In this paper, I will discuss an objection to Buck-Passing accounts of value, such as Reasons Fundamentalism. Buck-Passing views take value to be derivative of or reducible to reasons. The objection is that since there can be value in possible worlds in which there are no reasons, value must not be ontologically derivative of reasons. Thus, BP is false. In this paper, I show that by accepting a dispositionalist revision, BP can allow such worlds while maintaining that reasons are interestingly (...) prior to value, and without having to adopt any controversial metaphysics. I show this by exploring the debate over the nature of dispositions, identifying the diverse resources BP can appeal to. The paper proceeds as follows. I first explain BP. Next, I discuss a few versions of the challenge, settling on what seems to be the strongest form. Following this, I show that on many accounts of dispositions, while we should accept that particular instances of dispositions are prior to their particular manifestations, we should also accept that there is a sense in which dispositions are dependent on their manifestations. This provides BP with resources to respond to the challenge: BP can accept a dispositional revision, without committing to a theory of dispositions. Finally, I will respond to two objections. The first is about whether there are dispositions with impossible manifestations, contrary to my thesis that dispositions depend on their manifestations. The second is about whether there could be value where it would be impossible for that value to give reasons. (shrink)
The distribution of moral properties supervenes on the distribution of natural properties, and this provides a puzzle for non-naturalism: what could explain supervenience if moral properties are not natural properties? Enoch claims moral principles explain supervenience. But this solution is incomplete without an account of what moral principles and properties are, and what relation holds between them. This paper begins to develop such an account by exploring analogous issues for Realism about Laws of nature in philosophy of science. Appealing to (...) Mumford’s Central Dilemma for Realism about Laws, I argue that for moral principles to explain supervenience, moral properties must be ontologically dependent on the principles. I suggest that moral properties are relations between moral principles and natural properties. I also explore what it would take to adapt this explanation to a pluralistic theory of morality. Contributory reasons avoid the Cartwright Problem for Laws in a way component forces cannot. (shrink)
In this paper I shall not be concerned with the imagination as insight, but only with certain aspects of ‘magical’ imagination, that division of the concept which centres upon the notion of an image. In the Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein makes the extremely interesting remark that when a printed triangle is seen, for instance, as a mountain, it is as if an image came into contact, and for a time remained in contact, with the visual impression. He goes on to say (...) that in a picture a triangular figure may have some such aspect permanently — in the pictorial context we would read the figure at once as a mountain — but that we can make a distinction between ‘regarding’ and ‘seeing’ the figure as the thing meant. I take him to be contrasting those common experiences in which we see a figure in a picture as depicting a person, or as a ‘picture-person’, with those rarer experiences, referred to by art-critics when they talk of ‘presence’, in which it seems as if the person depicted in the picture is there before us ‘in the flesh’, and I assume that, like Sartre, Wittgenstein would suppose that imagination plays a part in experiences of this latter kind. In this paper I shall be concerned not with this sense of the presence of the object depicted, but chiefly with types of imaginal experience in which the image which seems to come into contact with what is perceived is an image of something which is not depicted or described in the work, but which nevertheless achieves a certain strength of presence. I shall consider, also, some types of imaginal experience which we would not naturally describe as an image's coming into contact with what is perceived. Though I shall relate some of the examples I discuss to my starting-point in Wittgenstein, I do not claim to be elaborating Wittgenstein's remark in a manner which would have been acceptable to him. My aims are to give some indication of the nature and scope of the imaginal experience of art, to defend the aesthetic relevance of this type of experience, and to suggest why the imaginal experience of art has been, and still is, valued. (shrink)
Philosophers of science readily acknowledge that nonepistemic values influence the discovery and pursuit of scientific theories, but many tend to regard these influences as epistemically uninteresting. The present paper challenges this position by identifying three avenues through which nonepistemic values associated with discovery and pursuit in contemporary pollution research influence theory appraisal: (1) by guiding the choice of questions and research projects, (2) by altering experimental design, and (3) by affecting the creation and further investigation of theories or hypotheses. This (...) analysis indicates that the effects of these values are sufficiently complex and epistemically significant to merit further attention. †To contact the authors, please write to: Kevin Elliott, Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Daniel McKaughan, Department of Philosophy, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
