York customs house"—fine, redolent avant-garde pedigree, that! The language of these articles is forceful and easy, always straightforward, blessedly free from Marxist conundrums. Yet the price paid for such lucidity, here as so often, is a degree of inexplicitness—certain amount of elegant skirting round the difficult issues, where one might otherwise be obliged to call out the ponderous armory of Marx's concepts and somewhat spoil the low of the prose from one firm statement to another. The Marxism, in other words, is quite largely implicit; it is stated on occasion, with brittle and pugnacious finality, as the essay's frame of reference, but it remains to the reader to determine just how it works in the history and theory presented—what that history and theory depend on, in the way of Marxist assumptions about class and capital or even abase and superstructure. That is what I intend to do in this paper: to interpret and extrapolate from the texts, even at the risk of making their Marxism declare itself more stridently than the "young writer" seems to have wished. And I should admit straight away that there are several point in what follows where I am genuinely uncertain as to whether I am diverging from Greenberg's argument or explaining it more fully. This does not worry me overmuch, as long as we are alerted to the special danger in this case, dealing with such transparent yet guarded prose, and as long as we can agree that the project in general—pressing home a Marxist reading of texts which situate themselves within the Marxist tradition—is a reasonable one.22. This carelessness distinguishes the present paper from two recent studies of Greenberg's early writings, Serge Guilbaut's "The New Adventures of the Avant-Garde in America," October 15 , and Fred Orton and Griselda Pollock's "Avant-Gardes and Partisans Reviewed," Art History 3 I am indebted to both these essays and am sure that their strictures on the superficiality—not to say the opportunism–of Greenberg's Marxism are largely right. But I am nonetheless interested in the challenge offered to most Marxist, and non-Marxist, accounts of modern history by what I take to be a justified though extreme, pessimism as t the nature of established culture since 1870. That pessimism is characteristic, I suppose, of what Marxists call an ultraleftist point of view. I believe, as I say, that a version of some such view is correct and would therefore with to treat Greenberg's theory as if it were a decently elaborated Marxism of an ultraleftist kind, on which issues in certain mistaken views but which need not so issue and which might still provide, cleansed of those errors, a good vantage for a history of our culture.T. J. Clark, professor of fine arts at Harvard University, is the author of The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851 and Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution. His book on impressionist painting and Paris is forthcoming. (shrink)
‘The Meaning of Life’ and ‘The Philosophy of Religion’ have meant different things to different people, and so I do well to alert my reader to what these phrases mean to me and thus to the subject area of this review of recent work on their intersection. First, ‘The Meaning of Life’: within the analytic tradition, an idea has gained widespread assent; whatever the vague and enigmatic nature of the phrase ‘the meaning of life’, we may sensibly speak of meaningfulness (...) in a life as a particular, positive, normative feature that some individuals’ lives may well have, and this feature is to be distinguished from, though closely related to, other positive features – satisfaction, wellbeing, virtue and so forth. There has been much work done on these assumptions in recent years. An excellent summary of this work up to its date of publication is given by Thaddeus Metz (in his 2007 a). Many – though by no means all – philosophers retain an instinctive scepticism toward the phrase ‘the meaning of life’ and a reluctance to engage with it, for it seems to connote vague and/or impossible-to-fulfil cosmic expectations. (See Thomson , chapter 11 and Seachris 2009 for attempts to engage with it nonetheless.) But philosophers are not generally now so sceptical about talk of meaningfulness in life and thus not so sceptical about the phrase ‘the meaning of life’ if it is taken to be referring merely to this. And that is how I shall be taking it. Secondly, ‘The Philosophy of Religion’: in the analytic tradition, this has usually been taken to be philosophical reflection on the rational acceptability or otherwise of classical theism and on what God's existence, should He exist, entails ontologically, metaphysically, metaethically and so forth. Therefore, I shall be talking about recent reflection in the analytic tradition on the relationship between the God of classical theism's existence (or lack of it) and meaningfulness (or lack of it) in human lives. (shrink)
Recent highly publicized privacy breaches in health care and genomics research have led many to question whether current standards of data protection are adequate. Improvements in de-identification techniques, combined with pervasive data sharing, have increased the likelihood that external parties can track individuals across multiple databases. This paper focuses on the communication of identifiability risks in the process of obtaining consent for donation and research. Most ethical discussions of identifiability risks have focused on the severity of the risk and how (...) it might be mitigated, and what precisely is at stake in pervasive data sharing. However, there has been little discussion of whether and how to communicate the risk to potential donors. We review the ethical arguments behind favoring different types of risk communication in the consent process, and outline how identifiability concerns can be incorporated into either a detailed or simplified method of communicating risks during the consent process. (shrink)
