It is quite common to object to an argument by saying that it “proves too much.” In this paper, I argue that the “proving too much” charge can be understood in at least three different ways. I explain these three interpretations of the “proving too much” charge. I urge anyone who is inclined to level the “proving too much” charge against an argument to think about which interpretation of that charge one has in mind.
The article is a response to the criticism of “conceptual Eurocentrism” expressed in the paper by A.A. Krushinsky at the Round Table on the Geography of Rationality on April 25, 2019. It deals with the main thesis of A.A. Krushinsky that in cross-cultural philosophical studies the Western conceptual matrix currently defines a single conceptual space for all participants, the language of Western philosophy acts as a trans-civilizational language in the world philosophy. The author of the article agrees with the main (...) thesis, however she does not agree with its arguments and two consequences: it is necessary to consider Western rationality as “rationality as such,” and there is no multi-polarity in the current philosophy though there are a lot of traditions of philosophical discourse, which identify and articulate themselves by means of Western conceptuality. The arguments do not stand comparison with the search of future philosophy, conducted now by the world philosophical community. The search is aiming to equality of all philosophical traditions. The article proves that conceptual Eurocentrism is not so much a danger as an objective necessity. Its spread is a manifestation of tendency to creative mutual borrowing of cultural inventions. The tendency always had place, but it was not so obvious in the conditions of preglobal history. The consequences of Krushinskiy’s thesis are refuted by the evidence that the Western philosophers denied to use the concept universal rationality and began studies of the various types of rationality. The author also provides an example of the creative borrowing and use of European concepts “rationality,” “positive knowledge,” “truth,” “scientific method,” “hypothesis” by the Indian philosopher of science B. Seal, who applied these concepts to the Indian material. (shrink)
There is a remedy available for many of our ailments: Psychopharmacology promises to alleviate unsatisfying memory, bad moods, and low self-esteem. Bioethicists have long discussed the ethical implications of enhancement interventions. However, they have not considered relevant evidence from psychology and economics. The growth in autonomy in many areas of life is publicized as progress for the individual. However, the broadening of areas at one’s disposal together with the increasing individualization of value systems leads to situations in which the range (...) of options asks too much of the individual. I scrutinize whether increased self-determination and unbound possibilities are really in a person’s best interests. Evidence from psychology and economics challenges the assumption that unlimited autonomy is best in all cases. The responsibility for autonomous self-formation that comes with possibilities provided by neuro-enhancement developments can be a burden. To guarantee quality of life I suggest a balance of beneficence, support, and respect for autonomy. (shrink)
In 2003, CEOs of the 365 largest U.S. corporations were paid on average $8 million, 301 times as much as factory workers. This paper asks whether CEOs get paid too much. Appealing to widely recognized moral values, I distinguish three views of justice in wages: the agreement view, the desert view, and the utility view. I argue that, no matter which view is correct, CEOs get paid too much. I conclude by offering two ways CEO pay might (...) be reduced. (shrink)
The difference between Derrida and Deleuze has been debated in terms of their understandings and uses of the historical distinction between Being and beings. Daniel W. Smith intersects with the question when discussing transcendence and immanence. Clair Colebrook intersects when discussing materialism. Paul Patton intersects when distinguishing the unconditioned and conditioned. This essay moves along with their ideas, and contributes to the discussion by re-inscribing the debate in terms of nouns and verbs. The conclusion suggests that the noun/verb prism yields (...) a view of the question about Being and beings that fits most easily into Smith’s conception of the relation between Derrida and Deleuze. Thematically, the essay is framed by a line from Derrida’s eulogy for Deleuze, and by a question. The line is Derrida recollecting Deleuze commenting that, "It’s painful for me to see you spending so much time on the College International de Philosophie. I would rather you wrote..." The question addressed to the prolific Derrida and Deleuze is: “How much writing is enough?” Why do individuals with limited time who have already written numerous and thick volumes of philosophy choose to go ahead and write more? (shrink)
As many studies around the theme of ‘too much medicine’ attest, investigations are being ordered with increasing frequency; similarly the threshold for providing treatment has lowered. Our contention is that trust is a significant factor in influencing this, and that understanding the relationship between trust and investigations and treatments will help clinicians and policymakers ensure ethical decisions are more consistently made. Drawing on the philosophical literature, we investigate the nature of trust in the patient–doctor relationship, arguing that at its (...) core it involves a transfer of discretion. We show that there is substantial empirical support for the idea that more trust will reduce the problem of too much medicine. We then investigate ways in which trust can be built, concentrating on issues of questioning, of acknowledging uncertainty and of shouldering responsibility for it. We argue that offering investigations or treatments as a way of generating trust may itself be an untrustworthy way of proceeding, and that healthcare systems should provide the institutional support for facilitating continuity, questioning and the entrusting of uncertainty. (shrink)
In their paper ’Too much medicine: not enough trust?' Zoë Fritz and Richard Holton explore the connection between trust and overtreatment and overinvestigation. Whilst their paper is insightful, here I argue that much more could be made of a doctor’s trust and how this exacerbates overtreatment and overinvestigation. By taking Fritz and Holton’s view of trust as having ‘our best interests at heart’ as my starting point, I argue that doctor’s do not always trust that patients or the (...) system has their interests at heart and so use overtreatment and overinvestigation to protect themselves. I also point to the tensions created by a lack of trust on the doctor’s part as a focal point for much needed sustained ethical analysis. (shrink)