The role of values in scientific research has become an important topic of discussion in both scholarly and popular debates. Pundits across the political spectrum worry that research on topics like climate change, evolutionary theory, vaccine safety, and genetically modified foods has become overly politicized. At the same time, it is clear that values play an important role in science by limiting unethical forms of research and by deciding what areas of research have the greatest relevance for society. Deciding how (...) to distinguish legitimate and illegitimate influences of values in scientific research is a matter of vital importance.Recently, philosophers of science have written a great deal on this topic, but most of their work has been directed toward a scholarly audience. This book makes the contemporary philosophical literature on science and values accessible to a wide readership. It examines case studies from a variety of research areas, including climate science, anthropology, chemical risk assessment, ecology, neurobiology, biomedical research, and agriculture. These cases show that values have necessary roles to play in identifying research topics, choosing research questions, determining the aims of inquiry, responding to uncertainty, and deciding how to communicate information. Kevin Elliott focuses not just on describing roles for values but also on determining when their influences are actually appropriate. He emphasizes several conditions for incorporating values in a legitimate fashion, and highlights multiple strategies for fostering engagement between stakeholders so that value influences can be subjected to careful and critical scrutiny. (shrink)
Recent social theory has identified various institutional forces operating at a global level promoting novel trends towards “individualization”, “reflexive self-identity” and “new individualism” (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2001; Giddens, 1991, 1992; Elliott and Lemert, 2009, 2009a). This article develops an exploratory overview of the theory of new individualism with reference to Japanese sociologies of self specifically and contemporary Japanese society more generally. Detailing the large-scale societal shift in Japan from traditional forms of identity-construction (based on a citizenship model of social (...) order) to post-traditional forms of identity-construction (promoted by globalization and neoliberal policies), the article distinguishes between four discourses of the self in post-war Japanese society: the age of the ideal; the age of the dream; the age of fiction; and, the age of fragmentation. Moreover, the article examines the Japanese employment system and the emergence of new individualist employment, as well as considering the emotional impacts of a rise in suicides in contemporary Japan. The argument is that the new individualist thesis can contribute to a sociological understanding of recent social transformations in Japan. However, situating new individualism in the context of Japan also highlights significant tensions in processes of new individualism, tensions between individual initiatives and institutional pressures. (shrink)
_Slow Cures and Bad Philosophers_ uses insights from the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein to rethink bioethics. Although Wittgenstein produced little formal writing on ethics, this volume shows that, in fact, ethical issues permeate the entirety of his work. The scholars whom Carl Elliott has assembled in this volume pay particular attention to Wittgenstein’s concern with the thick context of moral problems, his suspicion of theory, and his belief in description as the real aim of philosophy. Their aim is not (...) to examine Wittgenstein’s personal moral convictions but rather to explore how a deep engagement with his work can illuminate some of the problems that medicine and biological science present. As Elliott explains in his introduction, Wittgenstein’s philosophy runs against the grain of most contemporary bioethics scholarship, which all too often ignores the context in which moral problems are situated and pays little attention to narrative, ethnography, and clinical case studies in rendering bioethical judgments. Such anonymous, impersonal, rule-writing directives in which health care workers are advised how to behave is what this volume intends to counteract. Instead, contributors stress the value of focusing on the concrete particulars of moral problems and write in the spirit of Wittgenstein’s belief that philosophy should be useful. Specific topics include the concept of “good dying,” the nature of clinical decision making, the treatment of neurologically damaged patients, the moral treatment of animals, and the challenges of moral particularism. Inspired by a philosopher who deplored “professional philosophy,” this work brings some startling insights and clarifications to contemporary ethical problems posed by the realities of modern medicine. _Contributors._ Larry Churchill, David DeGrazia, Cora Diamond, James Edwards, Carl Elliott, Grant Gillett, Paul Johnston, Margaret Olivia Little, James Lindemann Nelson, Knut Erik Tranoy. (shrink)
In a recent study, Becker and Elliott [Becker, C., & Elliott, M. A. . Flicker induced color and form: Interdependencies and relation to stimulation frequency and phase. Consciousness & Cognition, 15, 175–196] described the appearance of subjective experiences of color and form induced by stimulation with intermittent light. While there have been electroencephalographic studies of similar hallucinatory forms, brain activity accompanying the appearance of hallucinatory colors was never measured. Using a priming procedure where observers were required to indicate (...) the presence of one of eight target colors we compared electrophysiological correlates of hallucinatory color with brain states associated with other visual phenomena. Different target colors were accompanied by different patterns of EEG activation. However, in general, we found that the appearance of hallucinatory colors is preceded by a power decrease in the lower alpha band alongside an increase in gamma band frequencies. We argue that decreasing activity in the lower alpha band acts as a gating mechanism, inducing a switch in perception between different colors. The increasing gamma activation may correlate with the formation of a coherent conscious percept. (shrink)
