William Dwyer reviews Initiative: Human Agency and Society, in which Tibor Machan argues that free will is a prerequisite for knowledge, ethics, and political liberty. Machan criticizes Hayek, Stigler, and "public choice" economics for their economic determinism and for discounting the importance of abstract ideas. Despite making a good case against environmental and economic determinism, Machan fails adequately to defend his central thesis that free will exists and that it is required for normative values.
William Dwyer responds to the comments of George Lyons and Tibor R. Machan on his review of Machan's Initiative (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 2001). Dwyer reiterates points in his initial review, stressing the need to understand choice within a larger causal context.
Dwyer's book is unique and distinctive as it presents and discusses a modern conceptualization of critical thinking – one that is commensurate with the exponential increase in the annual output of knowledge. The abilities of navigating new knowledge outputs, engaging in enquiry and constructively solving problems are not only important in academic contexts, but are also essential life skills. Speciﬁcally, the book provides a modern, detailed, accessible and integrative model of critical thinking that accounts for critical thinking sub-skills and (...) real-world applications; and is commensurate with the standards of twenty-first-century knowledge. The book provides both opportunities to learn and apply these skills through a series of exercises, as well as guidelines on how critical thinking can be developed and practised, in light of existing psychological research, which can be used to enhance the experience of critical thinking training and facilitate gains in critical thinking ability. (shrink)
Inspired by the success of generative linguistics and transformational grammar, proponents of the linguistic analogy (LA) in moral psychology hypothesize that careful attention to folk-moral judgments is likely to reveal a small set of implicit rules and structures responsible for the ubiquitous and apparently unbounded capacity for making moral judgments. As a theoretical hypothesis, LA thus requires a rich description of the computational structures that underlie mature moral judgments, an account of the acquisition and development of these structures, and an (...) analysis of those components of the moral system that are uniquely human and uniquely moral. In this paper we present the theoretical motivations for adopting LA in the study of moral cognition: (a) the distinction between competence and performance, (b) poverty of stimulus considerations, and (c) adopting the computational level as the proper level of analysis for the empirical study of moral judgment. With these motivations in hand, we review recent empirical findings that have been inspired by LA and which provide evidence for at least two predictions of LA: (a) the computational processes responsible for folk-moral judgment operate over structured representations of actions and events, as well as coding for features of agency and outcomes; and (b) folk-moral judgments are the output of a dedicated moral faculty and are largely immune to the effects of context. In addition, we highlight the complexity of the interfaces between the moral faculty and other cognitive systems external to it (e.g., number systems). We conclude by reviewing the potential utility of the theoretical and empirical tools of LA for future research in moral psychology. (shrink)
The manifest dissociation between our capacity to make moral judgments and our ability to provide justifications for them, a phenomenon labeled Moral Dumbfounding, has important implications for the theory and practice of moral psychology. I articulate and develop the Linguistic Analogy as a robust alternative to existing sentimentalist models of moral judgment inspired by this phenomenon. The Linguistic Analogy motivates a crucial distinction between moral acceptability and moral permissibility judgments, and thereby calls into question prevailing methods used in the study (...) of moral judgment. Indeed, the judgments that are the focus of most current empirical work in moral psychology are not proper targets of scientific study. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore one way to bring bioethics and environmental ethics closer together. I focus on a question at the interface of health, sustainability, and justice: How well does a society promote health with the use of no more than a just share of environmental capacity? To address this question, I propose and discuss a mode of assessment that combines a measurement of population health, an estimate of environmental sustainability, and an assumption about what constitutes a fair or (...) just share. This mode of assessment provides an estimate of the just and sustainable life expectancy of a population. It could be used to monitor how well a particular society promotes health within just environmental limits. It could also serve as a source of information that stakeholders use when they deliberate about programs, policies, and technologies. The purpose of this work is to focus attention on an ethical task: the need to fashion institutions and forms of life that promote health in ways that recognize the claims of sustainability and justice. (shrink)
