From the point of view of a theorist in ethics, the interest in public policy usually centres on the policy outcomes. But this point of view does not take much account of the roles and practices through which public policies are enacted. What additional ethical focuses for the policy agent might these entail? I outline four features of policy making, centred on the agent's performance of their role in the process, that raise ethical issues. These features are: the nature of (...) the policy process; the definition of the public; the treatment of policy agents; and accounting for public policy decisions. Brief examples are used to illustrate the nature of the issues and support the conclusion that these present additional ethical focuses for agents in public policy roles. (shrink)
This article takes a parsimonious conception of a developed State operating under a minimalist conception of democracy and asks whether such a State must fully resource any tertiary (post-compulsory) education for its citizens A key public policy barrier to arguing an absolute obligation for the State to resource any tertiary education is considered; namely, the fact of scarce resources creating competing obligations for the State. This article argues even a minimalist conception of democracy requires that States fully resource some tertiary (...) (post-compulsory) education, regardless of whether directing resources away from other public needs results in the non-prevention of some avoidable suffering and death. A policy recommendation for resourcing this education is considered, and an alternative policy proposed. (shrink)
This article takes a parsimonious conception of a developed State operating under a minimalist conception of democracy and asks whether such a State must fully resource any tertiary education for its citizens A key public policy barrier to arguing an absolute obligation for the State to resource any tertiary education is considered; namely, the fact of scarce resources creating competing obligations for the State. This article argues even a minimalist conception of democracy requires that States fully resource some tertiary education, (...) regardless of whether directing resources away from other public needs results in the non-prevention of some avoidable suffering and death. A policy recommendation for resourcing this education is considered, and an alternative policy proposed. (shrink)
Increasing empirical research on productivity supports the use of statistical or ‘rational’ discrimination in hiring. The practice is legal for features of job applicants not covered by human rights discrimination laws, such as being a smoker, residing in a particular neighbourhood or being a particular height. The practice appears largely morally innocuous under existing philosophical accounts of wrongful discrimination. This paper argues that lawful statistical discrimination treats job applicants in a way that may be considered degrading, and is likely to (...) constrain people’s freedoms in relation to employment, thus giving us reason for moral concern. (shrink)
Abstract It would be puzzling if the morally best agents were not so good after all. Yet one prominent account of the morally best agents ascribes to them the exact motivational defect that has famously been called a “fetish.” The supposed defect is a desire to do the right thing, where this is read de dicto . If the morally best agents really are driven by this de dicto desire, and if this de dicto desire is really a fetish, then (...) the morally best agents are moral fetishists. This is puzzling. I resolve the puzzle by showing that on a proper understanding of the interaction between de dicto and de re moral motivation, it is not only not fetishistic, but quite possibly desirable, to be motivated by a de dicto desire to do the right thing. My argument relies partly on an appeal to a non-buck-passing account of moral rightness, according to which rightness is itself an additional reason-giving property over and above the right-making properties of an action. If this account of moral rightness is correct, then we would expect the morally best agents to exhibit de dicto moral motivation. However, since their de dicto desire acts in concert with de re desires, there is no reason to consider it a fetish. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9825-z Authors Vanessa Carbonell, Philosophy Department, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210374, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0374, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
One of the most plausible and widely discussed examples of strong emergence is molecular structure. The only detailed account of it, which has been very influential, is due to Robin Hendry and is formulated in terms of downward causation. This paper explains Hendry’s account of the strong emergence of molecular structure and argues that it is coherent only if one assumes a diachronic reflexive notion of downward causation. However, in the context of this notion of downward causation, the strong emergence (...) of molecular structure faces three challenges that have not been met and which have so far remained unnoticed. First, the putative empirical evidence presented for the strong emergence of molecular structure equally undermines supervenience, which is one of the main tenets of strong emergence. Secondly, it is ambiguous how the assumption of determinate nuclear positions is invoked for the support of strong emergence, as the role of this assumption in Hendry’s argument can be interpreted in more than one way. Lastly, there are understandings of causation which render the postulation of a downward causal relation between a molecule’s structure and its quantum mechanical entities, untenable. (shrink)
There has been an exponential rise in use of the term vulnerability across a number of political and policy arenas, including child protection, sexual offences, poverty, development, care for the elderly, patient autonomy, globalisation, war, public health and ecology. Yet despite its increasing deployment, the exact meaning and parameters of this concept remain somewhat elusive. In this article, we explore the interaction of two very different strategies—one in which vulnerability is relied upon by those seeking improved social justice as a (...) mechanism by which to identify, problematise and compel state responses to a universal condition of precarious dependency, and the other in which it is used as a category of neo-liberal governance which legitimates state encroachment whilst constructing ‘vulnerable’ individuals as ‘risk-managers’ who must behave ‘responsibly’ in the face of disadvantage. We suggest that the co-existence of these divergent approaches highlights the fluidity and malleability of the concept of vulnerability. Using sex work as a specific case study, we explore the ways in which vulnerability bears multiple meanings, and has been used in recent times in the furtherance of moralistic and regressive agendas, which collude with, rather than challenge, state power. Without seeking to reject the label or normative import of vulnerability, we call, therefore, for a more circumspect approach to its usage, and a more critical evaluation of recent claims which hail it as a mechanism, preferable to the conventional use of equality paradigms, by which to secure progressive feminist outcomes. (shrink)
