Veblen's concept of conspicuous consumption, although widely known and commonly invoked, has rarely been examined critically; the associated "theory" has never been tested. It is suggested that the reason for this lies in the difficulty of determining the criterion that defines the phenomenon, a difficulty that derives from Veblen's failure to integrate two contrasting conceptual formulations. These are, first, an interpretive or subjective version that conceives of conspicuous consumption as action marked by the presence of certain intentions, purposes, or motives, (...) and second, a functionalist formulation in which conspicuous consumption is viewed as a form of behavior characterized by particular end results or outcomes. Consideration of each of these strands reveals major difficulties that prevent the construction of an operational definition of conspicuous consumption and hence the extraction of a workable theory from Veblen's discussion. (shrink)
_BMC Medical Ethics_ is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in relation to the ethical aspects of biomedical research and clinical practice, including professional choices and conduct, medical technologies, healthcare systems and health policies. _BMC __Medical Ethics _is part of the _BMC_ series which publishes subject-specific journals focused on the needs of individual research communities across all areas of biology and medicine. We do not make editorial decisions on the basis of the interest of a study or (...) its likely impact. Studies must be scientifically valid; for research articles this includes a scientifically sound research question, the use of suitable methods and analysis, and following community-agreed standards relevant to the research field. Specific criteria for other article types can be found in the submission guidelines. _BMC series - open, inclusive and trusted_. (shrink)
In this comprehensive collection of essays, most of which appear for the first time, eminent scholars from many disciplines—philosophy, economics, sociology, political science, demography, theology, history, and social psychology—examine the causes, nature, and consequences of present-day consumption patterns in the United States and throughout the world.
The concept of agency, although central to many sociological debates, has remained frustratingly elusive to pin down. This article is an attempt to open up what has been called the "black box" of personal agency by distinguishing clearly between two contrasting conceptions of the phenomenon. These two conceptions are very apparent in the manner in which the concept is defined in sociological reference works, resembling as it does a similar contrast in the treatment of the concept of power. The two (...) are referred to as type 1 and type 2 or the power of agency as compared with agentic power, the essential contrast being that the first refers to an actor's ability to initiate and maintain a program of action while the second refers to an actor's ability to act independently of the constraining power of social structure. The nature of these two forms of personal agency is then illustrated by referring to material taken from Weber's essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, this essay itself being understood as an argument that focuses on the crucial role played by an increase in the power of agency in ushering in the modern world. Finally, it is argued that these two conceptions of agency possess no given logical relationship with each other, it being perfectly possible for individuals to be possessed of considerable power of agency while lacking agentic power, and vice versa. It is therefore concluded that it is important, in all discussions of human agency, to distinguish clearly between these two forms. (shrink)
The tendency to denigrate consumerism derives from the widespread acceptance of sociological theories that represent consumers as prompted by such reprehensible motives as greed, pride, or envy. These theories are largely unsubstantiated and fail to address the distinctive features of modern consumption, such as the apparent insatiability of wants and the preference for the novel over the familiar. A more plausible view of consumerism regards it as an aspect of hedonism, and links consumption to the widespread practice of daydreaming. Seen (...) in this light, one can discern an idealistic dimension to modern consumption. (shrink)
Democratic countries, such as Australia, face the dilemma of preserving public and national security without sacrificing fundamental freedoms. In the context where the rule of law is an underlying assumption of the constitutional framework, Emergency Powers in Australia provides a succinct analysis of the sorts of emergency which have been experienced in Australia and an evaluation of the legal weapons available to the authorities to cope with these emergencies. It analyses the scope of the defence power to determine the constitutionality (...) of federal legislation to deal with wartime crises and the 'war' on terrorism, the extent of the executive power and its relationship to the prerogative, the deployment of the defence forces in aid of the civil power, the statutory frameworks regulating the responses to civil unrest, and natural disasters. The role of the courts when faced with challenges to the invocation of emergency powers is explained and analysed. (shrink)
