[Marilyn McCord Adams] In this paper I begin with Aristotle's Categories and with his apparent forwarding of primary substances as metaphysically special because somehow fundamental. I then consider how medieval reflection on Aristotelian change led medieval Aristotelians to analyses of primary substances that called into question how and whether they are metaphysically special. Next, I turn to a parallel issue about supposits, which Boethius seems in effect to identify with primary substances, and how theological cases-the doctrines of the Trinity, (...) the Incarnation, and of the human soul's separate survival between death and resurrection-call into question how and to what extent supposits are metaphysically special. I conclude with some reflections on various senses of being metaphysically special and how they pertain to primary substances and supposits. /// [ Richard Cross] Scotus's belief that any created substance can depend on the divine essence and/or divine persons as a subject requires him to abandon the plausible Aristotelian principle that there is no merely relational change. I argue that Scotus's various counterexamples to the principle can be rebutted. For reasons related to those that arise in Scotus's failed attempt to refute the principle, the principle also entails that properties cannot be universals. (shrink)
The distinguished philosopher Robert M. Adams presents a major work on virtue, which is once again a central topic in ethical thought. A Theory of Virtue is a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about the moral evaluation of character, proposing that virtue is chiefly a matter of being for what is good, and that virtues must be intrinsically excellent and not just beneficial or useful.
The phenomenon of the New Genetics raises complex social problems, particularly those of privacy. This book offers ethical and legal perspectives on the questions of a right to know and not to know genetic information from the standpoint of individuals, their relatives, employers, insurers and the state. Graeme Laurie provides a unique definition of privacy, including a concept of property rights in the person, and argues for stronger legal protection of privacy in the shadow of developments in human genetics. (...) He challenges the role and the limits of established principles in medical law and ethics, including respect for patient autonomy and confidentiality. This book will interest lawyers, philosophers and doctors concerned both with genetic information and issues of privacy; it will also interest genetic counsellors, researchers, and policy makers worldwide for its practical stance on dilemmas in modern genetic medicine. (shrink)
Figuring prominently in their decisions regarding which theories to pursue are scientists' appeals to the promise or lack of promise of those theories. Yet philosophy of science has had little to say about how one is to assess theory promise. This essay identifies several indices that might be consulted to determine whether or not a theory is promising and worthy of pursuit. Various historical examples of appeals to such indices are introduced.
Those religious believers still willing to claim the term “liberal” are tired of being kicked around. In a swelling chorus of outrage, they have fought back against the cultural hegemony of evangelicals and the rampant rumors of liberal demise that have haunted their sanctuaries for the past three decades. In reaction, some mainstream Protestant churches in this camp have mounted concerted and organized efforts to rescript their public relations. I think here, in particular, of the United Church of Christ, a (...) left-leaning denomination that launched a massive advertising campaign in 2004 to raise its public profile. That effort is perhaps best known for its prominent comma and edgy advertisements depicting bouncers at the doors of conservative churches who physically eject potential members not in conformance with their white, heterosexual standards. The banning of those ads by many television stations, at the behest of conservative religious groups that took exception to the UCC proclamation of inclusiveness as a stab at evangelical orthodoxy, may only confirm the mainstream lament that liberalism is truly a countercultural proposition. (shrink)
Drawing on diverse historical cases, this paper describes and examines various aspects of a modality of scientific appraisal which has remained largely unexplored, theory pursuit. Specifically, it addresses the following issues: the epistemic and pragmatic commitments involved in theory pursuit, including how these differ from those characteristic of theory acceptance; how the research interests of scientists enter into their pursuit decisions; some of the strategies for the refinement and extension of a theory's empirical abilities which typify theory pursuit; and the (...) need to distinguish between individual and community rationality in contexts of pursuit. (shrink)
Renowned scholar Robert Adams explores the relation between religion and ethics through a comprehensive philosophical account of a theistically-based framework for ethics. Adams' framework begins with the good rather than the right, and with excellence rather than usefulness. He argues that loving the excellent, of which adoring God is a clear example, is the most fundamental aspect of a life well lived. Developing his original and detailed theory, Adams contends that devotion, the sacred, grace, martyrdom, worship, vocation, (...) faith, and other concepts drawn from religious ethics have been sorely overlooked in moral philosophy and can enrich the texture of ethical thought. (shrink)