Professor John Elliott has spent the last 30 years researching, thinking and writing about some of the key and enduring issues in Education Research and Action Research. He has contributed over 25 books and 600 articles to the field. In this book, he brings together over 16 of his key writings, in one place. Starting with a specially written Introduction, which gives an overview of Professor Elliott's career and contextualizes his selection, the chapters cover: · Rethinking Educational Research (...) · Doing Classroom Action Research · Pedagogy ad Form of Action Research · The Challenge of Action Research This must-have book for anyone wishing to know more about the development of Action Research and Educational Research and John Elliott's contribution to these exciting fields. (shrink)
In this compelling book, Anthony Elliott traces the rise of psychoanalysis from the Frankfurt School to postmodernism, exploring in detail the social and political factors that have led intellectuals to draw from the insights of Freud. Examining how pathbreaking theorists such as Adorno, Marcuse, Lacan and Lyotard have deployed psychoanalysis to politicize issues like desire, sexuality, repression and identity, Elliott develops a powerful assessment of the gains and losses arising from this appropriation of psychoanalysis in social theory and (...) cultural studies. Moving from the impact of the Culture Wars and recent Freud-bashing to contemporary debates in social theory, feminism and postmodernism, Elliott argues for a new alliance between social-theoretical and psychoanalytic perspectives. (shrink)
& A college development officer is offered a generous gift by a donor whose identity would embarrass the institution. Should the development officer accept? & A volunteer lies about his level of giving, but classmates believe him and match his "gift." Should donors be told the truth? & A development officer must explain to a donor the difference between naming an endowed chair and selecting the person to fill the chair. Where is the line between reasonable donor expectations and intrusion? (...) "There was a time, barely a generation ago, when most college fund raising was a placid, back-porch operation... That pattern, like so much in higher education, began to change dramatically... On the heels of all this change comes this splendid volume by Deni Elliot. The new fund-raising environment raises a host of ethical questions that were largely unknown or unrecognized by earlier generations of fund raisers... The great value of this book is that it provides some clear-eyed guidance through the ethical thicket that is modern higher education fund raising. The great charm of the book is that it provides this important service with such eloquence and good taste... Anyone involved in modern fund raising will find something of value in this book." -- G. Calvin MacKenzie, Academe "This volume provides college and university development officers and administrators practical help with recognizing difficult ethical situations and discerning the correct ethical response. It can also serve as a guide for donors who wonder what's reasonable for them to expect from fund raisers." -- Resources in Education Contributors: Allen Buchanan, James A. Donahue, Marilyn Batt Dunn, Deni Elliott, Bernard Gert, Judith M. Gooch, Bruce R. Hopkins, Frank Logan, Mary Lou Siebert, Holly Smith, and Eric B. Wentworth. (shrink)
This is a new and revised edition of a book which has had a major impact upon the social sciences and public political debate. Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert's THE NEW INDIVIDUALISM inspired readers with the dramatic suggestion that 'the reinvention craze' - from self-help and therapy culture to management restructurings and corporate downsizings - is central to a 'new individualism' sweeping the globe. Giving particular attention to the narratives of people seeking to define anew their lives in an (...) age of globalization, the authors contend that an endless hunger for instant change and relentless emphasis on self-reinvention is fundamental to grasping the disorientating effects of the new individualism. This edition contains a substantial new Introduction in which Elliott and Lemert reply to some of the standard criticisms made of the theory of the new individualism, and also addresses the escalation of new individualist thinking in the wake of recent global crises. (shrink)
Jay Elliott raises an important objection to the central claim of my paper "It’s a Wonderful Life: Pottersville and the Meaning of Life.” There I defend the good cause account (GCA) of the meaning of life. GCA holds that one's life is meaningful to the extent that one is causally responsible for objective good. Elliott argues that although GCA correctly implies that George Bailey lives a meaningful life, it might also imply that Potter's life is meaningful. But this (...) is absurd. To avoid this problem, Elliott defends a highly compelling alternative to GCA. He also challenges my interpretation of the most important sequence in the movie, George Bailey's trip to Pottersville. In this short reply, I will focus on his objection to GCA, as the interpretive differences are relatively minor. (shrink)
