This paper explores citizens’ views about the welfare of farmed fish and the mental abilities of fish with a large survey data sample from Finland (n = 1,890). Although studies on attitudes towards animal welfare have been increasing, fish welfare has received only limited empirical attention, despite the rapid expansion of aquaculture sector. The results show that the welfare of farmed fish is not any great concern in the Finnish society. The analysis confirms the distinct character given to farmed fish (...) compared to traditional farmed animals. Salmon are rated low in their mental abilities, including the capacity to feel pain, which may weaken ethical concerns for fish welfare. When analyzing the social determinants surrounding the rating of the welfare of farmed fish, it was shown that fish welfare attitudes follow general animal welfare attitudes regarding age and place of residence as fish welfare tends to be rated more negatively among younger age groups and among urban residents. However, no clear connection could be identified between gender and the rating of fish welfare, which may suggest that the distinct cultural categorization of fish diminishes the typical gender difference identified in animal attitudes. It is concluded that in order to improve awareness about fish welfare, there is a need to increase dissemination of scientific knowledge about fish and their welfare. Moreover, further research should be directed toward studying the moral positioning of fish and the distinct moral categorization they receive. (shrink)
Citizen attitudes and opinions form an important driving force for improvements in the ethical status of farm animals in society. Hence, it is important to understand how attitudes to farm animals vary in society and what factors, mechanisms and social processes influence the development of these attitudes. In this study we examine the relative importance of socio-demographic background, animal related experiences and social-equality attitudes in the formation of attitudes to farm animals in Finland. The research is based on a nationwide (...) survey. Our research findings suggest that female gender, young age, urban residency, a non-farming background and social-equality attitudes are linked to greater concern for farm animals. A farming background, valuing social equality, and gender have the strongest connections to farm animal attitudes, followed by age and place of residence. Having a companion animal and education level have a relatively modest connection to attitudes to farm animals. In order to accumulate comparative evidence of social-group differences in attitudes to farm animals, further research should continue to develop improved indicators for attitudes to farm animal welfare and rights. Moreover, explanations for social-group differences in citizen attitudes to farm animals should be subjected to further empirical testing. (shrink)
Mental capacities are an essential basis on which people give moral concern to nonhuman animals. Hence, it is important to investigate public perceptions of animal mind and the factors underlying these perceptions. Although research into citizen beliefs in animal mind has been increasing, population-based studies utilizing multivariate methods have been scarce. In this article, public perceptions of animal mind are investigated with a nationwide survey in Finland. Eight animal species positioned differently in cultural categorizations are included in the analysis. Dogs (...) were ascribed the most capacities, followed by cows, pigs, wolves, and elk. Citizens expressed a low belief in the mental capacities of chicken, salmon, and shrimp. Classifying animals as companions, food, and threat influences the perceptions of animal mind. Young age, having a companion animal, valuing societal equality, and concern for animal welfare and for animal utilization are connected to a greater belief in animal mind. (shrink)
This paper offers a general model of substantive moral principles as a kind of hedged moral principles that can (but don't have to) tolerate exceptions. I argue that the kind of principles I defend provide an account of what would make an exception to them permissible. I also argue that these principles are nonetheless robustly explanatory with respect to a variety of moral facts; that they make sense of error, uncertainty, and disagreement concerning moral principles and their implications; and that (...) one can grasp these principles without having to grasp any particular list of their permissibly exceptional instances. I conclude by pointing out various advantages that this model of principles has over several of its rivals. The bottom line is that we should find nothing peculiarly odd or problematic about the idea of exception-tolerating and yet robustly explanatory moral principles. (shrink)
Normative explanations, which specify why things have the normative features they do, are ubiquitous in normative theory and ordinary thought. But there is much less work on normative explanation than on scientific or metaphysical explanation. Skow (2016) argues that a complete answer to the question why some fact Q occurs consists in all of the reasons why Q occurs. This paper explores this theory as a case study of a general theory that promises to offer us a grip on normative (...) explanation which is independent of particular normative theories. I first argue that the theory doesn’t give an adequate account of certain enablers of reasons which are important in normative explanation. I then formulate and reject three responses on behalf of the theory. But I suggest that since theories of this general sort have the right kind of resources to illuminate how normative explanation might be similar to and different from explanations in other domains, they nonetheless merit further exploration by normative theorists. (shrink)
I first distinguish between different forms of the buck-passing account of value and clarify my target in other respects on buck-passers' behalf. I then raise a number of problems for the different forms of the buck-passing view that I have distinguished.