This major addition to Ideas in Context examines the development of natural law theories in the early stages of the Enlightenment in Germany and France. T. J. Hochstrasser investigates the influence exercised by theories of natural law from Grotius to Kant, with a comparative analysis of the important intellectual innovations in ethics and political philosophy of the time. Hochstrasser includes the writings of Samuel Pufendorf and his followers who evolved a natural law theory based on human sociability and reason, fostering (...) a new methodology in German philosophy. This book assesses the first histories of political thought since ancient times, giving insights into the nature and influence of debate within eighteenth-century natural jurisprudence. Ambitious in range and conceptually sophisticated, Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment will be of great interest to scholars in history, political thought, law and philosophy. Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment has been selected as the winner of the annual Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best book in intellectual history published in 2000. (shrink)
The standard approach to protecting privacy in healthcare aims to control access to personal information. We cannot regain control of information after it has been shared, so we must restrict access from the start. This ‘control’ conception of privacy conflicts with data-intensive initiatives like precision medicine and learning health systems, as they require patients to give up significant control of their information. Without adequate alternatives to the control-based approach, such data-intensive programmes appear to require a loss of privacy. This paper (...) argues that the control view of privacy is shortsighted and overlooks important ways to protect health information even when widely shared. To prepare for a world where we no longer control our data, we must pursue three alternative strategies: obfuscate health data, penalise the misuse of health data and improve transparency around who shares our data and for what purposes. Prioritising these strategies is necessary when health data are widely shared both within and outside of the health system. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that atheists who think that the issue of God's existence or non-existence is an important one; assign a greater than negligible probability to God's existence; and are not in possession of a plausible argument for scepticism about the truth-directedness of uttering such prayers in their own cases, are under a prima facie epistemic obligation to pray to God that He stop them being atheists.
Questions about knowledge, and about the relation between logic and language, are at the heart of philosophy. Eleven distinguished philosophers from Britain and America contribute papers on such questions. All the contributions are examples of recent philosophy at its best. The first half of the book constitutes a running debate about knowledge, evidence and doubt. The second half tackles questions about logic and its relation to language.
Amongst other countries, the Netherlands currently allows euthanasia, provided the physician performing the procedure adheres to a strict set of requirements. In 2016, Second Chamber member Pia Dijkstra submitted a law proposal which would also allow euthanasia without the reason necessarily having any medical foundation; euthanasia on the basis of a completed life. The debate on this topic has been ongoing for over two decades, but this law proposal has made the discussion much more immediate and concrete. This paper considers (...) the moral permissibility of Pia Dijkstra’s law proposal, focusing on the ethics of the implementation Dijkstra describes in her proposal. I argue that, at present, Dijkstra’s law proposal is unsuitable for implementation, due to a number of as of yet unaddressed problems, including the possible development of an ageist stigma and undue pressure on the profession of end-of-life coordinator. Perhaps adequate responses can be conceived to address these issues. However, the existence of a radically different, yet currently equally unacceptable position regarding the implementation of euthanasia for a completed life as proposed by fellow party member Paul Schnabel suggests it may be difficult to formulate an ethically acceptable implementation for this, in principle, ethically acceptable concept. (shrink)
Social theory remains puzzled by the relation between practices and structures, or the link between micro and macro. Grand theorists including Giddens and Bourdieu have gained distinction for their writings on these questions, trying to marry insights and concerns of a micro sociological nature with traditional macro structural questions including inequality, power relations, and social reproduction. These theorists arguably fail, however, in their attempts to move social theory beyond traditional dualisms. Relevant but neglected contributions from ethnomethodology are introduced and compared (...) to the work of Giddens and Bourdieu in an attempt to identify and outline an approach to practices and structures that more reliably avoids problems of dualism and reification, and at the same time offers an understanding of structures and their relations to practices that can be much more closely grounded in empirical studies. Key Words: micro-macro link reification ethnomethodology Pierre Bourdieu Jeff Coulter. (shrink)
In this journal Steve Maitzen has recently advanced an argument for atheism premised on theodical individualism, the thesis that God would not permit people to suffer evils that were underserved, involuntary, and gratuitous for them. In this paper I advance reasons to think this premise mistaken.
