One of the methods used at Penn State to teach engineering students about ethics is a one-credit First-Year Seminar entitled “How Good Engineers Solve Tough Problems.” Students meet in class once a week to understand ethical frameworks, develop ethical problem-solving skills, and to better understand the professional responsibilities of engineers. Emphasis is on the ubiquity of ethical problems in professional engineering. A learning objective is the development of moral imagination, similar to the development of technical imagination in engineering design courses. (...) Making sound arguments is also addressed in the process of reasoning through cases, and critiquing other’s arguments. Over the course of the semester, students solve five engineering ethics cases. Each week, a student team of four people is responsible for reading the assigned section of the text, developing a summary, and leading the class discussion. (shrink)
Precision medicine is an emerging approach to treatment and disease prevention that relies on linkages between very large datasets of health information that is shared amongst researchers and health professionals. While studies suggest broad support for sharing precision medicine data with researchers at publicly funded institutions, there is reluctance to share health information with private industry for research and development. As the private sector is likely to play an important role in generating public benefits from precision medicine initiatives, it is (...) important to understand what the concerns are and how they might be mitigated. This study reports outcomes of a deliberative method of citizen engagement in Singapore that asked whether sharing precision medicine data with private industry would be permissible, and if so, under what circumstances. Findings from this citizens’ jury suggest sharing with industry would be permissible under certain conditions that are set out in nine recommendations. Implications of the recommendations and their underlying assumptions for policy decision makers are discussed. This study aligns with prior international studies which found conditional acceptance for data sharing with private industry, a public benefit requirement, specific reluctance to share with insurance companies and an emphasis on accountability and transparency to demonstrate trustworthiness. However, our results differ from prior studies in that opt-in consent did not dominate the deliberations as jurors were able to set it aside as an assumed prerequisite for participation in a precision medicine programme. (shrink)
A record of the words and teachings of Confucius, _The Analects_ is considered the most reliable expression of Confucian thought. However, the original meaning of Confucius's teachings have been filtered and interpreted by the commentaries of Confucianists of later ages, particularly the Neo-Confucianists of the Song dynasty, not altogether without distortion.In this monumental translation by Professor D. C. Lau, an attempt has been made to interpret the sayings as they stand. The corpus of the sayings is taken as an organic (...) whole and the final test of the interpretation rests on the internal consistency it exhibits. In other words, _The Analects_ is read in the light of _The Analects._This results in a truer understanding of Confucius' thought than the traditional interpretation and paves the way for a re-assessment of its importance in the history of Chinese thought and its relevance to the present day world.This volume also contains an introduction to the life and teachings of Confucius, and three appendices on the events in the life of Confucius, on his disciples, and on the composition of _The Analects._. (shrink)
Mencius, who lived in the 4th century B.C., is second only to Confucius in importance in the Confucian tradition. The _Mencius_ consists of sayings of Mencius and conversations he had with his contemporaries. When read side by side with the _Analects_, the _Mencius_ throws a great deal of light on the teachings of ConfuciusMencius developed many of the ideas of Confucius and at the same time discussed problems not touched upon by Confucius. He drew out the implications of Confucius' moral (...) principles and reinterpreted them for the conditions of his time. As the fullest of the four great Confucian texts, the _Mencius_ has been the required reading amongst Chinese scholars for two thousand years, and it still throws considerable light on the character of the Chinese people. (shrink)
We discuss cases where subjects seem to enjoy conscious experience when the relevant first-order perceptual representations are either missing or too weak to account for the experience. Though these cases are originally considered to be theoretical possibilities that may be problematical for the higher-order view of consciousness, careful considerations of actual empirical examples suggest that this strategy may backfire; these cases may cause more trouble for first-order theories instead. Specifically, these cases suggest that (I) recurrent feedback loops to V1 are (...) most likely not the neural correlate of first-order representations for conscious experience, (II) first-order views seem to have a problem accounting for the phenomenology in these cases, and either (III) a version of the ambitious higher-order approach is superior in that it is the simplest theory that can account for all results at face value, or (IV) a view where phenomenology is jointly determined by both first-order and higher-order states. In our view (III) and (IV) are both live options and the decision between them may ultimately be an empirical question that cannot yet be decided. (shrink)
In his paper, ‘A critique of religious fictionalism’, Benjamin Cordry raises a series of objections to a fictionalist form of religious non-realism that I proposed in my earlier paper, ‘Can an atheist believe in God?’. They fall into two main categories: those alleging that an atheist would be unjustified in adopting fictionalism, and those alleging that fictionalism could not be successfully implemented, or practised communally. I argue that these objections can be met.
