Our purpose in this paper is to consider a procedural objection to the death penalty. According to this objection, even if the death penalty is deemed, substantively speaking, a morally acceptable punishment for at least some murderers, since only a small proportion of those guilty of aggravated murder are sentenced to death and executed, while the majority of murderers escape capital punishment as a result of arbitrariness and discrimination, capital punishment should be abolished. Our targets in this paper are two (...) recent attempts, by Thomas Hurka and Michael Cholbi respectively, to defend the view that âlevelling downâ (that is, reducing the punishment imposed on a criminal from the punishment he absolutely deserves to a less severe punishment in order to achieve proportionality relative to the criminals who have escaped the punishment they absolutely deserve) is, in the context of capital punishment, morally permissible. We argue that both Hurka and Cholbi fail to show why the arbitrariness and discrimination objection impugns the death penalty. (shrink)
On Metz's view, the best interpretation of ubuntu is that it enjoins agents always to promote harmony in the community. However, while I endorse the claim that intuitions play a foundational role in moral thinking, I am less sanguine about two aspects of Metz's particular employment of the intuitions he focuses on. First, I doubt the intuitions from which he begins are of the right sort to play the role he would like them to play. Second, I doubt that the (...) explanation that Metz provides for these foundational intuitions is likely to succeed. One might helpfully characterise the nature of my difference with Metz in terms of the thought that Metz's explanation of the way in which intuitions are to be made to cohere is too Kantian for my taste. In this paper, I draw attention to some structural features of Metz's employments of pro tanto intuitions before sketching an alternative approach to the understanding of such intuitions and applying some aspects of this alternative approach to our thinking about African moral philosophy. The result presents a rival that I hope will appear more attractive than Metz's own. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 26 2007: pp. 356-363. (shrink)
Douglas proposes a new ideal in which values serve an essential function throughout scientific inquiry, but where the role values play is constrained at key points, protecting the integrity and objectivity of science.
This chapter reviews recent philosophical and neuroethical literature on the morality of moral neuroenhancements. It first briefly outlines the main moral arguments that have been made concerning moral status neuroenhancements. These are neurointerventions that would augment the moral status of human persons. It then surveys recent debate regarding moral desirability neuroenhancements: neurointerventions that augment that the moral desirability of human character traits, motives or conduct. This debate has contested, among other claims (i) Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu’s contention that there (...) is a moral imperative to pursue the development of moral desirability neuroenhancements, (ii) Thomas Douglas’ claim that voluntarily undergoing moral desirability neuroenhancements would often be morally permissible, and (iii) David DeGrazia’s claim that moral desirability neuroenhancements would often be morally desirable. The chapter discusses a number of concerns that have been raised regarding moral desirability neuroenhancements, including concerns that they would restrict freedom, would produce only a superficial kind of moral improvement, would rely on technologies that are liable to be misused, and would frequently misfire, resulting in moral deterioration rather than moral improvement. (shrink)
Alexander X. Douglas situates Spinoza's philosophy in its immediate historical context, and argues that much of his work was conceived with the aim of rebutting the claims of his contemporaries. In contrast to them, Spinoza argued that philosophy reveals the true nature of God, and reinterpreted the concept of God in profound and radical ways.
We know we have thoughts, but are we aware that we have styles of thought? This book, written by one of the most gifted and celebrated social thinkers of our time, is a contribution to understanding the rules of the different styles of thinking. Author Mary Douglas takes us through a range of thought styles from the vulgar to the refined. Throughout this fascinating journey, Thought Styles shows us how the different styles work and how outsiders can learn the (...) styles of insiders. The discussion ranges from the style of folklore to the styles of therapy, shopping, religion, and animal rights. The result is a book full of insight. Readers will find themselves thinking in new ways about the mechanics of communication in everyday life. Professionals and researchers in sociology, communication, and anthropology will especially appreciate this auspicious new book. (shrink)
Fraud from the frontlines: the importance of being nice Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9492-2 Authors Heather Douglas, Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 815 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0480, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
“Employees have rights by virtue of employment law and the contract of employment. They also have a third right, however: that of being treated with respect…” What this implies is explored here in detail by the Senior Partner of Phoenix Human Resources Consultants, 17 Den Road, Shortlands, Bromley, Kent BR2 ONH. Ms Douglas originally gave this presentation at a meeting of The Ethical Business Forum at London Business School.