Jesse Prinz and Shaun Nichols have argued that within metaethics, sentimentalism is the theory that best accords with empirical facts about human moral psychology. Recent findings in experimental moral psychology, they argue, indicate that emotions are psychologically central to our moral concepts. One way of testing the empirical adequacy of sentimentalism is by looking at research on environmental values. A classic problem in environmental ethics is providing an account of the intrinsic value of nonhuman entities, which is often thought to (...) be inconsistent with sentimentalism. However, no supporters of sentimentalist accounts of environmental values have evaluated the empirical adequacy of their claims. The relevant evidence falls under two broad categories: responses to nature itself and moral evaluations of environmental behaviors. The evidence indicates that both valuing and disvaluing nature are ultimately grounded in emotions. (shrink)
I argue that Open Theism leads to a retreat from ascribing to God 'complete omniscience'. Having surrendered this ground, the Open Theist cannot but retreat from ascribing to God complete omnipotence; the Open Theist must admit that God might perform actions which He reasonably expected would meet certain descriptions but which nevertheless do not do so. This then makes whatever goodness God has a matter of luck. Open Theism is committed to a partially ignorant God, one who is subject to (...) the vagaries of luck for the efficacy of at least some of His actions and for His goodness. (shrink)
This is the first volume to address directly the question of the speciation of modern Homo sapiens. The subject raises profound questions about the nature of the species, our defining characteristic, and the brain changes and their genetic basis that make us distinct. The British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences have brought together experts from palaeontology, archaeology, linguistics, psychology, genetics and evolutionary theory to present evidence and theories at the cutting edge of our understanding of these issues.Palaeontological and (...) genetic work suggests that the transition from a precursor hominid species to modern man took place between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago. Some contributors discuss what is most characteristic of the species, focussing on language and its possible basis in brain lateralization. This work is placed in the context of speciation theory, which has remained a subject of considerable debate since the evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian theory. The timing of specific transitions in hominid evolution is discussed, as also is the question of the neural basis of language. Other contributors address the possible genetic nature of the transition, with reference to changes on the X and Y chromosomes that may account for sex differences in lateralization and verbal ability. These differences are discussed in terms of the theory of sexual selection, and with reference to the mechanisms of speciation.These essays will be vital reading for anyone interested in the nature and origins of the species, and specifically human abilities. (shrink)
(1984). Gender Differences in Subject Preference and Perception of Subject Importance among Third Year Secondary School Pupils in Single‐sex and Mixed Comprehensive Schools. Educational Studies: Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 243-253.
Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach emphasizes species-specific abilities in grounding our treatment of animals. Though this emphasis provides many action-guiding benefits, it also generates a number of complications. The criticism registered here is that Nussbaum unjustifiably restricts what is allowed into our concept of species norms, the most notable restrictions being placed on latent abilities and those that arise as a result of human intervention. These restrictions run the risk of producing inaccurate or misleading recommendations that fail to correspond to the (...) true needs of animals. Here and throughout the essay the argument draws from the lives of captive apes, especially those with extensive experience with humans. A further criticism is that the normative guidance the capabilities approach does provide is merely at the level of heuristics. Preference testing, it is argued, also uses species norms profitably as a heuristic, but it does so within a much larger and fecund system of assessing an animal’s well-being. (shrink)
Aulisio and Arora argue that the moral significance of value imposition explains the moral distinction between traditional conscientious objection and non-traditional conscientious objection. The former objects to directly performing actions, whereas the latter objects to indirectly assisting actions on the grounds that indirectly assisting makes the actor morally complicit. Examples of non-traditional conscientious objection include objections to the duty to refer. Typically, we expect physicians who object to a practice to refer, but the non-traditional conscientious objector physician refuses to refer. (...) Aulisio and Arora argue that physicians have a duty to refer because refusing to do so violates the patient’s values. While we agree with Aulisio and Arora’s conclusions, we argue value imposition cannot adequately explain the moral difference between traditional conscientious objection and non-traditional conscientious objection. Treating autonomy as the freedom to live in accordance with one’s values, as Aulisio and Arora do, is a departure from traditional liberal conceptions of autonomy and consequently fails to explain the moral difference between the two kinds of objection. We outline how a traditional liberal understanding of autonomy would help in this regard, and we make two additional arguments—one that maintains that non-traditional conscientious objection undermines society’s autonomy, and another that maintains that it undermines the physician-patient relationship—to establish why physicians have a duty to refer. (shrink)
This paper is an introduction to a virtual special issue of AI and Law exploring the legacy of the influential HYPO system of Rissland and Ashley. The papers included are: Arguments and cases: An inevitable intertwining, BankXX: Supporting legal arguments through heuristic retrieval, Modelling reasoning with precedents in a formal dialogue Game, A note on dimensions and factors, An empirical investigation of reasoning with legal cases through theory construction and application, Automatically classifying case texts and predicting outcomes, A factor-based definition (...) of precedential constraint and An improved factor based approach to precedential constraint. After describing HYPO, in this introduction to the special issue I look at various aspects of its influence on AI and Law: the developments led by Rissland at Amherst; the developments led by Ashley in Pittsburgh; the expression of these ideas in terms of rule based systems, and their subsequent formalisation; value based theories, which were inspired by a critique of HYPO; and contemporary approaches which revive the idea of dimensions. (shrink)
Foucault’s critics have often ignored or misunderstool Foucault’s later work, The History of Sexuality and related texts. Only by careful reading of these texts is it possible to appreciate the maturity of Foucault’s social critism, to distil an implicit social theory from his writings, and to gage the true significance of his contributions. In this paper, The History of Sexuality is first placed in the context of Foucault’s earlier works, then used, along with other texts, to answer the most common (...) and famous critiques of his work. In the process, the contours and virtues of Foucault’s implicit social theory are indicated. Similarities with Nietzsche, Weber and Critical Theory are mentioned, but it is suggested that Foucault is in many ways a unique and uniquely significant thinker. Finally, it is argued that Foucault’s works should not be dismissed, as is all too common, but that his provocative reformation of social theory can and should be received and criticized as such. (shrink)
If patients are to be partners rather than subjects, contributing effectively to clinical research in which they have an interest, both they and investigators must change their ways. The case is argued here that the conduct of clinical research fulfils an essential need of society and that, therefore, in the interests of society, there is a moral imperative that it be done. Further essays will develop this theme, questioning along the way whether consent is a redundant concept.
The eschatological myth in the tenth book of the Laws contains a paragraph which purports to explain why, in the next world, efficient treatmentof souls according to their deserts is ‘marvellously easy’.
Debates over egalitarianism for the most part are not concerned with constraints on achieving an egalitarian society, beyond discussions of the deficiencies of egalitarian theory itself. This paper looks beyond objections to egalitarianism as such and investigates the relevant psychological processes motivating people to resist various aspects of egalitarianism. I argue for two theses, one normative and one descriptive. The normative thesis holds that egalitarians must take psychological constraints into account when constructing egalitarian ideals. I draw from non-ideal theories in (...) political philosophy, which aim to construct moral goals with current social and political constraints in mind, to argue that human psychology must be part of a non-ideal theory of egalitarianism. The descriptive thesis holds that the most fundamental psychological challenge to egalitarian ideals comes from what are called Just World Beliefs. A troubling result of Just World Beliefs, one that poses a prima facie obstacle to egalitarianism, is that people tend to dismiss or explain away any threats to their belief that the world is fundamentally just. The pervasiveness and severity of Just World Beliefs predicts that people will be resistant to egalitarian policies. My aim is to show how research on Just World Beliefs can help diagnose common problems for egalitarianism and assist in making realistic recommendations for bringing current societies closer to egalitarian ideals. (shrink)