In addition to thin concepts like the good, the bad and the ugly, our evaluative thought and talk appeals to thick concepts like the lewd and the rude, the selfish and the cruel, the courageous and the kind -- concepts that somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. Thick concepts are almost universally assumed to be inherently evaluative in content, and many philosophers claimed them to have deep and distinctive significance in ethics and metaethics. In this first book-length treatment of thick (...) concepts, Pekka Väyrynen argues that all this is mistaken. Through detailed attention to the language of thick concepts, he defends a novel theory on which the relationship between thick words and evaluation is best explained by general conversational and pragmatic norms. Drawing on general principles in philosophy of language, he argues that many prominent features of thick words and concepts can be explained by general factors that have nothing in particular to do with being evaluative. If evaluation is not essential to the sort of thinking we do with thick concepts, claims for the deep and distinctive significance of the thick are undermined. The Lewd, the Rude and the Nasty is a fresh and innovative treatment of an important topic in moral philosophy and sets a new agenda for future work. It will be essential reading to anyone interested in the analysis and the broader philosophical significance of evaluative and normative language. (shrink)
This paper addresses a recent suggestion that moral particularists can extend their view to countenance default reasons (at a first stab, reasons that are pro tanto unless undermined) by relying on certain background expectations of normality. I first argue that normality must be understood non-extensionally. Thus if default reasons rest on normality claims, those claims won't bestow upon default reasons any definite degree of extensional generality. Their generality depends rather on the contingent distributional aspects of the world, which no theory (...) of reasons should purport to settle. Appeals to default reasons cannot therefore uniquely support particularism. But this argument also implies that if moral generalism entailed that moral reasons by necessity have invariant valence (in the natural extensional sense), it would be a non-starter. Since generalism is not a non-starter, my argument forces us to rethink the parameters of the generalism-particularism debate. Here I propose to clarify the debate by focusing on its modal rather than extensional aspects. In closing, I outline the sort of generalism that I think is motivated by my discussion, and then articulate some worries this view raises about the theoretical usefulness of the label ‘default reason’. -/- [Note: The outline of moral generalism provided in this paper is superseded by those in "Moral Generalism: Enjoy in Moderation" and "A Theory of Hedged Moral Principles".]. (shrink)
This chapter presents an alternative to the standard view that at least some of the evaluations that the so-called “thick” terms and concepts in ethics may be used to convey belong to their sense or semantic meaning. After introducing the topic and making some methodological remarks, the chapter presents a wide variety of linguistic data that are well explained by the alternative view that at least a very wide range of thick terms and concepts are such that even the evaluations (...) that are most closely connected to them are only a certain kind of defeasible implications of their utterances which can be given a conversational explanation. The chapter then describes some reasons to think that this explanation of the data presented is superior to the standard view, although a fuller assessment must await further work. The chapter closes by explaining the largely deflationary consequences of this account for claims that thick terms and concepts have deep and distinctive significance to evaluative thought and judgment. (shrink)
This paper defends doubts about the existence of genuine moral perception, understood as the claim that at least some moral properties figure in the contents of perceptual experience. Standard examples of moral perception are better explained as transitions in thought whose degree of psychological immediacy varies with how readily non-moral perceptual inputs, jointly with the subject's background moral beliefs, training, and habituation, trigger the kinds of phenomenological responses that moral agents are normally disposed to have when they represent things as (...) being morally a certain way. (shrink)
