In order to fully understand the ethical, cultural, and political debate that moves around the papillomavirus vaccine, a bit of attention has to be paid to its history.In 2006 the first advertisements for Gardasil, the commercial name of the vaccine, started to appear in the United States. Merck pharmaceutical was the main dealer. Their “One Less” campaign was characterized by adolescent girls staring into the camera and saying, “I’m one less,” declaring their intention to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, (...) and to be one less victim of cervical cancer; all it would take was three injections over six months. A few months after the appearance of the advertisement, the HPV matter took another turn when Texas Governor Rick Perry decided to issue an executive order mandating vaccination of all sixth-grade girls in the state. Texas, a state with a conservative political culture and well-organized anti-vaccination movement, bypassed the legislature, overturned Perry’s order .. (shrink)
While researching my 2001 book on sickle cell disease, I became aware of the politics of pain. In that malady—a painful disorder associated with African Americans and characterized by frequent infections and recurring painful “crises”—the politics of pain recognition and adequate relief intersect not only with drug concerns, but also with American racial politics. One cannot understand fully the history of sickle cell patients without understanding politics on two levels: the macropolitics of race in America and the micropolitics of medicinal (...) encounters. How these two kinds of politics collided in clinical decision-making about diagnosis, treatment, and pain management has long been a focus of my scholarship—not... (shrink)
In March 1996, the General Accounting Office issued the report Scientific Research: Continued Vigilance Critical to Protecting Human Subjects. It stated that “an inherent conflict of interest exists when physician-researchers include their patients in research protocols. If the physicians do not clearly distinguish between research and treatment in their attempt to inform subjects, the possible benefits of a study can be overemphasized and the risks minimized.” The report also acknowledged that “the line between research and treatment is not always clear (...) to clinicians. Controversy exists regarding whether certain medical procedures should be categorized as research.”This problem currently plagues gene transfer research. A few months prior to the GAO report, an ad hoc committee appointed by National Institutes of Health Director Harold Varmus expressed similar concerns in its assessment of NIH investment in research on gene therapy. (shrink)
The Anglican Thirty Nine Articles join catholic Christendom in affirming that: There is but one living and true God…and in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
My discussion in this paper is divided into three parts. In section I, I discuss some fairly familiar lines of approach to the question how moral considerations may be shown to have rational appeal. In section II, I suggest how our existence as constituents in collective entities might also influence our practical thinking. In section III, I entertain the idea that identification with collectives might displace moral thinking to some degree, and I offer Marx's class theory as a sample of (...) collective identification for the purposes of practical deliberation. (shrink)
The doctrine of hell, stated with a little care, entails that some persons never achieve their greatest good, fail to really flourish and never reach the end for which they were created. If that doctrine is true, and it is tragic that persons never achieve their greatest good, then there are tragic states of affairs whose tragedy is never overcome.
Appeal to experience for rational justification of religious belief is probably as old as the question whether religious belief has any rational support. The issues relevant to such appeal range widely, and I will have to be content to deal with only a few of them.
We would like to thank Ian Carter and Matthew Kramer for their challenging reply to our recent article. Dowding and van Hees is one of a series of articles in which we try to address measurement issues with regard to individual freedom. Our aim is to provide a conception of freedom that will eventually yield a way of measuring the relative freedom of groups of people within a society and a relative measure of freedom across societies. In doing so, we (...) draw upon the important work of Carter and Kramer, but as should be clear, we also depart from it in several respects. (shrink)
In an incisive critique of Professor Hick's Evil and the God of Love , Professor Puccetti claims to ‘carry the campaign as well as the battle’—i.e. to show that, with respect to evil, theists ‘are either “explaining it away” or saying it cannot be explained at all. And in both cases they are in effect admitting they have no rational defence to offer. Which means that despite appearances they really are abandoning the battlefield.’.
