Slavoj Zizek is no ordinary philosopher. Approaching critical theory and psychoanalysis in a recklessly entertaining fashion, Zizek's critical eye alights upon a bewildering and exhilarating range of subjects, from the political apathy of contemporary life, to a joke about the man who thinks he's a chicken, from the ethicial heroism of Keanu Reeves in speed , to what toilet designs reveal about the national psyche. TonyMyers provides a clear and engaging guide to Zizek's key ideas, explaining the (...) main influences on Zizek's thought, most crucially his engagement with Lacanian psychoanalysis, using examples drawn from popular culture and everyday life. Myers outlines the key issues that Zizek's work has tackled, including: * What is a Subject and why is it so important? * The Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real * What is so terrible about Postmodernity? * How can we distinguish reality from ideology? * What is the relationship between men and women? * Why is Racism always a fantasy? Slavoj Zizek is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the thought of the critic whom Terry Eagleton has described as "the most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged in Europe for some decades.". (shrink)
According to many commentators, Davidson’s earlier work on philosophy of action and truth-theoretic semantics is the basis for his reputation, and his later forays into broader metaphysical and epistemological issues, and eventually into what became known as the triangulation argument, are much less successful. This book by two of his former students aims to change that perception. In Part One, Verheggen begins by providing an explanation and defense of the triangulation argument, then explores its implications for questions concerning semantic normativity (...) and reductionism, the social character of language and thought, and skepticism about the external world. In Part Two, Myers considers what the argument can tell us about reasons for action, and whether it can overcome skeptical worries based on claims about the nature of motivation, the sources of normativity and the demands of morality. The book reveals Davidson’s later writings to be full of innovative and important ideas that deserve much more attention than they are currently receiving. (shrink)
Self-Governance and Cooperation offers solutions to two fundamental problems in moral philosophy, one concerning the nature and requirements of morality and the other the nature and requirements of practical reason. Robert Myers’s achievement is not just that his solutions are original and plausible, but that his arguments acknowledge and demonstrate the need to approach the problems as an inseparable pair. Philosophical tradition tells us that questions about the content of morality cannot be answered in isolation from questions about its (...) rational force, and that, even more so, questions about the place of morality in practical reason cannot be answered without taking a stand on contested questions of substantive ethics. Myers’s book is a welcome counterforce to a tendency in contemporary moral philosophy to artificially subdivide the subject. (shrink)
Analyzing Morgenthau's Politics Among Nations, Myers provides a point-by-point discussion of his theory, concluding that the relevance of realism will be seen particularly in the search for a new balance of power in the post-Cold War world.
The election of Roh Tae Woo marked the beginning of a new stage in Korean politics: "the period of Korean-style democracy." Myers follows events leading up to this change and predicts a less threatening, less Confucian politics for the Korea of the future.
In a brief summary of a poll conducted by the Carnegie Council, Myers outlines the American public's views on issues ranging from foreign policy/peace issues to economic security, defense, and human rights.
Nineteenth-century European thought, especially in Germany, was increasingly dominated by a new historicist impulse to situate every event, person, or text in its particular context. At odds with the transcendent claims of philosophy and--more significantly--theology, historicism came to be attacked by its critics for reducing human experience to a series of disconnected moments, each of which was the product of decidedly mundane, rather than sacred, origins. By the late nineteenth century and into the Weimar period, historicism was seen by many (...) as a grinding force that corroded social values and was emblematic of modern society's gravest ills. Resisting History examines the backlash against historicism, focusing on four major Jewish thinkers. David Myers situates these thinkers in proximity to leading Protestant thinkers of the time, but argues that German Jews and Christians shared a complex cultural and discursive world best understood in terms of exchange and adaptation rather than influence.After examining the growing dominance of the new historicist thinking in the nineteenth century, the book analyzes the critical responses of Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Leo Strauss, and Isaac Breuer. For this fascinating and diverse quartet of thinkers, historicism posed a stark challenge to the ongoing vitality of Judaism in the modern world. And yet, as they set out to dilute or eliminate its destructive tendencies, these thinkers often made recourse to the very tools and methods of historicism. In doing so, they demonstrated the utter inescapability of historicism in modern culture, whether approached from a Christian or Jewish perspective. (shrink)
Robert Myers presents an original moral theory which charts a course between the extremes of consequentialism and contractualism. He puts forward a radically new case for the existence of both agent-neutral and agent-relative values, and gives an innovative answer to the question how such disparate values can be weighed against each other. The result is a theory of morality which combines a balanced account of its content with a ringing affirmation of its authority.