This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’. The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non- normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non- normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved by treating the explanatory relation in normative explanations as the sort of ‘grounding’ relation that receives extensive discussion in (...) recent metaphysics. I argue that this would help only under controversial assumptions about the nature of normative facts, and perhaps not even then. I won't try to resolve the tension, but draw a distinction between two different sorts of normative explanations which helps to identify constraints on a resolution. One distinctive constraint on normative explanations in particular might be that they should be able to play a role in normative justification. (shrink)
We study whether robots can satisfy the conditions of an agent fit to be held morally responsible, with a focus on autonomy and self-control. An analogy between robots and human groups enables us to modify arguments concerning collective responsibility for studying questions of robot responsibility. We employ Mele’s history-sensitive account of autonomy and responsibility to argue that even if robots were to have all the capacities required of moral agency, their history would deprive them from autonomy in a responsibility-undermining way. (...) We will also study whether humans and technological artifacts like robots can form hybrid collective agents that could be morally responsible for their actions and give an argument against such a possibility. (shrink)
The aim of the present study was to explore the use and understanding of the concepts ‘placebo’ and ‘placebo effect’ in 12 empirical studies that have addressed the prescription of placebos by doctors in clinical practice. There were great differences in the general methodology and in the definitions (or lack of any definition) of the basic concepts in these 12 studies. Therefore, the results reflect different things. They tell us a little about the use of ‘pure placebos’, more about the (...) use of ‘impure placebos’, but most of all, they tell us about the conceptual confusion in this area. (shrink)
Francesco Guala has written an important book proposing a new account of social institutions and criticizing existing ones. We focus on Guala’s critique of collective acceptance theories of institutions, widely discussed in the literature of collective intentionality. Guala argues that at least some of the collective acceptance theories commit their proponents to antinaturalist methodology of social science. What is at stake here is what kind of philosophizing is relevant for the social sciences. We argue that a Searlean version of collective (...) acceptance theory can be defended against Guala’s critique and question the sufficiency of Guala’s account of the ontology of the social world. (shrink)
[First published 09/2016; substantive revision 02/2021.] Evaluative terms and concepts are often divided into “thin” and “thick”. We don’t evaluate actions and persons merely as good or bad, or right or wrong, but also as kind, courageous, tactful, selfish, boorish, and cruel. The latter evaluative concepts are "descriptively thick": their application somehow involves both evaluation and a substantial amount of non-evaluative description. This article surveys various attempts to answer four fundamental questions about thick terms and concepts. (1) A “combination question”: (...) how exactly do thick terms and concepts relate evaluation and non-evaluative description? (2) A “location question”: is evaluation somehow inherent to thick terms and concepts, such as perhaps an aspect of their meaning, or merely a feature of their use? (3) A “delineation question”: how do thick terms differ from the thin and from other kinds of evaluative terms? (4) Given answers to these questions, what broader philosophical significance and applications might thick concepts have? (shrink)
The use of evidence in medicine is something we should continuously seek to improve. This book seeks to develop our understanding of evidence of mechanism in evaluating evidence in medicine, public health, and social care; and also offers tools to help implement improved assessment of evidence of mechanism in practice. In this way, the book offers a bridge between more theoretical and conceptual insights and worries about evidence of mechanism and practical means to fit the results into evidence assessment procedures.
This paper is a survey of the supervenience challenge to non-naturalist moral realism. I formulate a version of the challenge, consider the most promising non-naturalist replies to it, and suggest that no fully effective reply has yet been given.
This paper argues that the recent metaethical turn to reasons as the fundamental units of normativity offers no special advantage in explaining a variety of other normative and evaluative phenomena, unless perhaps a form of reductionism about reasons is adopted which is rejected by many of those who advocate turning to reasons.