Andrews argues for a pluralistic folk psychology that employs different kinds of practices and different kinds of cognitive tools (including personality trait attribution, stereotype activation, inductive reasoning about past behavior, and ...
In this extraordinary introduction to the study of the philosophy of technology, Andrew Feenberg argues that techonological design is central to the social and political structure of modern societies. Environmentalism, information technology, and medical advances testify to technology's crucial importance. In his lucid and engaging style, Feenberg shows that technology is the medium of daily life. Every major technical changes reverberates at countless levels: economic, political, and cultural. If we continue to see the social and technical domains as being (...) seperate, then we are essentially denying an integral part of our existence, and our place in a democratic society. Questioning Tecchnology convinces us that it is vital that we learn more about technology the better to live with it and to manage it. (shrink)
Matti Eklund (2017) has argued that ardent realists face a serious dilemma. Ardent realists believe that there is a mind-independent fact as to which normative concepts we are to use. Eklund claims that the ardent realist cannot explain why this is so without plumping in favor of their own normative concepts or changing the topic. The paper first advances the discussion by clarifying two ways of understanding the question of which normative concepts to choose: a theoretical question about which concepts (...) have the abstract property of being normatively privileged and a further practical question of which concepts we are to choose even granting some concepts are thus privileged. I argue that the ardent realist’s best bet for answering the theoretical question while avoiding Eklund’s dilemma is to provide a real definition of this property. I point out the difficulties for providing such a definition. I then argue that even with an answer to the theoretical question, the ardent realist faces a further dilemma in answering the practical question. In sum, though I see no knock-down argument against ardent realism, it may nonetheless die a death by a thousand cuts. I close by considering a deeper reason for why ardent realism is so difficult to defend: every argument starts somewhere. It is unclear how there can be an Archimedean point that makes no reference to any normative concepts that can nonetheless be employed to convince everyone to adopt ours. I then briefly propose two options for someone still inclined towards realism: (i) accept that our normative concepts are normatively privileged without attempting to explain why this is so, or (ii) be less ardent and accept a perspective-dependent account of normativity. (shrink)
In this essay I describe how contractarianism might approach interspecies welfare conflicts. I start by discussing a contractarian account of the moral status of nonhuman animals. I argue that contractors can agree to norms that would acknowledge the “moral standing” of some animals. I then discuss how the norms emerging from contractarian agreement might constrain any comparison of welfare between humans and animals. Contractarian agreement is likely to express some partiality to humans in a way that discounts the welfare of (...) some or all animals. While the norms emerging from the contract might be silent or inconsistent in some tragic or catastrophic cases, in most ordinary conflicts of welfare, contractors will agree to norms that produce some determinate resolution. What the agreement says can evolve depending upon how the contractors or the circumstances change. I close with some remarks on contractarian indeterminacy. (shrink)
This paper suffers from a disconcerting generality. I need an excuse for wandering from Wittgenstein's Tractatus to Picasso's drawing of a Weeping Woman, via the philosophy of science and the theory of sense data. The thesis of the paper is that I have such an excuse. These are all areas where the concept of representation either exists in its own right, or has been found to be illuminating by philosophers. An important question is whether it could be the same concept (...) in all these cases. I wish to claim that there is an illuminating common concept, even though to find it may require some fairly drastic modifications of some of the philosophical theses that are involved. (shrink)
The study of animal cognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language. In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates as they cut across (...) animal cognition and philosophy of mind. She addresses the following key topics: what is cognition, and what is it to have a mind? What questions should we ask to determine whether behaviour has a cognitive basis? the science of animal minds explained: ethology, behaviourist psychology, and cognitive ethology rationality in animals animal consciousness: what does research into pain and the emotions reveal? What can empirical evidence about animal behaviour tell us about philosophical theories of consciousness? does animal cognition involve belief and concepts; do animals have a ‘Language of Thought’? animal communication other minds: do animals attribute ‘mindedness’ to other creatures? moral reasoning and ethical behaviour in animals animal cognition and memory. Extensive use of empirical examples and case studies is made throughout the book. These include Cheney and Seyfarth’s ververt monkey research, Thorndike’s cat puzzle boxes, Jensen’s research into humans and chimpanzees and the ultimatum game, Pankseep and Burgdorf’s research on rat laughter, and Clayton and Emery’s research on memory in scrub-jays. Additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind, animal cognition. It will also be an excellent resource for those in fields such as ethology, biology and psychology. (shrink)