Ancient Greek philosophers, medieval theologians, Enlightenment thinkers, and contemporary humanists alike have debated all aspects of human sexuality, including its purpose, permissibility, normalcy, and risks. _Philosophizing About Sex_ provides a philosophical guide to those longstanding and important debates. Each chapter takes a general issue and shows how ongoing public discussions of sexuality can be illuminated by careful philosophical investigation. Debates over topics such as sexual assault, sexual orientation, sex education, prostitution, and “sexting” involve larger questions about morality, law, science, and (...) politics and cannot be intelligently discussed in isolation from broader issues. By asking deceptively simple questions, this book shows how difficult but important it is to arrive at satisfying answers. (shrink)
This essay will address the ethical issues that have emerged in the first considerations of the newly emerging stem cell technology. Many of us in the field of bioethics were deliberating related issues as we first learned of the new science and confronted the ethical issues it raised. In this essay, I will draw on the work of colleagues who were asked to reflect on early stages of the research as the field debated the issues of consent, moral status, use (...) of animal tissues, abortion, use of fetal tissue, and the nature and goals of entrepreneurial research. In this new capacity, ethicists weighed the problem of privacy, the role of justice considerations, and the issues of the marketplace in science. At this point, it is clear that far more issues remain unresolved than are settled, that there is largely unexplored territory ahead, and that the single most important task that faces us as a field is a steady call for ongoing conversation and public debate. (shrink)
Is sex identity a feature of one's mind or body, and is it a relational or intrinsic property? Who is in the best position to know a person's sex, do we each have a true sex, and is a person's sex an alterable characteristic? When a person's sex assignment changes, has the old self disappeared and a new one emerged; or, has only the public presentation of one's self changed? "You've Changed" examines the philosophical questions raised by the phenomenon of (...) sex reassignment, and brings together the essays of scholars known for their work in gender, sexuality, queer, and disability studies, feminist epistemology and science studies, and philosophical accounts of personal identity. An interdisciplinary contribution to the emerging field of transgender studies, it will be of interest to students and scholars in a number of disciplines. (shrink)
The term ‘phenomenology’ has become almost as over-used and emptied of meaning as that other word from Continental Philosophy, namely ‘existentialism’. Yet Husserl, who first put forward the phenomenological method, considered it a rigorous alternative to positivism, and in the hands of Merleau-Ponty, a disciple of Husserl in France, phenomenology became a way of gaining a disciplined and coherent perspective on the world in which we live. When this study originally published in 1977 there were only a few books in (...) English on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. It introduced the reader and suggested how his thought might throw light on some of the assumptions and presuppositions of certain contemporary forms of Anglo-Saxon philosophy and social science. It also demonstrates how phenomenology seeks to unite philosophy and social science, rather than define them as mutually exclusive domains of knowledge. (shrink)
This article argues for the importance of conceptual clarity in the debate about the so-called right not to know. This is vital both at the theoretical and the practical level. It is suggested that, unlike many formulations and attempts to give effect to this right, what is at stake is not merely an aspect of personal autonomy and therefore cannot and should not be reduced only to a question of individual choice. Rather, it is argued that the core interests that (...) can be protected by the right not to know are better conceived of as privacy interests rather than autonomy interests. This not only helps us to understand what is in play but also informs regulatory, professional, and legal responses to handling information and taking decisions about whether or not to disclose information to persons about themselves. The practical implications of this conceptualization are explored in the context of feedback policies in health-related research. (shrink)