I defend moral generalism against particularism. Particularism, as I understand it, is the negation of the generalist view that particular moral facts depend on the existence of a comprehensive set of true moral principles. Particularists typically present "the holism of reasons" as powerful support for their view. While many generalists accept that holism supports particularism but dispute holism, I argue that generalism accommodates holism. The centerpiece of my strategy is a novel model of moral principles as a kind of "hedged" (...) principles that incorporate an independently plausible "basis thesis" concerning the explanation of moral reasons. The model implies that moral reasons requires the existence of a comprehensive set of true hedged principles, and so it captures generalism. But the model also offers an alternative explanation of holism, and so it undercuts much of the motivation for particularism. I defend this moderate (because holism-tolerating) form of generalism against a number of objections, and show how it can be used to defeat three distinct arguments from holism to particularism. (shrink)
Normative explanations of why things are wrong, good, or unfair are ubiquitous in ordinary practice and normative theory. This paper argues that normative explanation is subject to a justification condition: a correct complete explanation of why a normative fact holds must identify features that would go at least some way towards justifying certain actions or attitudes. I first explain and motivate the condition I propose. I then support it by arguing that it fits well with various theories of normative reasons, (...) makes good sense of certain legitimate moves in ordinary normative explanatory discourse, and helps to make sense of our judgments about explanatory priority in certain cases of normative explanation. This last argument also helps to highlight respects in which normative explanation won’t be worryingly discontinuous with explanations in other domains even though these other explanations aren’t subject to the justification condition. Thus the paper aims not only to do some constructive theorizing about the relatively neglected topic of normative explanation but also to cast light on the broader question of how normative explanation may be similar to and different from explanations in other domains. (shrink)
The core doctrine of ethical intuitionism is that some of our ethical knowledge is non-inferential. Against this, Sturgeon has recently objected that if ethical intuitionists accept a certain plausible rationale for the autonomy of ethics, then their foundationalism commits them to an implausible epistemology outside ethics. I show that irrespective of whether ethical intuitionists take non-inferential ethical knowledge to be a priori or a posteriori, their commitment to the autonomy of ethics and foundationalism does not entail any implausible non-inferential knowledge (...) in areas outside ethics (such as the past, the future, or the unobservable). However, each form of intuitionism does require a controversial stand on certain unresolved issues outside ethics. (shrink)
A particular tradition in medicine claims that a variety of evidence is helpful in determining whether an observed correlation is causal. In line with this tradition, it has been claimed that establishing a causal claim in medicine requires both probabilistic and mechanistic evidence. This claim has been put forward by Federica Russo and Jon Williamson. As a result, it is sometimes called the Russo–Williamson thesis. In support of this thesis, Russo and Williamson appeal to the practice of the International Agency (...) for Research on Cancer. However, this practice presents some problematic cases for the Russo–Williamson thesis. One response to such cases is to argue in favour of reforming these practices. In this paper, we propose an alternative response according to which such cases are in fact consistent with the Russo–Williamson thesis. This response requires maintaining that there is a role for mechanism-based extrapolation in the practice of the IARC. However, the response works only if this mechanism-based extrapolation is reliable, and some have argued against the reliability of mechanism-based extrapolation. Against this, we provide some reasons for believing that reliable mechanism-based extrapolation is going on in the practice of the IARC. The reasons are provided by appealing to the role of robustness analysis. (shrink)
Some philosophers hold that so-called "thick" terms and concepts in ethics (such as 'cruel,' 'selfish,' 'courageous,' and 'generous') are contextually variable with respect to the valence (positive or negative) of the evaluations that they may be used to convey. Some of these philosophers use this variability claim to argue that thick terms and concepts are not inherently evaluative in meaning; rather their use conveys evaluations as a broadly pragmatic matter. I argue that one sort of putative examples of contextual variability (...) in evaluative valence that are found in the literature fail to support the variability claim and that another sort of putative examples are open to a wide range of explanations that have different implications for the relationship between thick terms and concepts and evaluation. I conclude that considerations of contextual variability fail to settle whether thick terms and concepts are inherently evaluative in meaning. In closing I suggest a more promising line of research. (shrink)
