John Dupr argues that 'scientific imperialism' can result in 'misguided' science being considered acceptable. 'Misguided' is an explicitly normative term and the use of the pejorative 'imperialistic' is implicitly normative. However, Dupr has not justified the normative dimension of his critique. We identify two ways in which it might be justified. It might be justified if colonisation prevents a discipline from progressing in ways that it might otherwise progress. It might also be justified if colonisation prevents the expression of important (...) values in the colonised discipline. This second concern seems most pressing in the human sciences. (shrink)
In a previous article in this journal, we examined John Dupré's claim that ‘scientific imperialism’ can lead to ‘misguided’ science being considered acceptable. Here, we address criticisms raised by Ian J. Kidd and Uskali Mäki against that article. While both commentators take us to be offering our own account of scientific imperialism that goes beyond that developed by Dupré, and go on to criticise what they take to be our account, our actual ambitions were modest. We intended to ‘explicate the (...) sense in which the term is used by Dupré’ and to ‘identify the normative content of his critique of scientific imperialism’. We made no claim to have developed our own account of scientific imperialism that went further than what was implicit in Dupré's work already. However, that said, the discussions presented by both Kidd and Mäki raise important general issues about how the idea of scientific imperialism should be understood and framed. Here, we offer our considered responses to Kidd's and Maki's discussions of scientific imperialism. (shrink)
Thought experiments have played a pivotal role in many debates within ethics—and in particular within applied ethics—over the past 30 years. Nonetheless, despite their having become a commonly used philosophical tool, there is something odd about the extensive reliance upon thought experiments in areas of philosophy, such as applied ethics, that are so obviously oriented towards practical life. Herein I provide a moderate defence of their use in applied philosophy against those three objections. I do not defend all possible uses (...) of thought experiments but suggest that we should distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate uses. Their legitimate uses are determined not so much by the modal content of any actual thought experiment itself, but by the extent to which the argument in which it is nested follows basic tenets of informal logic and respects the fundamental contingency of applied ethical problems. In pursuing these ideas, I do not so much provide a set of criteria for their legitimate use, but more modestly present two significant ways in which their use can go awry. (shrink)
Recently among analytic political philosophers there has been a considerable revival of interest in the normative evaluation of the market and of economic processes more generally. While not rejecting markets in toto , philosophers such as Elizabeth Anderson and Amartya Sen have raised questions about the proper range of the market, explored the role of normative considerations in economic decision-making and raised doubts about the view that normative constraints are never legitimately placed on economic activity. In this article I experience (...) the relevance to such explorations of the economic casuistry of the medieval schoolmen. Key Words: Just Price medieval philosophy usury distributive justice Aquinas. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that the Commodification Objection, locates a phenomenon of real moral significance. In defending the Commodification Objection, I review three common criticisms of it, which claim firstly, that commodification doesn’t always lead to instrumentalization; secondly, that commodification isn’t the only route to such an outcome; and finally, that the Commodification Objection applies only to persons, and human organs are not persons. In response, I conclude that moral significance does not require that an undesirable outcome be a (...) necessary consequence of the phenomenon under examination; the relative likelihood of an undesirable mode of regard arising provides a morally-relevant distinguishing marker for assessing the comparative moral status of social institutions and arrangements; and sales in blood products are sufficiently distinct from sales of everyday artefacts and sufficiently close to personhood to provide genuine grounds for concern. Accordingly, criticisms of the Commodification Objection do not provide grounds for rejecting the claim that human organ sales in general and compensation for blood plasma donation in particular can have morally pernicious ‘commodificatory effects’ upon our attitudes, for what human organ sales provide is a distinctive ethical hazard. (shrink)
Invisible Hand accounts of the operations of the competitive market are often thought to have two implications for morality as it confronts economic life. First, explanantions of agents economic activities eschew constitutive appeal to moral notions; and second, such moralism is pernicious insofar as it tends to undermine the operations of a socially valuable social process. This is the Mandevillean Conceit. The Conceit rests on an avarice-only reading of the profit-motive that is mistaken. The avarice-only reading is not the only (...) way of characterising the profit-motive, and there are some positive grounds for thinking the benefits of profit pursuit are better attributed to the “lucrephile”, and not the avarice-only “lucrepath”. (shrink)
Analytic philosophy is roughly a hundred years old, and it is now the dominant force within Western philosophy. Interest in its historical development is increasing, but there has hitherto been no sustained attempt to elucidate what it currently amounts to, and how it differs from so-called 'continental' philosophy. In this rich and wide-ranging book, Hans Johann Glock argues that analytic philosophy is a loose movement held together both by ties of influence and by various 'family resemblances'. He considers the pros (...) and cons of various definitions of analytic philosophy, and tackles the methodological, historiographical and philosophical issues raised by such definitions. Finally, he explores the wider intellectual and cultural implications of the notorious divide between analytic and continental philosophy. His book is an invaluable guide for anyone seeking to understand analytic philosophy and how it is practised. (shrink)
Plant variety rights legislation, now enactedin most Western countries, fosters the commodificationof plant varieties. In this paper, we look at theconceptual issues involved in understanding andjustifying this commodification, with particularemphasis on Australian legislation. The paper isdivided into three sections. In the first, we lay outa taxonomy of goods, drawing on this in the secondsection to point out that the standard justificationof the allocation of exclusionary property rights byappeal to scarcity will not do for abstract goods suchas plant varieties, since these (...) goods are not madescarcer through consumption, and consideringalternative – economically consequentialist –justifications. In the third section, we considerthese justifications as they apply to the particularcase of the commodification of plant varieties, andthe legislation which fosters it. A definitive answerto the question of whether this legislation isadvantageous awaits further empirical information, butwe point to several intrinsically problematic aspectsof it. (shrink)
Lea & Webley (L&W) provide two alternative biological accounts of human monetary motivations, the Tool Theory and the Drug Theory. They argue that both are required for an adequate explanation. I explore the applicability of these models to philosophical discussions of how we might justify such motivations. I argue their approach is not entirely satisfactory for normative questions, since it precludes the possibility of rational non-instrumental attitudes towards money. (Published Online April 5 2006).
This book was born out of two interdisciplinary seminars held in 2014. The first one was the Climate Ethics and Climate Economics workshop in April adjoined as part of the European Consortium for Political Research Joint Sessions 2014 in Salamanca. Spurred on by the invigorating discussions, the participants decided to put together more workshops, with Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics following in Helsinki in November that same year. Without the organisers of these workshops the collaborators of this book would not (...) have come together: Matthew Rendall, Dominic Roser, Sade Hormio, Simo Kyllonen, Aaron Maltais and Joanna Burch-Brown. We would also like to thank all the participants at the workshops for making them so enjoyable and worthwhile. The Helsinki workshop that this book was named after was organized as part of the Climate Ethics and Economics project, led by Aki Lehtinen and funded by the University of Helsinki. The three-year project is based at the Social and Moral Philosophy discipline in the Department of Political and Economic Studies. The workshop itself was made possible by funding from the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, which also helped to host the event. (shrink)
The primary focus of this volume is on justice and morality, the author supplying intellectual tools for distinguishing between morally acceptable and morally unacceptable forms of money lending and reserving the term ‘usury’ for its unacceptable variants. On this account, some forms of lending should be prohibited. Use is made of both historical material from debates on the immorality of usury and modern analytic political philosophy.
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