In his recent paper ‘Gratuitous Evil and Divine Existence’. Keith Yandell declares the deductive argument from evil solved. He notes, however, that what persists is a probabilistic version of the argument from evil, one concluding from the evidence of evil that it is ‘highly improbable’ that God exists. Yandell attempts to refute this probabilistic argument from gratuitous evil; as shown below, however, he fails.
Contextualism has been hotly debated in recent epistemology and philosophy of language. The Case for Contextualism is a state-of-the-art exposition and defense of the contextualist position, presenting and advancing the most powerful arguments in favor of the view and responding to the most pressing objections facing it.
This paper uses the knowledge account of assertion (KAA) in defense of epistemological contextualism. Part 1 explores the main problem afflicting contextualism, what I call the "Generality Objection." Part 2 presents and defends both KAA and a powerful new positive argument that it provides for contextualism. Part 3 uses KAA to answer the Generality Objection, and also casts other shadows over the prospects for anti-contextualism.
In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases (...) show that it is the justification (rather than the belief) that must be based in the evidence. We compare Lehrer’s account of basing with some alternative accounts that have been offered, and show why Lehrer’s own account is more plausible. (shrink)
The One remains, the many change and pass; Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity, Until Death tramples it to fragments. At its widest, ‘pluralism’ signifies simply the variety of life, the teeming multitude of forms and entities, the many different properties that living beings manifest. Life is not everywhere the same but impressively differentiated, and without it eternity would be all of a piece, uniform. That is (...) enough for life to stain the white radiance of eternity. But within the multiplicity of specifically human life there are not merely differences. There are tensions, oppositions, conflicts. In contemporary philosophical debate ‘pluralism’ then comes to signify one problematic aspect of this. Groups of people have perhaps always subscribed to very different values, and in consequence favoured very different forms of behaviour from one another, at least on a global scale. But the groups are no longer geographically separated: we live in distinct but overlapping cultures, and get in one another's way to a far greater extent than previously. Shelley's ordered image of the dome may then seem inappropriate, and it may seem unnecessary for death to trample it to fragments. Life is already fragmented, and the practical problem facing us as living creatures is to go beyond the fragments, to achieve at least a modus vivendi in the light of all our differences and incompatibilities even if not the orderliness and cohesion of a dome. Somehow, we have to live together. That is a practical problem which confronts us at every level, as members of families, neighbourhoods, departments, countries and increasingly simply as members of a world-wide human race. (shrink)
In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge,the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes (...) that external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game.This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation. (shrink)
In epistemology, “contextualism” denotes a wide variety of more-or-less closely related positions according to which the issues of knowledge or justification are somehow relative to context. I will proceed by first explicating the position I call contextualism, and distinguishing that position from some closely related positions in epistemology, some of which sometimes also go by the name of “contextualism”. I’ll then present and answer what seems to many the most pressing of the objections to contextualism as I construe it, and (...) also indicate some of the main positive motivations for accepting the view. Among the epistemologists I’ve spoken with who have an opinion on the matter, I think it’s fair to say a majority reject contextualism. However, the resistance has to this point been largely underground, with little by way of sustained arguments against contextualism appearing in the journals,[i] though I have begun to see various papers in manuscript form which are critical of contextualism. Here, I’ll respond the criticism of contextualism that, in my travels, I have found to be the most pervasive in producing suspicion about the view. (shrink)
This paper brings together two positions that for the most part have been developed and defended independently of one another: contextualism about knowledge attributions and the knowledge account of assertion.