In this paper a social group’s responsibility for its actions and their consequences are investigated from a philosophical point of view. Building on Tuomela’s theory of group action, the paper argues that group responsibility can be analyzed in terms of what its members think and do qua group members. When a group is held responsible for some action, its members, acting qua members of the group, can collectively be regarded as praiseworthy or blameworthy, in the light of some normative standard, (...) for what the group has done. The paper gives a necessary and sufficient conditions analysis of a group’s responsibility for its actions and their outcomes, and the conditions can be cashed out in terms of the group members’ joint actions. (shrink)
This paper offers a simple response to the Moral Twin Earth (MTE) objection to Naturalist Moral Realism (NMR). NMR typically relies on an externalist metasemantics such as a causal theory of reference. The MTE objection is that such a theory predicts that terms like ‘good’ and ‘right’ have a different reference in certain twin communities where it’s intuitively clear that the twins are talking about the same thing when using ‘good’. I argue that Boyd’s causal regulation theory, the original target (...) of the MTE objection, was never vulnerable to this objection. The theory contains an epistemic constraint on reference which implies that either the property that causally regulates uses of ‘good’ isn’t different for the twin communities or, in scenarios where the reference is different, the communities diverge in ways where it’s not intuitively clear that ‘good’ has the same reference for them. (shrink)
So-called "thick" moral concepts are distinctive in that they somehow "hold together" evaluation and description. But how? This paper argues against the standard view that the evaluations which thick concepts may be used to convey belong to sense or semantic content. That view cannot explain linguistic data concerning how thick concepts behave in a distinctive type of disagreements and denials which arise when one speaker regards another's thick concept as "objectionable" in a certain sense. The paper also briefly considers contextualist, (...) presuppositional, and implicature accounts of the evaluative contents of thick concepts, but finds none clearly superior to the others. (shrink)
Surprisingly, many ethical realists and anti-realists, naturalists and not, all accept some version of the following normative appeal to the natural (NAN): evaluative and normative facts hold solely in virtue of natural facts, where their naturalness is part of what fits them for the job. This paper argues not that NAN is false but that NAN has no adequate non-parochial justification (a justification that relies only on premises which can be accepted by more or less everyone who accepts NAN) to (...) back up this consensus. I show that we cannot establish versions of NAN which are interesting in their own right (and not merely as instances of a general naturalistic ontology) by appealing to the nature of natural properties or the kind of in-virtue-of relation to which NAN refers, plus other plausible nonparochial assumptions. On the way, I distinguish different types of 'in virtue of claims. I conclude by arguing that the way in which assessment of meta-ethical hypotheses is theory-dependent predicts the failure of non-parochial justifications of NAN. (shrink)
Evaluative and normative terms and concepts are often said to be "essentially contestable". This notion has been used in political and legal theory and applied ethics to analyse disputes concerning the proper usage of terms like democracy, freedom, genocide, rape, coercion, and the rule of law. Many philosophers have also thought that essential contestability tells us something important about the evaluative in particular. Gallie (who coined the term), for instance, argues that the central structural features of essentially contestable concepts secure (...) their evaluativeness. I'll argue that these (widely held) central features are exemplified by many evaluative and non-evaluative terms alike, owing to more general factors (such as multidimensionality) which have nothing in particular to do with being evaluative. The role of these factors in semantic interpretation is subject to a certain kind of "metasemantic" disputes which have the features of the disputes characteristically admitted by essentially contestable concepts (whether evaluative or not) and which can be similarly substantive and worthwhile. In closing I'll discuss how my argument shows that our understanding of evaluative disagreement needs refinement. The overall upshot is that essential contestability shows nothing deep or distinctive about the evaluative in particular. (shrink)
To meet all physicians' needs for ethics consultation in Finland, a novel form of service, the Physicians' Ethics Forum, was founded in 2003. The Forum is a cost-efficient service based on electronic communication. In this paper, experiences throughout its first 6 years are described.