This article represents an attempt to organize, critique, and extend research findings on gender differences in business ethics. The focus is on two dependent variables—ethical judgment and behavioral intent. Differences in findings between student and professional groups are noted and theoretical implications are discussed. The new research provided for this article contains two benchmark studies undertaken with identical stimuli and identical measures. These studies were followed by two additional studies, using the same measures but different stimuli, as a partial replication (...) and extension of the first two. Findings suggest that little difference exists between the genders on behavioral intent for professional groups and only minimal differences for the ethical judgment measures. Student results, however, produced more substantial differences for behavioral intention. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that there are facts, and possibilities, that are not purely qualitative. In a second paper, however, I have argued that all possibilities are purely qualitative except insofar as they involve individuals that actually exist. In particular, I have argued that there are no thisnesses of nonactual individuals (where the thisness of x is the property of being x, or of being identical with x), and that there are no singular propositions about nonactual individuals (where a singular (...) proposition about an individual x is a proposition that involves or refers to x directly, perhaps by having x or the thisness of x as a constituent, and not merely by way of x's qualitative properties or relations to other individuals). I am also inclined to believe that there are not yet any thisnesses of individuals that will exist but do not yet, nor any singular propositions about future individuals--and, hence, that all possibilities are purely qualitative except insofar as they involve individuals that already do exist or have existed (counting timeless individuals, if any, as already existing). This thesis about the relation of time to thisness is the subject of the present paper, in which the conclusions of my previous papers will be presupposed. (shrink)
Divine Motivation theory is a major contribution both to the philosophy of religion, particularly the philosophy of religious ethics, and to general ethical theory. It is demanding reading, because it is long and complex and about difficult issues. It is also rewarding, because it is suggestive and highly original, written and argued with philosophical intelligence and disciplined care, and rich in systematic connections and explanations of them.
This book is meant to be a primer, that is, an introduction, to probability logic, a subject that appears to be in its infancy. Probability logic is a subject envisioned by Hans Reichenbach and largely created by Adams. It treats conditionals as bearers of conditional probabilities and discusses an appropriate sense of validity for arguments such conditionals, as well as ordinary statements as premisses. This is a clear well-written text on the subject of probability logic, suitable for advanced undergraduates (...) or graduates, but also of interest to professional philosophers. There are well-thought-out exercises, and a number of advanced topics treated in appendices, while some are brought up in exercises and some are alluded to only in footnotes. By this means, it is hoped that the reader will at least be made aware of most of the important ramifications of the subject and its tie-ins with current research, and will have some indications concerning recent and relevant literature. (shrink)
Adams presents an in-depth interpretation of three important parts of Leibniz's metaphysics, thoroughly grounded in the texts as well as in philosophical analysis and critique. The three areas discussed are the metaphysical part of Leibniz's philosophy of logic, his essentially theological treatment of the central issues of ontology, and his theory of substance. Adams' work helps make sense of one of the great classic systems of modern philosophy.
Discussion of uses of biomedical data often proceeds on the assumption that the data are generated and shared solely or largely within the health sector. However, this assumption must be challenged because increasingly large amounts of health and well-being data are being gathered and deployed in cross-sectoral contexts such as social media and through the internet of things and wearable devices. Cross-sectoral sharing of data thus refers to the generation, use and linkage of biomedical data beyond the health sector. This (...) paper considers the challenges that arise from this phenomenon. If we are to benefit fully, it is important to consider which ethical values are at stake and to reflect on ways to resolve emerging ethical issues across ecosystems where values, laws and cultures might be quite distinct. In considering such issues, this paper applies the deliberative balancing approach of the Ethics Framework for Big Data in Health and Research to the domain of cross-sectoral big data. Please refer to that article for more information on how this framework is to be used, including a full explanation of the key values involved and the balancing approach used in the case study at the end. (shrink)
In this article, I examine the case for privatising marriage and replacing civil marriage with inclusive civil union policies. I argue against this proposal because of its likely detrimental impact on the social standing of women and girls. In order to assess the importance of civil marriage historically and cross-culturally, I examine a contemporary debate over marriage reform in some predominantly Islamic societies in regard to temporary marriage. I also propose a policy to protect the interests of children of both (...) married and unmarried parents, so that this issue will be less of a stumbling block to proposals for inclusive civil marriage. (shrink)