We propose that the generalizations of linguistic theory serve to ascribe beliefs to humans. Ordinary speakers would explicitly (and sincerely) deny having these rather esoteric beliefs about language--e.g., the belief that an anaphor must be bound in its governing category. Such ascriptions can also seem problematic in light of certain theoretical considerations having to do with concept possession, revisability, and so on. Nonetheless, we argue that ordinary speakers believe the propositions expressed by certain sentences of linguistic theory, and that linguistics (...) can therefore teach us something about belief as well as language. Rather than insisting that ordinary speakers lack the linguistic beliefs in question, philosophers should try to show how these empirically motivated belief ascriptions can be correct. We argue that Stalnaker's (1984) "pragmatic" account--according to which beliefs are dispositions, and propositions are sets of possible worlds--does just this. Moreover, our construal of explanation in linguistics motivates (and helps provide) responses to two difficulties for the pragmatic account of belief: the phenomenon of opacity, and the so-called problem of deduction. (shrink)
A nativist moral psychology, modeled on the successes of theoretical linguistics, provides the best framework for explaining the acquisition of moral capacities and the diversity of moral judgment across the species. After a brief presentation of a poverty of the moral stimulus argument, this chapter sketches a view according to which a so-called Universal Moral Grammar provides a set of parameterizable principles whose specific values are set by the child's environment, resulting in the acquisition of a moral idiolect. The principles (...) and parameters approach predicts moral diversity, but does not entail moral relativism. (shrink)
: When health care workers migrate from poor countries to rich countries, they are exercising an important human right and helping rich countries fulfill obligations of social justice. They are also, however, creating problems of social justice in the countries they leave. Solving these problems requires balancing social needs against individual rights and studying the relationship of social justice to international justice.
The present research isolates the fairness assessment of the process used by the retailer to set a price, as well as the distributive fairness of the price compared to the price that others are offered, and examines the combined effect of procedural fairness and distributive fairness on overall price fairness. Two experimental studies examine procedural and distributive fairness effects on overall price fairness. In study 1, procedural fairness and distributive fairness are manipulated and found to interact to bring about overall (...) price fairness. In study 2, suspicion toward the seller is found to mediate the relationship between procedural fairness and overall price fairness when the price is disadvantageous. (shrink)
The rhetoric of reconciliation is common in situations where traditional judicial responses to past wrongdoing are unavailable because of corruption, large numbers of offenders, or anxiety about the political consequences. But what constitutes reconciliation?
SARS, like HIV, placed healthcare workers at risk and raised issues about the duty to treat. But philosophical accounts of the duty to treat that were developed in the context of HIV did not adequately address some of the ethical issues raised by SARS. Since the next epidemic may be more like SARS than HIV, it is important to illuminate these issues. In this paper, we sketch a general account of the duty to treat that arose in response to HIV. (...) Our purpose is not to defend or criticise this account, but to show that it needs to be developed in order to address three important issues. The first issue concerns how risks should be distributed among healthcare professionals. The second issue concerns the conflicts that arise between professional duties and family duties. The third issue concerns the forms of support that societies owe healthcare workers during epidemics. Our descriptions of these issues are drawn from our experience of the SARS epidemic in Taiwan. (shrink)