Robert Myers presents an original moral theory which charts a course between the extremes of consequentialism and contractualism, portraying morality not simply as a matter of promoting the overall good but rather as a matter of cooperating in its promotion. This gives him answers to two of the most vexing questions in moral philosophy: how can increasing general welfare and respecting individual rights be equally fundamental features of moral activity, and what gives morality's demands their special character of inescapability?
What is the spirit that animates collective action? What is the ethos of democracy? _Worldly Ethics _offers a powerful and original response to these questions, arguing that associative democratic politics, in which citizens join together and struggle to shape shared conditions, requires a world-centered ethos. This distinctive ethos, Ella Myers shows, involves care for "worldly things," which are the common and contentious objects of concern around which democratic actors mobilize. In articulating the meaning of worldly ethics, she reveals the (...) limits of previous modes of ethics, including Michel Foucault's therapeutic model, based on a "care of the self," and Emmanuel Levinas's charitable model, based on care for the Other. Myers contends that these approaches occlude the worldly character of political life and are therefore unlikely to inspire and support collective democratic activity. The alternative ethics she proposes is informed by Hannah Arendt's notion of _amor mundi_, or love of the world, and it focuses on the ways democratic actors align around issues, goals, or things in the world, practicing collaborative care for them. Myers sees worldly ethics as a resource that can inspire and motivate ordinary citizens to participate in democratic politics, and the book highlights civic organizations that already embody its principles. (shrink)
Context: Although ethics consultation is commonplace in United States (U.S.) hospitals, descriptive data about this health service are lacking. Objective: To describe the prevalence, practitioners, and processes of ethics consultation in U.S. hospitals. Design: A 56-item phone or questionnaire survey of the "best informant" within each hospital. Participants: Random sample of 600 U.S. general hospitals, stratified by bed size. Results: The response rate was 87.4%. Ethics consultation services (ECSs) were found in 81% of all general hospitals in the U.S., and (...) in 100% of hospitals with more than 400 beds. The median number of consults performed by ECSs in the year prior to survey was 3. Most individuals performing ethics consultation were physicians (34%), nurses (31%), social workers (11%), or chaplains (10%). Only 41% had formal supervised training in ethics consultation. Consultation practices varied widely both within and between ECSs. For example, 65% of ECSs always made recommendations, whereas 6% never did. These findings highlight a need to clarify standards for ethics consultation practices. (shrink)
Why does performing certain tasks cause the aversive experience of mental effort and concomitant deterioration in task performance? One explanation posits a physical resource that is depleted over time. We propose an alternative explanation that centers on mental representations of the costs and benefits associated with task performance. Specifically, certain computational mechanisms, especially those associated with executive function, can be deployed for only a limited number of simultaneous tasks at any given moment. Consequently, the deployment of these computational mechanisms carries (...) an opportunity cost – that is, the next-best use to which these systems might be put. We argue that the phenomenology of effort can be understood as the felt output of these cost/benefit computations. In turn, the subjective experience of effort motivates reduced deployment of these computational mechanisms in the service of the present task. These opportunity cost representations, then, together with other cost/benefit calculations, determine effort expended and, everything else equal, result in performance reductions. In making our case for this position, we review alternative explanations for both the phenomenology of effort associated with these tasks and for performance reductions over time. Likewise, we review the broad range of relevant empirical results from across sub-disciplines, especially psychology and neuroscience. We hope that our proposal will help to build links among the diverse fields that have been addressing similar questions from different perspectives, and we emphasize ways in which alternative models might be empirically distinguished. (shrink)