In this volume, Mark Douglas offers a new vision of the history of Christian pacifism within the context of a warming world. He narrates this story in a way that recognizes the complexities of the tradition and aligns it with a coherent theological vision, one that shapes the tradition to encompass the new causes and types of wars fought during the Anthropocene. Along the way, Douglas draws from research in historical climatology to recover the overlooked role that climate (...) changes have always played in shaping not only the Christian pacifist tradition but also the movement of traditions through western history. Scholars across a range of disciplines - peace studies, Christian theology and history, environmentalism, and environmental conflict studies - will benefit from this model of critical and charitable engagement with the complex history of Christian pacifism, the resources of which will be important for addressing wars in a warming world. (shrink)
William Scott Douglas's six volume edition of Burns's work is the most oustanding of all the nineteenth century editions in terms of completeness and scholarship. The first three volumes contain Burn's poetry, and the prose works in the final volumes include some sixty-eight previously unpublished letters or parts of letters.
Johnstone, H. W., Jr. Rhetoric and communication in philosophy.--Smith, C. R. and Douglas, D. G. Philosophical principles in the traditional and emerging views of rhetoric.--Wallace, K. R. Bacon's conception of rhetoric.--Thonssen, L. W. Thomas Hobbes's philosophy of speech.--Walter, O. M., Jr. Descartes on reasoning.--Douglas, D. G. Spinoza and the methodology of reflective knowledge in persuasion.--Howell, W. S. John Locke and the new rhetoric.--Doering, J. F. David Hume on oratory.--Douglas, D. G. A neo-Kantian approach to the epistomology of (...) judgment in criticism.--Bevilacqua, V. M. Lord Kames's theory of rhetoric.--Brockriede, W. E. Bentham's philosophy of rhetoric.--Anderson, R. E. Kierkegaard's theory of communication.--Macksoud, S. J. Ludwig Wittgenstein, radical operationism and rhetorical stance.--Stewart, J. J. L. Austin's speech act analysis.--Torrence, D. L. A philosophy of rhetoric from Bertrand Russell.--Clark, A. Martin Buber, dialogue, and the philosophy of rhetoric.--Bennett, W. Kenneth Burke--a philosophy in defense of un-reason.--Dearin, R. D. The philosophical basis of Chaim Perelman's theory of rhetoric. (shrink)
Although epistemic values have become widely accepted as part of scientific reasoning, non-epistemic values have been largely relegated to the "external" parts of science (the selection of hypotheses, restrictions on methodologies, and the use of scientific technologies). I argue that because of inductive risk, or the risk of error, non-epistemic values are required in science wherever non-epistemic consequences of error should be considered. I use examples from dioxin studies to illustrate how non-epistemic consequences of error can and should be considered (...) in the internal stages of science: choice of methodology, characterization of data, and interpretation of results. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between organizational ethical culture in two large international CPA firms, auditors'' personal values and the ethical orientation that those values dictate, and judgments in ethical dilemmas typical of those that accountants face. Using an experimental task consisting of multiple judgments designed to vary in "moral intensity" (Jones, 1991), and unique as well as tried-and-true approaches to variable measurements, this study examined the judgments of more than three hundred participants in our study. ANCOVA and path analysis (...) results indicate that: (1) Ethical judgments in situations of high moral intensity are affected by personal values and by environmental variables, such as the professional code of conduct (direct and indirect effects) and previous ethics instruction (direct effect only). (2) Corporate ethical culture, and a relatively strong firm rules-orientation, affect auditors'' idealism but not relativism, and therefore indirectly affect ethical judgments. Jones'' (1991) moral intensity argument is supported: differences in the characteristics of specific judgment tasks apparently result in different decision processes. (shrink)
In this article, I respond to questions about, and criticisms of, my article “Towardan African Moral Theory” that have been put forth by Allen Wood, Mogobe Ramose, DouglasFarland and Jason van Niekerk. The major topicsI address include: what bearing the objectivity of moral value should have on cross-cultural moral differences between Africans and Westerners; whether a harmonious relationship is a good candidate for having final moral value; whether consequentialism exhausts the proper way to respond to the value (...) of a harmonious relationship; what makes a moral theory count as “African”; how the existing literature on African ethics relates to the aim of analytically developing and defending a single foundational moral principle; whether the intuitions I appeal to ground an African moral theory are pro tanto rightmakers or general moral truths; whether the moral theory I defend can capture pro tanto rightness; and whether the best interpretation of African ethics is self-regarding (deeming the only basic moral reason for action to be that it would develop one's own valuable human nature) or other-regarding (holding that a certain kind of harmonious relationship between individuals could ground a basic moral reason for action) . (shrink)
Applying social contract theory to business ethics is a relatively new idea, and perhaps nobody has pursued this direction better than Thomas Donaldson and Thomas W. Dunfee. Their "Integrative Social Contracts Theory" manages to combine culturally sensitive decision making capacities with trans-cultural norms by setting up a layered system of social contracts. Lurking behind their work is a concern with the problems of relativism. They hope to alleviate these problems by introducing three concepts important to the ISCT: "authentic norms," which (...) clarify culturally specific norms, "priority rules," which determine the rules of engagement when authentic norms clash, and "hypernorms," which measure the value of authentic norms against a thin set of universally upheld values. This paper traces the genealogy of these hypernorms and challenges their value for the ISCT. It argues that well-conceived priority rules can do everything hypernorms can, and can do so more simply. (shrink)
