In various areas of Anglo-American law, legal liability turns on causation. In torts and contracts, we are each liable only for those harms we have caused by the actions that breach our legal duties. Such doctrines explicitly make causation an element of liability. In criminal law, sometimes the causal element for liability is equally explicit, as when a statute makes punishable any act that has “ caused … abuse to the child….” More often, the causal element in criminal liability is (...) more implicit, as when criminal statutes prohibit killings, maimings, rapings, burnings, etc. Such causally complex action verbs are correctly applied only to defendants who have caused death, caused disfigurement, caused penetration, caused fire damage, etc. (shrink)
Freud justified his extensive theorizing about dreams by the observation that they were “the royal road” to something much more general: namely, our unconscious mental life. The current preoccupation with the theory of excuse in criminal law scholarship can be given a similar justification, for the excuses are the royal road to theories of responsibility generally. The thought is that if we understand why we excuse in certain situations but not others, we will have also gained a much more general (...) insight into the nature of responsibility itself. Nowhere has this thought been more evident than in the century-old focus of criminal law theoreticians on the excuse of insanity, a focus that could not be justified by the importance of the excuse itself. In this paper I wish to isolate two theories of excuse, each of which instantiates its own distinctive theory of responsibility. One is what I shall call the choice theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because at the moment of such action's performance, one did not have sufficient capacity or opportunity to make the choice to do otherwise. Such a choice theory of excuse instantiates a more general theory of responsibility, according to which we are responsible for wrongs we freely choose to do, and not responsible for wrongs we lacked the freedom to avoid doing. The second I shall call the character theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because such action is not determined by those enduring attributes of ourselves we call our characters. (shrink)
Michael S. Brady offers a new account of the role of emotions in our lives. He argues that emotional experiences do not give us information in the same way that perceptual experiences do. Instead, they serve our epistemic needs by capturing our attention and facilitating a reappraisal of the evaluative information that emotions themselves provide.
Suffering, in one form or another, is present in all of our lives. But why do we suffer? On one reading, this is a question about the causes of physical and emotional suffering. But on another, it is a question about whether suffering has a point or purpose or value. In this ground-breaking book, Michael Brady argues that suffering is vital for the development of virtue, and hence for us to live happy or flourishing lives. After presenting a distinctive (...) account of suffering, and a novel account of its core element, unpleasantness, Brady proceeds to focus on three claims that are central to his picture. The first is that forms of suffering, like pain and remorse, can themselves constitute virtuous responses. The second is that suffering is essential for four important classes of virtue - virtues of strength, such as fortitude and courage; virtues of vulnerability, such as adaptability and humility; moral virtues, such as compassion; and the practical and epistemic excellences that make up wisdom. His final claim third is that suffering is vital for the social virtues of justice, love, and trust, and hence for the flourishing of social groups. (shrink)
The concept of causation is fundamental to ascribing moral and legal responsibility for events. Yet the precise relationship between causation and responsibility remains unclear. This book clarifies that relationship through an analysis of the best accounts of causation in metaphysics, and a critique of the confusion in legal doctrine.
This article aims to highlight why R. S. Peters' conceptual analysis of ‘education’ was such an important contribution to the normative field of philosophy of education. In the article, I do the following: 1) explicate Peters' conception of philosophy of education as a field of philosophy and explain his approach to the philosophical analysis of concepts; 2) emphasize several (normative) features of Peters' conception of education, while pointing to a couple of oversights; and 3) suggest how Peters' analysis might be (...) used to reinvigorate a conversation on one central educational aim—that of how we might educate citizens for the 21st century. (shrink)
A reconsideration of mill's theory of "higher pleasures," construed as a way of evaluating changes in preferences or character that result from changes in social environment. mill's account is criticized and partly reconstructed in light of modern preference theory, but viewed favorably as an illuminating attempt to address a fundamental problem in moral evaluation of social institutions. mill's advocacy of the higher pleasures is defended in particular against the charge that it is incompatible with his commitment to liberty.