There has been relatively little effort to provide a systematic overview of different forms of exploratory experimentation (EE). The present paper examines the growing subdiscipline of nanotoxicology and suggests that it illustrates at least four ways that researchers can engage in EE: searching for regularities; developing new techniques, simulation models, and instrumentation; collecting and analyzing large swaths of data using new experimental strategies (e.g., computer-based simulation and "high-throughput" instrumentation); and structuring an entire disciplinary field around exploratory research agendas. In order (...) to distinguish these and other activities more effectively, the paper proposes a taxonomy that includes three dimensions along which types of EE vary: (1) the aim of the experimental activity, (2) the role of theory in the activity, and (3) the methods or strategies employed for varying experimental parameters. (shrink)
This paper argues, first, that recent studies of experimentation, most notably by Deborah Mayo, provide the conceptual resources to describe scientific discovery's early stages as error-probing processes. Second, it shows that this description yields greater understanding of those early stages, including the challenges that they pose, the research strategies associated with them, and their influence on the rest of the discovery process. Throughout, the paper examines the phenomenon of "chemical hormesis" (i.e., anomalous low-dose effects from toxic chemicals) as a case (...) study that is important not only for the biological sciences but also for contemporary public policy. The resulting analysis is significant for at least two reasons. First, by elucidating the importance of discovery's earliest stages, it expands previous accounts by philosophers such as William Wimsatt and Lindley Darden. Second, it identifies the discovery process as yet another philosophical topic on which the detailed studies of the "new experimentalists" can shed new light. (shrink)
Ethicists widely accept the notion that scientists have moral responsibilities to benefit society at large. The dissemination of scientific information to the public and its political representatives is central to many of the ways in which scientists serve society. Unfortunately, the task of providing information can often give rise to moral quandaries when scientific experts participate in politically charged debates over issues that are fraught with uncertainty. This paper develops a theoretical framework for an “ethics of expertise” (EOE) based on (...) the notion that scientists have responsibilities to provide information in a way that promotes autonomous decision-making on the part of the public and its representatives. Moreover, insofar as the principle of informed consent has developed in biomedical ethics as a way for physicians to promote autonomous decision-making on the part of their patients, this paper suggests that the informed-consent concept may suggest a set of criteria and guidelines that can help scientists to fulfill their similar ethical responsibilities to the public. In order to illustrate how the resulting EOE could provide practical guidance for scientific experts, the paper examines a case study involving the dissemination of information about the low-dose biological effects of toxic chemicals and carcinogens. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that attempts to distinguish between categories of 'dyslexia' and 'poor reader' or 'reading disabled' are scientifically unsupportable, arbitrary and thus potentially discriminatory. We do not seek to veto scientific curiosity in examining underlying factors in reading disability, for seeking greater understanding of the relationship between visual symbols and spoken language is crucial. However, while stressing the potential of genetics and neuroscience for guiding assessment and educational practice at some stage in the future, we argue that (...) there is a mistaken belief that current knowledge in these fields is sufficient to justify a category of dyslexia as a subset of those who encounter reading difficulties. The implications of this debate for large-scale intervention are outlined. (shrink)
Reporters and editors share values. If there were no shared values essential to the practice of journalism, it would be impossible to distinguish a journalist from other mass communicators. The set of journalistic values provides the base for an argument that journalists are pluralists, not relativists.
Utilitarianism and its principal architect, John Stuart Mill, are staples of media ethics teaching and analysis. However, utilitarianism, in its usual presentation, is offered as a simplistic arithmetic formula: Do the greatest good for the greatest number. This quantification approach, when attached to Mill, misinterprets this philosopher and robs media ethics discussions of the rich reflection that an important classical theory can bring. Mill is a particularly suitable philosopher for presentation to students of journalism and mass communication. Mill provides a (...) strong argument in favor of freedom of expression in addition to espousing a moral theory that is simultaneously protective of individual rights while promoting communitarian principles. But it is imperative to get Mill right. This essay attempts to do so and to offer a utilitarian decision tree for those who wish to properly apply Mill's theory in teaching and practice. (shrink)
Practical ethics in context -- Teaching and learning ethics in an ethical environment -- Aspirations, activities, and assessment -- The theoretical toolkit -- Systematic case analysis -- Relativism and moral development -- A bridge across cultures.
