Evolutionary ethics - the application of evolutionary ideas to moral thinking and justification - began in the nineteenth century with the work of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, but was subsequently criticized as an example of the naturalistic fallacy. In recent decades, however, evolutionary ethics has found new support among both the Darwinian and the Spencerian traditions. This accessible volume looks at the history of thought about evolutionary ethics as well as current debates in the subject, examining first the claims (...) of supporters and then the responses of their critics. Topics covered include social Darwinism, moral realism, and debunking arguments. Clearly written and structured, the book guides readers through the arguments on both sides, and emphasises the continuing relevance of evolutionary theory to our understanding of ethics today. (shrink)
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is universally recognized as one of the most important science books ever written. Published in 1859, it was here that Darwin argued for both the fact of evolution and the mechanism of natural section. The Origin of Species is also a work of great cultural and religious significance, in that Darwin maintained that all organisms, including humans, are part of a natural process of growth from simple forms. This Companion commemorates the 150th anniversary (...) of the publication of the Origin of Species and examines its main arguments. Drawing on the expertise of leading authorities in the field, it also provides the contexts - religious, social, political, literary, and philosophical - in which the Origin was composed. Written in a clear and friendly yet authoritative manner, this volume will be essential reading for both scholars and students More broadly, it will appeal to general readers who want to learn more about one of the most important and controversial books of modern times. (shrink)
No doubt most philosophers who spend time on the history of philosophy are familiar with that question asked to embarrass (and liable to be asked by scientists in particular) why the history of the subject should be thought a significant part of the subject itself. Either there is progress in philosophy, it is said, or there is not. If there is progress, why the laborious backward glances? How can the past be so important? Why aren’t philosophers like psychologists, given perhaps (...) a short historical orientation before being brought up to the nitty-gritty of the present? If, on the other hand, there is no progress, if we might as well be discussing Locke as Quine, doesn’t that imply that philosophy consists in a set of questions for which there is no way of establishing even that some answers are better than others? Wouldn’t it be more profitable to pursue questions to which at least provisional answers can be established, approximating to the truth? Wouldn’t it be better to be a scientist? (shrink)
Conflicts of interest pose special problems for the professions. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest can undermine essential trust between professional and public. This volume is a comprehensive and accessible guide to the ramifications and problems associated with important issue. It contains fifteen new essays by noted scholars and covers topics in law, medicine, journalism, engineering, financial services, and others.
This article is concerned with developing a philosophical approach to a number of significant changes to academic publishing, and specifically the global journal knowledge system wrought by a range of new digital technologies that herald the third age of the journal as an electronic, interactive and mixed-media form of scientific communication. The paper emerges from an Editors' Collective, a small New Zealand-based organisation comprised of editors and reviewers of academic journals mostly in the fields of education and philosophy. The paper (...) is the result of a collective writing process. (shrink)
When it first appeared in 1979, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature hit the philosophical world like a bombshell. In it, Richard Rorty argued that, beginning in the seventeenth century, philosophers developed an unhealthy obsession with the notion of representation: comparing the mind to a mirror that reflects reality. Rorty's book is a powerful critique of this imagery and the tradition of thought that it spawned. Thirty years later, the book remains a must-read and stands as a classic of (...) twentieth-century philosophy. Its influence on the academy, both within philosophy and across a wide array of disciplines, continues unabated. This edition includes new essays by philosopher Michael Williams and literary scholar David Bromwich, as well as Rorty's previously unpublished essay "The Philosopher as Expert.". (shrink)
Richard Goldschmidt was one of the most controversial biologists of the mid-twentieth century. Rather than fade from view, Goldschmidt's work and reputation has persisted in the biological community long after he has. Goldschmidt's longevity is due in large part to how he was represented by Stephen J. Gould. When viewed from the perspective of the biographer, Gould's revival of Goldschmidt as an evolutionary heretic in the 1970s and 1980s represents a selective reinvention of Goldschmidt that provides a contrast to (...) other kinds of biographical commemorations by scientists. (shrink)