Reinforcement learning approaches to cognitive modeling represent task acquisition as learning to choose the sequence of steps that accomplishes the task while maximizing a reward. However, an apparently unrecognized problem for modelers is choosing when, what, and how much to reward; that is, when (the moment: end of trial, subtask, or some other interval of task performance), what (the objective function: e.g., performance time or performance accuracy), and how much (the magnitude: with binary, categorical, or continuous values). In (...) this article, we explore the problem space of these three parameters in the context of a task whose completion entails some combination of 36 state–action pairs, where all intermediate states (i.e., after the initial state and prior to the end state) represent progressive but partial completion of the task. Different choices produce profoundly different learning paths and outcomes, with the strongest effect for moment. Unfortunately, there is little discussion in the literature of the effect of such choices. This absence is disappointing, as the choice of when, what, and how much needs to be made by a modeler for every learning model. (shrink)
Moral theorists like Singer and Greene argue that we should discount intuitions about ‘up-close-and-personal’ moral dilemmas because they are more likely than intuitions about ‘impersonal’ dilemmas to be artifacts of evolution. But by that reasoning, it seems we should ignore the evolved, ‘up-close-and-personal’ intuition to save a drowning child in light of the too-new-to-be-evolved, ‘impersonal’ intuition that we need not donate to international famine relief. This conclusion seems mistaken and horrifying, yet it cannot be the case both that ‘up-close-and-personal’ intuitions (...) are more reliable than ‘impersonal’ intuitions, and vice versa. Thus, Singer’s evolutionary debunking argument proves too much, and should not be taken seriously. However, Singer’s debunking argument is typical of an entire class of arguments that seeks to debunk normative principles by reference to evolution. This entire class of argument, I argue, therefore also proves too much to be taken seriously. (shrink)
Debates about the ethics of executive compensation are dominated by familiar themes. Many writers consider whether the amount of pay CEOs receive is too large—relative to firm performance, foreign CEO pay, or employee pay. Many others consider whether the process by which CEOs are paid is compromised by weak or self-serving boards of directors. This paper examines the issue from a new perspective. I focus on the duties executives themselves have with respect to their own compensation. I argue that CEOs’ (...) fiduciary duties place a moral limit on how much compensation they can accept, and hence seek in negotiation,from their firms. Accepting excessive compensation leaves the beneficiaries of their duties (e.g., shareholders) worse off, and thus is inconsistent with observing those duties. (shrink)
This article presents the results of a study that investigates the way in which carriers of a mutation on the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 gene, associated with a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, make their reproductive decisions. Using semi-structured interviews, the study explored the way in which these persons reflected on the acceptability of taking the risk of transmitting this mutation to the next generation, the arguments they used in favor or against taking that risk, and in the (...) light of these arguments, their opinion on the acceptability of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) as a reproductive option. The findings suggest that when carriers are planning to have a(nother) child, they are mainly concerned by the risk of transmitting ‘much more than a gene’: essentially painful experiences not only with respect to health, such as undergoing cancer surveillance or combatting one’s own illness, but also with regards to family life, such as witnessing the illness and death of a close relative, encountering difficulties in finding a partner or reconsidering one’s plans to have a family. As for opinions concerning the acceptability of PGD as a reproductive option, opinions about personal recourse were varied but all expressed the understanding that PGD should be made available to those persons who consider it their best option. (shrink)
Autonomy generally is a valued condition for persons in liberal cultures such as the United States. We uphold autonomous agents as the exemplar of persons who, by their judgment and action, authenticate the social and political principles and policies that advance their interests. But questions about the value of autonomy are often problematic. They are problematic because they concern the kind of value autonomy has and not just how much value autonomy has when weighed against competing goods. The two (...) questions are frequently conflated. For example, in asking what happens when the putative right to autonomy is tested against competing goods, such as personal contentment or political security, we might overlook the fact that we are comparing goods that are valued for different reasons. My aim in this paper is to explore in a very general way some of the issues surrounding these questions about the value of autonomy. I plan to do so by focusing on the phenomenon of being “blinded” by an inarticulate ideal of the value of autonomy. (shrink)
In this paper we explore what sacrifices you are morally required to make to save a child who is about to die in front of you. It has been argued that you would have very demanding duties to save such a child (or any adult who is in similar circumstance through no fault of their own, for that matter), and some examples have been presented to make this claim seem intuitively correct. Against this, we argue that you do not in (...) general have a moral requirement to bear more than moderate cost to save even a child who is just in front of you. Moreover, we explain why you have a much more demanding moral requirement in certain cases by appealing to the notions of undue risk and cost sharing. (shrink)
This is the initial publication on Concept Calculus, which establishes mutual interpretability between formal systems based on informal commonsense concepts and formal systems for mathematics through abstract set theory. Here we work with axioms for "better than" and "much better than", and the Zermelo and Zermelo Frankel axioms for set theory.
