Intersectionality has become a significant intellectual approach for those thinking about the ways that race, gender, and other social identities converge in order to create unique forms of oppression. Although the initial work on intersectionality addressed the unique position of black women relative to both black men and white women, the concept has since been expanded to address a range of social identities. Here we consider how to apply some of the theoretical tools provided by intersectionality to the clinical context. (...) We begin with a brief discussion of intersectionality and how it might be useful in a clinical context. We then discuss two clinical scenarios that highlight how we think considering intersectionality could lead to more successful patient–clinician interactions. Finally, we extrapolate general strategies for applying intersectionality to the clinical context before considering objections and replies. (shrink)
Thomas Jefferson is among the most important and controversial of American political thinkers: his influence (libertarian, democratic, participatory, and agrarian-republican) is still felt today. A prolific writer, Jefferson left 18,000 letters, Notes on the State of Virginia, an Autobiography, and numerous other papers. Joyce Appleby and Terence Ball have selected the most important of these for presentation in the Cambridge Texts series: Jefferson's views on topics such as revolution, self-government, the role of women and African-American and Native (...) Americans emerge to give a fascinating insight into a man who owned slaves, yet advocated the abolition of slavery. The texts are supported by a concise introduction, suggestions for further reading and short biographies of key figures, all providing invaluable assistance to the student encountering the breadth and richness of Jefferson's thought for the first time. (shrink)
The question of whether psychopaths are criminally and morally responsible has generated significant controversy in the literature. In this paper, we discuss what relevance a psychopathy diagnosis has for criminal responsibility. It has been argued that figuring out whether psychopathy is a mental illness is of fundamental importance, because it is a precondition for psychopaths’ eligibility to be excused via the legal insanity defense. But even if psychopathy counts as a mental illness, this alone is not sufficient to show the (...) insanity defense is applicable; it must also be shown that, as a result of the illness, specific deficits in moral understanding or control are present. In this paper, we show that a diagnosis of psychopathy will generally not indicate that a defendant is eligible for an insanity defense. This is because the group of individuals subsumed under the diagnosis is so heterogeneous that while some psychopaths do show significant impairments in affect and control which may impact on their responsibility, many psychopaths are not incapacitated in a way relevant to responsibility. (shrink)
Slippery slope arguments are frequently dismissed as fallacious or weak arguments but are nevertheless commonly used in political and bioethical debates. This paper gives an overview of different variants of the argument commonly found in the literature and addresses their argumentative strength and the interrelations between them. The most common variant, the empirical slippery slope argument, predicts that if we do A, at some point the highly undesirable B will follow. I discuss both the question which factors affect likelihood of (...) slippage and the relation between the strength of the prediction and the justificatory power of the argument. (shrink)
I defend an instrumentalist account of moral responsibility and adopt Manuel Vargas’ idea that our responsibility practices are justified by their effects. However, whereas Vargas gives an independent account of morally responsible agency, on my account, responsible agency is defined as the susceptibility to developing and maintaining moral agency through being held responsible. I show that the instrumentalism I propose can avoid some problems more crude forms of instrumentalism encounter by adopting aspects of Strawsonian accounts. I then show the implications (...) for our understanding of responsibility: my account requires us to adopt a graded notion of responsibility and accept the claim that certain individuals may not be responsible because they are not susceptible to being influenced by our moral responsibility practices. Finally, I discuss whether the account is committed to allowing the instrumentalization of non-responsible individuals in cases where blaming them may benefit others’ moral agency. (shrink)
This paper contributes to the debate over the so-called “easy argument for numbers”, an argument that uses evidence from natural language to support the metaphysically significant claim that numbers exist. It presents novel data showing that critical examples in the literature are ambiguous between two readings, contrary to previous assumptions. It then accounts for these data using independently motivated linguistic theory. The account developed rescues the easy argument from the primary challenges leveled against it in the literature and sets the (...) agenda for future work to determine whether or not the argument is valid. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the question whether mental disorders should be understood to be brain disorders and what conditions need to be met for a disorder to be rightly described as a brain disorder. I defend the view that mental disorders are autonomous and that a condition can be a mental disorder without at the same time being a brain disorder. I then show the consequences of this view. The most important of these is that brain differences underlying mental (...) disorders derive their status as disordered from the fact that they realize mental dysfunction and are therefore non-autonomous or dependent on the level of the mental. I defend this view of brain disorders against the objection that only conditions whose pathological character can be identified independently of the mental level of description count as brain disorders. The understanding of brain disorders I propose requires a certain amount of conceptual revision and is at odds with approaches which take the notion of brain disorder to be fundamental or look to neuroscience to provide us with a purely physiological understanding of mental illness. It also entails a pluralistic understanding of psychiatric illness, according to which a condition can be both a mental disorder and a brain disorder. (shrink)