In the sixth Logical Investigation, Husserl thematizes the surplus (Überschuß) of the perceptual intention whereby the intending goes beyond the partial givenness of a perceptual object to the object as a whole. This surplus is an apperceptive surplus that transcends the purely perceptual substance (Gehalt) or sensed content (empfundene Inhalt) available to a perceiver at any one time. This surplus can be described on the one hand as a synthetic link to future, possible, active experience; to intend an object is (...) to intend it as it would appear if we were to have an exhaustively synthetic explication of it. This perceptual apperceptive surplus is, on the other hand, distinguished from the surplus that categorial form represents over the perceptual sense data. In this paper I show how the apperceptive surplus can also be understood as a synthetic link to past experience that is passively operative in any present perception. The synthetic link to both past and possible experience is a link to non-actual perceptions. Links to non-actual experience are despite their non-actuality nevertheless genuinely intentional in that they enter into the sense of any actively constituted object understood as a unity of sense. Key to this interpretation is an explanation of how Husserl appropriated the key concepts of attention and apperception from psychologists of his day, such as Stumpf and Wundt. (shrink)
Times of crisis bring about increased demands on businesses as shortages, or unexpected but significant, business costs are encountered. Passing on such costs to consumers is a challenge. When faced with a retail price increase, consumers may rely on cues as to the motive behind the increase. Such cues can raise suspicion of alternative motive (e. g., taking advantage of the consumer) affecting consumers' judgments of price fairness. This research investigates two triggers of suspicion: salience of alternative motives, and behavior (...) judged to be out-of-character for the business. Results of the two studies within crisis contexts indicate that suspicion is created when alternative motives are salient and when a retailer acts out-of-character. Multiple group analyses revealed that suspicion induced negative affect and subsequent perceptions of price fairness. When suspicion was present, more negative feelings toward the retailer and judgments of price unfairness resulted. (shrink)
Last year I flew to two bioethics conferences, one in Europe and one in North America. I also flew to Taiwan to teach abroad for a year. These were good things to do, or so I thought. I contributed to educational events, learned more about bioethics, and visited with friends and colleagues. But I worry that flying and other activities in my life are contributing to climate changes that will affect the health of vulnerable people, the life prospects of future (...) generations, and the balance of the natural world.I sometimes imagine a dialogue with a young person, twenty years from now, when the climate crisis is much worse.What were you people in bioethics thinking? You flew to conferences all over the world, emitting .. (shrink)
At the end of Section III of “Freedom and Resentment,” just after he has drawn our attention to the reactive attitudes, P. F. Strawson remarks, “The object of these commonplaces is to try to keep before our minds something it is easy to forget when we are engaged in philosophy, especially in our cool, contemporary style, viz., what it is actually like to be involved in ordinary inter-personal relationships, ranging from the most intimate to the most casual.” It is striking, (...) then, that the proponent of so thoroughly naturalistic an account of moral responsibility seems himself largely to ignore the fact that moral agents do not spring into existence ab initio. The adult moral agent, who is the central character of normative theory and of accounts of moral responsibility, was once a child. Our juvenile selves get a mention in Strawson’s paper, but only as examples of creatures who are paradigmatically not responsible or who inhabit “a borderline, penumbral area ” with respect to responsibility. Thus it remains a mystery, on Strawson’s account, how we become the morally responsible creatures he takes us to be. (shrink)
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
The potential health risks of vegan diets specifically for women and children are discussed. Women and children are at higher risk of malnutrition from consumption of unsupplemented vegan diets than are adult males. Those who are very young, pregnant, lactating, elderly, or who suffer from poverty, disease or other environmentally induced disadvantages are at special risk. The size of these risks is difficult to quantify from existing studies. Fortunately the risk of dietary deficiency disease can be avoided and the potential (...) health benefits of vegan diets can be realized when diets for these groups are planned in line with theRecommended Dietary Allowances so that nutrient intakes reach or exceed recommended levels, and access to preventive and curative health services is assured. (shrink)
This paper argues that John McDowell’s conceptualism distorts a genuine phenomenological account of perception. Instead of the seemingly forced choice between conceptualism and non-conceptualism as to what accounts for perceptual and discursive meaning, I provide an argument that there is a preconceptual intelligibility already in the perceptual field. With the help of insights from certain nonconceptualists I sketch out an argument that there is a teleological directedness in the way in which latent order and structure can be discriminated at the (...) level of perceptual content. This content can then be brought to discursive, conceptual clarity by understanding in such a way that it is guided by the order already discovered in perception. With the help of Husserlian phenomenology of perception, I argue that the fundamental roots of epistemic normativity lie in the discriminating intelligence or mindedness operative below the level of the explicitly conceptual. By preconceptual is meant the directedness of explication of the structures present in the sensory manifold toward fully explicit conceptual judgments. (shrink)