Our use of ‘I’, or something like it, is implicated in our self-regarding emotions, in the concern to survive, and so seems basic to ordinary human life. But why does that pattern of use require a referring term? Don't Lichtenberg's formulations show how we could have our ordinary pattern of use here without the first person? I argue that what explains our compulsion to regard the first person as a referring term is our ordinary causal thinking, which requires us to (...) find a persisting object as the mechanism that underpins the causal structure we naturally ascribe to the self. I thus argue against Peacocke's picture (2012), on which it's the cogito that explains one's knowledge of one's own existence. (shrink)
My project in this paper is to extend the interventionist analysis of causation to give an account of causation in psychology. Many aspects of empirical investigation into psychological causation fit straightforwardly into the interventionist framework. I address three problems. First, the problem of explaining what it is for a causal relation to be properly psychological rather than merely biological. Second, the problem of rational causation: how it is that reasons can be causes. Finally, I look at the implications of an (...) interventionist analysis for the idea that an inquiry into psychological causes must be an inquiry into causal mechanisms. I begin by setting out the main ideas of the interventionist approach. (shrink)
The concept of rights is now so dominant in the language of politics that it is becoming difficult to identify its use with any particular approach to the solution of social problems or to gain a clear picture of its significance, its advantages and its disadvantages as a way of conceptualizing and resolving contentious political issues. None the less there is a perceptible shift towards an emphasis on rights in contemporary politics which many welcome and encourage and others question and (...) even reject, a shift which is matched in jurisprudence by the renewed stress which many theorists place on rights as a basic legal concept despite recurrent problems associated with the concept as a tool for legal analysis and moral justification. Conflicting theories of legal rights are canvassed and this in turn feeds into the debate concerning the reality or significance of non-legal rights, for the process of law reform is often presented as a matter of giving legal embodiment to the rights which various interested categories of people are asserted to possess already. (shrink)
George Herbert Mead was born at the height of America's bloody Civil War in 1863, the year of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. He was born in New England, in the small town of South Hadley, Massachusetts; but when he was seven years old his family moved to Oberlin, Ohio, so that his father, Hiram Mead, a Protestant minister, could assume a chair in homiletics at the Oberlin Theological Seminary. After his father's death in 1881, Mead's mother, Elizabeth (...) Storrs Billings Mead, briefly taught at Oberlin College. Mead grew to self-consciousness in this educational atmosphere, amidst the conflict between science and religion over the primacy of efficient or final explanations; and he offers us, in some autobiographical comments, a sense of the difficulties felt by one who saw values on either side: We wished to be free to follow our individual thinking and feeling into an intelligent and sympathetic world without having to bow before incomprehensible dogma or to anticipate the shipwreck of our individual ends and values. We wanted full intellectual freedom and yet the conservation of the values for which had stood Church, State, Science, and Art. (shrink)
I propose a new form of epiphenomenalism, 'explanatory epiphenomenalism', the view that the identification of A's mental properties does not provide a causal explanation of A's behaviour. I arrive at this view by showing that although anomalous monism does not entail type epiphenomenalism (despite what many of Davidson's critics have suggested), it does (when coupled with some additional claims) lead to the conclusion that the identification of A's reasons does not causally explain A's behaviour. I then formalize this view and (...) show that it is an attractive position, because it captures the insights of existing forms of epiphenomenalism without their onerous metaphysical commitments. (shrink)
John Campbell investigates how consciousness of the world explains our ability to think about the world; how our ability to think about objects we can see depends on our capacity for conscious visual attention to those things. He illuminates classical problems about thought, reference, and experience by looking at the underlying psychological mechanisms on which conscious attention depends.