This paper begins with the idea that we can learn a good deal about promising by examining the conditions and norms that govern promise- breaking. Sometimes promises are broken as a deliberate plan, other times they are broken because they are simply incompatible with other, more signifi cant moral norms, or because it becomes clear that they are impossible to keep. There are cases where people make promises that are actually incompatible with each other. Politicians, for example, often give such (...) incompatible promises, either intentionally, or by making too many commitments, some of which turn out to be incompatible. In making such promises, agents guarantee that at least one promise be broken. Is the agent who makes incompatible promises under any obli- gation? If ‘ought’ implies ‘can,’ and promises entail obligations, then it seems that one cannot, in fact, make promises one cannot keep. This paper explores the problem by drawing analogies between incompatible promises and other promises that cannot be kept. It suggests that we can deny ‘ought’ implies ‘can’ strictly speaking, but recognize that there is a practical limit on what the agent can be called on to do. On this view, even promises to do the impossible commit the agent. Similarly, politi- cians who promise too much are still obligated to do as promised. (shrink)
Both I and Belnap, motivated the "Belnap-Dunn 4-valued Logic" by talk of the reasoner being simply "told true" (T) and simply "told false" (F), which leaves the options of being neither "told true" nor "told false" (N), and being both "told true" and "told false" (B). Belnap motivated these notions by consideration of unstructured databases that allow for negative information as well as positive information (even when they conflict). We now experience this on a daily basis with the Web. But (...) the 4-valued logic is deductive in nature, and its matrix is discrete: there are just four values. In this paper I investigate embedding the 4-valued logic into a context of probability. Jøsang's Subjective Logic introduced uncertainty to allow for degrees of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty. We extend this so as to allow for two kinds of uncertainty— that in which the reasoner has too little information (ignorance) and that in which the reasoner has too much information (conflicted). Jøsang's "Opinion Triangle" becomes an "Opinion Tetrahedron" and the 4-values can be seen as its vertices. I make/prove various observations concerning the relation of non-classical "probability" to non-classical logic. (shrink)
This paper is a critique of coercive theories of meaning, that is, theories (or criteria) of meaning designed to do down ones opponents by representing their views as meaningless or unintelligible. Many philosophers from Hobbes through Berkeley and Hume to the pragmatists, the logical positivists and (above all) Wittgenstein have devised such theories and criteria in order to discredit their opponents. I argue 1) that such theories and criteria are morally obnoxious, a) because they smack of the totalitarian linguistic tactics (...) of the Party in Orwell’s 1984 and b) because they dehumanize the opposition by portraying them as mere spouters of gibberish; 2) that they are profoundly illiberal since if true, they would undermine Mill’s arguments for free speech; 3) that such theories are prone to self-contradiction, pragmatic and otherwise; 4) that they often turn against their creators including what they were meant to exclude and excluding what they were meant to include; 5) that such theories are susceptible to a modus tollens pioneered by Richard Price in his Review Concerning the Principle Questions of Morals(1758); and 6) that such theories are prima facie false since they fail to ‘predict’ the data that is it their business to explain (or, in the case of criteria, fail to capture the concept that they allegedly represent). The butcher’s bill is quite considerable: some of Hobbes, a fair bit of Locke, half of Berkeley, large chunks of Hume, Russell's Theory of Types, verificationism in its positivist and Dummettian variants, much of pragmatism and most of Wittgenstein - all these have to be sacrificed if we are to save our souls as philosophic liberals. (shrink)
Abstract No one doubts the radically transformative power of contemporary technologies and technoscientific practices over the material dimensions of our experience. Yet with the coming of all the exciting changes and the promise of ever better material conditions, what kinds of lives are we implicitly being encouraged to live? One would think that current philosophical studies of technology would make this a central question, and indeed, a few have done so. But many do not. Following the lead of thinkers who (...) have made the so-called “empirical turn,” many demur, usually with some remarks about the question being too abstract and general—too likely to suck us into utopian or dystopian speculations—when what is called for are truly informative and “concrete” studies of what it is like to be with actual technologies. My paper considers the good life question—and the philosophical price one pays for not asking it—in light of Auguste Comte’s theory of the three stages of intellectual development. Comte’s depiction of the third, positive scientific stage is much less dated than one might assume. In fact, it is useful to think of our own era as arriving with a Comtean story attached, that is, a story of life in the “developed” world becoming ever better thanks to modern science and technology. Because this story now seems less deserving of the unqualified optimism Comte had about it, I argue that thinking of our own experience as permeated by Comte’s conception of third-stage life gives us a fresh way to consider our misgivings about this default position without either lapsing into utopian or dystopian speculation, or confining one’s focus to purely postphenomenological or pragmatic studies of technoscientific life as it now “appears.” Content Type Journal Article Category Research Article Pages 1-25 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0047-2 Authors Robert C. Scharff, Department of Philosophy, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824-3574, USA Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
Peter Carruthers argues that phenomenal consciousness might not matter very much either for the purpose of determining which nonhuman animals are appropriate objects of moral sympathy, or for the purpose of explaining for the similarities in behavior of humans and nonhumans. Carruthers bases these claims on his version of a dispositionalist higher-order thought (DHOT) theory of consciousness which allows that much of human behavior is the result of first-order beliefs that need not be conscious, and that prima facie (...) judgments about the importance of consciousness are due to confabulation. We argue briefly against his claim that 'the moral landscape can remain unchanged' even if all or nearly all nonhuman animals are taken to be incapable of conscious experience. We then show how a first-order representational (FOR) theory of consciousness might be defended against Carruthers' criticisms. Finally, we argue that Carruthers' appeal to confabulation undercuts his own arguments for an evolutionary explanation for consciousness, posing a greater epiphenomenalist threat to his DHOT theory than he concedes. (shrink)
