Permissivism is the thesis that, for some body of evidence and a proposition p, there is more than one rational doxastic attitude any agent with that evidence can take toward p. Proponents of uniqueness deny permissivism, maintaining that every body of evidence always determines a single rational doxastic attitude. In this paper, we explore the debate between permissivism and uniqueness about evidence, outlining some of the major arguments on each side. We then consider how permissivism can be understood as an (...) underdetermination thesis, and show how this moves the debate forward in fruitful ways: in distinguishing between different types of permissivism, in dispelling classic objections to permissivism, and in shedding light on the relationship between permissivism and evidentialism. (shrink)
The underdetermination of scientific theory choice by evidence is a familiar but multifaceted concept in the philosophy of science. I answer two pressing questions about underdetermination: “What is underdetermination?” and “Why should we care about underdetermination?” To answer the first question, I provide a general definition of underdetermination, identify four forms of underdetermination, and discuss major criticisms of each form. To answer the second question, I then survey two common uses of underdetermination in broader arguments against scientific realism and in (...) support of the use of values in scientific theory choice. I conclude that philosophers should also care about underdetermination because it impacts scientists in their practice. (shrink)
The development of any novel reproductive technology involving manipulation of human embryos is almost inevitably going to be controversial and evoke sincerely held, but diametrically opposing views. The plethora of scientific, ethical and legal issues that surround the clinical use of such techniques fuels this divergence of opinion. During the policy change that was required to allow the use of mitochondrial donation in the UK, many of these issues were intensely scrutinised by a variety of people and in multiple contexts. (...) This extensive process resulted in the publication of several reports that informed the recommendations made to government. We have been intrinsically involved in the development of mitochondrial donation, from refining the basic technique for use in human embryos through to clinical service delivery, and have taken the opportunity in this article to offer our own perspective on the issues it raises. (shrink)
This conceptual article suggests a reexamination of current governance structures, specifically those of unitary boards after the financial crisis of 2008.We suggest that the existing governance structures are based on an outdated paradigm of business, rooted in economics. We propose an alternative paradigm, a more humanistic paradigm, which allows conceiving alternative, network-oriented governance structures. As hierarchical firms grow larger and more complex, the risk of failure increases from biases, errors, and missing data in communication and control systems. These problems are (...) exacerbated by information overload on senior managers, directors, and their respective regulators. In contrast to traditional corporate governance, network governance introduces a division of power via multiple boards, checks and balances, and active stakeholder engagement. We argue that those features could have prevented the stresses and failures of financial firms in 2008, since they were anticipated by both individuals within firms and external commentators. However, those exposed to risks possessed insufficient influence in either governing and/or regulating firms to take corrective action. (shrink)
In discussions of religious disagreement, some epistemologists have suggested that religious disagreement is distinctive. More specifically, they have argued that religious disagreement has certain features which make it possible for theists to resist conciliatory arguments that they must adjust their religious beliefs in response to finding that peers disagree with them. I consider what I take to be the two most prominent features which are claimed to make religious disagreement distinct: religious evidence and evaluative standards in religious contexts. I argue (...) that these two features fail to distinguish religious disagreement in the ways they have been taken to. However, I show that the view that religious disagreement is not a unique form of disagreement makes religious disagreement less, rather than more, worrisome to the theist who would prefer to rationally remain steadfast in her religious beliefs. (shrink)
Gothic cathedrals like Chartres were built in a discontinuous process by groups of masons using their own local knowledge, measures, and techniques. They had neither plans nor knowledge of structural mechanics. The success of the masons in building such large complex innovative structures lies in the use of templates, string, constructive geometry, and social organization to assemble a coherent whole from the messy heterogeneous practices of diverse groups of workers. Chartres resulted from the ad hoc accumulation of the work of (...) many men. (shrink)
Revonsuo’s influential Threat Simulation Theory predicts that people exposed to survival threats will have more threat dreams, and evince enhanced responses to dream threats, compared to those living in relatively safe conditions. Participants in a high crime area differed significantly from participants in a low crime area in having greater recent exposure to a life-threatening event . Contrary to TST’s predictions, the SA participants reported significantly fewer threat dreams , and did not differ from the Welsh participants in responses to (...) dream threats . Overall, the incidence of threat in dreams was extremely low—less than 20% of dreams featured realistic survival threats. Escape from dream threats occurred in less than 2% of dreams. We conclude that this evidence contradicts key aspects of TST. (shrink)