One prominent strand in contemporary moral particularism concerns the claim of "principle abstinence" that we ought not to rely on moral principles in moral judgment because they fail to provide adequate moral guidance. I argue that moral generalists can vindicate this traditional and important action-guiding role for moral principles. My strategy is to argue, first, that, for any conscientious and morally committed agent, the agent's acceptance of (true) moral principles shapes their responsiveness to (right) moral reasons and, second, that if (...) so, then those principles can contribute non-trivially to some reliable strategy for acting well that is available for use in the agent's practical thinking. My defense of these two claims appeals to an account of moral principles as a kind of hedged principles which I defend elsewhere, but my general line of argument should be acceptable to many other forms of generalism as well. I defend the epistemic significance of hedged principles in moral deliberation, and argue that the need for sensitivity to particulars in moral judgment doesn't supplant principles in moral guidance. I finish by arguing that the generalist model of moral guidance developed here isn't undermined by evidence from cognitive science about how we make moral judgments in actual practice, and that it compares favorably to particularism with respect to its capacity to offer adequate moral guidance. (shrink)
Placebos are allegedly used widely in general practice. Surveys reporting high level usage, however, have combined two categories, ‘pure’ and ‘impure’ placebos. The wide use of placebos is explained by the high level usage of impure placebos. In contrast, the prevalence of the use of pure placebos has been low. Traditional pure placebos are clinically ineffective treatments, whereas impure placebos form an ambiguous group of diverse treatments that are not always ineffective. In this paper, we focus on the impure placebo (...) concept and demonstrate problems related to it. We also show that the common examples of impure placebos are not meaningful from the point of view of clinical practice. We conclude that the impure placebo is a scientifically misleading concept and should not be used in scientific or medical literature. The issues behind the concept, however, deserve serious attention in future research. (shrink)
Group agents are able to act but are not literally agents. Some group agents, e.g., we-mode groups and corporations, can, however, be regarded as functional group agents that do not have “intrinsic” mental states and phenomenal features comparable to what their individual members on biological and psychological grounds have. But they can have “extrinsic” mental states, states collectively attributed to them—primarily by their members. In this paper, we discuss the responsibility of such group agents. We defend the view that if (...) the group members have accepted the group agent’s attitudes and are committed to them, we can favorably compare the situation with the case of individual human agents and a group agent can be regarded as morally responsible for its intentional activities. (shrink)
First-order normative theories concerning what’s right and wrong, good and bad, etc. and metanormative theories concerning the nature of first-order normative thought and talk are widely regarded as independent theoretical enterprises. This paper argues that several debates in metanormative theory involve views that have first-order normative implications, even as the implications in question may not be immediately recognizable as normative. I first make my claim more precise by outlining a general recipe for generating this result. I then apply this recipe (...) to three debates in metaethics: the modal status of basic normative principles, normative vagueness and indeterminacy, and the determination of reference for normative predicates. In each case I argue that certain views on each issue carry first-order normative commitments, in accordance with my recipe. (shrink)
“Whatever matters to human beings, trust is the atmosphere in which it thrives” writes Sissela Bok. Although trust is ubiquitous, understanding trust is a non-trivial challenge. Trust: Analytic and Applied Perspectives addresses critical and analytical issues of trust. It examines trust from a conceptual perspective as well as considers it in practical contexts ranging from the public sphere broadly understood to particular social institutions, such as universities and medical care. Trust: Analytic and Applied Perspectives explores what kind of good trust (...) is, what kind of goods it can protect and how it can bring about goods, and develops subtle distinctions between trust and other virtues, and between trust and other forms of dependence.The pluralism of the volume reflects the diversity of the real world contexts and theoretical perspectives indispensable in the search of a deeper understanding of trust. Without such an understanding of the nature of trust and the good reasons why people might trust one another or the institutions, we are in danger of designing institutions that will reduce trust or even drive it out. Trust: Analytic and Applied Perspectives sheds new light on the intersecting dimensions of our social cooperation, in which trust can be responsibly undertaken. (shrink)