When appraising research papers, how much understanding is enough? More specifically, in deciding whether research results can inform practice, do appraisers need to substantively understand how findings are derived or is it sufficient simply to grasp that suitable analytic techniques were chosen and used by researchers? The degree or depth of understanding that research appraisers need to attain before findings can legitimately/sensibly inform practice is underexplored. In this paper it is argued that, where knowledge/justified beliefs derived from research evidence (...) prompt actions that materially affect patient care, appraisers have an epistemic duty to demand high rather than low levels of understanding regards finding derivation . If this argument holds assumptions about appraiser competence/ability and the feasibility of current UK conceptions of evidence based practice are destabilized. (shrink)
Sweden features near the top of most gender-equality rankings. The World Economic Forum rates it as having one of the narrowest gender gaps in the world. But Sweden is not only a good place to be a woman: it also appears to be an idyll for new dads. Close to 90% of Swedish fathers take paternity leave. In 2013, some 340,000 dads took a total of 12 million days’ leave, equivalent to about seven weeks each. Women take even more leave (...) days to spend time with their children, but the gap is shrinking. Why do Swedish dads take so much time off work to raise their children? (shrink)
A recent argument in the neuroethics literature has suggested that brain-mental-state identities promise to settle epistemological uncertainties about nonhuman animal minds. What’s more, these brain-mental-state identities offer the further promise of dismantling the deadlock over the moral status of nonhuman animals, to positive affect in such areas as agriculture and laboratory animal science. I will argue that neuroscientific claims assuming brain-mental-state identities do not so much resolve the problem of other animal minds as mark its resolution. In the meantime, (...) we must rely on the tools available to us, including those provided by such behavioral sciences as cognitive ethology, comparative psychology, and ethology as well as the neurosciences. Focusing on captive animal research, I will also argue that humane experimentalists do not doubt that many of their research subjects have minds. In that light, to suggest that the resolution of the problem of other animal minds would change the scientific use of animals misses the point at issue. Instead, what is required is a ‘sea change’ in the perceived grounds for human moral obligations to nonhumans. It is difficult to see how brain-mental-state identities could be the deciding factor in this continuing issue in applied ethics. (shrink)
Multiverse Views in set theory advocate the claim that there are many universes of sets, no-one of which is canonical, and have risen to prominence over the last few years. One motivating factor is that such positions are often argued to account very elegantly for technical practice. While there is much discussion of the technical aspects of these views, in this paper I analyse a radical form of Multiversism on largely philosophical grounds. Of particular importance will be an account (...) of reference on the Multiversist conception, and the relativism that it implies. I argue that analysis of this central issue in the Philosophy of Mathematics indicates that Radical Multiversism must be algebraic, and cannot be viewed as an attempt to provide an account of reference without a softening of the position. (shrink)
Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, in Dialectic of Enlightenment [Dialektik der Aufklärung, first published in 1944], argue that Donatien-Alphonse-François, the Marquis de Sade (1740–1814), and Friedrich Nietzsche have brought the Enlightenment project of grounding morality in reason to an end. For Adorno and Horkheimer, Sade has revealed philosophy’s moral impotency, in particular “the impossibility of deriving from reason any fundamental argument against murder [...].”1 Marcel Hénaff, Susan Neiman, and Annie Le Brun have similarly suggested that Sade has demonstrated that morality (...) is no more philosophically justified than immorality.2 There is no doubt that there is much discussion of moral philosophy in Sade’s surviving works. But are these extraordinary claims of Sade’s sceptical powers justified? To answer this question, this paper sets out to identify the moral and meta- ethical claims made in Sade’s works, and to assess his arguments for those claims. (shrink)
This paper analyzes S. Weir Mitchell and his son John Kearsley Mitchell’s views on phantom limb pain in late 19th c. America. Drawing on a variety of primary sources including journal articles, letters, and treatises, the paper pioneers analysis of a cache of surveys sent out by the Mitchells that contain amputee Civil War veterans’ own narratives of phantom limb pain. The paper utilizes an approach drawn from the history of ideas, documenting how changing models of medicine and objectivity help (...) explain the Mitchells’s attitudes, practices, and beliefs regarding the enigma of phantom limb pain as experienced by their patients. The paper also assesses concerns over malingering, pain, authenticity, and deception through these intellectual frameworks of somaticism and mechanical objectivity. The paper concludes that much of relevance to the ways in which the Mitchells and other late 19th c. neurologists regarded and treated their patients’ pain is explicable in terms of the larger intellectual frameworks that structured these healers’ ideas about lesionless pain. (shrink)
How much by way of economic reward is due to health care providers? Although this problem usually presents itself as a practical matter of policy, it has buried within it a number of philosophical issues, for it can be regarded as a question in the theory of economic justice. The formal principle of justice is that we should render persons what is due to them. But on what consideration in the case of health care providers can we make an (...) assessment of what is due? The answer we give to this question has significant implications for the ethical appraisal of the allocation of resources in the health care system. Some of the most difficult issues of ethical appraisal emerge when we consider the problems of allocating potentially life-saving resources between different groups of patients. Many of the most significant current issues in medical ethics—the role of QALYs, the meaning of equality and the economic evaluation of life—find their point of reference in the ‘tragic choices’ that are created when there are insufficient resources to meet apparently legitimate medical need. Yet, as Robert Evans has pointed out, it is a simple matter of accounting identity that health care expenditures must equal health providers' incomes. So, in asking how we limit or allocate costly health care resources, we are implicitly offering an answer to the question of how much we should pay providers. I hope by seeking an answer explicitly to that question to throw light on the problems that are raised when considering ethically the allocation of health care resources. (shrink)
It is common to find moral fault for doing less than one should, but not for doing more. A detailed investigation of some examples of “doing too much” reveals an important sphere of wrong-doing related to abuses of authority and discretion.