This article explores how both corporate governance and corporate social responsibility can be improved by using insights from complexity theory. Complexity theory reveals that decentralized governance architecture is required for firms to absorb competently the increased intricacies, variety of variables, and objectives introduced by CSR. The current predominant form of centralized governance based on command-and-control hierarchies copes with complexities by reducing data inputs. This approach results in firms reducing their objectives, concerns, and insights about CSR. Firms with a decentralized “network” (...) form of governance architecture are used to illustrate how the data inputs of each manager can be reduced through the decomposition of decision-making labor to improve the capability of the firm to intelligently absorb and manage complexity. Network governance also introduces a division of powers with stakeholders to facilitate information flow and strengthen incentives to manage the enterprise to enhance both shareholder value and CSR. (shrink)
One hundred inpatients on an acute hospital elderly care unit and 43 of their relatives were interviewed shortly before hospital discharge. Eighty per cent of elderly patients and their relatives were aware of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Television drama was their main source of information. Patients and relatives overestimated the effectiveness of CPR. Eighty-six per cent of patients were willing to be routinely consulted by doctors about their own CPR status, but relatives were less enthusiastic about routine consultation. Patients' and relatives' (...) views about the appropriateness of CPR did not differ significantly. Seventeen percent of patients did not desire CPR. However, 64 per cent of patients were ultimately willing to follow their doctor's advice about the appropriateness of CPR. The conclusion reached is that mentally competent, elderly patients but not their relatives should be routinely consulted about their own desire for CPR in order to avoid resuscitating patients against their wishes. Further research is required to find out how patients would feel about resuscitation if they were terminally ill or chronically confused, and how carers would feel about resuscitating such patients. (shrink)
Turnbull offers a close and detailed reading of the Parmenides, using his interpretation to illuminate Plato's major late dialogues. The picture presented of Plato's later philosophy is plausible, highly interesting, and original.
The expansion of human rights provisions has produced an increasing number of human rights practitioners and delineated human rights as a field of its own. Questions of who is practicing human rights and how they practice it have become important. This paper considers the question of human rights practice and the agency of practitioners, arguing that practice should not be conceived as the application of philosophy, but instead approached from a sociological point of view. Whatever the structuring effect of political (...) institutions, human rights is being defined more expansively by practitioners. The weakness of international institutions and the interpretive scope of human rights discourse produce significant opportunity for practitioners to interpret the meaning of human rights. Our exploratory interviews of a small sample of practitioners reveal widely varying histories, in which they interpret their own work as “human rights” practice in differing ways. Practitioners who in the past thought of themselves differently, now identify as human rights activists. They are also becoming more professional, but concerned about professionalization. Their self-interpretations reflect these concerns and also respond to the necessities of career events. Through the conscious and unconscious aspects of their practice, practitioners exercise considerable agency in adapting human rights discourse to their own concerns while also being critical of it. (shrink)
It is claimed that 'Do x!' means 'Then you will do x'. Answering a "Why?" question concerning the former may take either of two forms, viz., 'Because --' or 'If you wish to --'. The second answer completes the truncated hypothetical. "Ought" sentences are treated as a species of imperatives involving universality in the "if" clause ('If anyone wished to --'). Moral "ought" sentences involve a double universality, viz., the one mentioned above and universality connecting the action with social harmony (...) (e.g., "If everyone were to do x, then there would be social harmony'). (shrink)
Observations upon Liberal Education, the first modern edition, arose from a longing for a liberty of mind and tried to lay the groundwork for a society of free, virtuous, and educated citizens. The work's influence was by no means confined to Scotland. Benjamin Franklin drew generously from the work of Turnbull. The Liberty Fund edition of Observations upon Liberal Education is the first modern edition of this work ever published.
Research has demonstrated that language is important for the development of an everyday understanding of mind. The Theory of Mind framework is the dominant conception of what and how children develop in coming to understand mind. As such, much current thinking in developmental psychology about the way language makes a difference to the development of mentalistic understanding is tainted by certain deeply entrenched philosophical assumptions. Following an examination of views of language and mind that continue to frame, if only tacitly, (...) the ToM tradition, we offer an alternative con-ception of the nature of mental state concepts and how language-based engagements between children and care-givers introduce an understanding of such concepts. Based on that alternative conception of language and mind we propose that parent-child discussion about situations involving minds facilitate the child's development of an understanding of mind. We attempt to demonstrate that the development of the foundational skills necessary for understanding the meaning of psychological terms through such conversation make the construction and appreciation of narratives possible, deepening and extending the child's mentalistic understanding. We then review three studies of parent-child talk about situations involving mind that offer empirical support for the claim that such talk is an important context for developing an understanding of aspects of human activity that involve reasons for action, emotion and belief. We conclude by describing the situated and sequential nature of meaning that our view of language and mind entails. (shrink)
The paper addresses the question of whether, as Nanda claims, treating all knowledge traditions including science as local, denies the possibility of criticism. It accepts the necessity for criticism but denies that science can be the sole arbiter of truth and argues that we have to live with holding differing knowledges in tension with one another.