Holobionts are symbiotic assemblages composed by a macrobe host plus its symbiotic microbiota. In recent years, the ontological status of holobionts has created a great amount of controversy among philosophers and biologists: are holobionts biological individuals or are they rather ecological communities of independent individuals that interact together? Chiu and Eberl have recently developed an eco-immunity account of the holobiont wherein holobionts are neither biological individuals nor ecological communities, but hybrids between a host and its microbiota. According to their account, (...) the microbiota is not a proper part of the holobiont. Yet, it should be regarded as a set of scaffolds that support the individuality of the host. In this paper, we approach Chiu and Eberl’s account from a metaphysical perspective and argue that, contrary to what the authors claim, the eco-immunity account entails that the microorganisms that compose the host’s microbiota are proper parts of the holobiont. Second, we argue that by claiming that holobionts are hybrids, and therefore, not biological individuals, the authors seem to be assuming a controversial position about the ontology of hybrids, which are conventionally characterized as a type of biological individual. In doing so, our paper aligns with the contemporary tendency to incorporate metaphysical resources to shed light on current biological debates and builds on that to provide additional support to the consideration of holobionts as biological individuals from an eco-immunity perspective. (shrink)
Two environmental accidents in the mining industry provide the context for this study of the Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (1997, The Academy of Management Review 22, 853–886) analysis of stakeholder salience. I examine the reactions of two stakeholder groups: shareholder response is examined in terms of changing share returns and risk; management response through change in disclosure. I find the two decision-makers reacted at different times. Management responded to the first accident, though not the second. Shareholders responded to the second (...) accident alone. My findings support the Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (MAW) assertion that stakeholder status is impermanent, and determined through the eyes of the decision-maker. (shrink)
The moral community is a social community, and as such it is vulnerable to social problems and pathologies. In this essay I identify a particular way in which participation in the moral community can be constrained by social factors. I argue that features of the social world—including power imbalances, oppression, intergroup conflict, communication barriers, and stereotyping—can make it nearly impossible for some members of the moral community to hold others responsible for wrongdoing. Specifically, social circumstances prevent some marginalized people from (...) engaging in what Stephen Darwall calls “felicitous moral address” (Darwall 2006). We should think of some members of the moral community as having “second-class moral citizenship” in ways that parallel second-class political citizenship. The injustice of second-class moral citizenship can be understood by drawing an analogy with Miranda Fricker’s notion of “epistemic injustice” (Fricker 2007). Fricker’s account of how people can be undermined in their capacity as knowers can be extended to show how people can be undermined in their capacity as makers of moral claims, which can be called “claimant injustice”. (shrink)
Marxism is a materialist theory that centers economic life in its analysis of the human social world. This materialist orientation manifests in explanations that take economic class to play a fundamental causal role in determining the emergence, character, and development of race-and sex-based oppression—indeed, of all forms of identity-based oppression within class societies. To say that labor is mediated by class in a class-based society is to say that, in such societies, the class-based division of that activity which produces and (...) reproduces the human species is the definite form in which labor appears, and that the human life which is the product of that self-making activity bears its stamp. Marxism’s emphasis on economic factors as central in the constitution and development of human life has been seized upon as evidence of its alleged “class reductionism”—its supposed tendency to think of all aspects of human life as direct and simple expressions of a class relation. No such thing follows; quite the opposite, a correct understanding of the relationships among capitalism, racism, and sexism only further highlights how central the struggle against each is to the struggles against any of the others. (shrink)
I argue for the existence of a ‘ratcheting-up effect’: the behavior of moral saints serves to increase the level of moral obligation the rest of us face. What we are morally obligated to do is constrained by what it would be reasonable for us to believe we are morally obligated to do. Moral saints provide us with a special kind of evidence that bears on what we can reasonably believe about our obligations. They do this by modeling the level of (...) sacrifice a person can realistically bear. Exposure to moral saints thus ‘ratchets-up’ our obligations by combating a type of ignorance that would otherwise defeat those obligations. (shrink)
Susan Wolf famously claimed that the life of the moral saint is unattractive from the “point of view of individual perfection.” I argue, however, that the unattractive moral saints in Wolf’s account are self-defeating on two levels, are motivated in the wrong way, and are called into question by real-life counter-examples. By appealing to a real-life case study, I argue that the best life from the moral point of view is not necessarily unattractive from the individual point of view.