There are many kinds of epistemic experts to which we might wish to defer in setting our credences. These include: highly rational agents, objective chances, our own future credences, our own current credences, and evidential probabilities. But exactly what constraint does a deference requirement place on an agent's credences? In this paper we consider three answers, inspired by three principles that have been proposed for deference to objective chances. We consider how these options fare when applied to the other kinds (...) of epistemic experts mentioned above. Of the three deference principles we consider, we argue that two of the options face insuperable difficulties. The third, on the other hand, fares well|at least when it is applied in a particular way. (shrink)
During the last 25 years, researchers studying human reasoning and judgment in what has become known as the “heuristics and biases” tradition have produced an impressive body of experimental work which many have seen as having “bleak implications” for the rationality of ordinary people (Nisbett and Borgida 1975). According to one proponent of this view, when we reason about probability we fall victim to “inevitable illusions” (Piattelli-Palmarini 1994). Other proponents maintain that the human mind is prone to “systematic deviations from (...) rationality” (Bazerman & Neale 1986) and is “not built to work by the rules of probability” (Gould 1992). It has even been suggested that human beings are “a species that is uniformly probability-blind” (Piattelli-Palmarini 1994). This provocative and pessimistic interpretation of the experimental findings has been challenged from many different directions over the years. One of the most recent and energetic of these challenges has come from the newly emerging field of evolutionary psychology, where it has been argued that it’s singularly implausible to claim that our species would have evolved with no “instinct for probability” and, hence, be “blind to chance” (Pinker 1997, 351). Though evolutionary psychologists concede that it is possible to design experiments that “trick our probability.. (shrink)
Machery argues that concepts do not constitute a natural kind. We argue that this is a mistake. When appropriately construed, his discussion in fact bolsters the claim that concepts are a natural kind.
Michael Bacon gives a critical presentation of Rorty's writings on pragmatism and political theory, comparing and contrasting him with pragmatists such as Hilary Putnam and Susan Haack and liberals such as John Rawls and Brian Barry. The result is an imaginative presentation of one of contemporary philosophy's most innovative and important thinkers.
Orang-utans played a communication game in two studies testing their ability to produce and comprehend requestive pointing. While the ‘communicator’ could see but not obtain hidden food, the ‘donor’ could release the food to the communicator, but could not see its location for herself. They could coordinate successfully if the communicator pointed to the food, and if the donor comprehended his communicative goal and responded pro-socially. In Study 1, one orang-utan pointed regularly and accurately for peers. However, they responded only (...) rarely. In Study 2, a human experimenter played the communicator’s role in three conditions, testing the apes’ comprehension of points of different heights and different degrees of ostension. There was no effect of condition. However, across conditions one donor performed well individually, and as a group orang-utans’ comprehension performance tended towards significance. We explain this on the grounds that comprehension required inferences that they found difficult – but not impossible. The finding has valuable implications for our thinking about the development of pointing in phylogeny. (shrink)
Expertise is extended by becoming immersed in cultural practices. We look at an example of mathematical expertise in which immersion in cognitive practices results in the transformation of expert performance.
Infants can see someone pointing to one of two buckets and infer that the toy they are seeking is hidden inside. Great apes do not succeed in this task, but, surprisingly, domestic dogs do. However, whether children and dogs understand these communicative acts in the same way is not yet known. To test this possibility, an experimenter did not point, look, or extend any part of her body towards either bucket, but instead lifted and shook one via a centrally pulled (...) rope. She did this either intentionally or accidentally, and did or did not address her act to the subject using ostensive cues. Young 2-year-old children but not dogs understood the experimenter’s act in intentional conditions. While ostensive pulling of the rope made no difference to children’s success, it actually hindered dogs’ performance. We conclude that while human children may be capable of inferring communicative intent from a wide variety actions, so long as these actions are performed intentionally, dogs are likely to be less flexible in this respect. Their understanding of communicative intention may be more dependent upon bodily markers of communicative intent, including gaze, orientation, extended limbs, and vocalisations. This may be because humans have come under selective pressure to develop skills for communicating with absent interlocutors – where bodily co-presence is not possible. (shrink)