Even after multiple cycles of ABET accreditation, many engineering programs are unsure of how much curriculum content is needed to meet the requirements of ABET’s Criterion 3.f (an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility). This study represents the first scholarly attempt to assess the impact of curriculum reform following the introduction of ABET Criterion 3.f. This study sought to determine how much professional and ethical responsibility curriculum content was used between 1995 and 2005, as well as how, when, (...) why, and to what effect changes in the amount of content occurred. Subsequently, the study sought to evaluate if different amounts of curriculum content generated differing student outcomes. The amount of curriculum content used by each of the participating programs was identified during semi-structured interviews with program administrators and a review of ABET Self-Study documents. Quantitative methods were applied to determine if a relationship existed between the curriculum content and performance on a nationally administered, engineering-specific standardized examination. The findings indicate a statistical relationship, but a lack of structure between the amount of required content in the curriculum and performance on the examination. Additional findings were also generated regarding the way that programs interpret the Criterion 3.f feedback generated during accreditation visits. The primary impact of this study is that it dispels the myth that more courses or course time on professionalism and ethics will necessarily lead to positive engineering education outcomes. Much of the impetus to add more curriculum content results from a lack of conclusive feedback during ABET accreditation visits. (shrink)
Joshua Parker has made many interesting points1, and we welcome the opportunity to develop the ideas of ‘Too Much Medicine, Not Enough Trust’.2 We will address: the asymmetry between the trust that patients extend to doctors, and the trust that doctors extend to patients; our reasons for doubting that litigation or complaints reflect a betrayal of the patient–doctor relationship and the importance of institutional trust, both for the doctor and the patient. First, though, a clarification. We do not say (...) that, in general, to trust someone requires thinking that they have ‘our best interests at heart’. We think that claim and others like it are false.3 What we say is that in the specific case of a patient trusting a doctor, the patient will expect that the doctor has their best interests at heart; and that living up to that expectation is part of the particular obligations that the doctor takes on. The patient’s attitude to the doctor will normally be very different. There is certainly no expectation that the patient will have the doctor’s best interests at heart; most patients will come to a consultation with rather more self-interested concerns. This is not to deny that, in a good case, the doctor will trust the patient. In our paper, we spoke of trusting the patient to report their symptoms accurately, and of trusting them to come back if things get worse. Perhaps here we rather misdescribed the typical attitude. We doubt that many doctors will feel let down, let alone betrayed if they discover their patient has …. (shrink)
A possible worlds treatment of the normal alethic modalities was, after classical model theory, logic’s most significant semantic achievement in the century just past. Kripke’s groundbreaking paper appeared in 1959 and, in the scant few succeeding years, its principal analytical tool, possible worlds, was adapted to serve a range of quite different-seeming purposes – from nonnormal logics, to epistemic and doxastic logics, deontic and temporal logics and, not much later, the logic of counterfactual conditionals. In short order, possible worlds (...) acquired a twofold reputation which has steadily enlarged to the present day. They were celebrated for both their mathematical power and their sheer versatility. This sets the stage for what I want to do here. I wish to explore the extent to which the supposed versatility of a possible worlds semantics is justified. In so doing, I shall confine my attention to its role in (1) logics of counterfactual conditionals, and (2) logics of belief. The question I pose is, why and on what grounds should we think that the device of possible worlds turns the semantic trick for these logics? My answer is that they do not turn the trick for them. Whereupon a further question presses for attention. If possible worlds semantics don’t work there, why does virtually everyone think that they do? Answering this second question is risky. Who am I to say why virtually everyone thinks that the possible worlds approach is more successful than I do? Who has vouchsafed me these powers? I shall try to mitigate the riskiness of my answer by contextualizing the evaluation of this approach in the following ways. First, the triumph of possible worlds occurred in the midst of a powerful general trend in logical theory, especially, in the past 60 years. In that period, logical theory became aggressively and widely pluralistic. Second, the versatility – the sheer ubiquity – of possible worlds as a tool of semantic and philosophical analysis, gives to possible worlds a kind of hegemonic standing.. (shrink)
Spinoza’s celebrated doctrine of the conatus asserts that “each thing, as far as it can by its own power, strives to persevere in its being” (E3p6). Shortly thereafter Spinoza makes the further claim that the (human) mind strives to increase its power of acting (E3p12). This latter claim is commonly interpreted as asserting that human beings (and their associations) not only strive to persevere in their existence, but also always strive to increase their power. Spinoza’s justification for E3p12 relies (among (...) others) on E3p6. For this reason, it seems reasonable that we strive to increase our power because having more power is likely to help us persevere in our being. The more power we have, the less likely we are to be out-powered by external causes that may conflict with our striving for persevering in our existence. The logic here is quite sound. Insofar as human beings are mere finite modes, i.e., entities whose existence is not guaranteed by their mere essence, and are distinct from other finite modes with whom we interact in various manners, it would seem that our striving for power should be insatiable. No finite degree of power can ever guarantee the continuation of our existence. On one occasion, Spinoza even defines good and evil as “what increases or diminishes, aids or restrains, our power of acting” (E4p8d). Having this sound logic in mind, we should be taken aback by a brief claim Spinoza makes in passing in the seventh chapter of Political Treatise. In this passage, Spinoza seems to assert that the stability of a state – which is one of the chief