We emerge from certain activities with an altered sense of self. Whether returning from a warzone or from an experience as common as caring for an aging parent, one might remark, “I’m not the same person I was.” I argue that such transformations are relevant to debates about what morality requires of us. To undergo an alteration in one’s self is to make a special kind of sacrifice, a sacrifice of self. Since projects can be more or less morally obligatory (...) to the extent that they require more or less sacrifice, we must incorporate these unique sacrifices into any accounting of the contours and limits of moral obligation. But sacrifices of self pose a special difficulty for any such accounting, precisely because of their transformative nature. Unlike most other sacrifices, they cannot be analyzed entirely in terms of wellbeing. Using real-world case studies and examples, I argue for the existence of two types of sacrifice of self, involving changes in identity and moral agency. I argue that sacrifices of self require particular attention because they may be extra difficult to compare with other costs and with moral gains. (shrink)
The animal in Nietzsche's philosophy -- Culture and civilization -- Politics and promise -- Culture and economy -- Giving and forgiving -- Animality, creativity, and historicity -- Animality, language, and truth -- Biopolitics and the question of animal life.
A survey on the knowledge and attitudes towards the Austrian organ donation legislation (an opt-out solution) of selected groups of the Austrian population taking into account factors such as age, gender, level of education, affiliation to healthcare professions and health related studies was conducted.
Actionable Postcolonial Theory in Education illustrates how postcolonial theory can be put to work in education. It offers an accessible and handy overview and comparison of postcolonial theory and other theoretical debates related to critiques of Western ethnocentrism and hegemony. It also offers examples that illustrate how a discursive strand of postcolonial theory has been applied successfully in the contexts of educational research/critique and in pioneering pedagogical projects. Andreotti encourages educators and researchers in education to engage with postcolonial theoretical frameworks (...) and their implications for research and educational practice. (shrink)
This study tests how various kinds of trust impact attitudes toward euthanasia among the general public. The indication that trust might have an impact on euthanasia attitudes is based on the slippery slope argument, which asserts that allowing euthanasia might lead to abuses and involuntary deaths. Adopting this argument usually leads to less positive attitudes towards euthanasia. Tying in with this, it is assumed here that greater trust diminishes such slippery slope fears, and thereby increases euthanasia acceptance.
Contemporary biological research has suggested that some host–microbiome multispecies systems (referred to as “holobionts”) can in certain circumstances evolve as unique biological individual, thus being a unit of selection in evolution. If this is so, then it is arguably the case that some biological adaptations have evolved at the level of the multispecies system, what we call hologenomic adaptations. However, no research has yet been devoted to investigating their nature, or how these adaptations can be distinguished from adaptations at the (...) species-level (genomic adaptations). In this paper, we cover this gap by investigating the nature of hologenomic adaptations. By drawing on the case of the evolution of sanguivory diet in vampire bats, we argue that a trait constitutes a hologenomic adaptation when its evolution can only be explained if the holobiont is considered the biological individual that manifests this adaptation, while the bacterial taxa that bear the trait are only opportunistic beneficiaries of it. We then use the philosophical notions of emergence and inter-identity to explain the nature of this form of individuality and argue why it is special of holobionts. Overall, our paper illustrates how the use of philosophical concepts can illuminate scientific discussions, in the trend of what has recently been called metaphysics of biology. (shrink)
Holobionts are symbiotic assemblages composed by a host plus its microbiome. The status of holobionts as individuals has recently been a subject of continuous controversy, which has given rise to two main positions: on the one hand, holobiont advocates argue that holobionts are biological individuals; on the other, holobiont detractors argue that they are just mere chimeras or ecological communities, but not individuals. Both parties in the dispute develop their arguments from the framework of the philosophy of biology, in terms (...) of what it takes for a “conglomerate” to be considered an interesting individual from a biological point of view. However, the debates about holobiont individuality have important ontological implications that have remained vaguely explored from a metaphysical framework. The purpose of this paper is to cover that gap by presenting a metaphysical approach to holobionts individuality. Drawing upon a conception of natural selection that puts the focus on the transgenerational recurrence of the traits and that supports the thesis that holobionts are units of selection, we argue that holobionts bear emergent traits and exert downward powers over the entities that compose them. In this vein, we argue, a reasonable argument can be made for conceiving holobionts as emergent biological individuals. (shrink)
The field of emotion understanding is replete with measures, yet lacks an integrated conceptual organizing structure. To identify and organize skills associated with the recognition and knowledge of emotions, and to highlight the focus of emotion understanding as localized in the self, in specific others, and in generalized others, we introduce the conceptual framework of Emotion Understanding in Recognition and Knowledge Abilities. We then categorize 56 existing methods of emotion understanding within this framework to highlight current gaps and future opportunities (...) in assessing emotion understanding across the lifespan. We hope the EUReKA model provides a systematic and integrated framework for conceptualizing and measuring emotion understanding for future research. (shrink)