Opponents of biomedical enhancement frequently adopt what Allen Buchanan has called the “Personal Goods Assumption.” On this assumption, the benefits of biomedical enhancement will accrue primarily to those individuals who undergo enhancements, not to wider society. Buchanan has argued that biomedical enhancements might in fact have substantial social benefits by increasing productivity. We outline another way in which enhancements might benefit wider society: by augmenting civic virtue and thus improving the functioning of our political communities. We thus directly confront critics (...) of biomedical enhancement who argue that it will lead to a loss of social cohesion and a breakdown in political life. (shrink)
Current legal practice holds that a diagnosis of psychopathy does not remove criminal responsibility. In contrast, many philosophers and legal experts are increasingly persuaded by evidence from experimental psychology and neuroscience indicating moral and cognitive deficits in psychopaths and have argued that they should be excused from moral responsibility. However, having opposite views concerning psychopaths’ moral responsibility, on the one hand, and criminal responsibility, on the other, seems unfortunate given the assumption that the law should, at least to some extent, (...) react to the same desert-based considerations as do ascriptions of moral responsibility. In response, Stephen Morse has argued that the law should indeed be reformed so as to excuse those with severe psychopathy from blame, but that psychopaths that have committed criminal offences should still be subject to some legal repercussions such as civil commitment. We argue that consequentialist and norm-expressivist considerations analogous to those that support punishing psychopaths or at least retaining some legal liability, might also be drawn on in favour of holding psychopaths morally accountable. (shrink)
The history of the National News Council's creation and demise demonstrates that there are well?grounded rationales in social vision between those who supported the concept of the NNC and those who believe its etablishment was ill?founded. This article suggests that the root of the NNC controversy lies in the differences between Madison and Jefferson's perspectives on the place of information in society. Madison and Jefferson's view on press freedom and responsibility may be as important to the debate about (...) the NNC's status as the more frequently cited pragmatic considerations such as the Council's infrastructure or management. The philosophic issues raised here are ethical at base, and should be considered by critics contemplating vehicles for media accountability. (shrink)
Religious identity has, in recent times, become an important point of inquiry because of the growing awareness of religious diversity. On the one hand, this reality of diversity has served as an impetus to return to the roots of one’s religion. On the other hand, others have called for a more pluralist stance, out of the need to open up to other traditions. In light of this polarity, I argue that one can commit to one’s religion while opening up to (...) the religious other in a way that does not threaten one’s own tradition. This is done through a hermeneutic analysis of the religious identity, taking off from Paul Ricoeur’s phenomenological hermeneutics – how this identity is formed and informed by the different significations of meaning within the tradition, and how the believer interacts with this tradition to construct his or her own narrative identity, through his or her imagination, mapping out the constellations of possible human action that root themselves in the necessity in encountering and working with the religious other, for this necessity is constitutive of one’s commitment to the tradition, embodied in the biblical narratives that call for this encounter. In sum, it is possible to be committed to one’s faith conviction while being hospitable to the religious other because it is constitutive of religion itself to encounter its other, and it is in this encounter that faith is truly understood as conviction. (shrink)
Redundant publication in biomedical sciences is the presentation of the same information or data set more than once. Forms of redundant publication include “salami slicing”, in which similar text accompanies data presented in disaggregated fashion in different publications and “duplicate or multiple publication” in which identical information is presented with a virtually identical text. Estimates of prevalence of the phenomenon put it at 10 to 25% of published literature. Redundant publication can be considered unethical, or fraudulent, when the author(s) attempt (...) to conceal the existence of duplicate publication from editors and readers. Redundant publication in the area of clinical trials is potentially dangerous as it tends to overestimate the effects of interventions. The scientific community at large and governments should take urgent steps to safeguard the public from the possible effects of fraudulent multiple publications. (shrink)
I articulate what I refer to as Jefferson’s “land ethic,” drawing primarily from his Notes on the State of Virginia. In the first section, I discuss Jefferson’s conception of the intimate relationship between the natural and political constitution of America and his vindication of both. In the second section, I examine the centrality of the environment in Jefferson’s political vision for America: a landbasedrepublicanism. In the third section, I elaborate Jefferson’s view as to the proper relationship (...) between human beings and their environment by focusing on the form of nature to which he believes human beings most intimately relate: one’s estate. Jefferson’s understanding of the land draws from John Locke’s theory of property, but whereas Locke’s concept of property is closely associated with the economic values that facilitate human destruction of the environment, Jefferson’s environmentalism focuses on the other side of the relation: the ways in which a particular nature—a climate, one’s landholding, the New World in general–can influence human nature and politics. (shrink)