Among philosophers, there are at least two prevalent views about the core concept of intentional action. View I (Adams 1986, 1997; McCann 1986) holds that an agent S intentionally does an action A only if S intends to do A. View II (Bratman 1987; Harman 1976; and Mele 1992) holds that there are cases where S intentionally does A without intending to do A, as long as doing A is foreseen and S is willing to accept A as a (...) consequence of S’s action. Joshua Knobe (2003a) presents intriguing data that may be taken to support the second view.1 Knobe’s data show an asymmetry in folk judgements. People are more inclined to judge that S did A intentionally, even when not intended, if A was perceived as causing a harm (e.g. harming the environment). There is an asymmetry because people are not inclined to see S’s action as intentional, when not intended, if A is perceived as causing a beneﬁt (e.g. helping the environment). In this paper we will discuss Knobe’s results in detail. We will raise the question of whether his ordinary language surveys of folk judgments have accessed core concepts of intentional action. We suspect that instead Knobe’s surveys are tapping into pragmatic aspects of intentional language and its role in moral praise and blame. We will suggest alternative surveys that we plan to conduct to get at this difference, and we will attempt to explain the pragmatic usage of intentional language. (shrink)
Laurie Shrage attributes much of the long-standing controversy about abortion to Roe v. Wade and to the Supreme Court's controversial regulatory scheme in that 1973 decision. Shrage explores the origins of that scheme but argues for an alternate scheme - therapeutic abortions shorter than six months can protect women's interests and advance important public interests, but that reproductive rights campaigns should also focus on the social and economic conditions that prevent women having access to the abortion services they need. (...) Including over 40 illustrations of pro-life and pro-choice advertisements to demonstrate the nature of the debate, this timely and provocative work will appeal to feminists in a wide range of fields including philosophy, political science, women's studies, communication, and public policy. (shrink)
Across three studies, the authors examine the interactive effects of moral identity and the negative reciprocity norm in predicting revenge. The general argument is that moral identity provides the motivational impetus for individuals’ responses, whereas the normative framework that people adopt as a basis for guiding moral action influences the direction of the response. Results indicated that moral identity and the negative reciprocity norm significantly interacted to predict revenge. More specifically, the symbolization dimension of moral identity interacted with the negative (...) reciprocity norm to predict revenge when individuals were the targets of mistreatment, whereas the internalization dimension of moral identity interacted with the negative reciprocity norm to predict revenge when individuals were the observers of mistreatment. Theoretical implications related to the differences between the symbolization and internalization dimensions of moral identity, the importance of examining normative frameworks, and the functionality of revenge are discussed. (shrink)
Oncofertility is one of the 9 NIH Roadmap Initiatives, federal grants intended to explore previously intractable questions, and it describes a new field that exists in the liminal space between cancer treatment and its sequelae, IVF clinics and their yearning, and basic research in cell growth, biomaterials, and reproductive science and its tempting promises. Cancer diagnoses, which were once thought universally fatal, now often entail management of a chronic disease. Yet the therapies are rigorous, must start immediately, and in many (...) cases result in premature failure of the body's reproductive ability. In women, this loss is especially poignant; unlike the routine storage of sperm, which is done in men and boys facing similar treatment decisions, freezing oocytes in anticipation of fertility loss is not possible in most cases, and creating an embryo within days of diagnosis raises significant moral, social and medical challenges. Oncofertility is the study of how to harvest ovarian tissue in women facing cancer to preserve their gametes for future use with IVF, thus allowing the decisions about childbearing to be deferred and reproductive choices to be preserved. The research endeavor uses the capacity of the ovarian follicle to produce eggs in vitro . Developing the human follicle to ovulate successfully outside the body is scientifically difficult and ethically challenging. Infertility is linked to long-standing religious and moral traditions, and is intertwined with deeply contentious social narratives about women, families, illness and birth. Is the research morally permissible? Perhaps imperative if understood as a repair from iatrogenic harms? How are considerations of justice central to the work? How will vulnerable subjects be protected? What are the moral implications of the work for women, children and families? What are the implications for society if women could store ovarian tissue as a way of stopping the biological clock? What are the moral possibilities and challenges if eggs can be produced in large quantities from a stored ovarian tissue? (shrink)