political virtues for Spinoza – is a function of having just the right degree of power, not less, but also, not more. The passage seems to imply that having too much power might be detrimental to the state. But how can such a view be consistent with Spinoza’s assertion and approval of our constant “will to power” in the Ethics? In the current paper, I will explain the tension between these two strands in Spinoza’s thought, and attempt to reconcile them. I will begin with a close examination of the passage from the seventh chapter of the TP, and its apparent contrast with Spinoza’s claim in the Ethics about our striving to increase our power of acting. I will then turn, in the second part, to consider whether Spinoza’s claims in TP Ch. 7 – a chapter dedicated to the exploration of the nature of non-tyrannical monarchy – are valid only with regard to a monarchic state, or whether we may generalize the claim that having too much power might be harmful to other forms of the state or even other kinds of individuals. In the third and final part I will attempt to solve the tension between Spinoza’s apparently conflicting claims by looking more closely at Spinoza’s understanding of human power, and its political dimensions. (shrink)
We analyse the development of Fair Trade in Italy by examining its principles, structure, performance, dilemmas and potential solutions and identifying its main distinctive features. These lead us to develop a specifically Italian model. Fair Trade in Italy is younger than its more established North European counterparts and more focussed on broad social justice issues in addition to its concern to include marginalized producers. This normative difference has given rise to a social-economy-dominated value chain (with a partial corporate involvement uniquely (...) in the retail sphere), although it has generated much lower per capita consumption of Fair Trade products. At the same time, we also observe a relatively higher specialization in handicraft products and educational activities as well as a strong capacity to attract voluntary labour and create social capital. We identify clear trade-offs between social goals and the economic performance of the Italian model: reduced economies of scale, a closer focus on non-economic-value-creating social activities and greater consideration of values such as consumption sobriety and environmental concerns which may conflict with economic performance. We propose solutions which may resolve these dilemmas without abandoning the initial ambition not only to achieve the promotion of market access for marginalized producers in the South, but also to pursue a broader concept of well-being in the North and the South. (shrink)
This supplement serves a double purpose. It presents, on the one hand, a selection of papers devoted to the title question “How much philosophy in the philosophy of science?”. On the other hand, it signalizes the newly established cooperation between the German Society for the Philosophy of Science and the Journal for General Philosophy of Science .The GWP was founded in Hannover in 2011 and had its inaugural conference in March 2013 [for a report on the “GWP.2013” by H. (...) Lyre see EPSA Newsletter 2 2013]. The society was launched for several reasons. Albeit the German community of philosophers of science is quite large , it is at the same time a rather distributed and dispersed community. This has to do with the university landscape in Germany, which is dispersed rather t .. (shrink)
We analyse the development of Fair Trade in Italy by examining its principles, structure, performance, dilemmas and potential solutions and identifying its main distinctive features. These lead us to develop a specifically Italian model. Fair Trade in Italy is younger than its more established North European counterparts and more focussed on broad social justice issues in addition to its concern to include marginalized producers. This normative difference has given rise to a social-economy-dominated value chain, although it has generated much (...) lower per capita consumption of Fair Trade products. At the same time, we also observe a relatively higher specialization in handicraft products and educational activities as well as a strong capacity to attract voluntary labour and create social capital. We identify clear trade-offs between social goals and the economic performance of the Italian model: reduced economies of scale, a closer focus on non-economic-value-creating social activities and greater consideration of values such as consumption sobriety and environmental concerns which may conflict with economic performance. We propose solutions which may resolve these dilemmas without abandoning the initial ambition not only to achieve the promotion of market access for marginalized producers in the South, but also to pursue a broader concept of well-being in the North and the South. (shrink)
Generally, simulations are carried out to answer specific questions. The assessment of the reliability of an answer depends on the kind of question investigated. The answer to a 'why' question is an explanation. The premises of an explanation have to include invariant relationships, and thus the reliability of such answer depends on whether the domain of invariance of the relevant relationships covers the domain of the question. The answer to a 'how much' question is a measurement. A measurement is (...) reliable when it is an output of a calibrated measuring instrument. (shrink)
Evolutionary biology contributes much to our present understanding of life, and it promises also to deepen our understanding of human intelligence, ethics, and even religion. For some scientific thinkers, however, Darwin's science seems so impressive that it now supplants theology altogether by providing the ultimate explanation of all manifestations of life, not only biologically but also metaphysically. By focusing on human intelligence as an emergent aspect of nature this essay examines the question of whether theology can still have an (...) explanatory role to play alongside biology in attempts to understand mind. (shrink)
Why is so much philosophy so tedious? Not, or not simply, because it is technical and complex, but because—too often—it displays mere cleverness. Implausible theories are defended against objections by ever more sophisticated technical fiddling with the details. Originality and creativity are in short supply. I argue that this is bad for philosophy, bad for philosophers, and almost inevitable given various structural features of the profession which require early and prolific publication. As a profession we are autonomous—we could change (...) our structures if we chose. (shrink)