Claims that the self and experience in general are narrative in structure are increasingly common, but it is not always clear what such claims come down to. In this paper, I argue that if the view is to be distinctive, the element of narrativity must be taken as literally as possible. If we do so, and explore the consequences of thinking about our selves and our lives in this manner, we shall see that the narrative view fundamentally confusues art and (...) life. We learn from art itself that our selves and lives transcend narratives and that thinking in a narrative manner ignores the rich complexity of individual persons. Footnotes1 I am grateful to John Cottingham, Galen Strawson, Bart Streumer and DouglasFarland for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. (shrink)
The "Ibercorp affair" was front-page news in Spain at various times between 1992 and 1995. In itself, there was nothing particularly new about it: a newly formed financial group engaged in legally and ethically reprehensible behaviour that eventually came to light in the media, ruining the company (and the careers of those involved). What aroused public interest at the time was the fact that it involved individuals connected with Spanish public and political life, the media and certain business circles. Above (...) all, it demonstrated the personal, economic, social and political consequences of a business culture based on the pursuit of easy profits at any price (what came to be known as the cultura del pelotazo or "culture of the fast buck"). Again, this is all too familiar in business ethics. But it served to goad Spanish society into a rejection of such behaviour. This article describes the facts and their ethical implications. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of ten essays by Douglas Gasking (1911–1994), a significant figure in Australian philosophy. There are three previously published papers, “Mathematics and the World” (proposing a form of conventionalism), “Causation and Recipes” (expounding a manipulation account of causation), and “Clusters”, (an account of certain varieties of class-membership). The seven previously unpublished papers include further work on causation, some epistemological issues, subjective probability, a carefully worked out account of the sense in which observable behaviour can be (...) criterial for mental states, and the distinction between deductive and inductive arguments.The introduction to the volume describes Gasking’s life and work, and a bibliography lists Gasking’s publication, and also works of other philosophers who have engaged with Gasking’s ideas. (shrink)
In ‘Why Criminal Law: A Question of Content?’, Douglas Husak argues that an analysis of the justifiability of the criminal law depends upon an analysis of the justifiability of state punishment. According to Husak, an adequate justification of state punishment both must show why the state is permitted to infringe valuable rights such as the right not to be punished and must respond to two distinct groups of persons who may demand a justification for the imposition of punishment, namely, (...) individuals subjected to punishment and the society asked to support the institution of punishment. In this discussion, I analyse Husak’s account of the right not to be punished with an eye to showing that the parameters of that right do not extend to the cases that would make it controversial. I also consider two other distinct groups of persons who have equal standing to alleged offenders and society to demand justification for the imposition of state punishment, namely, direct victims of crimes and criminal justice officials. (shrink)
This ar ti cle ex tends, from a philo soph i cal and an thro po log i cal point of view, the re cent dis - cus sions as to what is met a phoric. Lan guage phi - los o phers have con trib uted to the un der stand ing of the na ture and func tion of met a phors, but their com ments have been tra ..
According to standard trope nominalism, there are simple tropes that do not have parts or multiply distinct aspects. Douglas Ehring’s reductio ad absurdum against this standard view concludes that there are no simple tropes. In this paper, we provide a response to Ehring defending the standard view. Ehring’s argument may be refuted by (1) distinguishing the ontological form of tropes from their contribution to the ontological content of the world, and (2) construing tropes as having primitive identity. At the (...) same time, standard trope nominalism is elaborated on by distinguishing between ontological form and content, for which there are also independent reasons. (shrink)
In recent papers and a book, Heather Douglas has expanded on the well-known argument from inductive risk, thereby launching an influential contemporary critique of the value-free ideal for science. This paper distills Douglas’s critique into four major claims. The first three claims provide a significant challenge to the value-free ideal for science. However, the fourth claim, which delineates her positive proposal to regulate values in science by distinguishing direct and indirect roles for values, is ambiguous between two interpretations, (...) and both have weaknesses. Fortunately, two elements of Douglas’s work that have previously received much less emphasis provide resources for developing a more promising approach for regulating values in science. (shrink)