Emotions are important for virtue, both moral and intellectual. This chapter aims to explain the significance of emotion for intellectual virtue along two dimensions. The first claim is that epistemic emotions can motivate intellectual inquiry, and thereby constitute ways of 'being for' intellectual goods. As a result, such emotions can constitute the motivational components of intellectual virtue. The second claim is that other emotions, rather than motivating intellectual inquiry and questioning, instead play a vital role in the regulation and control (...) of intellectual activities. Emotions are usually characterized, in philosophy and psychology, as having a number of components or elements. Thus emotions are held to involve elements of perception, appraisal, feeling, attention, valence, facial expression, and motivation. (shrink)
John Martin Fischer's The Metaphysics of Free Will is devoted to two major projects. First, Fischer defends the thesis that determinism is incompatible with a person's control over alternatives to the actual future. Second, Fischer defends the striking thesis that such control is not necessary for moral responsibility. This review essay examines Fischer's arguments for each thesis. Fischer's defense of the incompatibilist thesis is the most innovative to date, and I argue that his formulation restructures the free will debate. To (...) defend his second thesis Fischer relies upon examples designed to show that an agent is responsible for an unavoidable action. I criticize Fischer's account of these examples, but I also maintain that my criticisms do not compromise his theory of responsibility. I raise several other difficulties for Fischer's theory of responsibility, and I close by offering some suggestions about how he might further defend it. (shrink)
A recalcitrant emotion is one which conflicts with evaluative judgement. (A standard example is where someone is afraid of flying despite believing that it poses little or no danger.) The phenomenon of emotional recalcitrance raises an important problem for theories of emotion, namely to explain the sense in which recalcitrant emotions involve rational conflict. In this paper I argue that existing ‘neojudgementalist’ accounts of emotions fail to provide plausible explanations of the irrationality of recalcitrant emotions, and develop and defend my (...) own neojudgementalist account. On my view, recalcitrant emotions are irrational insofar as they incline the subject to accept an evaluative construal that the subject has already rejected. (shrink)
The traditional desire view of painfulness maintains that pain sensations are painful because the subject desires that they not be occurring. A significant criticism of this view is that it apparently succumbs to a version of the Euthyphro Dilemma: the desire view, it is argued, is committed to an implausible answer to the question of why pain sensations are painful. In this paper, I explain and defend a new desire view, and one which can avoid the Euthyphro Dilemma. This new (...) view maintains that painfulness is a property, not of pain sensations, but of a pain experience, understood as a relational state constituted by a pain sensation and a desire that the sensation not be occurring. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the question of whether true belief can have final value because it answers our ‘intellectual interest’ or ‘natural curiosity’. The idea is that sometimes we are interested in the truth on some issue not for any ulterior purpose, but simply because we are curious about that issue. It is argued that this approach fails to provide an adequate explanation of the final value of true belief, since there is an unbridgeable gap between our valuing the truth (...) on some issue for its own sake, and that truth's being valuable for its own sake. (shrink)
Groups engage in epistemic activity all the time--whether it be the active collective inquiry of scientific research groups or crime detection units, or the evidential deliberations of tribunals and juries, or the informational efforts of the voting population in general--and yet in philosophy there is still relatively little epistemology of groups to help explore these epistemic practices and their various dimensions of social and philosophical significance. The aim of this book is to address this lack, by presenting original essays in (...) the field of collective epistemology, exploring these regions of epistemic practice and their significance for Epistemology, Political Philosophy, Ethics, and the Philosophy of Science. (shrink)
Starting from Marr's ideas about levels of explanation, a theory of the data structures and access processes in human memory is demonstrated on 10 tasks. Functional characteristics of human memory are captured implementation-independently. Our theory generates a multidimensional task classification subsuming existing classifications such as the distinction between tasks that are implicit versus explicit, data driven versus conceptually driven, and simple associative versus higher order, providing a broad basis for new experiments. The formal language clarifies the binding problem in episodic (...) memory, the role of input pathways in both episodic and semantic memory, the importance of the input set in episodic memory, and the ubiquitous calculation of an intersection in theories of episodic and lexical access. (shrink)