The eminent historian and philosopher of biology, Michael Ruse, has written several books that explore the relationship of evolutionary theory to its larger scientific and cultural setting. Among the questions he has investigated are: Is evolution progressive? What is its epistemological status? Most recently, in "Darwin and Design: Does Evolution have a Purpose?," Ruse has provided a history of the concept of teleology in biological thinking, especially in evolutionary theorizing. In his book, he moves quickly from Plato and Aristotle (...) to Kant and such British thinkers as Paley and Whewell. His main focus, though, is on Darwin's theory and its subsequent fate. Ruse rests his history on some shaky historical and philosophic assumptions, particularly the unexamined notion that evolutionary theory is an abstract entity that is unproblematically realized in different historical periods. He also assumes that Darwin conceived nature as if it were a Manchester spinning loom -- a clanking, dispassionate machine. A more subtle analysis, which Ruse eschews, might discover that Darwin's conception of nature owed a strong debt to German Romanticism and that he contrived to infuse nature with moral and aesthetic values, not to suck them from nature. Ruse proves he is a thinker to contend with, and this essay is quite contentious. (shrink)
We explore the idea that eye-movement strategies in reading are precisely adapted to the joint constraints of task structure, task payoff, and processing architecture. We present a model of saccadic control that separates a parametric control policy space from a parametric machine architecture, the latter based on a small set of assumptions derived from research on eye movements in reading (Engbert, Nuthmann, Richter, & Kliegl, 2005; Reichle, Warren, & McConnell, 2009). The eye-control model is embedded in a decision architecture (a (...) machine and policy space) that is capable of performing a simple linguistic task integrating information across saccades. Model predictions are derived by jointly optimizing the control of eye movements and task decisions under payoffs that quantitatively express different desired speed-accuracy trade-offs. The model yields distinct eye-movement predictions for the same task under different payoffs, including single-fixation durations, frequency effects, accuracy effects, and list position effects, and their modulation by task payoff. The predictions are compared to—and found to accord with—eye-movement data obtained from human participants performing the same task under the same payoffs, but they are found not to accord as well when the assumptions concerning payoff optimization and processing architecture are varied. These results extend work on rational analysis of oculomotor control and adaptation of reading strategy (Bicknell & Levy, ; McConkie, Rayner, & Wilson, 1973; Norris, 2009; Wotschack, 2009) by providing evidence for adaptation at low levels of saccadic control that is shaped by quantitatively varying task demands and the dynamics of processing architecture. (shrink)
Although Responsible Conduct of Research training is common in the sciences, the effectiveness of RCR training is open to question. Three key factors appear to be particularly important in ensuring the effectiveness of ethics education programs: educational efforts should be tied to day-to-day practices in the field, educational efforts should provide strategies for working through the ethical problems people are likely to encounter in day-to-day practice, and educational efforts should be embedded in a broader program of on-going career development efforts. (...) This article discusses a complex qualitative approach to RCR training development, based on a sensemaking model, which strives to address the afore-mentioned training concerns. Ethnographic observations and prior RCR training served the purpose of collecting information specific to a multi-disciplinary and multi-university research center with the goal of identifying metacognitive reasoning strategies that would facilitate ethical decision-making. The extensive qualitative analyses resulted in the identification of nine metacognitive reasoning strategies on which future RCR training will be developed. The implications of the findings for RCR training in the sciences are discussed. (shrink)
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats genome editing has already reinvented the direction of genetic and stem cell research. For more complex diseases it allows scientists to simultaneously create multiple genetic changes to a single cell. Technologies for correcting multiple mutations in an in vivo system are already in development. On the surface, the advent and use of gene editing technologies is a powerful tool to reduce human suffering by eradicating complex disease that has a genetic etiology. Gene drives are (...) CRISPR mediated alterations to genes that allow them to be passed on to subsequent populations at rates that approach one hundred per cent transmission. Therefore, from an anticipatory biomedical ethics perspective, it is possible to conceive gene drive being used with CRISPR to permanently ameliorate aberrant genes from wild-type populations containing mutations. However, there are also a number of possible side effects that could develop as the result of combining gene editing and gene drive technologies in an effort to eradicate complex diseases. In this paper, we critically analyse the hypothesis that the combination of CRISPR and gene drive will have a deleterious effect on human populations from an ethical perspective by developing an anticipatory ethical analysis of the implications for the use of CRISPR together with gene drive in humans. (shrink)
This engaging and accessible introduction to the philosophy of language provides an important guide to one of the liveliest and most challenging areas of study in philosophy. Interweaving the historical development of the subject with a thematic overview of the different approaches to meaning, the book provides students with the tools necessary to understand contemporary analytical philosophy. The second edition includes new material on: Chomsky, Wittgenstein and Davidson as well as new chapters on the causal theory of reference, possible worlds (...) semantics and semantic externalism. (shrink)