This article provides a deeper understanding of how meaning can be created in everyday life at a nursing home. It is based on a primary study concerning dignity involving 12 older people living in two nursing homes in Sweden. A secondary analysis was carried out on data obtained from three of the primary participants interviewed over a period of time (18—24 months), with a total of 12 interviews carried out using an inductive hermeneutic approach. The study reveals that sources of (...) meaning were created by having a sense of: physical capability, cognitive capability, being needed, and belonging. Meaning was created through inner dialogue, communication and relationships with others. A second finding is that the experience of meaning can sometimes be hard to realize. (shrink)
OBJECTIVES: To study the accuracy of reviewing ward notes (chart review) as a measure of the quality of care rendered to patients with "Do Not Resuscitate" (DNR) orders. DESIGN: We reviewed the charts of 19 consecutive, competent inpatients with DNR orders for evidence that the staff addressed a broad range of patient care needs called Concurrent Care Concerns (CCCs), such as withholding treatments other than resuscitation itself, and attention to patient comfort needs. We then interviewed the patient, consultant physician, house (...) officer, and primary nurse and compared the ward notes with the understandings of these staff members. SETTING: The medical service of an urban university medical centre. RESULTS: The average number of documented CCCs addressed per DNR order was 1.1. The ward notes generally agreed with the perceptions of patients, house officers, and nurses (% agreement with notes = 79%, 77%, and 82%; kappa = 0.43, 0.40, 0.50). Consultant physicians' understandings were poorly reflected in the ward notes (% agreement = 59%; kappa = 0.18). They overestimated attention to CCCs compared with the notes (P < 0.0001) and with other observers (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Chart review for attention to CCCs accurately reflects the understandings of patients, house officers, and nurses, but consultant physicians report more attention to CCCs than is recorded in the ward notes or understood by other observers. Better communication regarding end-of-life care plans should be encouraged. (shrink)
Abortion raises a number of difficult questions for morality, law, and public policy. When, if ever, is abortion morally permissible? Do women have a legal right to abortion, and how is that right to be justified? Ought abortions for poor women be funded by the state? These questions are related in the sense that answers to any one of them have implications for answers to the others. But it is crucial to remember that they are different questions. For example, suppose (...) abortion is never morally permissible. It would not. (shrink)
Pornography has attracted a good deal of academic and political attention, primarily from feminists of various persuasions, moral philosophers, and legal scholars. Surprisingly less work has been forthcoming from film theorists, given how much pornography has been produced on video and DVD and is now available through live streaming video over the Internet. Indeed, it is not until 1989, with the publication of Linda Williams’ groundbreaking Hard Core, that pornography is distinguished, in terms of its content, intent, and governing conventions, (...) as a filmic genre of its own. Still, not all pornography exists as film, and so a full discussion of it must encompass its other manifestations (e.g., magazines, websites, comics, etc.). The central questions about pornography are these: (1) What is it? How is it to be defined? (2) What are its effects? (3) How, if at all, ought it to be regulated? While these questions are simple, providing answers to them, as we shall see, is complicated. There is plenty of disagreement about how to define pornography; research about pornography’s effects is not univocal; and this in turn leads to substantial debate about what can and may be done about pornography. It is to these matters that the bulk of this essay is addressed. To begin, however, we will take a brief snapshot of the emergence of pornographic film and of the pornography business as it exists today. (shrink)