Working with interactional data, one sometimes observes that a type of behavior seems to be produced a great deal by one category of persons and not all that much by another category. But when put to the test of a straightforward count, the observation does not hold up: Category X does not after all do this thing significantly more often than Category Y does. It may then be that the apparent skewing of the behavior’s distribution across categories is the result (...) of selective observation; noticing with greater frequency those cases which conformed to some biased notion held by the observer of how these categories behave. But there seems to be another possibility. It may be that the observation has located, but only roughly and partially described, a complex of behaviors which the observation can then be seen to reflect, refer to, or constitute a ‘gloss’ for. (shrink)
When individuals display cognitive biases, they are prone to developing systematically false beliefs. Evolutionary psychologists have argued that rather than being a flaw in human cognition, biases may actually be design features. In my paper, I assess the claim that unrealistic optimism is such a design feature because it is a form of error management. Proponents of this theory say that when individuals make decisions under uncertainty, it can be advantageous to err on the side of overconfidence if the potential (...) gains through success are high and the costs of failure are low. I argue that there are a number of conceptual problems in matching the theory with the existing data. I also show that there is empirical evidence against the error management hypothesis. (shrink)
Thomas Jefferson’s argument against long-term debt and his theory of usufruct are used to show why each generation is obligated to protect the independence of future generations. This argument forms the theory of “Jeffersonian generational independence.” The theory has wide implications for the environmental movement because most environmental problems result in limitations on the liberty of future generations. I compare and defend Jeffersonian generational independence from two alternatives including the investment theory raised by James Madison and the problem of (...) generational interdependence raised by John Passmore or Edmund Burke. When the obligation to protect the independence of future generations is taken seriously, liberalism can no longer reasonably be used to defend environmental exploitation, since such exploitation amounts to an attack on the liberty and independence which form its core values. (shrink)
American agrarianism, as informed by the frontier myth, has provided fundamental inventional resources for agricultural rhetoric. These myths have deflected farmers from positive adaptation, reinforcing instead the self-image of a hero victimized by circumstances. Critical examination of these independent myths reveals their literalized status as well as inconsistencies with fundamental agricultural goals.
The American Declaration of Independence served as a starting point for the drafting of the Israeli Declaration of Independence of 1948. Most of the original content was lost in the long process of translation and adaptation, but, using David Armitage’s recent terminology, the Israeli text remained as "generically promiscuous" as its predecessor, combining a "manifesto" of justifications for the assumption of sovereignty, a formal proclamation and a proto-Bill of Rights. This Article depicts the work of Mordechai Beham, the Israeli Declaration’s (...) first draftsman, as a remarkable exercise in choosing contemporary, locally-valid "answers" to the fundamental "questions" posed by Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries in 18th century America on human values, national identity, statehood, and God. The analysis is partially based in the current debate on "legal transplantation," arguing that the outstanding success of the Israeli Declaration stems from both the quality of the American original and the massive work of adaptation to Israeli soil. (shrink)
This volume forms a part of the Great American Thinkers Series and is intended for the general reader. It is largely devoted to a highly readable biography of Jefferson in which main emphasis is placed on his political activities and ideas, and their influence upon the development of the United States. A separate essay at the end gives the outlines of Jefferson's thought, relating it to the contemporary ideas of the enlightenment, and tracing its sources to those thinkers (...) whom Jefferson most admired, Bacon, Newton, Locke, and Epicurus. In discussing these figures, the author exhibits an unfortunate tendency towards facile and occasionally incorrect generalizations.—A. F. G. (shrink)
From the start, Americans were wrestling with the proper connections between "private and public felicity." On its face, the first line of the First Amendment to the Constitution seems to settle the issue: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Thomas Jefferson declared that this provision "buil[t] a wall of separation between church and state." While the proscription against meddling with religion originally applied only to the national government, the Fourteenth (...) Amendment extended the Constitution—and, in theory, Jefferson's wall—to the state governments. But the Constitution is just the start of the story. America's boisterous, protean religious life sends waves of fervor breaking against Jefferson's wall. Religious fervor provokes moralistic attitudes that filter through American politics. This paper examines the reach of this moralizing effect with a glance at two very unlikely—that is, apparently secular—policy domains: health care and jails. (shrink)
Thomas Jefferson and Philosophy: Essays on the Philosophical Cast of Jefferson’s Writings is a collection of essays on topics that relate to philosophical aspects of Jefferson’s thinking over the years. Much historical insight is given to ground the various philosophical strands in Jefferson’s thought and writing on topics such as political philosophy, moral philosophy, slavery, republicanism, wall of separation, liberty, educational philosophy, and architecture.
A collection of essays and lectures from Henry Steele Commager, one of America's eminent historians. The focus is on the age of enlightenment, with particular attention to Thomas Jefferson, and how enlightenment philosophy shaped the birth of the United States.