Allthough small business accounts for over 90% of businesses in U.K. and indeed elsewhere, they remain the largely uncharted area of ethics. There has not been any research based on the perspective of small business owners, to define what echical delemmas they face and how, if at all, they resolve them. This paper explores ethics from the perspective of small business owner, using focus groups and reports on four clearly identifiable themes of ethical delemmas; entrepreneurial activity itself, conflicts of personal (...) values with business needs, social responsibility and the impact of owners' personality on business ethics. The mechanisms for resolving ethical dilemmas is not at all clear, as there appears to be a web of filters which are used in an inter-connected way. However a common starting point for resolving an ethical delemma which involves others is based on identifying who it is (e.g., a friend or institution) and the quality of the relationship with that person. The research yielded a rich source of material on business ethics and it is clear that future researchers must focus on this sector if business ethics is to make significant advances. (shrink)
Cognition in work teams has been predominantly understood and explained in terms of shared cognition with a focus on the similarity of static knowledge structures across individual team members. Inspired by the current zeitgeist in cognitive science, as well as by empirical data and pragmatic concerns, we offer an alternative theory of team cognition. Interactive Team Cognition (ITC) theory posits that (1) team cognition is an activity, not a property or a product; (2) team cognition should be measured and studied (...) at the team level; and (3) team cognition is inextricably tied to context. There are implications of ITC for theory building, modeling, measurement, and applications that make teams more effective performers. (shrink)
Institutional review boards are almost universally considered to be overworked and understaffed. They also require substantial commitments of time and resources from their members. Although some surveys report average IRB memberships of 15 people or more, federal regulations require only five. We present data on IRB meetings at eight of the top 25 academic medical centers in the United States funded by the National Institutes of Health. These data indicate substantial contributions from primary reviewers and chairs during protocol discussions but (...) little from other members, which implies that it may be possible for smaller IRBs to accomplish the same tasks with no reduction in the quality of review. (shrink)
Here I examine Bernard Suits?s definition of games and explain why that definition is in need of reference to representation or, put more generally, to semiosis. And, once admitting the necessity of the representational in games, Suits?s definition must also then admit the essential paradoxy of games.
In theories of gravity with a positive cosmological constant, we consider product solutions with flux, of the form (A)dS p ×S q . Most solutions are shown to be perturbatively unstable, including all uncharged dS p ×S q spacetimes. For dimensions greater than four, the stable class includes universes whose entropy exceeds that of de Sitter space, in violation of the conjectured “N-bound.” Hence, if quantum gravity theories with finite-dimensional Hilbert space exist, the specification of a positive cosmological constant will (...) not suffice to characterize the class of spacetimes they describe. (shrink)
The notion that there is a category mistake or some other conceptual confusion in regarding seeing, hearing, and other forms of perception as events, states, or processes is incorrect. Ryle's analysis of "seeing" as an achievement word does not rule out our regarding seeing as an event, but in fact suggests that we do so when we carry the analysis beyond the point where Ryle leaves it. Furthermore there are uses of "see" not noticed by Ryle which justify our saying (...) that within certain contexts seeing is a state and within other contexts a process. The question of what these events, states, and processes are cannot be met without recognizing a fundamental duality of aspect that characterizes perception. This duality can be formulated in terms of the way perception is known. One who observes a perceiver knows the perceiver's perception in a categorically different way than the perceiver knows it. From this it can be seen that perceptual events, states, and processes have both a physical aspect and an epistemological aspect. Any attempt to reduce one of these aspects to the other would involve a category mistake. (shrink)
This essay defends the view of G. C. Pande that, contrary to received opinion, "ānanda" (bliss, felicity) is accepted by Śaṅkara (ca. 788-820) as a feature of Brahman consistent with and parallel to sat (being) and cit (consciousness). It also includes a counterargument by B. N. K. Sharma, and in conclusion offers a reasoned judgment of the arguments of Śaṅkara and these two contemporary philosophers.