We must admire the ambition of Prinz’s title question. But does he provide a convincing answer to it? Prinz’s own view of morality as “a byproduct – accidental or invented – of faculties that evolved for different purposes (1),” which appears to express a negative reply, does not receive much direct argument here. Rather, Prinz’s main aim is to try to show that the considerations he believes are typically presented by moral nativists are insufficient or inadequate to establish that morality (...) is innate. He discusses, individually, how much evidential weight the (alleged) existence of (1) universal moral norms, (2) universal moral domains, (3) fixed stages in moral development, and (4) precursors to morality among non-human animals lend to nativist claims, and, in addition, he argues that poverty-of-the-moral-stimulus arguments are as yet unconvincing. “[C]urrent evidence,” Prinz claims, “is consistent with the conclusion that children acquire moral competence through experience (22).” It is not my intention here to follow Prinz’s piecemeal criticisms of moral nativism. In their attacks on linguistic nativism (see, e.g., Cowie 1999) and now on moral nativism, empiricists typically deploy the.. (shrink)
This book is a foray into the thorny interpretive issue of what to make of Kant's so-called "Metaphysical Deduction" of the categories. As with many of the arguments in the first Critique, the claim of the Metaphysical Deduction is easier to make out than its argument. The claim is that by some or other reference to "general logic," one may obtain a "transcendental logic," i.e., a justification (or "deduction") of the categories (of the understanding) necessary to the (very) possibility of (...) experience. But how? By, Kant says, discerning, in general logic, a "clue" to transcendental logic. But what sort of clue? And then what clue exactly? We need a meta-clue to get a clue.Herein lies the very mixed reception the .. (shrink)
Le réductionnisme scientiste a privé le monde de ce qui avait été un univers enchanté, empli des formes et des esprits qui hantaient le monde médiéval. Merleau-Ponty et Husserl dans son œuvre tardive tentent de réenchanter la nature, mais du point de vue de la perception. Leur insistance sur la structure et la forme perceptuelles est un moyen de protection contre le réductionnisme et donc, en un sens, réenchante le monde qui, pour parler comme Merleau-Ponty, est « condamné au sens (...) ». Être « condamné au sens », cela signifie être forcé de reconnaître à nos réalisations rationnelles les plus abouties, à nos actes visant à relier ce qui est séparé à partir d’une relationalité déjà perçue, une dépendance génétique (ou Fundierung ) par rapport à des événements de niveau inférieur, pré-rationnels, dans lesquels le soi est présent de façon latente. Être « condamné au sens » signifie que les réalisations logiques et rationnelles pleinement articulées doivent, pour être dotées de sens, être ramenées à des structures proto-rationnelles dans le champ de la perception. Que Merleau-Ponty et Husserl révèlent la sphère pré-prédicative comme une sphère de simple signification, ce fait reflète une critique commune de l’empirisme. Le monde partiellement réenchanté est un monde conditionné par des horizons de signification qui sont de réels aspects du monde à décrire. Je fais valoir que la perception optimalement monstrative atteint les choses mêmes dans leur télos monstratif où elles se montrent le mieux. Je conclus avec quelques remarques sur la manière dont cette conception du réenchantement mobilise la philosophie de John McDowell, qui est, malgré lui, un partisan de la structure dans le champ perceptuel. (shrink)
There is an interesting sense in which philosophical reflection in the transcendental tradition is thought to be unnatural. Kant claims that metaphysical speculation is as natural as breathing and that transcendental critique is necessary to prevent reason from lapsing into a natural dialectic of dogmatism and skepticism. Husserl argues that the critique of theoretical reason is grounded upon a transcending of the natural attitude in which we are at first unjustifiably and naïvely directed toward objects as separate from consciousness. A (...) perfectly sensible question arises: Why do we need to effect a change in our natural cognitive orientation to both ourselves and the world in order to know each respectively? Why does a sort of dialectical self-deception come so naturally to us, and why is an effort so great as to seem unnatural necessary for philosophical self-knowledge? The aim of this paper is threefold: first, to argue that seemingly compulsory philosophical assumptions are inevitably generated from within reason itself and thus remain resistant to a complete therapy; second, to show how Kant diagnoses reason’s dialectical tendencies as inevitable and ever-recurring without transcendental vigilance; finally, to argue that the early Husserl’s appropriation of a transcendental epistemology is influenced decisively by Kant’s transcendental reflection in order to combat the reigning naturalism of his day. My overall claim is that by thematizing the natural dialectic of reason best articulated in the first Critique, we can disclose the Kantian way in which Husserl conceives of the natural temptation to naturalize consciousness. We first turn, however, to an influential contemporary account of a decidedly non-transcendental philosophy, what has come to be known as “therapeutic Wittgensteinianism.”. (shrink)