By what steps, historically, did morality emerge? Our remote ancestors evolved into social animals. Sociality requires, among other things, restraints on disruptive sexual, hostile, aggressive, vengeful, and acquisitive behavior. Since we are innately social and not social by convention, we can assume the biological evolution of the emotional equipment – numerous predispositions to want, fear, feel anxious or secure – required for social living, just as we can assume cultural evolution of various means to control antisocial behavior and reinforce the (...) prosocial kind. Small clans consisting, say, of several extended families whose members cooperated in hunting, gathering, defense, and child-rearing could not exist without a combination of innate and social restraints on individual behavior. I shall argue for a naturalistic theory of morality, by which I do not mean the definitional claims G.E. Moore sought to refute, but a broader and more complex theory that maintains that a sufficient understanding of human nature, history, and culture can fully explain morality; that nothing is left hanging. A theory that coherently brings together the needed biological, psychological, and cultural facts I shall call a philosophical anthropology; it is a theory that: 1) takes the good for humans – both an ultimate good and other important goods – to depend on human nature; 2) argues that a rudimentary but improving scientific and philosophical theory of human nature now exists, and thus denies that people are “essenceless”; 3) takes this theory to be evolutionary and historical, making the question “How did morality originate?” pivotal for ethical theory, but leaves open the empirical question of the relative importance of biological and cultural evolution; and 4) takes the origin of the moral ideas to be explainable in terms of human nature and history. (shrink)
In this chapter, we discuss a selection of current views of the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC). We focus on the different predictions they make, in particular with respect to the role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) during visual experiences, which is an area of critical interest and some source of contention. Our discussion of these views focuses on the level of functional anatomy, rather than at the neuronal circuitry level. We take this approach because we currently understand more about experimental (...) evidence at this coarse level and because these results are appropriate for arbitrating between current theoretical frameworks. We discuss the Two-Visual-Systems Hypothesis (Milner & Goodale 1995; 2006), Local Recurrency (Lamme 2010; Lamme 2006), Higher Order (Lau 2008; Lau & Rosenthal 2011) and Global Workspace theories (Baars 1997; Baars 2005; Dehaene & Naccache 2001; Dehaene 2014). Despite the apparent stark differences between conscious and unconscious perceptual processing, available evidence suggests that their neural substrates must be largely shared. This indicates that the difference in neural activity between conscious and unconscious perceptual processing is likely to be subtle and highly specialized. We argue that current experimental evidence about the involvement of specific activity in prefrontal cortex supports the higher order neural theory of consciousness. In consequence, imaging techniques that focus only on marked differences between conscious and unconscious level of activity are likely to be insensitive to the relevant neural activity patterns that underlie conscious experiences. Finally, it follows from the evidence we discuss that the functional advantages of conscious over unconscious perceptual processing may be more limited than commonly thought. (shrink)
Ushenko's speculative vision opened on the problem of time and its relation to logic. Profoundly concerned about the theme of time--the theme that intrinsically defines romantic irrationalism--he yet endeavored to vindicate within the bounds of temporality the sovereignty of logic so essential to the continuance of classical philosophy. The dual preoccupation with time and logic urged him into the fields of symbolic logic and relativity physics. From the flux of unrepeatable events he disengaged the laws of logic and the propositions (...) of scientific discourse, while at the same time he sought to keep both orders of entity united without injury to either. He ventured into nature as disclosed by contemporary physics and selected the category of event to supplant substance. He undertook to expound a metaphysics of events, grappled with the problem of the unity not only of nature but of the singular events that make up nature, and fixed upon the overarching structure of the space-time of relativity physics to resolve the problem. But this did not suffice. The metaphysical vision at work in these early books glimpsed at moments a principle beyond time, beyond propositions, beyond events--the principle of power. Power and Events: An Essay on Dynamics in Philosophy focused on the principle of power, integrating the other themes in terms of it. As the mature work of a significant and original thinker, Power and Events posed the principle of power as the central idea for the future course of philosophical investigation. In pursuit of its implications Ushenko embarked upon the philosophy of art in his last book Dynamics of Art and in a consistent yet startling fashion advanced the thesis that the substance of art is in effect a dynamic equilibrium of powers. (shrink)
Individuals play a prominent role in many metaphysical theories. According to an individualistic metaphysics, reality is determined by the pattern of properties and relations that hold between individuals. A number of philosophers have recently brought to attention alternative views in which individuals do not play such a prominent role; in this paper I will investigate one of these alternatives.