This study examines the methods students use to cheat on class examinations and suggests ways of deterring using an international sample from Australia, China, Ireland, and the United States. We also examine the level of cheating and reasons for cheating that prior research has highlighted as a method of demonstrating that our sample is equivalent to those in prior studies. Our results confirm the results of prior research that primarily employs students from the United States. The data indicate that actions (...) such as having multiple versions of the examination and scrambling the questions on these versions would deter cheating. In addition, given the increased level of cheating and students' increased perception of the social acceptability of cheating in college, the data provided by our international sample also suggest that some relatively simple precautions by instructors could dramatically reduce the level of cheating on in-class examinations. (shrink)
The communicative interactions of very young children almost always involve language, gesture and directed gaze. In this study, ninety-six children were asked to determine the location of a hidden toy by understanding a communicative act that contained none of these familiar means. A light-and-sound mechanism placed behind the hiding place and illuminated by a centrally placed switch was used to indicate the location of the toy. After a communicative training session, an experimenter pressed the switch either deliberately or accidentally, and (...) with or without ostension. In no condition did she orient towards the hiding place. When the switch was pressed intentionally, children used the light-and-sound cue to find the toy – and tended to do so even in the absence of ostensive eye contact. When the experimenter pressed the switch accidentally, children searched randomly – demonstrating that they were tracking her communicative intent, and not merely choosing on the basis of salience. The absence of an effect of ostension contradicts research that ostension helps children to interpret the communicative intentions underlying unfamiliar signs. We explain this by concluding that while it may play a role in establishing a communicative interaction, it is not necessary for sustaining one; and that even with a highly novel communicative act – involving none of the means of communication on which children typically rely – three-year-olds can comprehend the communicative intentions behind an intentionally produced act. (shrink)
Central and East Europeans have a great deal in common, both historically and culturally, with West Europeans and North Americans, but tend to be more interdependent. Interdependence has been shown to be linked to holistic cognition. East Asians are more interdependent than Americans and are more holistic. If interdependence causes holism, we would expect Central and East Europeans to be more holistic than West Europeans and North Americans. In two studies we found evidence that Central and East Europeans are indeed (...) more holistic than Westerners on three tasks, one of which examined categorization and two of which measured patterns of visual attention. These studies support the argument that cross-cultural differences in cognition are due to society level differences in independence/interdependence. (shrink)
Stewardship is potentially a usefulconcept in modernizing management philosophies. Use ofthe term has increased markedly in recent years, yetthe term is used loosely and rarely defined in landmanagement literature. The connections between thispractical usage and the ethical basis of stewardshipare currently poorly developed. The followingdefinition is proposed: ``Stewardship is theresponsible use (including conservation) of naturalresources in a way that takes full and balancedaccount of the interests of society, futuregenerations, and other species, as well as of privateneeds, and accepts significant answerability (...) tosociety.'''' A religious interpretation would require thephrase ``and ultimately to God'''' to be added.Stewardship has both secular and religiousinterpretations and it will be desirable to developboth of these aspects in parallel. A task forphilosophers is to establish whether the ethical basisof stewardship is sufficient to address environmentalconcerns or whether it is necessary to embrace widerethical approaches. Stewardship occupies similarground to several other concepts of use and managementof resources, particularly sustainability. It canbuild on sustainability by encouraging a broader viewof who and what should benefit from managementactivity. In particular, it focuses attention on therole of managers in providing public benefit and onenvisaging other species as a form of ``stakeholder'''' inmanagement decisions. Stewardship is applicable acrossthe widest range of fields of resource use and alsohas relevance to aspects of land tenure and propertyrights. Application of stewardship will require someadjustments in the roles of private managers/ownersvis-à-vis government. It might providemanagers with an expanded role and, importantly, amore positive image, both of themselves and in theeyes of the public. Stewardship could alsobe developed in a way that has relevance to citizensin general (as opposed to managers and owners ofresources), through their interactions with naturalresources as consumers. (shrink)