Definite descriptions, I shall argue, have two possible functions. 1] They are used to refer to what a speaker wishes to talk about, but they are also used quite differently. Moreover, a definite description occurring in one and the same sentence may, on different occasions of its use, function in either way. The failure to deal with this duality of function obscures the genuine referring use of definite descriptions. The best known theories of definite descriptions, those of Russell and Strawson, (...) I shall suggest, are both guilty of this. Before discussing this distinction in use, I will mention some features of these theories to which it is especially relevant. (shrink)
This book addresses a fundamental question in the philosophy of religion. Can religious experience provide evidence for religious belief? If so, how? Keith Yandell argues against the notion that religious experience is ineffable, while advocating the view that strong numinous experience provides some evidence that God exists. An attractive feature of the book is that it does not confine its attention to any one religious cultural tradition, but tracks the nature of religious experience across different traditions in both the (...) East and the West. (shrink)
In this important new text, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the accepted definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories as well as recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes that external factors must be matched (...) by appropriate internal ones to yield knowledge. Readers of Professor Lehrer's earlier book _Knowledge_ will want to know that this text adopts the framework of that classic text. But _Theory of Knowledge_ is a completely rewritten and updated version of that book that has been simplified throughout for student use. (shrink)
Mind and Supermind offers an alternative perspective on the nature of belief and the structure of the human mind. Keith Frankish argues that the folk-psychological term 'belief' refers to two distinct types of mental state, which have different properties and support different kinds of mental explanation. Building on this claim, he develops a picture of the human mind as a two-level structure, consisting of a basic mind and a supermind, and shows how the resulting account sheds light on a (...) number of puzzling phenomena and helps to vindicate folk psychology. Topics discussed include the function of conscious thought, the cognitive role of natural language, the relation between partial and flat-out belief, the possibility of active belief formation, and the nature of akrasia, self-deception and first-person authority. This book will be valuable for philosophers, psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
About the book: This book explores the idea that we have two minds - automatic, unconscious, and fast, the other controlled, conscious, and slow. In recent years there has been great interest in so-called dual-process theories of reasoning and rationality. According to such theories, there are two distinct systems underlying human reasoning - an evolutionarily old system that is associative, automatic, unconscious, parallel, and fast, and a more recent, distinctively human system that is rule-based, controlled, conscious, serial, and slow. Within (...) the former, processes the former, processes are held to be innate and to use heuristics that evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. In the latter, processes are taken to be learned, flexible, and responsive to rational norms. (shrink)
Philosophers and scientists have studied sensory perception and, in particular, vision for many years. Increasingly, however, they have become interested in the nonvisual senses in greater detail and the problem of individuating the senses in a more general way. The Aristotelian view is that there are only five external senses—smell, taste, hearing, touch, and vision. This has, by many counts, been extended to include internal senses, such as balance, proprioception, and kinesthesis; pain; and potentially other human and nonhuman senses. This (...) “multisensory turn” has been driven partly by developments in contemporary psychology and neuroscience, which have revealed a host of complex interrelations and interactions between sensory modalities previously thought to be distinct. Contrasts between modalities and other crossmodal phenomena, including multisensory integration, synesthesia, and sensory substitution, have also begun to receive more attention in a burgeoning scientific and philosophical literature on multisensory perception and other crossmodal effects. This article focuses on recent empirically informed contributions to the philosophy of perception, as well as key scientific works that provide important background information and insights into the nature of the senses and sensory perception. Indeed, one of the lessons of the multisensory turn, and of contemporary philosophy of mind more generally, is that philosophers ignore this body of empirical research at their peril because many human and animal senses turn out to be richer and more complex than philosophers and scientists had previously imagined, making this a fruitful area for interdisciplinary interaction and research. (shrink)