: This paper examines the epistemological warrant for a toxicological phenomenon known as chemical hormesis. First, it argues that conceptual confusion contributes significantly to current disagreements about the status of chemical hormesis as a biological hypothesis. Second, it analyzes seven distinct concepts of chemical hormesis, arguing that none are completely satisfactory. Finally, it suggests three ramifications of this analysis for ongoing debates about the epistemological status of chemical hormesis. This serves as a case study supporting the value of philosophical methodologies (...) such as conceptual clarifica-tion for addressing contemporary scientific disputes, including policy-related scientific disputes that may be heavily in(integral)uenced by social and political factors. (shrink)
This article examines the ethnographic case study in education in the context of policy making with particular emphasis on the practice of research and policy making. The central claim of the article is that it is impossible to establish a transcendental epistemology of the case study on instrumental rationality. Instead it argues for the notion of situated judgement that needs to be made by practitioners in context, practitioners being both researchers and policy makers. In other words, questions about the level (...) of confidence or warrant that can be placed in different sorts of research evidence and findings cannot be answered independently of forming a view about the appropriateness of the policy culture that shapes political decision-making. The article draws a distinction between the general, which is internal to the data as construed by a particular discipline, and the universal, which is the result of embedded human deliberation. This applies to all research findings and not only to case study, although since case study has long had to defend itself against accusations of the lack of generality, it can be a useful starting point for the discussion. This article is not meant to be yet another defence of the case study research genre, although a summary of other defences is offered. Rather it focuses on how use of the case study points to the limits of epistemology as rationality and offers a view of epistemology as ethics. (shrink)
Continental philosophy over the past two decades has increasingly turned its attention to social and political matters. Two key figures involved in this move, Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben, have advanced a position centering on the idea of singular community . This article sets out the basic features of this idea and contrasts it with Habermas' theory of communicative or dialogical community . Habermas is open to the criticism that his theory of community is constructed according to an unduly narrow (...) construal of legitimate argumentation and democratic participation. The idea of community advanced by Nancy and Agamben, in contrast, appears to lack any credible criteria of community inclusion or identity. In conclusion, it is suggested that both theories of community fall short by neglecting the task of constructing and preserving actual sites of collective democratic action and resistance. (shrink)
The biological effects of low doses of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals are currently a matter of significant scientific controversy. This paper argues that philosophers of science can contribute to alleviating this controversy by examining it with the aid of a novel account of scientific anomaly. Specifically, analysis of contemporary research on chemical hormesis (i.e., alleged beneficial biological effects produced by low doses of substances that are harmful at higher doses) suggests that scientists may initially describe anomalous phenomena in terms of (...) multiple distinct "characterizations," each of which is compatible with current empirical evidence. By focusing attention on this feature of scientific anomalies, philosophers of science can alleviate the controversy over low-dose chemical effects in at least two ways: (1) they can pinpoint the significant ways in which particular characterizations frame the controversy, and (2) they can identify the methodological value judgments at stake in researchers' choice of characterizations. (shrink)
Many journalists, readers and scholars exhibit confusion concerning the nature and justification of deception. In this article, we clarify those acts that should count as deception. Before discussing if any cases of deception can be construed as morally justified, we clarify which investigative, interrogative, and information-giving techniques are deceptive on their face. We also bracket borderline cases.
In this commentary, the formation of “pre-iconic” visual-prime persistence is described in the context of prime-specific, independent-component activation at prefrontal and posterior EEG-recording sites. Although this activity subserves neural systems that are near identical to those described by Ruchkin and colleagues, we consider priming to be a dynamic process, identified with patterns of coherence and temporal structure of very high precision.
The psychopathic personality disorder historically has been thought to include an insensitivity to morality. Some have thought that the psychopath's insensitivity indicates that he does not understand morality, but the relationship between the psychopath's defects and moral understanding has been unclear. We attempt to clarify this relationship, first by arguing that moral understanding is incomplete without concern for morality, and second, by showing that the psychopath demonstrates defects in frontal lobe activity which indicate impaired attention and adaptation to environmental conditions (...) which are relevant to the formation of complex intentions. We argue that these frontal lobe defects can help to explain both the psychopath's apparent insensitivity to morality and his characteristic imprudence. (shrink)
In his new book, Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management, Bryan G. Norton proposes an account of sustainability grounded in the deliberation of local communities as part of an adaptive management process. One can distinguish two different ways of justifying his account—resulting in “political” and “metaphysical” conceptions of sustainability—in much the same way that John Rawls famously distinguishes between political and metaphysical conceptions of justice. Whereas the metaphysical conception of sustainability depends on principles that are specific to American pragmatist (...) philosophical theory, the political conception draws on relatively uncontroversial elements of democratic political culture. Although Norton seems to lean toward a metaphysical conception of sustainability in his book, a political conception would actually be more compatible with the overarching aims of his project. Finally, the distinction between political and metaphysical conceptions could prove valuable as a model for thinking about how many of the current projects in environmental pragmatism relate to other strands of environmental philosophy. Thus, a potentially fruitful alteration to Norton’s recent work provides some conciliatory lessons for relating different projects in the field of environmental philosophy. (shrink)