Many of today's ads work by arousing the viewer's emotions. Although emotion-arousing ads are widely used and are commonly thought to be effective, their careless use produces a side-effect: the psychoactive ad. A psychoactive ad is any emotion-arousing ad that can cause a meaningful, well-defined group of viewers to feel extremely anxious, to feel hostile toward others, or to feel a loss of self-esteem. We argue that, because some ill-conceived psychoactive ads can cause harm, ethical issues must arise during their (...) production. Current pretesting methods cannot identify the potentially psychoactive ads; therefore, we offer some tentative guidelines for reducing the number of viewers harmed by psychoactive ads. (shrink)
The eight pieces constituting this Meeting Report are summaries of presentations made during a panel session at the 2011 Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) annual meeting held between March 3rd and 6th in Cincinnati. Lisa Newton organized the session and served as chair. The panel of eight consisted both of pioneers in the field and more recent arrivals. It covered a range of topics from how the field has developed to where it should be going, from identification of (...) issues needing further study to problems of training the next generation of engineers and engineering-ethics scholars. (shrink)
Sociologists tend to eschew biological explanations of human social behavior. Accordingly, when evolutionary biologists began to apply neo-Darwinian theory to the study of human social behavior, the reactions of sociologists typically ranged from indifference to overt hostility. Since the mid-1960s, however, neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory has stimulated a "second Darwinian revolution" in traditional social scientific conceptions of human nature and social behavior, even while most sociologists remain largely uninformed about neo-Darwinian theory and research. This article traces sociology's long-standing isolation from the (...) life sciences, especially evolutionary biology, to divergence in the metatheoretical assumptions that typify conventional sociological thought versus contemporary evolutionary biology. We conclude with a discussion of the recent emergence of a nascent "evolutionary sociology" that integrates sociobiological reasoning with contemporary sociological thought. (shrink)
This paper responds to the commentaries from Stacy Carter and Alan Cribb. We pick up on two main themes in our response. First, we reflect on how the process of setting standards for empirical bioethics research entails drawing boundaries around what research counts as empirical bioethics research, and we discuss whether the standards agreed in the consensus process draw these boundaries correctly. Second, we expand on the discussion in the original paper of the role and significance of the concept of (...) ‘integrating’ empirical methods and ethical argument as a standard for research practice within empirical bioethics. (shrink)
_Education, Ethics and Experience_ is a collection of original philosophical essays celebrating the work of one of the most influential philosophers of education of the last 40 years. Richard Pring’s substantial body of work has addressed topics ranging from curriculum integration to the comprehensive ideal, vocational education to faith schools, professional development to the privatisation of education, moral seriousness to the nature of educational research. The twelve essays collected here explore and build on Pring’s treatment of topics that are (...) central to the field of philosophy of education and high on the agenda of education policy-makers. The essays are by no means uncritical: some authors disagree sharply with Pring; others see his arguments as useful but incomplete, in need of addition or amendment. But all acknowledge their intellectual debt to him and recognise him as a giant on whose shoulders they stand. This book will be a welcome and lively read for educational academics, researchers and students of Educational Studies and Philosophy. (shrink)
Gave 42 19-26 yr. old insomniac Ss placebo pills to take a few min. before going to bed. Some Ss were told that the pills would cause arousal, and others were told that the pills would reduce arousal. As predicted, arousal Ss got to sleep more quickly than they had on nights without the pills, presumably because they attributed their arousal to the pills rather than to their emotions, and as a consequence were less emotional. Also as predicted, relaxation Ss (...) got to sleep less quickly than usual, presumably because they assumed that their emotions were unusually intense since their arousal level was high even after taking an arousal-reducing agent. Results have relevance for S. Schachter's theory of emotions and H. Kelley's attribution theory. Pragmatically, findings suggest the feasibility of a therapy based on reattribution of symptoms, and indicate that traditional suggestion effect practices should be modified. (shrink)
. The linking of Michael Polanyi's name with a center at Baylor University that espoused intelligent‐design theory calls for examination of Polanyi's teleology. This examination attempts to put Polanyi's epistemology in the perspective of his total philosophical work by looking at the clarification of teleology in philosophy of biology and in the framework of three major features of Polanyi's thought: open and truth‐oriented, purposive but open to truth, and transcendent yet intelligible. The conclusion is that Polanyi would not support (...) intelligent design according to the nature of his own theory. (shrink)
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, in particular (...) the reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)