Much research in the last two decades has demonstrated that human responses deviate from the performance deemed normative according to various models of decision making and rational judgment (e.g., the basic axioms of utility theory). This gap between the normative and the descriptive can be interpreted as indicating systematic irrationalities in human cognition. However, four alternative interpretations preserve the assumption that human behavior and cognition is largely rational. These posit that the gap is due to (1) performance errors, (2) computational (...) limitations, (3) the wrong norm being applied by the experimenter, and (4) a different construal of the task by the subject. In the debates about the viability of these alternative explanations, attention has been focused too narrowly on the modal response. In a series of experiments involving most of the classic tasks in the heuristics and biases literature, we have examined the implications of individual differences in performance for each of the four explanations of the normative/descriptive gap. Performance errors are a minor factor in the gap; computational limitations underlie non-normative responding on several tasks, particularly those that involve some type of cognitive decontextualization. Unexpected patterns of covariance can suggest when the wrong norm is being applied to a task or when an alternative construal of the task should be considered appropriate. Key Words: biases; descriptive models; heuristics; individual differences; normative models; rationality; reasoning. (shrink)
Because every single one of us will die, most of us would like to know what—if anything—awaits us afterward, not to mention the fate of lost loved ones. Given the nearly universal vested interest we personally have in deciding this question in favor of an afterlife, it is no surprise that the vast majority of books on the topic affirm the reality of life after death without a backward glance. But the evidence of our senses and the ever-gaining strength of (...) scientific evidence strongly suggest otherwise. -/- In The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death, Michael Martin and Keith Augustine collect a series of contributions that redress this imbalance in the literature by providing a strong, comprehensive, and up-to-date casebook of the chief arguments against an afterlife all in one place. Divided into four separate sections, this essay collection opens the volume with a broad overview of the issues, as contributors consider the strongest available evidence as to whether or not we survive death—in particular the biological basis of all mental states and their grounding in brain activity that ceases to function at death. Next contributors consider a host of conceptual and empirical difficulties that confront the various ways of "surviving" death—from bodiless minds to bodily resurrection to any form of posthumous survival. Then essayists turn to internal inconsistencies between traditional theological conceptions of an afterlife—Heaven, Hell, karmic rebirth—and widely held ethical principles central to the belief systems undergirding those notions. In the final section, authors offer critical evaluations of the main types of evidence for an afterlife. -/- Fully interdisciplinary, The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death brings together a variety of fields of research to make that case, including cognitive neuroscience, philosophy of mind, personal identity, philosophy of religion, moral philosophy, psychical research, and anomalistic psychology. As the definitive casebook of arguments against life after death, this collection is required reading for any instructor, researcher, and student in philosophy, religious studies, and theology. It is sure to raise provocative issues new to readers, regardless of background, from those who believe fervently in the reality of an afterlife to those who do not or are undecided on the matter. (shrink)
Inter-species variation in colour perception poses a serious problem for the view that colours are mind-independent properties. Given that colour perception varies so drastically across species, which species perceives colours as they really are? In this paper, I argue that all do. Specifically, I argue that members of different species perceive properties that are determinates of different, mutually compatible, determinables. This is an instance of a general selectionist strategy for dealing with cases of perceptual variation. According to selectionist views, objects (...) simultaneously instantiate a plurality of colours, all of them genuinely mind-independent, and subjects select from amongst this plurality which colours they perceive. I contrast selectionist views with relationalist views that deny the mind-independence of colour, and consider some general objections to this strategy. (shrink)
The eminent philosopher Keith Lehrer offers an original and distinctively personal view of central aspects of the human condition, such as reason, knowledge, wisdom, autonomy, love, consensus, and consciousness. He argues that what is uniquely human is our capacity for evaluating our own mental states (such as beliefs and desires), and suggests that we have a system for such evaluation which allows the resolution of personal and interpersonal conflict. The keystone in this system is self-trust, on which reason, knowledge, (...) and wisdom are grounded. (shrink)
Many philosophers and scientists take perceptual experience, whatever else it involves, to be representational. In ‘The Silence of the Senses’, Charles Travis argues that this view involves a kind of category mistake, and consequently, that perceptual experience is not a representational or intentional phenomenon. The details of Travis’s argument, however, have been widely misinterpreted by his representationalist opponents, many of whom dismiss it out of hand. This chapter offers an interpretation of Travis’s argument from looks that it is argued presents (...) a genuine and important challenge to orthodox representational views of experience. Whilst this challenge may not be insurmountable, it places a substantial burden upon the representationalist to explain not only how experiences come to have the contents that they do, but how those contents come to feature in our conscious mental lives. (shrink)