The earth cannot support humanity's increasing population and consumption. Concerned scientists and citizens are therefore wondering how we might work toward a sustainable, survivable human future. Sustainability involves increased technological efficiency and agricultural productivity, but also incentives and attitudes that moderate consumption. Social psychology contributes to changing attitudes and behavior with evidence that a) materialism exacts psychic as well as environmental costs, and b) economic growth has failed to improve human morale. Two principles-the adaptation level phenomenon and social comparison-help explain (...) why materialism and increasing affluence fail to satisfy. (shrink)
The emergence of new obstetrical and neonatal technologies, as well as more aggressive clinical management, has significantly improved the survival of extremely low birth weight infants. This development has heightened concerns about the limits of viability. ELBW infants, weighing less than 1,000 grams and no larger than the palm of one's hand, are often described as of late twentieth century technology. Improved survivability of ELBW infants has provided opportunities for long-term follow-up. Information on their physical and emotional development contributes to (...) developing standards of practice regarding their care. (shrink)
The majority of literature on Slow Food focuses on the organization or actors involved in the movement. There is a dearth of material analyzing Carlo Petrini’s aspirations for Slow Food, particularly in light of his desire within Slow Food Nation (2007) and Terra Madre (2010) to make “freewill giving a part of economic discourse.” This essay corrects the literature gap through historicizing and critiquing Petrini’s alternative to global capitalism while rooting it in actually existing practices. First, Petrini’s problematic conceptualization of (...) freewill giving will be compared to feminist theorizations and documentations of the gift economy. Second, Petrini’s avoidance of the toxic mimic of the gift, its subsumption to capitalism, will be amended by discussing how the gifting of food aid and emergency food networks actually reproduces inequality, poverty, and hunger. Third, Petrini’s example of gifting by a Trappist Monastery will be juxtaposed to the ongoing direct action strategies of Food Not Bombs, a much stronger example of an oppositional gift economy, one that is subsequently repressed by the state. In doing so, this essay seeks to expand discussion of the gift economy within the alternative food movement while amending many of the theoretical, historical, and political problems embedded within Petrini’s work, which performs a strong disservice to the politics of possibility embedded within gifting. (shrink)
The use of aggregated quality of life estimatesin the formation of public policy and practiceguidelines raises concerns about the moralrelevance of variability in values inpreferences for health care. This variabilitymay reflect unique and deeply held beliefs thatmay be lost when averaged with the preferencesof other individuals. Feminist moral theorieswhich argue for attention to context andparticularity underline the importance ofascertaining the extent to which differences inpreferences for health states revealinformation which is morally relevant toclinicians and policymakers. To facilitatethese considerations, we present (...) an empiricalstudy of preferences for the timing andoccurrence of health states associated withhormone replacement therapy (HRT). Sixteenwomen between the ages of 45 and 55 wereenrolled in this pilot study. Theirpreferences regarding five health statesassociated with HRT (menopausal symptoms, sideeffects of HRT, breast cancer, myocardialinfarction, and osteoporosis) were assessed inquantitative terms known as utilities. Twostandard methods, the visual analog scale (VAS) and the standard gamble (SG), were used toassess utility and time preference (calculatedas a discount rate). The wide variability ofresponses underlines the importance oftailoring health care to individual women'spreferences. Policy guidelines whichincorporate utility analysis must recognize thenormative limitations of aggregatedpreferences, and the moral relevance ofindividual conceptions of health. (shrink)
According to the practicality requirement, there could be truths about what people have reason to do only if people’s motivating states could be, in an appropriate sense, either correct or incorrect. Yet according to the Humean theory of motivation, people’s motivating states are a species of desire, and these desires are not a species of belief, being neither identical to nor entailed by them; and according to the standard view of desire, P’s desire to is, at bottom, a disposition to (...) act in whatever ways she believes will increase her chances of -ing. As there is no obvious sense in which such disposition are aiming to get P’s reasons right, they seem incapable of satisfying the practicality requirement and scepticism about normative truths seems to follow. I argue, first, that this sceptical conclusion is best avoided, not by rejecting either the practicality requirement or the Humean theory of motivation, but rather by rejecting the standard view of desire, and, second, that this is best done by endorsing a holistic view, according to which the contents of people’s desires depend importantly, though not essentially, on the contents of their normative beliefs. (shrink)