This important collection of essays by Andrew Feenberg presents his critical theory of technology, an innovative approach to philosophy and sociology of technology based on a synthesis of ideas drawn from STS and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The volume includes chapters on citizenship, modernity, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
Ushenko presented his philosophy of logic in vehement opposition to "the postulationist theory." In the endeavor to amputate logic from philosophy and absorb it within mathematics, the postulationists viewed logic as an isolated object-logic to be discussed in meta-logic and construed its symbolic formulas as a game played according to arbitrarily established rules. The objections Ushenko raised are no longer novel, but twenty years ago the entire controversy was new. Above all, he stressed the numerous difficulties entangling the meta-logic. He (...) scored the menace of an infinite regress of meta-logics, and insisted that the consequences of Gödel's work necessarily frustrate the initial great expectations of the postulationists. No purely formal system can be internally proved to be self-consistent and certainly no formal language can ever become as comprehensive as English, though the price of such comprehensiveness is the inevitable occurrence of contradictory sentences. Moreover, he argued that, despite the postulationists' pretense that rules like the principle of non-contradiction were mere conventions for playing the game of logic, these rules proved ubiquitous by trespassing from the object-logic and intruding into the ultimate reaches of the meta-logic. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
Critics have often misunderstood the higher-order theory (HOT) of consciousness. Here we clarify its position on several issues, and distinguish it from other views such as the global The higher-order theory (HOT) of consciousness has often been misunderstood by critics. Here we clarify its position on several issues, and distinguish it from other views such as the global workspace theory (GWT) and early sensory models (e.g. first-order local recurrency theories). For example, HOT has been criticized for over-intellectualizing consciousness. We show (...) that while higher-order states are cognitively assembled, the requirements are actually considerably less than often presumed. In this sense HOT may be viewed as an intermediate position between GWT and early sensory views. Also, we clarify that most proponents of HOT do not stipulate consciousness as equivalent to metacognition or confidence. Further, compared to other existing theories, HOT can arguably account better for complex everyday experiences, such as of emotions and episodic memories. This makes HOT particularly useful as a framework for conceptualizing pathological mental states. (shrink)
_Utilitarianism_ is a classic work of ethical theory, arguably the most persuasive and comprehensible presentation of this widely inﬂuential position. Mill argues that it is pleasure and pain that ought to guide our decision-making&and not the pleasure and pain of any one person or group, but the summative experience of all who are affected by our actions. While he didn’t invent utilitarianism, Mill offered its clearest expression and strongest defense, and expanded the theory to account for the variety in quality (...) that we ﬁnd among speciﬁc pleasures and pains. Today, Mill’s version of the “Greatest Happiness Principle” is a standard premise in many moral arguments within the academy and in practical ethical and political deliberation. The complete text of the 1871 edition of _Utilitarianism_ is presented here, with footnote annotations added to clarify unfamiliar references and terminology for the student reader. A detailed introduction by the editor is divided into brief digestible parts discussing the context of the text and offering guidelines on how to read it accurately and critically. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed _Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought_ and adheres to the anthology’s format and high standard of accuracy and accessibility. (shrink)