Medical interventions such as methadone treatment for drug addicts or “chemical castration” for sex offenders have been used in several jurisdictions alongside or as an alternative to traditional punishments, such as incarceration. As our understanding of the biological basis for human behaviour develops, our criminal justice system may make increasing use of such medical techniques and may become less reliant on incarceration. Academic debate on this topic has largely focused on whether offenders can validly consent to medical interventions, given the (...) coercive environment of the criminal justice system. Both sides in this debate share the assumption that administering medical interventions to offenders without their valid consent would be unethical. Recently, Thomas Douglas has mounted a formidable challenge to this “consent requirement”. Essentially, his argument rests on a comparison between prison and medical interventions. Douglas asks: if the state is entitled to impose a prison sentence on a criminal without the criminal’s consent, why is consent required for the imposition of a medical intervention? The most obvious way of defending the consent requirement against Douglas’s challenge appeals to the fact that incarceration merely interferes with the right to free movement, but medical interventions interfere with the right to bodily integrity. This argument rests on what Douglas calls the “robustness claim”—the claim that the right to bodily integrity is more robust than the right to freedom of movement. In other words, the right to freedom of movement loses its protective force in a wider range of circumstances than the right to bodily integrity. Douglas’s article seeks to undermine the robustness claim, by arguing that neither case-based intuitions, nor theoretical considerations support this claim. In this article, I will attempt to raise some doubts about Douglas’s challenge to the consent requirement and the robustness claim. (shrink)
This paper is about teaching philosophy to high school students through Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate. LD, also known as “values debate,” includes topics from ethics and political philosophy. Thousands of high school students across the U.S. debate these topics in class, after school, and at weekend tournaments. We argue that LD is a particularly effective tool for teaching philosophy, but also that LD today falls short of its potential. We argue that the problems with LD are not inevitable, and we (...) offer strategic recommendations for improving LD as a tool for teaching philosophy. Ultimately, our aim is to create a dialogue between LD and academic philosophy, with the hope that such dialogue will improve LD’s capacity to teach students how to do philosophy. (shrink)
In a recent issue of Philosophy East and West Douglas Berger defends a new reading of Mūlamadhyamakakārikā XXIV : 18, arguing that most contemporary translators mistranslate the important term prajñaptir upādāya, misreading it as a compound indicating "dependent designation" or something of the sort, instead of taking it simply to mean "this notion, once acquired." He attributes this alleged error, pervasive in modern scholarship, to Candrakīrti, who, Berger correctly notes, argues for the interpretation he rejects.Berger's analysis, and the reading (...) of the text he suggests is grounded on that analysis, is insightful and fascinating, and certainly generates an understanding of Nāgārjuna's enterprise that is welcome .. (shrink)
In recent years, direct brain interventions have shown increased success in manipulating neurobiological processes often associated with moral reasoning and decision-making. As current DBIs are refined, and new technologies are developed, the state will have an interest in administering DBIs to criminal offenders for rehabilitative purposes. However, it is generally assumed that the state is not justified in directly intruding in an offender’s brain without valid consent. Thomas Douglas challenges this view. The state already forces criminal offenders to go (...) to jail without their consent. This represents a serious interference with an offender’s rights. If criminal offenders are already morally liable to incarceration, why is the state not also entitled to administer DBIs without consent for the purposes of rehabilitation? Douglas argument focuses on the right to ‘bodily integrity’. He argues that there is no compelling reason to believe that bodily rights that protect an offender from non-consensual DBIs are stronger than rights that protect an offender from incarceration. This paper will extend Douglas’ analysis. It will consider the more fundamental right to ‘mental integrity’. The right to mental integrity defends an inner sphere of liberty. It protects critical capacities necessary for the exercise of autonomous human agency—without which a vast majority of moral rights could not exist. Thus, the right to mental integrity is ultimately more important for a moral assessment of DBIs. The right strongly suggests that both presently, and in the future, there may be many cases in which the state is not entitled to administer DBIs to criminal offenders without valid consent. (shrink)
I discuss the moral significance of artificial life within synthetic biology via a discussion of Douglas, Powell and Savulescu's paper 'Is the creation of artificial life morally significant’. I argue that the definitions of 'artificial life’ and of 'moral significance’ are too narrow. Douglas, Powell and Savulescu's definition of artificial life does not capture all core projects of synthetic biology or the ethical concerns that have been voiced, and their definition of moral significance fails to take into account (...) the possibility that creating artificial life is conditionally acceptable. Finally, I show how several important objections to synthetic biology are plausibly understood as arguing that creating artificial life in a wide sense is only conditionally acceptable. (shrink)
It makes sense to review these two books together since they both address the concept of semiotranslation, Dinda L. Gorlée extending her previous writings on the subject by adding intermedial intertextuality argued as 'transduction', and Douglas Robinson subjecting semiotranslation to a sustained critique before offering his own icotic position.In agreement with her previous publications, Gorlée rejects any notion of translation as a simple substitution of linguistic expressions. Instead, the translation process and its results are seen as non-symmetrical, forever changing (...) over time and between cultures. 'Translation' now encompasses a broad spectrum of transformations from intralingual paraphrase to intermedial... (shrink)