Modern epistemology has run into several paradoxes in its efforts to explain how knowledge acquisition can be both socially based and still able to determine objective facts about the world. In this important book, Richmond Campbell attempts to dispel some of these paradoxes, to show how they are ultimately just "illusions of paradox," by developing ideas central to two of the most promising currents in epistemology: feminist epistemology and naturalized epistemology. Campbell's aim is to construct a coherent theory (...) of knowing that is feminist and "naturalized." Illusions of Paradox will be valuable for students and scholars of epistemology and women's studies. (shrink)
_If you were free in doing something and morally responsible for it, you could have done otherwise. That_ _has seemed a pretty firm proposition among the old, new, clear, unclear and other propositions in the_ _philosophical discussion of freedom and determinism. If you were free in what you did, there was an_ _alternative. It is also at least natural to think that if determinism is true, you can never do otherwise than_ _you do. G. E. Moore, that Cambridge reasoner in (...) whose shadow Wittgenstein ought to be standing,_ _considered the matter. He pointed out that even if determinism is true, there remains a sense in which you_ _can still do otherwise than you do: you will do otherwise if you so choose. That, on reflection, is consistent_ _with determinism. The doctrine of the compatibility of freedom and determinism is saved. Joseph Keim_ _Campbell, strong philosopher at Washington State University, provides the latest thinking on this seemingly_ _unavoidable dispute. You do not have to agree that either compatibilism or incompatibilism must be true in_ _order to appreciate the carefulness of his reasoning in this piece of ongoing American philosophy. It_ _requires and repays attention._. (shrink)
Intended both as an introduction to the thought of the Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito and as a mapping of current biopolitical practice, this essay traces the contributions and the limits of recent Italian contributions to the discussion of biopolitics. The essay offers a summary of Esposito's insight into the relation of community and immunity and compares his thinking to other philosophers who take immunity as their object of study . Campbell goes on to read Esposito's privileging of bios in (...) the light of Giorgio Agamben's emphasis on zōē, while making reference as well to Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt's understanding of biopower. He concludes by arguing that the stakes of Esposito's analysis for an affirmative biopolitics concern fundamentally the nature of community and its opening to all life forms as bios. (shrink)
Since the 1950s, Donald T. Campbell has been one of the most influential contributors to the methodology of the social sciences. A distinguished psychologist, he has published scores of widely cited journal articles, and two awards, in social psychology and in public policy, have been named in his honor. This book is the first to collect his most significant papers, and it demonstrates the breadth and originality of his work.
Has biopolitics actually become thanatopolitics, a field of study obsessed with death? Is there something about the nature of biopolitical thought today that makes it impossibile to deploy affirmatively? If this is true, what can life-minded thinkers put forward as the merits of biopolitical reflection? These questions drive Improper Life.Campbell argues that a "crypto-thanatopolitics" can be teased out of Heidegger's critique of technology and that some of the leading scholars of biopolitics---including Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Peter Sloterdijk---have been (...) substansively influenced by Heidegger's thought, particularly his reading of proper and improper writing. In fact, Campbell shows how all of these philosophers have pointed toward a tragic, thanatopolitical destination as somehow an inevitable result of technology. But in Improper Life he articulates a corrective biopolitics that can begin with rereadings of Foucault, Freud, and Gilles Deleuze. Throughout Improper Life, Campbell insists that biopolitics can become more positive and productively asserts an affirmation techne not thought through thanatos but rather through bios. (shrink)
It is more than a half-century since Nelson Goodman  applied what we call the Reflective Equilibrium model of justification to the problem of justifying induction, and more than three decades since Rawls  and Daniels  applied celebrated extensions of this model to the problem of justifying principles of social justice. The resulting Wide Reflective Equilibrium model (WRE) is generally thought to capture an acceptable way to reconcile inconsistency between an intuitively plausible general principle and an intuitively plausible judgment (...) about a particular case. Recently a different model for reconciling moral inconsistency has emerged: Moral Consistency Reasoning [Campbell and Kumar 2012, 2013a; Kumar and Campbell 2012; Campbell 2009: 86?7; Campbell and Woodrow 2003; Wong 2002]. MCR applies when two moral judgments give opposing assessments of (what appear to be) relevantly similar particular cases. Though WRE and MCR are strikingly different, each arguably captures a rationally acceptable method for reconciling moral inconsistency. Moreover, as will be shown, they function in complementary ways. Are they parts of a more comprehensive model of moral reasoning in the face of inconsistency that would explain the attractions of each? This essay first spells out the relevant differences between the models and then formulates a more general model of moral reasoning in the face of inconsistency. ?1 reviews the emergence of Goodman's model that he offers in the spirit of epistemology naturalized, almost a decade before Quine coined the term [1969a]. ?2 analyses six salient features of WRE to be compared with six contrasting features of MCR in ?3. ?4 presents the general model. (shrink)