Malcolm-Smith, Solms, Turnbull and Tredoux [Malcolm-Smith, S., Solms, M., Turnbull, O., & Tredoux, C. . Threat in dreams: An adaptation? Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 1281–1291.] conducted a rigorous study that sampled two populations differentially exposed to threat in real life, and found that critical predictions from the Threat Simulation Theory of dreams [Revonsuo, A. . The reinterpretation of dreams: An evolutionary hypothesis of the function of dreaming. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 877-901.; Revonsuo, A. . Did ancestral humans dream for (...) their lives? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 1063–1082.] were not supported. Specifically, we found no evidence of increased realistic threats to physical survival or enhanced threat avoidance in the dreams of those from the exposed population. Revonsuo and Valli’s [Revonsuo, A., & Valli, K. . How to test the threat simulation theory. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 1292-1296.] commentary on our study argues that the methods we used are so flawed as to render the results meaningless. In this response article, we address the criticisms raised in their commentary. (shrink)
Notoriously, Kierkegaard claims his project to be one of indirect communication. This paper considers the idea that Kierkegaard's distinction between direct and indirect communication is to be accounted for in terms of ambiguity. I begin by outlining the different claims Kierkegaard makes about his method, before examining the textual evidence for attributing such a distinction to him. I then turn to the work of Edward Mooney, who claims that the distinction between direct and indirect communication is to be drawn in (...) just this way. I argue that Mooney misinterprets the type of ambiguity Kierkegaard holds to be involved in indirect communication, and consequently ends up with an unsatisfactory account of Kierkegaard's method. Finally I seek to cast doubt on the very idea that ambiguity might do justice to the claims Kierkegaard makes about his project, and suggest that what is required to do so is a theological interpretation of his work. (shrink)
Premise: our representational system has had a relatively invariant core throughout human history (cf. Sellars's manifest image). Major theses: (i) When philosophical argument establishes the existence of an entity, that entity is a representing, not a represented. (ii) Most of the documents in the history of philosophy are on a par (as dialogical resources) with current philosophical literature for establishing or controverting such existence claims. (iii) The use of mathematics (initially the mathematized neo-Platonism of classical mechanics) allowed modern physical science (...) to break with the perennial system of representation; in consequence, a portion of the representings of modern physical scientists do not belong to the historically invariant core. This limits the dialogical resources of physical science and the applicability of arguments from perennial philosophy to science. It also explains the relative irrelevance of pre-17th century science to contemporary physical scientists in contrast to the relevance of pre-17th century philosophy to contemporary philosophers. It also supports thesis (iv), that logic (broadly conceived) in central to all serious philosophical enterprises, since logic is the central tool for exhibiting and criticizing the rationale(s) of our representational system(s). Support for these theses will be found in the paper. (shrink)
A report of a problem-based learning project on the ethics of terminal care, offered as one of the options available to first year MB ChB students in Edinburgh University Medical School. The project formed part of the 'clinical correlation course' in the new curriculum. Six students took part under the supervision of two clinical tutors and a moral philosopher. The course was case-based and practical with students being given the opportunity over a period of eight weeks to meet patients, relatives (...) and hospital staff at a local geriatrics hospital and terminal care home. The main issue studied was the degree of choice available to patients electing to be treated at home, in hospital or in a hospice. Other issues included: pre-death, disposal of the dead, certification of death, communication with relatives and follow-up bereavement services. (shrink)
The article explores the ways knowledge and space are co-produced performatively through bodily movement in an examination of the Maltese megaliths the first complex stone structures in the world. It is argued that knowledge is best seen as spatialized narratives of human actions and objects as materialized forms of those spatial narratives. Rewriting our social and historical narratives so that the performativity of place, space and knowledge is restored opens new possibilities for rethinking the social and material order.
The increased incidences of academic misconduct in universities are compromising the reputation of higher education in Australia and increasing the work of academics responsible for the delivery of quality learning outcomes to students. Confronted with increasing instances of academic dishonesty in university classrooms, universities play a pivotal role in ensuring their academic staff are well-equipped with academic integrity knowledge. It is therefore important to understand academic staff perspectives about the training their workplaces could provide them on academic integrity. Specifically, this (...) qualitative case study explores the opinions and perceptions of sessional or casual university academic staff on what content they would like to know about academic integrity, and how this knowledge could best be delivered to them. The study found that participants were genuinely interested in furthering their understanding of academic integrity issues, particularly in the areas of contract cheating, effective use of plagiarism detection tools, and developing a toolkit of skills that they could use to detect and deter plagiarism. In terms of the delivery of academic integrity training programs, webinars and orientation sessions were suggested as effective delivery mechanisms. Imparting knowledge about the content areas through the identified delivery mechanisms could enhance teaching faculty’s understanding of student academic dishonesty and how to curb this behaviour proactively. (shrink)
The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake. On page 14 of the published PDF version of the article, first word of the first line, should read “Plagiarism incident reporting” not “Plagiarism”.