Prudential hedonism has been beset by many objections, the strength and number of which have led most modern philosophers to believe that it is implausible. One objection in particular, however, is nearly always cited when a philosopher wants to argue that prudential hedonism is implausible—the experience machine objection to hedonism. This paper examines this objection in detail. First, the deductive and abductive versions of the experience machine objection to hedonism are explained. Following this, the contemporary responses to each version of (...) the argument are assessed and the deductive version is argued to be relatively ineffective compared to the abductive version. Then, a taxonomy of the contemporary critical responses to the abductive version is created. Consideration of these responses shows that the abductive version of the objection is fairly powerful, but also that one type of response seems promising against it. This response argues that experience machine thought experiments seem to elicit judgments that are either too biased to be used as evidence for the objection or not obviously in favour of reality. It is argued that only this type of refutation seems likely to convince proponents of the abductive version that the objection is much weaker than they believe it to be. Finally, it is suggested that more evidence is required before anything definitive can be said on the matter. (shrink)
ABSTRACTInattentional blindness occurs when observers fail to detect unexpected objects or events. Despite the adaptive importance of detecting unexpected threats, relatively little research has examined how stimulus threat influences IB. The current study was designed to explore the effects of stimulus threat on IB. Past research has also demonstrated that individuals with elevated negative affectivity have an attentional bias towards threat-related stimuli; therefore, the current study also examined whether state and trait levels of negative affectivity predicted IB for threat-related stimuli. (...) One hundred and eleven participants completed an IB task that included both threat-related and neutral unexpected stimuli, while their eye movements were tracked. Participants were significantly more likely to detect the threatening stimulus than the neutral stimulus p =.035, odds ratio = 4.0, 95% confidence interval OR [1.13, 14.17]. Neither state nor trait... (shrink)
Harold Kincaid in Individualism and the Unity of Science postulates a model of unity-without-reduction in order to accurately describe the relation between individualism and macroeconomics. I present this model and apply it to the description of the relation between chemistry and quantum mechanics. I argue that, when it comes to the description of molecular structure, chemistry and quantum mechanics are unified in Kincaid’s sense. Specifically, the two disciplines contribute to the formation of a unified body of knowledge with respect to (...) molecular structure. (shrink)
Whether or not quantum physics can account for molecular structure is a matter of considerable controversy. Three of the problems raised in this regard are the problems of molecular structure. We argue that these problems are just special cases of the measurement problem of quantum mechanics: insofar as the measurement problem is solved, the problems of molecular structure are resolved as well. In addition, we explore one consequence of our argument: that claims about the reduction or emergence of molecular structure (...) cannot be settled independently of the choice of a particular resolution to the measurement problem. Specifically, we consider how three standard putative solutions to the measurement problem inform our under- standing of a molecule in isolation, as well as of chemistry’s relation to quantum physics. (shrink)
If the traditional problem of demandingness is that a theory demands too much of all agents, for example by asking them to maximize utility in every decision, then we should ask whether there is a related problem of “differential demandingness”, when a theory places vastly different demands on different agents. I argue that even according to common-sense morality, the demands faced by particular agents depend on a variety of contingent factors. These include the general circumstances, the compliance of others, the (...) available resources, the agent’s relevant relationships, the agent’s psychological constitution, and the agent’s knowledge. Some agents, for instance, find themselves in a “sacrifice hazard”: a situation where morality calls for a huge unforeseen sacrifice. I argue that if moral demands are differential, it is harder than one might think to assess a theory’s general level of demandingness in the abstract. (shrink)
ABSTRACTHedonic deficits are linked to protracted dysphoric affect in depression, a disorder characterised by emotion context insensitivity. Recent findings from daily life studies contradict the ECI view. This study longitudinally investigated DA across laboratory and daily life contexts and the conditions associated with discrepancies in DA reactivity. Thirty-three healthy controls and 41 adults with major depressive disorder provided responses to neutral and positive films viewed in the laboratory and daily events recorded over the course of three days using ecological momentary (...) assessment methodology. The current study reports on participants’ appraisals of films and events and their subsequent DA, both rated individually after each task and daily event. Despite large group similarities in appraisals of the positive film and life events, MDDs appraised the neutral film and neutral life events as less important and less pleasant (film: d =... (shrink)