In this response to the review of Moore, Causation and Responsibility, by Larry Alexander and Kimberly Ferzan, previously published in this journal, two issues are discussed. The first is whether causation, counterfactual dependence, moral blame, and culpability, are all scalar properties or relations, that is, matters of more-or-less rather than either-or. The second issue discussed is whether deontological moral obligation is best described as a prohibition against using another as a means, or rather, as a prohibition on an agent strongly (...) causing a prohibited result that was not about to happen anyway while intending to do so. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article defends the importance of epistemic safety for legal evidence. Drawing on discussions of sensitivity and safety in epistemology, the article explores how similar considerations apply to legal proof. In the legal context, sensitivity concerns whether a factual finding would be made if it were false, and safety concerns how easily a factual finding could be false. The article critiques recent claims about the importance of sensitivity for the law of evidence. In particular, this critique argues that sensitivity does (...) not have much of an effect on the value of legal evidence and that it fails to explain legal doctrine. By contrast, safety affects the quality of legal evidence, and safety better explains central features of the law of evidence, including probative value, admissibility rules, and standards of proof. (shrink)
September 11, 2001 brought to legal awareness an issue that has long puzzled metaphysicians. The general issue is that of event-identity, drawing the boundaries of events so that we can tell when there is one event and when there are two. The September 11th version of that issue is: how many occurrences of insured events were there on September 11, 2001 in New York? Was the collapse of the two World Trade Center Towers one event, despite the two separate airliners (...) crashing into each tower? Or were these two separate insured events? (shrink)
To understand the history of Advaita Vedānta and its rise to prominence, we need to devote more attention to what might be termed “Greater Advaita Vedānta,” or Advaita Vedānta as expressed outside the standard canon of Sanskrit philosophical works. Elsewhere I have examined the works of Niścaldās, whose Hindi-language Vicār-sāgar was once referred to by Swami Vivekananda as the most influential book of its day. In this paper, I look back to one of Niścaldās’s major influences: Sundardās, a well-known Hindi (...) poet and a direct disciple of Dādū Dayāl. Sundardās is typically classified as a bhakti poet rather than an Advaita Vedāntin; certainly he is not included in existing surveys or histories of Vedānta. In his youth, however, he studied Sanskrit and Vedānta in Banaras, and his poems present us with a mind that found no contradiction in claiming Dādū as his master and at the same time embracing the teachings of Advaita Vedānta. I argue that not only should Sundardās be included in histories of Advaita Vedānta, he should be credited for his originality: not only did he “Vedānticize” the Dādū Panth, he “Dādūized” Vedānta. I conclude by comparing Sundardās to two Sanskrit intellectuals from roughly the same period: Mahādeva Sarasvatī Vedāntin and Annambhaṭṭa, both of whom, like Sundardās, had commitments to Advaita Vedānta as well as to other intellectual traditions. (shrink)
The concept of causation is fundamental to ascribing moral and legal responsibility for events. Yet the precise relationship between causation and responsibility remains unclear. This book clarifies that relationship through an analysis of the best accounts of causation in metaphysics, and a critique of the confusion in legal doctrine. The result is a powerful argument in favour of reforming the moral and legal understanding of how and why we attribute responsibility to agents.
The perceptual model of emotions maintains that emotions involve, or are at least analogous to, perceptions of value. On this account, emotions purport to tell us about the evaluative realm, in much the same way that sensory perceptions inform us about the sensible world. An important development of this position, prominent in recent work by Peter Goldie amongst others, concerns the essential role that virtuous habits of attention play in enabling us to gain perceptual and evaluative knowledge. I think that (...) there are good reasons to be sceptical about this picture of virtue. In this essay I set out these reasons, and explain the consequences this scepticism has for our understanding of the relation between virtue, emotion, and attention. In particular, I argue that our primary capacity for recognizing value is in fact a non-emotional capacity. (shrink)
This essay concerns Scott Shapiro's criticism that H.L.A. Hart's theory of law suffers from a Although other philosophers of law have summarily dismissed Shapiro's criticism, I argue that it identifies an important requirement for an adequate theory of law. Such a theory must explain why legal officials justify their actions by reference to abstract propositional entities, instead of pointing to the existence of social practices. A virtue of Shapiro's planning theory of law is that it can explain this phenomenon. Despite (...) these sympathies, however, I end with the suggestion that Shapiro's criticism of Hart, as it stands, is incomplete. Careful attention to Hart's notion of the internal point of view indicates that he was aware that legal justification ends with abstract objects, not practices, and that he offered his own explanation of this phenomenon. (shrink)