Arnauld raised the concern that Descartes’s real distinction argument proved too much, because it seemed to lead us back to the Platonic view according to which the mind uses the body as its vehicle. Descartes responds by pointing out that he argued against this account of mind-body union in the Sixth Meditation. Descartes believes he did not prove too much, because he offers an argument against this view whose premises and conclusion are consistent with the real distinction argument. (...) In this paper, the union argument is reconstructed and evaluated in order to see if, through his rejection of the Platonic view, Descartes adequately addresses Arnauld’s concern. In the end, Descartes adequately addresses this concern only if God’s veracity provides a secure foundation for a crucial inference. Finally, these considerations show a way for those committed to the real distinction of mind and body to avoid the problem of their interaction. (shrink)
In algorithmic randomness, when one wants to define a randomness notion with respect to some non-computable measure λ, a choice needs to be made. One approach is to allow randomness tests to access the measure λ as an oracle . The other approach is the opposite one, where the randomness tests are completely effective and do not have access to the information contained in λ . While the Hippocratic approach is in general much more restrictive, there are cases where (...) the two coincide. The first author showed in 2010 that in the particular case where the notion of randomness considered is Martin-Löf randomness and the measure λ is a Bernoulli measure, classical randomness and Hippocratic randomness coincide. In this paper, we prove that this result no longer holds for other notions of randomness, namely computable randomness and stochasticity. (shrink)
It has been argued extensively that diagnostic services are a general good, but that it is offered in excess. So what is the problem? Is not “too much of a good thing wonderful”, to paraphrase Mae West? This article explores such a possibility in the field of radiological services where it is argued that more than 40% of the examinations are excessive. The question of whether radiological examinations are excessive cries for a definition of diagnostic futility. However, no such (...) definition is found in the literature. As a response, this article addresses the issue of diagnostic futility in five steps. First, it investigates whether the concept of therapeutic futility can be adapted to diagnostics. A closer analysis of the concept of therapeutic futility reveals that this will not do the trick. Second, the article scrutinizes whether there are sources for clarifying diagnostic futility in the extensive debate on excessive radiological examination. Investigating the debate’s terms and definitions reveals a disparate terminology and no clear concepts. On the contrary, the study uncovers that quite different and incompatible issues are at stake. Third, the article examines a procedural approach, which is widely used for settling controversies over utility by focusing on the role of the professionals. On scrutiny however, a procedural approach will not solve the problem in diagnostics. Fourth, a value analysis reveals how we have to decide on the negative value of excessive examinations before we can measure excess. The final and constructive part presents a definition of diagnostic futility drawing upon the lessons from the previous analytical steps. Altogether, too much radiological examination is not a good thing. This is simply because radiological examinations are not unanimously good. Excessive radiological examinations can be defined, but not by one simple general and value-neutral definition. We have to settle with contextually framed value-related definitions. Such definitions will state how bad “too much of a good thing” is and make it possible to assess how much of the bad thing there is. Hence we have to know how bad it is before we can tell how much of it there is in the world. (shrink)
Starting from the generalized concept of syntactically and semantically trivial differences between two formal theories introduced by Arsenijević, we show that two systems of the linear continuum, the Cantorian point-based system and the Aristotelian interval-based system that satisfies Cantor's coherence condition, are only trivially different. So, the 'great struggle' (to use Cantor's phrase) between the two contending parties turns out to be 'much ado about nothing'.
David E. Fisher: Much Ado about (Practically) Nothing. A History of the Noble Gases Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9114-0 Authors Sandra D. Hojniak, Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, 3001 Leuven, Belgium Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
In this study, we investigate the impact of frequent service learning on the emotional, personal development, and leadership characteristics of business students at a Catholic university in the United States. We examine the aforementioned impact of frequent service learning through a novel panel data set provided by the University’s Institute for Leadership and Service, ranging from the years 2008 through 2015. Specifically, we conduct an empirical analysis across the emotional, personal development, and leadership dimensions, and examine the too-much-of-a-good-thing effect (...) of Pierce and Aguinis in relation to service learning. Our results suggest that business students experience statistically significant increases in several emotional, personal development, and leadership dimensions as the number of service learning experiences increases. We provide mixed evidence of the TMGT effect when aggregating the emotion and personal development dimensions against the number of service-learning experiences via examination of cross-dimensional averages. Our study yields implications for the optimal number of service learning projects for business schools. (shrink)
In the fourth section of Goethe’s Zahme Xenien we find the quatrain from which I have taken the theme of such an old and new controversy, which, as I hope, concerns both Germanic studies and the other humanities: “What was it that kept you from us so apart?” I always read Plutarch again and again. “And what was the lesson he did impart?” “They were all human beings—so much is plain.”1 In the very years when Goethe wrote these lines, (...) that is in the 1820s, Hegel repeatedly gave his lectures on the philosophy of history. Right at the beginning he formulated the opposite view which I should like briefly to characterize as “cultural relativism.”Every age has such peculiar circumstances, such individual conditions that it must be interpreted, and can only be interpreted, by reference to itself…. Nothing is shallower in this respect than the frequent appeal to Greek and Roman example which so often occurred among the French at the time of their Revolution. Nothing could be more different than the nature of these peoples and the nature of our own times.2 What is at issue here is not, of course, Hegel’s assertion that ages and peoples differ from each other. We all know that, and Goethe, the attentive reader and traveler, also knew, for instance, that the Roman carnival differed in its character from the celebrations of the Feast of Saint Rochus at Bingen, both of which he had described so lovingly. What makes the cultural historian into a cultural relativist is only the conclusion which we saw Hegel draw, that cultures and styles of life are not only different but wholly incommensurable, in other words that it is absurd to compare the peoples of a region or an age with human beings of other zones because there is no common denominator that would justify us in doing so. 1. ‘Was hat dich nun von uns entfernt?’ Hab immer den Plutarch gelesen. ‘Was has du den dabei gelernt?’ Sind eben alles Menschen gewesen.’ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sämtlich Werke. Jubiläums-ausgabe in 40 Bänden 4:73; with commentary.2. See Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Vorselungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte, Werke, 20 vols. , 12:17. E. H. Gombrich was director of the Warburg Institute and Professor of the History of the Classical Tradition at the University of London from 1959 to 1976. His many influential works include The Story of Art, Art and Illusion, Meditations on a Hobby Horse, The Sense of Order, Ideals and Idols, The Image and the Eye, Tributes, Aby Warburg, and New Light on Old Masters. His previous contributions to Critical Inquiry include “The Museum: Past, Present and Future” , “Standards of Truth: The Arrested Image and the Moving Eye” , and “Representation and Misrepresentation”. (shrink)
In this interest of time, I’ll just say something directly: this is an incredible book. Reading it, thinking it through, is extremely rewarding. I haven’t read a work of philosophy that had as much impact on me since being in school myself. The book presents you with new ideas and connections and it forces you to see philosophy and its history in new ways, even if you (like me) had been quite attached to your old ways. The book got (...) into my head. Now I find myself, in idle moments, arguing with Paul up there in my head; as if there is a little copy of him in there now, making the case for his versions of inferentialism and cognitive contextualism. Fortunately, Paul is in my experience unfailingly nice, generous and sympathetic even in argument—otherwise it might not be as nice to have a copy of him in your head. Still, the copy pales in comparison to the original, so it is great to be here. I can’t do justice to the book. But I will try to proceed as follows. I will try to sketch the general line of thought I find so powerful. Then, I will try to take up my assigned role as critic. The most stimulating thing I can think of to do is to argue as follows: Paul’s arguments concerning Kant and Hegel are largely successful, but end up pushing us in directions that are not consistent with the general approach to philosophy, and the general approach to Kant and Hegel, from which Paul himself begins. So we should abandon that general approach. That is what I will try, at least, to argue. (shrink)
Russell's objections to object-theory have been refuted by the proofs of the consistency of Meinong's system given by various writers. These proofs exploit technical distinctions that Meinong apparently uses very little if at all. Instead, Meinong introduces a theoretical postulate called the modal moment. I describe this postulate and its place in Meinong's system, and I argue that it has been much under-rated by Meinong's logician expositors.
There are many methodological considerations that adversely affect external validity as much as, or even more than, unrepresentative sampling does. Among suspect applications, especially worrisome is the incorporation of WEIRD-based findings regarding moral reasoning and retribution into normative expectations, such as might be held by international criminal tribunals in war-torn areas.
The average net income of physicians in the USA is more than four times the average net income of people working in all domestic industries in the USA. When critics suggest that physicians make too much money, defenders typically appeal to the following four prominent principles of economic justice: Aristotle's Income Principle, the Free Market Principle, the Utilitarian Income Principle, and Rawls' Difference Principle. I shall show that no matter which of these four principles is assumed, the present high (...) incomes of physicians cannot be defended. (shrink)
Despite devoting their time to another person’s needs, many carers paradoxically experience guilt during their caregiving tenure concerning whether they are providing enough care. When discussing the “enough” of anything, what is at stake is that thing’s quantification. Given that there are seemingly no quantifiable units of care by which to measure the role, concerns regarding whether enough care is being provided often focus on what constitutes enough time as a carer. In exploring this aspect of the carer’s experience, two (...) key parameters emerge; guilt, and, quantified time. The guilt that carers report regarding whether they devote “enough time” to their caring responsibilities can be examined through Henri Bergson’s philosophical conception of quantification. By integrating contemporary analyses of carers’ guilt from the social sciences, most significantly via the sociology of Rebecca Olson, the relationship between quantified time and guilt becomes apparent. A quantified conception of time frames the assumption that spending more time on caregiving will reduce the amount of guilt felt by a carer. However, whilst care is structured according to quantified, clocked and calendared time, there are not comparable, quantifiable parameters for guilt. This means that suppositions of an inverse relationship between how much time one spends giving care, and how much guilt they will feel in terms of their caregiving, are problematic. These insights become relevant to health care policies via a coherence with calls to make the role of unpaid, caregiving, labour time more visible, and by explaining how understanding quantified time can help policies guide how caregivers negotiate guilt. (shrink)
In 1987 Uppingham School celebrates the centenary of the death of its best known headmaster, Edward Thring. When Thring arrived at the Rutland market town in 1853 he inherited a small country grammar school of purely local renown, but by the time of his death in 1887 Uppingham was a thriving public school of national reputation. As the school flourished, so too did the headmaster's standing, and in the decade before his death he was a much consulted authority on (...) educational matters. Thring's contributions to educational theory and practice are numerous, but it is in the field of moral education that his influence has lasted longest. This paper examines that contribution. (shrink)