Let the Guidance Constraint be the following norm for evaluating ethical theories: Other things being at least roughly equal, ethical theories are better to the extent that they provide adequate moral guidance. I offer an account of why ethical theories are subject to the Guidance Constraint, if indeed they are. We can explain central facts about adequate moral guidance, and their relevance to ethical theory, by appealing to certain forms of autonomy and fairness. This explanation is better than explanations that (...) feature versions of the principle that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. In closing, I address the objection that my account is questionable because it makes ethical theories subject not merely to purely theoretical but also to morally substantive norms. (Published Online August 21 2006). (shrink)
Many philosophers believe that the extensions of evaluative terms and concepts aren’t unified under non-evaluative similarity relations and that this “shapelessness thesis” (ST) has significant metaethical implications regarding non-cognitivism, ethical naturalism, moral particularism, thick concepts and more. ST is typically offered as an explanation of why evaluative classifications appear to “outrun” classifications specifiable in independently intelligible non-evaluative terms. This paper argues that both ST and the outrunning point used to motivate it can be explained on the basis of more general (...) factors that have nothing in particular to do with being evaluative. If so, there is no reason to expect ST to carry the sorts of metaethical implications that get attributed to it. I also show that my main argument is robust across certain complications that are raised by the context-sensitivity of many evaluative terms but have so far been ignored in discussions of ST and related matters. (shrink)
The distinction between “thick” and “thin” value concepts, and its importance to ethical theory, has been an active topic in recent meta-ethics. This paper defends three claims regarding the parallel issue about thick and thin epistemic concepts. (1) Analogy with ethics offers no straightforward way to establish a good, clear distinction between thick and thin epistemic concepts. (2) Assuming there is such a distinction, there are no semantic grounds for assigning thick epistemic concepts priority over the thin. (3) Nor does (...) the structure of substantive epistemological theory establish that thick epistemic concepts enjoy systematic theoretical priority over the thin. In sum, a good case has yet to be made for any radical theoretical turn to thicker epistemology. (shrink)
The present article discusses the concept of synderesis in the late medieval universities of Erfurt and Leipzig and the later developments in Wittenberg. The comparison between Bartholomaeus Arnoldi of Usingen in Erfurt and Johannes Peyligk in Leipzig shows that school traditions played an important role in the exposition of synderesis by the late medieval scholastic natural philosophers. However, Jodocus Trutfetter's example warns against overemphasizing the importance of the school traditions and reminds us of the manifold history of medieval discussions on (...) synderesis, which were more or less familiar to many authors of this period. Finally, the diverse references to synderesis in the texts of Martin Luther, Johannes Bernhardi of Feldkirch and Philip Melanchthon reveal no uniform relationship with late medieval discussions but rather indicate various ways of adopting scholastic ideas and transforming them in the context of humanist and reformation thinking. (shrink)
We study whether robots can satisfy the conditions for agents fit to be held responsible in a normative sense, with a focus on autonomy and self-control. An analogy between robots and human groups enables us to modify arguments concerning collective responsibility for studying questions of robot responsibility. On the basis of Alfred R. Mele’s history-sensitive account of autonomy and responsibility it can be argued that even if robots were to have all the capacities usually required of moral agency, their history (...) as products of engineering would undermine their autonomy and thus responsibility. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate the coupling properties of pairs of quadrature observables, showing that, apart from the Weyl relation, they share the same coupling properties as the position-momentum pair. In particular, they are complementary. We determine the marginal observables of a covariant phase space observable with respect to an arbitrary rotated reference frame, and observe that these marginal observables are unsharp quadrature observables. The related distributions constitute the Radon transform of a phase space distribution of the covariant phase space (...) observable. Since the quadrature distributions are the Radon transform of the Wigner function of a state, we also exhibit the relation between the quadrature observables and the tomography observable, and show how to construct the phase space observable from the quadrature observables. Finally, we give a method to measure together with a single measurement scheme any complementary pair of quadrature observables. (shrink)