The technologies, markets, and administrations of today's knowledge society are in crisis. We face recurring disasters in every domain: climate change, energy shortages, economic meltdown. The system is broken, despite everything the technocrats claim to know about science, technology, and economics. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that today powerful technologies have unforeseen effects that disrupt everyday life; the new masters of technology are not restrained by the lessons of experience, and accelerate change to the point where society is (...) in constant turmoil. In Between Reason and Experience, leading philosopher of technology Andrew Feenberg makes a case for the interdependence of reason--scientific knowledge, technical rationality--and experience. Feenberg examines different aspects of the tangled relationship between technology and society from the perspective of critical theory of technology, an approach he has pioneered over the past twenty years. Feenberg points to two examples of democratic interventions into technology: the Internet and the environmental movement. He examines methodological applications of critical theory of technology to the case of the French Minitel computing network and to the relationship between national culture and technology in Japan. Finally, Feenberg considers the philosophies of technology of Heidegger, Habermas, Latour, and Marcuse. The gradual extension of democracy into the technical sphere, Feenberg argues, is one of the great political transformations of our time. (shrink)
In 1929 Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Davos, Switzerland, which is widely held to have marked an important division in twentieth-century European thought. Peter E. Gordon’s recent book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate, the issues that distinguished the respective positions of Cassirer and Heidegger, and the legacy of the debate for later decades. Throughout the work, (...) Gordon concisely portrays the source of disagreement between the two adversaries in terms of a difference between Cassirer’s philosophy of spontaneity and Heidegger’s philosophy of receptivity, or of “thrownness” , into a situation that finite human beings can never hope to master. Although it recognizes that this work provides an important contribution to our understanding of the Davos debate and to twentieth-century European thought, this review essay subjects Gordon’s manner of interpreting the distinction between Cassirer and Heidegger to critical scrutiny. Its purpose is to examine the possibility that important aspects of the debate, which do not conform to the grid imposed by Gordon’s interpretation, might have been set aside in the context of his analysis. (shrink)
Between World War I and World War II, the students of Columbia University's John Dewey and Frederick J. E. Woodbridge built up a school of philosophical naturalism sharply critical of claims to value-neutrality. In the 1930s and 1940s, the second-generation Columbia naturalists and their students who later joined the department reacted with dismay to the arrival on American shores of logical empiricism and other analytic modes of philosophy. These figures undermined their colleague Ernest Nagel's attempt to build an alliance with (...) the logical empiricists, accusing them of ignoring the scholar's primary role as a public critic. After the war, the prestige of analytic approaches and a tendency to label philosophies either???analytic??? or???Continental??? eclipsed the Columbia philosophers??? normatively inflected naturalism. Yet in their efforts to resist logical empiricism, the Columbia naturalists helped to construct a sturdy, canonical portrait of???American philosophy??? that proponents still hold up as a third way between analytic and Continental approaches. (shrink)
The subject of this essay is propria and their relation to essence. Propria, roughly characterized, are those real properties of a thing which are natural but nonessential to it, and which are said to “flow from” the thing’s essence, where this “flows from” relation is understood to designate a kind of explanatory relation. For example, it is said that Socrates’s risibility flows from his essential humanity; and it is said that salt’s solubility in water flows from the essential natures of (...) both salt and water. The question I raise and attempt to answer in this essay is: In what sense do propria “flow from” essences? What kind of explanatory relation is this exactly? Some suggest that it is a relation of logical consequence (e.g., Kit Fine); others, of grounding (e.g., Michael Gorman); and still others, of formal causation (e.g., David Oderberg). In this essay, I reintroduce and defend a view suggested by the late scholastic Spanish philosopher and theologian Francisco Suárez, who in 1597 wrote that effluence is best understood as a very special kind of efficient causation, which we can call the relation of emanation. The thesis of this essay, then, is that propria emanate from essences. Along the way, this paper offers a new taxonomy of types of propria; it explains the significance of propria for the metaphysics and epistemology of essences; it discusses at length varieties of efficient causation (and emanation in particular); and then it offers an extensive abductive argument in favor of Suárez’s account, whereby the former accounts of effluence are critiqued, each in turn, and Suárez’s view is motivated and ultimately shown to be superior to its competitors. (shrink)