This work provides, for the first time, a unified account of the theory of action presupposed by both British and American criminal law and its underlying morality. It defends the view that human actions are volitionally caused body movements. This theory illuminates three major problems in drafting and implementing criminal law--what the voluntary act requirement does and should require, what complex descriptions of actions prohibited by criminal codes both do and should require, and when the two actions are the "same" (...) for purposes of assessing whether multiple prosecutions and multiple punishments are warranted. The book contributes to the development of a coherent theory of action in philosophy. It provides a grounding in three of the most basic elements of criminal liability for legislators, judges, and the lawyers who argue to them. (shrink)
Ethics are of interest to business scholars because they influence decisions, behaviors, and outcomes. While scholars have increasingly shown interest in business ethics as a research topic, there are a mounting number of studies that examine ethical issues at the organizational level of analysis. This manuscript reports the results of a systematic review of empirical research on organizational ethics published in a broad sample of business journals over a 33-year period. A total of 184 articles are analyzed to reveal gaps (...) in the literature and, subsequently, lead to suggestions for future research; this is done in an effort to stimulate and perpetuate high quality research that more broadly impacts business scholars and practitioners. (shrink)
Many psychological studies of categorization and reasoning use undergraduates to make claims about human conceptualization. Generalizability of findings to other populations is often assumed but rarely tested. Even when comparative studies are conducted, it may be challenging to interpret differences. As a partial remedy, in the present studies we adopt a 'triangulation strategy' to evaluate the ways expertise and culturally different belief systems can lead to different ways of conceptualizing the biological world. We use three groups (US bird experts, US (...) undergraduates, and ordinary Itza' Maya) and two sets of birds (North American and Central American). Categorization tasks show considerable similarity among the three groups' taxonomic sorts, but also systematic differences. Notably, US expert categorization is more similar to Itza' than to US novice categorization. The differences are magnified on inductive reasoning tasks where only undergraduates show patterns of judgment that are largely consistent with current models of category-based taxonomic inference. The Maya commonly employ causal and ecological reasoning rather than taxonomic reasoning. Experts use a mixture of strategies (including causal and ecological reasoning), only some of which current models explain. US and Itza' informants differed markedly when reasoning about passerines (songbirds), reflecting the somewhat different role that songbirds play in the two cultures. The results call into question the importance of similarity-based notions of typicality and central tendency in natural categorization and reasoning. These findings also show that relative expertise leads to a convergence of thought that transcends cultural boundaries and shared experiences. (shrink)
P.F. Strawson defends compatibilism by appeal to our natural commitment to the interpersonal community and the reactive attitudes. While Strawson''s compatibilist project has much to recommend it, his account of moral agency appears incomplete. Gary Watson has attempted to fortify Strawson''s theory by appeal to the notion of moral address. Watson then proceeds to argue, however, that Strawson''s theory of moral responsibility (so fortified) would commit Strawson to treating extreme evil as its own excuse. Watson also argues that the reactive (...) attitudes do not lend unequivocal support to Strawsonian compatibilism and that the reactive attitudes are sometimes sensitive to considerations which suggest an incompatibilist or skeptical diagnosis. Watson attempts to provide a Strawsonian defense against these difficulties, but he ultimately concludes that the skeptical threats raised against Strawsonian compatibilism cannot be sufficiently silenced. I believe that Watson has done Strawsonian compatibilism a great service by drawing upon the notion of moral address. In this paper I attempt to defend the Strawsonian compatibilist position, as Watson has cast it, against the problems raised by Watson. I argue against Watson that Strawson''s theory of responsibility, as well as the notion of moral address, does not commit the Strawsonian to treating extreme evil as its own excuse. I also argue that Watson misinterprets the point of certain reactive attitudes and thereby wrongly assumes that these attitudes are evidence against Strawsonian compatibilism. (shrink)
In this book I offer a critical, comparative and empirically-informed defense of Islamic schools in the West. To do so I elaborate an idealized philosophy of Islamic education, against which I evaluate the situation in three different Western countries. I examine in details notions of cultural coherence, the scope of parental authority v. a child's interests, as well as the state's role in regulating religious schools. Further, using Catholic schools as an analogous case, I speculate on the likely future of (...) Western Islamic schools. (shrink)